Elle sat perched precariously upon the Corsair ship’s bowsprit staring out towards the fast approaching smouldering city. It was nearly midday but the sky was dark over their destination, save for the burning light from the city. She hoped their friends would be safe; Gandalf, Pippin, Merry, Éowyn, Éomer and Théoden though she knew that some were not destined to see the end of the battle. Then her thoughts turned to Mordor and her friends that were currently in its shadow. Frodo, Sam and Chris should all have been approaching the end of their journey. Elle hoped that Chris would be alright when confronting Shelob and that her height wouldn’t give them away amongst the orcs, that the great eye would not see them and for Morgoth to not interfere.
The excited murmurings of the dead behind her were distracting from her thoughts as they spoke of the battle and the chance to finally be at peace. Her eyes drifted down to the water below her, she watched the waves splash against the ship for a time before deciding she had best talk to the others to find out their plan. If they had a plan that is.
Her boots hit the deck with barely a sound as she hopped down from her perch and made her way below. She did her best to avoid walking through any of the ghosts but they seemed to care little about avoiding anything and walked through her as if she weren’t there. After a few moments she reached the compartment where her companions resided. Gimli was sat sharpening his axe, Aragorn looked as if he finished preparing hours ago and sat smoking his pipe, while Legolas was stocking up his quiver.
“I thought you had a never ending supply of arrows, now my dreams are broken.” She teased causing him to look up at her and give her a confused look before he shook it off.
“I suppose there is little point to ask you not to fight.” He said as he finished buckling his quiver to his back.
“None at all.” She grinned as she moved forward and pecked his cheek.
“Aye, she has proven her metal, as long as there are no trolls on the field.” Gimli smirked as he examined the sharpness of his axe.
“I get a few ribs broken and now I’m labelled for life.” She huffed with her hands planted on her hips haughtily.
“If you’d have seen it lass. I’d not known elves could fly till then.” He chuckled and Elle was sure she heard Aragorn laugh a little too.
“Oh sure, mock my pain.” She groused before she felt an arm loop around her waist.
“Don’t mind him, dwarves have little taste for jokes.” Legolas said close to her ear, tickling the skin. She laughed a little, preparing her comeback but before she could speak one of the ghost soldiers walked through the wall and announced they were almost at the docks. The news quickly sobered their mood and the companions all made their way to the deck.
They were so close to the city now, screams rent the air, the scent of blood and ash assaulted her nose and then she saw their greeting party; a large group of orcs awaiting their pirate allies. Quickly she crouched down behind the side of the ship beside Aragorn and Gimli, who barely needed to squat, and waited until the ships were close enough for them to disembark.
She felt the ship sail to a smooth stop before she heard the orcs shouting from the docks and a look from Aragorn told her it was time to move. With only that moment’s notice Aragorn leapt from the ship, quickly followed by Gimli and Legolas, for a moment Elle floundered before she too leapt over the edge of the ship onto the dock below. The orcs stared at them hungrily as the four slowly walked towards them with their weapons drawn and ready to fight.
“There’s plenty for the both of us. May the best dwarf win!” Gimli muttered to his elven friend. Elle smiled at them before she readied herself for the fight to come and attempted to stop the shiver in her spine when the ghost army ran through her.
Soon enough they were in the thick of the battle surrounded by orcs, Rohirrim, Mûmakil, trolls and ghosts. The four stayed together the best they could; hacking, slashing and shooting those in their path as they made their way across the battlefield.
It felt like the horrible creatures would never end as Elle pulled her swords from the fresh corpse she had just made. But the sight of the ghost sweeping over their enemies and the fierceness that her friends fought with; Elle knew that it would be done with soon enough. She turned to continue the fight and follow her friends deeper into battle. More orcs fell to her blades as she moved forward and then she came across an all too familiar corpse. A fell beast had been cut down and near its severed head were the remains of crumpled metal and wispy cloth. Her sharp eyes scanned the surrounding area and found a wounded soldier crawling away from a large pursuing orc. Elle hurried over but before she could get to it Aragorn and Gimli had cut the creature down. Seeing she was still alive and crawling towards the fallen form of Théoden Elle hurried off to catch up with her friends that had gotten a little ahead of her.
