37. The Last Stand
Chapter 37 – The Last Stand
After a few days and some recovery and rest, Gandalf called for a counsel and it was decided that they would march to one last stance. This time, they would go to Mordor and draw Sauron out in his own land. They knew for a fact that Frodo and Sam were now in Mordor and they needed every ounce of help to aid them in their mission to destroy the ring. Sauron's troops were diminished but not completely gone. Those that escaped the battle in Gondor fled back to the Black Land once more.
Anyone able to wield a weapon that was willing to lay down their life was asked to march to Mordor. With so many dead and injured, their numbers were low. Still, this seemed to be the only way to take the Great Eye's attention off his lands and focus it towards the Black Gate. This is where Men would make their stand. They knew they were outnumbered and there was a good chance none would come back alive. This was a sacrifice they were willing to make. They had to do something to give Frodo a chance and in turn everyone in Middle Earth.
* * *
Rhavaniel was in the healing houses visiting with Faramir who was making a miraculous recovery. Just as she promised, she was there when he woke up and now she made regular visits.
Among those in the healing house was also the Lady Eowyn of Rohan. When Rhavaniel heard her story of how she came to Gondor and slew the Nazgul, she just had to meet her. It may be the first time she met another female with as strong a will as her own. The two became fast friends. Rhavaniel was surprised to know that Eowyn knew Legolas and considered him a friend. She told Rhavaniel the story of how they met in Rohan and how he helped save the king from Saruman's spell. She was completely intrigued with everything Eowyn had to tell her. Since Legolas began his journey, they had not talked much, especially about his travels. Now it seemed that all of this would change. Legolas was back in her life once again. It was only a start and there was much to deal with and sort out, but at least they were finally on the same page.
While they talked, Legolas came in to check on his friend and was glad to find Rhavaniel there as well. He came to stand beside Rhavaniel and wrapped his arm around her waist. Then he nuzzled her neck giving her a quick kiss. Instantly, Rhavaniel was alight with electricity running throughout her body. Even Eowyn sensed the chemistry between them and smiled. "You did not tell me how close you two were."
Rhavaniel blushed as she felt Legolas smile against her neck. Then he looked down to Eowyn. "We have known each other our whole lives." he said squeezing her waist and tickling her side. Rhavaniel giggled and slapped his hand away to regain her composure.
"That will be enough out of you." she said taking a step away from him. "This is no way to behave in front of my friend." Then she gave him a look of authority and Legolas stayed put, at least for now.
Eowyn laughed to herself. "A girl after my own heart. You had better watch yourself Legolas. She has a fire about her. I like that. No wonder we get along so well."
Legolas smiled and collected himself. "How are you feeling today my lady? And how is your arm?" he asked Eowyn. While fighting the Nazgul, her arm was broken in several places.
"The healers say I will regain full use, though it will take some time to heal. Now tell me Legolas, have you heard news as of late?"
He became serious now. This was something he did not wish to tell Rhavaniel but he knew he must. "We will gather as many as we can and head for Mordor. There is one final battle to fight. Sauron must be confronted and charged for his crimes." He would not tell Eowyn the real reason for she did not know of the Ring and Frodo.
Rhavaniel creased her brow and looked at Legolas concerned. "Mordor? But why would you do this now? Why not wait until more men are healed and stronger, able to join the cause?"
Legolas looked her deep in the eyes as he spoke. "We cannot wait. It must be done now while there is still a chance."
Now Eowyn looked at them confused. "A chance for what? To go now would be certain death. You will be outnumbered." she argued.
Rhavaniel knew what Legolas meant by this last comment. "No, he is right. To wait would show weakness. It must be done now."
Eowyn sighed heavily. "I wish I could join in your plight. I would be honored to fight by your side Rhavaniel."
Rhavaniel's heart immediately warmed and she went to Eowyn taking her hand. "You are a dear friend Lady of Rohan, but this time it is not your fight. You have done more than enough already. Take rest now and heal."
After a few more minutes, Rhavaniel and Legolas left Eowyn so she could rest. They strolled down the corridors until they came to a doorway that led out to a garden. Both elves wandered into the overgrown courtyard happy once again to be amongst growing things even if they were weeds. Legolas came to stand at her side and looked out into the distance. "You expect to go with us to battle?"
"Of course. Every able body is needed." she said and glared at Legolas. "And would you expect me to stay?"
Legolas looked back and did not lower his gaze. He was reading her. She would not back down and neither would he. "I would rather that you stayed." She opened her mouth to speak but he held his hand up. "I must be honest and tell you my true feelings for I cannot stand the thought of being separated from you again. I am not telling you not to go but only what I prefer. When I slipped on the wall, you said you could not go on without me. That emotion is what I feel every time I think of you putting yourself in harm's way. I cannot help it. I love you beyond compare. But I also know to love you means to accept you as you are. You are a warrior Rhavaniel. This is what you do. And…" Here Legolas paused, took her hands in his and looked down to where they touched. "And you are needed in this fight. I need you."
