by Frodo Baggins
25 26 27
Chapter 25 -- The Battle of Helm's Deep
Aldamir did not need the command; he was already absorbed in rapidly
firing arrows into the massive army before them as it charged toward
the wall. He was not heedless of his arrows, however; to waste them now
could be fatal later. He took careful aim with each one, singling out a
target and narrowing the silver arrow-point down upon it before
releasing it. Beside him Lindir was involved in doing the same, drawing
the string back to his ear before letting the arrow fly.
All along the wall, a lethal rain of darts flew down toward the enemy,
and felled constantly the front line of the army. But as soon as one
fell, two replaced it, it seemed to the Elves.
The uruk-hai responded to the Elves’ arrows, and their archers sent
their own black, cruel shafts hissing in among the Elven ranks. Some
met their marks, and Aldamir shivered as Elves about him fell to the
ground with a cry, some falling with terrible silence as only a soft
thud marked their death. For a moment he paused and looked about him,
and his heart was wrenched nearly in two. Near him lay an Elf who had
been in Haldir’s command with him; now he lay still and silent with a
long black arrow embedded in his chest. Aldamir felt almost unable to
breathe; only a few minutes ago, this Elf, an immortal being, had stood
living at his side and watched the torches approach with him. Now his
eyes were never to behold the light again. Aldamir almost reeled with
the terrible horror of it. He did not hear the hiss of arrows about
him; for a few moments he was caught in the dreadful, unreal reality of
the unjust death of one of his own people, an immortal, an Elf whose
destiny had been to sail into the West.
Then suddenly a streak of lightning seemed to go through him and he
turned back to the battle with fire in his eyes. This death was the
work of these creatures, the work of evil, the will of Sauron and
Saruman. But as long as he could draw breath he would fight back with
every ounce of his being! Never, never would they be able to kill his
people, his kin, without being stung in return. He had never known such
anger and sorrow as he felt in that moment. His face hardened, and
lightning seemed fairly to leap from his eyes. Accursed evil! Now you
shall receive what is coming to you...
“Pendraith!” shouted Lindir suddenly, and Aldamir wheeled. Ladders
fashioned of blackish, hard wood were being raised against the wall,
and uruk-hai were clambering up them without a moment’s hesitation.
Setting his bow aside, but not far away, he drew his sword as Haldir
commanded it, and all along the wall silver blades flashed out in a
deadly, gleaming fence.
In a moment the uruk-hai had scaled the ladders and dropping to the
floor of the wall. One leaped off the ladder directly in front of
Aldamir, and the Elf lost no time in cutting him down. Another came,
and another, and for several minutes he fought breathlessly, caught in
a world of blades and battle.
When he wrenched his sword from a dead uruk paused for barely a moment
to catch his breath, Lindir leaped suddenly past him, and Aldamir
whirled to see him finishing off a particularly large orc who had
apparently sneaked up behind him. At his grateful smile, Lindir
grinned. “I’m going to keep you around a bit longer than that!” he
Then another wave of enemies was upon them, and the two were swept
apart. Aldamir was cornered and challenged by a heavily armored,
slit-eyed creature who snarled at him menacingly and raised his cruel,
spiked blade to kill him. Aldamir parried the blow and slipped under
the next, dodging behind the orc before he could react and finishing
him off with a clean sweep of his sword.
Taking a quick look at the battle around him, he saw an orc running
toward Lindir’s unprotected back, and with lightning swiftness sent one
of his knives flashing through the air. It buried itself in the orc’s
back, and when Lindir turned in surprise, Aldamir saluted him with a
grin. “I owed you that!” he shouted.
At that moment an orc crashed into him and he fell to the stone, half
under the heavy but dead creature. It pinned him to the ground, and
though he struggled anxiously he couldn’t heave it off himself. Then an
orc loomed over him, and he raised his sword hurriedly. The creature’s
blow was badly aimed and went wide, and then it fell with a grey arrow
in its back. Aldamir struggled wildly once more, but fell back
breathless and without hope.
Then all of a sudden Haldir was there, and pulled the carcass off his
friend with one great heave. Aldamir was on his feet in a moment, and
thanked his captain. “I was helpless under that thing; I’d probably
have been dead by now if you hadn’t come along.”
