To The Halls of Mandos

Chapter 5

"You could've picked a better spot!"

Il-ya grinned under her helmet as she heard Gimli the Dwarf exclaim, and she peeked over to the side to see that Legolas the Elf's mouth was lifted in mirth. Gimli's head barely reached the wall, and therefore he can see nothing.

She was among the elves, her bow grasped firmly at her hand beside her, and she stood by the Elven Captain, Haldir. She was watching the horizon, waiting for the orcs to come. She could see nothing but darkness before them, and she swallowed. Behind her, she heard Aragorn the Ranger shout to the men, ""A Eruchîn, ú-dano i faelas a hyn, an uben tanatha le faelas!"

"You seem worried."

Il-ya looked beside her to see Haldir looking ahead, and then giving her a glance. He mentioned to the darkness before him, "Be calm. The orcs come, and they shall smell fear. This will give them strength. Be calm and your arrow shall fly straighter and true."

"I am not worried." She said in a low voice to sound like a man, "I am apprehensive. I await the battle, and I truly wish to hew orc heads as soon as I can."

"Man eneth lín, soldier?"

She swallowed, "Eem Yail Eorenuil... one of Theoden King's Eored. He was killed in battle, and I am here to avenge his death."

Haldir looked at her, and her face flamed under her helm. She exhaled, and her breath turned into mist. Finally, Haldir turned his gaze back to the darkness.

"You speak the tongue of Elves... and yet, a woman such as yourself should not be in battle."

She winced, "I am no woman... I am a man. I am here to do battle with the orcs."

Haldir seemed to scoff, "Then I have seen a man who has a face as smooth as an elf's, with a smooth neck. You do not fool me, woman."

She looked over to Haldir, her eyes pleading, "Are you going to send me away, my Lord?"

He looked at her hard, and smiling a bit, shook his head, "I will not alter the battle formation. However..." He looked at her sternly, "I would be disappointed in you if you do not prove to me that you are a worthy soldier to be fighting here. I will have no woman screaming hysterics as the orcs come with their swords."

She glared at him, grasping her bow, "I was raised by one of the King's best Eored. I am no foolish woman who loses her head in a crisis. I am here of my own will, and I disobeyed my king's orders. If that is not proof enough of my will to do battle, then you judge too much on my physical appearance, my Lord."

He nodded, "Very well. It is an honor to fight with you. What is your real name, soldier?"

She sighed, "Il-ya. I am Il-ya, daughter of Eoren."

"Your father must be a good man, if not a fool." Haldir shook his head, "He has imparted you with much love, but not enough common sense."

"Perhaps." Il-ya said, "I love my country. I loved my father. I love my king. And I will do anything to protect them." She took a deep breath and looked before her in the darkness, "My father gave his life to protect me. And I shall give my life, to protect my people, even if it against a legion of orcs or against a wizard."

"But you could have a life." Haldir said, almost sadly, "You could have a family, a child... a husband."

"I could." She said, "But what worth would that kind of a life be if we are to be enslaved by darkness?" She shook her head, "No... I would rather that someone out there would have that kind of a life in freedom because of what I've done to protect these lands, rather than have them myself, but under the tyranny of Saruman."

"A wise answer." Haldir said, as he looked into the darkness again, before sighing heavily, "It is strange... for an Elf such as I to have found love in the battlefield."

Il-ya turned to look at him, and he looked at her, smiling. "Your heart... is brave and beautiful. I have never seen such a woman. I am just sorry that it is only now that I met you and fell in love with you."

Her face flamed, and she ducked her head to hide her blush, "Do... do not jest me, my Lord. Now is not the time to..."

"I disagree." Haldir said, and he reached down. He held her hand, which was clamped into a fist on her bow, "Now is the best time. I sense that this will be a difficult battle, and I do not know if you or I will live. I want you to know that you are the bravest and most beautiful woman I've met, and I regret that I cannot persuade you to leave this battle and live. I have, unmistakably, fallen in love with you, and I would wish you were somewhere safe. But your heart is proud, and it cannot be changed."

