The Slayer and The DwarfAuthor: Mr. Wolf
The Common Room of the inn was crowed and everybody seemed to be in a good mood. It was busy and loud. A bard was playing in the front of the fireplace. The fireplace wasn't lit, because it was a hot summer night. The innkeeper even had a few windows open to let a few breezes in to cool off the hot atmosphere.
"Hey, bartender! Another round for my friend and me."
The voice came from a petite blond, who was sitting with a Dwarf at the back. They had been sitting there for hours and they seemed to be trying to drink each other under the table. And what was so amazing, was that the petite woman seemed to be winning. Dwarves were famous for their capacity of drinking large quantity of ale. He quickly took two pints of ale and brought them to their table. He put it in front of them.
"Dank you good man."
Buffy laughed, when she uttered it with her best Giles' impersonation. Gimli didn't understand the joke, but Buffy laughter was too infectious and he was too drunk for not to join in. The innkeeper left with his head shaking in disappointment. He clearly disapproved of women getting drunk especially in his establishment. Buffy ignored him or didn't notice it. She held her drink up in a toast, which Gimli mimicked.
"What are we drinking on this time, Grumpy?"
She was the only one, who could get away with calling him that. But he had had his revenge a while back, when he had found out a way to get back at her.
"How about..." Gimli was looking around and saw a big barrel of ale or spirit. "That big barrel there and that we have enough money to drink it empty, Barbie"
Buffy burst out in a fit of laughter and then she hefted her ale. "To the barrel, that needs to be emptied." She took a large draught. A few of the patrons who overheard her followed her suite. "And if we run out of money, we can always put it on Strider's tap."
Again they burst into laughter. When they both looked up, they saw some guys belonging to the race of Man looking down on them. The middle man, who seemed to be the leader winked at her. Buffy looked disinterested at them. Then he spoke. He didn't sound very intelligent either.
"What is a fair lady like you doing with a Dwarf?"
It took awhile for the words to register.
"Why don't you come over here (directing toward an empty table) and keep us company?"
Buffy laughed straight into his face, which he didn't like, and then she answered his question.
"Why would I want to depart from the company of my loyal and easy going Dwarf, to sit with a couple of losers, who needed their mothers to wipe their arses!"
Buffy saw the slap coming, but didn't try to avoid it. The sound of the slap brought a hush over the crowd and they turned to face them. Buffy only moved slightly from the impact of the slap, it had a very detoxicating effect on her, it cleared her head just enough for her to see Gimli reaching for his axe, she quickly put out her hand to stop him, then she turned to the three stooges.
"Maybe now you understand why I prefer the company of a Dwarf over the 'pleasant' company of Man. I advice you to leave before you get hurt." Buffy was smiling, but a little note of threatening found its way in her voice.
The three stooges were laughing. The leader spoke again, hardly able to control the laughter in his voice. "You really think I'm afraid of a drunken Dwarf."
"No, you should be afraid of drunken me. Cause if I was sober, I would have simply thrown you out." Her voice turned from a warning to a more pleasant tone. "But now that I'm drunk I expect I will break a few bones."
This made the man angry, he threw another hand at her face, intent on slapping her, but this time she grabbed it, before it could connect with its target. She squeezed it and crushed his wrist. As she pushed him away, he began to cry out in pain, the others drew knives. Buffy just laughed at them.
"The whore broke my wrist ... get her."
Whilst they were planning to attack her, she stretched her arm toward Gimli.
"Can I borrow your axe for a second, Master Dwarf?" Her tone was very calm and polite as if she was asking him to pass the bread.
"Sure, Milady. But if you chop off their heads, please do it neater than when you chopped off that troll's head! It took me hours to sharpen it again!" He handed her his axe.
"Hey, it wasn't my fault he had a thick hide." Buffy kept her eyes on the two men, who were now looking nervous. The man, who was nursing his broken wrist, saw that his friends were hesitating.
"She is lying. No half pint like her could ever best a troll."
"Men! Why do men always think that size matters?" Buffy made an expert swirl with the axe. "It must be because, they have small ...." Buffy was showing them her pinky and wiggling it.
They couldn't let her get away with that. Their attacked was uncoordinated and sloppy. Their war cry almost made her laugh. The first one she disarmed by letting the knife hit her blade. The blow backfired so hard, that he lost his knife purely from the pain of the blow.
The second she disarmed with a blow to the face, with the flat of the blade. This broke his nose. He let go of the knife to hold his broken nose with both hands. It took her less then two seconds to disarm them both. Buffy jumped on the table and spilled their ales. She squatted on the table to have a more eye to eye contact with the stooges.
"Do you guys really want to continue this?" She gave them a seductive wink.
They were in a shock and just stood there holding and nursing their injured parts.
"That will show them respect for people with the right heights." Gimli looked at the spilled ale. "Hey, Buffy you spilled the ale. I think they should pay for the next round."
Buffy looked them over and saw that they were dressed wealthy. "That's a good idea. But I got a better one. Why don't they pay the next round for everybody?"
That comment produced laughter and cheers. Gimli banged on the table in approval. "Show these scoundrels the hospitality worthy of a Dwarf."
The leader stepped backward toward the exit the other stooges close behind. "It will be a black day before I pay for a harlot."
A murmur of disapproval through the crowd. Everybody could see that Buffy was a warrior and worthy of respect. Gimli was planning to get at him with his bare hands, but again Buffy stopped him. The Leader was about to open the door, when Buffy stopped him with her sweet voice.
"You're going to leave without paying for the drinks?"
The man turned, growled at her and opened the door even further. The door closed with a bang. Gimli's axe was stuck in the door. The shock on the man's face was evident. He looked back at Buffy, who now stood on the table and this time she looked back menacingly at him.
"You owe us a drink. Pay up. Before I get really pissed off." Buffy had her hands on her hips.
The man went for the axe with his good hand.
"You touch the axe and I'll shove it up your ass! And I really won't want to do that, because my friend here would make me clean your shit off his axe." Buffy was now deliberately baiting him, urging him to do something stupid. He looked her in the eyes and for the first time he understood, how very dangerous this woman was and that if she wanted to she could have easily killed him by now. He reached for his coin pouch and threw it to the innkeeper.
"Thank you, Milord." Buffy made a curtsey. "For your extensive generosity."
He made a quick exit with his two stooges, the laughter of the inn following them outside. Buffy turned to the innkeeper.
"Bartender, was Milord generous for a round on the house?" The innkeeper took the pouch and counted the coins. His eyes sparkled. "Milord was very generous."
