A Cold Heart Warmed: Part XI
by Pharassero

The Mark rode out before sunrise, heading for Helm's Deep, with the rumors of Kalay's indignation running thick through the troops. Some gave her crude looks, while others put as much distance between she and them as possible. She finally scrunched down on her horse, concentating on what lay ahead. Leglas watched her with concern, knowing her feelings were tenuous at best about her interaction with others. She had never been outgoing at home in Mirkwood, but likewise she had not been truly accepted by many there either. He was staring at her in concern when another rider came alongside him and whispered, "Careful of that one, she's cold enough to freeze Mt. Doom." Legolas turned and gave the man a look that said he should keep his tounge, so the man stared wide eyed for a moment and et his steed fall back. Legolas moved in closer to Kalay to get her attention, and couldn't help but laugh when she looked up startled to see him riding knee to knee with her. "Thought you could use some company," he told her quietly. "There are few who would care togive me company now, not that I want these Rohirrim for company," she replied. Gandalf had already left on buisness of his own, when they stopped and stared out on the horizon. They were nearly to Helm's Gate, beyond that lay Helm's Dike. They rode on through the night and the day until they came to the Dike. There, King Theoden, spoke with an old man of the Mark who told them they had plenty of provisions stored for the coming battle. The Lord and his Mark rode on to the Deep persuing orcs along the way. They were gladly welcomed when they rode inside the gates and began helping those there prepare for war.

They didn't have to wait long, soon Wild men of the Dunland and orcs bearing he white hand began attacking the gate and setting ladders to the wall. Vollies of arrows flowed over the walls in thick waves, injuring many, and killing others. At first they defenders, were so stunned, they did not retaliate. After the next volly however, they shook them selves of there stupor and began firing down on the host below. Kalay stood near Legolas and did her best with her crossbow, however she was sorely hurt when she ran out of arrows and had to take up a longbow. Her accuracy was lacing with a longbow and may of her targets, though they fell were only injured. Legolas could here her cursing at her lack of skill under her breath and said, "As long as you can even injure them, that may be enough to slow them down." She looked over at him sadly and replied, "I know I will slow them down, but it isn't enough. They must be stopped." They both turned back to there buisness, Kalay feeling a bit better. Gimli appeared, and bragged about his recent kills, but Legolas one upped him by several. Kalay ignored their banter thinking, Someone shouted and they turned to see many orcs coming in through the culvert that ran under the wall. They began defeating this new threat as well, while the archers had now been forced to lay aside their bows and begin hand to hand combat. Once the culvert was secured, Gimli was asked to advise the blocking of it.

Kalay was fighting as hard and well as any of the men there, when she heard a scream from behind her. She turned and saw an Orc of considerable size, beating down one of the younger Rohirrim. Coming from behind she wasted no time or movement in stabbing him square in the back severing his spinal cord and bring him to the ground. The face that appeared on the other side was that of her attacker on the previous night. He gave the fallen orc a shocked look and did a double take on Kalay. She turned just as Legolas' warning shout reached her and began defending her own hide once more.

The fighting went on for long hours and the defenders began to tire, and some fell more easily to the enemy. The culvert had been swept through again, but this time there were too many to plug it up. The battle began to look hopeless, and lost. Kalay slumped against the wall, bleeding from minor wounds. Aragorn, came up with a now blood- dull Anduril and asked her and Legolas how they fared. "Well enough," was all Kalay replied, closing her eyes in weariness. She knew Legolas was tired, but believed he was better off than she was. She needed rest and sleep and had no idea when she would get any. Forcing her eyes open she looked around at all of the fallen bodies. She forced herself up, and moved closer to the others. Legolas watched her as she walked over, noting how she swayed with tiredness. He put his hand out to her as she got closer and pulled her to him. "This must end soon, you will fall on your own blade, ere too long." She gave him a half-hearted smile and managed, "I'll be fine. Besides I must protect you at all cost." Aragorn put his hand on her shoulder in sympathy to her determination. "I am sure Lord Thranduil did not mean for you to put your own life before his." She said nothing at this, only leaned her head against Legolas and sighed deeply.

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