Title: In Times Like These
Disclaimer: All characters are Tolkien other than my “OC.”
Nienna_Telrunya- Aw, I try to work on that ,_~ Obviously my beta reader just missed it.
Iluvien- This chapter should clear your anxiety.
shieldmaidenofrohan- Yes, I’ll agree Haldir’s characterization is stronger than Legolas = ). I’m finding Legolas hard to characterize without doing the cliquish one, and my Haldir is non clique which is nice.
daughter_of_estel- yup everyone seems to like Celeborn and Elrohir, I’m glad that people like my side characters ,-~ they made the story stronger.
lady_tinuviel- yup, galadriel doesn’t take a backseat to celeborn here either, but celeborn is made more important ,-~
angel_elf- thanks for you commentary! i try to do things different.
varne- wow new reviewer? welcome and thanks for commenting! hehe this love triangle is odd b/c you never really know how anaire feels but you know how haldir and legolas feels… hehe intrigue.
Thanks, your reviewers are awesome and special thanks to TINGILYE, my beta reader! The awesome author of Sarlisse! (which I beta!)
Question that I want answered: Is this a typical Mary-Sue? Is it a Mary-Sue?
11: Flight to Safe Havens (March 3, 2003 to March 6, 2003)
“Helm’s Deep!” Gimli shouted with disbelief. “They flee to the mountains when they should stand and fight. Who will defend them if not their King?”
The expression on Aragorn’s face was thoughtful and grave. “He’s only doing what he thinks is best for his people. Helm’s Deep has saved them in the past.”
Together with Legolas, they entered into the stables where Gandalf was about to make his departure in search to seek what help there was to render. “There is no way out of that ravine,” he remarked. “Theoden is walking into a trap. He thinks he’s leading them to safety. What they will get is a massacre. Theoden has a strong will but I fear for him. I fear for the survival of Rohan. He will need you before the end, Aragorn. The people of Rohan will need you. The defenses have to hold.”
Aragorn met Mithrandir’s steady eyes with his own strong solemnity. “They will hold. That I give my word on by my last breath.”
Easing onto Shadowfax’s back and stroking his neck, Gandalf reminisced, “The Grey Pilgrim… that’s what they use to call me. Three hundred lives of men I’ve walked this earth and now I have no time. Good luck. My search will not be in vain. Look to my coming at the light on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East.”
Aragorn opened the stall gates for Shadowfax to gallop through. “Go.”
Anaire did not have to be there to see Mithrandir off to know that he had left. She felt the strength of light in him fade as he left on Shadowfax in his hopes to find help. It was with somber eyes that she turned and watched Eowyn practice with her blade. She had not yet spoken to the Lady of Rohan, but from all that she had observed this woman bore watching. She sensed without a doubt that Eowyn had a purpose even greater than her own. //You are far more skilled than I with a blade.
That stopped Eowyn from carving her sword into the calm air. “Women of this country learned long ago that those without swords may still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.”
//You have known death, Anaire stated. //It is true there is no fear of that in you. Elves I have spoken into in this manner have felt a tingle of fright for the fashion in which I communicate. You, unlike your brother are not stunned though you share in the same trait of courage. Why is that?
“In you,” Eowyn remarked, “I sense a spirit that is the same as mine. You are here with those that fight against the hopeless. In your silence, you gain knowledge yet you are not always without words. I am not blind, elf maiden. I had guessed you spoke in some way to my King uncle.”
//No, Anaire agreed with a tinge of amusement, //you are not blind, Eowyn of Rohan. But there is a fear in all of us. No one is fearless. I confess that to lose those that are dear to me is my fear, that and not fulfilling my fate. What is yours?
“A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.” Eowyn paused. “In a way, it is the same as yours and not realizing your destiny.”
//I do not think that will happen to you, Anaire murmured. //I think, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, that your desire for valor will occur in the greatest manner. What runs in your veins are the blood of Kings, you are a daughter of Kings, your wish will be granted. My gift of foresight is limited, but my intuition is never wrong. Your honor will surpass all those of the Rohirrim. Of that there is no question.
The two of them stared at each other for a long period of time before Eowyn tossed one of the spare swords at Anaire. If they were no longer going to speak to one another, they might as well practice for the danger that was looming. In truth, Anaire needed the lesson for Eowyn taught her the best method for the fairer sex to best wield the sword to its fullest extent. No, it still was not going to be her weapon of choice, but at least with Eowyn’s guidance she did not feel like it encumbered her any longer.