"For two rounds." Buffy put up two fingers and gave him her best smile.
The innkeeper thought about it and knew that two round would cut into his profit. He didn't like that, something that would come between him and his profit. But on the other hand showing some generosity would be good for future business. So he nodded and received a heartily cheer from his patrons. Buffy smiled satisfied and jumped off the table with a back salto, which received her some applaud. A busboy brought the axe back to her, which she returned back to Gimli. A barmaid brought them more ale.
Gimli hefted his glass. "And to what may I ask are we drinking to, Barbie." The Dwarf gave her one of his famous grins.
Buffy thought about it for a sec. "Death, may she give us a long life and peace at the end of our journey."
"Ay to Death."
They clinked their glasses. It was Gimli turn.
"To the Journey. May she give us as much happiness as Pain."
"Happiness? I think what I went through you thought I would get some of that happiness." Buffy bowed her head and then she snapped it back and clinked again with her glass with Gimli's. "To the Journey."
"You would make an excellent Dwarf girl."
"Oh, god forbid. I think I'm small enough." The Dwarf laughed. "And think about the facial hair and the wide hips, no thank you." This made Gimli even more laugh.
"You would make an excellent wife, it is a pity you are so skinny and tall."
Buffy burst into a fit of laughter. "You are the first man who ever accused me of being too tall."
"I bet one of the Hobbits told you that you are big."
It put a smile on Buffy's face to think about the Hobbits. She raised her glass again. "A toast on Small Packages."
They were drinking and toasting for an hour more before somebody, who was looking very important entered the inn. Behind him was the leader of the stooges, who were followed closely by six city guards. Before the man could say anything the stooge pointed at Buffy with his good hand.
"That's the shrew, which broke my arm and tried to kill me with an axe."
Buffy looked up in some kind of haze and then she recognized the voice and face. "Oh, it is the gentleman with the small dick." She demonstrated by winking with her little pinky. Which caused wide spread laughter.
She turned to the important-looking man. "I didn't break his arm, but his wrist. And if I wanted him dead, he wouldn't be walking or breathing. And who might you be, Mr. Important?"
The man didn't like Buffy's tone. It sounded disrespectful. "I'm the Magistrate. I'm here to arrest you for assault and attempting murder." He was about to wave his forward men to arrest her.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." Gimli was starting to sound drunk.
"And why shouldn't I do it, Master Dwarf." The Magistrate didn't like to be told what to do or what not to do."
"First of all, the accusations are false. He hit her first. And after warning him, she defended herself and then he set his two friends on her. She threw the axe at the door to stop him from leaving without paying his bill." It was very impressive of Gimli to manage such a long speech, whilst being drunk.
"She forced me to pay for a round."
"It seems that I will have to add extortion to the list of charges." The Magistrate ignored Gimli.
Gimli didn't like to be ignored so he went on. "And second, you need more men, if you want to arrest her. I've seen her fight a whole army of Orcs."
The Magistrate and the Guards faces radiated shock and disbelief.
"Come on, Gimli. They have a slight chance. I was sober when I took those Orcs on."
"Do not listen to them they are trying to scare you." It was the stooge who spoke.
Buffy looked at the Guards. "And it seemed to work." Buffy and Gimli started to laugh the rest of the patrons laughed with them.
"Enough!" The Magistrate was getting angry and impatient. "Guards arrest them."
Before they moved a step, Gimli spoke up again. "I haven't told you the last reason, why you shouldn't arrest the fair lady." Gimli winked at Buffy, who winked back. "She has a very influential friend, who wouldn't like the fact that his friend is being falsely arrested."
"And who might that be?" The Magistrate involuntarily asked the question.
"The King of Gondor."
"You are lying." The stooge said as an automatic response, but the Magistrate was more cautiously.
"How do we know that you are speaking the truth?"
"Cause I don't lie. But maybe I should introduce you to the Lady. Your Honour may I introduce you to Lady Buffy Summers, Lady Protector of Gondor, Defender of Middle Earth, Lady of Helms Deep, Scourge of the Orcs, Decapitator of Trolls and the Slayer of Monsters and Demons."
Buffy blushed, but it wasn't visible because she was already red from all the ale. "Gimli, stop you are embarrassing me."
"Don't be modest, you like all the attention, you can't fool me."
"Yes, but I can't let it go to my head. I need to be humble or people might get hurt or die because of it."
While they were bantering, the Common Room of the inn went quiet. They couldn't believe it. They've heard stories about the Golden Warrior, but if even half of them were true, she must be an extraordinary warrior. But this small woman couldn't be her, that thought passed through everyone's heads. And of course the stooge had to utter it aloud.
"You are too small to be her."
"Hey, my friend here tells me I'm too tall." Buffy put an arm around Gimli and they start to laugh, which ignited the room. After they had all calmed down. "You should know that good things come in small packages."
She still saw some doubt in the crowed. She pointed to the busboy. "Boy, throw me the poke."
The boy hesitated for a second and then threw the poke to Buffy after she gave him a reassuring smile. Buffy caught the poke effortless. She looked it over for a second and then bent it effortless in front of the Magistrate. After she had bent the poke, she threw it to the biggest guy in the Guard. Everybody watched how he tried to bend it back. Buffy snapped her fingers to indicate, that he should throw it back, which he did. She bent it straight, and then threw it back to the boy. She turned toward the Magistrate.
The Magistrate nodded.
"Good, so you aren't going to arrest me?"
Again he nodded.
"Good, then you may leave, we have no need of your service here or you could stay and have a drink on me."
Before the Magistrate could make a decision, Gimli's voice interrupted him.
"I think we do have need of the service of the Magistrate."
Buffy looked confused. "Why?"
"It is a crime to hit or attack the Lady Protector."
Buffy turned to the stooge with an evil grin. He was shaking in his boots. "Isn't that called treason?" It was more of a statement then a question. The question was half directed to Magistrate.
The stooge was moving towards the exit, but the Guards stopped him. The Magistrate looked grim and angry at the stooge for putting him in such a situation.
"An assault on the Lady Protector is like a personal assault on the King."
"Off with his head." Buffy laughed and Gimli joined in, but the crowd was silent. "I always wanted to say that." She turned to the Magistrate. "But I'm going to be lenient to day because he didn't know who I was." The occupants of the Common Room took in a collective breath. "I'm sure we can come up with an alternative punishment."
"Buffy, you are a pushover. I think your first idea was better." Gimli put his axe on the table. The stooge was trying to pull free from the two guards, but they were holding him with the years of experience of maintaining the peace.
