13. Helm's Deep
As promised the battalion from Rivendell arrived in Lorien in two days' time. Haldir had been preoccupied with the preparations, the weaponries and the medications. The rest of the wardens returned home to their families briefly, before returning back to the preparations grounds. Rumil and Orophin were in charge of the left and right flank respectively. Haldir and Mebedir would lead the main battalion into battle. The wardens from Rivendell recognized Haldir as their captain and did everything that was asked of them.
Calavénë sat in her chamber. The coming days would be of uncertainties. She had never been in a battle before and now she felt her youth and inexperience take the best of her. She looked out the window and saw the wardens below. Some were sharpening their swords and others were mending their bows. A small knock on the door startled her, "Who is it?"
A delicate voice came from behind the door, "It is I, Mirnimmeril."
Calavénë stood up and opened the door. Mirnimmeril smiled at her as soon as she saw Calavénë, "I have come to keep you company before you leave."
Calavénë embraced her adoptive sister, "Thank you. I would love some company before we leave. My heart is fearful and I feel so feeble…"
Mirnimmeril pulled her to the balcony, "Tell me, what do you see?"
Calavénë looked over the preparations grounds, "I see battle preparations. I see elves in armour and I see fear."
Mirnimmeril smiled at her naïve gwathel, "You see the surface. What I see, is hope."
Calavénë turned away from the balcony, "How can you see hope when all I could think of are death and suffering?"
"Yes, I too see death. More than that, I see elves that would willingly give up their lives to save Middle Earth, for they have hope. Hope that one day, darkness and shadow would leave these lands. We give hope to men but we do not keep that hope for ourselves. We will depart Middle Earth for Valinor but that does not mean we leave Middle Earth alone to its fate. The Eldars have long treasured the gift of life. Today, those elves are fighting for that gift, so that life may continue in Middle Earth," Mirnimmeril explained.
Calavénë sighed, "I do not see your wisdom, but I understand. I feel so weak. I am young with no experience. How am I to aid those in need? I have seen the results of orcs attacks minimally. Could I survive the results of the battle? I will falter, that is certain…"
"Do not doubt yourself henn. For doubt gives way to fear and darkness feeds of it," Galadriel's firm voice startled the two.
Calavénë lowered her gaze in shame. She did not expect to see Lady Galadriel here. Now she has exposed her fears and she would not have Galadriel think she was weak.
Galadriel shook her head. Calavénë's inner thoughts echoed through her mind, "For this very reason, Calavénë, I do not think you weak. Do not doubt yourself. Keep your senses and you will be victorious."
Calavénë's eyes lit up, "Have you foreseen the victory of the battle?"
Galadriel smiled, "No pen vuin. Even with the powers of my mirror, I cannot see the future clearly. Our road to the future is riddled with danger. Even the wisest cannot tell. But hope and faith will get us through."
Galadriel held out her arms and Calavénë ran into her embrace. Her warmth radiated to her soul and for a moment Calavénë felt safe and protected, much like how she would feel when she was with Haldir. Galadriel stroked her hair and whispered in her ear, "Do not worry for Haldir. He is a magnificent warrior and if anything should happen to him I do not worry for he has you to help him heal."
Calavénë closed her eyes and prayed to the Illuvatar to keep him safe from harm and to give her strength to carry out her duties.
Haldir sat astride his steed, Baingraban riding back and forth to inspect the battalion. They were ready to depart and were waiting for the arrival of the Lord and Lady. Haldir glanced over at a terrified elleth who was riding with the healers, her young years evident with the fears in her eyes. Haldir felt for her. It was no place for someone as young and delicate. He would keep an eye on her since Calavénë has a flair for getting herself into trouble.
Not long after, Galadriel and Celeborn descended from the palace stairs. Lord Celeborn addressed the battalion, "Wardens of Lorien and Rivendell. Today you ride to war. May your journey be swift and safe. We shall meet again. If not here, we shall then meet in Valinor. May the powers of the Eldar guide your hands. May your arrows be straight and may your swords swing with might."
Galadriel spoke in turn, "The fate of the free peoples of Middle Earth rests with the Alliance of Elves and Men, yet again. Fight alongside your kin and your brothers. May victory be ours and may the alliance be blessed. Go now!"