“It’s me who’s thankful,” Haldir replied, smiling and clapping him on the shoulder. “Elbereth forbid that we should lose you!”
Three orcs sprang upon them suddenly, and the two fought back to back,
never pausing for s split second in their dodging, parrying and
striking. Within a few minutes of breathless fighting the three orcs
were laid dead on the ground. “Good work, Aldamir!” Haldir said,
breathing hard. “Keep on like this and we can’t lose.”
“You didn’t do too bad either, my friend,” grinned Aldamir.
Then a fresh band of orcs came between them and they were separated.
Aldamir was warily skirmishing a strong, sly orc when suddenly the
world seemed to explode beneath him. Not five meters from where he
stood, the wall burst into a fiery explosion which threw him against
the wall’s parapet with an incredibly forceful blast, and he curled up,
shielding his head as the wall blew into fragments. His heart was in
his throat, and he was fairly deafened by the blast. When the explosion
ended, fragments of rock began falling like rain, several striking
Aldamir. Most only stung as they hit, but one cut his ankle, and one
large enough to break his leg glanced off the stone not two meters from
where he lay.
When he finally raised his head, his heart hammering with shock, he
gasped and his heart lurched. A gaping hole had been blasted in the
wall, through which now water from behind the wall gushed. All about
lay shreds of the wall, stone bits of every possible size. The
shattered edge of the broken wall was not five meters from where he
stood. Gasping for breath, he backed away. Had he been only a couple of
Gathering himself together, he caught up his sword from where it lay
near the edge and glanced about. Uruk-hai were pouring through the gap
in the wall in masses, and even now Aragorn was leading the company of
Elves stationed there into battle against the army. Aldamir winced. So
many uruk-hai, so few Elves...
The orcs were climbing the stairs behind the wall as well, streaming in
great numbers onto the ledge and cutting their way through the thinning
ranks of Elves. Haldir! thought Aldamir immediately. And Lindir...where
Darting down the wall, fiercely cutting down any orc in his way, he
looked wildly about for either of his friends. But he could only see
orcs, and dead Elves, and a terrible fear clutched at his heart.
At that moment a blow to his head from behind caused him to stumble,
and he wheeled about. A snarling uruk faced him, sword raised to kill
him. He barely had time to parry the blow, and lost his footing. The
orc loomed over him, but he rolled under the blow and back to his feet
as the creature stumbled and his blow missed its mark. With a savage
growl he lunged at Aldamir, and the Elf met his blade with his own. For
a moment he gazed deep into the yellow, slit eyes, and then he was
circling, exchanging rapid blows with his opponent. His sword rang, and
his eyes flashed. But the orc was not intimidated, for he had already
killed two Elves in the last hour, and the taste of battle was hot
within him. He drove Aldamir against the wall, and the Elf ducked
quickly as he swung.
The next few moments were a wild blur for Aldamir, and then suddenly he
slipped, falling back against the parapet, and a fiery pain burned its
way into his side. He cried out, and put his hand to his side. It came
away stained with blood, and he looked down to see the haft of the
orc’s sharp knife buried in his right side. Gasping for breath, he
fought to keep his head clear and drew his own knife, the twin to the
other he had thrown. Putting his hand against the wall behind him, he
looked up at the orc, who had paused to let this small victory sink and
leer at his victim.
The pause was fatal. With a sudden movement, Aldamir lunged upwards,
and with an agonizing effort, stabbed his knife deep into the uruk’s
heart. As it fell, he collapsed against the wall again, gasping with
Recovering for a moment, he tried to drag himself to his feet, and
leaned heavily on the parapet for support. Retrieving his sword, he
paused for a moment, pressing his hand to his side.
“Nan barad!” sounded a call suddenly; it was Aragorn calling to Elves
and Men alike to fall back to the keep. Aldamir shook his head
slightly, dizzy with pain. I can’t make it...
