In Times Like These - Chapter 13- The Last March of the Elves

Title: In Times Like These
Author: Yih


shieldmaidenofrohan- you'll probably like chapter 14 even more (cages made; cages broken) since eowyn shows up quite a bit in that chapter. hehe i'm glad you were going nuts waiting for the chapter. i have to say my betas all MUCH PREFERED chapters 13 & 14 to 12 & 11 since these are original scenes.

angel_elf- thanks! i hope my eowyn additions don't disappoint you. eomer shows up again in chapter 14, but his role is not as important as eowyn as anaire is closer to eowyn.

princessofnumenor- well you can ponder on legolas's feelings a bit more. eomer is caught up with anaire's beauty. she's very different as an elf, he's more infatuated with her looks and her symbolism. and legolas--- well legolas is legolas is legolas, you will just have to see.

lady_tinuviel- the 4th straight appreciative comment that i didn't kill anyone! hmmm i think we're even on the haldir/legolas angle here ,_,

lady_shinigami- you lean one way but you prefer either haldir or legolas. who will get her? who makes the first move?

iluvien- i adore gimli. well i need my readers to keep me posted on the love triangle, helps me figure things out even if i'm 2 chapters ahead.

dunwen- thanks! you're new, welcome!

arwenslove- eowyn can heal yes, like wrap wounds and dump herbs onto bleeding cuts, nothing miraculous. in my mind, at times like those i think many would learn how to handle injured ppl. it did seem in TTT that she was taking care of Theodred.

nienne_telrunya- hehe eoywn's explanation of healing is above. and as you requested... i wrote more!


13: Last March of the Elves (March 9, 2003 to March 17, 2003)

The elves of Mirkwood and Imladris had left enough of a force to protect their homes before marching to Lorien to meet in one large gathering of what was left of elven strength. It was impressive, but when compared to the War of the Last Alliance--- it brought a clear picture of how much the numbers of their kind had dwindled during this Third Age. As Elrond, Celeborn, and Thranduil surveyed the elven army, it was Elrond that spoke what was on all their minds, "They know they are walking to their doom, but they do so willingly like years passed."

It was then that Galadriel approached to stand as the only Lady amongst them. Her eyes were veiled for she did not want them to see the fate she had glimpse into from her Mirror. There were things that were best not known, it was a possibility that the course the elves were taking would shift the direction of the future she had seen. There was nothing she could offer but her faith in their people.

"I do not know what danger awaits," she began in full truth for she only knew what may await, "but I know that in our people there is a bravery that is unmatched," the elven warriors all nodded their heads in agreement, "there is a nobility that is above all, and lastly there is aptitude to carry this burden of Arda through. We decided a hundred seasons ago that it was not our time to abandon this land; in our choice to stay, we again will fight for the right of all that is good." She paused dramatically, tilting her head to gaze at all the gathering of elven kind. "There is nothing I can offer other than my faith and my prayers that Elbereth will watch over her children."

The elves, united from different lands and diverse divisions applauded Galadriel's heartwarming farewell speech. It was fitting that she would be that one that offered them blessings, for it was she had done the very same with the Fellowship of the Ring. It was with healthy spirits and calmed minds that the elves departed to their sleeping grounds to rest for the Last March of the Elves.

Once the Rivendell elves had settled in, Elrond called forth his twin sons to a special meeting that included the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien, Thranduil, and Haldir. Gesturing to them to approached the Council table, he asked them to be seated next to Haldir as he explained why he had called them, "The race of Men do not know of our wish to aid them again their fight against Mordor, indeed they have no idea of the force we will send. It will be your duty, Elladan and Elrohir to inform them of our imminent arrival."

As expected of his twin sons, they nodded gravely and it was Elladan that spoke in an assertive voice, "The Dunedain have been following our trail since we have departed from Rivendell. They are journeying to join Estel's side, if Elrohir and I leave immediately, we will ride with them to the front and deliver the message of the Last March."

Their father nodded at Elladan's plan. "Is there anything that you, King Thranduil, would like to be sent to your son, Legolas? It is without doubt that your son rides by the side of Estel." Thranduil quickly shook his head that he did indeed have something that he wanted to be given to his son. He placed his sword on the round table, a sword he had carried into battle that he now wanted his son to have on the final battlefield. "And you, Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel... for Anaire?"

