Disclaimer: Other than characters, settings and events of my own creation all rights to the original characters, settings and events in this fanfiction remain with the rightful owner and creator JRR Tolkien.
Authors Note: This took a bit longer then I originally expected, for that I'm sorry. Hope you enjoy this chapter and like the direction I am taking the story in. Please review! I am very interested in hearing what you think about it so far, I want to hear any constructive criticism or ideas for improvement to the story, or to point out my grammar and spelling mistakes, or just to say that you like it and want me to continue with it. So please take the time to review and thank you if you do review my story (: Also just want to say if you haven't already read the added note to the first installment of this story you will notice that the name of the main character has changed from Erudessa to Eliedis - this is explained in the added note so go back and read that if you haven't already.
"Tidings came from Lord Elrond of Rivendell the day before yesterday," Eliedis said, her voice loud and clear to all those who listened, "Saruman's army is preparing to depart Isengard to do battle against the Men of Rohan. To honour an alliance of old between Elves and Men, we shall go to their aid and fight alongside them."Eliedis stood on an elevated platform as she addressed the three hundred Elves who she was preparing to leave Lothlórien with. Haldir stood at her side, no longer dressed in the grey hooded cloak of a Marchwarden, but suited in elegant armour.
"We stand facing death and despair, but if there is but a small chance we will make it to aid the People of Rohan before the armies of Angrenost lay waste to all… Then we shall fight!" Haldir avowed.
Adorned in grand Elvish armor and cloaks of greyish blue the Galadhrim marched on towards the stronghold of Helm's Deep under the cover of darkness. The moon and the stars were unseen even by cunning Elf eyes, hidden behind thick, dark clouds that stretched over the sky. Arriving outside the stronghold the horn sound of the Elves of Lothlórien rang out to warn the Rohirrim of their coming. The call went unanswered but was heard nonetheless and as the Elves passed up the Causeway the gates were opened swiftly and they were welcomed in. Led first by Haldir and Eliedis the Elves marched in ranks behind them into the heart of the stronghold. Passing through the high walled passage men rushed out of their way and gazed upon them in wonder as they swept past. A speechless and bewildered King Théoden rushed down a path of stone steps as the company came to a stop. Stepping away from the others Haldir and Eliedis bowed to him in greeting,
"King Théoden, son of Thengel," Haldir spoke first, giving an introduction "I am Haldir, leader of the Marchwardens of Lórien. This is Lady Eliedis, youngest daughter of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, Guardians of the Golden Wood. We bring word of council from Lord Elrond of Rivendell."
"The end of the Second Age brought with it the formation of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. We once fought together as allies against a common enemy and I remember those days well." Eliedis continued taking over from Haldir. Her lips spread into a soft smile as she seen Aragorn, followed by Legolas and Gimli, appear out of a crowd of soldiers who stood at the head of the fleet of stairs, "We come to honour that amity, and aid you in your hour of need."
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli did not pause long at the top of the stairs and they ran down to greet them, passing King Théoden who looked around in wonder at the host of Elves who stood before him.
"Mae govannen! [Met well!]" Aragorn greeted as he landed at the bottom of the stairs and bowed respectfully before them. As he straightened a broad smile stretched out on his face and he pulled Haldir into an embrace, overcome with renewed hope and the joy of seeing them again. Eliedis was overwhelmed to see them again. Knowledge of their Fellowship had not reached her since their departure from Caras Galadhon a long time ago. That was until Mithrandir was brought to Lothlórien by Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles, to be healed of his injuries by Galadriel. They did not speak of Gandalf or of the Fellowship for the time being but their greeting extended for a while longer and King Théoden found his voice to express his gratitude,
"Our list of Allies has waned since the days of which you speak; never did I expect aid to come from the woods of Lohtlórien which lies beyond our borders. But here you stand and I, Lord of the Mark, am grateful to you." King Théoden spoke sincerely. He gently touched Eliedis' arm and bowed lightly to her, "Ælfwen, We shall honourably name you. Elf Hope – for hope is what you have brought us this hour."
King Théoden had led the way inside the Keep for a discussion about the preparations for battle. When the meeting had ended most of those who were there left and for the first time since they entered it was almost silent. People sat in small groups scattered around the tables in the hall and talked quietly in hushed voices. King Théoden remained in the hall also; he sat at a heavy wooden table at the rear end of the hall with only his closest subjects, Éomer, Elfhelm, and Gamling. At the table beside them sat Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and at a third table; Eliedis and Haldir, who sat with Fuinor, a dark haired Elven soldier who had traveled with them from Lothlórien.
"Please excuse me, I shall take my leave now and rejoin our kinfolk" Haldir said speaking in his own tongue to Eliedis and Fuionor.
"That would be best." Eliedis agreed, and turned then to her guard, "Fuinor, you too shall rejoin the company, I am in no danger here." Fuinor protested, he had received orders to guard Eliedis until the battle commenced and he was to accompany her wherever she went. Fuinor was unwilling to defy the orders he was given but whether by magic or not, he reluctantly agreed.
"Very well Lady Eliedis, if that is your wish." Fuinor said wearily as he rose from the table. Haldir also stood, they both bowed lightly to her and left.
