Chapter 16 – The Battle of Helms Deep
Volleys of arrows sailed over the battlements as the archers fired. Multitudes of Orcs fell, but more replaced them as the army surged forwards. I clutched my blades tightly, and I could feel a faint buzzing coming from them.
I heard Aragorn's yell and scanned the walls. Ladders were indeed being placed against the walls, and Orcs were already climbing up. A ladder appeared before me. Without thinking, I kicked out at it, sending it toppling backwards.
"Maetho i vagol lîn!"
My voice carried over the pounding rain and the roar of Orcs. The Elves drew their swords, and engaged the Orcs as they came over the wall.
They were everywhere; all I could see was the heaving masses of black, armoured creatures. No matter how many ladders we kicked down, two more always appeared.
I span in a circle, blades outstretched at head level. I decapitated a couple that got too close. As I stopped, an Orc Berserker charged forwards. I brought my blades up, blocking its sword. I disengaged, and swung my blades up, hoping to catch it unawares, but it parried my blow, pushing me backwards. I stumbled, but righted myself. The Berserker charged again, but stopped suddenly as a sword buried itself in its throat. It choked and fell forwards. I whipped round to find the boy standing behind me, face deathly pale, shaking all over. I ran to him, and quickly dispatched an Orc behind him.
The boy's voice was lost in the noise of battle, but the fear in his eyes was evident. I spotted a door, slightly ajar, near the back, leading back in to Helms Deep. The way to it was clear.
"Listen to me. You see that door? Run to it. Don't look back, whatever happens. Once through, you lock it. Do you know how to get to the caves?"
The boy nodded.
"Good. Make your way to the caves. Now go! Go!"
I shoved the boy towards the door and he started sprinting. An Orc spotted him, and ran after but the boy was too fast. He reached the door and slipped through, slamming it in the Orc's face. The Orc was quickly cut down by a soldier.
A pounding made me turn. A group of Uruk-Hai was advancing on the Causeway, towards the gate. Their broad shields were held above them, to protect them from any arrows from above.
I shouted to the Elvish archers near me. They whirled around, and spotted the group. Arrows began to fly, killing the Uruk-Hai at the sides, but the group kept advancing. I cursed under my breath, and started to run along the battlements, when I heard Aragorn's voice, yelling out.
"Dago hon! Dago hon!"
I looked down as Legolas fired at an Uruk-Hai. It was running with a flame towards the wall, where sticky balls were stuck.
A split second later, a deafening boom filled the air, and I was thrown backwards as the wall exploded. I jumped to my feet, unheeding of the blood trickling down my face. I looked on in shock as the army streamed in past the broken Deeping Walls.
"Brace the gate! Hold them! Stand firm!"
Théoden called out orders and soldiers rushed to comply. Several Elves joined in the barricade, adding extra strength. I ran back out on to the battlements, and spotted Legolas. He had grabbed a shield, and was using it to slide down the steps, firing arrows at any creature in his way. As he reached the bottom, he flicked the shield up, and it flew up, stabbing an Uruk-Hai. I smiled briefly at his antics – he was always flamboyant in his fighting techniques.
Muffled shouts came from behind me, and I guessed that they were falling back to the Keep. As I began to look back, a shield came out of nowhere and knocked me on my face. My blades spun out of my hands, skidding away, and stopping to rest against the wall. I turned over, winded, and was greeted by the sight of an Uruk-Hai looming over me. I tried to scoot away, but its foot landed on my neck. It slowly pressed down, cutting off my air supply. I choked, and gasped, desperately seeking air. The Uruk-Hai growled in triumph as my movements became weaker. My vision blurred at the edges. Still trying to escape, I kicked my legs up and they connected with the Uruk-Hai. It grunted and the pressure on my neck was released.
Choking, I rolled away from it, holding my neck. I shifted in to a crouching position, facing the Uruk-Hai. I straightened and I backed up until I was against the wall. The Uruk-Hai snarled, and charged towards me. At the last moment, I jumped to the side, but kept my leg out. The creature stumbled over my foot, and fell forwards on to the wall. I shoved it with all my strength, and it tumbled over the wall, taking out a few of its comrades on the way down.
I turned back and scanned the floor for my blades. I spotted them glinting on the opposite wall. I quickly scooped them up, noting how much blood coated them. I only had time to briefly wonder how many creatures I had killed when I felt a ache in my chest. My thoughts flashed to Legolas: had he been killed? Panic rose up at the thought of him lying dead and broken on the ground. A flash of blonde hair caught my attention.
