Film Trilogy Challenge, The

Siege of Minas Tirith, The

17. Day

Idril was at the old Telemmirioni townhouse, on the unfashionable south side of the sixth circle, when she heard the horns and ran up the stairs to the top of the tower to see what was happening. The stone bastion that bisected the City blocked her view of the initial Rohirrim charge but a spear point of green cloaked riders soon came into sight, piercing the black mass of the enemy. "They are too few," said Luinil, who had followed her up, clutching at the stone sill. "They cannot win." Idril laughed. "What does that matter?" At last she was seeing what she had longed all this endless night to see; Men fighting back against the Shadow unfettered by either hope or fear, and her spirit rose fierce and fey in response. She laughed again and chanted: "Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing. To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking: Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!" Poor Luinil was staring at her in horror, she made an effort to calm herself and explain: "That is a stave from one of their warsongs. I am part Rohirrim you know, and I agree with them that it is better to fall fighting than to submit to the Dark." Luinil seemed to straighten a little, her soft young face falling into sterner lines. "It is not only the Rohirrim who feel so!" "No." Idril agreed, well pleased. "It is not." It was she who had the Rohirric blood, from her father's grandmother who had been daughter to King Folcwine, but it was Boromir who had taught her the poetry and all else she knew of that heritage. The Riders' stern, warlike spirit had spoken to him, pure Dunedain though he was. Perhaps it would inspire the rest of their people as well to make an end worthy of the heirs of the Fathers of Men. "Oh no," said Luinil, eyes again on the field. "Mumakil!" "They come late," Idril observed with an oddly detached curiousity. "I wonder what delayed them?" The Riders formed a line and charged the great beasts only to be crushed under their feet or swept aside by long swinging trunks armed with spikes. And yet, unbelievably, the Mumakil too began to go down. But not enough, not nearly enough. They came raging up to the very wall of the City, bludgeoning it with their massive bodies. Looking down the Women could see the avenue up to the third circle was solid black with Orcs and the buildings that lined it were aflame. Luinil looked at her mistress, asked steadily: "Is it time, my Lady?" Idril drew her dagger, the morning light glittered white on the blade. Luinil was right, if they waited til the enemy was at the fifth gate there might not be enough time for all to escape. Yet something held back the words. *Coward! You are afraid!* but even as her inner voice jeered she knew it lied. It was not fear that held her hand but hope, a mad, unreasoning hope born of the new sun and the valor of Rohan - and of another voice whispering in her heart that all was not yet lost. For a long moment she stood still, torn between hope and despair, faith and fear, Denethor's rearing pitted against Elendil's blood. Luinil's voice seemed to come from a great distance. "My Lady?" Idril dropped the blade and it rang on the stone floor, hope and faith had won. She would trust in her heart. "No. No, we do not die today." she turned to look at the river. "Help is coming. Hope is coming. He is almost here." "Who?" the maid asked in bewilderment. Idril could only shake her head, knowing but not knowing what she knew. "I cannot say. But he comes." and then she saw the black sails. "He is here!" Luinil saw them too, with horror. "My Lady, it is the Corsairs!" But Idril shook her head again in dazed, wondering certainty. "No it isn't." **** Pippin crouched with Gandalf on a sort of porch overlooking the fourth gate. Several ranks of battered, grim looking guardsmen faced it, spears and swords at the ready. It shuddered again under the blows of the great Troll on the other side. Pippin shuddered too. "I didn't think it would end this way." he said, and hated the forlorn note in his voice. *Fine soldier of Gondor you are!* Gandalf gave him a sharp, surprised look which softened into kindliness. "End? No, the journey doesn't end here." he said gently. "Death is just another path, one that we all must take." One he had already taken. His eyes shifted from Pippin to something only he could see as he continued softly: "The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it." He stopped. "What? Gandalf?" Pippin prompted. "See what?" The wizard looked down on him and smiled. "White shores, and beyond, a fair green country under a swift sunrise." Pippin's insides unclenched. "Well...that isn't so bad." he said slowly. "No. No, it isn't." Gandalf agreed, still smiling at his memories and at Pippin. The gate shuddered again, bringing them back to this world. The enemy'd be through in another moment. Gandalf gave Pippin a 'get ready' nod. He nodded back adjusting his grip on his sword. Closed his eyes: *Mum, Dad, I'm sorry, I really meant to come back. Forgive me.* **** Luinil was now quite certain her mistress had gone completely mad. "It is the pirates of Umbar -" she began then broke off with a gasp as something, a greenly glowing cloud in which she could faintly descry the forms of Men and horses, poured from the ships onto the shattered docks of Harlond sweeping the Orcs before them. "What is it?" Idril laughed again, a youthful, joyous sound quite unlike the mistress Luinil was familiar with. "I do not know. But whatever it is, it is on our side." The cloud lanced through the ranks of the foe and came into the City, flowing up the levels like unloosed floodwaters. Luinil and Idril saw greenly luminous, cadaverous forms smother flames and enemy host alike and then withdraw, like a turning tide, flowing back out of the City to the battle still being fought on the Pelennor, leaving behind dead Orcs, Trolls and Wargs tidied into heaps. **** The final blow, the one that would shatter the gate and let the enemy through, never came. Pippin opened his eyes to look blankly at Gandalf, who looked back just as baffled. Then his eyes unfocused again as he looked beyond, and he smiled. Standing he vaulted the railing and headed for the gate. Pippin quickly followed, using the steps. The wizard pushed his way through bewildered, still wary soldiers to where Lord Hurin stood with Prince Imrahil and old Forlong. "Open the gates." he ordered breathlessly. They stared at him. "Do as I say!" Hurin turned to the Men still holding the great doors shut. "You heard the Lord Mithrandir. Open the gate, let's see what's happened. Reluctantly they obeyed. Pippin braced himself for a rush of enemies and felt the Men around him do the same. But when the gates did open they revealed naught but dead Orcs and Trolls and Wargs, all neatly piled. Gandalf's smile became a grin. "Aragorn!" Hurin turned to him, face kindling with joy at the name. "He is here?" "The pretender is come?" Imrahil asked, frowning. And many of the Men around them shifted uncertainly. Gandalf shook his head. "The King is come. And he is no stranger but a Man you knew well once, my Lord Prince, as Thorongil." "Thorongil?" Imrahil whispered, and then his face lit up just as Hurin's had. "*He* is Isildur's Heir? Why do we stand here, Mithrandir? Our King and our allies of Rohan fight before the walls, we must gather all the strength we can find and join them!" **** Idril felt the change in her people's mood before she knew the cause. It was more than simple relief at their reprieve. The air of dread and despair that had brooded for so long over Minas Tirith had dissapated along with Sauron's Shadow. Everywhere Men were eagerly siezing weapons and hurrying to join the force preparing to sortie while Women and children, the elderly and the wounded, lined the avenues of the upper circles to cheer them on. And the White City shone in the morning sun. Idril herself felt lighthearted almost to the point of giddiness, as if a great weight of some kind had been rolled from her spirit, but she didn't learn why until she had led her nurses and healers back down to the great square to re-establish their field hospital. Only then did she hear the rumor being whispered among the people: The King had returned. So that was who was on the Black Ships. Though she still did not know his name or his lineage Idril had no doubt that he, whoever he was, was the true King. No lesser Man could have brought light and hope back to Minas Tirith when all seemed lost. She remembered the other half of Telemmaite's prophecy; he had predicted the Stewards would fail - as they had - but also that the King would return to Minas Tirith in the hour of her greatest need and restore Gondor's glory.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Morwen Tindomerel

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/18/04

Original Post: 01/21/04

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