30. War Cries
Chapter 30 – War Cries
Somewhere higher up on the wall of the second level, Legolas looked down and watched Rhavaniel initiate a kiss and embrace the Marchwarden. His heart sunk even lower. How he wished it were his lips she was kissing. He tried very hard to put Rhavaniel out of his mind these last few weeks but with little success. She was always there. He hated what had become of them, felt like he ruined the only chance he had. They seemed like such a match. Still, Legolas accepted the fact that they went their separate ways.
Standing at his side was his dwarf friend Gimli. They had become very close friends, sharing a kind of bond that most would find unusual. They managed to set aside the feuds of their people and understand each other. They were more alike than anyone could ever imagine.
Gimli sensed Legolas' resistance to something. He noticed where the elf's attention was drawn to and peeked through a narrow slit in the stone wall. Looking down, he saw the golden head of a beautiful she-elf. He remembered seeing her in Imladris, during the time of Elrond's counsel. Legolas only spoke of her a few times and very briefly, but Gimli knew he loved her deeply. His heart hurt for his friend. He had gotten to know this elf better than some of his own kin. He was good of heart and deserved to have his true love again. Seeing her with that stuffy Marchwarden made him angry.
"She deserves better you know." Gimli said to his companion. "Perhaps he has put some sort of spell on her."
"The Marchwarden holds no kind of magic Gimli. She has simply chosen her path and it is with Haldir now." Legolas answered.
His words were believable, but Gimli heard the reserve in his tone. He was in pain knowing Rhavaniel was with another. It made him angry in a way. "Ah, you elves give in too easily. Dwarves fight harder for the ones they love. Had I been in the same situation, the blunt side of my ax would have met the others thick skull and the girl would be mine by now."
Legolas couldn't help but laugh. "Perhaps that would work for a Dwarf, but for an elf there is no such victory." He smiled down at his friend. "It is alright Gimli my friend. We have both made our choice. Now my only hope is to become her friend once again."
Gimli harrumphed to himself, rolled his eyes and looked through the slit again. "Keep telling yourself that Elf. But I see the truth." He shifted his weight, adjusting his oversized armor borrowed from the livery of the Rohirrim army. "Agh. I don't even know why I care. Dwarves do not care for such matters, especially amongst elves."
Legolas smiled while looking out across the blackness of the land and whispered. "It gladdens my heart to know that you do for I care a great deal for your happiness also."
Gimli heard Legolas but chose not to answer and leave the conversation as it was. He smiled behind his bushy beard thinking Legolas would never know, but they had bonded as friends and the elf felt the warmth of Gimli's heart grow a bit. It was at that moment that he knew the dwarf would always be at his side.
* * *
Lights of torches flowed into the fields surrounding the Deep. Lightening cracked through the darkness, illuminating everything for a split second. A sea of orcs, Uruk hai, goblins and even cave trolls flooded the grounds below. Rhavaniel's eyes widen. This was like nothing she had ever seen before. Even the battle at the Lonely Mountain did not have this big of an army. She knew their numbers were low. Rohan, though mighty, was small compared to the enemy. She began to think the hopelessness that the men felt was just. How could they ever win against such evil and so many?
Lightening flashed again and it seemed to open up the sky as rain poured down instantly. One by one, the torches went out and darkness fell upon the field below. Everyone was very tense as war waited upon their doorstep. Haldir waited for word from Aragorn. His warriors were ready, bows raised and arrows notched. The enemy was chanting and pounding the ground with their armored feet. Clanking metal rang out from the darkness. Then, they advanced. Aragorn gave orders for the archers to fire. The elf army of Lorien and Mirkwood fired simultaneously. Arrows screamed overhead and many orcs met their death instantly. They fired a few more rounds but it seemed to do little damage to the colossal army below. Somehow, the orcs broke through and raised huge ladders, climbing up to the lowest wall of the fortress. They began pouring over at different points all along the wall.
Rhavaniel looked at Haldir and smiled a wicked grin. "Tonight we will have victory."
Haldir hadn't felt the same way, but now that Rhavaniel seemed so sure, he couldn't help but feed off of her energy. "For Lorien." he yelled.
"For Mirkwood." she yelled back. "For my mother… for Faelwen." she said only to herself and raised her bow.
Rhavaniel and Haldir fought side by side for a long while, shooting any orcs that made it to the top of the wall. Soon, their arrows were running low and without time to collect more, they pulled out their swords. They stayed close and slayed any orcs that made it onto the battlement, sending them plummeting to the ground below.