Neither were the two going to be sworn sisters like Anaire was with Arwen. No, at most they would be friends, companions against the enemy. In Eowyn, her passion overpowered the rationale in her. In Anaire, her tranquility ruled over the foolishness. Eowyn acted in ardor; Anaire reacted in reason. They were opposites, but their cause united them. Also, Eowyn was not incorrect in her declaration that the spirit of Anaire was the same as hers. Indeed, it was quite similar, only that Anaire’s had been grounded and suffocated by the fact she still was not whole. Yet, Eowyn and Anaire were binded by their aspirations to carry out their fateful fate.
Edoras had been evacuated. Leaving the sanctuary of their city, the refugee Rohirrim were enormously vulnerable to attack. But it was what their King had sanctioned was the path they were to take and the people of Rohan were hardy people. They had not lived through all the hard times to given up now. No, they were going to survive and persevere through it all. They were a strong people in agreeance with their King Theoden, they knew that the thick walls of Helm’s Deep was their last chance.
As before, Anaire was riding within the arms of Legolas. It was the same feeling as before for him. Tantalizing and intoxicating. He had to keep reminding himself to focus his attentions on anything but her. He had not much luck. But neither was he about to let her ride with anyone else. He’d sworn to protect her and he was not about to shrink at his duty. This time was a little easier, there was more to concentrate on besides her. That and he knew that their entourage was bound to be attacked sooner or later.
His arms did not feel like Elrohir’s or Celeborn’s, was Anaire’s thoughts when she reflected on Legolas’s tight hold on her waist. He kept one hand to guide their horse, but the other was wrapped gently around her. No doubt to keep her from falling off to the ground like Gimli, who had taken a tumbled when Eowyn had lost her hold on the reins. And the feel was not quite like Haldir’s either, though she did recognize their was a similarity.
Her thoughts on Legolas was put on hold when she noticed Eowyn ride up close to Aragorn and stare directly at the jewel that rested on the hollow of his throat. She was not alarmed, but she was worried. But she knew if there was any mortal man to trust, it was Aragorn— he was Estel, he was the one that there must be faith in for there to be faith in a new beginning at the end of this terror. And yet, the interest and desire in Eowyn’s heart must be trying to him— he was so far from his beloved Undomiel.
“Where is she?” Eowyn asked. “The woman who gave you that jewel.”
He smiled and said nothing, the only action he did was to push his mount to ride on ahead. There was nothing Eowyn could do without appearing too obvious if she followed after him. So she relaxed her seat and let her mare amble on a controlled pace, eventually matching strides with Legolas’s stallion. When Eowyn glanced up, the reflection of the dim sunlight caught on the replica pendant at Anaire’s throat.
She did not even have to ask, Anaire answered before she spoke her inquiry, //He did not answer what was shouting in his heart. The pendant, she remarked as she rested her hand on the star, //was given to him and to me by Arwen Undomiel, the Evenstar of Rivendell. I do not have to warn you, but I will tell you that his heart is taken by my oselle, my sworn sister. They are bound not by bond of word, but by the bond of kindred hearts.
Whatever Eowyn was about to say was cut off by Legolas’s exclamation, “A scout!”
At the top of the hill, wargs and orcs were seen as they began to charge down the hill. In desperation, Theoden turned to Eowyn and said with a plea and a passion, “You must lead the people to Helm’s Deep. And make haste!”
“I can fight!” Eowyn declared fervently, the ardor shining in her eyes. This was her moment, she thought. This was where she could prove her worth, her mettle.
“No!” Theoden shouted. “You must do this… for me.”
//Go, Anaire added her voice to Theoden’s commanding request, //this is not your fight your fate is deemed worthy of. It is but a momentary obstacle that hinders your way. There are more important things, Shieldmaiden Eowyn.
Without a further word, Eowyn nodded and began to gesture to her people. “Make for the lower ground! Stick together!” she raised her voice up in worry and concern. There was only so much she could do to make sure they were safe. She only hoped that it was enough.
“You should go with her,” Legolas commented as he began to slide off the stallion. “It is not safe here.”
//It is not safe anywhere, she responded in kind, her eyes glowing with a light amusement as she leapt off the horse to land by his side. //Would I not be safer at your side?
His reply was cut off by Theoden’s command to: “CHARGE!!!” But his look said enough, his gaze told her that she’d had better stay close to his side where he’d be able to watch her and to make sure that she was safe.