A sudden shaft of light pierced through the jagged mountain-tops,
illuminating the battlefield, and Aldamir heard a great cry which
echoed through the valley. Raising his head with an effort, he gazed up
into the light, and saw a great wave of horsemen plunging down into the
valley from the hilltops. Leading them down the steep slope was a white
figure, robes streaming out behind him in a blaze of light and sword
uplifted like a flame. “Mithrandir...” breathed Aldamir. “Thank
Elbereth...there is a chance for them now...”
His sight dimmed, and he looked once more up into the light, wanting to
see it one last time. But even as he raised his head, something
whistled toward him and he felt it hit his shoulder with a great blow.
He reeled, and his sword fell from his hand, falling with a echoing
ring to the stone beneath his feet. With his failing senses, he saw a
long black shaft sticking in his left shoulder, and closed his eyes.
Then he felt himself falling, and darkness took him.
25 26 27
Chapter 26 -- A Bitter Farewell
Aldamir regained consciousness slowly. Very gradually, like fire
creeping along dry grass, feeling returned to his limbs, but all he
could feel was pain. His side burned like fire, and his shoulder ached
intensely. Carefully he stirred and tried to rise, but gasped and lay
back as pain streamed through him. Slowly he opened his eyes.
It was daylight now, though heavy clouds still lay over the sky. The
sunlight flashing out through the clouds as Mithrandir rode down the
hill had once again slipped away, and only grey clouds remained, left
over from the rainstorm of the night. All around him, he could hear
voices and footsteps, men and women scouring the battle-field for those
who were still alive, and taking away those who had died.
Shaking his head slightly, Aldamir closed his eyes again. It all came
back to him now; the battle, the horror of Elves falling about him, the
deafening pounding of the enemy army’s spears against the rain-soaked
ground, the snarls and roars of the Uruk-hai as they scaled the walls
and poured like a stream of deadly poison into the ranks of the Elves.
He recalled battling an orc, and feeling the knife bury itself in his
side; dimly he remembered feeling something pierce his shoulder.
Carefully he moved his right hand to his left shoulder; yes, an arrow
was sticking there, and his cloak was stiff with dried blood. His hand
dropped to the ground again.
Suddenly a shadow cast itself over his face, and he opened his eyes.
Kneeling over him with an expression of deep anxiety in his brown eyes
was Lindir. He relaxed slightly when he saw that Aldamir was alive.
“Aldamir! Thank Elbereth; I was sure you were dead,” he said, putting
his hand on the Elf’s shoulder. “You’re terribly wounded, though; I’m
surprised that you did live.”
Aldamir managed a weak smile. “Takes a bit more than that to kill me,” he murmured. “I’m glad you made it.”
Lindir smiled back, but he became grave as he examined Aldamir’s
wounds. “You’ve hung on by a thin thread, and barely that, my friend,”
he said. “I’ve got to get you back to the keep; do you think you can
“I can try,” answered Aldamir.
“All right, but wait just a moment. I need to get this arrow out of your shoulder.”
Aldamir closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, but he could not keep
back a cry of pain as Lindir pulled the shaft from his shoulder and the
pain seemed to double itself. Quickly Lindir pressed his cloak to the
wound to stop the renewed bleeding, and slipped his arm under Aldamir’s
shoulders. Leaning on him, Aldamir slowly stood up, biting his lip to
keep back a moan of pain as the knife-wound in his side burned
Carefully and slowly Lindir walked back into the keep, supporting
Aldamir as he leaned heavily against him, weak and exhausted. All about
them as they walked lay dead Elves, Rohirrim, and uruk-hai. Aldamir's
heart grew heavy with sorrow as he looked about at the death and ruin
wreaked by Saruman's army. The people were taking away their dead;
Rohirrim tending first to those of their own folk, and likewise with
the Elves. But Aldamir knew there were many more Elves dead than
living. His head drooped wearily.
In the keep, Lindir lowered him to the floor and he half-leaned,
half-lay against the wall as Lindir bound up his wounds with some clean
linen and a bit of herbs he had brought with him from Lórien.
His senses were hazy and he felt half-dead, half-asleep as Lindir
tended to him, but when he smelt the fragrance of the Elven herbs, his
head cleared slightly and he lifted it and opened his eyes.
