The dawning of the day so fair
Portended not what soon would come.
The sun shone down upon a land
That would soon be bathed in blood.
The fleeing filled the stronghold’s walls
And, great the fear of all within,
That leached out the will to fight.
It ran as water through the souls
And diminished the spirit of those who stood
Entrenched on walls that had never fallen.
So great was the enemy amassed below
That courage fled like the hunted hart.
Do you feel the fight in vain?
Are you afraid that all will fail?
Can you see the end of all?
The men feared for the sons beside them,
The wives and daughters locked behind.
Although death awaited they who stood,
Much worse was in store for those below.
The day was spent in mass confusion,
As those untried prepared to defend.
The arms were poor and hastily found,
But, more in abundance than the will to battle.
The old men shook, their day well past.
The young boys shivered, the chore ahead
More than the comprehending of plows and fields,
And the knowledge that not all would survive.
How came we to this?
What events transpired?
Could it have been prevented?
Now darkness creeps upon the Deep,
Stirring more fear than ere was thought.
The eyes are drawn with unnerving sight
Upon the field stretched out beyond.
The gasps of those who have never seen
More than a handful of beings ever before.
Now eyes are riveted on the countless horde
Of ten thousand bodies marching forth.
The rumours heard, but not believed,
Impossible to grasp the vast amount,
Of those who would stamp out the lives
Of those who knew them not.
Has your blood turned to water yet?
Your bones to quivering piles?
Do you stammer forth your words in fear?
The cry goes forth, the arrows loosed,
All watch the struck foes fall
A cheer goes up, unchecked by captains,
There will be so few of those.
Momentarily, eyes are drawn towards the old King
Standing on the threshold of the inner deep.
He stands proud, and whispers to none, “So it begins,”
And watches as his people, in despair, wait.
Yet farther down the Deep, moves one
Who would supplant a lineage long ensconced.
Who would replace the human flame
That lights the fair White City.
What hope have we, at the end of an age?
Are we to die in a battle not of our making?
Should not this have been stopped ere now?
He who will draw all to himself, as moths to the candle,
Those who will follow him to the ends of the earth,
Now takes the lead and rallies forth, and thus gives hope
To those who never thought to see such thing again.
Flanked by those who have seen more evil
Than now faces those who have never known it,
The fledgling king seeks to fill his men
With the heart he knows has fled.
He gives courage out like water, through a look here,
A touch there and a welcome word to all.
It is his task, a daunting one, to build them up,
And bring through until the dawn.
See now the man who leads us?
Whence comes such fairness and steel?
Can prophesy now be fulfilled?
It is a bitter fight, the one side fighting for supremacy,
The other for their very lives. The age-old story, told again.
All know that if this night ends well, they live to fight tomorrow.
They also know, that should they fail, their land will cease to be.
The battle rages on through the night, the rain runs with the blood.
Men fall and are replaced ere their bodies hit the ground.
The battle rages, desperation against determination,
And long before the dawn arrives, the very walls are breached.
And now along the Deeping wall, the men pull back in haste.
Their only goal now to prevent the breaching of the keep.
For all know from harrowing tales passed down,
The fortunate are the ones who die, protecting those who are lost.
Alas, my love, can you forgive me?
Can I forgive myself?
And what of those we brought to this time?
The blades now drawing through their midst and dropping men,
Resound against the futile arms of those still standing,
The sounds too like the swish of scythes among the grain.
The fallen pile up and trip those left, the battlements clogged.
The king still stands and watches now, as the tide turns in.
How humbling to know that you have failed and lost it all.
No sons to avenge the loss of kingdom, to fight for honor.
No daughters to bear the generations that would now not come.
And yet, he looks, with hope, at the one still down below.
Destined to take the sundered people and unite them,
Under the banner of the White Tree and lead the land
Back to the glory that had been its heritage for ages.
Oh, Eru, will you forget your youngest children?
Can you not hear the cries for justice?
You would not let us sink into oblivion?
The young one watches as a friend falls, now.
He races to the stricken man, and takes him in his arms.
Closing his eyes, he silently prays for the chance,
To survive this madness and come to his own.
For he knows the destiny, the life that is his.
He knows what will one day be, if only he can hold on.
For one waits for him, one who would willingly give up
All that is in her inner being. Has already given it.
It is she that drives him, now, to rally his men and fight.
For if they lose, she and all the people will surely share
The fate that awaits the surviving standing now to defend
The inner sanctuary holding the dearest future to be had.
