~Then There Were Ten~ Chapter #17: The Black Gate of Mordor and Lome’s (Mica’s) Return From the Dead~
Finally, after many, many long days in the Dead Marshes, Gollum Lead them out, and lead them up to the top of a steep hill. At the top, they looked over the edge of the cliff, and behold! there was the Black Gate of Mordor. Sam and Frodo cowered at the site, but Turuna did not. She had seen it before, and did not fear it.
She had no fear of anything anymore, all that she had known and loved she had left behind to live their lives without her. She knew what her fate was to be, and what the fate of Frodo and Sam were to be in the end. This was something they would not simply walk away from.
Over her long years, she had learned that those who sacrifice so much usually got the least in the end. She had sacrificed so much over the years, and for who? For what? And why? Maybe it was for the freedom and peace of all those on the planet of Arda. Maybe it was for all those innocents out there that just wanted to live a normal, peaceful life. But what was she going to get in the end?
Nothing, that’s what. She had thought long and hard on this, and knew what was to happen. She had known the answer long before she had started to think about it. No matter what the odds, no matter what the foe, no matter what the sacrifices, she would go to the end and further to preserve the lives of all those innocents out there. She had not a love for life anymore, it had given her nothing but grief and despair. She had lost her mother, her twin, and then her father. After that, she lost many friends, such as Legri who she had seen in the Dead Marshes. She had lost Gil-galad, her friend, and sworn brother.
What more was she going to lose before the end? Nothing because she had nothing more to lose now. Everything that she did have to lose she had set free for them to live peacefully. In the twilight of the night, when the stars were first appearing, she knew they would think of her. She knew that, even though she had let them go, they would not be able to let go of her so easily. Especially Mica and Legolas.
Mica, her foster child, had been the daughter of two of her great friends. One had died in the Last Alliances War against Sauron, the other, his wife, from grief. She had then taken Mica under her wing, and had raised her like her own. Mica loved her like a mother, and she loved Mica like a daughter, but she would not let Mica fall into a pit of despair and grief the way she had.
And Legolas, the Elvish Prince of Mirkwood, son of Thranduil, her lover. Though they had never shown it much, it was obvious that they had deep feelings for one another. Never once did they hug, never once did they hold hands, never once did they kiss, never once did they say to one another `I love you.’
And now that she thought about it, she wanted to run back to those two, hug both of them, kiss Mica on the forehead, and tell her mother was home, and was home for good. To tell Legolas how she felt, to say `I love you.’ Just once she would like to do this. But it was not going to be so was it? She had gone on a death seeking adventure, one that she would not return from. Her soul would die, and if her body yet lived it would be an empty shell full of memories of a time long forgotten, and in which she could never live again.
`It’s just best I died there…’ she had thought.
Suddenly, a horn sounded, and broke into her thoughts. She looked over the cliff, and saw a formation of men walking towards the Black Gate in perfect military style. “Easterlings.” She said in a cold whisper.
Frodo and Sam were also looking at them. Suddenly, more horns sounded, and the Black Gate began to open. “Look, it’s opening.” Sam stated, pointing out the obvious. He then moved forward a bit, looking over the edge while Turuna and Frodo continued to observe the Easterlings.
He looked for a bit, then turned to Frodo. “I can see a way down.” Suddenly, the rock that he was lying on gave way, and he fell.
Without so much as a cry, Turuna leapt up, and began to slide down after him, Frodo right behind her. Frodo and her soon made it down to Sam, but two of the soldiers had noticed the rocks sliding down, though they did not see Turuna, Sam, nor Frodo. Turuna saw them coming, grabbed Frodo, ducked his head down, then covered herself, Sam, and Frodo up with her cloak.
The soldiers walked forward, spears at the ready, but all they saw was a huge bolder, and nothing more. Slowly, they scanned the area for anything more.
Turuna lifted the bottom of the cloak up enough so they could see the feet of the soldiers that were standing only millimetres away. Turuna could hear the Hobbits hearts beating a little bit in fear. It was not enough for the men to hear, but it still made her a little nervous.
After a few dreadful seconds, that seemed to last for an eternity, the two men finally turned and left. Turuna ripped her cloak back, grabbed Sam, and pulled him out of the little rock hole he had fallen into. She then turned back to the Black Gate, which was now about to close, as the last of the men were walking in now.
“I do not ask you to come with me Sam.” Frodo said to Sam. He said nothing to Turuna because he knew it would be a waste of time.
“I know, Mr. Frodo. I doubt even these Elvish Cloaks will aid us in there.”
