Then There Were Ten - Chapter #16: Theodred's Funeral, and the Path to Helm's Deep
Mica slowly walked behind Theoden and Gandalf, as they followed the men carrying the bed in which Theodred lie dead upon. His armour gleamed in the sunlight, his face was a beautiful pale that made him seem more beautiful in death then he would have ever of looked in life.
His hair was neatly down, and his sword lie upon his breast. They continued to walk, out of the city, down a small road, and to the graves in which held all those of Theoden's house. There, and mound and tomb had been made ready for Theodred, and slowly, the guards carrying him began to make their way into putting Theodred's body in it.
Eowyn stood nearby, dressed in black with a headress of gold and simple blue jewels. Mica could tell, as she walked up to her, as she walked up to Theoden's side, that Eowyn was in great pain, but would not allow her tears to fall just yet.
Suddenly, she began to sing in the tongue of the Rohirrim. It was a strong tongue, yet sad. Mica nearly shivered from it. But soon, the funeral was over, and as they walked away, Eowyn made her way quietly to Mica's side, but did not say anything.
Mica, still disguised as a male, did not look down at Eowyn, but kept a stong, war-hardened face, similar to that which her foster mother, Turuna, always had. And so, slowly, they made their way back into the Golden Halls. Theoden had remained outside at his sons grave with Gandalf, so he had not come with them.
Mica walked up to one of the benches that sat in the great hall, and sat down, resting her head on the table.
Eowyn walked up to Lome, and looked down at him. His forehead was pressed against the table, and he seemed to be starring at it. For a moment she wondered if he were lost in a trace. She wondered if this was what happened to those who had tried so hard to safe someone only to fail.
He did not seem to notice her, or he just didn't seem to care that she was there. Hesitantly, she decided to try and comfort him, though she herself could not be comforted. "My Lord Lome, you did all you could for my cousin. His death was not of your making."
Slowly, Lome stood, and faced her. "Milady, I have seen much death. I do not blame myself for anything because one can never do that in war. It will make corpses of us all."
He turned, and began to try and walk by her, but she held a hand up stoping him. "Wait, I want to help you. What is ailing your heart?"
Lome shook his head. "It is my pain that I must deal with, no one can help me. If you were an Elf who was raised like me you would understand." He lightly pushed her out of the way, forced a sad smile, and walked past her. Eowyn stood there in amazement, watching Lome until the Elf Lord left the room. "Lome...." She said in a quiet voice.
She turned to follow when the doors opened, and Gandalf came in carrying two kids, Theoden right behind him. Eowyn forgot about following Lome, and ran forward to help Gandalf with the kids.
Mica walked as quickly as she could away from the hall. She walked into the room that she had been staying in, closed the door and sat down on the bed. Slowly, she pulled out the necklace that she had hidden beneath her armour, and looked down at the ring of power Turuna had given her to bear, Silma.
"She was right, even for a thing so small you are a great burden. The pains that I feel are a hundred times worst then what they should be. Oh Elbereth, if this is what I have to deal with, then what has Turuna been cursed with for over the past three thousand years? Oh Elbereth, please help her."
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. She shoved the necklace back under the cover of her armour, and stood. She opened the door, and there stood Hama. "The king wishes to see you Lord Lome."
Mica nodded, and followed Gama back to the Great Hall. Theoden stood there, and his face was troubled. He turned to her, and he seemed weary. "My Lord Lome, I will need your help now more then ever. We are to be riding to Helm's Deep. The road is long and dangerous. Do you think you could ride with the scout teams, and make sure the paths ahead are safe before the people walk through them?"
Mica nodded, "of course I can, Theoden King. I will do whatever you command, my Lady and Lord left me under your command when I left Lothlorien."
"Very well, you shall ride with every watch sent out."
"Very well Theoden King. Faire, my horse, is ready to ride anywhere at your command."
Theoden turned, and walked away.
`Oh no, are things really this bad?! Helm's Deep...I don't know if I like that. There's no way out of there...What if we're walking into a massacre? With that filthy Wormtongue on the lose we could all be doomed.' But never the less, she would follow Theoden King to the end. She had sworn to do so to herself that she was going to fight in this war to the end next to the Rohirrim.
Hama stepped back up to her side. "Then I think you should go ready Faire for a trip to Helm's Deep, my Lord."
She slightly nodded, and walked out of the halls, and down to the stables. There, Earelen had been taken good care of. Mica walked up in front of Earelen, and rested her forehead against her horses forehead. "[Earelen, my friend, how are you?]" She asked in a quiet voice.
Earelen lightly neighed, and lowered her head. "[Well, at least they've been taken good care of you.]" She sighed some, and patted Earelen on the back. "[You're ready to be ridden already. I need no saddle.]"
