Disclaimer: I do not now, have not and unfortunately will not ever own Lord of the Rings. (I am a bit obsessed though, with the story not individual people)

28.

Edoras was emptied a few hours after Gandalf's departure. One long continuous line of people stretching as far as they eye could see, each of them hoping that they would be safe once Helm's Deep was reached. The people had left most of their belongings behind, only taking with them what was necessary for their survival. Theoden turned back once to look upon his city, his now empty city as he led his people across vast open plains to a place he hoped would protect them. We only stopped at night, pushing on while the sun was in the sky, knowing that it was imperative for us to reach Helm's Deep as soon as we could.

Near evening on the first day after leaving Edoras, Eowyn was walking beside Gimli who rode in front of Aragorn and I; he was telling her about dwarves, as she had not encountered others of his kind.

"It's true, you don't see many Dwarf women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance…that they are often mistaken for Dwarf men."

Eowyn smiled and looked over her shoulder at Aragorn who mouthed. "It's the beards." He brought his hand to his chin, creating the appearance of a beard as he brought his hand down to his chest.

Gimli was unaware of this and continued speaking. "This, in turn, has given rise to the belief that there are no Dwarf women…and that Dwarves just spring out of holes in the ground, which is, of course, ridiculous." Gimli had leaned too far back in his saddle as he spoke, and his horse took off down the line of people. Gimli toppled off the horse and lay sprawled on the ground.

Eowyn ran forward to assist him. I started to get off my horse to see if my friend was alright, Aragorn placed a hand on my arm and shook his head with a smile. He leaned over and said softly. "He won't appreciate it if more than one person goes to help him, even one is pushing it. Gimli does not like to accept help from others…at least not when it comes to his stature."

I remembered his reaction when Aragorn had attempted to toss him across the gap in Moria, I nodded and remained on my horse, watching Gimli as he assured Eowyn.

"It's all right. Nobody panic. That was deliberate. It was deliberate." The Dwarf struggled to his feet, gruffly thanking Eowyn for her help.

Aragorn was grinning at the Dwarf, as Theoden rode up beside him. Theoden smiled a little as well and said quietly to Aragorn.

"I have not seen my niece smile for a long time. She was a girl when they brought her father back dead. Cut down by orcs. She watched her mother succumb to grief. Then she was left alone, to tend the king in growing fear. Doomed to wait upon an old man who should have loved her as a father."

As Theoden had spoken, Aragorn had stopped smiling and was looking grim once more. I wondered how this king had come to so greatly be able to bring down the mood simply by saying a few words. Was it merely the effect of the dark times which we were living in, or had Theoden always been this way?

Aragorn remained silent, seeming lost in thought, as we continued onward. Only stopping for the evening meal. When we stopped, Legolas took me aside and fixed a piece of cloth to a patch of grass a long way off, Legolas corrected my stance and grip on my bow. Legolas's gentle instruction continued until it was once more time to move on towards Helm's Deep—I was finally able to hit the cloth every time, even if it was not in the center. The act of firing arrow after arrow, of standing erect and narrowing my focus onto that single piece of cloth…had relieved much of the tension which I had not realized I carried. Legolas smiled at me, before he walked away to return to his place among the scouts. I gathered the last of my arrows and the bit of cloth from the ground, then I too returned to my place at Aragorn's side, it was time to begin moving again—we wanted to reach Helm's Deep on the morrow. We spent the first night after leaving Edoras, out in the open, soldiers standing watch throughout the night.


The next day we continued moving shortly after first light. Aragorn walked his horse beside Eowyn, I walked behind them…giving them enough distance that they could speak without my overhearing what they said. Instead I watched the people around me, looking at the faces—both young and old, which seemed so full of despair. How could an entire people, be so completely devoid of hope, so devoid of joy? The entire land of Rohan seemed filled with melancholy, filled with an impending sense of doom which they did not seem able to shake from themselves.

Legolas stood upon a distant hill, looking around at the land—searching for anything which could bring harm to the people of Edoras. Two scouts rode by on their way to check something, Legolas watched them go, then he leapt down and followed them. We heard roars and a scream from up ahead, then there was a shout of "Wargs!" and everyone came to an abrupt halt. Aragorn ran off after Legolas, I hurried to follow him. We crested the hill just as Legolas finished slitting the throat of an orc, and shouted. " A scout!"

Aragorn did not waste another moment before he turned and began running back towards the line of people. We ran down the hill towards King Theoden, as we reached him he inquired of Aragorn.

