There was a long procession of people leaving the city. King Theoden and Aragorn were leading the procession with Aliana riding between Legolas and Gimli behind the first two. Aliana found herself staring at her brother, who was watching the people leaving the city. She hadn’t noticed how noble he looked until now. She felt so proud to have him as her brother.
Throughout the morning Aliana caught Aragorn looking back on the procession. She knew he would make sure no one was left behind. Before noon he had rode back twice to help someone who was struggling.
Soon Eowyn had made it to Aliana’s side.
“My lady, I have something for you.” Eowyn presented a long bundle wrapped in a beige cloth. Aliana accepted it and opened the package with the ferocity of a small child. She found her eyes settling on a long sleek silver sword with vines etched up the length. The hilt was made of gold with three entwined circles etched in the handle. In the middle where all three circles met was a beautiful sapphire. It was the most beautiful sword Aliana had ever laid her eyes on. As she looked up at Eowyn speechless, Eowyn replied with a far away look, “It is one of two swords that my father left to me.” Looking at Aliana she finished with a wink, “it has always been my second favorite sword.”
Astonished, Aliana remarked, “My lady I will carry this with honor and it will always remind me of our friendship.” Aliana grabbed the hilt and presented the sword to the heavens above her, silently asking the blessings of the valar She was amazed at the way it sparkled in the sunlight. Aragorn smiled and nodded to Eowyn, thankful that his sister had found a friend in this noble woman that had entered their lives. The two women soon found themselves laughing and carrying on like they had been life long friends.
Aliana notice through the afternoon the looks Eowyn kept shooting in her brothers direction. Aliana knew that Aragorn was heartbroken at the leaving of his betrothed. He had spoken to her on several occasions of his Arwen of Rivendell. How Arwen had promised herself to him, and how she had made the decision to leave for the undying lands to make her father happy. Maybe there was hope for his heart in the future with lady Eowyn. She only wanted to see her brother happy. She knew a union between Aragorn and Eowyn would not be made out of true love, but she knew Eowyn would be a good substitute. She hated to think of her new friend that way, but the look on Eowyn’s face everytime she laid eyes on Aragorn was obvious to all who took the time to look. As Aliana was pondering this, a shiver came over her. She glanced around and saw that no one else was uneasy. She could sense that something was about to happen.
She rode ahead and found Legolas at the crest of the hill in front of them. As she reached his side, she unmounted and stood next to him.
“What do your elf eyes see?” she nervously asked.
“There is something close, but it is clouded from my view. You should not be here, my lady. I fear it is not safe.”
Aliana scanned the countryside and her eyes fell upon an outcrop of rocks ahead of them. Instantly she was filled with fear. Pointing quickly, she told Legolas, “ready your bow there”, and she mounted Farion and headed back to her brother as quick as she could Before she had a chance to say anything, the sound of Legolas’ arrow finding it’s mark reached her. She turned back quickly to see a beast from her vision laying on the ground, and many others coming over the next hill. She turned back to her brother who was already gathering the soldiers to follow him. King Theoden was ordering Lady Eowyn to lead the people down the hill to safety. Aragorn turned to Aliana and yelled “Stay with Eowyn.”
“I can help you”, she started, but he cut her short.
“You must help guard the people. Now go!”
She watched him look back to lady Eowyn, then ride off to help Legolas. She looked ahead at Legolas. He was torn between fighting head on what was coming at them and assuring her safety. She immediately turned and started leading the people down the hill with Eowyn. As frustrating as the situation was, she would not keep anyone preoccupied with her safety.
Quickly the two women found the lower road and the people followed. They all moved as swiftly as they could. Aliana and Eowyn kept turning around hoping to catch sight of the soldiers, but none were seen. The road wound down to flat land and as they rounded the last bend, Helm’s Deep came into view.
My lady, “Aliana told Eowyn, “You take the lead and I will push from behind”. Eowyn nodded and yelled at the people behind her to hurry. Aliana turned and pushed Farion back up the road.
As Helm’s Deep left her view around the bend, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. She turned to look up just in time to see one of the huge beasts lunging over the hill in their direction. She didn’t have time to use her bow so she grabbed the sword that Eowyn had given her what seemed just moments before. As the beast lunged towards her, Farion tried to sidestep. Instead of hitter her head on, Aliana was only knocked from her horse. Quickly she came to her feet and readied her sword. The monster turned to attack a mother carrying her child but Aliana ran toward it yelling as loud as she could. Aliana threw herself towards the beast. As it turned once again towards her, she rolled on the ground and landed on her knees and plunged forward with her sword. It found its mark in the beast’s throat. As it fell to it’s death, Aliana yelled at the people behind to run. “We are almost there. You must run if you want to live!”
She found her way onto Farion’s back and headed the horse back up the road to make sure there were no stragglers. She found an elderly man who was having a hard time walking and she helped him up behind her. Aliana stayed in the rear until every person was safe within the walls of Helm’s Deep.
Eowyn ran to her as Aliana cleared the gate. “My lady, I was sure we had lost you. I can not tell you how glad I am to see you.”
“I am here only because of you, my friend. Your gift has blessed me on this day. Let us hope that our men have the same luck”, Aliana said as she unmounted Farion.
A boy came up and led Aliana’s horse to the stables and the two women set themselves to the task of making everyone as comfortable as they could. The both of them knew they needed to keep themselves busy until the rest of their party arrived.
It seemed like forever before the riders were seen approaching. When they heard the announcement, they both ran toward the gate. King Theoden was the first thru the gate. As he unmounted, Eowyn approached him. Looking around she exclaimed, “Uncle, there are so few of you.”
“We won the battle, but many lives were lost”, Theoden replied.
Aliana eyed Legolas riding up with Gimli behind him. She ran to him as they both found their feet on the ground. Aliana heard Eowyn say to her uncle, “where is Lord Aragorn, I do not see him with you.”
Immediately Aliana tried to look into Legolas’ eyes, but he could not meet her gaze. She quickly looked to Gimli.
“My lady, I am sorry,” was all Gimli could say. Aliana turned to Legolas and grabbed him by the shoulder. “My lord,” she choked. Legolas looked up at her and could say nothing.
“Lord Aragorn was lost in the battle”, King Theoden stated to both women. With shoulders looking as if they carried the weight of the world, he stood there for a brief moment then turned and headed toward the parapet to enter his chambers.
Aliana could not believe the words she had just heard. It could not be true! Her vision from that morning entered her mind. She had seen the strange beasts. She had seen the army. She had seen Aragorn fall in battle, but it had not been at the hands of the twisted animals. Then she heard Gandalf’s words….”You must trust your second sight.” She thought for a moment then looked up at Legolas.
“My brother lives. He will be here before the battle starts.”
The elf prince looked deep into her eyes. This woman never ceased to amaze him.
“How can you be sure?” he asked.
Gimli, hearing what she said stepped forward. “My lady, I hope you are right. I could not bear to lose another friend. Aragorn has brought hope to these people. I fear what will happen to them without him.”
Aliana smiled at Gimli. “Do not worry Gimli, he will be here.”
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.