Dwarves and Elves
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When You Are With Me: 8. Never Vanquished Be
at the touch of the Sun rising in the East and a wind stirred the air,
lifting the smoke and stench of death that hung heavily over the
battlefield and upon hearts of the Rohirrim, the new day bringing new
promise. Even as the gates fell and they despaired, at their darkest hour
there came light and hope.
As the first rays of the sunrise sprang into the sky, the orcs ceased their
attack. A murmur arose from behind them, off in the distance, and the
rumour rippled through their ranks, magnifying as it spread. A nameless
terror filled them and they were dismayed and faltered, looking back over
their shoulders with fearful glances.
And then the sound of a great horn rang out, blast upon blast from beyond
the Deep, as if upon every cliff and hill a mighty herald stood. The orcs
cast themselves to the ground, and upon the walls the men lifted their
faces to the heights and marvelled at the echoes of the hornblasts through
the hills. "Helm! Helm!" the men took up the cry. "Helm for Theoden
Theoden rode forth, thundering forth from the gates upon his white steed,
his spear catching the sun's light and gleaming as pure gold. At his side
was Aragorn son of Arathorn, and all the lords of the House of Eorl. The
men of Rohan cheered at the sight and new strength drove their assault upon
the forces of Isengard, and the orcs wavered and fell back. Down from the
Hornburg Theoden and his riders swept, driving through the enemy as a wind
Upon the parapet of the Deeping Wall two figures stood sillhouetted by the
sunrise. One was shading his eyes to look out upon the onslaught, standing
tall and fair, his back straight and his hair flowing from beneath his helm
in the glorious breeze. The second was as still as the rock beneath his
feet, both hands resting upon the hilt of the axe planted on the ground
before him. Though they spoke not, they knew one another's thoughts, and
rejoiced that they were alive and there to see the dawning of a new day.
The horn blew fierce and free, and they watched the Riders cut through the
black host, orcs falling or fleeing before their shining spears. The keen
sight of Legolas Greenleaf caught the glint of the king's armor and the
white flash of Snowmane before the charge, and also, to his great delight,
Aragorn upon Hasufel with his sword brandished high. Legolas motioned to
the dwarf, and Gimli hefted his axe into the air and gave a shout. He
threw one arm about Legolas's waist and embraced him, laughing
Their revelry was cut short, however, by the sudden clamour of metal-shod
feet and howling voices as the orcs caught behind the wall poured like rats
from their positions outside the caves and the Rock in an effort to find a
way to escape the wrath of the men of the Mark. Legolas turned and
directed his gaze outwards across the Deeping-coomb, and his expression
turned to wonder. Even as the orcs inside fought to get out, the host of
Isengard who were gathered beyond the wall were pressed against the outside
to get within. His brow furrowed and he cast his gaze further out to see
the cause of their fear. The elf drew in a sharp hiss and tapped the
"Gimli! Look there! Do you see?"
The dwarf peered down upon the green dale which was... no longer there.
Where the plain of grass had been there now stood a forest. He gaped in
"Legolas!" he gasped, "The wood has moved!"
Indeed, the trees and tangled boughs were now rooted rank upon rank just
beyond the Dike, looming dark and mysterious. He looked to the elf for an
answer, but Legolas had none to offer. They watched in amazement as the
orcs on either side of them cowered in terror of the king and in terror of
the shadowed trees.
Bewildered, Gimli and Legolas could but ponder the strange sight for an
instant. Gimli tugged at Legolas's belt to drag his attention away from
the queer forest in the valley to more pressing matters. They found
themselves above a scrambling mass fighting to clamber over the wall or
claw their way through the culvert beneath. The enemy seemed more intent
upon escape than confrontation, its courage failing. A large black orc
tore up the stairway and came to a startled halt at the sight of a dwarf
standing before it, axe resting casually upon his shoulder and a look of
cold amusement upon his face. The orc yelled and threw its arms over its
head. Gimli's axe bit deep, spraying black blood over the stones, then the
dwarf kicked the thing's body back down the stairs, toppling two more who
had followed. Before the others could regain their feet, a sharp whistle
pierced the air and an arrow took one in the eye, then the other fell with
a shaft through its temple.
