Too Late, I Fear

by Agape4Rivendell

'Alas!' said Legolas, coming to Aragorn's side. 'We have hunted and slain many Orcs in the woods, but we should have been of more use here. We came when we heard the horn - but too late, it seems. I fear you have taken deadly hurt.' Chapter 1, TTT

Never, in all the long years of his life, had he ever seen so many Orcs. They spilled from the forest as water from the great falls at the Last Homely House. Beauty destroyed by their trampling feet: flowers, insect life, ferns and flora. Everything in their path was destroyed as they ran down the hill, desecrating ancient ruins with their vile feet. Though he was not of Gondor, he felt the pain of the forest and of the stone as the defiling beasts descended.

Gimli was at his side. He was almost sorry, for surely, with such a army upon them, neither would survive this onslaught. And he had grown fond of this gruff Dwarf. For a moment, his heart stopped. He had not realized how fond he had become of him. The Lady of Lothlorien had truly worked her magic, if Boromir’s tales were true, upon this Dwarf. And so they had traveled down the Anduin sharing impressions of the Golden Wood and its Mistress. And an unlikely friendship, one that would raise the brows of many an Elf, had begun. Would it end on this grassy slope?

He hoped that Aragorn fared better. He had traveled in a different direction after the Hobbit had been found. He had turned towards the ancient Seat of Seeing and Legolas had not seen him since. One sword, though it be Andúril and wielded by the King, would not stay this horde. Perhaps the majority were here in front of him.

And the Hobbits. He drew his breath in quickly at the thought of the gentle little creatures. Boromir had been sent after them. If he could find them, he would protect them. He smiled. Memories of Hollin and the training sessions between the three came to mind. Boromir was stalwart. He would protect them with his last breath.

He must focus on his own danger now. They were coming.

Evil itself must have designed this day. If the Fellowship was together, he doubted that they would be o’ercome. But now, with them all tossed to the four winds, they could not survive. He bowed to the memory of those who had gone before him, lifted up a word to Ilúvatar and nocked an arrow. They came in waves, the foolish creatures. If they had all descended at once, Gimli and he would have been easy prey. The waves gave him time to reload and Gimli time to prepare. He looked sideways for one moment. How many axes did the Dwarf possess?

His quiver was empty. He pulled his sword and waited for his attackers to cover the ground that they had been afraid to cross while death sang from his bow.

Gimli gave a low growl. “’Twill be good to finally do some damage to these foul creatures. The very stones of Moria, the Lonely Mountain, and the Ered Luin cry out for justice!” His scream of rage filled the air as Orcs finally came within striking distance of the Dwarves’ weapons.

They fought furiously, he and his companion, at one point even moving back to back to thwart the cowards as they worked their way around them. How many? He had lost count. He felt dirt on his cheek and wondered. His arms were beginning to tire and he wondered how the Dwarf had lasted so long. He heard the sharp intake of short breaths from his friend and hoped that he would not fall till after the Dwarf had. He did not want the valiant creature dying alone. He choked back a sob and again wondered at the friendship.

His sword had been broken. What malice had the power to break an Elven sword? He shivered and drew his ivory blades. Gifted from his mother, they had Elvish runes written on them to protect the wielder. He missed her. Perhaps he would see her sooner than he had expected, in the Halls of Mandos. He shook his head. This was not the time to give in to despair. His companion lived, as did he. Taking another deep breath, he stepped forward and slashed at the enemy.

His hands were covered in Orc blood, black and vile. The touch of it burnt. Gimli’s face was covered in it. His shorter stature made his face more susceptible to the splattered blood. They would need to find a river to wash it off them. He laughed aloud at the thought and Gimli gave him a quick quizzical glance. A river! They would be dead; they would need no river.

He heard the Horn. His heart stopped. It was the Horn of Gondor. Once it was heard, its call imbedded itself in the heart of the listener. He saw Gimli freeze and knew the call echoed in his heart also. He screamed aloud at the thought of the Hobbits and their peril, then rushed full into the band of Orcs in front of him. But the Orcs stood still for a moment, as if mesmerized by the sound of the Horn. They looked at each other and Legolas discerned fear upon their ugly faces. Yes, it was fear! He rejoiced and lunged forward to use this precious respite that had been so suddenly given to them. The Orcs turned back and resumed their attack. The Horn blew again. And again the Orcs stopped. Legolas shook his head. Never had he seen such a thing. Again, the Horn blew and this time, the Orcs turned, snarled and ran towards the sound.

Legolas stood frozen at the horror that was to descend upon the man and the Hobbits. He quickly ran through the dead bodies and retrieved as many arrows as he could, noting that the Dwarf did the same thing. ‘Clever creature,’ he thought to himself. ‘An ally such as this is good to have!’

The Dwarf seemed to hear his thoughts, for he looked over and grinned. “Time to save Boromir and the little ones. Always, it ends that a Dwarf must win the day!” Again, he laughed and Legolas joined him.

The sight that greeted them as they came over the lip of the dell froze their very hearts. Both Aragorn and Boromir were mortally wounded and the Hobbits were nowhere to be seen.

He moved closer; Gimli stood still. “Alas!” said Legolas, coming to Aragorn's side. “We have hunted and slain many Orcs in the woods, but we should have been of more use here. We came when we heard the horn - but too late, it seems. I fear you have taken deadly hurt.”