Disclaimer: I don't own The Lord of the Rings or any of its characters. I only own Leûra, Aearion, Undûme, Cassiopeia, Balanidhren, Aefaradien and any other original characters – so no stealing. However, I don't own Cuiviénen. That place belongs to J. R. R. Tolkien, but the stories of it in Chapter 1 and 2 are all mine.

Chapter 49: A New Dawn

The Uruks had retreated from Helm's Deep, into a line of trees. The men have not stopped shouting in victory. They should not have to either. They did the impossible, after all. I stand on the Wall, watching as Èowyn and the other women are finally let outside. They run around in search of their husbands, fathers, and sons, embracing them as soon as they are found. Seeing them act in such a way makes me long for Aearion. I wish he could have been here to see this! He saw the alliance of Men and Elves thousands of years ago; he would have been proud to see that alliance reformed this past night.

"Stay out of the forest!" Èomer orders his men, and I smile as I look down to see him. "Keep away from the trees!"

I stay in place and watch a moment as the Uruks run into the forest, which groans and sways. A horrible series of sounds emerge, almost making me pity the fouls creatures. Almost. I leave the Wall and journey through the people until I walk up behind Èomer, gently touching his shoulder. I think I must have startled him, for he turned around with his sword raised. I backed away from him, laughing. Èomer lowered his sword with a smile, walking towards me and taking me up in a warm embrace.

"Welcome home," I whisper into his ear. As soon as we separate, I can see the question in his eyes. "My promise stands true. Go to her," I tell him with a smile, pointing to where Èowyn stands with Aragorn, hugging him as well. While Èomer runs off to his sister, I walk over to Legolas and Gimli. The Rohirrim are clearing Uruk bodies, by Èomer's orders, and Gimli is just sitting on one, smoking his pipe.

"Final count: forty-two," Legolas states proudly, gently stroking his bow.

""Forty-two"?" Gimli questions, aghast. "That's not bad for a pointy-eared Elvish princeling. I myself am sitting pretty on fourty-three." I watch a frown form on Legolas' face, which fades quickly as he shoots the Uruk Gimli is sitting on.

"Fourty-three," he corrects with a triumphant smirk, making me smile at him.

"He was already dead!" Gimli argued, making me cover my mouth to stifle my laughter.

"He was twitching," he replied simply.

"He was twitching because he's got my axe embedded in his nervous system!" Gimli shouts back, and, to prove his point, wiggled the axe handle, making the Uruk twitch. I can't hold back any longer; I burst into laughter as I stop in front of the two, making them look at me curiously. It's then I realize that they've never heard me laugh before.

"You two! How did I ever befriend such men?" I ask, smiling at them, which they return.

"Luck?" I smile widely at the sound of Haldir's voice. I turn around and hug him tightly, and I'm even happier that he returns the gesture. Looking over, I see Legolas frown, eyes quickly moving to the ground, and Gimli chuckles at him, noticing it as well. "I owe you my life, mellon nin," he says as we step away from one another.

"No, you owe your life to Legolas," I tell him, walking over to the Prince of Mirkwood. I look between the two Elves, who both look from one another to me in confusion. "He taught me how to use the bow," I explain. "Had it not been for Legolas, you may be dead." Haldir and Legolas smile at one another and I walk over to Legolas, hugging him as well and even tighter than Haldir. He seemed shocked at first, but returned it. "I'm going to rest now. It's been a…long night. Wake me when we set out again," I tell him, and nods. Before I even know what I'm doing, I reach up and kiss Legolas' cheek. "You were right. Thank you."

I walk past Haldir, patting his shoulder and telling him to keep Legolas and Gimli out of trouble for me. As I leave, and I'm almost certain I was out of their sight, I hear the distinct sound of Gimli's gruff laughter ringing throughout the air. I can't help but laugh as I walk inside, going back to my given quarters. I wanted to see Gandalf before I fell asleep, finally giving my body the rest it deserves after so long, but he's been in council with the king since the battle ended. What they speak of I can only guess. Oh, this bed is so comfortable!