Rhavaniel was absolutely beaming. She could not have wished for a better answer from him. "We shall fight as we once did in Mirkwood. We will stand side by side and defend those left behind and those going into the unknown."
Legolas could feel her excitement and it aroused something deep within him. He pulled her to him, placing her hands at his waist. Then his own hands roamed up the sides of her body, down along her spine and came to rest on her backside. He squeezed and pulled her to him, moaning as he did.
Rhavaniel felt his growing desire against her belly. This warmed her immediately, making her feel weak in the knees.
Legolas lowered his head, brushing his parted lips across hers, first one way and then the other. Rhavaniel grabbed his bottom lip in her teeth then seductively sucked it into her mouth. She released him and they kissed deep and long. His tongue pushed past her lips. She answered by swirling her tongue with his, pushing deep, wanting to taste every part of him. His fingers kneaded her round backside as his hips ground into her. He released her from the kiss and finally spoke. "I want you Rhavaniel. It has been far too long and I need to feel your flesh against mine."
His words made her melt and quiver in his arms. She needed him just as badly, but there was a war to fight. This would have to wait. "We cannot… yet."
Legolas would not take no for an answer. "I know you want me Rhavaniel. I can feel it, smell it. We have confessed our deepest feelings for each other. Why would you torture me so? We do not leave until the morning. There is time this night."
Again, Rhavaniel was a hair's width away from giving into his pleas. "Trust me Legolas. We must be ready for war. There must be no distractions. Besides…" She licked the tip of his nose. "It will be so much better when our minds are free from worry."
Legolas knew she was right and hated that she once again had the upper hand. He released his hold on her, took her chin in his fingers and drew in close to kiss her once more. He watched as her lips parted, ready to accept him and when he was just about to touch her lips, he backed away. Two could play this game, he thought. Then, speaking as if they never even shared this moment, Legolas said. "We meet at the gates of the City just before dawn. Be ready with your horse, a few supplies for the journey and all of your weapons."
Rhavaniel was taken aback. She had never seen Legolas give in so easily. And what was that look upon his face? Was that… arrogance? This was definitely not the way he normally responded. He was not begging or pleading. He was not conjuring up a contest. Something about his demeanor made her come alive to a completely new level. Of course, she would not show him this. She smiled and nodded in agreement. "Very well then." she said with confidence. "I will see you in the morning." She started to leave, but Legolas gently took her by the arm.
"I did not mean for us to part company just yet." he said in his sweetest voice.
Rhavaniel smiled to herself. "I guess some things don't change." she thought quietly. They spent the remainder of the evening talking and becoming reacquainted with each other. Tomorrow would start their journey into Mordor and then they would engage in battle. For now, it was nice to have one last quiet moment alone.
* * *
It had been a long trek to the Black Gates but they made it in record time. Now Rhavaniel stood among the men of Gondor and Rohan awaiting their final orders. Tensions ran high. No one spoke and the only sound was of the horses snorting or of mail clinking. A small party rode up to the Gate, Legolas among them to represent the elves. Her heart was torn at the moment. Never had she been more proud of him. Not an ounce of fear was there on his fair face. He sat tall and confident upon his horse, Gimli riding behind. But she was also worried about him wandering so far from the protection of the army. Should things go bad, he was too far away from her for her to help. Gandalf was with them though. Surely, he would not let anything go wrong.
The silence was deafening when suddenly the sound of metal rubbing metal filled the air, creaking and clanking. The Gate was opening. Rhavaniel's elf eyes could see a lone rider join the party. She feared things would not remain civil, as she knew they would ask that Sauron surrender. She relayed everything she saw to the men around her, keeping them informed. There was a flash of silver, a shirt of some sort. Legolas' horse began to stomp its feet, obviously nervous about something. She reached out with her heart and felt Legolas' doubt. "Do not give into his words. They are tainted with poison." she said to him through her mind. Almost instantly, Arod calmed and stilled. She knew Legolas heard her and in turn so did his horse through his emotions.
Rhavaniel's palms began to itch. Her blood started to race. The battle-lust was upon her. Now she could not help but think of Haldir. This would be her first time to fight without him. He had told her the lust for blood would still be within her and it was, but without him there it was not as strong. There was no one to feed off. Part of the excitement was missing and this worried her. Would she be able to hold her own? Would this affect the way she fought making her weaker? All these things ran through her mind and she struggled to keep herself in check.
She had removed herself from the situation at hand and did not notice the black armored figure fall from his horse. It wasn't until she heard a gasp from the men around her that she brought herself back to the situation at hand. She looked out and saw the crumpled heap lying on the ground and the riderless horse.
"What happens lady elf?" one of the men asked anxiously.
"It seems we do not have an accord." she replied and simultaneously the Gate began to move and open wider. The party turned and came back to them at a gallop, dust rising behind them kicked up by the horse's hooves.
"Ready yourselves Men of Gondor and Rohan. It seems war is emanate." she said to those around her. Word spread and spears rose towards the sky.