Haldir was not far from me. He had killed an Uruk-Hai, and was looking down at his arm, which had a gash on it, with an expression of bemused disbelief on his face. A shape loomed behind him, and my heart stopped.
I screamed out his name as the Uruk-Hai's blade sliced down on his neck. Haldir collapsed to the ground, face frozen. I sprinted forwards, and threw one of my blades, watching in satisfaction as it buried itself in the Uruk-Hai's chest. I fell to my knees beside Haldir, paying no attention to the chaos around me. I pulled his head on to my lap, cradling it between my hands. His eyes stared up at me, unseeing.
"Haldir! Len iallon! Haldir!"
My words came out as strangled sobs. Haldir lay unmoving on my lap, his blood slowly soaking through my leggings. I tilted my head up, and stared up at the stars that were just visible through the pounding rain. I screamed up at the sky, but I got no answer, except the attention of two near-by Uruk-Hai who been tearing apart a soldier. I gently closed his eyes, and moved his head off my lap.
"Savo hîdh nen gurth."
I spoke to my brother's unmoving body, his face strangely serene.
I reached over and yanked my blade out of the dead Uruk-Hai. I felt a familiar anger building up in me, as I faced the advancing creatures. The world took on a red tint. I felt hot, as if I was engulfed in flames. My blades looked as if they were pulsing with light. I slowly sheathed them; I didn't need them.
I launched myself at the nearest Uruk-Hai and we tumbled to the ground. We rolled over, and I sat on its chest. My hands balled in to fists and I started punching it in the face. Blood flew everywhere: both my own and the creatures. I felt bones snap underneath my hands but still I did not stop.
A snarl came from behind me, and I quickly jumped up, satisfied the Uruk-Hai beneath me would not move anymore. The Uruk-Hai facing me carried a broad sword, which it was levelling at my head. With an enraged shriek, I dived forwards, barrelling in to its legs. It tumbled backwards, falling on to one of its dead kin. I pulled out one of my blades, and, quick as lightning, stabbed it in the chest, twisting it. The Uruk-Hai issued a short, garbled shout, and then it was still. I pulled my blade out, letting the gore and blood drip off the tip.
I looked down over the battlements, and saw Aragorn and Gimli holding on to a rope, which was hauling them up, above the Uruk-Hai which had been previously trying to break down the gate. I followed the rope and saw Legolas at the other end. I began moving towards him when a blur smashed in to me. I did not have time to scream before we toppled over the wall.
As Legolas hoisted Aragorn and Gimli to safety, his mind was elsewhere. He did not know where Seraphina was. He had lost sight of her when the wall had exploded. Aragorn and Gimli fell over the wall, and they both scrambled up. Everywhere around them, soldiers were falling back.
"In to the Keep!"
A shout went up, and the three friends ran towards the Keep. Legolas fired arrows as he ran, taking out as many as he could. He could see the bodies of his kin lying everywhere, their once graceful forms now bloodied and broken.
He slipped through the door to the Keep, and it slammed shut behind him, and men instantly got to work, barring the door. Legolas was breathing heavily, but he searched the room for one particular face. His gorge rose as he couldn't find it. He searched the faces again, and a third time, but he knew that he would never find it.
Legolas whispered her name, almost like a prayer. He refused to give up the hope that she was still alive, but deep down he knew that it was impossible. She was not in the Keep, and the army had overrun everything else. She was just one Elf against thousands. How could she possibly survive?
Groaning, I slowly came to. I was lying in heap at the bottom of the wall. Somehow, after being knocked off, I had managed to grab hold of a ladder and slowed my descent enough that my body was not broken as soon as I landed.
All around me, there was movement. Snarls. Shrieks. The clash of metal. The pounding of thousands of feet, and of rain on shields. The ground was a sea of mud, churned up by so many feet. I kept as still as possible, straining my ears to listen for a break. If I just jumped up, I would be cut down almost immediately. When I could a little bit of quiet around me, I got to my feet, ignoring the way my muscles screamed in protest.
Glancing around, I saw that I had landed near the hole in the Deeping Wall. A band of around thirty Elves and Men were keeping the forces at bay but they were struggling. Drawing my blades, I fought my way to them, desperately searching for a way in which we could escape. I joined the group, ignoring the looks I was given.