After the Nazgul, wargs and orcs were undeniably easier on her. Picking a position a distance away where she could lookout for the enemy, she took aim at the enemy and dispatched them easily with her accurate arrows. It was her bow that saved Gimli from being surprised from behind. It was her bow that protected Legolas’s back. It was her bow that evened the odds against them.
But as before, she ran out of arrows and had to resort to her sword because her long knives were of no consequence to the wargs. If it were just orcs, her long knives would have been sufficient but they barely nicked the great hulking beasts. As one of the filthy animals charged at her, she slid to her knees and let it use its momentum to impale her blade into its thick skull. It was as she was withdrawing her sword that she saw Aragorn being knocked off his horse.
Her eyes quickly sought out any danger nearby, and she cursed her fate that she had not an arrow to shoot at the orc that was coming behind him. There was nothing she could do but warn him. //Estel! she cried out. //Behind you!
He heard her, he met Sharku with his ever ready blade. But being attacked simultaneously by the warg, he was pushed back, closer and closer to the edge of the cliff. Her heart was racing as she thought of how Arwen would feel to lose her beloved. That was not going to happen, not if she had a say to it. It’d taken time to jerk her blade from the warg’s bleeding brains, but as soon as she had she made haste speed to Aragorn’s aid.
Blind to everything else, she was cautioned against being unaware when Legolas’s swift arrow stopped an orc that had been about to cut her down. If he had been able to help Aragorn, he would, but the fight was too close and even with his deadly accuracy, he could not take a shot. It was with relief he saw Anaire using surprise on her side, deal a deadly blow to Sharku while Aragorn finished off the warg.
She was safe. They all were safe. It was only at that realization that she was finally able to glance all around her and notice how much they had destroyed, yet how much had been taken from their numbers. Many of the brave Rohirrim warriors had been lost in this hindering battle. Unquestionably, that was the aim of Saruman. He’d sent out his spies and his scouts to weaken Rohan. He’d succeeded.
Falling to her knees, she glanced around at all the death and the decay. Flashing before her eyes, she remembered having been terrified at being lost in the woods, in the shadows of the night. That was why Fangorn had seemed vaguely familiar. Her home was deep in the forests, and her favorite time was night. That time had always been dear to her until her mother had been brutally abused and tortured to death by orcs. Her eyes filled with tears, it was after that— that darkness had terrified her. It was several years after her mother’s death that she had lost her father because of her own foolishness.
He was worried sick about her. Ever since collapsing to her knees, she had not spoken nor reacted to anything anyone said or did to her. Not even Gimli was able to reach her. As much as he hated to admit it, she and Gimli shared this affable jollity that brought out the closest thing to a smile to her. He did not know why she had suddenly withdrawn into herself. All that he knew it had something to do with what had occurred.
Even Estel had given up trying to coax her into speaking. Legolas was at a loss of what to do to break her from the shadow that was holding her, squeezing her into lifelessness. None of the three males knew what to do, all they could do was stare at her and hope that she’d somehow tear herself from the gloom that had caught her. They were not the only ones watching Anaire; Eowyn was too. Finally, when she could no stand to watch, she went up to Anaire and took her by the shoulders forcibly, shaking her with all her strength.
Aragorn was perplexed; Gimli was shocked; Legolas was alarmed. He was the first one that leapt to his feet and would have stopped her if not for Aragorn holding him back. “Wake up!” Eowyn yelled at her. “This is not the time to wallow in past memories!” Anaire’s eyes shifted to meet Eowyn’s, the endless sorrow was chilling. “I know of what you think of,” Eowyn murmured in a far softer voice as she dropped to her knees. “You lost someone important like I.”
Anaire pulled away from Eowyn’s hold and stood up, purposely making a wide arc around her before walking over to stand in front of Legolas. Since Celeborn was not there, since Haldir was not near— he was her best option. In his arms, it felt like Haldir’s though not quite. Yet, it still offered some solace. If Legolas had not been quick enough to react, she would have collapsed onto the floor. But he was swift and caught her in his arms.
//Take me some place quiet, she requested in a dull, spiritless tone. //There are memories of the past that I have recovered. That was all that she told him as she wrapped her weak arms around his neck and buried her face into his chest. She sought warmth and comfort, all that he had to give for her to receive. For her soul felt cold and burdened by the recall.
He did what she asked and took her to a quiet part of the fortress, standing on the lower grounds of Helm’s Deep, near the culvert. Lowering his body to the ground, he rested down with her on his lap and in his embrace. He let his thoughts fly to happier times while she drowned in her misery. He knew better than to ask her of what she thought of, if she wished to tell him— she would.