When she was closer she saw the spry figure of Legolas scale a hulking Oliphaunt that was charging in her direction. As quick as she could she moved out of the way and cut down a few more orcs before she felt the quake in the earth. She turned just in time to see the elf slide down the falling trunk and gracefully land on the ground with only a cheeky shrug aimed at her.
“That still only counts as one!” Gimli groused before he lopped of the head of a charging orc.
“Show off.” She mumbled before she felt her arm raise and block a rusted sword she had not realised to be there.
Before long only stragglers remained on the battlefield, that were quickly dispatched by either the Rohirrim, ghost army or her companions, the enemies were so few and far between it gave her the opportunity to watch as the majority of the ghostly horde reclaimed the city. It was a strange sight to see, even in Middle Earth, and Elle finally took a moment to catch her breath as the famous White City glowed green.
It seemed almost silent for that moment, that small moment Elle took to savour the peace she felt knowing that the worst was behind her. A soft moan caught her attention, shattering her peaceful moment, and she realised that the worst may have been behind her but there were many soldiers who would not live past the night if they weren’t seen to.
Just as this thought passed her mind she saw people coming out from the city, they were too far from her to see in too much detail but from what she could tell they were looking over the closest wounded. Then she noticed a figure in almost blinding white robes followed closely by a child dressed in dark clothing. Immediately she recognised Gandalf but it took an extra moment for her to realise the child was Pippin. She watched as the pair walked a path that seemed to end near the gathering of ghost soldiers. A cool clean hand slipped into her own too warm grubby hand and began to lead her to where she could see Aragorn and Gimli. With Legolas beside her, for it was he who had taken her hand, the elves watched Aragorn grant them liberation from their curse. A cooling wind swept over them and the ghostly figures became dust but all she saw disappeared with a smile on his face.
For a time she helped look over the wounded soldiers but very quickly the task drained her. The blood and the death and the fear and the sadness were etched in to the face of every dead man she found and glinted in the eyes of the wounded. It was so terrible that she felt her throat clench and her eyes prickle. This was no place for her, she was no warrior, the only skill she possessed was programmed into the vessel she inhabited, but the soul within had never been made for such things. It almost felt silly, that now at the last lap of their journey death rattled her, but it was just so much death.
Her thoughts seemed to leap from her head before she realised the pained wail had not come from her, nor from the wounded soldiers, but from Éomer who had just found the limp body of his sister upon the battlefield.
Though it made her feel cowardly and wretched, she decided that she could no longer take in the sight or the stink from this place. She was about to start walking back alone when she felt the familiar presence walking beside her. Elle said nothing, just glanced at him, he seemed to know what she was feeling and with a reassuring look they walked together into the city of Minas Tirith.
As it turned out, being the companion of the recently revealed king had its perks. The elves had been ushered to the uppermost level of the city and rooms for nobility had been prepared for them. Their rooms were side by side, Elle gathered from the looks the maids had thrown them that it was done purposely, and were reminiscent of the rooms they had stayed in in Rivendell, so long ago. Though there were distinct differences in the architecture and the coarseness of the fabrics within. Still it was a welcome sight to her.
It gave her the chance to wash the grime from her skin, beneath her nails and untangle her once braided hair. No sooner had she finished retying the braid did she receive a knock at the door.
“It’s open.” She called as she always did. Elle heard the protest of the door hinges but did not turn as her gaze was fixed to the goings on outside her wide window, though she had no need to turn.
“You said we would come to Minas Tirith before the end.” Legolas stated as he stood beside the door.
“I did. Are we needed?” She acknowledged before moving straight along, part of her desperately wanted to give him the chance to ask his questions but they were so close to the finish line and then.. then they would have to see.
“Gandalf and Aragorn have convened a meeting in the great hall.” He half turned before raising a slender brow at her still form.
‘One last mission.’ She thought before following him out of her room.
The elves made their way through the many winding corridors until they reached the overly ornate large door that could only lead to a throne room or great hall. As she made her way inside she noticed the faces of those she knew to be privy to Frodo and the Ring. Thick blonde waves caught her off guard, at first she thought it to be Éowyn but then one look at Éomer reminded her that the shield maiden was in the houses of healing. So who was this woman? She wore a long dark blue velvety cloak and Elle could see an armoured arm resting on a hidden hip. The sound of Gandalf’s voice, beginning the meeting, seemed distant as she watched the woman turn to face the wizard.