Helm’s Deep’s inhabitants were busying themselves with preparing for the oncoming battle. Lady Eowyn had set off to help gather the women and children who would wait out the battle in the caves deep in the mountain. Aliana made her way around the soldiers to tend to their wounds from fighting the war hogs. She did her best to keep up the hopes of the men for she knew they did not stand a chance against the orcs if they were lost in despair. Aliana kept scanning the valley as she walked along the ramparts, waiting for some sign of the lone rider she knew would come. Most of the soldiers had been wounded, so her task kept her busy for a couple hours. Gimli had disappeared, but Legolas sat on the stairs leading to the main doors to the king’s chambers. Aliana was worried about him for she had never seen him seem so hopeless. “Please, mighty Valar, please bring him back”, she said as she looked up to where the stars would be shining soon. She hadn’t noticed the clouds moving in until now. The mood grew gloomier by the minute.
Aliana took another long scan of the valley. As she looked from left to right there was no life to be seen. Not even a bird in the sky. Just as she started to look away something caught her eye. She looked back out and thought she could see something moving, coming out of the mountains at the other end of the valley. Aliana held her breath as she prayed that this was what she had been watching for. As the figure made its way about a quarter of the way through the valley, she could tell it was a horse and rider. She turned around to yell for Legolas, but he was not where she had seen him sit for so long. She scanned the area inside the walls and did not see him anywhere. Aliana hadn’t realized how much more at ease she was just at having the elf in her sights. She turned back to watch the rider approaching who was now halfway across the valley. The brown horse galloped wearily and the rider dressed in black looked as if he would fall at any moment. Aliana knew in her heart it was her brother coming back to her……to them. She ran across the rampart and made her way down the stairs to the main gates. “Open the gates!”, she yelled at the men standing there. As the gates opened slowly, Aliana’s heart beat faster. She stood in the open gateway and watched the rider make his way up the walkway. The rider looked up and saw her standing there and smiled with relief. Aragorn stopped his horse in front of her and jumped down. Aliana ran to him and threw her arms around him, almost knocking him over.
“I knew you would come. They told me you had fallen, but I knew you would be here” Aliana gasped through her tears. Finally she let go and led him thru the gate, making sure that his horse was led to the stables. As they made it to the courtyard they found themselves standing in front of Gimli.
“You are the most foolish, lucky man I have ever known! I am so glad to see you!”, he exclaimed, hugging his friend tight. As Gimli finally stood back, Aragorn patted him on the shoulder, giving him a reassuring smile. “Where is Theoden?” He asked.
“In his chambers, thru those doors”, Gimli replied pointing up the stairs. Aragorn turned and walked up the steps with Aliana on his heels. She was not going to let him out of her sight. As they reached the top of the stairs, Legolas appeared in front of them. Aragorn and Legolas embraced each other’s shoulder. “You’re late”, Legolas told his friend. Aragorn smiled and nodded his head. “I believe this is yours”. Legolas held out his hand to Aragorn. In his palm he held the necklace that Arwen had given Aragorn in token of their betrothal. Aragorn took it and put it back around his neck, where he had kept it since the night Arwen had placed it there. “Thank you my friend”. With a nod, Legolas stood aside, for he knew that Aragorn had business with the king.
As Aragorn strolled past him, Legolas reached out and grabbed Aliana’s arm. When Aragorn had cleared the door and was gone from their view, Legolas started in a low voice.
“My lady, how did you know?”
Not wanting to tell him the truth, she in turn asked, “Would you not have hoped the same if it were your kin?”
Legolas looked in her eyes, looking deep for answers. He knew she had secrets that she was not ready to reveal, and he wanted her to tell him when she was ready. He wanted to know everything about this woman who had become a part of them….of him. He didn’t question her any further. He knew that she had been brought to them for a reason. Maybe she was the hope that was so much needed.
The two of them walked thru the door and entered the king’s private chamber where Aragorn now was, informing the king as to what he had seen.
“These walls have protected our people before, they will hold this time, also”, the king was saying to Aragorn.
“My king, this army is bigger than any I’ve ever seen”, replied Aragorn. Aliana pictured in her mind the army she had seen in her vision and knew that her brother had seen them first hand. Aliana and Legolas stood behind Aragorn and said nothing.
Aliana reached out and wrapped her arm around Legolas’ arm. She needed his strength, and he gave it gladly. The feel of her flesh reaching out to him made his heart skip a beat. For a brief second he found himself wishing she had been born Elvin. The more time he spent with this woman, the more he realized he cared for her. But his feelings for her were built upon the friendship he had with her brother. Or were they? It didn’t matter for they would never be allowed to be together. Why did she bring so much turmoil to his thoughts? He was an elvin warrior, strong and unwavering. In all his long years life had been this way. He had never dreamed that he would find his best friends in a mortal and a dwarf. And he had definitely never dreamed that he would find himself on the eve of battle wondering on a mortal woman. He felt a kinship to her that was almost as strong as Aragorn had with her. The king waved for them all to follow him, and Legolas snapped out of his inner thoughts. As they followed, Aliana did not let go of Legolas’ arm, and he did not pull back from her.
Theoden let them thru Helm’s Deep, showing the four of them (for Gimli was with them now) what had been done for readiness. “They can burn our crops and our villages, but they will never take our hope,” he said to Aragorn. Aragorn became furious at the king and replied, “My lord, they do not come to burn your crops! They come to kill every one of your people! Every man, woman and child!” At that, Aragorn turned and sped away from the king, needing time to think about the predicament they had found themselves in.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.