Chapter 16: Tragedy
The next day, I had migrated back into the group of people riding next to Freda and her brother. Throughout the morning, she ended up riding in front of me. According to Eowyn, she has become quite attached to me. I was thankful though to be away from the king and his personal guards. Théoden was kind to me and my friends, but I did not like being in his company of guards the whole trip. Eowyn however seemed to be enjoying talking with Gimili just ahead of us.
"It's true, you don't see many Dwarf woman. And in fact, they are so similar in voice and appearance that their often mistaken for dwarf men. This has given rise to the belief that there are no dwarf women and that dwarfs just spring out of holes in the ground" Eowyn's laughter however, echoed throughout the group.
"Which of course is ridiculous…" but before Gimili could finish his thought. His horse shot forward sending him backwards off the horse. I tried to stifle my laugh but failed.
"It's alright; no body panic. It was deliberate. It was deliberate" He said several times over. I rode up next to Aragorn who also was laughing at the dwarf's antics.
"Oh Gimili" I said looking at the Ranger next to me.
"The dwarf knows how to make people laugh."
"That he does."
Several hours later, I saw two of the king's men go ahead to where I knew Legolas was scouting. Arrogant jerks can't even trust an elf to scout. Hama was the worse of the two hence why I ignored him. But figuring the two would go ahead of Legolas out of disrespect, I would go and talk to my elf.
"Mae, where are you going?" Gimili asked.
"Going to visit Legolas." I said smiling at the dwarf.
"Thought you did enough of that last night." he mumbled but I heard it. I narrowed my eyes at the dwarf but then realized he was teasing and I smiled trying to hide the creeping blush..
"I have no idea what you're talking about master dwarf." I said urging Arod forward.
Sure enough when I crested the hill Legolas was standing just beyond it and he looked uneasy.
"Legolas?" he looked back at me with a weary face.
"Get Aragorn, something is close but I don't know what." he said seriously. I sat still and listened; I heard nothing but the air had a unnatural chill to it.
"I'll be back." I said turning Arod around and meeting Aragorn.
"Aragorn, Legolas wishes for you to meet him. He is just beyond the first hill." I said pulling him away from Eowyn.
"What is it Mae?"
"There's something close, but neither of us can tell what it is." I said looking at him.
"I'll tell the king. Draw your sword once you're back with Legolas." he said and I did as he asked.
I pushed Arod forward and met Legolas just as I heard it. A scream and the sound of metal clashing. Legolas ran ahead quickly and drew his bow shooting something. As I reached the hill, Aragorn was right behind me.
"A scout" Legolas said as he killed the Orc rider. Aragorn retreated over the hills alarming the people of the Warg attack.
"Mae please go with the women and children!" Legolas said looking up at me.
"No, we fight together!" I said as I followed him on Arod.
He paused at the hill and pulled his bow out. As did I. I remembered our practice sessions and waited patiently for a beast to come into my range. Legolas had killed two by the time I shot one. I heard Theodon and his men coming up and I turned to pull out my sword knowing the attackers were too close now. Legolas pulled an amazing move to end up in front of Gimili on his horse leaving me to follow Aragorn into the fight.
It was a relatively short fight compared to the other two I was involved in so far on our journey. There were maybe thirty wargs to our fifty men. I cut down two riders and one Warg. Gimili took care of the other beast for me. I turned around watching the others engage winning in some cases but others lossing. I saw Gimili get knocked down by a dead Warg but he was okay. I looked for Aragorn and saw just as he fell from his horse. Fear flashed through me but only briefly before he killed another from his stance. My gaze was drawn as a Warg came towards me. I jumped to the side, slashing my mom's sword along it's ribs and abdomen. It yelped and fell. I stabbed it in the chest to ensure its death.
As the last of the riders disappeared, I looked around. A breath filled my lungs as I realized it was over for now. I saw Gimili and the king from the distance. Then Legolas came up to me and hugged me tightly.
"You survived. I was scared when I lost track of you." He spoke into my hair.
"I'm all fine; not even a scratch." I said sheathing my blade after he released me.
"Aragorn?" I heard Gimili call out. I looked around.
"Aragorn?" Legolas asked next scanning the area.
"Where is that ranger?" I asked worry in my voice. I just saw him minutes ago…
I ran to where I saw him last. His tracks ended quickly after that. Legolas looked around and said he had been picked up by the shift in his last prints. We walked towards the cliff and my blood turned cold as an Orc lied dying but laughing.
"Tell me what happened and I'll ease your passing." Gimili demanded putting an axe to the creatures neck.