"Gimli you are way to blood thirsty, why don't you lessen your thirst with some more ale. Bartender! Some ale for my friend." While the ale was on his way, Buffy turned toward the Magistrate. "Does Your Honour have any suggestion?" Buffy gave him a warm smile.
The Magistrate smiled involuntarily and couldn't understand why the stooge would hit such a beautiful woman. "Cutting the hand off, that had offended you."
"No." Came the shout from the stooge.
"Silence, nephew. Be glad that she isn't asking for your head."
"What do I want with his head? I'm not a head-hunter!" Buffy knew that her jokes were lame, but hey, she had an excuse. She was drunk.
"Why don't we put him for a night in jail and decide what to do with him, when I'm sober?"
"You heard Milady, bring my retched nephew to the guardhouse."
"Hold you tongue, before you make it worse on you." The Magistrate looked very angry and that shut him quickly up.
Buffy waved him goodbye and threw a few last words at his back. "Don't worry hon, I'm very creative with my punishment. I might let you sweep the street clean for a month or three. Or maybe let you clean the stables."
Buffy didn't see the reaction on the man's face, but the tension in his shoulders told her enough.
"I take it back about that pushover comment. You are a cruel woman."
"But you still love me." Buffy gave him her innocent girly look and bent over to kiss him on the cheek. He blushed, but it didn't show on his already reddened face.
Buffy took another sip from her glass, when she noticed that it was empty. She looked disappointed at the bottom of her glass. Before she could ask for more, a barmaid put a glass in front of her and one in front of the Magistrate, who seemed to have joined them. She thanked the barmaid. Buffy raised her glass to Gimli.
"Whose turn is it?"
Gimli tried hard to think and then utter unsure. "Yours?"
"Okay." Buffy thought for a few moments. "To lost friends and their memories."
"Good choice. Friends and memories."
They clinked their glasses and drank from them. Buffy turned to the Magistrate. "What's up Doc.?"
The man gave Buffy a strange look, Gimli saw it and laughed. "Buffy has a very unique interpretation of the Common Language. It takes awhile to understand her correctly." Buffy smiled at the Dwarf. "What she meant to say was how are you doing and do you have some news to share?"
"I was doing well until my idiot of a nephew ....."
Buffy stopped him by putting her hand in front of him. "It was a question asked to be polite and a simple fine would have sufficient."
The Magistrate looked confused. Gimli saw it and patted him sympathetically on the back. "The Lady Protector is a hard woman to understand. It took me six month to understand her."
"Hey." Buffy pushed him just a little too hard and he fell off his chair. She started to laugh. "Sorry."
Gimli looked up from the ground a little grumpy, but started to laugh again. The Magistrate chuckled.
"May I ask what the Lady Protector is doing in my humble city?"
"Drowning my sorrow in ale." Buffy took another demonstrative draught from her glass.
Gimli stood up from the ground and translate for the Magistrate. "We are on our way back from an Orc hunt. And we decided to rest here for a couple of days."
"So this isn't an official visit?"
"No, we're just passing through. Afraid we might find some skeletons in you closet?" Buffy looked sweetly at him.
"Skeletons?" He looked at the Dwarf, who just shrugged his shoulders.
Buffy sighed. "Secrets and lies."
"Ah." Gimli stated.
Buffy looked at the Magistrate. "Don't worry, Monsters are my jurisdiction. Corruption and bureaucracy scares me too much." She shuddered in a fake gesture.
"There is no corruption in my city." He grinned. "And the bureaucracy I keep to a minimum. So you have nothing to fear in my city." He hid his grin behind the glass, from which he took a sip.
Out burst a laugh and the ale she had in her mouth. She hit the Magistrate on the back. It was meant as a friendly pat, but she almost pushed him across the table. She helped him back on his seat. She laughed and looked guilty at the same time.
"Sorry, forgot my strength there for a second."
The Magistrate was shocked by the power behind the pat. He knew that she was strong. He saw her bend the poke, but to be at the receiving end, especially if it was just a small tap, was disturbing at least. No wonder the King made her Lady Protector. Even in her drunken state she was a power to be reckoned with. Sober she must be formidable. His nephew must have been a moron for not seeing that. His thoughts were interrupted by Buffy's voice.
".. Honour, how about a toast?"
"Rules of the game. A drink a toast." The Dwarf grinned at the Magistrate.
He picked up his glass. "A toast. Let me see. The King."
"Aragorn? Sucking up aren't we?" Buffy winked, Gimli laughed and the Magistrate look confused and stern. Buffy stood up a little unsteady on her legs. "To the King, may he always know Mercy and Wisdom. To the King."
The crowed repeated the last part of her salute. Buffy clinked her glasses with Gimli and the Magistrate. The Magistrate did it with less enthusiasm, the reason was likely for him not being drunk. He drank his glass empty and while he stood up, Buffy sat down.
"It sorrows me to say, but I have to depart, for I have to get up early in the morrow." He bowed to Buffy. "When can I expect You Excellency to discuss my nephew's punishment?"
"Nephew? Oh yeah the stooge. I wouldn't expect My Excellent butt to get out of bed before noon." Gimli and Buffy had another fit of laughter, after it died down she continued. "I might come by in the afternoon if the hang-over hasn't killed me or if I don't forget." Buffy grinned foolishly at him.
The Magistrate made a simple bow and nodded in understanding, before he turned to Gimli. "Master Dwarf." He simply nodded to him, who returned it.
After the Magistrate left Buffy and Gimli returned their concentration back to their Ale and noticed that their glasses were empty. They both had a similar frown on their faces they turned at the same time to the innkeeper.
Which promptly had their empty glasses replaced by full ones. Now that they were alone again, they went on with their drinking. After an hour Gimli's head fell to the table with a loud bonk. Buffy pulled his head up by his hair to see if there were any signs of consciousness. But there were none, so she let his head down gently and turned to the innkeeper, waving him to come close.
"Can you find somebody to drop him in his bed?"
"Yes, Your Excellency."
He was turning back, but Buffy grabbed his apron and pulled him back.
"It is just plain simple Buffy." Buffy saw that he didn't think of her as 'plain simple Buffy'. "If you can't say Buffy, how about Lady Buffy or Milady. I really don't like Your Excellency." She gave him a small smile.
"Yes, Milady." Buffy used her puppy eyes. The Innkeeper smile warmly at the woman. "Buffy."
"Yeah, me." Buffy had a really childish expression on her face. "Could you bring me a bottle of Endolva Tea."