The Lord and Lady of Lothlorien both shook their heads. They did not have anything that they wished to give to Anaire, but they did have something else in mind. It was normal for Haldir, even as the March Warden of the Golden Woods, to attend a meeting of this prestige. It was Galadriel that tilted her head to her Head of Guard that signified that though they had nothing for their adopted daughter, Haldir had something for his student.

All the elves in the room turned to Haldir with veiled curiosity. After all, Haldir's reputation as being cool and untouchable preceded him everywhere he went. Indeed, the elf that had the most intrigue in what Haldir wished to give to Anaire was Elrohir undoubtedly, even though Elladan tended to be the more inquisitive of the twins. With all the attention on him, Haldir was without surprise--- emotionless.

Standing from his seat, he walked over purposely to where Elladan and Elrohir were seated and without any hesitation placed a gleaming silver ring into Elrohir's palm. The ring was pure mithril, exquisite and breathtaking. What was even more significant was the scripted words that said amin mela lle, nin istelile. It was a blatant declaration of Haldir's wish to plight his troth with Anaire. And it was done in the typical Haldir-like way, in a positively sure manner. (I love you, my silverstar)

"Please give this to her for me," Haldir stated in a confident, reserved voice. "I am not sure if she will know what this ring means, but if she does not--- will you explain it to her?" It was there that his tone took a dip in his certainty. There was a note of worry, which made it all the more touching. "I have thought long and hard about this, and in times like these--- things are uncertain, but my feelings for her are what they are. I had meant to wait until after but I cannot make myself wait any longer. I have waited too long already."

It was after Anaire's departure that he had approached Celeborn and Galadriel with his request to plight his troth with Anaire whenever the right opportunity arose as it did now. To his complete astonishment, for he'd been expecting anything but acceptance, they'd told him in frank and amused voices that he had been slow to react on emotions that were clearly visible. That had comforted and reassured him greatly.

And yet their approval had surprised him most assuredly. After all, unlike Elrond--- he was neither a Lord nor a master of any elven stronghold. Nor was he as legendary as Celebrian's husband was to Middle Earth. He was merely Haldir, their March Warden and Head of Guard. He was nothing extraordinary. In their support of his suit, he felt a self-assurance rise up inside of him. An assurance he had not felt before.

"His words ring with truth," Galadriel spoke. "Haldir o Lorien has indeed waited too long to plight his troth with Anaire. But as he has said, in times like these--- the future is gravely uncertain. Yet in the uncertainties, some things will always remain as they are. It gladdens my heart that you have seen this, Haldir. I hope that your desires may be fulfilled, your love satisfied."

Once his beloved had finished speaking, Celeborn continued where she left off, "In all the years that you have known her, you have shown her a care and a friendship that cannot easily be no matter what length of distance one may journey to find it. You give her a great gift, not measured in the treasure that the ring is--- as mithril, for you give to her your trueness of love, your heart. It is all that one can ever ask of another--- giving the fullness of the heart. Yet when one gives and then receives, then there is completeness of union."

Their words were a keen reminder that nothing was as of yet, set in stone. Anaire could still reject his plight and break his heart in the process. He'd never considered at any length of time that she might refuse him, it wasn't because he was overconfident--- it was that the thought was too terrible to bear. At the same time, their words were a kind reminder that they supported him in his suit, something that carried more than the weight of words.

"I will be sure to give this to her the moment that I rest eyes on her," Elrohir promised, closing his hand over the mithril promise ring. "Have no fear, all speed will be made and it will not be more than a few days before we are able to seal this bind if fate wills it to be." At these words, Haldir turned sharply to Elrohir and stared at Anaire's sworn brother eye to eye, face to face. "And I cannot see why it would not be." There was an understanding between the two, Elrohir approved of him--- that was an approval beyond Galadriel's to the level of Celeborn's.

It was Elrond that broke the impending silence after Elrohir's declaration with a voice that was commanding and conscious of the situation coming, "You two must leave quickly." Elladan and Elrohir nodded, already starting to gathering up their stuff together and getting ready to make a swift departure. "We will be following with the elven army not long after you, but with lesser men and fleeter horses--- you will be faster than us. As I told you previously, warn them of our imminent arrival. We will be there."