Calavénë looked at her adopted parents. Will she return to them? She prayed to the Valar to keep them safe from harm. She watched as Haldir lead the battalion towards the clearing, making his way out of Lorien. The small group of healers she was travelling with followed in between the first and second battalion.
She glanced once last time at her beloved Lorien and looked at parents who were standing behind Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. She had met them briefly and they were filled with pride for the elleth that she had become. A smile formed on her lips, bidding a fond farewell to her parents.
A few hours had passed. The battalion moved swiftly without making much noise. Elves were known to be stealthy. They were making good time. If the Valar would allow it, they would reach Helm's Deep by nightfall tomorrow. Calavénë rode silently on her mare, Glin. The scenery along the way was breathtaking. This was the first time she had left the comforts of Lorien but with the shadow of battle hanging over their heads, Calavénë could not admire the beauty of the plains.
The battalion marched on for another hour. Calavénë could see a few of the scouts hurrying back to Haldir. Mebedir had signalled the battalion to a halt. Haldir seemed to be in deep conversation with the scouts. He turned and faced the battalion, "There has been an attack not far from here. Be vigilant!"
The wardens marched on until they came to the plains where the bodies of the dead were left behind. As they marched on, careful not to trample the bodies, Calavénë could see women and children lay dead amongst the men. Her breathing quickened. So much death, she thought. As they continued she saw a small child lying on top of her dead mother. She was still alive but bleeding profusely from the bite on her neck. Haldir too saw this and rode hard towards the child.
Haldir held the little girl in his arms, whispering soothing words to calm her down. He looked at Annoguil and shouted for him, "Herdir, this child is hurt!"
Annoguil saw this and beckoned Calavénë to ride with him to the injured child. Her heart beat wildly in her chest as she approached the little girl. She heard Haldir telling Annoguil that the bite mark was caused by Wargs. Haldir gently lifted the small child and placed her into Calavénë's arms as he continued to check for survivors.
Calavénë watched at the little girl moaned in agony and how her body was battered and bruised. Tears formed in her eyes. Annoguil saw this, "Focus, henn. This little girl needs our attention."
Tried as much as they did, they could not save the child. She had lost too much blood. Calavénë watched as her eyes rolled back and the heaving of her chest stopped. She closed her eyes and her tears fell on the girl's forehead. She held her little body close, "Forgive me… I could not save you…"
Annoguil lifted the body of the little girl from Calavénë and placed her next to her mother. Haldir was in discussion with Mebedir and Orophin. He then addressed the battalion, "We will camp here tonight. We shall help bury the dead. Their bodies should not be left here for other creatures to defile them."
Rumil approached Calavénë and held her up, "Come, gwathel. I have set up your tent. It is best if you rest. You have seen too much of death today."
Calavénë walked to the tent prepared for her. Her clothes were covered with blood but she could not be bothered. She entered the tent and lay on the bedroll. She pulled up her knees to her chest and hugged her little body. Her body began to shake not from cold but from fear. To see the little girl die in her arms shook her to the very core. So much death and despair. Tears fell from her eyes and she resolved into silent sobbing. Her heart ached. The girl must be in a lot of pain when they found her. Her little body went cold and her eyes turned white. Her face haunted her vision. She rocked her body back and forth trying to console herself.
Rumil watched as Calavénë entered her tent and began crying. She was shaken by what she saw today. Someone should console her, he thought. He wanted to go into her tent but stopped in the middle of the way. Haldir should be the one to comfort her. Rumil made his way through the crowd in search of his brother.
It took Rumil a while to find him but at long last he saw Haldir near the burial grounds, "Gwanur! Haldir! I must speak with you."
Haldir looked up and saw Rumil walking towards him. Orophin too stopped his task at hand watching Rumil approached them. Haldir walked up to him, "What is it Rumil?"
Rumil took a deep breath before continuing, "It is Calavénë."
A sense of fear washed over Haldir, "Is there something wrong?"
Rumil shook his head, "She is terrified. She is in her tent now, crying. Someone needs to console her, calm her down. You must be the one to do it."
Haldir looked at his younger brother, "Me? Fin should do it. He is her best companion."