Soon the party returned to the rest of the army and Rhavaniel rode forward to meet Legolas. "His troops are being sent out." he said. "This is it Rhavaniel. The enemy strikes and I fear we may never return."
Rhavaniel looked him deep in his brilliantly blue eyes. "This will not be our end my love. Hope remains here." she said touching her hand to his forehead. "And here." She now placed her hand over his heart.
Any doubt he had disappeared and Rhavaniel's love filled him. He took her chin in his fingers, tilting her head up. "And here." he whispered before lowering his lips to hers. The world around them melted away briefly and all despair washed away.
Then the sounds of war came back to their ears as the orcs advanced from the Black Gate. Rhavaniel and Legolas stood side by side, bows raised and staring intently at the oncoming black army. They shared one last glance at each other and let the cry of war fill their hearts. Aragorn led them, running straight at the army of orcs and everyone followed. The last stand against Sauron had begun and hope that Frodo would carry out his task fueled their hearts.
* * *
It did not take long for the small army from Gondor to become engulfed by the enemy. They were surrounded and fought tooth and nail, but their plan was working so far. All attention was now on the commotion at the Gate. Sauron poured out all his evil through those gates. Orcs, Uruks, trolls and any other creature of the Dark Lords making came out to join in the destruction of this last stand. It was obvious the Men were outnumbered and only a fools hope they had of surviving. Each and every one knew they may be slain, but they fought on vigorously for all that they loved.
Rhavaniel and Legolas fought side by side. Spent of their arrows, they now wielded their Mirkwood long knives. They worked as a team cutting through as many necks and limbs as possible. Rhavaniel watched as Legolas spun around, knives twirling, his long hair flowing out behind him. He fought with more grace than any elf she had ever seen. It was like watching a dance as he switched from long knife to dagger and back again. She had never known him to fight like this and it made her pulse race to watch him. Of course, she could only steal glances as she had her own battle to fight.
Legolas also stole a moment or two to watch Rhavaniel's technique. She was a ruthless killer. Her eyes were dark and lustful with every stroke. She not only killed her subjects, but also desecrated them until they were unrecognizable. When she was not fighting, she was looking about for her next victim as if it pained her to stop. She still wore her Lorien uniform with its grey and black colors. Her hair was braided as that of a Mirkwood soldier and this small detail made his heart soar. Oh but she was beautiful to watch yet merciless to her enemy. They feared her, quailed in her presence, but she gave them no pity. Legolas had never been more proud than he was at that moment. This was his Rhavaniel, the elleth who tortured him as an elfling, who bested him in front of his friends, who refused to be tamed… and he loved her for everything that she was.
* * *
The war went on for some time now and they were tiring. The orcs just kept coming. More men fell to their deaths by the hands of the enemy. Just when it seemed it could get no worse, the Nazgul arrived upon winged death. Despair and fear now filled Men's hearts. Rhavaniel felt it as she looked around at their forlorn faces. "No!" she yelled to them. "You will not give up. Fight Men of Gondor. Fight for honor. Fight for justice." She looked over to where Legolas stood. "Fight for those that you love." she said as their eyes connected.
The Men were rejuvenated and continued on until at last there was a disruption beyond the Gate, inside the land of Mordor. Friend and foe alike stopped to see what was happening. There was suddenly an ear shattering screeching and then an explosion. The tower of Barad-dur began to crumble. The Great Eye seemed to detonate and implode into itself. A massive rumbling spread over the land and the earth itself opened up, swallowing the enemy. Some of the enemy ran back to the Gate only to meet their demise as the immense iron doors fell from their hinges and slipped into the abyss of a growing crater. But the land under the feet of the Men was stable and did not crack. And somewhere from within the crowd a small voice yelled. "Frodo! Frodo!" It was Merry and he was soon joined by Pippin. Everyone turned to see where the hobbits looked. Mount Doom was in the horizon and its fires sputtered.
Rhavaniel looked at Legolas. "He has done it. Frodo has succeeded in destroying the Ring."
Legolas, still feeling her lust and energy, grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him. "It is done. Evil is destroyed. And we still live."
"Never have I seen an elf fight as gracefully as you." she said as if in a daze.
"Nor have I seen one with such ferocity as you." he answered. "I could feel you deep within me and now I know what it is that you experience when you fight. It felt magnificent."
They looked once more into the distance and watched as the side of the volcanic mountain gave way and spilled its molten waste over the land below. Their ears heard a cry and looked over to see Merry and Pippin in despair whispering of Frodo's death as the mountain came down. But Rhavaniel looked up and with her keen eyes saw the giant eagles soaring above. Legolas saw them too and they smiled. "They are safe my friends. Look there." he said and pointed to the great birds flying quickly away from the area. "They bear Sam and Frodo and will take them to the City."
"Then we must also be on our way." said Aragorn who joined his friends. "We have victory at last." And with that, they soon started their journey back to Minas Tirith.
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.