"Yes, father," Elladan responded while Elrohir went to his grandmother and bend his head down so that she might kiss him on the forehead. Once that exchange had finished, Elladan called out to his younger brother, "Let's get going Elrohir, we have a long distance to travel in the shortest amount of time possible."

Elrohir gave one last smile to his grandmother before winking mischievously at Haldir and patting the pocket where he'd safely placed the promise ring. her mental voice broke up before she was again able to continue,

"I will," he vowed. "That I will do."


She had said she was not going to forget again and lose herself into the past. But it was hard when all this bloodshed reminded her of the misery she had once been through. She shuddered even though the air was hardly chilly. Rather the atmosphere was stained by the blood of Uruks and men alike. She was still trembling when she felt her white cloak being placed onto her shoulders by Legolas.

Purposely, she stepped away from him after he'd wrapped her cloak around her. She saw the look in his eyes whenever he gazed upon her, she knew how he felt about her. The problem was that she wasn't ready for anything beyond friendship. She felt strongly about Celeborn and Galadriel, they had watched over and cared for her all these years--- but at the back of her mind, she feared that her affection did not go as deep as theirs did for her. There were times she felt horribly isolated from everything; she'd always felt removed ever since they had brought her back.

To have her move away from him stung him. Try as he might, he was never able to truly reach her. Yes, there were the times like when she'd agreed to ride with him on the horse, when she'd fallen into his arms in her time of need--- but truly had she ever really opened up to him? No. He wondered if it was only him or if it was everyone. From what conversation he'd had with Aragorn, he'd found that even he did not know Anaire well at all.

She was a mystery. It seemed that was what she wished to remain. But how he desired to get closer to her, as close as she allowed. Hesitantly, with the care of a hunter to that of the hunted, he approached her one step at a time. When he was finally within reaching distance of her, she again placed herself out of his reach. She was definitely avoiding him. "Anaire," he called out to her, wanting her to at least look at him--- at least he might look at her if she'd not let him be close to her.

It was with horrible disappointment to him that she failed to glance in his direction. "Anaire," he repeated, trying to draw her focus from whatever she was thinking back once more to him. His first attempt had failed, he only hoped the second did not follow the first. "Why are you ignoring me?" His hopes were in vain for she did not even waver. "Anaire!"

she answered in a voice full of knowing for she had broken her rule never to glimpse into a mind. She did it when she was provoked and had no choice. Since she had not turned around, she had not been able to read his expression. She was afraid that looking at him might sway her, not that dipping into his mind had been any better. In her forage into his depths, she had discovered that he had strong feelings for her, perhaps as strong as Haldir. It shook her to the core; it scared her to the soul.


The horses were lively; the elves were spirited. This was to be their Last March, and they were going to make it a thing that was to be remembered throughout the history of Middle Earth like their remarkable stand in the War of the Last Alliance. Whatever fear they had of the unknown was not apparent in their calm and relaxed features of those that walked and those that rode to the last battlefield of the last time the elves would fight for what had been their home for thousands of years.

Unfortunately, there were not enough horses that all elves might ride to the battlegrounds proudly. But they made sure that their speed wasn't hinder by the lack of riding mounts as every few hours they rotated from marching to riding to marching to riding again. It kept them progressing quite rapidly out of the Golden Forests to the plains and finally hitting the rolling hills of Rohan. It had been several days for them to travel the distance that a small group on horseback might journey through in a few days at most. But they had to keep their strength up and their senses alert.

What good was going into battle exhausted? Besides, Galadriel had glimpse into her Mirror and had foreseen that they were going to make it to the battle at the right time. Whether they'd turn the tide of the war remained to be seen, but at least they were not going to be the speculation of what might have happened if they had gone. They were going to be there, fighting along the sides of men once more.

For the sake of safety, scouts had been sent to the forefront to scour the lands to make sure that there were to be no attacks on them. Though Galadriel had tried to look into the Mirror to see what danger awaited them on their path, the Mirror did not grant her every wish to see into what may come. All that she knew was that Lorien would be attacked, if Lorien was to be attacked the attackers must come from some direction. The fastest path was the path they took. It made sense to think that they'd stumble among the would-be invaders.

Every elf mounted, every elf on foot stopped when Elrond raised his hand up in warning. Swiftly those elves that guarded the edges of the group pulled out their bows and arrows swiftly, waiting any signal from their leaders in which way to act. The group that guarded the east side looked to Elrond, the elves that lined the west looked to Thranduil, and the elves that made up the rear looked to Celeborn.