A hand touched Haldir's shoulder. It was Orophin, "Nay, Haldir. You should go. She needs you now not me or Rumil. Go, we will see that the burials are done properly."
Haldir nodded and made his way to her tent. He could see her curled up in her bedroll. She had left the tent flap open. He slowly made his way into the tent and looked upon the shaking elleth on the ground. She was still wearing her soiled gown. Haldir pulled the tent flap down and sat down behind the young elleth.
Her body was shaking terribly. He reached out and stroked her hair. She did not move. Haldir took off his cape and lay behind her. He continued his strokes upon her golden head, "Calavénë…"
Calavénë could feel Haldir's body behind her. His hand stroking her hair drove away the fear in her heart. She felt him draw closer to her body, his lips were close to her ears, "Pen vuin, are you well?"
Calavénë said nothing. This worried Haldir. He sat up looking at her. She should change her gown. The smell of blood was overwhelming, "Pen neth, you need to change the gown you are wearing. You should feel better once you have done so."
Calavénë did not move still. Her knees remained curled against her chest. Haldir sighed and reached for her rug sack. He took out a fresh gown and laid it beside her. She still did not move. He was going to have to change her gown. Haldir reached carefully for the bands behind her back and slowly he pulled them free. The gown began to shake loose from her body.
Calavénë could feel him undressing her. She was not interested in his actions. She just wanted to be left alone and if by changing her gown he would leave, then she would let him. Haldir managed to untie the last of the bands. He pulled her gown down and tossed it aside. She was wearing a sheer camisole and breeches. Her camisole needed changing too it seemed. The blood had soaked through her gown and on to her undergarments.
With trembling hands Haldir lifted the camisole from her body. Calavénë protested, pushing his hands away, "Let me be…"
Haldir continued his actions, "I would see you out of this soiled clothing. Hold still and I will be done in a moment." He pulled the camisole off from the top of her head. Calavénë crossed her arms across her chest to keep her modesty but truthfully, Haldir had seen her body and thus her actions were futile. He gently lifted her head and slipped the fresh change of clothing over her body. Soon he was tying back the bands on her back.
Calavénë thought Haldir would leave now that he has changed her clothing. Instead he removed his tunic and lay beside her, pulling her body close to his. Calavénë was still shaking and soon gentle sobs escaped her lips. Haldir held her close whispering soothing words to her, "Shh… meleth… It will all be over soon."
He stroked her hair and her neck. His hands travelled idly to the exposed skin on her back. Her sobs had quietened down but her body was still shaking. He needed to do something to distract her mind from the sights she saw today. His hand travelled down to her legs, stroking. He reached the hem of her gown and began pulling it up.
Calavénë could feel his hand stroking her thighs. She pushed his hand away, "Nay… Haldir, let me be…"
Haldir kissed her ear, "Shh… Let me… It will ease your mind and help your body relax."
Soon, Calavénë was lost in his touch. He kissed her neck and stroked her thighs. She could feel her body responding to his touch. Before she could protest, he turned her body around and gently pressed his body on hers. The feel of his naked chest under her touch burned her skin. She should stop him but the portrayal of affections from him seemed to ease her mind. He kissed her neck again, gently moving up until finally he caught her lips in a kiss.
His lips were soft, kissing her gently. The kiss was not demanding but giving generously the affections he felt for her. Their lips met in a trembling embrace and Calavénë sighed and moaned at his ministrations. Slowly he brought his hand closer to her centre. Calavénë was too lost in the kisses he showered her; she did not notice his hand under her skirt. It was not until he entered his fingers into the depth of her folds, she realized what was happening.
Her breathing laboured tremendously. She arched her back when his finger swirled around the bundle of nerves inside her folds, "Haldir…" He continued to explore her body with his fingers, bringing a sigh and silent sobs from her lips. She wanted him to stop, "Haldir… No…"
Haldir looked at the elleth beneath him. She threw her head back into the pillow and sighed. Nothing came out of her mouth except his name and gentle pleading for him to stop, "Let me… Let go, melethril… Let go…"
The sounds of her moans and the way she bit her lips were pushing Haldir to the edge. He could feel his body responding to her. But tonight was for her. He would pleasure her to ease her mind. As for his own predicament, he noticed a small river not far from the encampment. He would go there for a nice cool dip.
