Merry on the Pelennor Fields

by Froda Baggins

Merry coughed and choked, trying to clear the dust out of his throat. It was all over, stifling him and getting in his eyes and mouth. He spit in distaste. A slightly odd smell reached his nose, and he looked up. A great, looming grey mass lay heaped on the battlefield, close to where he had landed after falling from the horse he and Eowyn had ridden. He realized it was an Oliphaunt, like the one he and Eowyn had disabled just minutes ago. But he couldn’t quite remember if it was the same one or not – everything was so clouded and unclear and ugly in this battle.

So different from at home, where things were simple and clear, green and fresh and beautiful.

Merry pushed the thought of home away, though reluctantly. It wouldn’t do to dream of something far away right now, especially in the middle of the battle. “Eowyn?” he called. “Eowyn!”

There was no answer but for the shouts and clashes and cries of battle all around him. Worried, he got to his feet and groped for his sword, remembering briefly as he did so King Théoden’s words as he’d pledged him his service. The King had smiled down at him, looking both kingly and fatherly.

He gripped the sword determinedly, and lunged out from under the fallen Oliphaunt’s hulking mass. What he saw made him stop short in horror.

King Théoden’s white horse lay crumpled and dying on the battlefield, and the King himself was crushed underneath him. Merry bit back a cry of anguish. And standing over the fallen King was Eowyn, Dernhelm, as Merry knew her. A bright sword was in her hand. Her eyes shone with both tears and defiance. But what made Merry freeze in terror was the black shape looming above her, rising from the ruined, collapsed shape of a great black beast on the ground.

A hooded, cloaked menace; a chilly black presence that Merry remembered only too well. His mind flashed back to Weathertop and a cold, windy night... He remembered five of the black shapes, pressing down upon them, and his own utter terror and desperation as he tried to protect Frodo but was thrown aside like so much chaff on the wind... Then everything had been unclear and terribly cold until he heard Frodo’s cry... a cry that rent the air and went through his own heart like a knife. He had scrambled madly to his feet and run towards Frodo, who he could see lying under a fallen statue, his cloak and jacket soaked with blood. Pure terror had filled his heart as he had knelt at his dear friend’s side, seen the pain in his face and felt the icy cold of his left hand. Frodo was so dreadfully pale... he looked like he was dying... he was dying. It was something Merry had not even considered possible. But at that moment he had believed it would happen, though his heart pleaded desperately against it. Not Frodo!

Merry’s mind came back to the presence with a jerk as he heard Eowyn cry out in pain. He saw her stumble and fall as her shield fell in splinters to the ground. The Witch-king stood above her, his horrible mace in his hand. Merry gave a soundless cry of fear and horror. Eowyn... his lady... no! Not Eowyn! he cried to himself. He wanted desperately to run to her, to drive his sword through the horrible wraith’s shape and protect Eowyn, as he had been unable to do for Frodo on Weathertop. He wanted to kill this horror who had so badly wounded his dear friend, and now slain the King he loved. But he was frozen in place, his throat constricted with the terror the Wraith awoke in him.

The Wraith took a step nearer to her, and took her by the throat. His awful, gauntlented hand gripped her white throat, and Merry could see the terror in her blue eyes. The blue eyes that had smiled so lovingly to him as she’d helped him put on his armor.

Suddenly he had control of his body again, and he came to life, lurching forward. A flash of desperate courage surged through him. He tore through the battlefield, stumbled, and fell, not far from the Wraith’s back. It hadn’t seen him yet. He heard its hissing, icy voice but did not catch the words. All that mattered was Eowyn. Pulling himself up, he threw himself forward and lunged with his sword, plunging it deep into the back of the Wraith-King’s leg.

An icy-cold, searing pain shot through his arm and he dropped his sword, vaguely hearing himself scream in anguish. The pain blinded him, and he fell backwards. His body hit the ground, and for just a moment he could see clearly.

The Witch-King had fallen to his knees and let go his hold on Eowyn. She had risen to her feet, gripping her sword. Reaching up, she tore off her helmet and cast it to the ground as her golden hair streamed out in the sunlight. Her eyes were glimmering with tears. She gazed at the black terror before her, and with four words, drove her sword through the wraith.

“I am no man!”

The Witch-King convulsed, writhing and twisting as a foul wind consumed him. His sword and mace clattered to the ground, and his helmet and armor were crumpling. His black cloak ripped and tore away. Merry shivered in agony as the cold wind blew over him, striking to his heart, and then it was gone. The wraith was destroyed.

Moaning softly in pain, he crumpled up and was lost in blackness.

Much later, he felt familiar, gentle hands turning him over. Strong, careful arms gathered him up, and a voice he knew called his name. “Merry... Merry!”

He opened his eyes. Pippin... dear Pippin... was gazing down at him, worry and love mingled in his eyes. “It’s me! It’s Pippin!” he cried, struggling against tears.

Merry tried to smile, but in a moment it turned into a moan of agony. So much pain... “I knew you’d find me...” he whispered hoarsely.

A tear slid down Pippin’s cheek and splashed onto Merry’s. “Yes,” he said gently.

Merry’s sight was failing... everything was so grey. Pippin was fading... “Are you going to leave me?” he asked weakly, clutching at Pippin’s arm.

“No, Merry,” came Pippin’s voice. Merry felt something warm and comforting being drawn over him. His elven cloak... “No. I’m going to look after you.”

Take care of you... Merry wanted to say something, but the pain and the mist in his eyes drained him of strength. Instead he let himself collapse in Pippin’s arms and took comfort in their strength and warmth.

Darkness closed about him, and he drifted away. But this time, it was with the knowledge that he had done his part. He had stricken the Witch-king... he had avenged Frodo, and protected Eowyn.... and Pippin was going to look after him.

He closed his eyes, and his head fell limply back against Pippin’s arm.