Suddenly, Rhavaniel heard a cry above the clatter of metal upon metal. It was Aragorn yelling to Legolas. She paused to train her hearing in on what he was saying. 'Stop him.' he was yelling in her native tongue and she looked to where Aragorn was. Then she saw Legolas aiming his bow to the ground. She looked over the edge of the wall and saw a huge Uruk hai running towards the stone wall carrying an extra-large torch. Confused by this, she could only stop and watch as Legolas' arrows hit their mark but the beast did not fall. Suddenly, the Uruk disappeared below the wall and there was an enormous explosion of fire and stone. The wall disintegrated right before her eyes. Anyone standing on that section was gone and there was now had a huge gaping hole. Orcs poured in and started flooding the lowest level of the Deep. Several cries of Men and Elves echoed throughout the crowd. They were ordering their troops to pull back and go to the higher levels. Rhavaniel looked around for Haldir to see what he would do, but he was no longer where he once was. She only had a moment to search for him before becoming overrun by the enemy. Then she heard him yelling orders from below. Somehow, Haldir and a troop of Galadhrim made their way to the ground, fighting the orcs as they breached the compound. She started to run towards a set of stairs that led down to him when she felt a tugging at her heart and a voice in her head.
"Rhavaniel no." it said and she turned to see Legolas on the opposite side of the gaping hole in the wall. He had been watching her and now worried for her as she headed towards the crowd of orcs on the ground.
"I have to go to him." she said in her mind and ran off toward the stairs. "We must fight together."
As soon as she got to the bottom, Haldir met her. "What are you doing here? This is no place for…"
"For what, a female? Don't start with that now. It's a little too late don't you think? Besides, it looks like you could use some help." she teased and swung her long knife at the neck of an approaching orc, severing its head from its body.
Haldir watched as it rolled into a puddle. "My mistake." he said jokingly. They smiled to each other and then stood back to back, fighting off any who got too close.
In the meantime, Legolas managed to make his way to the other side of the wall. He looked down searching for Rhavaniel and found her along with Haldir. He could not help but notice how gracefully they fought together. Their blades twirled around in a lustful dance. Together they fought off each orc they encountered, taking turns to kill. Legolas was reminded of the sons of Elrond and how they fed off each other's energy. He realized it in the past but now understood just what it was Haldir and Rhavaniel had with each other. They were warrior mates, bonded to each other through the lust for battle and blood. Legolas knew he never had that connection with her. It was part of the reason he set her free of their love. Rhavaniel was meant to be with Haldir if for no other reason than to fight. Perhaps he had known this all along. He had felt her strength, her excitement for the kill. This was the one thing he could never share with Rhavaniel for he found no pleasure in it. These thoughts reinsured his reason for letting her go and solidified his doubt of getting her back.
"Legolas!" shouted Gimli from somewhere behind him. He turned just in time to see an Uruk hai approaching, the dwarf running as quickly as he could to catch up to the monster. Legolas instantly raised his long knives and took on the beast. Gimli got there a moment too late as the elf drew his blade from its chest.
"He should have been mine." Gimli said angrily for they were keeping score of their kills.
Legolas half smiled and looked past Gimli. "You can take that one instead."
Gimli turned to see an orc approaching. "Ha ha! Come here you filthy scum!" he shouted raising his ax in a dwarven battle stance. Soon another enemy lie dead on the blood covered ground and Legolas cleared his thoughts of Rhavaniel.
* * *
Rhavaniel and Haldir finally had a brief moment in between waves of orcs. They stopped a moment and gazed at each other. Their eyes were black and emotionless except for the need to kill. He smiled as he felt her control strengthen. "You now control it completely Rhavaniel. Can you feel it?"
Unable to contain her emotions, she went up to the Marchwarden and pressed her lips against his. The smell of blood and desire filled their minds; a lust to feel his body deep within her consumed her mind instantly. But there was something else buried just below the surface, something Haldir seemed to have been hiding. She released him from the kiss and looked into his stormy grey eyes. That's when she saw it, there just beyond his darkened irises. He loved her.
Rhavaniel gasped involuntarily and Haldir felt her reserve. "Rhavaniel… I…" he started but was interrupted as she shoved Haldir to the side, pushing him to the ground. Her gaze was no longer focused on him but whatever it was that approached them. Quickly, Haldir jumped to his feet only to find a rather large troll running up on them. As he got up, he heard one of his captains calling his name. Haldir looked across the way to see the next wave of orcs coming.
