This is another Elrond/Dolengil tale: hope you enjoy!

(I am going to try adding chapters to this: I am a novice at this so I hope it works )

Arallis Farahin, a second lieutenant in the Gondorian elite guard, stood surveying a nightmare.

He had never expected to see action, outside of marching smartly around the palace. He certainly never expected to see his best friend's head lopped off by a passing orc. But the call to arms had come and every able- bodied soldier responded. And so he and his friends, with their shiny new armor and their bright, sharp sabers, had answered the call.

But, this..Arallis stood gaping at his friend's fallen body. He then promptly got sick, all over his new riding boots.

No one told him war was gritty, dirty, smelly, horrifying.and fatal. War always sounded noble and grand, a perfect place to prove your manhood and impress the ladies at court. His father had always spoken so highly of the boy's ancestors and their great battles. All he heard about was their bravery and their hair's-breadth escapes. Never this.

War was not standing here, two miles outside the city of Minas Tirith, in the midst of unbelievable carnage after a wave of Mordor's own elite, the Black Guard, had swept through his regiment, decimating it like locust in a corn field. Only he and a few others were left standing.

The roar of the passing orcs had dwindled like the sound of the sea heard a mile away. Now a few ragged shreds from the bright banners, previously brave and fearless, flapped in the breeze from broken standards. The sun beat down, making Arallis sweat under his helm. He pulled it off, wincing and wiped a hand across his face. Already carrion birds had drifted down like bits of soot to settle hungry and bold among the dead and dying. Sunlight winked off armor and swords, making Arallis squint.

Looking closer at hand, his fine horse Sallen, lay disemboweled next to his headless friend Manlin. Bright blood leaked everywhere as if spread by an indiscriminate hand.

A "thwing!" cracked the air near Arallis. He had just a moment to see the arrow that hit him with bone jarring force in the upper thigh. The nearby orc who had shot it ran off laughing, pausing only to grab a severed arm from the ground and wave it, shouting. Taking a bite, he soon disappeared over a rise.

Arallis sickened, stared down at the arrow, confused.

Without another thought, he crumpled like a suddenly string-less puppet, to fall across the body of Manlin.

Night came and Arallis stirred groggily. Surely it wasn't time to get up? What watch was this? And then a wave of pain hit him like a fist and he gasped, trying to curl up, but the black arrow poked him in the shoulder. And water, oh how he wanted water! Where was his servant Dafil?

He laid there, the stench one awful indistinguishable smell and stared at the stars. Wait, how could that be? The stars were moving? He rubbed a hand across his face. They were not only moving; they were getting closer. "Water!" he croaked. "Water!" One of the stars nearby stopped and bobbed over to him. The light revealed the concerned face of an older man with a lantern.

"Ranal! Quick, here's a live one!" he shouted, gesturing to the dark.

Arallis tried to sit up, but the stars decided to spin faster in the night, pulling him into darkness again.

Dahanna Bellin edged out around the broken pylon of stone, a part of Minas Tirith's outer walls, and glanced quickly around. Except for the sound of cloth flapping in the night breeze from a broken banner, it was quiet. One might even say peaceful, if they didn't know better. But Dahanna did. And so did the others of her kind. They were the night soil collectors. The city still needed its chamber pots emptied and cleaned up every day, war or not. And though frequently interrupted and unsettled, the other city services strived to maintain their schedules, as well.

Dahanna took the large jar off her back and carefully emptied it in the cisterns set out for that purpose. She had to push a very dead orc off the edge to get close enough. Later in the night, the brave drivers would collect the noisome containers and empty them in the pits dug for that purpose.

As she adjusted the jar up on her back, Dahanna heard a noise. The moon was up which lighted up the day's carnage before her like a dreadful drawing, all black and white and graphic. Trying to pinpoint the sound, she wandered off, walking carefully through the detritus of war, and the enemy dead. There it was again!

Dhanna's keen night vision pinpointed the source of the sound. Someone still alive out here! Poor soul! Probably hidden under a pile of bodies or wreckage and just coming to now! How horrible for them!

It was indeed a soldier, trapped under a pile of orcs. Terrified one of the orcs would jump up and scream, she took a deep breath and began to pull the ungainly bodies off. Thankfully all were dead.

She had to pull three orcs off the soldier, whose leg was trapped under a fallen cart. Biting her lip, Dahanna wasn't sure she could move the cart, but deciding the soldier couldn't stay out here any longer, she put her jar down and heaved hard at the pile of wood. The soldier, watching with feverish eyes, pulled his leg out with a yell as she pushed the cart up enough for him to get out from under it.

"My thanks, my lady." He said hoarsely. "Have you any water?"

Panting, Dahanna nodded, hunkered down and got her small drinking jug out. Un-corking it, she gave a little to the soldier.

As she knelt at his side, a terrible creak and moan was heard, and the cart, collapsing back into its original position, smashed her large jar into her back and trapped Dahanna under the settling wreckage.

The soldier, for it was Arallis, stood weaving before a gasping Dahanna, the arrow in his thigh, having snapped off when the cart carrying him and four other wounded had been attacked. He could see no signs of the other soldiers as he looked around. There was no one else alive. No one but the woman who had just rescued him. He went up and tried to pull her out, but that is when the terrible smell of her broken jar assailed his finely pinched nostrils.

"A night soil collector!" He stumbled back from her, waving a hand to clear the air. Bending to pick up her fallen water jug, he tucked it under his sword belt. Water was water and he didn't know how long he'd be out here until he was rescued.

"Please sir! I-I can't move!" Dahanna gasped, she could feel pottery shards grinding into her back and one of her legs had gone numb. "Please, I, ah, I think my leg is broken!"

Arallis, horrified that she had touched him, backed away from her pleading hand and gritting his teeth, stumbled towards the wall. Using it as a crutch, he made his way to a heavily guarded postern gate, and collapsed, Dahanna all but forgotten.