Earelen neighed some more, and pressed her head against Mica's stomach, pushing her away a bit. Mica let out a bit of a gruff laugh. She stepped forward, and patted Earelen again.
Eowyn saw Lome talking with his horse, and was amazed at how well he understood his horse. She walked forward, and stepped up behind him. "So the legends are true, Elves are good with their horses."
Lome turned a bit to face her. "It is a gift all us Elves have. Besides, I've been around Faire since almost the day she was born. She is a good horse, and we understand one another..."Lome leaned his head gentally against Faire's forehead again.
"I see." Eowyn looked at the white horse. Faire was beautiful horse, and seemed to gleam very brightly. "What is her name?"
"Faire...her name is Faire." Lome said, petting Faire again. He then said something to her, and the horse began to walk out of the stables. Lome then turned back to Eowyn, and motioned for her to walk ahead of him.
She did, and smiled some inwardly. Lome silently followed, as though he were in deep thought. When they walked out of the stables, Eowyn waited for Lome to walk up beside her, then began to walk again. So, my Lord, may I ask how old you are?"
Lome continued to walk on in silence for a bit, then answer quietly. "3,423 years old, Milady."
"That is mighty old."
"Not for an Elf. In fact, I am fairly young compared to my Elders. I would merely be consisted to be a young lad." He continued to look ahead, not turning his eyes to look at her.
"Just a young lad?" Eowyn laughed. She looked ahead, and saw Lome's horse standing next to her horse. A young soldier stood there with the rains for Eowyn's horse, but Faire had no rains, nor saddle.
She turned back to Lome. "Why is your horse not saddled yet? We shall be leaving shortly."
"I need no saddle, nor no rains. Being an Elf I can ride for days without those things." He walked up to Faire, and patted him on the back. "[Good]." He then turned to Eowyn, and offered to help her onto her horse.
She accepted the offer, and he picked her up, and sat her on her horse. He then turned, and leapt, with light feet, onto his horse. He took a hold of a bit of Faire's main, and waited.
Not long after, Theoden walked out, clad ready to ride, and climbed onto his horse. He gave the signal, and they started to move. Theoden in front, at his side Hama, then Gamling. Then behind them was Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. Then behind then was Lome, Eowyn, and two royal guards.
On they rode like this for many days.
The passage over the mountains was long and dangerous. It was slow going, and Eowyn often saw Lome jump off his horse to help others with their burdens. He'd take kids, sit them upon his horse, and entertained them with tales, and songs. `What a wonderful Elf.' She thought, watching him do this.
Every now and again, he'd see one of the people carrying a heavy burden stumbble from the weight, stepped forward, and took much of the burden from them. He seemed not to tire from the work, and seemed to love helping the people.
This made Eowyn smile inwardly. She had always been the one helping the people while her brother was away, fighting evil on the borders of the land. She had always been the one tending to her Uncle, the old, and the young lads in growing fear of the evil growing in the lands. But now she was not alone. She could sense that Lome had gone through almost the same thing.
She sensed that he too had been held back. That he had watched others go to war and never return. Though he hid it well, she could tell that there was a deep fear in his eyes for someone. It was not for him, and, or so she believed, not for these people he was helping here, but for someone else. For someone that was at his home, waiting for his safe return.
When he got back onto his horse, and was not helping, she decided to ask him about it. "My Lord?"
"Aye, what do you want Shield Maiden?" He asked, without looking at her.
"Is there anyone waiting at home for you? I mean, is there any women at your home waiting for your return from war."
For a moment, Lome remained silent. "The only people waiting are my Lady, my Lord, and my brother..."
"Who is your brother?"
"He is not my brother through blood...just sworn brother. His name is Haldir, and he is the Caption of the Lorien Guard..." Lome's eyes suddenly seemed fixed on something ahead. "Stay here, Shield Maiden." He spired his horse forward, and rode over the next hill in front of them.
There, Hama and Gamling were speaking. Hama's horse was acting weird. "What is it Hama?" Gamling asked.
"I'm not sure." Hama answered, looking around.
Suddenly, something leapt down from the overhanging rock wall and tackled Hamas horse, killing it. Lome got a good look at it, and saw that it was a Warg with an Orc on it. Quicker then the eye could see, he pulled out his bow, and nocked it with an arrow.
He shot the arrow, and killed the Orc, then nocked another arrow, and killed the Warg, but not before the Warg killed Hama. Legolas yelled. "What is it?"
"A scout!" Lome yelled back, as he rode back towards them. Legolas quickly yelled the news to Aragorn who yelled it to Theoden. "All riders to the head of the commons!" Theoden yelled to his riders.
Lome rode up to Eowyn, and sat a hand on her shoulder. "Lead the people to Helm's Deep."
"No, I want to fight. I can wield a sword." She protested.
