|Chapter 21: Treacher's Gorge|
During the halt, Mhoram came over to Covenant and suggested that they climb a way up the gully together. Covenant nodded; he was glad to keep himself busy. He followed the Lord up the cut's contorted spine until they reached a break in its west wall. Mhoram entered the break; and when Covenant stepped in behind the Lord, he got a broad, sudden view of Andelain.
From the altitude of the break--between the stone walls--he felt that he was looking down over Andelain from a window in the side of Mount Thunder. The Hills lay richly over all the western horizon, and their beauty took his breath away. He stared hungrily with a feeling of stasis, of perfect pause in his chest, like a quick grip of eternity. The lush, clear health of Andelain shone like a country of stars despite the gray skies and the dull battle roll. He felt obscurely unwilling to breathe, to break the trance, but after a moment his lungs began to hurt for air.
"Here is the Land," Mhoram whispered. "Grim, powerful Mount Thunder above us. The darkest banes and secrets of the Earth in the catacombs beneath our feet. The battleground behind. Sarangrave Flat below. And there--priceless Andelain, the beauty of life. Yes. This is the heart of the Land." He stood reverently, as if he felt himself to be in an august presence.
Covenant looked at him. "So you brought me up here to convince me that this is worth fighting for." His mouth twisted on the bitter taste of shame. "You want something from me--some declaration of allegiance. Before you have to face Drool." The Cavewights he had slain lay hard and cold in his memory.
"Of course," the Lord replied. "But it is the Land itself which asks for your allegiance."