It was Celeborn that was communicating through hand gestures to Haldir, who scouted the area ahead with his Galadhrim group. The signals were easy to read, orcs were approaching to the east. With a gesture that said to make haste back to the main group, Haldir and his elven warriors set off with haste speed to join the rest of their elven army. With quick communications with Thranduil and Elrond, the elves under their command immediately faced the east.

Those on foot in the forefront bent down onto their knees and drew their bows while those behind on foot stood standing with their bows drawn. The riders behind them made up the third row and also drew their bows, those behind also ready to fire at will. All three elven leaders had experience with warfare, but undoubtedly Elrond was the most experience and it had been decided that to Elrond the main command was to be given. He was to coordinate all attacks and delegate out the plan to Celeborn and Thranduil.

There was no surprise as the orcs appeared over the hill, ready to assault the elven army they had not expected. They were not blind; they had seen the scouts. They had scouts of their own. The strategy had been to destroy Lothlorien, to obliterate an elven army was not too much different from their instructions. Besides, they had no way to avoid the army that was marching in the direct path from the Golden City.

It was with the delight of devastation that they rushed at the prepared elven archers. Those in the first charge were cut down by the rain of arrows. The first group fired, then proceeded to re-arrow their bows while the second group fired. This well coordinated attack tactic was sequenced by Celeborn's commanding voice that reached all the archers, "Leithio i philinn!" (Fire the arrows!)

Elrond, meanwhile, was going over the charge that was about to take place with Thranduil who was to lead his elves to cut into the ranks of the orcs from the south side while Elrond took the northern direction. It was Elrond that noted that Celeborn worked well face on with the archers, keeping everything systematically and organized while Thranduil was more of a charger, ready to battle head on. It was the Lord of Rivendell that saw that Haldir and his Galadhrims were kept at bay by an outer group of orcs that had attacked them from the rear.

But everything was progressing well as both he and Thranduil joined the battle with a swift, joint attack that took the orcs by surprise. With efficiency and ease they slaughtered the orcs into nothingness. There was no doubt in any of the minds of the elves that this army of orcs had been sent to mar the splendor of Lothlorien. The immortal blood in them rose up in vigor once more as they did away with the threat to the seat of the Golden Woods.

To the last orc, they killed. It was when that last orc had drawn its last breath that the elves surveyed the death and destruction they had dealt out to the enemy. Their eyes were filled with sorrow as they saw their fallen comrades. No, not many elves had been lost but those less experienced, those less battle ready had been lost in this first battle. Those that had siblings, those that had family filled the air with tearful laments until the day turned to night.

Haldir praised his fortune. Though they had been assault from behind unexpectedly while trying to join the rest of their comrades, he had not lost a single elf in his command. There were injuries to be sure--- but none that would disable any from fighting--- all superficial wounds. Others had not been so lucky. As his blue eyes glanced up at Celeborn, he saw the pain in his Lord's eyes at the loss of Lorien blood already. Though Celeborn had seen many years and many deaths, as the years grew on life only became more precious.

The only comforting thought he could give to his Lord was that soon they'd see Anaire again. "We are in Rohan, my lord," Haldir stated respectfully. "Soon, you will hold your daughter into your arms once more. It has been long that you have been parted."

Celeborn nodded. "As it is for you, Haldir," he responded solemnly his eyes staring into the horizon at the shadows the elves made in the light as they buried their dead. "Time has been given to my beloved Galadriel to weave her enchantments to protect Lothlorien," he remarked, smoothly switching subjects. "I wonder if my Estelinde is making use of what enchantments she knows. She never did like dabbling into that realm like her amme."

"She will do what she has to do," Haldir replied with all the confidence in him of his love. "That is her way."

"Yes," Celeborn agreed, "that is her way." No further words were spoken between the pair, but their thoughts were directed toward the same person--- Anaire. The more that Celeborn's eyes drifted into the distance, the more that his misgivings grew. It was true that his gift of reaching and of feeling was not as great as Galadriel's, but as hard as he tried to touch Anaire with his mind--- he failed. He had not felt her presence in his mind for ever a long time. He was anxious for her.

