This story was inspired by a comment made by EntSpinter in a review of the story "Knife-work." Welcome to yet another missing scene for the Battle of Helm's Deep as it was portrayed in the books. Sorry, Haldir fans, but for me, there was only one elf at that battle and he was from Mirkwood.

Stone From Above

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What does that mean?
That Gandalf Greyhame has need of haste. Ever he goes and comes unlooked-for.
Wormtongue, were he here, would not find it hard to explain.
True enough, but for myself, I will wait until I see Gandalf again.
Maybe you will wait long.

Rohirrim guard and Háma—The Two Towers (Helm's Deep)

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Pain…

Every breath brought with it a new wave of piercing agony. His chest ached and throbbed from the mortal wound he had received. It had been the sword of an Orc that pierced his armor. The entry wound was on his back. His chest bore the exit wound.

Left for dead, Háma, door warden of Theoden, slowly lifted himself up on shaking arms and tried to determine his situation. He had been upon the wall during the last assault and had helped repel those seeking to enter Helm's Deep by way of ladders. It had been a furious and frenzied assault. Orcs had come at them from every direction, and for every foe the defenders had killed, five more had rushed to replace him. The ramparts were dark and slippery with blood. Corpses littered the walkways, and the moonlight glancing off the armor of fallen men was red.

Leaning heavily upon the parapets and shaking grievously with every action he required of his failing body, Háma willed himself upright. Or rather, as upright as he could be given the circumstances. He had served as a rider of Rohan for many years, and though he was dying, he could not abandon his duties as a warrior. Looking about and attempting to clear his pain-blurred vision, Háma noted that the fight had swept past him. The Orcs were behind the Deeping Wall and had split into two columns. One section seemed to be pursuing a band of Rohirrim that were making an organized retreat toward the storage caves. Another legion of Orcs attacked the Hornburg itself, focusing the brunt of its efforts upon the rear-gate. A desperate defense had been mounted, and spearheading this defense, Háma caught a glimpse of the man that had accompanied Gandalf to Edoras.

Aragorn…

Stumbling over bodies and slipping through the slime of battle, Háma made his way closer. After it arched above the Deeping Stream, the outer wall split and formed a circle about the Hornburg. Moving onto this section of wall, Háma made his way toward the rear-gate and noted that the upper defenses had been completely abandoned. Men had been called away to keep the enemy from breaking through the gates that led to the inner keep. There were not enough Rohirrim to both man the parapets and defend the doors. Moreover, their arrows were spent and the rocks they had positioned to cast down upon the enemy were gone. There was no purpose in staying upon the high places anymore unless one wished to look the sea of Orcs and Dunlendings that beset them.

A sudden spasm of pain tore through Háma's gut and forced him to his knees. Hissing, he wrapped his arms about his chest and shuddered. His lungs heaved for air, but his wounded chest would not cooperate with their demands. Sparks of red flashed before Háma's eyes, and the world began to spin around him. For a long minute he stayed thus, frozen by his wound. Then the pain relaxed its hold, but it did not release him completely. It was worse now, and he could tell that he had not long to live.

Marshalling his strength and once again forcing his reluctant body to obey his commands, Háma raised his head and glared at the massing hosts far below in the Deep. He would not so easily give in to death! Not when there were deeds yet to be done. He was of the Rohirrim, a proud people that did not cease to fight until the light of life dimmed from their eyes and they could move no more. So long as there was breath in his body, Háma was a soldier of the Mark. There was still work for him.

Pulling himself up against the parapets, Háma leaned over and turned his eyes to the rear-gate. It was becoming more difficult to focus his eyes, and all things were seen as though through a hazy film. Yet he could make out enough details to sense that the battle was becoming worse. He could make out the dim figures of men retreating up the broad stairway that led to the rear-gate. A sudden flash of light caught his attention, and he found himself staring at Aragorn's sword as it clashed against the blades of the Orcs. But despite Andúril's brightness, those around Aragorn were falling too quickly. If the Ranger did not soon retreat, he would be surrounded and cut off. Shouts were rising from within, begging him to come back, but he was unable to turn his back on his foes. Moreover, he seemed unwilling to leave until all who fought were safely within the inner keep.

But it was an act of folly. One man could not hold back the tides that faced Aragorn. With an arm still wrapped firmly around his chest and a lightheadedness beginning to overtake his mind, Háma glance about for something or someone that might be of aid to the Ranger. And his eyes eventually came to rest upon a boulder that had not been thrown from the wall. For whatever reason, it was still upon the ramparts, resting on the very edge and situated almost directly above the rear-gate. Marveling at this stroke of fortune, Háma forced himself toward the stone, his breath now coming in wheezing gasps. Little time now remained to him, but perhaps he could do some good before the end.

