In Times Like These - Chapter 14- Cages Made; Cages Broken

Title: In Times Like These

Author: Yih

Disclaimer: All characters are Tolkien other than my "OC."

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PLEASE review, PRETTY PLEASE? want to know where to find more writing stuff by me? read the AUTHOR's NOTE

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thanks angel_elf, eowyn1420, princessnumenor, luinwen, lady_shinigami, lady_tinuviel, dunwen, varne, daughter_of_estel: since you've all commented on wanting haldir and anaire together (SOME much more ECSTATIC than others ,_,;; i will just say that this chapter will continue to keep you full of insight and it's intended that way. insight... ooh alala!)

illuvien- wow maniac laugh was pretty scary. i'm glad that you told me everything that you love cuz you do make it quite ,_,;; descriptive. your commentary has been invaluable! P.S. yes orlando bloom means its about orlando bloom, as always you can email and i will email it out to those that want it.

nienna__telrunya- yeah, sorry about the errors ,_,;; my beta reader's not that great with keeping with the old english sometimes and i do mostly write modern fanfics so yeah it's hard to switch from ANIME to LoTR to original angst ,_,:;. you can't get the other fanfics by me anywhere else than by email. i do have this other website that showcases my other writing (more in the author's note)

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14: Cages Made; Cages Broken (March 19, 2003 to March 21, 2003)

It was late in the night when Elrohir emerged from the room that Anaire was staying in. For many long hours, he had held her until she had fallen into a fitful slumber marred by her nightmares of her past. He had thought those demons that haunted her had long since passed, but that hope was too optimistic. They did not know how long she'd been in the hands of the orcs; they only knew it had been for quite a time. It was with perceptive eyes that his twin asked him, "You did not tell her, did you?"

Elrohir shook his head. "No, she was not ready to hear of anything," he murmured softly. "What she needed was for someone to hold her. Perhaps, tomorrow."

"Tomorrow it will have to be," Elladan stated firmly. "Estel wants to ride through the Path of the Dead and call the Army of the Dead. I have already told him that we would ride with him together with his Dunedain."

The widening of Elrohir's eyes did not escape his twin. "That is folly."

"Every option that is possible to overturn the tide that is Sauron's is necessary," Elladan replied resolutely. "Gandalf has agreed to this as well. The rightful king can raise the army, and Estel is the rightful king. In this, he can prove and save his people. Yes, ours is the Last March, but do we dare underestimate Mordor?"

"Is Anaire to go?" Elrohir inquired instead. That was his utmost concern, for if Aragorn was going there was no doubt that the Fellowship was to follow the heir of men. In his anxiety for Anaire, he did not think that she was ready to bear another burden. Seeing the living die was hard enough for her, but to see the dead raised? He did not know how she would take that. Besides that, her wrist was fractured. "She is injured."

"I know," Elladan responded. "She is not to go. Estel says we ride out tomorrow at the break of dawn and leave her here. She is not the only one that he worries about that will want to ride with us. The niece of Theoden has the heart of a lioness he says. Of course, that means you will have to depart without saying farewell and you still have Haldir's plight that you must give to her."

He had almost forgotten about the ring. His hand went instinctively to the pocket that he'd placed it in and took it out to gleam in the dim firelight. "I will say goodbye to her and give the ring to her," he murmured softly. "I cannot leave without giving her word of my departure. You know that Elladan."

"I know. She will want to go," Elladan warned. "You cannot let her go. You must not give into her. Staying with the women and children at Helm's Deep will be best for her. When we ride to the Path of the Dead, Theoden will ride out to Gondor with what is left of his men. They will meet with the Steward of Gondor and ride with them to assault Sauron."

"Why not wait?" Elrohir questioned aloud.

Elladan placed his hands on his brother's shoulders. "We cannot wait, the Eye of Sauron must be turned away from the ringbearer. According to Mithrandir, Frodo has yet to fall. You know the power of the White Wizard, what he speaks of is truth. If we are foolhardy enough to attack Mordor head-on, he will think that we have the One Ring--- that is why we are foolish enough to want to attack--- it has given us the confidence and the arrogance and the foolishness to think that we can overpower Mordor."

"Thus, Mordor will be emptied in the attempt to regain the One Ring that he thinks we have," Elrohir finished with full understanding. The confirming nod that Elladan gave to him was not necessary. "We leave tomorrow at dawn's arrival. I promised to give the ring to Anaire and I will."

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Preparations of the Rohirrim that were heading to Gondor and the Dunedain that were following Aragorn to the Path of the Dead busied the morning with furious and frantic activity that kept the minds of those occupied from thinking of what awaited them. Legolas had greatly accepted the lembas that Elladan and Elrohir had thoughtfully tossed to him. They'd eaten what was left of the elvish bread days ago. And nothing filled an elf's stomach like lembas.