"You are... gentle and kind and understanding." Il-ya said, the warmth of the elf's hand making it hard for her to speak, "You tell me that my father has imparted me with much love. I can give you that love... if you let me fight in this battle in return. The first time I saw you, at the castle steps... I've fallen in love with you. But I..."

"Hush. There is no need to explain." Haldir whispered, "You are brave and strong, and I do not wish to change it. I shall let you fight in this battle, and I accept your love if you accept mine in return."

Il-ya looked up at him, and his piercing blue eyes looked down at her with love. She nodded slowly, "I accept it."

Haldir smiled, and looked back into the battle field. There was a flash of lightning, and soon drops of rain started falling, drenching them. Another flash, and Il-ya gasped, for she had just seen their foes.

Thousands of orcs and Uruk-hai have come marching, their steps thundering the earth, their weapons high with the banners of the White Hand of Saruman. The cold rain did not make them shiver, nor did the lightning bother them. They marched, growling in menace, ready to fight.

Il-ya could feel the adrenaline in her veins, but Haldir suddenly whispered, "By the name of Elbereth, I make you my wife."

She looked up at him, and whispered, "And by the name of Mandos, I make you my husband."

Her fingers seemed to move in their own accord. They, flexed arranging themselves, and soon her fingers intertwined with Haldir's fingers, the bow in between their palms. Such a small touch, and yet it connected them. Both felt the love of another from their skin, and though the battle was ahead of them, it made them calm. They both nodded, just as Aragorn shouted.

"Tangado a chadad!"

Il-ya reluctantly let go of Haldir's hand and raised her bow and arrow. She watched the orcs below them, as they began to pound the earth, growling in menace, screaming in anticipation. Suddenly, a bow twanged, and an orc fell down dead, silencing the orcs.

"Dartho!" Aragorn shouted, and a few feet beside them, and old man looked a little guilty, but he placed an arrow on his bow again.

Beside her, Haldir smirked, "The man has a good aim."

Il-ya smiled, and aimed her bow again as the orcs growled loudly in protest at the death of their member. She heard Legolas say, "Faeg i-varv... dîn na lanc a nu ranc.", and she fixed her gaze at the neck of the loudest, largest Uruk-Hai in her sight.

Finally a large Uruk yelled the charge, and the orcs began running towards them. She pulled her bow string tight and waited.

"Leithio i philinn!" Aragorn shouted, and she let go of her arrow. It hit true, hitting the Uruk she was targeting. She grinned to herself and continued to shoot more arrows.

"Alae!" Haldir exclaimed as he also shot more arrows, "Yail Eorenuil is quite the marksman!"

She smiled at him, and continued targeting the necks and shoulders of the orcs. She felled a lot of orcs but soon they came charging and pushing what looked like ladders up the stone walls of Edoras.

"Pendraith!" Aragorn shouted, and she heard Gimly say "Good!" She shot an arrow one final time, hitting one of the orcs that were carrying the ladder, and she pulled out her sword.

"No diriel, Yail Eorenuil!" Haldir shouted just as an orc came up to them from the ladder, and he slaughtered it quickly. Another orc came from a ladder, and Il-ya brought her sword down hard at it's skull. She pulled her sword out and slashed at more orcs as they came.

The castle was soon filled with the cries of battling Orc, Uruk-hai, Elves and Men. Side by side Il-ya and Haldir fought, their swords slashing at the orcs surrounding them. Black blood coated their armor and swords as they fought. Haldir flashed a smile at Il-ya, showing he was enjoying the battle, and she smiled back.

Suddenly, she heard Aragorn shouting, "Togo han dad, Legolas! Dago hon! Dago hon!"

She looked at the Ranger, seeing that he was pointing at the orcs below. She looked down and saw a large Uruk-Hai, carrying a torch and running like a devil possessed towards the wall. She raised her bow and arrow and shot at the orc, trying to help Legolas to bring down the orc, but soon it disappeared... directly underneathe wall under Il-ya's feet.

There a loud explosion, and Il-ya felt herself flying. She screamed as gravity seemed to make her fly. She seemed suspended in mid-air for a moment, before she came down... hard. A rock seemed to have followed her decent, and it landed on her stomach, where she heard her rib break. She gasped at the pain and the lack of oxygen, and darkness took her.

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