The day was drawing to a close and Théoden found a decent area for them to set up camp. Guards were stationed all around the camp as people set to work building fires and cooking supper.
“Gimli.” Eówyn said as she held a pot of stew towards him.
“Um, I couldn’t.” he said and kept on walking. “I really couldn’t.
“I made some stew.” Eówyn said as she approached Aragorn, who was sitting on a boulder. “It isn’t much but it is hot.” she added as she scooped some into a bowl for him.
“Thank you.” Aragorn said and used the wooden spoon to scoop up a piece of meat and took a bite of it. He slowly chewed it and reluctantly nodded his head. “It’s good.” he muttered.
“Really?” Eówyn asked as she turned around and began walking back the way she had come. Aragorn watched her go and slowly poured the stew out onto the ground with one hand.
“My uncle told me a strange thing.” she called out and Aragorn quickly stopped pouring out the stew and placed his other hand on the bowl as he held it back over his lap, hot liquid splashing over the sides and onto his hand. “He said that you rode to war with Thingol, my grandfather.” she said as she walked up next to him. “But he must have been mistaken.”
“King Théoden has a good memory. He was only a small child at the time.” he replied.
“Then you must be at least sixty.” she gasped as she knelt down beside him.
He smiled and shook his head.
“Seventy?” she asked. “But you cannot be eighty?”
Aragorn looked over at her with a sly smile upon his face. “Eighty-seven.”
Eówyn stood up and looked down at him with a surprised and startled expression. “You are one of the Dúndain. A descendant of Númenor, blessed with long life.” she spoke as Aragorn nodded and looked down at the ground. “It was said that your race had passed into legend.”
“There are few of us left. The Northern Kingdom was destroyed long ago.”
“I’m sorry. Please, eat.” Eówyn encouraged and watched as he slowly began to eat the tasteless soup.
* * *
It was two days before Míriel was to leave Lothlórien for Mirkwood. She was not happy about it; she wanted to stay there, she wanted to fight. She was walking alone through the woods when she overheard several of the Lothlórien guards discussing their new orders to leave for Rohan; the same day she was to leave for Mirkwood.
Míriel’s ears perked up with interest as she listened eagerly to what they were saying. Haldir was leading the elves to the fortress of Helm’s Deep and he knew she loved to fight but she knew he would not allow her to go without her father’s permission. Míriel gnawed on her lip as she thought about her options. Go home to her father and brothers and be miserable until she got word of Legolas and Silvren or risk the danger and sneak off with the Elves. Option two was just too tempting to refuse.
Míriel dashed off to her chamber, there was much to do if she was going to leave with the army. Finding a suitable uniform that fit her wasn’t a problem, the problem would be pulling off her departure for Mirkwood while leaving for Rohan.
* * *
Silvren smiled and clapped her hands as she watched Legolas dance about in front of her with Freda. Freda giggled and squealed with delight as Legolas spun her around. Eóthain sat by Silvren, eating a piece of hard, stale bread.
“Okay, I’ve had enough.” Legolas said to Freda as he stopped spinning her around and plopped down on the ground beside Silvren.
“Oye, I’m dizzy.” he sighed and lay back onto his back as Freda walked over and sat in Silvren’s lap.
“Do you want to see something funny?” Silvren whispered in Freda’s ear.
Freda nodded with a big smile and watched as Silvren leaned over and tickled the side of Legolas’ ribs, making him wiggle about on the ground. Freda giggled and leaned over, joining Silvren in tickling him.
“Okay, stop!” Legolas laughed after tolerating several seconds of the torturous tickling.
Silvren watched the two children as they slept peacefully on the ground under a woolen blanket across from where she sat. The evening had grown much quieter as families began to retire for the night. Eanil was talking with Gandalf so she hadn’t seen much of him that evening and Aragorn was elsewhere as well as Gimli.
“Look at them sleeping so peacefully. Not knowing or having a care about the evil growing around them.” she whispered as Legolas sat down beside her. “I want to have children one day. A family of my own.” she whispered glancing over at him, the gentle breeze blowing the loose strands of her hair in her face.
“Aye, so do I. And maybe one day we will.” he smiled.
Silvren managed a small smile as she glanced back down at the ground, wondering what life would have been like if it hadn’t been for the war.
“At least that is what I hope and pray for.” Legolas said softly.
Silvren glanced up at him as the gentle breeze played with her slowly, growing hair. “You are my best friend, my life…my world.” she whispered. “I don’t know what I would do without you. I don’t think I could live without you.”
“After the war is over,” he said scooting closer to her, “we can go back home and get married and live together in peace.” Legolas said as he told a hold of her hand.
“But until then anything could happen.” she whispered sadly. “One of us could become seriously wounded or even killed. Then what would happen to the other? It’s not like we can just turn around and sail west into the Undying Lands.”