"No!" Lome said in a little harsher of a voice then what was needed. "You must lead them. Do this for your Lord, and for me." Their eyes locked, and Eowyn found that his were full of strickness, but pity, as though he really did want her to do what she wanted to.
She slowly nodded, and began to yell to her people. Lome turned his horse, and rode off. Eowyn turned, and watched him ride off. The sun gleamed brightly off his armour, and his long Elven hair, which was back in it's Elven braids, flowed with the wind. Slowly, he turned his horse, and took one last look back at Eowyn and the rest of the Rohirrim that was with them. His eyes glowed brightly in the sun, and gave hope to Eowyn.
He then turned his horse again, and rode off after the Riders who had ridden ahead.
Mica quickly caught up with the riders. She rode past them, pulled out her bow, and nocked an arrow to it. She rode over a hill, and saw Wargs start to come towards them, at full speed. She fired an arrow, then another, and another. Then the attack came full force.
Earelen, being a strong, swift, agile horse was able to dodge the Wargs and their attacks quite well. Others were not so lucky, and were killed with their horses. Mica continued to fire her arrows, and continued to kill the Orcs, but they just seemed to keep coming.
Mica looked over, and saw one about to attack an Archer who was on the ground. She quickly nocked her bow, and killed the Warg. He looked at her, and yelled. "Thank you, Lord Lome!"
"Look out!" She yelled, firing another arrow at another Warg that was about to attack him He leapt aside as the Warg plunged into the ground near to his feet. He then turned, and began to worry about the other Wargs. Mica turned Earelen, only to get knocked off her by an arrow that hit her hard in the shoulder blade. She fell down, and hit the hard ground below.
She quickly rolled back to her feet, and saw a Warg attacking her. She dodged, and jumped on behind the Orc riding the Warg. She knocked her head against his, hoping to make him fall off, but it did not work. He reached back, grabbed her, and threw her off.
She fell, but the sleeve of her ranger jacket caught on something. The Warg began to drag her across the rough ground. But she did not give up. The Orc began to kick her in the chest and stomach really hard. She grabbed her dagger, propelled herself off the ground some, and stabbed the Orc.
The Orc screamed, reached down, grabbed Mica about the neck, and fell off. Mica felt something get ripped off from her neck, but did not have time to worry about it because the Warg was heading for the edge of a cliff, was not slowing down, and her sleeve was still caught.
She tried desperately to rip it off whatever it was caught on, but it was too late. The Warg fell over the cliff, taking her with it. They plunged down into the water below.
Legolas took his Bone-Handled Long-Knife out of the Orc he had just killed, and smirked some. He looked up at Aragorn and Gimli. "Well done!" He yelled to them. He then turned to look for Lome, but all he saw was Lome's horse, Faire.
He frantically began to look around, yelling. "Lord Lome! Lord Lome where are you!?"
No answer came, and others began to yell for the Elven Lord. Legolas, who was standing near the cliff with Aragorn and Gimli, suddenly heard an Orc, who was near death, start to laugh harshly.
Gimli rushed over to him, and rested his Axe near the Orcs neck. "Tell me what happened to him, and I will ease your passing."
The Orc laughed harshly some more, coughing up blood. "He's dead! Took a little tumble off the cliff." Theoden, and Aragorn immediately ran to the cliff's edge, but Legolas did not believe the Orc. He grabbed the Orc by the collar of his mail. "You lie!"
The Orc laughed harshly some more, then coughed up some more blood, and died. Legolas looked at the Orc, and found that in his chest, neat his heart, was a familiar looking knife. He pulled it out, and it was Lome's. He then saw something in the Orcs hand, and found a chain with a single ring on it. His eyes widened, and he ran to the cliff's edge, and looked over with Theoden, Aragorn, and Gimli.
There was no sign of Lome, but the evidence was enough to know that he had indeed fallen down there. Theoden slowly turned to Gamling. "Get the wounded on horses, the Wargs of Isengard will return...Leave the dead." The words were cold, and firm. Legolas immediately snapped his head towards Theoden, his eyes pleading him not to leave behind one of his kin.
Slowly, Theoden put his hand on Legolas's shoulder, and, in light words, he said. "Come." He then looked at the other two who also looked mournfully over the cliff. Though they had only known Lome for a short time, they had come to love him like a brother, all of them had. And now he was gone, just like that? It could not be true, not the Lord Galadriel and Celeborn sent to help save Rohan.
Slowly, each one turned, and left. The last one to leave was Legolas, for losing one of their own kin was not something the Elves took very well. Legolas lowered his head, stuck the ring on the chain in his pocket, and put the dagger on his belt. Then, with downcast eyes, he turned, and walked away. He leapt onto Arod, and helped Gimli on behind him. Then, he whistled to Faire, and the riders that were left rode off, Faire, and many other riderless horses, right behind them.