What the frell did you do this time Erpman?!
Disclaimer: See chapter one
Author's Notes: Thanks for all the reviews.
Rating: PG13, this chapter contains strong language and graphic violence.
Chapter 40 Quality over Quantity Part 2
A Rohirrim warrior patrolled the battlements on guard duty, eyes constantly scanning the horizon for any signs of the expected Ork army. Night was fast approaching and Saruman's forces could attack at any moment.
Something moved in the edge of his vision. He turned to peer at it and frowned. Whatever was moving was steadily moving towards Helm's Deep. After a few seconds the something was close enough for the watchman to recognize the outline.
"Wargs!" he screamed sounding the alarm. "Wargs!"
Other guards rushed out to man their posts on the wall in response to the alarm.
Aragon rushed onto the battlements, Legolas at his side, looked towards where the guards were pointing. Bowman stood at the ready taking aim towards the approaching wargs.
"Aragon...those are not Wargs!" exclaimed Legolas in surprise. "They are giant wolves and there is a man on riding on one of them, he wearing the armour of a man of Rohan!"
"Hold!" cried out Aragon to the Bowman, before turning back to Legolas. "What else do you see?"
"There are two wolves, I see a man and three women of Rohan-one of the women is holding a young boy. There is a figure in armour I cannot see properly. Aragon...there is a Giant running with them."
Aragon looked sharply at Legolas, "A giant? Giant wolves and a Giant?"
Legolas nodded sharply.
Aragon turned to look at the approaching figure eye straining to see them, his mind reeling with the possibilities, foremost among them, the giant wolves. He'd travelled the width and breadth of Middle Earth and yet...he'd never encountered giant wolves that weren't wargs. So where had these come from? And what about the Giant? There were no Giants around these parts!
Aragon shook his head, too many questions and not enough answers plaguing him, especially this close to combat.
The strange group continued to approach under the watchful gaze of the onlookers, they were fast, very fast, and in next no time the group were at the beginning of the path that led up to the gate of the fortress.
"It's Heruweld!" cried out one of the Rohirrim guards in surprise.
Cries of surprise arose form the gathered, they were soon followed by cheers as the news spread.
Aragon could see them clearly now, as the wolves and giant sedately walked the narrow path leading to the gate. The giant wolves each carried three riders with the Giant following behind. There was an old bloodied Rohirrim warrior along with three exhausted haggard women and a young excited boy. He'd seen them before during their travel from Edoras to Helm's Deep.
But there was one figure he didn't recognise. A purple armoured warrior with a full face mask. A feminine warrior if his eyes didn't deceive him.
Behind them came a giant of prodigious size with the hilt of an equally large and heavy sword rising up from behind one shoulder. Golden eyes stared up at him with a calculating gaze and it took a moment for Aragon to realise that the Giant was staring at him.
As the new arrivals neared the gate, it was lurched open by the defenders.
Next to him, Legolas inhaled sharply, "The wolves Aragon, the wolves...their eyes...they have the eyes of Men." Legolas whispered with a deep shudder.
Aragon threw him an alarmed look, but said nothing as they left the battlements to meet the approaching strangers.
In the courtyard the Rohirrim were gathered, greeting Heruweld and the other refugees as they dismounted from the wolves.
As Aragon and Legolas pushed through the crowd to reach the new arrivals, Gimli joined them.
"What's all the commotion about lads? I thought for a moment that Saruman's forces had arrived then suddenly all I can hear are cheers. They'd nay be cheering if something good hadn't happened." Gimli said gruffly.
"It is...something unexpected," commented Aragon cryptically.
Gimli's brow furrowed and the dour dwarven warrior commented sourly, "Surprises this close to battle are nay good, lad."
They cleared the crowd and Aragon got his first good look at the newcomers. Heruweld and the refugees were apart from the unknowns being greeted by the other Rohirrim. The two wolves were giant and appeared to be bigger than a large warhorse, with white brown fur. He caught the eye of one them and it stared at him.
Legolas was right, there was something disturbing about their eyes, an almost human-like quality to their canine eyes.
Aragon turned his attention to the giant. He was a monstrous figure, he wore no armour but wore strange clothes, a tunic with a two headed eagle embroidered upon it and dark trousers with heavy black boots. A large animal skin cloak fell from his immense shoulders. Golden eyes stared about him, appearing take in all every minute detail of the courtyard and the people in it.
The golden eyes settled upon him and Aragon fought the urge to take a step back in fear. The giant oozed intimidation and restrained violence.
The golden eyes flickered over Aragon and locked on Legolas. They widened in surprise and in a flicker of motion too fast for Aragon to follow, the giant moved.