The Uruk-Hai were slowly pressing us backwards, and I could practically feel the morale of the soldiers failing. Mustering up my courage, I motioned them backwards and we sprinted back a few feet, giving us much needed space. Gripping my blades tighter, I glanced over at the line of soldiers.
"Maetho na lû n'i maethorath dangen! We fight until our last breath!"
Astonished faces looked in my direction before a steely resolve came over each and every one of them. We turned back to the approaching line of Uruk-Hai, newly determined. As one, we charged forward, our battle cries ripping through the air. Momentarily taken by surprise, the Uruk-Hai fell back under our onslaught. I felt slight hope rise within me and I battled on, blades singing as they cut through Uruk-Hai flesh. We pushed the line back, out of the gaping hole in the Deeping Wall.
A slash across my calf had me crying out and tumbling to the ground, rolling on to my back. An Orc snarled, lifting his blade high and my eyes widened, preparing for the blow. A bright flash of white light had us all stunned, all of us pausing. I turned my head towards the source, eyes seeking it out.
Up on the top of the hill, was a lone white rider. His robes billowed out, and his long, white hair rippled in the breeze. Suddenly, riders appeared behind him. Hundreds of riders, all with their swords drawn.
"To the King!"
A shout echoed down the hill and the riders charged. The ground rumbled as the horses galloped down the slope, the white rider at the front. A black horse broke the ranks, coming level with the white rider. It had no rider, but stayed with the horse in front. The Uruk-Hai nearest lowered their spears to face the oncoming charge. The sun rose up behind the riders, blinding the Uruk-Hai. They raised their hands, and their spears, to shield their ears. The riders crashed in to them, trampling them under the horse's hooves.
Hope filled me up – it was Éomer and his éodred. The Orc turned back to me with a yell, and brought his blade down again. A pair of hooves caved in his chest just as his blade was about to plunge in to me. He flew backwards, hitting the ground with a thump. A muzzle nudged my face. I slowly sat up, and looked at the horse standing next to me.
It was Fëa.
I used her to help me stand, and I stumbled forwards a little. I pressed a kiss to Fëa's muzzle, whispering my thanks. She snorted, and knelt down so I could mount her. Once I was settled, she surged to her feet, turning in a circle quickly.
"It seems you were in trouble, Child of the Stars. I promised you I would come back."
I patted her neck once, before drawing one of my blades. I nudged my mount and she cantered forward, back in to the enemy's ranks.
I held on as we met with the other riders. I cut down any Uruk-Hai that came near, slicing off their heads, or letting Fëa trample them.
Up ahead, I caught sight of Théoden and Aragorn fighting side by side, mounted on their horses. I urged Fëa towards them, and she galloped on. The air was filled by the growls of Uruk-Hai as they were killed, and the shouting of the riders as they swung their swords. Suddenly, an Uruk-Hai leapt in to Fëa's path, brandishing its sword. She reared up, her front legs flailing. I held on to her mane, trying to keep my balance. I heard a sharp snap as her front hooves caught the Uruk-Hai in the face. She came down on the body, crushing it. I stabbed another in the head as it came rushing towards us, its blood spurting high. Around us, the éodred were decimating the remaining Uruk-Hai forces.
I slumped forwards, my head resting on my horse's neck, as I realised I could stop fighting. The sun had broken over the horizon and the rain had finally stopped. I lifted my head and scanned the battlefield. A few Uruk-Hai were left, still fighting, but, as I watched, they were cut down by riders. Aragorn and Théoden were standing side by side, on their horses. I scanned the battlefield again. The army was gone. Helms Deep was still standing.
We had won.
And there we have it. The Battle.A quick thing: I am not very good at writing battle scenes, so I apologise if there was not enough action for you. Also, I have not included some of the things that happened to Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas in the battle. It is from the POV of Seraphina, and she cannot be in different places at once, so we do not see what happened to them. Sorry!
Pendraith! – Ladders!
Maetho i vagol lîn!- Draw your swords!
Na fennas! – Causeway
Dago han! Dago han! – Kill him! Kill him!
Len iallon – I beg of you
Savo hîdh nen gurth – Have peace in death
Maetho na lû n'i maethorath dangen! – Fight to the last man!
Finally, I did not make a big thing of Haldir's death in this chapter because Sera cannot mourn him properly in the battle, otherwise she would be killed.