Anaire’s eyes were clouded by a black cloud the festered into her soul. She could not think of anything but of her intense fear as she had wandered in the deep woods near her home, lost and cold. Before her mother’s brutal murder, she had no been afraid of the dark— indeed she had much enjoyed herself in the darkness, strange for any of elven kind. But the years following her mother’s death she had shunned the night, since the time was night when her mother was assaulted by orcs.
What else she knew was that her father had searched for her like she was his last link, his last hold to life. If he had not found her, he would have faded. She wished he had faded instead of being tortured before her eyes. It was more than she could bear, indeed following his death— she had faded, faded away. From the briefness of her memories, she knew that she had been an astonishingly happy, unusual child. Always smiling like she no longer did now. And her name… what was her name?
Intensely grief-ridden, still she was magnificent to his eyes. She was not the most beautiful of elves, perhaps not even close to many elvish eyes. But there was something incredibly alluring about her steel grey eyes as she glanced at him with her captivating orbs. “I will not ask what you think of,” he began in a muted voice, “but it gladdens my heart to see that the shadows that have shadowed you have lifted some.”
The silver eyes that gazed into his had cleared up, the fog in them that fazed her vision vanished as the mist did when a light strong enough shown through it. //Let me go, she commanded and he did. He kept near her in case she needed help to walk; he still sensed a weakness in her of mind as well as of body. //I forgot myself to the past when what is needed to be thought of is the present. She gave him a glimmer of a smile, knowing that he needed reassurance. //I will not forget again.
“I know he will return,” Gamling told his King in a firmly resolute voice filled with confidence in Eomer’s noble and honorable heart. “Once he has learned that Grima’s foul presence has been purged from his land, Eomer will come to your aid, my Lord. He will reach Helm’s Deep as soon as the word reaches him. Do not fear, my Lord, your army will be strong and this fortress defendable once Eomer arrives.”
“And what if he does not come in time?” Theoden questioned, his doubts plaguing his mind. “What if Saruman’s army is upon us before Eomer can reach us? When then, Gamling?”
Gamling knelt down on his knees before his King. “You are our King Theoden, and your men will follow you to whatever end you require. We have not failed you before, my Lord. Believe that we will succeed.”
“To whatever end…” Theoden’s voice trailed off at the gravity of those words. “Yes,” he agreed with a stronger belief, “Eomer will come and in time. That is his way.”
“Yes, sire, that is Eomer’s way.”
Old men were testing what was left of their strength as swords were handed to them. Young lads were trying out with their lack of skill the blades that were given to them. Most of them had never seen battle. They were not warriors. No. They were the people that stood behind the lines, but the line was no longer visible. Yet, they were Rohirrim and they were strong. There was nothing for them to do but to fight, to persist.
“Farmers, farriers, stable boys,” Aragorn commented. “These are no soldiers.”
“Most have seen too many winters,” Gimli observed.
“Or too few,” Legolas added. “Look at them. They’re frightened. I can see it in their eyes.” The Rohirrim grew silent as they turned to glance at Legolas and Aragorn. “Boe hun: neled herain dan caer menig!” (And they should be… three hundred against ten thousand!)
“Si beriathar hyn. Amar na ned Edoras.” (They have more hope of defending themselves here than at Edoras.)
“Aragorn, men i ndagor,” he said fervently. “Hyn u-… ortheri. Natha daged aen!” (Aragorn, we are warriors. They cannot win this fight. They are all going to die!)
“Then I shall die as one of them!” he exclaimed passionately. His eyes glisten with determination as he walked away from Legolas and toward one of the practicing youth, showing him how to use the blade more effectively.
Legolas was about to follow after Aragorn, but Gimli placed a hand on Legolas’s arm to stop him. “Let him go, lad. Let him be.”
From above where the men practiced their weaponry on a higher point of Helm’s Deep, Eowyn and Anaire stood together scrutinizing the spectacle. What conversation they had heard, they had to agree with. Legolas’s words were truth. The Rohirrim were frightened and even if bravery overflowed them, courage did not make miracles happen to those that had not the skill to fulfill it.
“You are better this morning?” Eowyn asked gently, feeling guilty about her outburst last night.
Anaire nodded. //I am fine. I had forgotten and lost myself to memories that are best to be left where they once were. What Legolas speaks is certainty; your people will all die if something great does not happen soon. The army of Isengard is on the horizon. It is coming, I feel the danger nearing.
