Gimli walked up to a wounded warg and brought his axe down into its neck with a loud juicy splat. Gimli looked about as the riders hunted
down the remaining wargs in the hollow below him.
Legolas looked around and saw Théoden dismount from his horse and glance about with a worried expression on his face. A twinge of cold
fear surged through his body as he jumped of Arod’s back and stood not far from Théoden, knowing that something wasn’t right. He could
feel it in his body as he looked over his shoulder and saw Hasufel standing nearby. The horse had made it through unharmed yet he bore no rider.
There was no sign of Aragorn to be seen.
“Aragorn!” Legolas called out as he walked up the small slope.
Gimli looked up at the sound of Legolas’ voice and began looking around for Aragorn but saw no sign of him. “Aragorn?” he shouted.
Legolas walked past Gimli and over to a jutting slab of rock that hung over the cliff and he knelt down to look at a line of bright red blood.
Man’s blood. An evil gurgling laugh caught his attention and he glanced over at a dying orc that lay not too far away from where he knelt.
Legolas walked over towards the orc as Gimli came up and stood over the orc’s body with his axe visibly in hand.
“Tell me what happened and I will ease your passing.” growled Gimli as he held his axe above the orc’s face.
“He’s-” the orc coughed as Legolas stepped closer. “-dead. He took a little tumble off the cliff.” the orc sneered.
Théoden, who had overheard what the orc said, walked towards the cliff as Legolas dropped down beside the orc and roughly grabbed
him by the collar. “You lie!” he hissed through clenched teeth. But the orc gave no answer; instead he stiffened within Legolas’ grasp and
struggled for air before he finally stopped breathing. Legolas shoved him back to the ground as a shimmer of silver from within the orc’s
clutched hand caught his eye. Legolas reached into the hand and drew out the silver necklace Arwen had given Aragorn; just like the one
he had given Silvren. His heart fell as he jumped to his feet and darted over to the ledge of the rocky cliff with Gimli running behind him.
Théoden already stood at the edge of the rock gazing down at the rushing water below them. Jagged rocks lined the sides of the river and
the cliff side but there was no sign of his body or that any body had fallen over. A sick feeling filled Legolas and Gimli’s stomach. Their
hearts weighed heavily with grief.
“Get the wounded on horses.” Théoden said as he turned around to face Gamling. The man gave a quiet nod as Théoden continued on.
“The wolves of Isengard will return. Leave the dead.” he said in a somber tone as he shoved his sword back into its sheath.
Legolas turned and stared hard into Théoden’s eyes, not believing what he had heard as Théoden gazed helplessly at Legolas. He realized
the pain and grief that clouded Théoden’s eyes and understood that giving an order like that was not an easy one for the king.
“Come.” Théoden said as he placed a comforting hand on Legolas shoulder. “Silvren will be wanting to know you are safe.” He turned
away and walked back down the slope as Legolas and Gimli lingered behind a bit longer; gazing down at the river and rocks below.
* * *
Silvren heard some of the villagers call out in joy as the stronghold of Helm’s Deep came into to view. She could sense the instant change
of mood as walked beside Freda and Eówyn.
“There it is, Helm’s Deep.”
“We’re safe, my lady.” an elderly lady said to Eówyn. “Thank you.”
Silvren looked out ahead of her and gazed at the tall stone wall that had been built into a cliff that lay between two sides of the mountain.
Within the walls was a tall tower that held the Horn of Hornburg. She held on tightly to Freda’s hand as they walked up the long causeway
and through the tall wooden doors. A sense of wonderment and curiosity at her new surroundings filled Silvren as she gazed about at the
hustle and bustle of all the people. Many people were already gathered there with their families and belongings and were now waiting for
“Mama!” Freda cried out as she let go of Silvren’s hand and ran off to her mother with Eóthain running along beside her.
“Eóthain, Freda!” their mother called out with her arms wide open. She embraced them as tears of joy streamed down her face. Silvren
smiled as she watched the three of them and then quietly turned away and followed Eówyn up the stone steps.
“What do we do now?” Silvren asked her.
“Try to get the people settled in and maintain order. It will not be an easy task.”
Eówyn glanced over at Silvren. “Where are the rest?” Eówyn asked an older man as Silvren set her basket down beside Eówyn’s.
“That’s all we could save, my lady.” the elderly man replied as Eówyn looked around at the food and other supplies that had been saved.
“Take it to the caves.” she told him.
Silvren and Eówyn spent some time walking around making sure everyone was all right and that order was in place.
“Make way for the king.” A loud voice called out. At once, Eówyn and Silvren glanced up at each other and took off, watching the riders
enter the stronghold as they ran along the upper ledge of the inner wall towards the hall.
“Make way for Théoden. Make way for the king.”
