I have been reading Lord of the Rings to my Children. We just started Return of the King, and this bit we read tonight seems just too relevant at the moment:
"For if we fall, who shall stand? And master Peregrin, do you see any hope that we shall stand?"
Pippin did not answer. He looked at the great walls, and the towers and the brave banners, and the sun high in the sky, and then at the gathering gloom in the East; and he thought of the long fingers of that Shadow; of the orcs in the woods and the mountains, the treason of Isengard, the birds of evil eye, and the Black Riders even in the lanes of the Shire - and of the winged terror, the Nazgul. He shuddered and hope seemed to wither. And even at that moment the sun for a second faltered and was obscured,as though a dark wing had passed across it. Almost beyond hearing the thought he caught, high and far up in the heavens, a cry: faint, but heart-quelling, cruel and cold. He blanched and cowered against the wall.
"What was that?" asked Beregond. "You also felt something?"
"Yes," muttered Pippin. "It is the sign of our fall, and the shadow of doom, a Fell Rider of the air"
"yes, the shadow of doom," said Beregond. "I fear that Minas Tirith shall fall. Night comes. The very warmth of my blood seems stolen away"
For a time they sat together with bowed heads and did not speak. Then suddenly Pippin looked up and saw that the sun was still shining and the banners still streaming in the breeze. He shook himself. "it is passed," he said. "no, my heart will not yet despair. Gandalf fell and has returned and is with us. We may stand, if only on one leg, or at least be left still upon our knees."
"Rightly said!" cried Beregond, rising and striding to and fro. "Nay, though all things must come utterly to an end in time, Gondor shall not perish yet. Not though the walls be taken by a reckless foe that will build a hill of carrion before them. There are still other fastnesses, and secret ways of escape into the mountains. Hope and memory shall live in some hidden valley where the grass is green"
"All the same, I wish it was over for good or Ill," said Pippin. "I am no warrior at all and dislike any thought of battle; but waiting on the edge of one that I can't escape is worst of all. What a long day it seems already! I should be happier, if we were not obliged to stand and watch, making no move, striking nowhere first. No stroke would have been struck in Rohan, I think, but for Gandalf."
"Ah, there you lay your finger on the sore that so many feel!" said Beregond...."yet what indeed can we do? We cannot assault the Mountains of- of yonder realm. Our reach is shortened, and we cannot strike till some foe comes within it. Then our hand must be heavy!" He smote the hilts of his sword.