“Then you should have never come.” Legolas hissed and felt her hand quiver within his and slowly pull away. “You should have stayed with your father or gone west with Arwen.”
“There’s no guarantee that she’s going.”
“At least you would have been safe.”
“And if you died?” she asked bitterly. “I would go on living in misery until I ceased to exist.”
“Then I die. Maybe Mandos will give me a second chance.”
“I could never live with that.” she cried. “I just don’t want to get our hopes up about the future and have something happen to one of us.”
“Sil, anything can happen at anytime. Even after we get married. What are you going to do when I can’t be there with you?”
“I’ll worry about you and miss you every moment you’re gone.”
Legolas gazed at her with a hard yet puzzled expression. “I’m going to rest.” he said as he stood up and walked over to their belongings. Silvren felt her heart crumble as he left wondering what she had done to cause such a rift between them. Several minutes later, she too stood up and walked towards him. He lay on his back with his hands resting on his chest as he gazed up at the night sky. Silvren wrapped a blanket around her and laid down a foot away from him, the cool night air biting her face as she lay on her side. A single tear ran down her face, splashing on the dirt beneath her.
“Where is she?” Eówyn asked quietly as she walked beside Aragorn, leading her horse on the other side of her. It was early in the morning of the following day and they were well on their way to Helm’s Deep. “The woman who gave you that jewel.”
“My lord?” she asked when he did not answer right away.
“She is sailing west to the Undying Lands to be with her kin.” he answered quietly.
Aragorn looked up and watched as Háma and Gamling rode ahead of the villagers and past Legolas who stood further ahead on an overhanging ledge with rolling land sprawled out in front of him. The argument he had the night before with Silvren weighed heavily on his heart as well as a sense that something was wrong as he stood there gazing about him with his bow in hand.
* * *
“What is it?” Gamling asked Háma as they stopped beneath a rocky ledge and their horses began to whiny. Stomping the hard dirt and yellow grass covered ground in fright, their eyes bulging and their ears laying flat. “Háma?”
“I’m not sure.”
Both men shouted as a warg and its rider leapt from the ledge above them and knocked Háma and his horse to the ground. Háma began yelling as the warg approached him, baring its sharp, yellow teeth.
“Wargs!” Gamling shouted as the warg tossed Háma’s body to the side. Gamling swung his sword at the orc, who blocked Gamling’s swing. They continued swinging their swords at each other until Legolas ran across the dry grass and jumped down from the ledge as he snatched an arrow from his quiver. He shot the warg through the neck as he continued running towards it.
The warg fell to the ground with a loud thump, throwing its rider to the ground who barely turned over and let out a horrid screech before Legolas sliced open its throat with his knife.
“A scout.” he called over his shoulder to Aragorn who had rushed over to the sudden stop of the ledge. Legolas kicked the dead body with all of his might and sent it rolling down the hill as Aragorn ran back towards the column of villagers.
“What is it? What do you see?” Théoden asked as his white horse galloped over to Aragorn.
“Warg!” Aragorn shouted. “We’re under attack. Get them out of here!” he demanded as cries of fear rose up among the villagers.
Eówyn handed Aragorn the reins to his horse as he tossed Silvren’s quiver that had been strapped to Legolas’ horse into her basket and handed her the bow. Silvren gathered Freda up into her arms as she glanced around for any sign of Legolas.
“All riders to the front of the column!” she heard Théoden shout.
“Come on, get me up here. I’m a rider.” Gimli grumbled as one man held Arod’s reins and another helped Gimli up onto Arod’s back. “Come on.” he said as he began to slide to the other side as the man holding the reins heaved him back up straight.
Legolas ran over the dry, yellow grass to the top of the slope and stood on the top of a rock. His eyes widened at the sight of a horde of barking wargs with their orc riders bounding over the crest of a distant slope, gathering down into the valley between two slopes.
“You must lead the people to Helm’s Deep. Make haste.” Théoden said after he rode up to Eówyn and Silvren.
“But we can fight.” Eówyn protested as Silvren nodded her head in agreement. “We can fight as well as any man.”
“No. I will not let you fight nor will Legolas allow Silvren to fight.” Théoden snapped. “Do this for me.” he said then turned to the riders. “Follow me!” he shouted as he turned his horse around and rode forwards.
“Forward. I mean charge forward.” Gimli said to Arod as the horse walked backwards.
“Make for lower ground!” Eówyn shouted to the women and elderly people.
Eanil, who wore a Rohirrim sword at his waist, rode atop a horse that had been lent to him. He didn’t even seem to notice Silvren and Eówyn as he rode past them with the other soldiers. This would be the first part of his revenge for all the cruelty he suffered at the hands of Saruman.
“That’s it, go!” Gimli said, finally getting Arod to gallop forward.
“Stay together!” Eówyn called out as she turned and watched Aragorn ride Hasufel backwards as he watched her before turning around and galloping off with the others.
