Disclaimer: Middle-Earth and all its creatures belong to Tolkien. I make no money off of this.
Reviews are greatly appreciated. Constructive criticism will have me bowing at your feet.
A/N: Much thanks to my wonderful beta, MJ.

On The Wall

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My horse sweeps 'cross the plains of my kingdom; dressed in armor am I, prepared for all battles. No enemy will stand before me, for my blade will fell them all. I feel the wind in my hair. The sun beats down-

- and the shaking of stone beneath my feet jars me from my waking dream. It is a dream, I know, that will never come to pass. I will die this day.

The Orcs, these foul things called Uruk-hai, are pounding up to the gates of Helm's Deep. I am too far back, and cannot see much. What I do see makes the scant meal I earlier forced down my throat return to my mouth. The taste of bile sickens me further, but I swallow it back, sparing a glance at the men around me. No, I will not show my fear. Though my legs can barely hold me, not for all the riches of the world would I betray such feelings to my fellow Rohirrim, these Riders of the Mark.

Beyond my sight, a voice raises up in song, calming and soothing. Soon it is joined by others- It is one of the most ancient songs of our people. Though I can hardly breathe to keep myself alive, the strength of these men, who will most surely die in this battle, comforts me. As it drives back my fear, I look out to the ground below. The battle will soon begin.

We wait for it, moments that pass as years- and then they are upon us, the loathsome Orcs, felling men as if they were saplings.

Ah, no! We are Rohirrim. We will defeat this enemy, and remain strong. We are the horse-lords, and we will endure. Even as the Uruk-hai bring their weapons down upon us, they are evaded, and driven back.

But still men fall. Still the Orcs press forward.

My arms tremble with the weight of my sword. It seems as if there is a shield about me, for the battle rages on, yet I am unharmed. I cannot fight; my eyes are drawn to my sword. It was made by my grandsire, a triumph of metalworking skills. This sword could give even Dwarvish weapons a run, I have heard my brothers say. My father pressed it into my hands before the battle began, and now I wonder what weapon he has, now that I have his. I wonder if he still lives.

Whatever magic has kept me safe now departs; an Orcish blade swings perilously near. Though I raise my blade to fend him off, the sword still catches my forearm. I drop my weapon; he raises his again for the kill, but I scramble away, ducking between legs and fallen bodies.

Waiting for the battle to begin, I felt the equal of these men; now I am reminded of my age and inexperience. I can do naught but pant with fear as the battle rages around me, friend and foe felled alike.

So it goes for what seems like whole ages; blood and rain mingling, slicking the stones until one can hardly stand. In my tenuous refuge- curled between two fallen warriors and a wall- smeared with blood, tired and frightened beyond any hope, I try to will the blades of the enemy away from me. They come dangerously close, and too often for my liking.

There is a yell; perhaps a call for retreat, or simply a cry to further battle, I cannot tell. I know that it came from my king. I see him, through the struggling bodies, proud and fearsome even in the face of this terror. I see, too, what he cannot- behind him, an Uruk-hai cuts through Rohirrim warriors as if they were string, bearing down on the king. As if in a dream, I rise from my shelter, the legs I thought had turned to wax carrying me across the short distance.

I spring; my weight is little, but the evil creature did not expect to be thwarted so close to his kill. And not, assuredly, by a child. His sword finds a sheath in me, the pain nearly driving me out of my mind- but still, I think, it was not Théoden-king!

A slash, a scream- ah, no, that is my own- a howl of anger, from the Orc, and he is felled as he would have felled the king. The battle is cooling; still it goes on, but here, at least, it has slowed enough that the king takes precious seconds to look at me. In his eyes, I see anger, and hurt beyond any other I have encountered. From his lips comes a whisper that barely reaches my ears; he calls me son, calls me warrior. Try as I might, I cannot hear beyond those few words, and he turns away as the battle rages once more.

The pain in my body lessens even now, and there is not the blackness I had expected, but a bright light, as the sun on the fields of my home. I am grown; strong and fair, with the faith and trust of the king in my heart, warming me. My horse sweeps 'cross the plains…