Aragorn slid into a shirt of mail then placed his jerkin over top of it and strapped his belt with his sheathed knife around his waist. He laced up his jerkin and strapped arm guards on his forearms. He then reached for his sword but found that it was gone. Aragorn turned to see Legolas wearing very little armour and holding his sheathed sword, hilt first for Aragorn to take. Aragorn took his sword and nodded his thanks as Legolas offered him a small smile.
“We have trusted you this far. You have not led us astray. Forgive me, I was wrong to despair.” he muttered.
Aragorn gently shook his head as he slapped his chest with his fist in the Elven salute. “There is nothing to forgive.” he said softly in elvish as he grasped Legolas by the shoulder. Legolas also grasped Aragorn by the shoulder, grateful for his friend’s understanding.
They both glanced over at Gimli who had hobbled into the room, the mail shirt that he was struggling with clinking together as most of it was bunched up under his arms and around his chest.
“We had the time, I’d get this adjusted.” he grumbled as he let the shirt fall to his feet where several inches of it lay upon the floor.
Legolas smiled and glanced over at Aragorn who glanced over at him, trading silent, humors expressions.
“It’s a little tight across the chest.” Gimli complained as Aragorn gave a slight nod.
The sudden sound of distant horn brought their heads up as the sound echoed amongst the armoury.
“That is no orc horn.” Legolas exclaimed and darted up the dust covered stairs towards the sound with Aragorn behind him.
King Théoden walked down the stone steps, donned in his golden armour, to meet the new arrivals. He watched in awe s four rows of armoured and cloak clad Elves marched by him.
“How is this possible?” he asked the leader who wore no helm, letting his blonde hair fall freely upon his shoulders and down his back. He wore a dark red cloak instead of the dark blue ones the rest of the Elves wore.
“I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell.” the elf said as the procession of Elves stopped. “An alliance once existed between Elves and Men. Long ago we fought and died together.” he said and smiled, seeing Aragorn and Legolas come into view. “We come here to honor that allegiance.” he said proudly.
Aragorn practically flew down the steps towards Haldir and gave the Elven salute before throwing his arm around him in a friendly embrace.
Haldir gently patted Aragorn’s shoulder as his face adorned a look of mild surprise.
“You are most welcome.” Aragorn said happily as he stepped back. Legolas also stepped forward and embraced Haldir as the row of Elves turned to face forward and set their bows on the ground, all in perfect unison.
“We are proud to fight alongside Men once more.” Haldir said, Legolas now standing behind him.
* * *
Silvren sighed she helped another mother calm a young, screaming infant. The work in the caves was grueling. She and Eówyn had gathered a few able women to distribute the food and supplies while they and a few others helped the women and children settle down. They also had several women standing near the cave entrance, listening for any sign of an intrusion in case they needed to escape through the one back entrance. Silvren tended to the children and infants while Eówyn tended to the elderly and sick.
Silvren used the sleeve of her tunic to wipe the sweat from her brow as she glanced around the crowded cave. It had been several hours since the guards had taken the men and boys away and prepared them for fighting. The sound of men running about above them had died away and all that was left was the noises in the cave.
Silvren began walking about the cave looking for anyone who might need help when she came across the basket she had carried from Edoras. Inside the basket lay her quiver, and knives and fresh arrows Legolas had carefully made for her in hopes they would meet again. Her bow sat propped against the cave wall behind the basket and she felt a tugging on her heart. Carefully, she picked up her quiver and with her finger-tips, she traced the gold embossed peacock design as tons of memories flooded her mind. A sudden wave of wonder and fear for her loved ones struck her. She glanced about the room and gathered up belongings and quickly dashed off towards the entrance.
* * *
Grey smoke rose from the torches that lit up the keep under the dark sky as Men and Elves lined the walls or stood behind them, waiting anxiously for the approaching Orcs. The howling of the wind was all that could be herd for miles. A bang from one of the arrow-slot covers sounded like a large boulder falling onto solid rock as it disrupted the silence.
