Aldamir's Journey

by Frodo Baggins

Chapter 36: (to be added)

Chapter 37: A Red Sunset

Aldamir braced himself and closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable death-blow....

But the inevitable did not happen, and for a whole moment he lay, hazily puzzled, on the grass. Then something struck his side with a tremendous force, knocking the breath out of him and leaving him gasping. For a moment or two he lay there, confused and breathless. He was dead.... or wasn’t he? If he was, why was he struggling to breathe and feeling a throbbing pain in his side?

His eyes flew open. The battle was still happening all about him; shouts and cries and clashes of arms filled his ears; his side was aching, and the dead body of the Haradrim who was going to kill him was lying half-on, half-beside him. It was that which had hit his side, bruising him. But he was not dead!

Rolling over, he immediately got to his feet, but stumbled dangerously as his wounded ankle gave way beneath him. Quickly he glanced down at it, trying to assess the damage. The knife had cut deep into his flesh, and his whole ankle was drenched with blood. It was extremely painful to put any weight on it; he knew that his chances of surviving the battle had lowered. An injured ankle was dangerous in a situation like this....

He stood his ground as Haradrim charged him, trying to balance himself mostly on his good leg. It was very difficult, and he was forced to give way again and again, finding it nearly impossible to dodge fatal blows without falling and leaving himself open to the enemy blades.

“Aldamir!” cried a voice suddenly, and he looked up to see Lindir. Still mounted, he was effectively hewing his way through the enemy ranks, struggling to get to Aldamir’s side.

Aldamir felt fresh hope stream into him. Turning back to the enemies, he met them with a gleam in his eyes, parrying a deadly stroke and returning it unexpectedly. The Southron fell, and he met the next one with equal force. At the same time, Lindir landed lightly beside him and joined him in the fight.

Together the two Elves made a strong stand against the enemy. Their backs were now to their companions, leaving them free to face the enemies coming at them from the front. In this manner they fought valiantly, managing to hold off the Haradrim for a while.

But the battle did not last forever. When Aldamir was stumbling with weariness and pain, barely able to keep to his feet and hardly able to see through a mist of exhaustion, the fight was suddenly over. Only a very few of the Haradrim remained, and they were soon cut down by the defenders.

Aldamir fell, unable to stand up longer. He did not care that his sword dropped from his weary fingers, or that his arrows were gone. His shoulder was stiff with dried blood and he could barely move it; his ankle could not bear him another minute. Beside him, Lindir dropped to his knees, also exhausted. His hair was matted with blood from an enemy’s blade, and his left wrist was sprained and useless. Neither moved anywhere for some minutes.

Behind them, in the West, the sun was going down in a fiery light, as if it were reflecting the blood shed that day. The clouds about it were stained red; the mountains on the edges of the field were dyed a dark hue of the same red. Aldamir closed his eyes, but the red light penetrated his eyelids, and he could still see the color mirrored before him. Will there ever be an end to this? he wondered. How long is it until this happens again?.....

Lindir struggled to his feet, and stretched out a hand to Aldamir. “Come, mellon nin,” he said wearily. “It’s best we go to the city we have defended. I don’t think either of us can go longer without having our wounds treated.”

Aldamir let his friend pull him to his feet, but it was nearly impossible for him to walk. Looking around for his horse, he sighed when he could not see him. “I fear I have lost Fearán,” he said sadly. “He was wounded and left me early in the battle; I don’t know how he could have survived.”

“Don’t lose hope,” Lindir said. “It may well be that he is wandering about somewhere, still alive. He would have the sense to get out of a dangerous place quickly. At any rate, I still have Mornilë.”

At his whistle, Mornilë came at a swift canter, still wearing his saddle and bridle. Lindir helped Aldamir onto his back, and they set out at a slow walk toward the city of Minas Tirith.

They passed through the greater part of the battlefield as they went; a terrible scene of death and ruin and destruction. The bodies of men lay alongside those of orcs; Haradrim and Southron lay beside slain Rangers of Gondor and of the North, and their blood mingled on the trampled ground. In some places a dead Oliphaunt made a great grey mass on the blood-stained field. In other places, fine horses lay stiff and still, pierced by arrows and cut by enemy blades.

Aldamir shut his eyes wearily. He could not bear to look any more on the utter death and woe spread out on all sides of him. It brought back forcefully the image of Haldir lying on the cold stones at Helm’s Deep, lifeless and still, never to rise again.

In the end, what use will it be? he wondered bitterly. We can only hold back Mordor’s forces for a certain amount of time. Sooner or later we will not be able to resist them any longer. What then? Is there no hope?

Yes, there is, something argued inside him. Remember Frodo, the halfling. All is not lost yet! Why would you give up hope?

Yet how long can Frodo go on? asked that other part of Aldamir. How long will it be until the Dark Lord finds him, and all is uncovered?

That none can say, argued the other voice. But neither can anyone say if he will be found at all. Sauron knows not that the Ring is so close, right next to him, as it were. He thinks that we have it, that Aragorn has it. And as long as he thinks that, Frodo can go on safely.

Safe! thought Aldamir bitterly. No one is safe now. Look what happened to my kindred at Helm’s Deep!....

Lindir’s voice broke through his heavy thoughts. “Come, Aldamir.....Aldamir? What’s wrong? Is it your wounds?”

Aldamir opened his eyes and managed a weak smile. “Don’t worry; I’ll be all right......”

Aragorn had set up camp with the Dúnedain and the Elves outside of Minas Tirith; he refused to enter the city as of yet. Aldamir and Lindir were given a small tent to themselves, situated on the edge of the camp. Here they rested, and Elladan, who had carried healing herbs from Rivendell, washed their wounds gently and bound them with clean linen.

“Thank you, Elladan,” said Lindir gratefully as Elladan wound linen tightly about his twisted, painful wrist. “Thank Elbereth it wasn’t my right wrist. Still, it’s a bit hard to shoot the bow with a sprained wrist,” he added wryly.

Elladan smiled. “Don’t strain it in any way for the next few days,” he said. “It should heal fine then. What about you, Aldamir?”

Aldamir was examining his slightly swollen, bloody ankle. “I’ve a badly slashed ankle,” he answered, “but the cut is a clean one and the blade wasn’t poisoned.”

Elladan bent over it for a moment. “It will heal fine,” he said, as he washed it and bound a cloth filled with herbs about it. “Just don’t strain it, all right?”

“All right,” said Aldamir.

Elladan bandaged Aldamir’s shoulder as well, and then left to tend to the other wounded in the company.

Aldamir and Lindir had laid aside their armour; both were exhausted now. Aldamir’s bruised side was throbbing painfully; Lindir’s head was aching from the cut in his forehead. Elladan’s healing skills had lessened the pain in their wounds, but they were more weary than ever before. Wrapping themselves in their cloaks, they lay down on opposite sides of the small tent and slept as Elves only do when they are wounded or ill........