1. A Dark Night
A/N: This story was written for Prompt #24 "Dark" in the Owners of Aragorn Angst yahoo group.
It was fitting that the attack would begin during the dark hours of the night. Their enemies were creatures of darkness, and that would never change, even if they were able to move in broad sunshine now. They would feel safe and strong hidden under the cloak of the night, and their senses would not be impaired by the darkness. Neither were his.
He had led patrols near the stronghold of Dol Guldur before, and had been touched more than once by the evil that lived there; he had fought against hordes of orcs, together with rangers, elves, at the side of a friend, or all alone; he had defeated the great spiders of Mirkwood in many a fight; he had fought against wargs and wolves, and various creatures of shadow, and he had been forced to face a Balrog of Morgoth. But never before had he been in a situation that had seemed so hopeless.
They were utterly outnumbered and trapped between walls of stone, faced with an enemy that was bent on destruction, there was no help to be expected, and nearly all of them were men, whose eyes would not be able to discern much in the darkness. He listened to the sound of thousands of booted feet marching in their direction, making the ground shake and resound like the steady beating of drums.
It was a threatening, merciless sound, and it reminded all of them how strong and tireless Saruman's creatures were. He could see their shapes moving in the distance like a black flood, and could feel the pain of the burnt, scarred soil they left behind.
His fingers stroked over the fletching of the arrow he held in his hands, ready to nock it when it was needed. Even though their enemies were still a good distance away, it made him feel good to be ready. His eyes fell on the dwarf at his side, and he saw Gimli running one thumb along the sharp side of his battle axe, as if in a caress. Yes, they were ready.
He turned his head and looked at the man standing at his other side. Aragorn's face was calm and determined, his eyes fixed on the enemy in the distance. He knew that the man's eyes would not be able to see anything but the tiny moving lights of countless torches, shining like fireflies in the darkness. Aragorn had not moved or spoken for quite some time now, ignoring the rain that was running down his face, soaking his tunic, and the anxious whispers around him.
His hand rested on the hilt of his sword, and there was something unshakable in his stance that seemed to speak of... confidence. Legolas could not help smiling softly as he studied his friend. How was it possible that one man could inspire such hope in his heart, in all their hearts, that they could stand against overwhelming odds, without any chance of survival, and yet feel no despair?
If he felt anything, it was pride. Pride in the stout dwarf and the man at his side who was destined to be a king, and in the men around them. Pride to be here and share their fate, whatever it would be. Aragorn turned his head, and their eyes met. Not for the first time Legolas felt as if the man was looking right into his soul. One moment later Aragorn smiled back at him, warmth in his eyes. Putting a hand on the elf's shoulder, he turned to face the approaching army again.
Instinctively, Legolas' fingers resumed stroking over the shaft of the arrow and the fletching while he watched the approach of the Uruk-hai. His eyes narrowed slightly. Soon the wait would be over.
- The End -