In the distance a marching sound could barely be heard but slowly, it grew louder and louder as small specks of light could be seen approaching. The cries of the orcs rang out among the sound of thousands of stomping feet.
“You could have picked a better spot.” Gimli complained from where he stood next to Legolas on the ledge of the outer wall. The dwarf’s helm could barely be seen above the wall as he stood among the Elves and he could not see over the wall. Eanil stood on the other side of Gimli. He wore armour of Rohan and bore the weapons from the Rohirrim and his hair was pulled back in the traditional Elven fashion.
The sound of boots upon the stone ledge alerted Legolas to Aragorn’s presence as he walked towards him and Gimli.
“Well, lad, whatever luck you live by, let’s hope it lasts the night.” Gimli said glancing up at the man.
A crack of lightning from above lit up their faces and the faces of those around them as they stared at the approaching horde.
“Your friends are with you, Aragorn.” Legolas said as he clutched his bow within his hands.
“Let’s hope they last the night.” Gimli muttered.
Another crack of lightning flashed before them, followed by thunder as Aragorn turned and walked away.
* * *
Silvren stood in a dark corner up on the wall by the other elves. Her quiver was strapped to her back and her bow was clasped tightly within her hands. She looked up at the dark sky as another bolt of lightning flashed across the sky and a rumbled of thunder followed shortly after. A few droplets of rain fell on her head as she listened to the rain plunk and plink on the armour of the surrounding elves. The rain came down faster and faster until it came down at a steady pace, clinking on the armour of both men and elves. The heavy rain made it difficult to see as Silvren waited patiently for whatever would happen next.
* * *
“Show them no mercy for you shall receive none!” Aragorn shouted in Elvish as he walked along the ledge tot the outer wall where some of the Elven archers stood, the orcs were now in clear view.
Aragorn stepped towards the wall and looked out at the orcs. His hair hung in wet locks down his neck and he was chilled to the bone in the cold, wet air.
“What’s happening out there?” Gimli asked as he jumped up and down, trying to catch a glimpse of the other side.
“Shall I describe it to you? Or would you like me to find you a box?” Legolas asked looking down at the dwarf. Legolas’ long, blonde hair hung down his back, nearly plastered to his neck and back.
Gimli looked up at him and chuckled as Legolas smiled down at him. Those who were once bitter enemies were on the road to a quick friendship.
Everyone watched as the orcs began pounding their spears upon the ground, chanting out loud and pounding their fist against their armoured chests. Aragorn drew out his sword with a soft metallic hiss, his gaze focused intently on the army before him.
All of the men nocked their arrows to their bows then pulled them taunt, waiting for their signal. An elderly man with long, stringy white hair lost his grip on his arrow and the arrow went flying through the air and hit an orc in the neck.
“Hold!” Aragorn cried out.
Dead silence fell over both sides as the orc fell forward onto the ground. The orcs began to growl and cry out angrily and then were finally given the signal to attack.
“So it begins.” Théoden said gravely from where he stood with Gamling and a few other guards.
“Prepare to fire!” Aragorn commanded in Elvish. All the elves pulled out an arrow and nocked it to their bows, pulling the string taunt.
“Their armour is weal at the neck and beneath the arm.” Legolas said to the elves around him.
“Release arrows!” Aragorn shouted, raising his sword up in the air.
All at once, the elves let their arrows fly, knocking down the first line of orcs.
“Did they hit anything?” Gimli asked Legolas as a volley poured down upon the orcs.
Aragorn signaled and yelled for the elves on the ground behind him to release their arrows. Numerous arrows whizzed past Aragorn and the other elves who stood on the outer wall.
“Send them to me! Come on!” Gimli shouted above all the noise of the orcs and the flying arrows.
Elves continued firing arrow after arrow but the orcs brought out their archers and began returning fire upon the elves. It was going to be one, grueling, ugly battle. One that could only remain to the advantage of Men and Elves for so long before the orcs took over.
“Ladders!” Aragorn shouted as the orcs began to raise their ladders against the stone wall.