In one motion the giant drew his mighty blade and threatened Legolas with it.
Russ's surprise and shock knew no bounds as he stared at the pale blue eyes of an Eldar standing carefree in the midst of the primitive humans.
"An Eldar?" he roared with surprise, his blade held steady at the Eldar's neck. Russ's eyes took in every facet of Legolas's form, the primitive armour and simple bow and quiver over his back. "You are no Dark Eldar, yet were is your Soul Stone? And more importantly, what are you doing here?"
The area around him was quickly emptying of civilians, the guards were giving him a wide breadth but some of the more courageous souls had actually drawn their swords in response. Inwardly, Russ chuckled at the thought that they could threaten him, but outwardly he showed no reaction and kept his gaze fixated on the Eldar.
The man with the grey eyes standing next to the Eldar, raised his hands in submission, "Peace, we are not your enemies here." he said a calm authoritarian voice.
Russ ignored him and aimed his questions at the silent Eldar, "Which Craftworld are you from? Or are you an Exodite? Your equipment looks very primitive. Though too primitive even for an Exodite!"
The Eldar frowned, "What is a Craftworld?"
The tip of Russ's blade dipped down as the simple question dashed whatever expectations he had, "What?"
"What is a Craft...world?" repeated the Eldar, his voice stumbling over the unfamiliar word.
Russ's brow furrowed in confusion and he snarled, "Are you not one of the children of Isha?"
The Eldar blinked, confusion also blossoming on his face. "Isha?" he gestured around him at the humans, "Men and Eldar are all children of the Valar, creations of Ilúvatar." the Eldar paused for a second, "Is Isha what your people call Ilúvatar?"
Russ stared trying to understand but even for a Primarch this was a surreal conversation, he blazed ahead trying to understand.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Russ demanded concisely.
The Eldar gave Russ's blade a pointed look before answering, "I am Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of the Woodland Realm. I am here to oppose the evil wizard Saruman, and his evil master, the Dark Lord, Sauron."
Russ rolled the answer around in his head but he sensed no duplicity in the Eldar-Legolas's words, "Many times have I and my brothers crossed blades with the War Hosts of the Eldar...and as many times have I found myself fighting back to back with them."
The grey eyed man frowned, "I understand not how such a thing can be, for long have the Eldar and Men been allies against the darkness that threatens Middle Earth!" he proclaimed proudly.
Slowly, Russ lowered his blade and stared in part mystification and part dumbfoundment at Legolas and the grey eyed man. "It seems fate is choosing to taunt me on this world." He sheathed his blade across his back in one quick and smooth motion. "It seems we have no quarrel here then."
The grey eyed man lowered his hands and gazed up at Russ, no fear on his face and introduced himself, "I am Aragon son of Arathorn, Chieftain of the Dúnedain and Isildur's Heir." he paused and then asked, "Who are you?"
Russ stared down at the fearless man, silence reigned between them and he let the silence continue, to better measure the man's composure. Eventually he answered, "I am Leman Russ, the Wolf King of Fenris, Primarch of the VI Legion." he paused, "More than this you do not need to know."
Aragon's brow furrowed confused by Russ's answer. "I do not know of these things you speak of. Where is this Fenris? More importantly, what are your intentions here?"
Russ shrugged, "It does not matter where Fenris is. I am a protector of Man, I do not stand idly by when foul creatures threaten and attack." Russ spread out his massive hands and gestured at his surroundings, "Suffice it to say I am here to help protect these people." he threw a look around the Fortress and then looked back at Aragon, "Tell me of your attackers."
"You want me to bring you your heavy armour?" Was Farrie's irate question, "I thought we were weren't going to involve ourselves with the Natives of this world? Do I even want to know why you need armour that heavy?" she continued asking in a mildly annoyed and alarmed manner.
"I will not stand by and watch men die against a fell foe. It is a minor matter, Machiko and I shall deal with it ourselves," Russ explained into his comlink.
Farrie sighed, "The bossman isn't going to like this."
"What do I care if he likes it or not, he will not change my choices here." Russ snarled, angered by her questioning. "Bring me my armour-and the list of weapons I have sent you. Do not delay or men will die!"
"Don't get your knickers in a twist, ETA to shuttle dispatch is twelve minutes. It'll take another 15 to get to you though."
A wolfish grin spread across Russ's face, "Excellent, I will be waiting."
Aragon watched as Russ made the Rohirrim leave an area of the courtyard empty. He watched in silent contemplation, Gimli and Legolas at his sides. He mulled over all that had happened since the appearance of the unexpected arrivals. Russ the Giant, his pets and the silent armoured woman, Machiko Noguchi.