Though he was going to miss her riding next to him, Legolas was keenly glad that she wasn't going with them to where the Dead rested but did not really rest. That was sure to terrify her; her poor soul could not take anymore of this war. At least safe here in Helm's Deep, hopefully the war would not reach her again. Here, she was going to be safe and secure--- sheltered from the battles that sparked her nightmares to reoccur.

It was unfortunate that he was not going to be able to say farewell to her. That was the one thing he regretted. He sighed and tightened the sack that contained his food and water supply before placing it onto his mount. With grace and agility, he easily pushed himself onto his horse and lowered a hand for Gimli to grab onto for leverage up. Those that were lighter were riding double back to compensate for the lack of riding horses. Though in Gimli's case, he wasn't a good enough rider to keep up the pace that they were going to need to go; thus, Legolas had offered kindly to let the dwarf ride with him.

"Do not even think of holding me like you do Anaire," Gimli warned gruffly. "I am no elven maiden for you to put your hands on!"

It was Gimli's attempt to get the grim expression off of Legolas's face. It half succeeded. "That is obvious," Legolas retorted, his eyes showing a bit more life to them and less like he was lost somewhere else. "You have neither the height nor the lack of weight to be an elven maiden!"

With good-humor, Gimli guffawed at that. It was true: he was shorter and stouter than Anaire. But that was true in regards to dwarf maids, they were shorter and stouter than he! He almost shuddered at the thought; it was terrible to think of at times. But then again when he remembered the lock of hair that the Golden Lady had given to him, and he recalled her ethereal beauty--- that horrible thought of the beauty that dwarven women lacked was forgotten.

It was as he was stroking the tresses that Galadriel had gifted him that he saw Anaire with a tall, darkly handsome elven male that was looking quite distraught with her. "Legolas, who is that?" Gimli questioned. "One of her upset suitors?"

That caught Legolas's attention quickly. He'd been spending the time trying to get the memories in his mind of her out of his head, unsuccessfully. His keen ears picked up nothing of what she was saying, but everything that Elrohir was speaking of. It was when Gimli nudged him that he remembered that the dwarf had asked who the elf with Anaire was, "That is Elrohir, son of Elrond."

Elrohir grabbed her by her uninjured arm and pulled her to him. "You cannot go!" he cried out desperately, aware that the eyes of hundreds of men were on them. It was not that their display of emotion was odd for elves, it was strange for it be seen by beings other than elves. It had been in their decorum to appear above the rest. "Anaire, listen to me! Think of Haldir."

//Haldir? He would never ask me to stay and be useless, she threw back that thought at him. //I am fine. I have one good arm left, let me use it to aid you. Elrohir, I am no use here. Would you have me trapped in a cage like they have done to Eowyn? That made Elrohir close his eyes, he remembered the desperation in that mortal woman's eyes as she had been shut into her room. //I have been locked away before, do not make me suffer through that again.\

It was that that she sent to him a powerful image of her, a younger and tender version of her being trapped in a pit by the orcs in a dark, shadowy place with hardly a gleam of light. What light there was mixed so well with the darkness that it was barely considered light at all. If he had been in her circumstances at that age, he did not know how he'd have managed. "You are injured," he pleaded with her. "It is better for you here. And I think Haldir would want you to be safe, his mind has changed."

//Haldir has never changed since the day that I have first known him, she replied with surety. //He is like a mallorn, straight and consistent.

"He is not a mallorn," Elrohir responded softly, taking her hand and flipping it over. Into her palm he placed a mithril ring and whispered delicately, "For would a mallorn love an elf maiden? No. I think you know what the symbolism of this ring means, Anaire."

Her forefinger traced over the inscription on the ring delicately before she read what was engraved: amin mela lle, nin istelile. Once she was done reading it with her eyes, her lips read it for themselves. It was as her lips mouthed the last word that she dropped the ring onto the stone floor. What seemed like an eternity, she stared down at the ring she had let slipped out of her hands. Why now? Why at this moment had he decided to say something?

It was something she did not want to confront when other things haunted her. Too much to deal with, not enough strength in her soul to handle it. But he had given it to her, so what was she to do? It was only a second really after she had dropped the ring that she had stooped to pick it up. When her finger touched the ring, her mind flashed to a scene she had once seen before:

Her mother had dropped her ring that her father had given to her mother many, many years ago. In desperation, she had tried to reach the ring that had slipped through her fingers, which annoyed her captors, her attackers. They screamed vile and nasty words at her that hurt her ears, but she would not allow the ring to be lost. It was more than a symbol of their plight; it was the emblem of their love. It was as her hand rested on the ring that her throat was slit and a sword sliced deeply into her heart.