“Good.” Gimli grunted, understanding Aragorn’s announcement.
“Swords! Swords!” Aragorn shouted as the tall wooden ladders with the orcs clinging at the top approached the wall.
In one swift motion, the elves replaced their bows with their swords. Gimli swung his axe at the first orc and knocked him to the ground. Finally, he and his axe could taste the orc blood he had been longing to draw.
Eanil cast aside the poor bow he had been using and resorted to the sword he bore at his hip. He swung the sword with ease, surprised at his own strength and wondering when he had learned to use a sword. An orc came at him with a crudely-shaped sword raised in the air. Eanil stepped into a defensive stand and waited until the orc was close enough. Then, he stepped towards the orc and swung the sword up towards his shoulder, leaving a bloody gash from the orc’s hip to shoulder. The orc glanced down at its wound in surprise and Eanil swung the sword back around, cleaving the gruesome head from the shoulders. The head spun in the air and landed several feet away as the body sank to the ground. Eanil turned to another orc and ran the sword through the orc’s back.
Aragorn ducked a blow from a Berserker and fell back upon the ground. The orc went to strike him with is cruel blade but Aragorn scrambled to his knees and thrust his sword though the orcs uncovered stomach. Aragorn locked blades with another orc then, when the opportunity came, he sliced its neck.
Aragorn was pushed pack onto the ground then rolled to his side as he dodged the blade of the orc’s sword. He tried to stand up but lost his balance, and then swung his sword at the orc’s leg and cut it off from under the orc. The orc fell to the ground and Aragorn stabbed it with his sword. It was going to be long night.
* * *
Silvren let her arrows fly as the orcs pored onto the outer wall. She pulled out another arrow as she spotted an orc and knocked her arrow to her bow. Letting it go, the arrow flew through the air and into the stomach of one orc, protruding through the orc’s body and stabbing the orc behind him. The first orc fell forward onto the second orc as she shot another orc.
Silvren caught her breath when Aragorn turned and looked in her direction. Normally, men would not have noticed her standing in the shadows but Aragorn was not a normal man and could have easily spotted her. She let out her breath as he turned to fight another orc and Silvren took out another arrow, finding her next target.
* * *
Elves were being killed left and right by the Berserkers as Gimli ran towards one and slid between its legs. Gimli looked up at it and embedded his axe into its chest. The berserker staggered backwards then fell to the ground.
Aragorn ran past and orc and sliced open its stomach with his blood-covered sword and then knocked the berserker backwards. The rain had finally let up some and the thunder was no longer heard rumbling above them. The cool air smelt of death and blood as the battle continued on, the warriors were warm under their layer of clothes and armour, causing sweat to develop on their foreheads and stick to their clothes and hair.
“Legolas! Two already!” Gimli cried out above the yells and clashing of swords colliding in the background. Gimli waved two gloved-fingers in the air as Legolas looked up from the orc he had just killed.
“I’m on seventeen!” Legolas cried out cheerfully.
“Wha-? I’ll have no pointy-eared outscoring me!” Gimli shouted and turned back to the orc ladder. He swung his axe viciously into the groin of the berserker standing at the top of the ladder and let it fall to the ground behind him. With one last blow, Gimli slammed his axe into the orc’s back.
Legolas snatched another arrow from his quiver and pulled the string back to his cheek and let the arrow go. The arrow struck an orc that was climbing up a nearby ladder and set it falling backwards onto the waiting orcs below. Snatching another arrow from his quiver her set it to his bow and pulled back and released it. The arrow sent another orc that climbed up to the top of the ladder falling backwards with a loud squeal.
“Nineteen!” Legolas called out to Gimli.
Gimli ignored Legolas’ cry and continued swinging his axe left and right, desperately trying to catch up to Legolas’ count.
Aragorn ran across the ledge swinging his sword at any orc in his way. He stopped by a ladder and kicked the orc that was on it off and then pushed the ladder over. Letting it fall on top of the many orcs below. The orcs kept coming as Aragorn and the others fought with all their might.