“Then we die with them,” Eowyn declared resolutely much like Aragorn. It amazed her at the similarity between Eowyn and Aragorn, though Eowyn was a younger and less experience Aragorn. In his youth, she had heard from Elladan and Elrohir, Estel had always striven to prove himself. It was the same as Eowyn, now. “Even if it is hopeless, there are things that must be done. We must stand here, there is no other choice.”
//There is no other choice, Anaire agreed solemnly. //But it is not hopeless. Hope must be kept because that is all that is left. Rohan will not stand alone in this battle. Shifting her zealous eyes to the quiet fortitude in Anaire’s, she slowly shook her head with agreement. Rohan did not stand alone. //There is a dwarf, son of Gloin; there is a man, son of Arathorn; there is an elf Prince of Mirkwood; and there is I, an elven maiden of Lothlorien. Rohan is not alone in this.
Whatever words Eowyn was about to speak in response was torn from her lips as she cried out at the sight of her brother’s men riding in a wave of strength toward Helm’s Deep, “EOMER!” Deep inside of her, she knew that her brother— loyal and noble as he was, would come to their aid— she just had not known if he’d be in time. Her faith in her brother was not misplaced, indeed she had misjudged. He was more than in time.
Running down the stairs, she did not need to call for the watchmen to open the gate for her brother, they did so without command. They knew friend from foe, and Eomer and his Rohirrim warriors were friends of old. Though Eowyn reached her older sibling first, their Uncle was one of the first given notice of their arrival. His approach was much more reserved with regal bearing as befitted a King.
After hugging his sister heartedly, he bowed before his King, his Uncle Theoden, “I have heard that the shadow that resided in you has been forced whence it came by the might of Gandalf the White. I have heard that Grima has been banished like once he had through using you exiled me. If all that is true, then my men loyal to Rohan will once again fight by their rightful King.”
“All that you have heard is true,” Theoden responded, his eyes filled with love and affection for his nephew, “and your King would be proud to have you fight by his side like old times.” It was then that they embraced, letting the division caused by the meddling of Grima to disappear entirely. “It is good to have warriors true to Rohan here to defend the walls of Helm’s Deep.”
Eomer nodded his head, his eyes searching for someone for he had seen Aragorn, Legolas, and the dwarf Gimli, but not her. So where was she, the mysterious elven maiden that haunted him when he slept for these many nights? It was then that he caught sight of her making her way slowly down toward them, trying not to be too conspicuous. Whatever hope she’d had to not drawn attention was dashed when he rushed toward her, grabbing her by the arm, the eyes of those around falling onto her.
“You said to believe in hope, I do,” he told her intensely. “It is because of you.”
From where Legolas stood, both Aragorn and Gimli had to restrain the elven prince from hastening toward Anaire’s side. Both Aragorn and Gimli felt that whatever was going on between the pair, it wasn’t for Legolas to interrupt as much as he wanted to. It seemed that Anaire had caught the emotion that flowed fiercely from Legolas for she turned to him with her understanding eyes. //It is nothing, Legolas.
When the tension left his tense body, she shifted her focus back to Eomer, who had released his hold on her. //It is good that you believe in hope, but do think it is because of me. It is not. Look around you, Eomer, son of Kings, you are the one the Rohirrims look to with hope. You are their hope, if not for yourself but for them, you must have faith. You are their faith.
Author’s Note: Yes, I use a lot of lines from the movie and it will be like this until the end of Helm’s Deep. After that, things will diverge (obviously since there’s no movie to base it on). Tentatively, Pelennor is scheduled to begin in Chapter 14 and will last at least 1.5 chapters it not 2 chapters. Helm’s Deep is the longest chapter I’ve written so far, so Pelennor should be longer and probably will be longer. Helm’s Deep is basically written uncut (not slashing back and forth like the movie) so yeah it’s intense and long. Pelennor, I don’t know, give me your thoughts about it when I release Helm’s Deep which is the next chapter.
And YES, I’m aware that I’ve let Anaire change places with Aragorn in this, but there’s a reason. The reason for the replacement of Anaire with Theoden is to show her past and with Anaire and Eowyn, that will come into play later. It’s very, very useful, can you guess why? Anyway, comments and reviews are a godsend and yeah Chapter 13 was tough to write, and you wouldn’t want me to stop at a cliffhanger would you? So REVIEW, REVIEW!