“So few. So few of you have returned.” Eówyn said sadly as Théoden dismounted and Silvren walked up behind Eówyn. Silvren peered
around Eówyn and saw Legolas, Gimli, and Eanil. There were several other men, but no sign of Aragorn. Her heart stopped beating at the
mere thought of Aragorn being dead.
“Our people are safe.” the king replied. “We have paid for it with many lives.”
Silvren turned and ran towards Legolas who had just dismounted from Arod’s back. “Aragorn, where is he?” Silvren asked as Legolas
gazed down at the ground. He looked up at her straight in the eyes, his eyes full of sorrow and pain. Pain that was partially due to the
way she appeared more concerned about Aragorn than him. “Where is my brother?” she pleaded, tightly grabbing the collar of his tunic.
“Tell me where he his.” she demanded, fear flashing across in face.
“He fell.” Legolas whispered softly.
“What?” Silvren asked as she suddenly let go of his collar, her eyes growing wide in horror. “No. It can’t be.” she whispered as a small
lump developed in her throat and took a step back. Eanil stepped beside Legolas with a sorrow-filled expression. He bowed his head to
Silvren in respect as he placed his left fist to his chest and moved on.
“He’s gone. I’m sorry.” Legolas said as he took a step towards her and wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry.”
Silvren accepted his warm embrace and buried her face in his shoulder as small tears fell from her eyes.
* * *
“Draw all the forces behind this wall.” Théoden said to Gamling from where they stood on the outer wall. “Bar the gate and set a watch
on the surround.”
“What about those who can not fight, my lord? The women and the children.” One of the guards asked.
“Get them into the caves. Saruman’s arm will have grown long indeed if he thinks he can reach us here.” Théoden said as he and his men
walked down the stairs by a single drain in the outer wall.
* * *
The escort of princess Míriel trotted along the dark paths of Mirkwood, they rode quickly and silently. The normally talkative princess
was silent the entire trip and barely removed her hooded cloak, hiding her face at all times. Her guards didn’t think much of it because
this was not the first time she had acted this way. They just assumed she was just saddened by the absence of her eldest brother and
best friend. Finally, the palace of King Thranduil came into view as did the king himself and his twin sons.
“It’s about time.” Thranduil said happily as he strode towards Míriel’s horse. He looked weary and it was obvious that Mirkwood was
suffering from the wrath of Sauron as well. “Well come on and hug your father, I have been worried about you.” he said as he opened
his arms and embraced his daughter. A pang of concern rippled trough his body as he held his daughter back. “Míriel, are you okay?”
he asked but there was no reply. The girl looked up at him with wide eyes. Thranduil furrowed his brow and cast back the hood of her
A gasp slipped past several onlookers mouths. Although she looked similar to the princess, it was not Míriel.
“You are not my daughter.” Thranduil said as he let go of the girl. “Where is Míriel?” Thranduil glanced up at the escort.
“I do not know, my lord. This was who came to us when it was time to depart.”
Anger flooded through Thranduil’s veins as he ran a hand through his golden hair. This must be how Elrond felt when Silvren snuck off to
be with the Fellowship, Thranduil thought and then froze. Silvren, Legolas, and the fellowship; Míriel had wanted to go with them, but how
would she find them? Even she was not stupid enough to go off by herself with no idea of where she was going.
“My lord, there was an army of elves departing from Lothlórien. They were headed to Helm’s Deep in Rohan.” Another guard spoke up.
Thranduil glanced up at the guard, interested in what he had to say. “When did they depart and why were they going there?” he commanded.
“They left the same day we did and they were going to assist King Théoden and Aragorn in defending the people of Rohan.”
“She disguised herself and left with them.” Thranduil muttered.
“What shall we do, my lord?”
“I do not know.”
“Father, maybe you should send Ornendil and me after her.” Celebdil suggested. “We could ride to Rohan and if they are no longer there
we could ride to Gondor for that is more than likely they’re destination.”
Thranduil turned to look at his son and remained silent for several moments as he considered his son’s idea. “Yes, I would have you do that.”
he said at last. “Take a small army with you and on your way you can take this maiden home. I am sure her family will be wanting to know she
is safe.” he glanced back at the young maiden.
* * *
Silvren was quiet as she roamed aimlessly around the stronghold. Legolas was off with the king and she had been separated from Eówyn.
She wandered around the cave, noticing that most of the belongings were down here but not many people. Silvren found a nook that was
out of sight where she could curl up with her own thoughts and nobody could bother her. She sat down with her back against the cave wall
and her knees pulled up to her chest. Her gaze remained unfocused as her eyes welled up with unshed tears and she wondered what she had
done wrong. Why hadn’t she stayed behind, she could have prevented this and how would she tell Arwen what happened? She wondered as
she wiped some spilled tears away from her face with the back of her hands. What were they going to do now; life would not be the same
without Aragorn. What were they going to do about the quest; he had been the one leading them since they lost Gandalf in Moria? Moria tears
fell from her eyes and she barely registered the sound of footsteps coming her way. She glanced up with tear filled eyes to Legolas kneel down
beside her with a concerned expression.