"He's dead. He took a little tumble off the cliff." My eyes widened. I saw anger flare in Legolas as he reached down at the Orc.
"You lie!" but the Orc said no more. He coughed on last time before life left him. His muscles relaxed and in his hand was the immortality necklace Aragorn wore. Legolas picked it up and looked down in disbelief. I put my hand on his shoulder but he pushed it off and walked to the edge. Théoden stood next to him and they looked at each other. There was no sign of man or beast in the water. Grief came over me as I realized the ranger was most likely dead. A tear fell down my face. Legolas and Gimili looked lost in their grief.
"Get the wounded on horses; the wolves of Isengard will return. Leave the dead."
I was pretty sure Legolas wanted to kill the king for his words and so did I. A stern look passed between the two before the king spoke.
"Come" he said leaving us to our grief.
I wrapped my arms around Legolas and he sat his head on mine. Gimili had fallen to his knees in sorrow.
"Valar please guide our friend home." I whispered against his chest.
We stayed like this for some time before we finally mounted Arod and made to follow the others to Helm's Deep.
We slowly followed at the back of the company as we finished the trek to Helm's Deep.
As we entered Helms Deep, I closed my eyes. Legolas held the reins and I slowly swayed with Arod's steps. We were all still numb from Aragorn's loss. We got many curious looks but I simply ignored the people. They didn't just lose the person who was like family to them, a stern father when needed, a loving brother other times. At my own thoughts tears filled my eyes again. Legolas simply held me tighter.
"So few. So few of you have returned." Eowyn approached us as we followed behind the king. Her eyes darted through the crowd that did remain.
"Our people are safe. Though, we paid for it with many lives." The king said solemnly but assertively.
"My Lady" Gimili went up to Eowyn with sad eyes and she looked down at the dwarf.
"Lord Aragorn? Where is he?"
"He fell." I saw a joy and happiness strip from her eyes in a matter of seconds, much as mine had. She stood motionless for almost half an hour just staring at a wall, obviously lost in thoughts.
"Lady Eowyn, is there a place to rest?" Legolas asked bringing her back.
"Yes, this way." she said shaking her head and wiping the tears away before heading into the keep.
"Is one room okay? I know you are not married but our rooms are limited here."
"One room is fine." Legolas said as I followed him. We've sleep next to each other enough. Tonight I don't think I could be alone anyways.
She led us down a hallway and opened a door. I went in and sat on the bed and tears finally let loose.
"Legolas how can he truly be gone? He's Aragorn! He trained me! If anyone should have fell it should have been me!" he came up to me, tears in his own eyes.
"You did well today elen nin. Please do not blame yourself. He would be proud of you if nothing else." he said sitting beside me.
"Your star?" I looked at him.
"My light in the dark." he said kissing my temple.
We stayed quiet for some time just lying in silent thought. I was so exhausted that I was asleep minutes later. I woke a few hours later and the sky was dark. Legolas looked to still be sleeping. So I quietly pulled my cloak on and walked out onto the far wall to think. What was our next step? Aragorn was our leader. We must wait for Gandalf now, but what is his plan for the rest of this war? My thoughts whirled all around until I heard footsteps approaching.
"You should be in bed sleeping Lady Mae." King Théoden came up next to me dressed in what appeared to be sleeping garments.
"I cannot. I slept a few hours. But my heart and mind are too troubled."
"Loss of a great friend will take time to heal. At least try to sleep my dear." he said putting a hand on my shoulder.
"Thank you my lord but I find the stars more comforting than stone any time. However tonight clouds hide the sky's beauty." I said looking directly above us.
"You have the heart of an elf and the ears of an elf but you are different in many ways. Human almost."
"I am only half elf my lord. My mother hailed from Gondor but please do not say anything."
"I will not. One's lineage is not of a kings concern. I was merely curious."
"Good night my lord." I said stepping back inside to appease the king. I returned to my room. I looked out the small window as rain began to fall over the land. It reminded me of my mother's lullaby. I began humming it and thinking of the soft words.
'Even once I was a child and I was afraid.
But a Gentle Someone Always Came to dry all my Tears.
Trade Sweet sleep for your fears
Give a Kiss Goodnight.
And now that I'm grown and these days have shown
Rain is a part of how life goes
Till your last breath Remember just this
Rain is always gone in the morning'
A tear fell down my face.
"That was beautiful. I never heard you sing before." Legolas said from behind me. I didn't realize I was singing it aloud.
"My mother sang it to me when I was young."
"Life lessons are often taught in our parents lullabies."
He said pulling me into an embrace. I wanted nothing more than to kiss him to make all my sorrow and pain go away.
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