Frodo nodded. “Now!” He cried leaping forward, Sam and Turuna right next to him. But then, Turuna felt something yank on her long hair, pulling her back. She landing hard on her back from the harsh tug, and Frodo and Sam lay next to her.
“No!” It was Gollum. “Don’t take it to him! He want’s the precious, and the precious is wanting to go back to him.” Gollum then whispered something that even Turuna did not heard. Frodo went for the gate again, as it was now closing, but Gollum grabbed him again. “No! There’s a more secret way. A dark way.”
“Are you saying there is another way into Mordor?”
“Yes, yes, stairs, then…tunnel.”
Turuna looked worriedly at Frodo. She was sure she knew where he was going to lead them, and knew the dangers of that path. He sighed. “We have trusted you this far. Lead the way.”
“Good Smeagol always helps.” Gollum said, leaping away, happily leading them away from the gate as the last click of it shutting was heard. Turuna just dropped her head, and slowly shook it side to side. She had promised to follow Frodo to the end, and so she would no matter what his decisions did.
So, they slowly followed Gollum away from the gate, which Turuna knew was their first mistake, but it was up to the Hobbits now. She could decide nothing for them now. It was up to them to grow up, open their eyes, and take in the world and do what needed to save themselves. She was just a mere helper there to guide only if needed.
Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas rode next to Theoden King, with their heads bowed down. Theoden rode into the gates of Helm’s Deep first. Horns rang out, and shouts where heard, but no one paid attention to them, their hearts were too heavy.
As soon as they dismounted, Theoden, Legolas, and Aragorn walked up a set of stairs into a room to talk. Eowyn came running out, and Gimli stepped in front of her. “Milady.”
She turned worrisome eyes on him. “Lord Lome, where is he?”
Gimli’s face turned white. “….he fell.”
The words hit Eowyn like an arrow through the heart. She looked around, not believing it to be true. But all she got from the soldiers was the same mournful look. Slowly, she fell to her knees. No tears stained her face, but everyone knew that something inside of her had broken. The Shield Maiden’s will was breaking.
Mica was floating down a deep river. She had been knocked out from the fall, and was floating unconsciously down the river. She floated up next to the shore, and laid there for a long while.
Slowly, she began to come back to consciousness, when a horse came walking up to her, and nudged her a bit with his nose. She opened her eyes, expecting to see Earelen. But instead it was a brown horse, Theodred’s horse. “Brego.”
Brego lightly nudged her with his nose, and she groaned a bit in pain. He then carefully lied down next to her. Painfully, she took a hold of his mane, and pulled herself up onto Bergo’s back. Brego then stood, and began to trot off at a steady speed.
Mica held on with all the strength she had in her legs, and wrapped her arms around Brego’s neck. After a while, the sun began to go down, and Mica began to nod her head in weariness. She felt herself begin to slip off Brego’s back when she heard Brego’s hoof beats hit solid rock. She opened her eyes, and saw that Brego was riding up a paved path.
She held her head up a bit to see the great fortress of Helm’s Deep. “[Well done Brego. Well done].” She whispered to him in a voice that she herself almost did not hear.
Brego trotted up the pathway, and Mica heard a horn blow, and shouts. The gate opened, and Brego rode in. Mica held on until he stopped, then slipped off his back. She then turned to the people surrounding her, and hear comments like. “He’s alive!”
Gimli came running out as soon as he had heard that Lome was alive, and back. “Where is he?! I’m going to kill him!” The dwarf pushed a few people out of his way just in time to see Lome leap from a horses back.
“My! You are the luckiest, canniest, and most reckless elf I have ever known save Legolas! It’s good to see you alive, and…” He stopped when he saw the shape that Lome was in. “Dear me, you need to go see a healer now.”
“No.” Lome said, standing up on shaky legs. He walked past Gimli, and began up the stairs, doing his best not to show how weak he was.
Gimli followed him. “Oh no you don’t! Go to a healer.”
“Come on lad, not even elves can fight well with half their strength. You hardly have any in you to stand, much less hold a sword. Go to a healer.”
“No time.” Lome pushed Gimli out of the way. “War is upon us.”
Just then, as he reached the top of the stairs, he felt arms wrap around him, it was Eowyn. She buried her head into his shoulder and began to cry. “Shield Maiden, please, I have to talk to Theoden King.”
“I’m so glad to see you alive!” She cried, without heeding any attention to his words.
Carefully, Lome pushed Eowyn away. “Shield Maiden, time is short, I need to talk to Theoden.” He began to walk past her.
She snatched out and grabbed him by his forearm. “Is this all you give in response to the affections I show you?! Is this all?!” When he turned to her, she expected to see broken eyes that had finally given in.
