The young boy now looked at the wisened and war scared face of the old man. “Before Rohan was rebuilt?” he asked him, hiding behind his father’s bulk as the alert eyes strayed to him. The storyteller nodded. “A lomg time ago, beyond my years to recall, be just glad that you did not know such hardships my boy.”
The fall of Rohan had been almost two centuries ago, and still this man lived. Yet no one for one moment doubted his truth. He seemed fond of this memory, and he had the blood of Númenor in his veins, he had openly told them that, yet no sword was placed at his throte.
Continuing his story the man ran a sweaty palm over his tired eyes, and took another sip of his mead, slowly choseing his words. “That man was the exiled prince of Rohan. His father was the king, held in the prisons of Minas Tirith. I was so keen to hear his tale that day that I did not see the fires as they crossed near to us, untill he awoke me from my thoughts as the dry ground errupted into flame.
“We ran. We could do naught else. The drought there had taken away the water, and we made for the ruins of helms deep.
“The revered silence was disturbed by our footfalls, and the dry gasping of our breath. The great doorway remained, built of stone which had fallen over the long years, lay upon the charred ground. Dragon fire roamed the brooding sky as we picked our way through the former glory, the former brilliance.
“How could I have ever imagined the scale of that place. Have you ever seen it?” He asked the boy, who shook his head. Some of the men nodded, or grunted in recignition of this landmark, and one man prodded the fire, hoping to drive away the night for another hour or so, idley tossing a mixture of dry and rotten wood onto the ashes.
The man continued again, remembering helms deep as he had seen it. “They did say, at one time, that that mighty fortress would not fall while any man of Rohan still defended it. Though who was of Rohan at that time left to defend it?
“The ghosts of cries and shouts echoed around our heads as the memories of war and peace seeped out of the very bricks of that place. Carrion fowl, the remains of war, flew noisily among the great stone ceilings, and the prince of Rohan led me still, untill we came to a central room, delved deep into the caverns at the mountains root which was so very differant from all that I had yet seen, in more ways than one.