His fingers continued to stroke and twirl around her velvety folds. The pressure was mounting. Calavénë could feel the peak drawing near. Haldir too could sense the ecstatic rush she was heading into. With a few final strokes, her body convulsed and she held on to the pillow for dear life, "Haldir!"
Calavénë closed her eyes tightly. The wave of spasm hit her body and it took a few moments before she finally relaxed. She could feel Haldir's lips kissing her again. He gently lifted his body from her and lay beside her. Calavénë could not open her eyes for she did not want this to be a dream. Haldir reached out to her and pulled her body close. He held her close to his heart and kissed the top of her head.
Calavénë could feel sleep claiming her senses. The sheer ecstasy of Haldir's ministrations left her weary. She snuggled closer to him and closed her eyes. Haldir watched as the elleth in his arms fell asleep and when he was sure she would not rouse, he gently placed her back in her bedroll and made his way to the little river.
Calavénë woke up the next morning feeling slightly improved from the night before. She stretched in her bedroll and sat up. The memories of last night's passionate play flooded her mind. She could feel her face warm up at the thought. She could still smell Haldir's scent on her body. She turned around and saw that he had left his cape in her tent.
Calavénë stood up stretching herself. Just then Orophin spoke outside the tent, "Calavénë, are you decent?"
Calavénë straightened herself before answering, "I am Fin. Enter if you please."
Orophin entered the tent and saw the cape in her hands, "Haldir was looking for this. He must have forgotten that he left it here. Come, gwathel. Let us have some food. We are to move out as soon as possible."
Calavénë followed Orophin out of the tent. The rest of the wardens were preparing to move out. Some sat by the fire, eating their lembas and some were again sharpening their swords. Calavénë held Haldir's cape close to her body and when she saw him her heart leaped out from her chest. He was engrossed in his work and did not notice her approaching. He lifted his gaze and finally saw her walking towards him with Orophin. He saw her holding his cape close and the memories of last night's romance filled his senses.
After she fell asleep he left her and made his way to the river. He took off his leggings and dove in to the cool water. The feel of the icy fluid on his skin quickly extinguished the fires of passion burning inside him. After a few laps in the water he hoisted himself on to a rock near the embankment. He pulled his leggings back on and sat there pondering his actions today. He cares for her very much, more than himself. But he cannot bring himself to believe that he is in love. Love hurts too much to be relived twice.
He watched as Calavénë approached him with a blush on her face, "You left this in my tent last night."
He smiled at her. Something he should do more of, "Thank you. I trust you slept well?"
Calavénë could feel her face heat up at his words, "I did. Thank you for… consoling me…"
Haldir walked forward and placed a kiss on the top of her head. This took Calavénë by surprise, "No need for that pen dithen. Come we must disperse. We must be in Helm's Deep by nightfall."
The battalion were ready in their formation and once again the elves marched towards the battle in Helm's Deep.
The journey to Helm's Deep was long and tiring. The battalion only stopped twice to let some of the horses rest and for the wardens to replenish their energies. True, elves did not need to rest quite as often but Haldir did not want to risk the well being of the wardens. Night was drawing near and Haldir could see the Ered Nimrais. They were fast approaching Helm's Deep.
Calavénë could see a large fortress embedded in the middle of the valley of Ered Nimrais. The valley was blocked over its entire width by the series of hills, Helm's Dike and behind that lay the fortress of the Hornburg, at the entrance to the Glittering Caves. The Deep which stood next to the fortress was barred by the long Deeping Wall, which consisted of solid rock except for a small culvert which allowed water from the Deeping Stream to enter. The Deeping Wall itself stood twenty feet tall; it was wide enough for four men to stand side by side. Access to the fortress from within the Deep was made possible by a long stair which led to the Hornburg's rear gate.
Mebedir blew the horn signalling to those inside that help has arrived. Almost immediately the gates of the Hornburg opened, allowing the battalion to enter. Calavénë could see women in children hurrying inside the caves and the men stood outside. Only, the men were joined by the old and the young.
