Torture of the Soul

In a small armoury, the atmosphere in the air was terrible. The room was far too small for that number of people, and everyone was bustling about, trying to avoid bumping into the vast number of people around them. All except one of the people in the room were male: half were old men, the other half were young boys. None of the young boys were older than fifteen, and none of the old men were any younger than about forty. There was a mixture of emotions in the air: fear and despair of the hopeless battle and the most likely death that was to ensue that night, frustration that the job of delivering out weaponry was not being done hard enough and sadness that they had to do this awful job in the first place.

Old, battered swords, relatively well-kept shields and strong chainmail were being handed out as quickly as possible to everyone in the room, yet it is still a slow and dreary process. All that could be heard was the hustling, bustling and groaning of the old men. But everyone knew that in the caves was the sound of crying and wailing from the women and mothers after having to give away their children, husbands and brothers. It was a terrible thought to behold.

Another terrible thought was the truth which was that none of the men in the room could fight; half of them hadn't even held a sword before. Only four people in the room did not fit into this category: Aragorn, son of Arathorn, the Ranger and experienced swordsman; Gimli, son of Gloin from the Lonely Mountain, genius with an axe; Legolas, son of King Thranduil of the Woodland Realm, best archer in Middle Earth; and Anié Celebrindal, Legolas' one true love whom Legolas had taught to fight, so she was now an excellent archer and swordswoman.

Aragorn wandered around the small room, handling the swords and throwing them down onto the heap again, almost in disgust. Gimli stood stoutly, his hands resting on his axe, looking around and watching. Anié sat on the side with the other three men, cleaning and sharpening her long knife. Her long, beautiful hair lay still, resting on her delicate back, and her specially-made warrior outfit fitted her figure perfectly. Every now and again, she would look up. A few feet in-front of her, Legolas stood, tall, elegant and strong, and Anié felt comforted with him standing there. She looked up at his face and smiled. It didn't concern her too much, but what she did notice was that every time she looked up and smiled, Legolas would either not look at her, away in his own thoughts, or if he did look at her, he would not smile back. He would either give a subtle nod, sigh slightly or simply watch her smile, then look away again. She had fought by Legolas' side on many an occasion, even in battles where hope had died completely, and she had never seen him act like this before. She was a little concerned, but she kept it to herself. She could speak with him later if she wished.

Although she was very alert, she wasn't really paying an awful lot of attention to what the other men were doing. Everyone was waiting for something to happen – waiting for the huge army of 10,000 to arrive. Waiting and nothing more. She only vaguely heard Aragorn mutter something about farmers, boys and how they weren't soldiers. Gimli carried on the conversation and she continued to clean and sharpen her knife.

"Most have seen too many winters" said the Dwarf, loudly, which Anié thought was most inappropriate.

"Or too few" said Legolas.

Anié perked up. He had a point – both the Elf and the Dwarf's points were valid; old men shouldn't be going to battle, and it was heart-breaking to see the little boys dress up in men's armour, trying their very best to be brave, waiting to go to a hopeless battle and die. She slipped into her own memories of children and sighed sadly, placing one hand on her stomach…

A tear may have come to her eye if she had not come out of her memories to listen to her lover speak.

"Look at them" he said, speaking mainly in Aragorn's direction. The troubled Elf looked around at the men acting as the soldiers, preparing to go on stage for the final time.

"They're frightened. You can see it in their eyes".

Legolas stared at Aragorn. Aragorn stared at Legolas. Anié lifted her head and stared at Legolas also.

Legolas' eyes were a cold blue as he stared at Aragorn. Aragorn had turned his head to look at Legolas whilst he was fingering some chainmail, and his face was full of concern. Anié was more confused than anything – why was Legolas acting like this?

Legolas turned away and looked as though he may walk off.

"Boe a hyn" (And they should be) said Legolas in his own tongue, referring to the people's fear, turning around to face Aragorn again.

"Neled herain dan caer menig? " (300, against 10,000?)

Anié looked at Legolas and tried to hide her horror. She had never seen him like this before. The Elf's face was filled with something … she couldn't quite put her finger on it. But she was certain that dwelling in his heart and in his soul was an unquenchable fear that was beginning to consume any thought he had of hope and trust in the good of men, and also himself…

Aragorn was at a lost at what to say. He never thought one of his strongest friends fall into such a pit of despair.

"Si, beriathar hyn ammaeg na ned Edoras" replied Aragorn, as calmly as he could, trying to convince Legolas that if they had stayed in Edoras, they would have no hope of survival, whereas here, they did.

"Aragorn …" said Legolas quickly, unconvinced, "nedin dagor hen u-erir ortheri" (they cannot win this fight".

He was clearly aggravated and as he spoke, his voice raised in volume.

"Natha daged dhaer!" (They are all going to die!) he shouted.

Aragorn, rather unexpectedly retaliated:

"Then I shall die as one of them!" he yelled at the top of his voice.

He strode forwards towards Legolas as he said this and ended up less than a foot away from him. Both the Mortal and the Elf stared at each other, not in hatred, but in trying to convey and control the emotions that had suddenly exploded from each of them. Anié watched, open-mouthed, horrified at these two friends shouting at each other. Being an Elf, she understood perfectly what had just been said and was struck with grief that Legolas had lost hope. She also knew that Aragorn that they were all going to die together in the presence of so many men whose morale was so weak was a bad idea.

Aragorn did not want to argue with his friend – he wanted to try and encourage him if anything, but at that moment in time, he did not know how. He was too upset and almost hurt that his friend had lost all faith in him, so he turned and left the room. Legolas tried to follow him, full of regret at what he had just done, but he was stopped by the Dwarf, he told him that the best thing to do was to leave Aragorn be. Legolas was slightly angered by the Dwarf stopping him from apologising but he made no action towards the Dwarf. He simply turned round in one swift movement and quickly left the room, leaving the men to finally break the silence and to mutter amongst themselves about what had just happened.

Anié was greatly concerned for Legolas and she too quickly left the scene in the direction that Legolas had gone off in. The Dwarf stayed seated and simply sighed to himself, not entirely sure what to do now. He thought of all the hundreds of Uruk-Hai he would be able to kill and that made him feel slightly better.