That had been the first vision she had ever had of the future. When she had first had that foresight, she had been terrified and had woken up to many tears where her parents had had to comfort her back to sleep. She had been too young then to understand it. It had felt like she'd been in that vision herself, though it was clearly her mother's face she saw. The pain that reverberated in her mother had been the same emotions that had coursed through her.

Was that how her mother had died? "Anaire," Elrohir murmured fervently, holding her tightly, "tell me what you saw. You saw something, I know it." Her eyes had gone cloudy and dazed as she had looked beyond what was physically present. It was the same look that Galadriel had when she had one of her visions. What is it?"

//I saw my mother's death, I think.

Those few words said enough as he held her tightly, compassion and sympathy pouring from his heart to hers. "The past is over," he whispered fiercely toward her. "Think only of the future, Haldir loves you as much as one can love. Do not worry, Galadriel and Celeborn approve, especially Celeborn."

//I miss, Adar. Adar, adar, adar, she cried out. She did not know if she cried for Celeborn or her nameless true father, if not both. As her heart ached for the warmth of Celeborn's soothing comfort, she allowed Elrohir to pacify the dark storm that raged within her. //Adar.\

"He misses you," Elrohir stated gently. "They both do. They send their love."

Anaire nodded, that she knew. That, of course, she knew. //Let me go.\

"No," he answered sharply, "I will not let you go."

//Let me go.\

"No," he replied fiercely. "Do not make me have to lock you into a cage like Eowyn. You have even more of a reason to stay than she; you are injured. You must get well. The wrist that is hurting is the one that you use the most. If you do not rest it, it will only cripple the bone. Stay here," he pleaded, "soon Haldir and Celeborn will be here."

It was useless arguing with Elrohir. He was even more stubborn than Arwen. Drawing away from him, she lifted her hand up to his cheek and stroked it gently before dropping her hand limply to her side. In the other hand, she held the promise ring. As she stared down at the ring that she held in her hand, she knew that if she wore it--- she was forever bound to Haldir. If she gave it back to Elrohir, that bind would be severed. If she kept it and did not wear it, that she remained undecided but in favor of Haldir. What did she do?

Legolas knew the symbolism of the ring. It was with a heavy heart that he had watched Elrohir hand the ring to Anaire and heard her brother tell her that the approval of her adopted parents were with Haldir's suit. Why would it not be? True, Haldir was no Prince, but he was a well-known and well-respected Elf known from all parts. More than that, Haldir loved her and knew her. The March Warden had been with Anaire for hundreds of years, what was a few days compared to that? Nothing. Nothing at all.

His breath was caught in his throat when he saw Anaire glance up at him. He was no mind reader, but he knew why she looked at him the way that she did. She was asking him, inquiring of him his thoughts on the matter, on the ring. Was he to give his consent? He stared into her eyes for a moment before turning away and urging his horse forward. No. He was not going to. He wanted her as well.

That was the first time he had actually moved away from her. She had done that to him more times than she could recall. It made her feel strange to be ignored when she was the one that normally did the avoiding. So she was not going to say goodbye to him. So be it. She gazed at his back momentarily before dropping her eyes back down to the ring that she held in her hands. Amin mela lle, nin istelile. I love you, my silverstar. Love? What was love? Love...

Her hand clenched around the ring, but she did not put on. More thought was needed. More self-searching required. //Be safe, Elrohir. Her brother, her protector, her savior nodded and gave her one last squeeze before letting her drift from his arms. //Do you still carry the phial that I gave to you some time ago? He nodded and reached into one of the little fastening and pulled out the crystal bottle. //My enchantments were never up to Galadriel's standards, but in those phials I poured what I had in me into them. When you feel darkness grow, use what is in it--- there is light.\

"I will remember," Elrohir promised. "Farewell, nin muinthell." (my sister)

"Farewell, Elrohir."

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Night had fallen. The Fellowship, the Dunedain, and the twin sons of Elrond were on their way to the Path of the Dead. Preparations for the Rohirrim's departure to Gondor were under way. It was with stealth and wisdom that they had decided to depart at night fall. The last of the supplies were being packed; the final farewells being given from the womenfolk to their men.

In the cage that Eowyn feared, her room, was were she sat with Anaire. Together, they had not said more than a few words. All they did was practice their weaponry, though Eowyn made sure to watch for Anaire's weak wrist. She never let the elf maiden use that wrist, forcing Anaire to strengthen the skill with her left arm. It worked. All morning and all day that they had practiced had given to Anaire relative skill with her healthy wrist.

It was during one of the interval breaks that Eomer knocked on the door. "You may come in," Eowyn called to her brother. When he entered into the room, his eyes widened a bit at seeing the swords that laid on the tables and the disarray that the room was in. "We have been practicising," she declared, "for when we ride to Gondor."

"You know," Eomer responded, "that Theoden wants you to stay with the women and children. Who is to protect them if you are not here? Who is to lead them? Tell me that, Eowyn!"