Alone she sat at the table and watched while the flame torches on the walls which illuminated the room flickered without rhyme or reason. She used her silent moment alone to relax and her mind thought back to the last night she had spent in Caras Galadhon before departing. She had spoken with her mother, Galadriel, of the vision she had whilst giving birth, the vision that had earned her the Mother-name Eliedis. Few words were ever spoken of the vision Galadriel had, but it was certain that the event she foresaw were beginning to unfold.
"I can fight, My Lord! Yet you would send me into the caves with the woman and children?" The voice of a determined woman said, she was tall and pale with long golden hair and she was steady in the way she spoke, "In these dark times all those who are able to wield a sword are. Why is it that I cannot?"
"Éowyn, this is the duty I have asked of you." King Théoden looked her in the eye as he replied solemnly, "Will you not do as I have asked?"
"My Lord…?" She urged but did not go on, her voice lowered as if her will was defeated, "Uncle…?" She fell silent as her eyes turned from her uncle's eyes to another, fora long moment she looked at the other man but she said no more and made to leave the hall.
'I know why you choose to fight, Éowyn Shield maiden.' A voice inside Éowyn's head spoke; she stopped walking and seen Eliedis standing facing her, the Elf's eyes bore into hers. Eliedis' spoke again, her mouth did not move but her voice was clear to Éowyn alone, 'Your desire is noble. To die by the sword for the one you love is worthy of the glory you seek. However, your time has not yet come to pass, but know that your 'secret' shall be your defense in the end' Eliedis looked upon her for drawn out second before swiftly departing from the hall and leaving Éowyn.
After leaving the Keep Eliedis did not return to Haldir and the rest of her kin, she walked around the heart of the stronghold where men prepared for battle, many of them far too old or far too young to fight. Their eyes told the story of the grief in their hearts; they all felt the despair, none holding hope for a future after the battle. Eliedis knew not the words in their common tongue to comfort them, her presents and that ofd her kin had brought them hope but not enough to settle their hearts. Leaving the crowds of men Eliedis made for the high, grey stone wall which overlooked the plains below. All that she could see was shrouded in the darkness of the night and she sighed to herself having never much liked the hours after nightfall.
"My Lady, you seem ill at ease." Legolas spoke suddenly from beside her. He too looked out across the plains and seen what she saw.
"Should I be at ease, Legolas?" She questioned him, but he did not answer so she pressed on, "These men think they are doomed to failure. Their hope is diminishing in the shadow of their spreading fear. Few of us hold hope to see the mornings sun"
"Is there hope to have?" Legolas asked, "I do not wish to despair, but I see only the awaiting death…the death of these men and the death of those I love." Legolas turned to face her and she to him,
"There is always hope where there is despair, as there is always light where there is shadow. Many will die before morning comes, that is true, but I have hope that we can save them from the complete destruction they fear. Legolas…" Eliedis did not continue her sentence. Faintly in the distance they both heard it, a sound carried on the wind that no mortal could hear, it was the slow rumble of thunder and the distant thudding of iron clad feet. As if in slow motion they both turned from each other to look upon the open plains. Far out along the horizon, which lay bare to human eyes, there was the faintest flash of a lightning strike and in the light the great force of Saruman could be seen. Moments later Fuinor bounded up the stairs to where they stood, easily taking them two steps at a time, at the top he called that they were taking up arms, and positions needed to be taken on the wall. Eliedis nodded to Fuinor then turned back to Legolas,
"Hebo estel, Legolas [Have hope, Legolas]" She touched his face lightly and smiled warmly, quoting what he had said to her the night before he and the Fellowship departed Caras Galadhon. Legolas caught the reference and the sadness in his eyes faded, he bowed to her in thankful respect before they separated, each running in a different direction.
The lightning flashed, blinding all with the bright pale yellow light and the thunder sound was loud and growing in volume. Mixed with the claps of thunder was the sound of heavy stomping feet from the ten thousand Uruk-hai who marched against them. The Host of Isenguard was visible to all who stood at the defense of the stronghold. Eliedis stood again with Haldir and the Elves, armed with bows and swords they were ready in position on the wall. The rain which had threatened to fall for hours finally began to fall as the enemy drew nearer and eventually came to a halt.
"Savo chûr an dagor [Be ready for battle]" Haldir instructed the Elves and they all drew up the arrows and aimed at the Uruk-hai bellow not yet given the order to release. Eliedis had not drawn her own weapon yet, she looked out at the Host below and seen a solitary creature standing upon a rock leering down to his army who stamped with heavy feet into the dirt, cheering and crying out in anticipation for battle. No Uruk-hai had drawn up weapons and the two forces were at a standstill until either side made the first move. It came quicker then Eliedis expected – from the wall above the causeway to her right a solitary arrow flew. It pierced deep into the neck of an Uruk-hai in the front rank line. The enemy host fell silent as the creature stumbled forward dropping his weapons. Black blood poured out from the wound and as his dying gurgle ceased he fell lifelessly into the mud. The enemy cried out and began their assault on the stronghold, breaking ranks they ran on towards the wall, their dead comrade unimportant as trampled him into the mud, crushing his skull and bones under their feet.
"It has begun" King Théoden stated, watching on as the enemy rushed on to destroy his Kingdom.