The man looked a little worried at Buffy. "You know that it isn't tea, but strong liquor."
"Why else would I order it?" She gave him a knowing smile. He shrugged his shoulder while he went for the liquor, he ordered a young strong man to carry Gimli to his bed. The Common Room was starting to empty itself. There were just a few stragglers and the bard was falling asleep on his harp.
The innkeeper came back with the bottle and told her that he was going to close the Common Room. Buffy threw him a coin pouch, the innkeeper thanked her. Buffy walked upstairs to her room with the bottle. She opened her window and sat on the ledge and looked outside. The inn was built on a small hill, so she had a good view of the silhouette of the city. She was in luck, there was a strong fresh breeze from the mountains, that blew most of the city smells away. The moon was reflecting from the wet roofing tiles. Buffy heard a stray bark in the distance. Buffy swallowed a big draught from her bottle. The liquid was burning her throat, but she ignored it.
She hated and loved moments like this. These were moments, when the most vivid memories were of the things she lost. Somehow in the company of Gimli, the memories were bearable.
Buffy chuckled at the strangeness, that it was the Dwarf that could comfort her. And not Aragorn, who had so much of Angel, or Gandalf, who resembled Giles so much. Maybe that's why they couldn't. And Legolas, he was too yummy. Buffy always wanted to know, how sensitive those pointy ears were.
No, it was his solid and no-nonsense approach to things. Or it might have been for their love for axes as a weapon. The Dwarf liked her the minute, he saw her throw an axe fifty feet away with precision. He was also the first to accept her as a warrior, before they saw her in action.
Buffy took another draught and put the bottle on the night stand before dressing in her nightshirt. She took one last draught before she went under the covers hoping for an oblivious dreamless sleep.
Buffy had been walking for almost an hour, before she arrived at Helms Deep. The whole walk she had been cursing the Higher Beings that had brought her here and why the hell couldn't they have dropped her closer to her destination! She was so busy complaining, that she almost missed the awesome view of the Wall. She stopped in her tracks.
"Wow, that's a nice little wall."
She saw people gathering at the big gate to get in. She started walking and 5 minutes later she reached the gate. The closer she got the more strange looks she received. She ignored most of them or returned the looks with a faint smile, but none of those smiles reached her eyes. People started to whisper around her. She stopped in front of one of the Guards.
Buffy waited for the man to speak and gave him warm smile. He looked her over. He didn't know what to think of her. She was wearing strange clothes, leather pants, a simple shirt, long leather duster and she completed the ensemble with army boots. She was also carrying a duffle bag.
"You are not from Rohan." It was more a statement then a question. He unintentional repositioned his weapon. Buffy saw the movement, but ignored it.
"What gave me away? Must have been my boots?" Buffy looked down at her army boots. When she looked up again, she saw the man stare at her as if she was insane. Buffy looked up. "Oh, yeah. Thanks you had to drop me in a world where they don't even have a sense of humour."
Buffy looked down and thought to herself, that they now would definitely think she was crazy.
"Strangers need permission from the King to cross the Lands of Rohan."
"Really? Good, bring me to your Leader, so I can ask for permission. I need to speak to the Man in Charge anyway."
The Guard didn't really know what to do, should he take her to his king or keep her on the outside of the Walls. Her clothes were strange and she was wearing leather pants. He finally decided to take her to the King and let him decide what to do with this insane woman.
"Follow me." He uttered it with a stern voice.
"Jawohl, my Fuhrer." Buffy couldn't let it pass. The man looked at her and increased his pace in order to get rid of her as soon as possible. Buffy shook her head. "No sense of Humour. Why me?"
The Guard brought her to the exercise yard, where a group of men were talking with each other and another group was doing weapons training. Two people stuck out, one was a short sturdy man with a red beard and the other was very handsome blonde young looking man with pointy ears, she immediately knew, that he was older than he looked. They stood a little separated from the others. While the Guard was talking to an elderly looking man, she thought it would be fun having a 'polite' conversation with the two. She stood in front of the Elf, dropped her duffle bag and gave him the Vulcan greeting.
"Live long and prosper." The Elf looked confused. Buffy just gave him her mischievous smile before turning to the Dwarf who was smaller than her. She found, that very amusing. "Hey, Shortie. Ooh, that is a nice axe. May I see?"
Buffy stretched her arm out to the half confused, half insulted and half amused Dwarf. He really didn't know what to make of her. Then he grinned, made his decision and gave her his axe.
"Be careful with it, it has a sharp blade, Milady."
"Buffy Summers. Call me Buffy." Buffy first tested the balance of the axe and then took a few swings. Gimli was impressed.
Gimli introduced himself and the Elf who still with a bemused look in his eyes. "I'm Gimli, son of Gloin and the Elf here is Legolas."
The Elf nodded and looked serious at Buffy. "Lady Buffy."
"It's simple Buffy, no Lady, just plain little old Buffy. No lady. And I was just messing with you. You know the Vulcan greeting." Buffy put up her hand again to show him the Vulcan greeting. That confused Legolas even more, but on the other hand Gimli was amused. He didn't understand the young woman, but one thing was for sure; she was making fun of the Elf. And his smile grew, Buffy saw it.
"Oh, thank God, they send me to a place with at least one person, who has a sense of humour." Buffy winked at Gimli. This made the Dwarf laugh out loud. Before they could continue with the banter, they were approached by the elderly man, who had spoken with the Guard. He kept his distance and was looking at the axe, she was holding. Buffy looked embarrassed and hid it behind her back and looked apologetic. There was a scruffy looking man next to the elderly man, who radiated confidence and something else that Buffy couldn't pinpoint. Buffy gave him a small nod, which he returned. The elderly man spoke first.
"I'm King Théoden, I've been told, that you seek sanctuary between these walls. Lady ..."
"Buffy, no Lady. And I didn't come here for sanctuary. I came here to fight the baddies, Orcs, if I was told correctly." Buffy stiffened up and saluted with her left hand. "Private Buffy, reporting for duty, Sir." She gave Gimli a wink.
"I told you, Sire. She is insane." The Guard, who escorted her from the Gate, told his King.
Buffy turned to Gimli. "Told you, no sense of humour."
Gimli laughed. "No, the race of Man is not famous for their humour. You should meet some Dwarves or even Hobbits."
"Half as tall as Man, with big feet and an appetite rivalling giants."
"Ah, cool, finally a place were I can feel tall." Buffy grinned and Gimli laughed. Even Legolas and a few of the other grinned at the petite woman's jesting.