But instead she saw the same, cold, unbreakable eyes she had always seen. With a cry, she turned, and ran off. Lome, on the other hand, stood there, watching her until she disappeared, then turned, and went to find Theoden.
Legolas stood as he saw Lord Lome enter the room. He stepped up in front of him, stopping him from where he was going. “[You’re late my friend].” He said, looking into Lome’s eyes. He then looked at Lome’s outfit. “[You look terrible.]”
For a moment both were silent, but then they both shared a much needed laugh. Legolas then reached into his pocket, and pulled out the necklace he had taken from the Orc that had nearly killed Lome earlier.
He handed it to Lome, then took Lome’s dagger from his belt and handed that to him too. Lome looked down at the two items, and smiled. “[Thank you, Legolas. My friend].” He put the necklace back around his neck, and tucked it under his armour. He then put the knife back where it belonged on his belt. Lome then smiled again, and exchanged a hug with Legolas. He then turned and walked off.
For a moment, Legolas just stood there. Something about that hug had not seemed right. Lome had seen, well, too skinny, and his hug was a bit weaker then should be. The smile, it was also wrong, and he recognized something about it. He just didn’t know what it was.
Giving up on trying to figure it out, he decided to try later on. There was a war to prepare for now. He had no time to think of such things at the moment. He turned, and walked away.
Theoden looked up as the doors in which lead into the room he sat in opened, and behold! There stood Lord Lome, the Elven Lord he had thought dead. Aragorn, who was sitting with him, let out a cry, jumped up, and ran over to Lome. “Lome! Is that truly you, or are my eyes deceiving me?!”
Lome gave a faint smile. “No, no illusion am I! It is Lord Lome as you see him!” Lome let out a small laugh. “And yet, out of the pan and into the fire as some may say, for into the fire have I leapt from the pan.”
“Well, at least you are not alone. Now come! We are thinking up our defensive plans for the upcoming battle, you can help.”
Lome nodded, and joined them.
It did not take too long to figure out a battle plan, and Lome left the room, saying that he wanted to have time to think by himself.
Mica, after discussing the battle plan, went outside to sit on the steps by herself. She knew that this plan, as well planned out as it was, would not work. Helm’s Deep was going to become a slaughter house. She had know that this was to be, that there would be no help. This was the end for Rohan, she knew it in her heart. Unless someone else came to help, which the odds of that were slim, Helm’s Deep would fall. Even Gandalf, the White Rider, would not come in time to save them.
All men, and young lads that were able to wield weapons had been sent to the armoury. She had nearly begun to weep when she watched them come out, bearing arms and hopeless faces. Even they had no hope, no hope of living out the night. She looked at the kids, who were clad in armour, and held weapons in hand. This was the end.
One of the kids looked over at her, he was shakily holding a sword, and looking around for someone to comfort his heavy heart. Slowly, he walked up to her. “Lord Lome?”
Mica looked into the kids eyes. “Yes, Lad?”
“I’m afraid. The men say we will not last the night. They say that it is hopeless.”
Mica looked down, then she looked into the young lads eyes. “Hope there always is, even when there is none, my lad.” She stood up, and carefully took the sword from him. She swung it a bit. She then looked back at the boy. “This is a good sword, it will protect you well.” She then handed the sword back to him. “Remember, there is always hope. And if you wish, you can fight next to me. I’ll protect you, even if I die. The will of the spirit is strong.”
The boy smiled. “I would very much like to fight by your side, Lord Lome.”
“Then fight by my side you will. What may your name be?”
“Haleth, son of Hama my lord.” The lad said with a smile.
“Well, come with me, Haleth son of Hama, I will teach you had to use that sword a bit.”
Later, Mica sat with the lad on the steps again. They were talking a bit, and she was trying desperately not to let him despair, even though she herself had no hope of living. She was, as Grima had called her, deathseeker.
Suddenly, in the distance, she heard the familiar sound of a horn. At first she froze, wondering if the Uruks had come before expected. But then, when it rang out again, she knew who it was.
With a cry of joy, she jumped up, picked the lad up, and spun around in joy. “Lothlorien has come!”
The lad laughed out in surprise and joy. Again, the horn rang out, and filled everyone’s hearts with joy. `There’s hope!’ Mica thought, as she sat the lad down, and turned to see the Elves come marching up the stairs towards them.
Theoden, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ran up beside her, and cried out in surprise and joy. Aragorn leapt forward, and embraced the leader of the group, who Mica saw was Haldir, her war brother. She, too, ran forward, and embraced Haldir. Both Aragorn’s and her embrace seemed to surprise him, but he embraced them back non the less.
He then turned to Theoden. “How is this possible?” Theoden asked, his mouth gaping open.