Lindir sat back on his heels and looked at him. “You’ve still got a
sliver of that knife in your wound, I’m afraid,” he said. “Will you be
able to stand it if I take it out, or would you rather wait?”
Aldamir shook his head. “I’d rather have it out of there as quickly as possible. Go ahead; I’ll be all right.”
Very gently, Lindir probed the wound for the sliver of metal, but it
was a few painful moments for Aldamir before he found it. As he drew it
out, Aldamir relaxed slightly and let out his breath. “Thank you,
“It’s nothing. There, now you’re fairly well patched up.” He stood up
and smiled at his friend. “Won’t you rest now? I think you need it.”
Aldamir nodded, but then a sudden shock of realization hit him, and he
got to his feet, regardless of his wounds. “Haldir! Lindir, where is
he? Have you seen him?”
Lindir bowed his head, and when he raised it there were tears in his
eyes. Aldamir’s heart tightened apprehensively. Lindir spoke
sorrowfully in a low voice.
“He will not return to Lórien...”
Aldamir’s heart wrenched painfully. “No...it cannot be...” he choked. “Lindir, where is he? Where have they taken him?”
Lindir pointed wordlessly in the direction of the Deeping Wall. Gazing
into Aldamir’s grief-stricken eyes, he could find no words and turned
Heedless of the pain from his side and shoulder, Aldamir ran out of the
keep. Half-blinded with tears and grief, he stumbled through the
shattered remnants of the Wall and climbed the stairs. Clearing his
eyes with his hand enough to see, he looked about, and saw a still
figure, shrouded in red, lying close to the wall. Two Elves with heads
bowed stood near him, but they drew away when they saw Aldamir.
Slowly he made his way toward his dead companion, hardly aware of where his feet stepped.
Haldir’s body, wrapped in the crimson cloak he had worn into battle,
rested limply on the chilly stones. The cloak was torn, the bright
Elven armor was dimmed with blood and earth, and his sword, stained
with the dark blood of orcs, lay by his side. His face was pale, with a
strange sort of calmness, and his lashes lay with striking darkness
against his white cheeks. Aldamir knelt beside him, to choked up with
emotion to speak or hardly even breathe. He touched his friend’s cold
cheek, and closed his eyes in anguish at the touch. Reaching for
Haldir’s white, bloodstained hand, he pressed it between his for a long
Aldamir had never thought such agonizing grief was possible, but now he
felt as if his heart had been taken and wrenched in two, and cast upon
the cold stones beside his dead comrade. Tears filled his eyes as he
gazed upon Haldir’s pale face, never again to look upon the fair woods
of Lórien. Haldir had loved the mallorns deeply; now he was
never to see them again...never to feel the smooth bark beneath his
fingers...never to hear the soft sigh of the wind among the dancing
Aldamir’s hand slid inside his tunic; he drew out the mallorn-leaf
which he had borne with him through so many miles. He looked at it for
a moment, and pressed it to his lips. Then he gently slipped it under
Haldir’s cloak and laid it against his heart; the brave heart which was
never to beat again. Pressing it there, he bent down.
“Haldir, brave spirit, noblest of friends, may your spirit find everlasting rest in the halls beyond the stars...”
He kissed Haldir’s brow softly, and took his hand from the Elf’s still
heart. Burying his face in his hands, he fell back against the stone
wall and wept bitterly.
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Chapter 27 -- Dreams
The Battle of Helm’s Deep was over. Of the four hundred Elves who had
departed from Lórien, less than a hundred now remained.
Rúmil, Haldir’s brother, was among the surviving, and he was now
chosen as captain for the company of Elves. He in turn chose Aldamir as
his second-in-command, an honor which the Elf was unwilling to accept,
but gave in in the end.
He lay now in a quiet corner of the keep, on a pallet softened by a
thick blanket. Lindir had found him lying nearly insensible close to
Haldir after his heedless run to the wall which had cost him more blood
than he could afford to lose. With the help of another he had carried
him back to the Keep, and kept watch over him until he awoke.
“You must be a little more careful,” he told Aldamir when he opened his eyes. “If you lose more blood you won’t survive this.”