The King cleared his throat to get Buffy's attention back. She gave him a warm smile, which confused the King.
"We can't allow you to fight." He finally said.
Buffy used her fake pout. "Why not?" It looked cute on her.
"Because you are a woman." He said hesitantly.
"No really? So, just because I'm a woman you think, I can't fight. You wanna demonstration?"
Buffy didn't wait for a reply and looked around to find something to demonstrate her skills on. She saw one of the target dummies. She waved people to clear the path. She tested the weight of the axe for one last time, before she swung the axe backward and threw it right into the chest of the dummy. She turned around and looked very smug. Gimli was the first and only one to congratulate her.
"Bravo." He hit her friendly on the back. "Excellent throw. Worthy of any Dwarf."
Buffy looked a little embarrassed, while Gimli retrieved his axe.
The scruff guy took word. "I'm Aragorn. Why are you here?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "I was send here, because I was running out of bad guys." Nobody noticed the sadness in Buffy's eyes of voice. "They told me there was a big army of bad things and I was getting bored at home." Buffy shrugged her shoulders.
Everybody was shocked and looked at her as if she was insane. With the exception of Gimli, who grinned.
"I hope you are going to leave a few for us to fight. I really hate it, when I sharpen my axe for nothing."
Buffy laughed and it was a warm laugh. "Of course not Master Dwarf, I can't ruin a fellow little person's fun that is against our Union."
"She is crazy as a Dwarf." The Elf stated still in a mildly shock.
"Thanks." Buffy shot him a wicked smile.
"Who sent you?" It was Aragorn, who spoke. He was intrigued now and wanted to know more about this 'person'.
"Eh, the Higher Powers, Gods, Powerful Spirits, Entities. Your guess is as good as mine. I just talked with their Messenger. A very annoying demon."
"A demon?" The King didn't like the sound of that, it sounded very suspicious.
Buffy rolled with her eyes. "I know, I know. Demon equals evil, but not all demons are evil. Like not all Man are good."
Aragorn didn't know how to react to that statement. He had only met one demon and that was the Balrog in the mines of Moria. "Why did they send you?"
Buffy gave him a wicked grin. "Because you need all the help, you can get." Buffy was evasive with her answer.
"Why you and not somebody else?" Aragorn was now more specific with his question.
Buffy shrugged with her shoulders. "Either because I'm the best, expandable or I'm simple needed here."
He knew that it would be futile to question this further, so he only had one last question. "Why did you accept and came here to help us?"
"They promised me a gift."
"What kind of gift?"
Buffy got a lot a confused looks, she ignored them and turned to the Wall and looked at the cantles and directed the conversation to another subject.
"Now that we are finished with the interrogation and we agree I'm going to help. Lets speak shoptalk. Those Walls seem to be able to take a few punches. Shouldn't there be some big rocks, rubble, hot tar and other heavy objects on the cantles to be thrown down on the attackers." Buffy looked around. "And where are the big catapults and other war machines?"
King Théoden was the first one to speak. "We haven't agreed on you helping us."
Gimli listened to what Buffy said about the defence measures. "Big rocks, hot tar? Sounds promising. But we don't have any catapults or other war machines."
"Why not?" Buffy asked for what she saw of their level of technology. They should be able to make big catapults.
"The Defenders of Rohan are cavalry. They are used to fighting on horses in the open field not defending against a siege."
Buffy thought about it, before turning to the King. "So you guys have no experience with a siege. How about one expert?" She took the King by surprise and the look he gave her afterwards told her enough. "This isn't a very good start. I hope you guys have made plans for when the Wall falls."
"Helms Deep has never fallen." The King responded.
Buffy turned to Gimli. "That means, no."
"Who are you, how dare you speak to the king in that manner? You should show respect to the King of Rohan, Wench." It was one of Rohan Defenders. He put his hand on his sword hilt.
Buffy ignored the man's insult and threat, and looked him straight in the eyes. "Because, it seems I'm the expert around here and that I'm the only one around here, who has been in a siege, even if it was a whole different situation 'and' I lead enough men to safety that day to call it a small victory."
After finishing with her speech she looked around. "If the Wall falls and they come over it or through the gate. We can put some archers there and there, and put the enemy in a crossfire."
Aragorn took in the idea and thought it over. It sounded like a solid plan and he expanded the plan. "And after they finished a handful of soldiers need to cover their retreat to the Keep and after they are safe, they could do their part by covering the soldiers."
"Ah someone is paying attention. And we need booby-traps to slow their advance. We should keep them simple." Aragorn nodded. She continued. "How about 6 feet stakes and ditches to slow them down and give the archers better targets to hit?"
"We don't have the wood for stakes." Aragorn explained.
Buffy frowned. "How long can we hold the castle, before we run out of food and water, and what about re-enforcements?"
Aragorn didn't know why he should trust her with this information, but he did. "There is food enough for months and there is plenty water in the caves and wells." Buffy made a mental note to ask about the caves later. "And for re-enforcements, there is none."
"What, no flock of Elves or a couple of Dwarves coming to the rescue?" Aragorn nodded and snickered, when he got mental picture of flocking Elves.
Legolas wasn't flattered with the term 'flock'. "Elves don't flock and any Elf is worth a couple of Dwarves."
That ignited a fierce, but friendly banter between the Dwarf and the Elf. Buffy turned to Aragorn. "It seems that the yummy Elf has a sense of humour after all."
Aragorn burst out one loud laugh and tried hard to hold the other ones in. He never heard somebody call Legolas yummy and to be honest he had never heard anybody been described as yummy. Buffy didn't try to hide what she told Aragorn, so everybody heard it and Legolas with his elvish hearing couldn't have missed it even if he wanted to. His ears were starting to get red at the tops. Buffy saw it and made another mental note about it.
"The Elves haven't allied themselves with the Race of Man since the Great War." Aragorn explained.
Buffy turned to King Théoden. "Maybe if you guys were a little more hospitable and that little rule about asking the King for permission to enter this fair land is very inhospitable. You might have had more friends to come to your rescue if you were a little more hospitable."
King Théoden couldn't believe his ears; this petite woman was lecturing him. But before he could say something, he heard someone's stomach growl.
"Sorry. Didn't eat before I left." Buffy looked a little ashamed. "This is your chance to show how hospitable you are. Show me where I can get some grub."
The King was stupefied, but was saved by Gimli.
"Why don't I show you, where the canteen is? They made a good horse stew yesterday, maybe there are some leftovers."
