In Rohan by Sasjah Miller

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Story notes: Many thanks to Menel for speedy and wonderful beta.

Dedication: For Cinzia.
" '... but who has heard of a horse of the Mark being given to a Dwarf?'
No one,' said Gimli, 'And do not trouble: no one will ever hear of it. I would sooner walk than sit on the back of any beast so great, free or begrudged.' "
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, book 3, ch.2: The Riders of Rohan.

They remind me of home. The horses, I mean. Strange though it may seem, that here in this land of grass and endless plains, I would find such a memory of my home through the strangely familiar scent of a horse.

I have never ridden a horse: Dwarvenfeet are strong enough to carry their own weight for as long as a journey takes, but I've been around horses often enough. The sturdy little ponies we used were always near us when we delved deep into the dark and welcoming earth. I had no particular love for them, but one gets accustomed to their ever-present sounds and scents, and grows to depend on them in various ways. As long as the Dwarves would carve out the precious ores and brilliant gems from the depths of the earth, the sturdy Dwarven ponies would keep on pulling the carts, laden with the gifts that were given to the Dwarves by the rich earth, to be brought into daylight and expose their beauty for all to see.

They remind me of him, too.

Tall, strong-muscled, soft-skinned, they are light-footed and fast as the wind. I am not afraid of them, but they do hold me in awe. Just as he makes me hold my breath every time I look at him, Legolas, Elven Prince most fair. The proud horses of the Rohirrim will not be burdened with tack and gear unless they are willing to let themselves be harnessed thus. In that way, they remind me of him too. He let himself be blindfolded for me in the golden woods of Lothlorien, even though it meant he would be deprived of the chance to behold the mellyrn for the first time in his life in all their majesty. I realize now that this was one of the greatest gifts he could have given me. I know no other way to repay him than by riding behind him, holding on to him for dear life as our horse gallops across the vast plains of Rohan in pursuit of the Orcs that have captured Merry and Pippin. To be allowed to ride the horses of Rohan is a gift, not easily given, but one that truly must be deserved. To ride behind him is a gift as well. It is given to me freely, and I will accept it, even if I do not know what I have done to deserve it, as freely as it has been given.
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