* * *
When she had run out of arrows, Silvren quickly replaced her bow and took out her knives that flashed in the pale moonlight which now shined down on them. This was the part she dreaded for it was almost certain that she would be noticed. Taking a deep breath, she darted from the shadows and made her way across the ledge towards the spit where most of the orcs were climbing up the ladders. An orc jumped out in front of her and ran its dark tongue across its yellow teeth. Silvren stabbed the orc in the chest with both of her knives and kicked the orc backwards. Grabbing her knives, she ran across the ledge and sliced the throats of two orcs as she ran past them.
Silvren glanced down towards the other end of the ledge and saw a tall orc approaching an elf with no helm and at once her heart skipped a beat. Without hesitation she threw one of her knives at the orc’s back. The knife landed in the middle of the orc’s back and spinal cord. The orc froze then fell forward onto its knees and then onto its face. At the sound of a body falling directly behind him, Legolas turned to see the dead orc lying beside him with Silvren’s knife protruding from its back. Glancing up, Legolas saw Silvren standing three yards away from him. Anger swarmed through his body as he bent over and snatched her knife from the orc’s back.
“You shouldn’t be here.” he shouted as he handed the knife back to her.
“Yes, I know.” she replied. She watched as he turned away and began fighting again. Silvren hurried over the dead bodies towards the fighting. She nearly tripped over a body when her dress got caught on the blade of a fallen orc. Silvren cursed herself for not changing into her travel clothes as she tugged on her dress. She glanced around to make sure no orcs were sneaking up on her and yanked her dress free as it ripped on the blade.
“Seventeen! Eighteen!” Gimli shouted from nearby. “Nineteen! Twenty!” Silvren smiled at Gimli’s counting, assuming he and Legolas were keeping score, which she was secretly doing too.
“Causeway!” Silvren heard Aragorn yell. Most of the remaining elves had turned their upper bodies and aimed their arrows at the orcs on the causeway. Arrow after arrow knocked the orcs down but there were still too many.
Silvren walked past Legolas and helped Gimli fight the orcs on the ledge as Legolas shot his arrows at the orcs on the ladders an on the ground.
Aragorn glanced down and saw a berserker running towards the drain with a large torch. Fellow orcs were cheering him on as he ran through the muck and mud. “Legolas, bring him down!” Aragorn shouted.
Legolas heard Aragorn’s order and turned to aim at the giant berserker. He released his arrow which shot the berserker in the shoulder.
“Kill him!” Aragorn shouted frantically. He was beginning to panic, knowing that if the berserker made it the drain things would end even worse. “Kill him!”
Silvren ran towards Aragorn as Legolas shot the orc again, this time the arrow landed in the other shoulder. For some reason he was not shooting well and a trickle of fear slithered down the spines of Silvren and Aragorn.
A loud blast erupted from below Silvren and then the parapet in front of her blew apart. The force from the blast threw sent her and the others nearby backwards onto the parapet. Dust and small rocks showered down upon them as they struggled back to their feet, if they were lucky enough to survive the blast.
“Silvren?” she heard Legolas call out as she sat up and coughed a dry, unpleasant cough. Her mouth was dry and full of dust as well of her nose and lungs from inhaling the dust. She glanced up to see Legolas running towards her and then helped her to her feet.
“Aragorn, where’s Aragorn?” she coughed as she looked around for the ranger. Legolas looked over the edge of the parapet and saw Aragorn lying upon the rocky ground covered in dust. Water rushed through the giant hole in the wall as orcs ran through it.
“He’s on the ground. I don’t think you should fight any more, especially if you inhaled the dust. It will affect your performance.” Legolas looked into her eyes with a stern expression.
“I’ll be fine.” Silvren coughed. She turned and spit some of the dust from her mouth.
“If you feel like you’re slowing down or losing strength I want you out of here. Do you understand?” his eyes were locked on hers.
“Yes.” Silvren wiped her mouth with her sleeve.
“Will you do that for me?”
“Yes. I promise.” she said and kissed him on the cheek.
