No one wanted to speak, unwilling to break the solemnity of the moment. Theoden was dead, and his niece lay near death in the Houses of Healing, along with Faramir, Meriadoc, and countless other fallen warriors. No one, that is, except the son of Gloin.

As the misty viridian figures of the King of the Dead and his men melted into the dusty air and Aragorn and Gandalf returned to the Citadel, Gimli wandered over to where the Elven bowman stood, gazing out over the body-strewn fields of Pelennor.

"One hundred and fifty-nine," muttered the dwarf in a surly voice.

"What?" asked Legolas, tilting his head down toward his vertically-challenged companion.

"Orcs and Easterlings and skum. Killed a hundred n' fifty-nine of them."

"You kept count?"

"Course I did," Gimli grumbled. "For all the good it did me."

He extracted his pipe from a pocket under his beard, popped in a tuft of Longbottom leaf, and stuck the pipe end between his lips, sulking.

The Elf's dark eyebrows rose skeptically. "Gimli, did you not see me overcome the Oliphant and its many riders?"

Wearing an utterly grumpy expression, the dwarf kicked his booted toes against the flat of his walking axe.

"Course I did, you pointy-eared braggart. And I told you, the beastie isn't worth any more than a goblin. Well, give it up, lad. How many'd you slay?"

Legolas stared down at his competitive friend, then looked away into the horizon, watching the moon begin its ascent over the battlefield.

"You know . . . I lost count."