"Horse stew? Stew from horse?" Gimli nodded. Buffy frowned a little. "That's something new, but beggars can't be choosers. Show me the way, Master Dwarf."
Gimli laughed, then behaving like a real genteel dwarf he picked up Buffy's duffle bag, but it barely left the ground, before he dropped it again. "What did you pack in this bag?
Buffy picked it up effortless, for that she received a few odd looks and then she started to walk in the direction in which Gimli was planning to go. "Not much, a few clothes, personal stuff, two swords, one long and the other short, a few daggers, two small axes, a mace, a crossbow and two quivers full of arrows."
When Gimli and Buffy were out of earshot, King Théoden started to talk again. "I never met a more insolent, irritatingly crazy woman in my whole life."
"Or fearless, she doesn't fear Death." They looked at Legolas. "You heard what her gift was for helping us, Death."
"You think it is her Death." King Théoden was shocked with disbelieve. "Why would she want to seek her own death?"
"It also maybe the Death she brings with her." Aragorn tried to look at it from a different angle. "She has knowledge of warfare and the way she threw Gimli's axe. Gimli couldn't have done it better."
"And she is strong. You saw her pick up her bag, with which Gimli had trouble just lifting from the ground and don't forget her small arsenal worthy of a small army." Legolas added his opinion.
"But can we trust her? She might be a spy from Saruman."
"Gimli seemed to like her." Legolas viewed his thoughts.
"We'll know more after he talked with her." A smile appeared on Aragorn face. "But I don't think she is. If she was a spy of Saruman, she wouldn't have insulted us like that."
Aragorn smiled and they either smiled too or laughed aloud. Then he thought of something. "We better keep her away from your niece, Eowym. She might get some a few ideas from her."
"Helms Spirit forbid it, she would be unmanageable.
Buffy was sitting at a long table in the canteen, Gimli was getting them some food. She and Gimli weren't the only ones in the room. There were soldiers and even whole families. Now that she had removed her leather duster, she even received more attention. From the men it was interest bordering on lust, from the women it was a kind of aversion and from the children it was curiosity. Outside she could handle the staring, but here inside she felt like a trapped animal. It was logical, that she snapped a little.
"What never seen a woman wear pants?" Buffy was staring back and most of them turned their head.
"I think they haven't." Gimli dropped a bowl of horse stew in front of Buffy, before he sat down with his own. "I'm used to seeing woman wear pants, our women were them, but even they don't wear them that tight."
"You can't expect me to fight in some flapping dresses." Buffy's thoughts went to the occasion, when she was asking for loan application in her form fitting red dress. "I did that a few times. I cut up my dresses a few times. It cost me a fortune to replace them. At least leather pants aren't that delicate. You can't imagine how much clothes I had to throw away because I couldn't get the blood or slime out of them or they have been simple torn to pieces."
Buffy looked closer at the Dwarf and at what he was wearing. His clothing looked dirty, but well maintained.
"You probably don't have that problem as it seems that you only change your outfit once in a decade. You probably haven't bathed in months." Gimli was sniffing himself and grinned. "Oh god, I'm going to miss indoor plumbing the most."
"Yep." Buffy's belly was growling now and the bowl in front of her was full of extremely edible looking food. She let the aroma drift in her nose. "At least it smelled good." She took a careful spoon and looked surprised. "And it tastes even better."
Buffy started to dig into her stew and Gimli smiled at her enthusiastic eating, while he dug into his own. Gimli started his inquiry about Buffy.
"You are very good with an axe. And seeing that you brought such an array of weaponry, I assume you know how to use it."
"A little." Buffy said modest.
Gimli had no doubt that a little meant a lot. Buffy saw him not believing her and smiled back.
"I have a gift with weapons. I don't need much training to handle any weapon."
This he believed on the spot. "So ... is it a dangerous place where you come from? You need all those weapons?"
Buffy knew what he was doing. He was inquiring about her. She smiled. "Sunnydale. It is a dangerous place, but the danger is more hidden and most of the people are oblivious to the danger. But it became a lot safer when I got in town." Buffy thought about turning the tables. "How tough are these Orcs and are there any more evildoers I should know about."
"Orcs are dumb brutes, avoid daylight and die easily with well placed blows of an axe or sword. But the Uruk-hai are a cross-breed, between Orcs and Earthmen. Which makes them smarter, stronger and sunlight only bothers them slightly."
"My baddies are Vampires. Bloodsuckers. They are stronger and faster than humans, but a wooden stake through the heart, decapitation, fire or sunlight turns them into a pile of ashes."
"They turned into Ashes?"
"Stake in the heart, and poof." Buffy made some demonstrating hand gestures. "That's how I like my demons, the ones who clean up after themselves. But still you know how hard it is to get vamp dust out of your clothes?"
Gimli laughed about Buffy cleanliness and clothes obsession. Buffy look crossly at him he changed subject and he was asking Buffy, what kind of evil she had fought. Buffy told him the array of demons she fought leaving out the big guns, like the Master, Angelus, the First, the Major, Adam and Glory. And Gimli told her about all the creepy crawlers he had encountered, he told about the Fellowship, about the break up of the Fellowship, without mentioning the Ring. Buffy knew he was keeping something back, but she didn't think it was important at the moment. After they finished shoptalk, they began on a more personal note and talked about where they came from. Gimli noted that Buffy didn't want to talk about personal stuff and that it seemed to hurt her. So they kept it on a general knowledge about the Dwarf Community, their customs and other stuff.
Gimli was very curious about electricity, that sounded like magic, but wasn't magic. About people to be able to fly, he found it amazing, but rather had his feet on the ground. And horseless carriages, it would had been a marvellous. And don't forget the most important thing for the girl was the indoor plumbing and a hot bath. Gimli was distracted by Buffy.
"So did I pass the test with flying colours?"
"Test ... ? Flying colours ... ?" Gimli was confused.
"The test was you finding out if I'm not a spy or insane and flying colours means, that I passed it with a large margin, A-grade, 10 out of 10." She was light about it, but her eyes showed a little worry.
Gimli was still confused, but understood what she meant. "I didn't think for a second that you were a spy."
Buffy gave him a warm smile. "Thanks and the others."
"I have no doubt that Legolas and Aragorn will trust my judgement. But King Théoden you need to convince."
"Oh, that is easy. I will convince him that I'm insane." Buffy had a straight face.
Gimli laughed out loud. "Yeah, that would work."