"What is it? What do you see?"

Aragorn's shouted reply was met by panic. "Warg! We're under attack!"

The civilians began to panic, looking around at their surroundings and clutching their family to them. Soldiers began turning them around to take another path to Helm's Deep, trying to get them out of here before the Wargs were upon us. Aragorn ran to Eowyn to retrieve his horse, he swung onto it and rode towards the front of the column. Gimli was being assisted by a couple soldiers, he was grumbling and barking at them as they helped him onto his horse.

"Come on. Get me up here. I'm a rider. Come on!"

Legolas motioned for me to follow him, and together we ran ahead of the others to stand upon a slight rise upon the hill. We had our bows ready; all we needed now was a target. And we had them. The Wargs swarmed over the land in front of us, coming over the top of the hill and down the side towards us. Legolas wasted no time in firing arrows at the wargs and their orc riders, I too began firing at them—taking down as many as we could before they reached the others who were not yet ready. In an amazing feat of agility, Legolas grabbed the halter of the steed which Gimli rode, and swung up into the saddle. I stood my ground and fired as many times as I could before I was grabbed around the waist and lifted onto the horse behind Aragorn.

We charged towards the wargs, and I got my first good look at them. They were as large as a horse, they almost looked like wolves, yet there was something off about them…something more vicious than a normal wolf. Their jaws looked strong, strong enough to bite a horse in half with one snap of its long teeth. They smelled more horrible than anything I had smelled before…even more horrible than Moria. The wargs were fast, faster even than the horses were and they had orcs upon their backs. When we collided with the wargs, it was with enough force that I tumbled backwards off the horse and to the ground, narrowly avoiding being trampled by both horses and wargs.

I crawled between the legs of horses, men, orcs, and wargs. Finally reaching a place where I could stand again, once I was on my feet I lost no time in slaying as many orcs as I could with my arrows. As I fired arrows at any orc I saw, I searched for my friends. Legolas was on his horse, shooting down both orcs and wargs, Gimli had fallen from the horse and was dealing death with both hands as he wielded his axes in a dance of death. A warg approached him; Gimli hefted his ax to bring down the warg, only to have it fall dead at his feet with one of Legolas's arrows in its neck. He yelled something at the elf and turned to find another warg about to take a bite out of him, Gimli swung his ax at the warg's neck, bringing it down with one swing. However, a horseman rode by and shoved his spear into the side of the warg, sending it crashing on top of the dwarf and pinning him to the ground.

Aragorn was fighting orcs while on horseback, brandishing his sword and killing with every swipe of his blade. Aragorn saw a warg standing upon the one which pinned Gimli to the ground, he snagged a spear from the ground and threw it at the warg, killing it instantly and it too joined its brother atop the dwarf. Aragorn was thrown off his horse by a warg launching itself at him and knocking him from the saddle, Aragorn fought orcs on foot, slaying the warg who had knocked him from his horse.

I fired a few more arrows at orcs as they ran across the plain to attack the soldiers of Rohan. I saw Aragorn fall from his horse, and I ran towards him.

Suddenly I was flying, flying up off the ground only to come slamming down onto the back of one of the wargs—in front of the orc which rode it, my legs hanging off one side while my head and arms hung off the other. I was held in place by a particularly nasty looking orc who placed a long and oily looking dagger against my throat. I couldn't have made a sound even if I had wanted to, for as I looked around for some way to escape, I saw that the warg ridden orc that Aragorn had been fighting was running forward with Aragorn's arm attached to it. Then he was gone. Gone over the edge of the cliff, with no one but me to see what had happened, and I couldn't do anything, as I was being carried away by another orc. I had promised to protect him and in that one mission I had failed…I had failed to protect the king, failed to protect my friend.


No one's POV:

No one saw the warg bearing Raven, escape from the massacre of its brethren. The elf and dwarf stared down over the edge of the cliff, searching in vain for any sign of their fallen friend. Looks of devastation upon their faces as they were told to leave the dead—leave their fallen friend and comrade behind. It was not until they reached Helm's Deep that they realized that Raven was not their either, and they had not looked for her among the dead. The elf and dwarf felt alone among these humans, they alone were what remained of the Fellowship—two of the hobbits were gone to some unknown place while the other two were on their way to Mordor. Gandalf was out there somewhere, yet they alone remained. Outsiders in this fortress of men, men awaiting the armies of Saruman which were sure to come.

Please review and I hope that you have enjoyed reading this so far.