Aldamir seemed not to have heard him, gazing up at him with eyes so
full of grief that it pierced Lindir to the heart. “Haldir...” murmured
Aldamir, and closed his eyes again.
Lindir bit his lip to keep back the tears. Bending over Aldamir, he
clasped his friend’s shoulder. “Please, Aldamir, don’t despair. The
battle was won; Haldir’s sacrifice was not in vain...”
Aldamir showed no sign of having heard; his face was pale and drawn,
and Lindir felt a sudden fear for him. Even if his wounds were not
deadly, he might yet lose the desire to live, and then nothing would be
able to hold him back from death. “Aldamir, don’t do this to us...”
Aldamir wandered through strange dreams... images from the battle...
orcs’ eyes leering at him as they lifted their cruel knives... Haldir’s
still, pale face... Uruviel holding out her hands, reaching for him,
with an expression of grief and pleading in her eyes... then he seemed
to fall into swirling mists and lay there with closed eyes.
When he opened them, he seemed to be standing on a flet in
Lothlórien again, but instead of golden light everywhere, there
were shadows and grey mists. Haldir stood before him, his cloak stained
with blood. “Haldir!” he called, trying to reach out to clasp his
shoulder, but he could not. Haldir looked at him, and his eyes were
both peaceful and sorrowful. “Aldamir...my friend...do not grieve
overmuch for me. I will never see Lórien again, but my spirit
will be at rest...”
Aldamir frowned, and his heart twisted with grief once again. “Haldir...don’t leave, please...”
The shadows were swirling slowly around Haldir, and he was fading from
Aldamir’s sight. As he departed, he spoke once more. “Namarie, my
friend, and do not despair...all is not lost yet. But you must not let
the darkness win...trust to hope...”
Then he faded from Aldamir’s sight, as did the flet and everything
around him, and he found himself lying somewhere, he knew not where.
Water was tinkling over stones somewhere near him, and he found himself
looking up into Uruviel’s clear eyes. “Aldamir...I feared for you
so...” she whispered, and bent to kiss his cheek. “Please, don’t leave
me...come back to me...”
Then she faded away and he awoke to find himself lying once again in the quiet corner of the keep.
Lying there, he could hear the sound of people moving about outside and
inside, but it was quieter in where he lay. He tried to rise, but
winced and lay back again as a jab of pain stabbed through his side.
Turning his head, he could see that many other wounded lay in the room
where he was, and women moved about among them, tending to their hurts.
He sighed and closed his eyes, his heart aching more than his side or
Soft footsteps approached, and a shadow cast itself over his face. He
opened his eyes, and saw Lindir stooping over him. “Lindir! Glad to see
you... you’re not hurt?”
Lindir smiled. “Not badly,” he said, and lifted his left arm. A white
cloth had been tightly bound about it. “I received a nasty cut from one
of those orc-swords, but otherwise I’m all right.”
“You fared better than me,” said Aldamir with a faint smile.
“You’ll come through it,” said Lindir, trying to keep the anxiety out
of his voice. “Keep quiet and you’ll be up again in a few days.”
Aldamir sighed. “Right now I feel far from that,” he said
ruefully. “When does Rúmil plan to return to Lórien?”
Relieved, Lindir smiled at his friend. “As soon as you and
the others who are wounded are ready to,” he said. “Théoden is
riding southwards with his riders, and Mithrandir and the others are
going with him, but before he left he spoke with Rúmil. I know
not what passed between them, but Théoden gave the friendship of
Rohan to the Elves of Lórien in return for our aid, and has
given us horses to ride back to Lórien - one for each of us.”
“Horses of Rohan? That is indeed a great gift. And glad I
will be to ride back to Lórien on such a fine creature.”
Lindir chuckled. “I’m with you there. They are beautiful
horses; you ought to come and see them. But not until you are better-!”
he laughed, and put his hand on Aldamir’s chest as he pretended to
rise. “Get some sleep now, and maybe you can get up tonight, or
Aldamir grinned. “Make that tonight.” Lindir laughed, and
bidding him a good rest, went out. Aldamir smiled as he went, and very
soon fell into a deep, healing sleep.