Buffy stood up taking the bowl, but Gimli stood up and took it from her, he took the bowls to where they would be cleaned. Buff had her duster back on when Gimli came back. Buffy removed a few weapons from her duffle bag. She hid a few daggers on her body and strapped the long sword on her back.
"So when do we expect our guests to arrive to our party."
Gimli let the sentence settle in his brains for analysis and after having talked with Buffy for a while, he seemed to decipher her speech pattern.
"The Orcs will arrive this evening."
"What? I almost missed the party? Why are we still sitting here? We have to make preparations." Buffy took her duffle bag and left the canteen. Gimli followed her with a big grin on his face. He liked her attitude. Buffy was waiting for him outside.
"Tell me about the caves. Do they have entrances inside and outside the walls? And where are they? Can we use them for escape or hide in them?"
"The women and children will hide in the caves, when attack starts. The entrance to the caves is behind the Keep." He pointed at the citadel. "There are no obvious entrances outside the wall and if they find them, it would take them months to find the right pathway."
"Not if they send a whole army through it, but that would split them up and easy picking. It might even be necessary to create a few cave-ins. That should be your speciality."
"Yes. I have to look into that later."
Buffy looked around and noticed a few strategic points and weaknesses and she made plans to take advances of them and to strengthen the weaknesses. Buffy looked at the yard and saw that a group of riders had arrived. They looked a little ragged, but impressing. They were talking with Aragorn, Legolas and the King. Buffy noticed that there were two Elves among them.
"The cavalry has arrived."
"No, they are Rangers."
Buffy smiled. "We say cavalry, when we mean re-enforcement."
Buffy and Gimli burst in in the middle of a conversation between one of the Elves and the King.
"We came here to honour the old Alliance between Man and Elf."
Before the King could say anything, Buffy interrupted them.
"Only two Elves. Not a lot of a re-enforcement. But better then none." Buffy looked at the Elf with mischievous eyes. "Aren't there any yummy Elves left?"
First the Elves were shocked and then there ears went red.
"It's so cute how Elf's ears turn red."
"What kind of creature is this, cousin?" One of the Elves turned to Legolas.
"Hey." Buffy protested.
"I have my suspicions that she is an overgrown Dwarf, but she has the fair features of an Elf girl."
Buffy turned to Gimli. "Did he just insult me and gave me compliment at the same time?"
"Yes, I think so." Gimli nodded in earnest.
Buffy looked behind the Elves and took a good look to estimate their worth in combat. Buffy went all business.
"These Rangers seem like good warriors. Are we going to let them fight as one unit or spread them among the ranks?"
Before Aragorn answered, he looked at Gimli who nodded. Buffy saw it and was ahead of him.
"Gimli has declared that I'm Evil and spy free."
Aragorn nodded in understanding and even King Théoden made a small gesture with his head, again Buffy saw it. She turned to Gimli.
"It seems I don't have to convince him that I'm insane. It is a pity I just made up a nice repertoire."
"She is as crazy as a Dwarf." Legolas said it playful.
Buffy put an arm around Gimli's shoulder. "And I'm proud of it."
That got her a few laughs. Buffy stretched her arm out to one of the two Elves.
"I'm Buffy Summers, no Lady. You can call me Buffy."
The Elves introduced themselves as the sons of Elond, Elladan, and Elrohir. A few of the Rangers introduced themselves. They looked her over and most of them let their gaze linger on the sword on her back.
After the pleasantries were over, Buffy took charge of the situation. First she turned to Aragorn. "You and me will go over the castle and share some useful strategies." She turned to Gimli. "You take some men into the caves and see if you can find some way for the cave-ins that we discussed earlier." Buffy turned to Théoden. She nodded a little with a mischievous smile. "Your Majesty should find the best way to integrate these men here with your own."
She took Aragorn by the arm and led him away, while discussing strategy. They left shocked men behind.
Elladan was the first one to speak. "What just happened?"
Legolas was the second one to speak. "She just took command of Helms Deep."
Théoden objected. "She can't do that, I'm the King."
"I think she just did. Your Majesty." Gimli had a mischievous grin. "Can I take a few men? If Saruman finds a way to send Orcs through the caves. It would be wise to make some preparation to stop them."
King Théoden thought about it and saw the logic in it. "Yes, Master Dwarf. I think that would be wise." He reluctantly gave permission.
Gimli saw it. "I have full trust in her competence. That woman has fought against the Dark Forces since the age of fifteen. Almost every night she went out to fight demons. And I don't think she has told me about the big battles she has fought or led." Gimli nodded his head to the King and left to go to the caves. On his way he picked some men up to follow him.
"Who is she?" It was Elrohir who asked.
Buffy was walking with Aragorn, while talking about the strategy of the place. They put men and women to work setting up booby-traps. Most of them ignored Buffy's 'orders', but when repeated by Aragorn they followed them anyway. It was a little frustrating for Buffy, but she let is slide for she was new in town and they probably never heard of Women's Lib. And as long as they were doing what she suggested. It was fine by her.
Aragorn didn't know what to make of her, but he saw the value of her knowledge. He wanted to inquire about her personal life. It intrigued him, but he didn't think it was proper to pry. They kept there conversation on a strict professional level.
After they finished there round. They turned to the Keep, where there was a war council. The Elves were present, Gimli, the King and a few of his advisors and even a few of the Rangers. Buffy turned to Gimli.
"How goes operation Cave-in?"
"A small tap and it will take a few thousand Dwarves to dig through them." Gimli made a tap in the air with his axe.
"Good." Buffy turned to Théoden and gave him a polite nod. "Your Majesty. Could you tell me how many little Orcs we can except to show up at our door?"
This was confusing Théoden even more. He expect her to be cocky and brash, but here she was almost respectful. Gimli saw it and helped him out.
"We can expect about 10,000."
"10,000?" There was a shocked expression on Buffy's face. Gimli nodded. "And we have about 400?" Buffy asked.
"Closer to 500 with the Rangers." Aragorn stated.
"That means the men have to kill an average of 10 Orcs."
"I think it is more 20 to 25 Orcs." King Théoden corrected her.
Buffy put an arm around the Dwarf. "Me and Gimli here are planning to pick up the slack."
"You want us to kill 5,000 Orcs." Gimli asked surprised. Buffy nodded and this made Gimli laugh. "That's the spirit."
"I hope you don't mind if I take the large piece of the pie." Buffy smiled at him.
"Not at all. As long as I can kill more than the Elf." He pointed at Legolas. "I'm happy."
"You want to make a wager on that, Dwarf." Legolas' tone was playfully and turned to Buffy. "Not to offend your ladyship. But I think you overestimate yourself."