The anxiety in Celeborn was the same one shared by Haldir. He too worried about Anaire's safety, but also about the promise ring he'd given to Elrohir to give to her. He was dreadfully afraid that she might reject his suit. What then would he do? He did not know. Once the dead were buried, the elves continued to move on with an ever-quickening speed. There was no turning back now. The elves had once again joined the battle for Middle Earth.


Many days they had ridden through the torrent winds, the violent rains to reach Helm's Deep in record time. They arrive not more than two days after the defense of Helm's Deep had been secured. As Elrohir and Elladan rode with Aragorn's rangers, the Dunedain, closer to the Keep of Rohan, they still smelled the bloodshed in the air. That only made them accelerate their speed toward their brother and their sister, riding ahead of Aragorn's men.

It was with disbelief and relief that Aragorn spotted Elladan and Elrohir riding toward the gates of Helm's Deep. For the days since the battle, Anaire had been inconsolable. At first, she had helped Eowyn tend to the ill, but once the work had leveled off--- she had drifted into herself, she became unreachable. It had been one day and two nights that she sat on the fortification walls unwilling to speak and be near anyone.

When Legolas had tried to urge him to reach her, Aragorn had only shook his head and said softly that he did not know Anaire much better than Legolas did. He had met her only once before the Council of Elrond, when Arwen had wished to introduce the keeper of her heart to the one that her heart was also bound to, her oselle. At least someone was riding to them that knew her well, Aragorn had told him that there were three elves that were closest to her: Elrohir, Celeborn, and Haldir.

"Elladan of Imladris!" Aragorn called out, signaling to those that guarded the gates to quickly open them. "What news do you bring?"

"Good news," Elladan responded, while Elrohir had leapt off his horse and was busy searching for Anaire. "Very good news, the elves will march once more beside the sides of men. Old alliances will be renewed."

His eyes were filled with merriment as he hugged his brother tightly. "How are things in Rivendell?" It was then that Aragorn caught sight of Elrohir looking apprehensively for Anaire, and it was he that read what Elrohir was hoping to find, "She is on the battlements above with Legolas."

Elrohir glanced up, saw Anaire sitting on the wall with Legolas standing behind her, watching. After Elladan and Aragorn watched him disappear, the real concern in Aragorn's heart spoke up, "How is Arwen?" Instinctively, his hand moved up to his throat to gently caress the evenstar pendant that he always wore since she had bestowed it to him that eve of their pledge.

"She is good, there is much that I need to speak to you of. Where is the King of Rohan?" Elladan inquired. "This matter is for his ears as well. Your Dunedain rode behind us, our horses were faster than theirs. Tell me though, is Anaire well?"

Aragorn shook his head. "She is not, war is hard on her."

The words Aragorn spoke were true as Elrohir soon realized as he saw for himself the anguish and despair in Anaire's troubled eyes. Death, death of any kind tormented her with the darkness. As soon as his eyes rested on her pale face, her thin form--- his heart cried out in sympathy with hers. His eyes met Legolas's own concerned ones; he did not have to ask permission to approach Anaire, Legolas gave it to him, stepping aside for Elrohir. It was all he could do to keep the emotion from ringing out in his voice as he called to her, "Anaire."

She turned around; the voice was not Legolas's. Her grey eyes met Elrohir's sky orbs. "Elrohir," she whispered softly as she slid off the wall as he ran toward her, holding her fiercely into his arms. As tightly as he held her, she held him equally as hard. When his arms wrapped around her waist, she placed her arms around his neck and rested her head on his shoulders finally able to close her eyes. "Elrohir..."


Author's Note: I really do apologize that this took so long. Chapter 15 is a ***** to write and Chaper 16 won't be much easier. I got back logged by my Orlando Bloom & Elijah Wood fanfics (anyone interested in reading them?) You can email me if you want ,_, I have 2 complete ones that should interest you ,_~. Other than that school is miserable and my muse has gone into hiding. I felt so guilty because all of you reviewed but hey ,_,;; I want to keep the updates consistent especially since I hadn't finished drafting Chapter 14 yet. So wow... it's only been like a week and a half... it's not my worse time lapse. I've gone 6 months without updating before! ,_,;; Another story... another story is on the brink of 9 months and one was 2 years O-o Yes, I'm bad so 1.5 weeks is nothign to complain about.

With that said... what did you think of the Elves march? Is it how you imagined it or even better? And what of Haldir?! And Legolas?! Anaire's possible reaction!!!???

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