Théoden's reinforcements arrive at Helm's Deep
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 3, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Battle of the Hornburg: see that entry for an overview.
The rumour of war grew behind them.... They had climbed far up into the Deeping-coomb when they looked back. Then they saw torches... scattered like red flowers, or winding up from the lowlands in long flickering lines. Here and there a larger blaze leapt up.
'It is a great host and follows us hard,' said Aragorn.
'They bring fire,' said Théoden, 'and they are burning as they come, rick, cot, and tree. This was a rich vale and had many homesteads. Alas for my folk!'....
'We need not fly much further,' said Éomer. 'Not far ahead now lies Helm's Dike, an ancient trench and rampart scored across the coomb, two furlongs below Helm's Gate. There we can turn and give battle.'
'Nay, we are too few to defend the Dike,' said Théoden. 'It is a mile long or more, and the breach in it is wide.'
'At the breach our rearguard must stand, if we are pressed,' said Éomer.
There was neither star nor moon when the Riders came to the breach in the Dike, where the stream from above passed out, and the road beside it ran down from the Hornburg.... As they rode up a sentinel challenged them.
'The Lord of the Mark rides to Helm's Gate,' Éomer answered. 'I, Éomer son of Éomund, speak.'
'This is good tidings beyond hope,' said the sentinel. 'Hasten! The enemy is on your heels.'
The host passed through the breach and halted.... They now learned to their joy that Erkenbrand had left many men to hold Helm's Gate, and more had since escaped thither.
'Maybe, we have a thousand fit to fight on foot,' said Gamling, an old man, the leader of those that watched the Dike. 'But most of them have seen too many winters, as I have, or too few, as my son's son here. What news of Erkenbrand? Word came yesterday that he was retreating hither with all that is left of the best Riders of Westfold. But he has not come.'
'I fear that he will not come now,' said Éomer. 'Our scouts have gained no news of him, and the enemy fills all the valley behind us.'
'I would that he had escaped,' said Théoden.... 'But we cannot await him here. We must draw all our forces now behind the walls. Are you well stored? We bring little provision, for we rode forth to open battle, not to a siege.'
'Behind us in the caves of the Deep are three parts of the folk of Westfold, old and young, children and women,' said Gamling. 'But great store of food, and many beasts and their fodder, have also been gathered there.'....
The king and his Riders passed on. Before the causeway that crossed the stream they dismounted. In a long file they led their horses up the ramp and passed within the gates of the Hornburg. There they were welcomed... for now there were men enough to man both the burg and the barrier wall.
Quickly Éomer set his men in readiness. The king and the men of his household were in the Hornburg, and there also were many of the Westfold-men. But on the Deeping Wall and its tower... Éomer arrayed most of the strength that he had, for here the defence seemed more doubtful, if the assault were... in great force.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 7, Helm's Deep
Elena Tiriel 18Jan05