Somehow, Háma's faltering legs found the strength to make the short journey to the boulder. By that time, he was exhausted and fighting off unconsciousness with a fury that would have done Eorl justice. The fight below had grown desperate, and Aragorn was virtually alone upon the stairs. Háma could see the shape of another figure just outside the rear-gate. This soldier knelt with a notched bow, and Háma's fading mind paused briefly to wonder where this other warrior had managed to find an arrow. It was quite probably the only arrow left in the keep.

Shaking his head free of the mental cobwebs now forming rapidly, Háma concentrated once more on Aragorn. The Ranger looked as though he was about to attempt a retreat, but when he turned his back, his only defense would be that lone archer who bore but a single arrow. The Orcs had withdrawn for a space, but the moment Aragorn turned and dropped his guard, they would be upon him. The Ranger needed more time than what a single archer could guarantee.

Turning his attention to the boulder, Háma examined its position and determined that he could push it directly onto the bottom of the stairs that led up to the rear-gate. It was a far drop and distance was difficult to determine in the darkness, but Háma was fairly certain about his judgement. The rock would crash between Aragorn and the Orcs, hopefully granting the Ranger enough time to reach safety. Or rather, temporary safety, for the Hornburg itself was now besieged, and it would only be a matter of time before it fell. Still, time was time and with greater time came greater hope. Gandalf had promised to return, and if they could hold out until dawn, there might be a chance for victory.

Wasting no further thought, Háma took up a stance behind the rock, pressed himself against it, and pushed. He felt the boulder shift and tip over the edge, and for a brief moment, joy eclipsed his pain. But then the stone slid back, rocking slightly as it returned to its original position. Frowning and ignoring the protests of pain that clamored from his injury, Háma repeated his movements, ducking his head with exertion and searching for purchase upon the smooth stone beneath his feet. But Háma's body was weakening fast, and this time, the boulder did not move at all.

Gasping with effort, Háma drew back and glared at the stone. He could feel his strength fleeing him, and he could feel a fiery agony spreading outward from his wound. If he was to act, he had to act now. But it seemed he had no strength left to act! Moving back to the stone, he once again laid his shoulder to it and surged forward, but his feet slipped and he crashed to the ground, the impact causing him to cry out and clutch at his chest.

Shivering, Háma lifted his head and looked to the sky, silently pleading for help to accomplish his purpose. But the stars gave him no answer, and he cast his eyes down again, despairing at the thought that Aragorn would die when a simple push from above might save him. With a strangled sob, Háma slammed his fist onto the unforgiving stone of the ramparts, and as he did so, he felt his flesh brush against a strangely coarse fiber.

A rope…

Startled for a moment, an idea suddenly entered Háma's mind. And even as he turned to look at the rope, a sharp outcry from far below caught his attention. Time was up. If there was to be salvation for Aragorn, it had to be now!

His pain was ignored as he hurried to act. Moving awkwardly and weakly, Háma wrapped the rope he'd found around the boulder and then stepped atop the parapet, swaying dizzily but somehow keeping his balance. Below, he watched as Aragorn turned and attempted to gain the gates. But he stumbled in his race for safety. Orcs surged forward, seizing the opportunity with a sickening madness. The archer before the gates fired, his last arrow felling the foremost opponent, but others followed swiftly. Aragorn tried to regain his feet, yet weariness had taken its toll. He was too slow in rising.

Turning away from the scene, Háma once again looked at the boulder and then at the rope in his hands. With a deep breath, he mustered the last of his energy, swung out over the wall using the rock as an mainstay, braced his feet, and pulled.

His meager strength alone had been insufficient, but his weight on the other end of the rope made up for his weakness. The boulder tipped outward, gaining speed as its weight shifted, and then it fell. Suddenly bereft of an anchor, Háma flew backwards, watching with rather detached amazement as the boulder followed after him. The rope snapped over Háma's head, and as he flew beside the plummeting stone, time seemed to slow to a crawl.

Falling…

Háma knew the fate of those who died among the Orcs. Their bodies were brutally tortured and desecrated. Utterly mutilated. Completely destroyed beyond any reasonable hope of recognition. Those were the men who were buried upon the battlefield, for to carry their ruined remains home to family and kin would be an act almost as cruel as the death itself. But Háma was already doomed to die. His wound could not be healed. He had been a soldier in the service of the Mark long enough to recognize a fatal injury. There was no hope for him. And if he was to die, why not make his death a sacrifice that was worthy of a warrior? Why not die protecting a king? And since his own king was within the Hornburg, why not die protecting the future king of Gondor?

