AUTHOR'S NOTE This is a three-chapter story, all from the point of view of one character. Each chapter takes place right after the Battle of Helm's Deep but this is the only chapter that's actually about Helm's Deep.

This is a movie-verse story.

DISCLAIMER I don't own them.

Everyone is quiet. It's always quiet after a battle. Men, coping with how their world will change, search for friends lost and family fallen.

The battle was won, but these Men of Rohan have suffered crushing blows. The Rohirrim were mowed down in scores. And Helm's Deep, the great fortress of Rohan, was breached for the first time since its first stone was laid by the ancient Gondorians.

I don't where Aragorn found hope in the battle before, but he did and he was right. I am sorry that I could not see it. When we rode behind Théoden, I thought that it was the end of us all. I saw the Halls of Mandos dancing before me. Never in my life have I fallen so deep into despair. I am sorry, Aragorn.

I watch as two Rohirrim soldiers stop beside the breached wall. They look sad at the state of their beloved fortress. Then hatred flickers across the strained faces – hatred for the foul creatures of Saruman. And finally, the look that settles in is that of pride. These men were outarmed and outnumbered. Their impenetrable fortress was breached. The enemy poured in to their sanctuary. They fought all night – men, old men, and boys.

And they won.

I sit by the breach in the wall, a small drainage pool at my feet. My reflection stares up at me. Dirty, bloody, but alive. The peaceful simplicity of my home feels far away. Left in its place is this wartorn realm. War is all around me and I feel suffocated.

Sometimes I wonder why I so often bother myself with these matters that do not affect me. But what other choice do I have? What happens here affects all of Middle Earth, not just Isengard and Rohan. Everything is intertwined.

The Elves of Lothlórien are proof enough of that. Lórien is fading, yet still they came to the aid of a people who will far outlast them. The world is being passed on to Men. The Elves are making sure that the Men are capable. I believe they are.

Suddenly, the men are quiet. I look up at the Keep and Gandalf is there. His white robes gleam in the morning sun as he stands at the gate and gazes down sadly at the men searching for friends. He looks at me and nods sadly, then turns and disappears once more inside.

I am glad that he was not here for the duration of the battle. The men look at me and they see bravery. But I look at my reflection and I see weakness. I couldn't bear the thought of Mithrandir looking at me and seeing weakness.

All my life, I've been trained and molded into the perfect warrior. I fought for the safety of my home and for my ruler. I've battled creatures and men and others. Sometimes, I can't remember why we fought that battle. But now all I feel is guilt.

The gaping hole in Helm's Deep glares widely at me. I turn away in disgust. I can't bear to look at it. It never would have happened if I had not failed. My aim had always been true, but not here where it mattered most. The Rohirrim were nearly defeated because of me.

Another throng of soldiers passes me by. I watch curiously as one man carries a little girl on his shoulders. She sees me and grins. She waves happily before putting her thumb in her mouth. I smile back at her as her father carries her off.

So the Rohirrim will survive to live happily past Helm's Deep. Perhaps my weakness will be forgiven.

There is more violence coming. I am sorry for failing the Rohirrim. Please forgive me. The danger coming is far worse. Please give me strength and a true aim to protect this world I love.