Aragorn lifted his head then glanced over his shoulder at the oncoming orcs.
“Aragorn!” Gimli shouted from where he lay on the parapet. He scrambled to his feet then took a running start and leapt over the edge of the parapet. He landed right in the midst of the oncoming orcs.
“Gimli!” Aragorn shouted once he was on his feet again. But Gimli did not hear him for he was busy splashing and hacking at the orcs as he stood knee-high in the water. An orc knocked him backwards into the brown water and Aragorn yelled for the elves, who were waiting behind him, to release their arrows.
Grasping his sword on his fist, he shouted, “Tallehoe(Charge)!” and at once he and the elves ran towards the approaching orcs. The two sides collided with a loud clash as Aragorn and the elves swung their swords at the orcs and stabbed as many orcs as they could.
* * *
Silvren found herself still fighting the orcs that were up on the parapet. She turned to see Legolas grab an orc’s shield and slide it across the parapet in front of him. With a running start, he leapt on tip of it and rode on top of the shield down the stairs, firing arrow after arrow at the orcs entering through the hole in the wall. At the last moment, before he reached the end of the steps, he jumped off the shield and landed on his feet as the forked end of the shield drove itself into the armoured chest of a nearby orc.
Snatching an arrow from his quiver, Legolas shoved it into the face of a charging orc then furiously kicked the orc in the chest, knocking it backwards as he withdrew his arrow from its face.
Gimli sat up in the murky water and sit the water from his mouth as Aragorn grabbed his shoulder and pulled in from the water.
In one swift motion, Legolas put away his bow and retrieved his knives. He twirled his knives around in his hands then with one blade, he blocked an orc’s blow while he used his other fist to punch the orc in the jaw. Legolas spun around, plunging his knife into the orc’s back.
Gimli knocked another orc to the ground and brought his axe down on its armoured chest with a loud clang of metal impacting metal.
Legolas sliced open the throat of another orc with his blood-covered knife then pushed the orc backwards to the ground. How much longer would they be able to keep this up, he wondered as he glanced around him at all the orcs and diminishing elves.
“Aragorn! Fall back to the keep!” Théoden ordered from the refuge the keep temporarily provided.
“To the keep!” Aragorn shouted then turned to fight another orc. “Pull back to the keep! Haldir, Silvren! Aragorn shouted up to the two elves who had been battling near each other. “Pull back to the keep!”
Haldir gave Aragorn a quick nodded and glanced up at the remaining elves who stood on the parapet with him, motioning for them to fall back. Silvren nodded to Aragorn and turned to see Haldir standing in front of her. Haldir turned to face Silvren and nodded to her; she nodded back and took off towards the stairs but was cut off by an orc. She used her knives to deflect his swinging sword then plunged her knives into his abdomen. She watched as the orc fell to the ground in front of her then she leapt over the dead body and ran down the stone steps. For some reason Haldir could not turn away from her, was it because he had never seen her in this position before, fighting for life and the lives of those around her? Or was it because she seemed to have matured since her last visit to Lothlórien? Haldir shook his head and turned to fight another approaching orc. He swung his sword at the orc but was stabbed in return. As he turned around he felt something heavy hit him in the back of the head and then everything seemed to grow fuzzy.
“What are you doing? What are you stopping for?” Gimli grumbled as Legolas and another elf carried the dwarf away from the battle.
“Haldir!” Aragorn shouted as he ran up the stairs towards the dazed and wounded elf. Aragorn ran up behind him and knelt at his side with his arm around Haldir’s shoulder. Aragorn watched in dismay as the lifeless body leaned back against his arm and Haldir’s head fell back against Aragorn’s shoulder. Aragorn placed his bloodied hand on his chest and then to Haldir’s still chest and gently laid Haldir’s body on the ground. He now had another reason to win this battle, to fight ‘til he could fight no more. The death of a friend was not something he took lightly and he had known Haldir for many years, long enough to consider him a friend. He would avenge his friend’s death by killing every last orc he came in contact with.