Haldir walked up towards the man standing in front of the entrance. It was King Theoden, ruler and lord of Rohan, "How is this possible?"
Haldir bowed to the king, "I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell. An alliance once existed between Elves and Men. Long ago we fought and died together."
Just then Haldir could see Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli running up the stairs. He looked at his friends and spoke, "We come to honour that allegiance."
Aragorn stepped forward to greet the Marchwarden, "Mae Govannen, Haldir."
Haldir extended his hand to greet Aragorn. To his surprise, Aragorn pulled him in an embrace, "You are most welcome."
Legolas stepped forward and placed his hand on Haldir's shoulder, greeting him.
Haldir addressed the king yet again, "We are proud to fight alongside men once more. My battalions are ready. We have also brought healers with us to help with the wounded. Herdir…"
Haldir turned around and searched for Annoguil who then stepped forward to greet the king, "I would do everything in my power to help, sire."
Legolas' eyes darken when he saw Calavénë, "It cannot be! You are here gwathel!"
Calavénë smiled and embraced Legolas, "I am it seems. Lady Galadriel has commanded me to come and help with the injured." Calavénë turned and bowed in front of the king. She looked at Aragorn and Gimli and gave them a warm smile, "It is good to see all of you again."
Haldir stepped forward, "King Theoden, the healers will need to be shown the way to your infirmary. They would be better equipped there."
King Theoden called for Gamling and told him to show the healers the way to their infirmary. Just as Calavénë was about to leave, Haldir caught her hand softly.
Calavénë stopped and looked at him. Haldir walked up to her slowly and held her beautiful face in his hands, "Stay inside. Do not come out if it is not asked of you. Whatever happens, do not come out."
Calavénë looked at him and kissed him lightly, "Be careful, Haldir…" She watched him turn around and leave for the walls. A sense of dread filled her soul, "May the Valar keep him and my friends safe from harm…"
The men and elves stood ready and watchful on the battlements of Helm's Deep. Every inch of space overlooking the sides of the wall were covered. Across the plains before them, an enormous army, lit by torches approached the heavily manned battlements. Thunder roared. Rain fell upon them and the cold air shook their bones. As the lightning illuminated the night sky, it revealed the sheer size of the sea of approaching Uruk-hai.
The sea of spears grew ever closer. An orc commander stood atop a rock, urging the sea of Uruk-hai forward. The Uruks moved ever closer to the wall of Helm's Deep. Aragorn moved along the wall, making his way through the ranks of Elven archers, "A Eruchîn, ú-dano i faelas a hyn ... an uben tanatha le faelas!"
The Uruk-hai commander roared at his troops. They stopped their march. The two armies stood still opposite each other, each waiting for the other. Aragorn moved to the edge of the battlement. The Uruk-hai stood impatiently, waiting for their orders. The entire Uruk-hai army began pounding their spears on the ground. The men and elves drew their swords and ready their arrows.
At that moment, an old man standing ready with his bow, lost his grip and his arrow sailed to the front the line of Uruk-hai and hit its mark.
Aragorn saw this and commanded the men to hold their fire, "Dartho!"
The Uruk-hai groaned and collapsed to the ground, dead. The commander roared and thrust his sword forward. The Uruks roared in response and ran towards the battlements.
King Theoden stood near the tower, regarding the scene grimly, "So it begins…"
The front line of Uruks rushed toward the wall. The men stood nervously waiting for the orders for them to fight.
Aragorn shouted orders to the archers, "Tangado halad!"
Legolas stood next to his companion, Haldir. The scene in front of them was grim and there was a silent agreement between them to stay alive. He turned and spoke to Haldir, "Faeg i-varv dîn na lanc... a nu ranc."
Aragorn held his sword high and brought it down, shouting the order for them to attack, "Leithio i philinn!"
The battle continued on for hours. At first it seemed as if the enemy could not penetrate the walls of the deep. Then two Uruk-hai were seen carrying a spiked ball towards the culvert of Helm's Deep. They placed it within the culvert and two more followed with a second spiked ball. Suddenly another Uruk was seen running towards the culvert bearing a torch.
Aragorn saw this new peril and shouted to Legoals to bring the Uruk down, "Togo hon dad, Legolas!"