"He doesn't look too happy, does he?" Merry asks proudly, smiling at Pippin as they stand in waist-deep water, looking up to the balcony of Orthnac where Saruman stands.

"Not too happy at all, Merry," Pippin agrees, just as pleased as his best friend, watching Saruman and Gríma stalk along the balcony.

"Still, I suppose the view would be quite nice from up there."

"Oh, yes! A quality establishment! I hear the staff are very good." Unbeknownst to him, behind Pippin, Merry is surreptitiously trying to measure his height against him. As if sensing something was off, Pippin looks behind him, and Merry quickly pretends to be picking something out of his hair. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing. The world's back to normal, that's all."

"No, it isn't. I'm starving!" he argues.

"Good luck trying to find something decent around here," he grumbles, looking around hopelessly "Probably only dead rats and moldy bread." Pippin nods, more or less agreeing with Merry.

Looking at the water surrounding them, compliments of their friends the Ents, he suddenly sees an apple floating in the water. Seeing this confused the poor Hobbit! He looks and grins at the sight of more apples floating towards them. A few apples hit Merry as they float by, making him notice them as well. They both begin to grab a few, but Pippin drops them in order to pick up a roasted chicken, then a whole basket of apples that float by. Walking towards where the food was coming from, Merry found a carafe of wine, and the two Hobbits enter a room stocked with food of all kinds.

"Saruman's storeroom!" Merry gasps, and the two look around. As they do so, spy a few barrels marked 'South Farthing'. "It can't be."

"It is!" Pippin argues excitedly, and they rush towards the barrels, opening one.

"Longbottom Leaf. The finest pipe-weed in South Farthing!"

"It's perfect! One barrel each. Wait. Do you think we should share it with Treebeard?"

""Share it"? No. No. Dead plant and all that. Don't think he'd understand; could be a distant relative."

"I get it. Don't be hasty."

"Exactly," he said, both smiling wickedly at one another. It was moments later that Treebeard peeked into the storeroom upon seeing smoke beginning to billow out.

"Leûra. Leûra!" I open my eyes and see Legolas sitting on my bed next to me.

"What's wrong?" I ask, sitting up in a hurry. "What's happened? Have more Uruks returned?"

"No," he replies, smiling at me. "We set out for Isengard. Come." Legolas grabs myhand, helping me out of bed like a true gentleman and we walk to the stables together, my arm folded in his. I see Gandalf first, gently stroking Shadowfax, and I walk into my stall holding Rhandir, right next to the Wizard.

"So, Gandalf, just how long did it take you to convince Èomer to come to Helm's Deep?" I ask, smirking over my shoulder at Èomer, who smiles back.

"I simply followed your advice, and he and his men were completely ready to come with me," he replies, making me laugh. "He was quite put out when he discovered Gríma was, in fact, no longer in the midst of these lands."

"Yes," Èomer says behind me. "But wouldn't you be too if the man who banished you without cause was suddenly roaming free?"

"Don't worry, mellon," I tell him, mounting Rhandir as all of us ride out of Hornburg. "You may have your revenge soon enough."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, let's just say that, I have it on good authority that we may see our old friend Gríma soon." Èomer seems confused, so I just smile at him and he shakes his head in amusement. It's rather amusing to watch the looks on people's faces when I tell them things like that, things that I've seen.

"Sauron's wrath will be terrible; his retribution swift," Gandalf tells us as we look towards the inferno that is Mordor. In truth, this is the first time I've seen it outside of a painting. Oddly enough, it looks almost beautiful from far away, with its volcanic mountain glowing at us. "The Battle for Helm's Deep is over. The Battle for Middle-Earth is about to begin. All our hopes now lie with two little Hobbits, somewhere in the wilderness." Frodo and Sam, I hope they're all right. May the Valar bless and keep them safe wherever they wander.

P.S.: Four pages total.