“Once there was an alliance between Elves and men. Long ago, we fought and died together. We come to honour that allegiance. We are proud to fight along side men once more.”
Gollum continued to lead Frodo, and Turuna on. They stopped, after a while to have some rest. Turuna, though she kept a bit of her mind awake just in case, decided to actually get some sleep this night. For she had not truly gone to sleep since the last night they had spent in Lorien. She was growing weary, and had felt her strength leaving because she had not been resting, but she had not dared to because of Gollum.
But, for some reason, she felt secure enough to rest tonight. So she did not hear the argument that Gollum had with himself that night. But, the next morning, she found that he was acting differently. He was not acting like his Gollum side, but his Smeagol side. It was almost like he had chased away his Gollum side over night.
Gollum came up to Frodo, and dropped to rabbits into his lap. “Look! See what Smeagol finds!”
Sam smiled, stepped forward, and picked the rabbits up. “These would make a great stew!” And, although Turuna had voiced her thoughts against it, Sam set about cooking the meat. It did not take long, and he handed a bowl to Frodo, Turuna, and then offered a bowl to Gollum. But Gollum turned it down, and slumped off to go do something. Turuna eat a little bit of her stew, and kept her ears open.
She sat her empty bowl down, and stood. Suddenly, she heard something like birds whisling, but she knew better, there was no birds in these parts. She immediately went to investigate. Frodo saw her leave, and followed. Sam, too, followed.
Turuna climbed up onto a hill, and immediately dropped down onto her belly when she saw the army of Haradrim. Frodo and Sam crawled up beside her, and looked down at the army as well. “Who are they?” Sam asked Turuna.
“They’re Haradrim. Wicked men, or southerns as some call them.” She then went quiet as she heard more bird whistling. And then, suddenly, a rain of arrows flew out, and began to hit the Haradrim. The men all turned, and began to run in terror, but they were all hit by arrows.
Turuna turned to the Hobbits. “Time to go.” She then began to go when Sam grabbed her arm. “Wait! Look! It’s an Olipahnt!”
Turuna turned back to see the familiar sight of an Olipahnt. It came charging forward, and came towards them. But then it turned, and a man that just got hit by an arrow, fell off, and hit the ground not far from where Turuna, Frodo, and Sam lay.
“It is defiantly time to go.” Turuna, followed by Frodo, stood, and began for the patch of woods just a few meters away. But they both turned back when they saw that Sam wasn’t following. “Come on Sam!” Turuna cried. She then turned, and went to run again, but she bumped into something.
She looked up, and saw that it was a cloaked man. She immediately reached for her sword, but the man grabbed a hold of her hands, and pulled them away. She then kicked him in the stomach, but that did not make him let go. Instead, he threw her down on the ground, and put a foot on her shoulder to keep her down. Another man stepped forward, drew his sword, and held it up to her throat.
She immediately went still, and looked over at Frodo and Sam who were also held down in the same fashion. She then looked up to see a man step forward, and look down at all three of them. “Who are you?”
“We are weary travellers bound to an errand of secrecy.” Frodo answered.
“There are no travellers in these lands.” He looked over at Turuna. “Much less any Elves, unless they are servants of the Dark Lord himself.” He motioned to the men. One of them grabbed Turuna by her hair, and pulled her to her knees, keeping a good grip on her hair just in case. Turuna gritted her teeth, usually she hurt people severely when they touched her hair, but the lives of Frodo and Sam might be at sake here.
The man stepped forward, and knelt down to look into her eyes. “Who are you, and what is your errand? Speak quickly, or taste the blade.”
Turuna gritted her teeth, looked over at Frodo and Sam, then back into the mans eyes. “My name is Turuna Laime. The dark haired one is Frodo Baggins, and the light haired one is Samwise Gamgee. Both are Hobbits of the Shire, or Halflings as you may call them. We are on an errand to Mount Doom to destroy…” She stopped, not knowing if she should say it or not.
“First tell me who you are, then I may answer that question.”
“I am Faramir, Caption of Gondor, son of the Steward Denethor. Now, what is it that you are going to destroy.”
Turuna paused, not knowing if she should still say it to him or not. She closed her eyes, and bowed her head, using her special birth powers to look into his heart. She searched for any means that he might use the rings for, but found none.
“Well?” Faramir asked, getting impatient.
Her words were echoed in fear by the other men that stood about them. “Isuldurs bane?” Faramir asked, looking at her in disbelief.
She nodded. “Yes, Isuldurs bane was found…and now we are on a mission to destroy it.”
Faramir stood there for a second in thought. He then turned to his men. “Blindfold them, and take them to the hideout.” The men nodded, and did as they were told.