"Haldir, go. I can handle this one and I will join you once more." Rhavaniel said.
"I will not leave you…"
"Your soldiers call for their leader. Now go. I will be fine." Rhavaniel yelled back. She was almost glad for the interruption, afraid to hear Haldir confess his love for her. She knew in her heart she could never answer him the way he had hoped. Even the thought of learning to love him was a fool's hope.
Reluctantly, Haldir left Rhavaniel to fight the troll. He felt her strength and will knowing she could fend for herself. She was right of course. He was needed elsewhere. They could not fight the entire evening side by side.
Rhavaniel watched as Haldir ran off to join the others before turning her full attention on the huge troll approaching her. That same wicked smile appeared on her face as she welcomed the duel. This one was amongst some of the largest she had seen and she looked forward to the challenge. It advanced upon her, scimitar raised out in front of its chest, teeth bared almost as if it were an evil grin.
Just as it was about to rush her, a flash of green, gold and brown caught her attention. A primeval yell accompanied the invader. "Legolas!" she said in surprise as the Wood elf sprang onto the troll's back.
The large creature waved its arm, reaching up and trying to grab Legolas from its back. Instinctively, Rhavaniel raised her bow only to realize she had spent her arrows. The troll grabbed Legolas' leg and was attempting to pull him off, but the elf held on to a type of collar around its neck.
"I have no time for this." Rhavaniel said to herself and dropped the bow. She reached behind her and pulled out her twin long knives. The troll was focused on Legolas and did not notice the she-elf running to it.
Just then, Legolas let out a yell of agony. Somehow, the troll managed to get his leg close enough so that the troll bit his calf. Not a second later, Rhavaniel was sinking her blades into the soft flesh of its underbelly. The troll cried out, releasing Legolas who fell to the ground. While the troll doubled over in pain, Rhavaniel sliced into its neck, opening up an important vein and spilling its blood. The creature fell to its knees and eventually collapsed to the ground all together, breathing its last breaths.
Legolas stood up in obvious pain, but recovered quickly. The bite from the troll was sore but not enough to keep him from fighting. He took a moment looking down to the face of the troll, now lying still and no longer breathing. Such child-like features it had in this state. He knew they were not normally this violent but their minds had been turned for evil. Legolas said a silent prayer before turning to Rhavaniel.
She looked at him standing there. It was the first time they met face to face since Lothlorien. He was still the most beautiful elf she had ever seen, though she could sense his rapid maturity due to the war. "Why do you pray for the beast? It would not have done the same for you. It only knows to kill or be killed. Such are the thoughts of all that fight in war." she said curiously.
"Good or bad, evil or virtuous it still had a soul." Legolas said softly. "Who are you Rhavaniel, to judge me so? You are not much different from it. Kill or be killed you say. Is this not how you think anymore? Have you lost all compassion as an elf?"
"It is more than that. The battle-lust is not just a romantic fable. It exists and yes, Haldir is my match." Her words were colder than she would have wanted them to be. But Legolas challenged her at a most opportune time. Her blood was still heated and coursed through her veins, filling her with this lust. "I know you saw me with Haldir earlier upon our arrival. I am sorry Legolas. I did not want you to see me as such. I know it hurts you to know…"
"I have come to terms Rhavaniel. I know we could never have this connection. It does not exist in my soul as it does yours. I think I always knew there was something different about you. I thought I could change you, keep you away from such bloody scenes. Now I see that I stopped you from your true path and for that, I am sorry. You know I never meant to hurt you."
Rhavaniel shook her head. "You have not changed so much Thranduilion. Here it is that I was the one to run away and you are apologizing. It is I who should be saying these things, not you." She took a step closer to him so that she could feel the warmth of his body close to hers. "I do not love him you know." she said keeping her eyes away from his deep stare. "This bond is not about love. It is about fighting. Yet, we have shared more than spilling our enemy's blood. I am not proud of all the choices I have made since leaving you, but I have no regrets either. This is the true me Legolas. Only one who can understand this and accept my decisions can have my love."
Legolas thought about this. Could he ever see her as she once was? Could they ever get back to the way their lives were before the darkness fell upon their home and the world around them? "I am not proud of my choices either and I have but only one regret." he said and touched her hand. "I regret loosing you."