Fading…

Háma remembered well the proud words spoken before the doors of Meduseld. He remembered the lineage proclaimed by Aragorn, son of Arathorn. He had witnessed for himself the majesty and power in the flashing gray eyes. With a single glance, it seemed as though Isildur's heir could read every intent and thought of Háma's heart. Theoden's door warden had known then, and he knew now. This was a king. A king in exile, but a king nonetheless. The last hope of man and the promise of a brighter future beyond the darkness of the East. This was a man for whom Háma would gladly lay down his life.

Flying…

The wind whipped through Háma's hair and his bleary eyes saw the ground rushing toward him. Time still passed slowly, but very soon, time would no longer matter. Whispering a silent prayer to Béma, Háma closed his eyes and drifted into strange worlds of thought, seeming to detach from reality itself. For a moment, all was quiet. All was still.

And then, as though from a far distance, a great shock coursed through all of Háma's being. His ears caught the sound of a stricken cry that died as quickly as it had come. Then nothing. Silence returned, and Háma faded into a blissful darkness, knowing that he had preserved hope for his comrades.


The Orcs had paused for the moment, but it would not be long before they charged the gates again. Exhausted and slightly disoriented from the frenzy of battle, Aragorn raised Andúril above his head as the last of the defenders rushed past in an effort to reach the rear-gate. The ancient blade flashed brightly in the cold moonlight, promising death for any that dared oppose it. But the fury of the Orcs would soon overcome their fear of the sword. Even now they seemed to be readying for another wave.

"Aragorn!"

There had been many shouts from behind, but until now, Aragorn had not heeded them. The battle had been too chaotic to take any thought for his own safety. But now he glanced back and saw Legolas kneeling at the top of the stairs just outside the rear-gate. One arrow remained to the elf, and that one arrow was trained upon the mass of Orcs that prepared to move again.

"All who can have got safe within, Aragorn," the elf called. "Come back!"

For but a moment, the Ranger hesitated. There were yet wounded on the field; Aragorn could hear their cries. But he could not go to them. It would be folly to try, and there had been enough folly in Rohan already. Murmuring a quiet apology that would never each the ears of those doomed to perish, Aragorn turned and began racing back up the steps. But his weary feet betrayed him, and he stumbled as he ran, the light of Andúril fading as his knees hit the stairs. He heard the Orcs cheer and he heard them surge forward. He heard Legolas's lone arrow whistle overhead. He attempted to stand once again, but he could not move fast enough. The battle had been too long and too dark. He was not going to make the gate.

Turning so that he could at least face his enemies honorably before they took him to the ground, Aragorn suddenly leaped back in surprise as a stone crashed down from the heights above. A scream of anguish went up briefly from those caught beneath the boulder, and the Ranger stared, unable to think of how this rock had come to be here. With their supply of arrows exhausted, all men had been called away from the ramparts to the defense of the gates.

But no more thought on this was Aragorn permitted, for instinct took over his mind and he once again ran for the gates. Legolas seized his arm as he stumbled a second time, and together they hastened inside while surrounding Rohirrim hurried to shut the way behind them. The heavy doors slammed into place with a resounding clang, and the angry sounds of the Orcs faded into a dull roar behind the walls.

"Things go ill, my friends," Aragorn murmured, pulling away from Legolas's supporting grip and wiping his brow free of sweat.

"Ill enough," the elf agreed with a backward glance at the doors. "But not yet hopeless," he continued, his eyes turning to Aragorn and his hand coming to rest upon the Ranger's shoulder, "while we have you with us."

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…What will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Háma's body before the gates of the Hornburg after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the house of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers.

Theoden to Saruman—The Two Towers (The Voice of Saruman)

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Author's Notes: We know nothing of Háma's death other than the fact that he died sometime during the Battle of Helm's Deep and was apparently outside one of the gates. This strikes me as strange, especially since Háma was the one to let Gandalf enter Meduseld while still bearing the staff. It was a rather crucial turning point as it enabled the wizard to heal Theoden and expose Wormtongue's lies for what they were. In any case, this is my attempt to pay a little more tribute to the door warden that had enough wisdom to permit Gandalf's staff and also enough trust to give Eomer his sword when the Marshall was released from prison.

The brief bit of dialogue at the very end was lifted directly from the books. For reference, see page 181 of the Two Towers in Ballantine's 50th anniversary paperback edition. The quotes at the beginning and end of this story come from the same book on page 169 and 237, respectively.