Heruweld's quick words ran in Aragon's ears, the woman was deadly to the extreme with weapons that ranged from deifying description to blades sharper than even the greatest Elven or Dwarfish blades of legend.
As for Russ, he was warrior of unimaginable skill with his blade, his pets deadlier than wargs.
The entire rescue of Heruweld and the refugees sounded more like a slaughter than a skirmish.
Theoden king had welcomed them to Helm's deep, happy to have more defenders...and yet what difference could two more warriors do in the coming battle? The Rohirrim scouts had reported in, the approaching army numbered in the thousands, ten thousand at least, if not more.
And the questioning of Legolas, the words implied that Russ had had dealings with the Eldar...even battles against them. Why would the Elves around this place, Fenris, attack Russ's people?
Aragon had watched as Russ communicated with a some distant person with a magical device. Afterwards Russ had started clearing out the courtyard.
A distant rumble intruded upon Aragon's thoughts.
The noise grew closer and Aragon searched for the source, was this some creature of Saruman come ahead to surprise them before the rest of the army arrived?
The noise was directly above them now.
He looked up and watched as the air suddenly shimmered and a great bird of metal appeared by magic hovering over the emptied courtyard.
Aragon's jaw dropped in surprise, he continued watching as the blocky shaped bird with short stocky wings started to descend.
The cries of surprised Rohirrim assaulted his ears from all around.
The metal bird came to a rest in the emptied courtyard, it's back to Aragon, and the rumble subsided. A large door opened and a ramp extended down.
Russ walked up to the bird and raised his arms turning towards the alarmed people, "Be at peace there is no danger here." Without another word he walked up the ramp, and entered through the large doorway.
"What manner of devilry is this?" roared Gimli, axe, drawn and held at the ready.
"I do not know Gimli, there are more questions here than I know what do with," he finally answered his friend.
"So what? We're just going to stand here and do nothing?" Gimli asked angrily, unhappy at their ignorance.
"Mayhaps, we should ask her," Legolas added pointing towards Noguchi who walked towards the bird and was waiting at the edge of the ramp.
"An excellent idea my friend, though it would be best if you would sheath your axe," Aragon suggested before starting to walk towards Noguchi.
He neared her and she turned dark eyes, in a face of unfamiliar characteristics, towards him, her mask was hanging on a loop on her belt. She was standing at ease at the end of the ramp, but her sharp eyes were assessing everything.
"My lady," Aragon said with a small bow, "Perhaps you could answer our questions?"
The dark eyes stared back and in a halting voice, she answered, "He is...preparing for battle. He's getting into his armour."
"What manner of thing is this?" demanded Gimli, cutting in.
Noguchi shrugged, "It's an assault shuttle."
Gimli frowned, "An assault...shuttle?" he repeated, stumbling over the unfamiliar words.
Gimli shared a look with the others, "And what pray tell is an assault shuttle?"
"Its a type of transport, used to carry soldiers into battle." her answer was short succinct.
Gimli's frown increased but refrained from saying anything else, her answers were simple but confusing still.
They stood there in silence waiting for Russ. Noguchi didn't ask any questions or say anything, she stood there quietly.
Eventually, the wait ended.
A loud stomping sound echoed from the inside the metal bird.
Legolas frowned, "Those sound like like footsteps."
"They are." Noguchi responded.
Nearer and nearer the footfalls came, the rhythmic pounding, a steady approaching beat. The dying light of the sun glinted off of something in the doorway and then Russ appeared.
Aragon and the stepped away from the ramp in deep shock, eyes wide at the titanic creature that stood before them.
Russ had been a giant before but now he was a colossus in blue-grey armour. He stepped out form the metal bird and descended the ramp, it creaked as the walked down it.
It escaped Aragon's imagination, but now Russ stood even taller and broader than before. His head was bare but all else was covered completely by the grey-blue metal. A large wolf's head badge was emblazoned on his right shoulder pauldron. Other motifs and sigils were drawn in strategic places on his armour, a two headed eagle, a human skull and others, all adding to the majesty and intimidation of his figure.
A long white cloak hung from his shoulders and his blade was still present across his back, but now he also held a long barrelled weapon under his right arm.
Russ reached the bottom of the ramp and stared down at the others.
"Now I am ready. Let us prepare this fortress for battle!"
Author's Notes: I intended to finish the battle of Helm's Deep in this chapter but it didn't work out that way. Next chapter will have the showdown between Russ and the Uruk-hai. Again about the Wolves of Fenris - There are no wolves on Fenris. ;) Anyway, as always Read, Enjoy and Review!:)
Next time: Quality over Quantity Part 3