"Tell me, Eomer," his sister retorted, "how am I to protect them when none are warriors? What leading do they need? Without direction, they aided the men. Without guidance, they organized themselves. They will be fine here! If Rohan meets Gondor's call for aid, if we ride and give them all our strength--- do you know think that Mordor will reach the Mark again? I think not. Not if we do all we can. I can fight, Eomer. You know I can; you were the one that taught me."

"Still," Eomer replied, "I am not the King, Theoden is. He wants you to stay and to be safe. It is not unlike what I want. Who would not want their sister to be secure? Only a foolish man. You have never seen the real battlefield. But Anaire has, has she told you of how she is haunted? Have you seen the darkness, the inherent evil that is in the bloodshed? It is terrible, Eowyn!"

"I know what it is like, Eomer. I have seen the tears and the madness for myself of what it does. But I can help, I know that I can. I am not alone, Anaire wants to ride with me, with Rohan to Gondor."

"Anaire is not to go; Aragorn has said so. You are not go by Theoden's command and my own," Eomer declared vehemently, staring down at the intensity in his sister's flashing eyes. "It is for the both of your safety!"

"I have waited on faltering feet long enough!" she cried out. "Since they falter no longer, it seems may I not spend my life as I will? Shall I always be chosen? Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart? To mind the house while they win renown and find food and beds when they return? All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men had died in battle and honor, you have leave to burn in the house for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield a blade, and I do not fear either pain or death."

"What I said is final!" With that exclamation, Eomer strode out of the room without pausing for a glance at Eowyn's passionate expression. He slammed the door shut and leaned heavily against the wall outside of her room. His stubborn, stubborn sister! What was he going to do? Did she not understand? She was the only family that he had left! He sighed and took a deep breath before heading toward his duties, there was still much to prepare before it was time to leave for Gondor.

The passion in Eowyn's face had not subsided. If something was not done to calm Eowyn's fire, it'd turn into uncontrollable fury. It was nearly there as it was. Placing gentle hands on Eowyn's strained shoulders, Anaire bent her head down and whispered, "Fate cannot be stopped." That caught Eowyn's full attention. Anaire's physical voice was hard to ignore. It sounded otherworldly.

"What do you mean by that?" Eowyn inquired, her eyes filled with her fiery energy. "Fate cannot be stopped?"

Making contact with Eowyn's fiery eyes, she stated with full assurance, //If what is meant to be is meant to be, then it will be. You want to go; he does not want you to go. But I know that you will still go, will you not? I can sense it inside of you. Your desire and your longing. I feel this moment decides your destiny.\

Eowyn nodded. "It will," she agreed. "I am leaving tonight when they let me out of this cage to treat the injured. I know a secret side path that I can take that will lead us to the very back of the Riders. Will you go with me? I sense the same yearning in your heart that is in mine."

//I will, Anaire responded holding the hand that Eowyn held out to her. //If we leave tonight, we must prepare.\

"Not over prepare," Eowyn warned. "They will be suspicious. Pack what nourishment you can in the healing sacks that will seem noticeable. I will try to hide what weapons I can within our cloaks. Before we leave, I will wrap your wrist--- do not forget you are still injured. If you do not use your arm for a few more days, it will be best. I know you dislike the sword, but it is the only weapon you can wield."

//Then wield it, I will.\

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Author's Note: Without much ado, I'm going to tell you I'm taking a vacation from writing this story (I can feel the eyeballs widening) It's nothing too bad, but school is getting really busy this time of year (I'm in a senior in HIGH SCHOOL, yeah someone thought I must be like 40yos to be writing this, GOD i felt old...) and I want to work on this other story (yes, i feel the hard stares of "why can't you work on this story" how to explain...?

When the writing muse goes away, I don't write very well and I think this is one of the better stories that I've written and I don't want to ruin it because of that. So I'll resume in mid-May (after APs and stress is over). But no fears I have at least 1 more chapter to release before I go on vacation so ,_, 1 more chapter. Stay tune! (and no I don't get to Pelennor battle, pelennor is the reason I'm having major writing blockage...)

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About my other writings: if you want the original stuff here's the place to go: http://www.fictionpress.net/profile.php?userid=27874 (it currently contains 2 completed chinese culture stories about family, love, and friendship). ,_,;; yes 2 completed novels that are 90,000 and 75,000 words respectively ,_,;; you should like since it's only a little different (still very introspective).

And if you want to see my other fanfic works here they are: (a lot of anime mostly): http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=27874

And if you want my orlando bloom fanfics, you can email me at fallin4_f4@hotmail.com for them. And to satisfy curiosity... what is the story I'm working on right now... a vampire one but first I'm going to write a BtVS as practice ,_,:;

Wooh, long rant, sorry about that! Love ya guys! Thanks for reviewing! Hope I didn't scare ya!

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