M.E.II Chapter 13: A Game.


Those who know me well know that while Iím often considered smart under normal circumstances, when Iím tired I can be the biggest idiot ever. And I donít think Iíve ever been more tired than I was when we arrived at Helmís Deep.

With only a few hours of sleep the night before and having ridden long into this night already, I was as close to dead as one can be while still being alive. I managed to fall asleep with Katy while Théoden and the others were making last minute arrangements, but it didnít last as a certain annoying elf had to cut my sleep short with a less than important message.

"Katy, Rachel," I managed to wake up to a shaking on my shoulder, too tired to fight for sleep. My eyes drowsily opened and focused on the elf and dwarf beside me.

"I am sorry for waking you, but you must get into the caves." Legolas said, stepping back from me and Katy. To my surprise, he actually did sound rather sorry for having to wake us.

"No thanks, fine here.." I mumbled, preparing myself to go back to sleep.

"You canít sleep here," Gimli told us, "The Uruk-hai are coming. Ten thousand strong, they say."

"Thatís a lot of fish." I muttered before my mind was able to fully understand what Gimli had said, "Uruk-hai? Arenít they kind of early?"

"It is nearly midnight now." Legolas pointed out.

"Oh it is, isnít it?" I mused, noticing for the first time how dark it really was outside. The sky was thick with clouds and the moon and stars were blocked from view. The only light came from the torches the men held and the torches set on the walls.

"To the caves, then?" Katy asked.

"Right, the caves." I agreed.

Legolas and Gimli made sure we knew where we were going and then left us to go rejoin Aragorn. That was their mistake; we never made it to the caves. With our combined intelligenceówhich at this state of mind, apparently wasnít muchówe decided we werenít in such a big hurry that we couldnít afford a brief rest. Imagine our surprise when we were roused by the feeling of rain falling on our faces almost an hour later.

"Itís raining." Katy noted.

I nodded, doing my best to think with my tired mind. "We were doing something important, Iím sure of it."

"We were going to the caves." Katy supplied.

"Right." I agreed, "Caves."

Katy and I looked around us, now completely lost and wondering which way the caves might be.

"That way looks kind of familiar." Katy commented, pointing to our right.

"Letís go that way, then." I suggested, "I donít know about you, but I really donít want to be lost in Helmís Deep with orcs on the prowl."

Katy agreed with my sleep-muddled logic and we ventured off in search of the caves. Surprisingly enough, we found ourselves on the wall itself only a short time later. Katy and I exchanged glances and shrugged as oneógiving up on the prospect of caves, and drawing our swords.

Understandably, the men gave us some rather strange looks as we passed, most likely wondering if they were seeing things. The rain had managed to pound some life into our exhausted heads and the collected anxiety of the human army served to make us quite giddy. So it was that we came to a far corner of the wallóor at least as far as we could manage to getóchattering excitedly and looking around with a killer glint in our eyes.

"This is it, Katy!" I exclaimed, almost having to shout to be heard over the rain and wind, "This is when all those sword practices pay off!" ĎAll those sword practicesí actually amounted to about twelve hoursómaybe less.

"I know!" Katy exclaimed back, "Isnít it exciting?"

The men next to us chuckled at our enthusiasm. "If you think itís exciting now, wait until the fighting starts." One of the men laughed.

"And letís hope youíre equally excited once the battle is over." Another added in a slightly more serious manner.

Katy and I exchanged a look and I shrugged, "Iím sure weíll be fine. We canít die here, that would beÖ Weird."

Katy nodded in agreement, "Yeah, that would be really weird."

They laughed again but our mirth was quickly stifled as our attention was brought back to the approaching Uruk-hai army. Those who had bows quickly notched arrows and let out a volley of the deadly shafts at their commanderís order. The rest of us tightened our grip on our swords, watching the field below intently with barely contained anxiety.

The order was called and the archers around us loosed their arrows. This only served to increase my excitement and I was practically bouncing up and down by now. Another volley was loosed, we could hear the cries of orcs bellowing in pain at contact with the deadly shafts.

The orcs must have released a volley of arrows as well because the dark shapes joined with the rain, falling down among us. The cries of men echoed along the wall as the cruel arrows of the enemy found their marks. The clack of metal against stone sounded out as the rest ricocheted against the walls and floor of the fortress.

Adrenaline rushed through my body which had long since forgotten itís exhaustion and I exchanged a grin with Katy, who was looking exceedingly uncomfortable with the thread of bodily damage. Finally the real fun beganóthe loud clank of a ladder connecting with the wall somewhere nearby warned us of the siege. The archers abandoned their bows in favor of swords with which to meet the enemy head on.

Another clank, this time closer. I could make out the shape of the ladder nearby. Katy and I exchanged a glance before darting over and pushing against the ladder with all our combined strength. We were greatly disappointed when nothing happened, the heavy object didnít even budgeólet alone fall downówe blamed it on the wind.

Having failed that, we readied our swords again, and not a moment too soon as the ugly face of an orc appeared over the wall. Of course, while itís all welll and good to look down at an army of orcs hundreds of feet below you and say youíre going to cut them to a pile of processed bologna, actually doing so is another matter entirely. It calls for agility, strength, and especially bravery. At this moment we found ourselves particularly lacking the latter two.

Agility was still abundant, however, and we quickly made use of it to run awayÖ Only to be met with more men battling even more orcs. Katy and I once more exchanged glancesómiserably wishing we had made it to the caves. Or, better yet, had never gotten on that blasted horse.

We huddled next to the wall, away from immediate danger of being slain and seriously contemplated what to do next.

"This isnít working." I complained, watching as a man was cut open by the crooked sword of an orc.

Katy shook her head in agreement with my statement, her face looking sickly pale.

"We need a plan of action." I said again, contemplating over two men dismembering an orc together.

Katy nodded although the sight of the newly slain orc seemed to do little to quell her stomach.

"Cause we canít just sit here the entire battle," I continued, jumping slightly as the smelly form of another orc fell to the ground next to us. Another nod from Katy.

"Come on, this should be easy!" I exclaimed, "Weíve done it hundreds of times on video games!"

"Yeah, but," Katy managed to form a verbal reply this time, "This isnít a game."

I pondered that for a moment before responding, "Sure it is! Legolas and Gimli are having that contest, right?" This time she didnít respond. "Well, I think thereíre enough orcs here for two more player so join."

Katy didnít look convinced as she eyed the battle around us hesitantly.

"Itíll be fun! Come on, weíll be on the same team. All we gotta do is beat Gimliís scoreÖ What was it? Forty-two? Sixty-three? Forty-two, I think. Well, whatever, then weíll win!"

I jumped to my feet in excitement, adrenaline forcing itís way through my veins once again. Whether or not my speech was the most motivational ever, it seemed to have worked well enough, for Katy followed meóalbeit hesitantlyóinto the fray. Soon even her worries were forgotten as all reason gave way in the rush of the battle.

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