"Rhavaniel!" she heard yelled from somewhere across the way. She turned her attention to where the voice came from. She was needed with her Lorien troop. Looking back to Legolas she said, "Will you come fight with me, as we did once?"
"My duty lies with Aragorn now and I have been gone too long from his side." he answered.
"Rhavaniel… now!" a Lorien captain yelled.
She cupped the side of Legolas' face with her hand. Then without thinking, Rhavaniel captured Legolas' lips. Visions of their last night together in Imladris filled her mind. The memory of the dances and begetting days long past flashed before her. Childhood squabbles and silly duels trying to best each other seeped forward. They had a history together, one that helped to shape who they were. This would never change between them. If they never spoke again, at least they had these memories.
Rhavaniel released him. "I must go and so should you. Stay safe Prince Legolas." she said turning and darting off to join her company.
In that one kiss, Legolas was renewed. He had experienced all the same memories as her. Somehow, he knew they would meet again. Eventually they would start over where they once left off, but maybe not more than friends. It was enough he told himself. There was still much to be done for now and their paths went in separate directions, though they fought for the same reasons. In this way they were still connected. It would have to do.
* * *
Rhavaniel returned to her Lorien company and approached the captain. "Where is Haldir?" she asked.
"He has gone back to the first level. We are to follow. The King sends word to retreat back to the keep." he answered.
She nodded and the last of the Lorien elves on the ground made their way up the broken steps to the first level of the Deep, killing any that got in their way. Along the way, they grabbed what arrows they could find and replenished their supplies.
Rhavaniel finally made it to the top and searched the crowd for Haldir. A flash of silver caught her eyes and there she saw Haldir fighting off about five orcs. As she ran to him, she watched his fluid movements. There was no denying the fact that he was a great warrior. She felt their bond as her blood once again pulsed heatedly through her veins. As Haldir dispatched the last orc, she let her soul go out to him, proud to have this connection and no longer wanting to hide it.
Haldir felt her soul as it hit him like a ton of bricks. This was the first time she did not try to cover it up. His heart skipped a beat knowing she was not afraid. His mind and thoughts went out to her. "You are complete now. You have let go finally. You are a pure warrior." As his thoughts sent out to her, he watched her as she ran to him, still far away. He let a small smile escape his firm lips and reveled in this one moment of complete liberation between them. It was freeing for them both not to hold back their warrior bond.
Rhavaniel could see Haldir through the crowd of soldiers. He was standing upon a piece of broken rock like a beacon calling her home. She would not deny him his feelings now, though she could never return them. Yet, this moment was not about love. It was about two warrior mates solidifying their bond and strengthening each other. His words rang through her mind. "I am free." she told herself. "I am finally free."
Just as the feeling of elation washed over her, she was hit with such a strong sharp pain it almost brought her to her knees. Rhavaniel thought she had been struck in the back. Stopping and looking behind her, she found there was no one close enough to injure her. Confused Rhavaniel looked to Haldir again. He was no longer smiling or watching her. His eyes were closed and there was a look of anguish on his face. "Haldir?" she called to him with her mind. A second jolt of hot searing pain racked her body. It was then that she realized it was not her being injured. It was Haldir. Ignoring the ghostly pain, Rhavaniel ran faster, the distance between them seeming to lengthen like some nightmare that would not end. "Haldir!" she yelled. His eyes connected with hers but they seemed empty and cold. Then he collapsed, falling from the rock where he stood.
As she ran, she pushed everyone out of her way, be they friend or foe. Her only goal was to get to Haldir. He was injured and alone. He needed help. "Oh dear Valar, please help him. Please!" she said as she approached him. After what seemed like a thousand years, Rhavaniel reached the Marchwarden. He was lying on the ground, face down and a dirty blackened orc blade protruded from his back. She fell to the ground beside him, rolling him onto his side. "Haldir! Haldir, can you hear me?" she yelled. She could still sense his life force.
* * *
Somewhere across the way, Legolas felt a strong despairing tug at his soul. Instantly he knew it was Rhavaniel. Something had happened and he began searching for her. Then his elf ears noticed her voice yelling for help, yelling out Haldir's name. He looked to Gimli who was close to him now.
Gimli knew not what was happening, but he saw the look of concern and fright on the elf's face. Something disturbed his friend to the point that it made his own blood run cold. Without hesitating, he yelled. "Go Legolas. Rhavaniel needs you. I will stay with Aragorn. Now go." Legolas wasted no time and took off running in the direction of Rhavaniel's thoughts and the sound of her agonizing cries.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.