M.E. II Chapter 12: Erkenbrand Flakes.

The horse rode on at it’s quick gait as the sun lowered in the sky and the afternoon darkened into evening and then to night. We, the horse’s involuntary passengers, had no idea where the mad creature was going, or when it would stop. And thus it was that we ran upon the same group of Rohirrim to have set out some time before us for Helm’s Deep, tired and hungry and me not in the least bit good humored.

The horse neighed, bucking only slightly in surprise as one of the guard called out to us. The slight bucking was enough for me to fall to the ground however, my seat not having been incredibly reliable to start with. With a less than favorable comment concerning the horse, I quickly scrambled away from it in a hopeful attempt not to get pounded beneath it’s powerful feet.

Alerted by the guard’s alarm, several recognizable faces had wandered over and, after gesturing for the guards to lower their weapons, stared at us in what can only be considered dumbfounded confusion.

At length Aragorn spoke up, Katy was now safely on the ground beside me with the horse being handled be several more Rohirrim, "What are you doing here?" The obvious question came, and his face was etched with anger and confusion.

In my already sour mood, this sounded like nothing short of an accusation, one which I was quick to defend just as harshly, "It’s not like we wanted to come! This stupid horse went mad and drug us after your sorry—"

Katy stopped me short with an elbow in the ribs, "The horse ran after you guys with us on it’s back. Someone should have mentioned it was crazy."

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were looking at me in something akin to shock as with the combination of my bad tempers, loathing of horses (specifically the one the guards had calmed down behind us), and the perceived accusation, I had most literally raised my voice—shouted, one might say. I hardly noticed their surprise, however and was glowering hatefully at the ground.

"Well, since you’re here," Aragorn started cautiously, "You might as well rest with us. We will discuss what to do with you now after we’ve all had some sleep."

We allowed ourselves to follow the slightly disgruntled ranger, and immediately hit the ground in sleep when he stopped. Aragorn shrugged and soon the rest of the Fellowship was doing the same.


To Isengard with doom we come!

With doom we come, with doom we come!

"The Ents made up their minds rather quickly, after all, didn’t they?" Pippin asked from his perch on Treebeard’s shoulder.

"Quickly?" The Ent responded, "Hoom! Yes, indeed. Quicker than I expected. Indeed, I have not seen them roused like this for many an age. We Ents do not like to be roused—"


"I’m going to try it." Frodo said, peering down the steep side of a cliff, but unable to see the bottom due to the black evening sky.

"Very good!" Sam replied less than enthusiastically, "But I’m going first."

"You?" Frodo asked incredulously, "What’s made you change your mind about climbing?"

"I haven’t changed my mind." Sam returned, "But it’s only sense: put the one lowest as is most likely to slip. I don’t want to come down atop of you and knock you off—no sense in killing two with one fall." With that, Sam began to lower himself over the side, feet groping for some foothold on the rocky wall.

"No, no! Sam, you old ass!" Frodo cried, scampering to the edge of the cliff as well, "You’ll kill yourself for certain, going over like that without even a look to see what to make for. Come back!"

Morning came all too soon and we were roused again by a far too perky elf. Well… Even if he wasn’t really ‘perky’ so to say, he was still too awake for this ungodly hour of the morning. The sun was barely beginning to rise.

I glared at Legolas, "Leave me alone," I snapped, "I’m going back to sleep."

Katy nodded her agreement with my statement and we both closed our eyes again.

Legolas shrugged, "Don’t say I didn’t warn you."

I hadn’t even begun to ponder what he meant by that as sleep slowly began to take me again when suddenly, all around me, horns began to sound, bellowing into my barely regained sleep and dragging my consciousness awake with more effectiveness than a gun killing a beaver. My eyes had snapped open and I was sitting straight up with shock, breathing heavily as my brain attempted to get over the surprise.

And there was that elf, smirking back at us, he shrugged innocently.

"I… Am going… To kill you…" I muttered darkly, glaring at Legolas with as much hatred as one could work up in the earliest hours of the morning.

"We have decided that you will come the rest of the way to Helm’s Deep with us," Aragorn said as he started to pick things up from the camp sight, having only just walked over to where Katy and I were still glaring at Legolas, "Once we get there, you two will go down to the caves, they should be safe enough."

I grudgingly got up, pulling the blanket which had apparently been put over me in the night up with me, "Great, more horses." I muttered.

"We can’t just go back?" Katy asked, having done the same as me and barely managing to smother a yawn as she asked the question.

"No," Aragorn confirmed, "It would be too dangerous to send you back by yourselves now. Don’t worry, Gandalf said the caves will be safe."

"Yeah, easy for him to say." I muttered sourly.

We left shortly, starting another day of wonderful riding with me and Katy back on the mad horse. It seemed sane enough now, following along with the rest of the horses, but I still didn’t trust it.

The day kind of swam by with me in a half asleep, half clinging for my life state of mind. The afternoon brought with it heavy, gray storm clouds and another Rohirrim rode up to us from the opposite direction.

Katy and I were riding near the back of the group so we didn’t hear what took place, but even as this new horseman rode up, Gandalf’s white horse rode away. Katy and I exchanged glances as a buzz of excitement made it’s way through the riders.

"Gandalf has abandoned us!" I heard one man nearby exclaimed, "Even the wizard knows there is no hope!"

I rolled my eyes, "If Mithrandir thought there was no hope, don’t you think he would have brought his friends with him?" I asked skeptically, "I mean, at least Aragorn, and probably Legolas. They’re too important for him to let them die defending a hunk of rock."

"Helm’s Deep isn’t—" The Rohirrim started, but was cut off.

"Yeah, and he probably would have brought us with him too." Katy added, "He’ll be back, he probably just went to find Éomer."

The Rohirrim frowned, "But Éomer is in this company, he is riding up near your friend, Aragorn."

Katy looked at me in confusion and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes again, "Of course he is," I agreed, "I’m sure Katy meant to say he was probably looking for Erkenbrand."

Katy nodded enthusiastically, "Yeah, that’s what I meant!" She agreed. The horseman still seemed skeptical, but was at least a little satisfied with the answer. Katy turned to me again and whispered, "Rachel, who’s Erkenbrand?"

"He’s the guy Gandalf brings back to save Helm’s Deep." I informed her, "I think he’s supposed to be the king of the Westfold, or something like that. Gandalf comes back in the morning with him and a thousand other men on foot and they scare away the orcs. Haven’t you ever read the book?"

"Yes… But it was a long time ago! And anyway, what kind of a name is Erkenbrand?" Katy asked in her defense.

"I dunno," I replied, "Sounds kinda like a cereal, try new Erkenbrand flakes, guaranteed to turn your milk a delightful muddy brown in five minutes or less!"

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