"This is futile, Gimli!" Legolas shouted above the din. "Let them flee!"
Gimli sidestepped an orc that barreled past him and plunged blindly from
the parapet. "Come, my friend. Let us go below where we might be of some
They fought their way through the teeming horde, though the effort was not
great. The orcs were in a panic and heeded them not. Yet Gimli's short
stature might have proved his downfall as the orcs crushed in on all sides
and would have borne him along, but Legolas stayed close by his side and
the two carved a deadly circle about them as they made for safer ground.
Legolas swept his knife across the throat of an orc that hurled itself
wildly at him, and Gimli drove his axe into the soft flesh of another's
belly, ripping the blade back out and thrusting the body away from him.
Legolas motioned to the dwarf to cut back to the side and away from the
rush, then whirled to plunge his blade into the chest of a large hillman
who had gotten too close. He wrenched his knife from his foe and the
silver of his weapon no longer visible; his blade and forearm were
drenched with dark ichor. He stepped over the steaming corpse and pushed
Gimli to a recess in the rock wall to rest there for a moment. The heat
and noise was stifling and he yearned for freer air. He glanced down at
his companion. Gimli was panting from the exertion, and sweat and blood
covered his face. The cut upon his forehead had reopened during their
flight where his helm had chafed it. Gimli glanced up and met the elf's
"It is nothing! I am well," he shouted. "An irritation it is, and nothing
more. We must get away from this throng!"
Legolas nodded and cast about, judging the flow of the wave of orcs passing
by them. He gripped Gimli by the arm and pulled him along, making his way
along the wall and keeping the stumbling dwarf from danger.
They found their way at last to the gates and heard once more the horn of
Helm ring through the mountains. There they came upon upon a clash of men
and orcs which was hot and brutal. There fought Eomer, Third Marshal of
the Riddermark, and Gamling the Old, and a gathering of men who had come
forth from the caves and the Rock in the wake of the king's charge, and who
strove mightily to roust the remaining orcs from the Deep. There were not
many now to challenge Eomer and those who stood with him, but the few orcs
that remained were desperate and fighting hard.
Eomer slashed valiantly at the shield of a red-tongued Uruk who sought to
skewer him with a glistening curved blade. He cursed and parried the orc's
blows, blinking through the sweat in his eyes and feeling each clash of
metal upon metal jar his teeth painfully. The path from the caves had been
a long one and he was weary. Even as he shattered the orc's shield with a
well-aimed thrust, his foot slipped and he hit the ground hard, rolling to
avoid the orc's counter-strike. He moved too late and he felt steel pierce
his shoulder. He screamed, his sword falling from his nerveless hand.
The Uruk howled with lust and moved to attack, lifting its bloody sword
into the air to drive it deeply into the wounded man, but it stiffened
suddenly and fell to its knees, a dark stain spreading across the front of
its chest where an arrow had punched through. It toppled and collapsed
motionless at Eomer's side, vicious eyes glazed and frozen in an eternal
Eomer looked up from where he lay, squinting in the sunlight, and found
himself reunited once more with Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas the Elf.
The dwarf stumped forward and held out a strong arm, pulling the man to his
"Well met, Eomer son of Eomund," he rumbled cheerfully. "I hope you were
not planning to avoid our further discussion regarding the Lady of the Wood
by throwing yourself beneath a sword on a battlefield."
Eomer stared at Gimli in amazement, hardly recognizing him beneath the
grime and blood which covered the dwarf's face. The man's laughter rang
out and he made to speak, but the pain of his wound assailed him and he
swayed. Gimli gripped him on one side and Legolas upon the other, and the
two bore him away and past the gates.
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