1. Into the West
[To the keep! To the keep! Haldir, to the keep!]
The urgent cry came from far down the stony hedge of the wall. The ranger waved his arms and shouted again for Haldir to pull his troops back. After a second’s hesitation, Haldir nodded and turned to the elves around him, beckoning them to return to the safety of the keep. He spun on his heel and raised his sword to dispose of the orcs nearest to him, all the while calling to his fellow warriors.
In his haste, he failed to notice one such monster creeping up on his right. The orc raised its oddly curved blade, stained black with years of blood and corrosion, and thrust it into the arm of the elf before him. Haldir froze, stunned for the briefest of moments, and faced the orc in sudden rage. He plunged his sword into the thick flesh of the beast, and again fate was not with him. As he did so, a second orc advanced upon him as his back was turned, slicing mercilessly at his neck.
A searing pain soared through his body upon contact with the dull tip of the knife as it embedded itself through the silver curtain of tresses and right between his shoulder blades. Just as quickly as the pain had come—it fled, leaving his body numb and lifeless as he sank to his knees.
The battle scene before him seemed to creep by minute by minute, making painfully clear the plight of his warriors as they fell or had already fallen before him. Everywhere he looked he saw the motionless bodies of his kinsfolk—once fair and beautiful, now strewn recklessly on the cold gray stone. He was only vaguely aware of the soft pitter patter of the rain on his brow, and the distant call of his own name as it floated over the angry clash of blades down below.
‘And now, it ends…’ he thought as his thoughts grew more sluggish and he drifted further and further away from the world around him. Gradually, he felt his dull senses stop sensing altogether, and he felt himself lift through the air—high above the world around him and into the silvery glass realm of the after-life.
Minutes, hours, days or perhaps even a year afterwards—he could not be sure—his eyes were assaulted with a blindingly bright light. It looked almost like the glare of the sun off a mirror, with every hue shining more brilliantly than ever before. In this misty prism like light, he felt himself rising, higher and higher until at last the cloud of pain and sorrow about him dissipated. Beneath him was a sea of cerulean blue still shrouded with the soft glow of twilight and mirrored with the gentle twinkling of the stars. Over this did his spirit soar with the effortless grace and infinite gladness that can only be obtained by passing through the shadow of death.
Far beyond the gleaming waters of the sea was a thin pale shore of white sands, an endless plain of green pastures backed by a host of snow capped mountains jutting out of calm meadows at their feet. Slowly a soft glow began to overtake the white crests of the mountain peaks and the bright rays of light crept over the flowing green grasses of the plains and the shining waters of the sea. At last the bright globe of the sun appeared over the mountain tops and sent forth her rays to every corner of this curious world. And in that moment, he was transported from that glorious place to another.
A great hall of immaculate white stone with rows of great pillars of glossy marble leading up to a great throne of gold inlaid with diamonds. Upon this great throne sat Mandos himself, clothed in scarlet and deep purple. Haldir willed himself forward and knelt at his feet.
The great being before him raised a hand in greeting—Haldir could feel his smile as opposed to seeing it, and with a voice as the crash of thunder and the roar of the sea he spoke.
“Welcome my child, to the halls of waiting.”
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.