“This valley is considered the most beautiful in this part of Khan Janab’s realm. I am certain you will find nothing more fair in your own lands,” announced the guide.
“We look forward to seeing it,” Aragorn said diplomatically.
Faramir managed a polite smile. After three weeks of visiting Harad for trading negotiations, both men yearned to see Gondor again. King and Steward were exhausted after day after day of lengthy excursions, supposedly to show off the beauties of Harad, but which they suspected concealed a motive to weary them until their wits became blunted.
The valley did indeed appear fair; its high sandstone red rocky walls having an austere beauty, while the vegetation was unusually lush for the region. There were many plants that neither Aragorn nor Faramir had seen before.
“I wonder if any of these plants could be used for healing,” Aragorn mused.
“ I shall ask if I may take some of these blooms to grow in Éowyn’s garden,” Faramir remarked.
Their guide smiled at the enthusiasm in their voices.
As they rode deeper into the valley both men fell silent. The scenery remained pleasing to the eye, but no birds sang while the air felt oppressive. King and Steward were seized by a sense of dread.
Roheryn suddenly reared up neighing loudly.” Easy, boy!” Aragorn soothed, only just managing to control the stallion.
“I like not this place,” Faramir muttered in Sindarin.
“Nor do I,” Aragorn replied in the same tongue. “It freezes my blood!” He found himself shivering despite the heat of the day.
“Surely they mean us no harm?” said Faramir glancing back towards his guards.” I sensed no evil in Janab.”
“It is not Khan Janab but this place,” Aragorn replied, still struggling to control Roheryn. “My horse is skittish,” he said loudly in the common tongue for their guide to hear.” I think we should return, he might have loosed a shoe.”
The guide ordered an about turn. Within the hour, King and Steward were back at Khan Janab’s palace where Aragorn made a polite show of examining Roheryn’s hooves.
“How did you like our valley?” the Khan enquired.
“It was beautiful,” Aragorn replied diplomatically.
“I should like to know its history,” said Faramir boldly.” I sensed that blood was once spilled in the place.”
“You are most perceptive, Steward of Gondor,“ Janab replied. “We call it The Valley of Tears in our tongue. It is said that long ago, a Princess ran away to meet her lover there. Her angry kinsmen pursued her and stuck him down. When she perceived his fate, she took his dagger and slew herself. The rocks are still said to be stained red with their blood.”
“The tale is true,” said Faramir. ”I could sense it.”
Unexpectedly Janab laughed. “Then what they tell me of the foresight of the Men of Westernesse must also be true!” he exclaimed.” I like an honest man. You are granted your trading concessions.”