Can love defeat the evil here?
Can courage be enough to carry the day?
Would it not be easier to surrender and beg mercy?
The inner walls now show the strain of pressure building,
Brought by those intent on destroying all that is good.
The cracks that seam the stone, grow even as watched.
The massive gates, wrought to protect, now protest the wrenching
Caused by rams of unholy mass and thrust with hate,
Against the bars of unyielding iron forged in the fires of Light.
Now the battle acquires the frenzied pitch that only comes from fear.
The fear that all held dear would bear the brunt of the anger
Of those denied the victory they would seize,
By the very ones they now slaughter with mindless glee.
The arms now raised to stem the flow waver with weariness.
Their strength, like their courage sapped by fear and hopelessness.
From where does the promised aid arrive?
Did not the word go out?
Are we to die anonymous, alone?
And now the decision made, if all are to perish here, this night,
Then let the deaths count for more than fodder for the foes.
Let not the wives and daughters mourn that all were overcome
Without the fight that bought the land and brought us here to fight
For what was gained by the blood and sweat of forefathers brave.
Let not the bards tell tales that the battle was lost because of fear.
It is only meet that brave men carry the battle to the foe.
So now, do they, the few are left, decide to do just that.
They mount one last time, the wise old king, beside the one who rises.
And joined by those still fit to ride, they carry forth the cry.
The banners fly, the voices raise, the horses hooves do thunder.
And swift they ride, into the dawn, to death, and what awaits them.
Alas, is all now lost?
Our king, does he abandon us?
Oh, Eru, can you not hear us?
And now the sun peeks o’er the hill and penetrates the Deep.
Its rays glint off the spears still wet with spilled blood.
It blinds the Men who turn to greet the last day they will see.
The enemy begins to writhe in torment from the light
That shows true nature more than any word could do.
The Men now gird themselves once more, with courage, to see
Their fair king ride gloriously to his death.
And resignation that they have failed, and left the innocent
To pay the awful price that comes with defeat sorely bought.
A thousand years and more are ended as the evil spreads yet further.
So many lives are thrown away attempting this one last time,
To stave what should have ended years ago, but for Men’s greed.
Will you now lay down your arms?
Go quietly into oblivion?
You, who have failed all those before you?
The sound of thunder cracks the day, yet still the sun does shine.
No rain falls now, no reason for it, yet it echoes off the hills.
Men stand in confusion as the enemy stirs in fear, hearing also
The sound of impending doom, the noise of avenging coming nigh.
The east explodes as salvation sweeps in waves, like the ocean tide,
Atop the hill and down the slope in mass unimagined ere now.
A cheer starts off and soon resounds around the deep recesses.
The Men fight back, their strength renewed by the sight of those
Come from the east, into the dark, to shine the light of victory.
The one who promised, kept his word, and now the enemy routed.
The King reins in his mighty steed and halts upon the bridge.
The youngling smiles, and pauses now, awaiting what will come.
Do you not see Eru’s hand in this?
The prayers of those hard pressed are answered?
See, was it not always so?
The swirl of white that is the one who led the sally here
Now converges on the waiting Kings and halts with smile and nod.
A promise made, a promise kept, although it thought not possible.
And now the people who fought not by choice, but desperation
Wearily drop to the ground where they stand, not caring,
But only rousing once again, when those below break out to see
Who lives yet, and count the loss of those who fell in their defense.
Cries of joy, and wails of sorrow, greet those swiftly returning
From the chase of bringing down the enemy left unscathed.
The cleansing will take long for those not stirring soon
From the refuge bought with lives so dearly.
But others even now prepare to depart from the safety.
Wait, where do they go?
Can they not see there is still much to do?
Will they take yet more from us?
The Kings ride forth, side by side, and lead a mighty host.
The peoples who go with them are as varied as the banners
Fluttering in the wind, rising above the mass of riders.
All laugh and cheer as they ride to the south, the victory fresh.
It seems those fallen are forgotten in the zest for yet more blood.
But chastise them not, for they will remember, when the time allows.
For brethren fallen on the field, are always recounted in the forward years.
Brothers, fathers, sons and friends, none will be dismissed by memory.
But, there is a time and place for such things, remembrance of the courage,
Of the sacrifice of those, who could have been themselves.
For now, yes, the battle won, the fighters can take their due.
But the horizon beckons, for still the war looms before them.
I want to thank Havetoist and my son Michael, my betas. They were both patient and diligent in helping me. And also the five reviewers who accepted this.
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.