Saving Innocence (1/2)

By Tiger

SUMMARY: Just before the Battle of Helm's Deep, Legolas meets one of the boys who have been called to fight.

DISCLAIMER: The characters of The Lord of the Rings belong to JRR Tolkien, New Line Cinemas, and the other appropriate people. The name Jocaim comes from the movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. The name Jonde is from Jean A. Auel's Earth Children's Series.

Legolas walked toward the boy who sat despondently on a bench, holding his sword and his helmet. He seemed to drown within the links of the chain-mail coat that was meant to protect him from the slaughter that Legolas knew would come. The boy ran his hand on the helmet, his fingers lingering at the straps, as if he wondered if the helmet could protect him from the orcs better than his sword.

"A helmet can be cumbersome and heavy to wear, but it is even more so if you carry it into battle rather than wearing it," Legolas gently chided the boy. "here, let me help you put it on." The boy nodded with wide eyes as Legolas silently put his helmet on. The boy touched the straps on his face.

"I'm afraid," he whispered to the elf. "I've never fought before, I've never even learned to fight. My father was a farmer."

Legolas' heart went out to the boy. He swallowed the tears that came to his throat. "What is your name, my friend?"

"Jocaim, son of Jonde," Jocaim replied, standing straight and tall as his father once taught him to do so.

"A strong name," Legolas said, and he saw a spark of pride in the boy's eyes. "How many winters do you measure?"

"Thirteen," Jocaim answered. Now he felt no more than a boy. But he felt hold when he realized that the weight in his hand was a sword, not a hoe.

He is far too young for this, Legolas thought sadly. His heart constricted as he looked around the boy and saw many others like him. All of them were so young, some younger than Jocaim. Legolas saw that a good portion of the boys could not have been more than ten years of age. They were no more than children, they had no chance of living, of continuing the Rohan legacy if they were called upon to fight. Legolas knew that they had to, Helm's Deep was lost without them.

"You are brave," Legolas said to Jocaim, to ease some of his fears as best as he could. "You are all brave," he spoke to all of the frightened boys huddled around the fire in the room.

"You are all strong," he continued, instilling courage into their frightened hearts. "Without you and your hearts, Rohan would fall! You have been called upon to defend those you love, your families, your playmates, and your king! Will you proudly answer that call?" he yelled.

"Aye!" "We answer it!" a chorus of voices answered him. Legolas nodded at the cheer. He put his hands on Jocaim's shoulder, hoping that he had given the boys the courage to face what was to come.

"Remember what you fight for," Legolas fiercely said, as if he needed to convince himself to go on with the fighting. "That memory will be your greatest strength." He walked quickly away form them, allowing the threatening tears to fall form his face as he left the room.

Legolas sagged against the walls as he cried. So young, too young, he kept thinking. He wondered how the world had become so dark that children had to fight to keep the light from vanishing. He felt so much guilt, guilt from the fact that he knew he could not keep all of the boys alive, no matter how hard he fought.

He turned his head back towards the room full of warrior-boys, shouting words of bravery and courage, so determined to win through the night. He would fight this battle to keep them alive, so that what innocence they had left within the would survive. It was a precious purity in a world so dark.