“Oh, Silvren.” he whispered softly as he took her into his arms and held her close.
“Shh, it’s going to be okay.”
“I just wish I could have been there.” she sniffled as she leaned her head against his sturdy chest.
“It’s not your fault. Whatever you are thinking; you had nothing to with it, and your presence probably would not have changed anything.”
“Legolas,” she whispered.
“I’m sorry about earlier. I was worried about you and relieved to see you back safely. It’s just, Aragorn is my brother and…”
“Shh, I understand.” Legolas said as he gently stroked her hair, his heart aching for the loss of a friend but also for Silvren.
* * *
“He’s alive!” a woman shouted above the clatter of a horse’s hooves to which Gimli began pushing his way through the crowds.
“Where is he? Where is he?” Gimli asked as he pushed people aside. “Get out of the way! I’m going to kill him!” Gimli stepped out of the
crowd and in front of a ragged looking Aragorn. Gimli’s face lit up with happiness, “You are the luckiest, canniest, and most reckless man
I ever knew.” he said and stepped towards Aragorn, wrapping his arms around the man. “Bless you, laddie.”
“Gimli, where is the king?” Aragorn asked in a calm voice. Gimli nodded towards the hall on the other side of the portico. Aragorn patted
Gimli’s shoulder in gratitude and stepped away from Gimli, walking towards the hall as he fumbled with his belt. Aragorn stopped suddenly,
sensing someone standing in front of him and looked up to see Legolas standing about a foot away.
“You’re late. Silvren’s heartbroken.” Legolas said in elvish with a small grin. His eyes flashed over Aragorn’s dirty and disheveled appearance.
He noticed Aragorn’s shoulder was red with blood from the warg attack and his clothes and hair were still slightly wet. “You look terrible.” Legolas
said switching to Common Tongue, making Aragorn smile as Legolas handed him the Evenstar necklace.
Aragorn tightened his hand around the necklace and glanced down at it, the sunlight shining upon the silver and crystal necklace, casting a sparkle
in the dim setting.
“Thank you.” Aragorn said.
Legolas nodded his head in reply as Silvren came running up behind him. “You’re alive!” she gasped excitedly as she threw her arms around
Aragorn’s neck. “I’m so glad you are all right.” she said taking a step back to gaze up into his face.
“So am I.” he muttered.
Silvren glanced over to her left and saw Eówyn watching them with an expression of happiness mixed with sorrow. Silvren felt a strong hand
on her shoulder and turned her head to see Legolas motion towards the double doors. She turned and with one last glance at Eówyn, she
followed Legolas and Aragorn into the king’s hall.
“A great host you say?” Théoden said as he stood with his back to Silvren and the others.
“All Isengard has been emptied.” Aragorn said softly as he walked towards the troubled king.
“Ten thousand strong, at least.” Aragorn said softly as he walked towards Théoden.
“Ten thousand?” Théoden hissed in disbelief as he turned to face Aragorn.
“It is an army bred for a single purpose. To destroy the world of Men.” Aragorn replied. A look of dismay clouded Théoden’s face as
Aragorn whispered, “They will be here by nightfall.”
The look of dismay quickly changed to the look of determination as he turned and walked towards the doors. “Let them come!” his voice
echoed in the hall.
Silvren felt her body stiffen at Aragorn’s ill news and she realized how scared she truly was but knew she could not let the others see her fear.
If they did they would not let her fight and probably persuade her to go no further on the quest. She glanced up at Legolas and saw the same
fear reflecting his blue eyes and she knew the fear was more for her than for him.
“I want every man and strong lad able to bear arms to be ready for battle by nightfall.” Théoden said to one of his guards as he walked down
the stone steps towards the gate. A flurry of activity surrounded them and men nailed beams to the gate doors to help support them. “We will
cover the causeway and the gate from above.” Théoden said above the sound of hammers hitting nails. “No army has ever breached the
Deeping Wall or set foot inside the Hornburg.” he shouted as he stood outside the gate with Aragorn, Legolas, Silvren, Eanil, and Gimli.
“This is no rabble of mindless orcs.” Gimli said from where he stood leaning against the wall and his axe. “These are Uruk-Hai.” he said bitterly.
“Their armour is thick and their shields broad.”
“I have fought many battles, Master Dwarf.” Théoden said as he walked over towards the dwarf and stood above him. “I know how to defend
my own keep,” he added coldly then turned and walked back through the gate.
Aragorn laid a comforting hand on Gimli’s arm as he followed Théoden back into the keep with Legolas and Silvren trailing behind him.