Happenings on the Road to Helm's Deep

by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to Lord of the Rings.

Éomer was galloping to the battle at Helm's Deep. He had a horrid feeling that he was going to be late. He muttered curses about daylight savings. Who had invented it anyway? And why had no one reminded him to put his watch forward?

They all hated him, that was it.

He would have glanced at the sun's position, but as a youngster he had never been very good at that. In fact, he knew first-hand the dangers of this method. Once he had rode off a cliff while trying to see what time it was. He had really been late for supper then.

And of course, his bratty little sister had always been perfect at this. She had made fun of him when he had been forced to buy a wristwatch. Very expensive. And the rotten things didn't even work. Why did they do daylight savings, especially on the most important day of the year? What was the point? You had to remember all sorts of complicated things. And he had trouble reading Roman Numerals anyway.

In fact, now that he thought about it more, his stupid watch wasn't even ticking. It was probably dead. That certainly saved him killing it. He shook the watch upside down. The little hands swung about wildly. Éomer swore again, rather colorfully. He felt cheated of his revenge.

Behind all the other riders looked smug and contented. They didn't have to worry about time of course. He was the one in charge.

"I hate technology," thought Éomer grimly. He was mad at the Gondorians for inventing wristwatches and he was mad at the Elves for inventing daylight savings. The horse kept on galloping and he chanted his mantra under his breath, "I hate technology. I hate technology."

That morning his alarm clock hadn't worked, curse it. He had tried to make breakfast and almost burned his bedroll to the ground. Or his horse. He had tripped over one of his sleeping comrades and landed on two more. That had made him popular. At least he had possessed the presence of mind to plaster on a happy grin and say, "Rise and shine" to their startled faces.

It had been impossible to remove their breakfast from the supposedly non- stick frying pan. His horse had almost kicked him in the mouth. His tangled hair had snapped his comb in two pieces. And on top of that, now they were late!

Which brought him back to the point.

Éomer unfastened his wristwatch and flung it into the air, gracefully unsheathed his sword, and swiped the thing in two. The glass shattered into a thousand crystal pieces, gleaming prettily in the sunlight. Éomer felt a thrill of satisfaction. He had even managed to stay on his galloping horse at the same time. He grinned proudly.

Nothing could stop him now.

The sun set.

How had that happened? He had been sure that it was hours until nightfall. Of course, he had been telling that from his broken watch. Maybe hacking the watch in half had ended time!

That was ridiculous.

He halted his riders with a yell and dismounted. They would have to get to Helm's Deep by morning.

All night through, Éomer sat up and sulked. He condemned his wristwatch a hundred times over. He thought wicked but satisfying thoughts about killing the watch. Death by horse. Death by sword. Death by jumping on it. Death by drowning. Death by Éowyn. Death by. . .

Something pretty nasty. Éomer ground his teeth. Nothing was good enough for his watch. It would have to die slowly, its little cogs and wheels ripped out and smashed into tiny fragments.

Éomer wondered if he was overreacting.

Just a little, he decided.

Slowly, the sun's gentle soothing rays touched the horizon. Éomer yelled things at his riders to get them up. Suddenly his voice sank to a croak. He had been muttering all night.

"Are you all right?" asked one of his riders.

"I'm feeling a little hoarse," wheezed Éomer.

"That's a good one!" shouted the rider unsympathetically. Éomer glared ferociously at him, but the rider was unperturbed. "Hoarse! Horse! That's very funny!"

Éomer's jaw dropped as he gazed over his shoulder. Was that what he thought it was? It better not be.

The entrance to Helm's Deep stood about a hundred horse lengths away. What? He had been that close to it the entire night? And he hadn't heard anything? What if the battle was over?

And then, something sunk in. If he had been facing the wrong direction when he woke up, that meant that he had been traveling in the wrong direction. Which meant. . .

"My compass!" shrieked Éomer, getting voice back with a rush. "That blasted compass!"

The horse, shocked by his foul language, nearly died on the spot.

His compass was broken! He would make it pay!

Gandalf hurried up on Shadowfax. "Are you ready, Rohirrim?" he asked.

One of riders merely tipped his head in the direction of Éomer, who was yelling things and jumping up and down on some small round object.

Éomer strode back casually. "Are we ready to fight?" he asked. Everyone was looking at him strangely.

Éomer mounted his horse lightly and unsheathed his sword. Everyone took a step back. "Rohirrim!" he yelled hoarsely, and began galloping down the hill towards the Orcs and Men fighting at the bottom. If anyone had heard what he was muttering to himself as he rode down that hill, they would have made out the words, "I hate technology."

And he did.