Legolas fired several arrows at the Uruk-hai but he continued to run. Aragorn desperately pointed to the berserker, "Dago hon! Dago hon!"
His shouts did not accomplice anything as he watched the Uruk jumped under the culvert. A loud explosion erupted from beneath the wall and thus, it was breached.
Legions of Uruk-hai entered the fortress. For the first time tonight, Theoden felt the fear of battle. The fortress had never been breached before. What devilry did Saruman conjure to have this possible? He watched as Aragorn charged at the Uruk-hai. This did not fare well, "Aragorn! Fall back to the Keep! Get your Men out of there!'
Aragorn looked up and saw Theoden retreating into the Keep. He signalled for the rest of the wardens and warriors to follow suit, "Na Barad! Na Barad! To the Keep! Pull back to the Keep!"
Aragorn looked around for anyone who may not have heard. He glanced up to the wall and saw Haldir, his brothers and a few other wardens still fighting on the wall, "Haldir!"
Haldir turned look at him, "Na barad!" He nodded and started to fight his way down. He ordered to his retreating detachment, "Na barad!"
He turned and started to retreat, but he was stopped by an Uruk-hai who leaped in front of him. He killed him instantly, but another came from behind him and stabbed him in the arm. Haldir staggered and killed off the offending Uruk. He looked down to his arm in disbelief. He whirled around, lost to his purpose...
An Uruk emerged behind him and brought his sword down on Haldir's back. He froze with a shocked look on his face. He fell to his knees, his world spinning. His life flashed by in front of him. The images of his parents, of Lorien, of Galadriel and Celeborn flew in his mind.
Aragorn and his brothers saw the Uruk's attack on Haldir. The three of them ran as fast as they could to him. Aragorn fought his way up the steps and his brother made their way down from the wall.
Haldir looked about him; the dead bodies of his kinsmen lay all around him. The last image of his life flashed before his eyes, Calavénë.
Aragorn reached him just as he fell to the ground. He held the brave Marchwarden, "Hold on Haldir! We will get you the healers."
At the very moment, Rumil and Orophin arrived. Aragorn looked up to the both of them, "Take him to the keep and bring him to the healers. Hurry!"
Orophin and Rumil carried their brother back to the keep, in search of Annoguil. Orophin was beside himself. The notion of losing his brother was too much to bear, "Herdir Annoguil! Herdir Annoguil! Where are you? Haldir is gravely injured! HERDIR!"
Calavénë stood up. Was her hearing playing tricks on her? She heard Orophin's voice but what he said could not be true, Haldir was hurt. Fear bubbled inside her. She quickly dressed the wound of a young Rohan boy and ran towards the entrance of the infirmary. Just then she saw what she did not want to see. Haldir was unconscious in Orophin's arms and Rumil held his brother's back which was dripping with blood.
Orophin ran towards her, "Where is herdir Annoguil?'
Calavénë pointed at a corner of the infirmary where the master healer stood. She felt her knees getting weak. Rumil held her hand and pulled her with him, "Calavénë, focus! He will need your strength. Help the herdir! Save him!"
Calavénë broke free of her trance. She watched as the brothers laid Haldir on the bedroll. She took a scissors and began cutting up the uniform he wore which had now turned a shade of burgundy. They turned him over and Calavénë saw the stab wound on his back. A few inches more it would have pierced his heart.
With trembling hands, she cleaned the wounds. She could see that it was deep and the tip of the sword had been embedded inside his shoulder blade. She prayed silently to Eru, "What grace was given to me, let it pass to him. If my love is true, save him…"
Pen vuin – dear one
Pen dithen – small one
Meleth – love
Melethril – lover (fem)
Gwanur – brother
Gwathel – sister
Herdir - amster
A Eruchîn, ú-dano i faelas a hyn ... an uben tanatha le faelas! – Show them no mercy ... for you shall receive none!
Dartho! – Hold!
Tangado halad! - Prepare to fire!
Faeg i-varv dîn na lanc... a nu ranc - Their armor is weak at the neck...and underneath the arms.
Leithio i philinn! - Release arrows!
Togo hon dad, Legolas! – Bring him down, Legolas!
Dago hon! Dago hon!" - Kill him! Kill him!
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.