AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Sorry folks, I don't own Lord of the Rings or any of the characters, places, events, or other specifics found within Tolkien's universe.  I'm just borrowing them for the purpose of a little story.  I receive absolutely nothing for this story, except your feedback (big hint! grin).  So please, read and review! And yes, I'm going by the movie, not the books.  If some details are wrong, it's been quite a while since I last saw The Two Towers, so please don't shred me for it. grin

SUMMARY: Haldir's final thoughts before dying at Helm's Deep.

RATING – PG-13 ('cause Haldir dies *sniffle*)

Okay, now that that's over, on with the story, unless you want to make a quick sidetrack to get some tissues.  I dunno, it might just hit that right nerve…shrugs

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Pain.  Searing hot, blinding, pain. 

That's what I feel tear through my body as the orc sword plunges into me.  But I do not stop to give him victory, for I raise my own sword and return the blow.  The orc falls dead at my feet and I use my free hand to clutch at where the brute has wounded me.  From my other hand, my sword falls, the clatter of the cold steel against the cold, wet stone of Helm's Deep lost to the commotion of the battle all around me.  Ai, battle is not strong enough a word, nor would war rightly describe the fighting that is taking place.  Perhaps such a word does not exist in the tongues of men or elves or any other language of Middle Earth.  I do not know.  I know only one thing as I pull my hand back away from my wound with a sharp intake of breath - it hurts to touch it.  I look down at my hand. 

Blood.  My blood.

Aragorn is still yelling for the troops to fall back, orders from Theoden no doubt.  Aragorn is a man of tougher stuff than that, and if the choice were his, there is not a single fiber of my being that tells me that he'd call such a sudden retreat.  Surely the orcs have breeched the Deeping Wall, but….

More pain rips through me as I struggle to breath.  The wound has pierced my left lung I suspect, and each breath grows harder, confirming my fears.  Suddenly, I am hit with a jarring realization.  If my lung is pierced, I shall not live to see out the night.  Ai, I know not even if I will see the inside of the great fortress again, for I fear that the damage done to me is too great.

All around me, men and elves are fighting with the orcs, always working their way back towards the fortress.  What good will it do them, I wonder.  After all, the enemy is not likely to give up even if they do retreat.  Their only hope for beating Sauron's army is regroup, take the orcs by surprise, but not even I know how that will do much good.  The sheer numbers of the orcs and urak-hai soldiers are too great.  Legolas had said that the odds facing them are around three hundred men to ten thousand uraks.  No, I shall not despair!  They must beat the Enemy!

Another sharp intake of breath forces my thoughts in a different direction as I see the bodies of my fallen comrades all around me.  To my left, a pile of bodies, both men and elves alike, and I suddenly remember what I had said to Theoden, just a few hours earlier.

I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell.  An alliance once existed between elves and men.  Long ago we fought and died together.  We come to honor that allegiance.

Died together.

Now it seems as if that statement is once again all too true.  I had feared this, the shedding of blood that would mark the great war, a war which would spread to all Middle Earth.  All the elves had feared it, and in Lorien we had felt the cold shadow of Sauron growing.

Ah, Lorien, I fear that I shall never again see your ageless beauty, never again walk amongst your strong, fair trees.  Though the world around me begins to fade, I can still see the silver glow of the moonlight poured out over your woods - my favorite time to walk amongst them – and the image is bright, undimmed by the darkness that gathers before my eyes.  And though the sounds of battle had once been deafening to my ears, I now hear only the silken voices of my kin, soft and beautiful to hear.

Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel had summoned me to them before I left.  I, the captain of those assembled to fight, and upon me they had laid a special blessing, for I alone was to lead them to battle – and to possible death.  Now I am filled with a deep sense of sadness.  It is not grief that my life is draining from me, for it better I should die trying to stop this evil than live without fighting.  But rather, it is a deep sorrow that I shall never return to my lord and lady, or to my beloved home. 

The voice of Aragorn crying out to me jars me suddenly out of my wandering thoughts and back to the battle.  From behind me, another urak has come to avenge his slain monstrous kin.  He raises his weapon, but I have not the strength to turn and meet him.  My breath comes in ragged gasps, my blood from its' wound flows freely.  I tense, knowing that the strike will pierce my breast, somewhere between the shoulder blades.  I am not prepared for this urak's intentions.

My head explodes in fresh pain as the foul creature delivers a blow with his axe.  The cold steel blade cracks the bones of the skull.  I can feel my blood covering all the rest of my head.  With a savage motion, the axe is pulled free and white hot, blinding pain flashes in front of my eyes.  After a moment, I can finally blink, and the blinding light is replaced by ever growing darkness.

I blink a few more times, stunned still, for the pain is all but unbearable.

Died together. 

The words keep ringing in my head.  Once more I look upon the slain.  Elves and men – all lives taken so ruthlessly by the Enemy.  All lives given in to help beat back that storm.  I can barely see them now, for the thick haze that clouds my vision.

Rest now, my dear brothers, all of you who have died this night and all those who still are to fall before this battle is done.  We have fought the good fight.  Fare thee well Aragorn, elf-friend.  May you find peace at the end of your journey.  Fare thee well Legolas, friend of old, beloved elf-prince.  May the Valar protect you and see you safely home again.  Fare thee well Lorien, ever my home, ever loved by me.

My legs give way and I fall before the dead.  The last thing I am aware of is Aragorn by my side, my head resting against his arm, as the darkness consumes me.