Eówyn led the people away from the brewing battle and by the quickest route possible to Helm’s Deep. Silvren followed behind her as they walked in silence. Both of them were worried about their friends and loved ones and both of them were slightly disappointed about not being able to help fight. Not many people talked as they walked, many of which were still rattled by the news of the wargs. After a while Silvren put Freda down and let the girl walk beside her. They could see the mountains growing closer and knew they were not far.
* * *
Legolas snatched an arrow from his quiver as the wargs continued to pour over the hillside. He drew the arrow back to his cheek and then let it fly through the air, hitting the foremost orc which sent it tumbling to the bottom of the hill. The pounding of many hooves came up behind Legolas, growing louder and louder as he took out another arrow and let it fly as well as the last one. Legolas turned around as Arod and Gimli came up behind him and he reached out around the horse’s neck. With the momentum of Arod’s speed, Legolas was carried across in front of Arod and up over the horse’s back and landed perfectly in the saddle in front of the awe-filled dwarf. Of course he didn’t let the dwarf know the pain he was experiencing because of the not-so-soft landing. Looking to his left, he saw Eanil riding one of the horses from Edoras and wielding a spare sword that had been given to him from the king.
The riders drew out their swords as they slowly rode closer to the baying wargs. The distance between the two sides grew smaller and smaller until at last they collided with a loud crash and breaking bones. One of the riders threw his spear into the chest of one of the orcs and the orc fell from his saddle and was trampled upon by the horses.
Legolas released another arrow from his bow and hit a snarling warg in the throat. The warg’s rider fell from the beasts’ back as the warg flipped head over tail in the air before landing on and smashing its master.
Gimli started to slip and then fell from Arod’s back as Legolas glanced over his shoulder to see Gimli stand to his feet.
Legolas shot an orc in the chest with one of his arrows and then shot an arrow into the warg’s eye. The warg stumbled over its feet and fell to the ground as Legolas shot it again in the side of the ribs.
Gimli stood on the blood-stained grass with his feet apart and planted firmly to the ground as he swung his axe around in his hands. He eyed up a warg that had been eating from the belly of a fallen horse, but stopped and looked up to meet Gimli’s gaze.
“Bring your pretty face to my axe.” He challenged the warg.
The warg growled at him as it started towards him but Legolas turned and left handedly shot an arrow through the charging warg’s throat. The warg fell instantly and plopped to the ground in front of Gimli’s feet.
“That one counts as mine!” Gimli roared as the elf galloped away.
The wargs knocked many riders from their horses, biting and gnashing their jaws at them. Gimli turned around as a warg came up behind him and swung his axe at the creature, striking it in the mouth. The warg fell limp to its side and on top of Gimli, smashing the dwarf between the hard ground and the heavy, stinky, and hairy body of the dead warg
“Oww.” Gimli moaned.
Aragorn rode by another orc and its warg, slicing off the head of the orc as he galloped past them. Théoden also remained on top of his horse as he slashed his sword across the chest of a nearby orc.
“Stinking creature.” grumbled Gimli as he tried to lift the heavy body off him. Looking up, his eyes widened in surprise as an orc leaned over the warg’s carcass to look down at hthe trapped dwarf. Gimli reached up, just as the orc pulled out his sword and Gimli grabbed the orc’s head and jerked it to the side. The sound of bones snapping could be heard as he broke the orc’s neck. Gimli lowered the now dead orc upon the warg’s body and sniffed the head before turning his head away.
Once again, he tried lifting the carcass off him, but this time he looked u to see a warg standing over him, bearing its long pointed teeth. Gimli’s eyes widened with fear as the beast lowered its head towards his face.
Aragorn rode nearby and saw that Gimli was trapped and in need of assistance and Aragorn quickly galloped towards him, grabbing a spear that was protruding from the ground. With all his might, Aragorn threw the spear at the warg, hitting it in the ribs. The warg fell dead on top of Gimli.
“Ohhh.” Gimli cried out with wide, pain-filled eyes.
Aragorn rode up to another warg rider and blocked the brutal swing that came his way before stabbing the orc in the torso. He glanced over to his left to see a warg running towards him. The warg knocked Aragorn from on top his horse and he quickly scrambled to his feet, waiting as an orc and its mount come charging towards him. When he got a chance, Aragorn grabbed a hold of the warg and swung up onto its back behind the orc. Aragorn head-butted the orc and then the orc knocked him off the warg, but his hand became caught on the warg’s saddle. He was dragged across the ground by the warg as the orc kicked him, trying to get him off. Aragorn pulled out his knife and tried to grab a hold of the warg but instead he reached up and stabbed the orc in the throat and the orc reached down and grabbed him by the throat. Aragorn pulled the orc off the warg but his hand was still caught and the warg kept running towards the edge of the cliff. Aragorn struggled and tried to pull his hand free but couldn’t and tumbled over the cliff into the rushing waters with the warg.