And the sky full of stars: Part IX
by: Jen

As dawn greeted the borders of Gondor, the city came to life. Merchants rolled their carts overflowing with fruits and vegetables into the market square. Babies cried, dogs barked, doors opened. People started their daily routines.

Legolas gazed down at the streets from the balcony of his guest room in the castle. But he took little comfort in the peaceful scene below him. His thoughts lay many leagues beyond. He was worried.

Gimli could see the worry on Legolas' face as they rode their horses out of the city. Behind them rode a thousand of the best soldiers that Aragorn had to offer. Gimli only hoped they would arrive in time. Entville was many days rides away. And though Gimli did his best to prepare the villagers for battle, he was not foolish or nave enough to believe his reinforcements would hold out indefinitely. He knew orcs once angered would stop at nothing to destroy their prey. He had seen it at the battle of Helm's Deep, he hoped he would never see it again. But he knew that eventually Entville's defenses would fail. Time was running out.

Legolas pushed the soldier's mercilessly onward, as if being pursued by time itself. An unwavering determination was in his eyes.

The soldiers kept pace. With each league that passed, their anger seemed to grow. There were few people in Gondor or in Middle-Earth that hadn't been affected by war. The soldiers were no exception. Many had lost family or comrades by the hands of orc. The soldiers would not be satisfied until the last orc was slain.

And so the days passed, one after another, running seamlessly together. The nervous anticipation of coming battle rippled though the ranks.

The long valley lay before them.

Legolas peered long into the distance. Shielding his eyes from the setting sun, he gazed down the length of the valley. Behind him, the troops waited, restless and ready.

Gimli looked but saw nothing but the blue haze of far-off mountain peaks. However, he didn't need to see when he had Legolas face to watch.

"There is trouble," Gimli said. "I can see it in your eyes."

"I see the smoke of many fires. I fear we may be too late," Legolas said.

Gimli growled under his breath. "If we be too late to save them, we may still avenge them," Gimli said.

Legolas only nodded and lead the troops across the valley at a run. The soldiers pressed on, with ever growing momentum they ran as evidence of orc attacks grew. The trampled grass, the burnt out houses, the smell of the fires.

It was well after dark when they approached the orc. Entville lay less than a league away.

Legolas stopped and stared. Flying balls of fire cut through the darkness like falling stars. Orc screamed.

"The gates still hold. There is hope yet!" Legolas said. "Your defenses must be stronger than you thought."

"Or the villagers are tougher than they look," Gimli said.

With a loud war cry, Legolas gave the command. Moving as one, the soldiers charged. The sound of the galloping horses was deafening.

The orcs were caught off guard. So focused on defeating the gates of Entville, they had given their rear ranks little protection.

The orcs scattered as the Gondor soldier's charged. But there was little place for the orc to go and they could do little to defend themselves against soldiers on horseback. Trapped by the onslaught of soldiers in the rear, the orcs focused their efforts on the gates. No longer looking for attack but looking for a way of escape.

Legolas watched in horror as the orcs stampeded the gates, trampling one another as they tried to escape. Gimli held the ground around Legolas while he shot off arrow after arrow far into the distance in a feeble attempt to hold the gate. All his arrows hit their mark.

But the orcs were too many and the gate would not hold. The wood crackled, splintered, and fell into pieces. The orcs poured though the opening into Entville.

They tore through Entville, destroying everything in their path, only to meet the dead-end of the sheer mountain face in the back of the village. Entville offered no real escape for the orc. It was merely a delay of the inevitable.

The orcs charged back out of Entville in one last stand. The soldiers held their ground. They picked off the orcs one by one, until the valley lay in silence.

The battle of Entville was over.

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