Before Buffy could reply, Gimli came to her defence. "I take your wager. If you count mine and Buffy's kills together and your can add the Rangers to yours."
Legolas thought about it and agreed. They shook hands. Then the Elf laughed. "You know that Aragorn is also a Ranger."
"Of course I did. I wanted to make it a fair wager." Gimli grinned.
"Is Aragorn that good with a sword?" Buffy knew the implication for why the Elf was laughing.
"I haven't seen anyone better." Gimli answered truthfully.
Buffy gave Aragorn an impressive smile. "We have to test that theory in a friendly duel after this is all over."
"It would be a pleasure, Milady." Aragorn nodded his head a little.
Buffy smiled and let the Milady comment pass. They started the war council in earnest. Buffy didn't make any jokes and listened to the others as they made suggestions. She was leading the council, but now and then she asked the King's opinion on the matter. Which gained
her some brownie points. Within an hour they were finished. Buffy suggested for the men to rest, before the army of Orcs arrived at the gates.
Buffy left for the canteen to eat something with Gimli, Aragorn and the Elves following her. Gimli offered to get the food for her. Buffy sat at a table and Aragorn sat next to her, while the Elves sat on the other side. The Elf Twins started a conversation with Buffy about their home in Rivendale, it quickly turned to their sister Arwen. They told her that she was betrothed with Aragorn.
"Isn't she going to live forever?" Buffy understood the problems that would emerge when one in a relationship is immortal.
"She is going sacrifice her immortality for me." Aragorn sounded a little sad.
Buffy smiled at Aragorn. She understood him and why she would do it. "She isn't going to sacrifice immortality for you." He gave her an odd look. "She is doing it for herself. You don't want to live forever if your soulmate is dead and 6 feet under."
Some understanding crossed Aragorn's face. He never looked it from that side. Buffy smiled at him.
"Your love, my friend is what we call Star-cross lovers. One chance in a million." Buffy eyes went sad. "I had that once."
"What happened?" Aragorn asked.
"He was cursed. One moment of true happiness and he had lost his soul."
"I'm sorry." Gimli said, what the other's felt.
"It is okay, it has been awhile and he got his soul back." Buffy gave him a weary smile.
"I don't want to pry, but what was that moment of true happiness?" Aragorn asked.
Buffy's sad eyes turned into mischievous ones and winked with her eyebrows. At first they didn't get it, but Gimli was the first one to understand it and laughed at the thought, how the Elves and Aragorn would react, when they would get it.
Buffy just waited for the Elves's ears to turn red. She really thought they looked cute especially when they turned red.
"You are married? Then why didn't your husband came with you?" Aragorn asked a little descending.
"Hey, just because you sleep with a guy doesn't mean you have to marry him." Buffy looked angry at him. "Tish, are you guys still living in the Middle Ages."
Then realisation came to Buffy, that they lived in the Middle Ages. They give her the look of disapproval. "Of course you do. You're better not say I'm a slut or I'm going to hurt you so bad your grandchildren will feel the pain."
Buffy stood up angrily and left the Canteen. Gimli stood up and turned to the rest. "You better apologise to her later. Just because she has different moral values doesn't make her less noble. And she is a noble Woman and you better treat her like one."
Gimli left to go after Buffy. He found Buffy in one of the stables. Where she was petting a beautiful black stallion. Buffy was hiding her face in his mane. The animal had to bend his head for Buffy to have a good access to the mane. Gimli approached her carefully.
"That night was the most beautiful experience I had. They had no right to blemish it." Buffy didn't had to look to know that it was Gimli.
"Men and Elves should get off their high morals." Gimli smiled at Buffy.
"Thanks. I'm sorry but sometimes it gets too much for me." Buffy dried her tears.
"No, need to apologise." Gimli grinned reassuringly at her.
Buffy and Gimli stayed a few more minutes in the stables. They left the stables and ran into the others outside. They apologised to her. She forgave them and they talked and walked a little more before they heard a sentinel yell that the Orcs were approaching.
"It seems the fun is about to begin." Buffy said.
Gimli grinned and they walked toward the Wall and went on it, where the King was looking to the approaching army.
Buffy was standing on the wall looking at the immense Orc army. They arrived before sunset. It frightened her a little. Not that it was showing on her face. The only thing she showed was boredom. The waiting was boring her and making her restless. She hated waiting. The Slayer was born for action. Her blood was calling for blood of evil to flow. She, Gimli and Legolas were standing a little aside from King Théoden and Aragorn.
"What are they waiting for? A written invitation?" Buffy sounded cranky.
"Have patience. They will attack soon." Gimli could barely look at the army through the cantles. He had to stand on his toes.
"I see movement at the front. A group is separating itself and approaching the Wall." Legolas was making an observation.
"The party is staring. I hope they aren't going to talk us to death." Buffy pouted.
A big Orc, probably a Hruk-Hai, was leading the group of Orcs. He stood just out of range of the arrows. A dead silent was broken out. Everybody was waiting for him to speak.
"I'm Uraka, Chieftain of the Hruk-Hai. Surrender Helms Deep and you are free to leave alive."
Buffy was chocked. She turned to Gimli. "He is joking."
Before Gimli could answer her, King Théoden answered the Hruk-Hai.
"Helms Deep will never fall by the likes of yours. Helms Deep belongs to the people of Rohan. And we won't give it up without a fight."
Buffy handed Gimli her crossbow and quiver. "Keep this safe for me." She jumped on the cantles and looked straight at Uraka the Hruk-Hai, who was about to shout something back. "Joh Ugly. If you didn't understand the King. He said, put your tail between your legs, like the dog you are and get lost before we cut it off."
Gimli was the first one to laugh, which was quickly take over by the others. The Chieftain of the Hruk-Hai was furious and turned to the King. "How low did the King of Rohan sunk that he lets a 'girl' talk for him?"
"I only talk for myself and I'm not a girl." Buffy didn't give time for the Hruk-Hai's words to settle in or give the King time to respond. "I'm 'the' Slayer. Slayer of Demons and Evil and 'you' fit right in that category. Why don't you come up here and I'll show you by cutting your heart out?"
The Hruk-Hai Laughed and his army followed. A sound that could make the bravest of men shiver. He put up his hand and a silent went like a ripple through the army of Orcs. "Little girl! Why don't you come down and take it if you can?"
Buffy looked as if she thought about it for a second and then she shrugged her shoulders. "Why not." She turned to Gimli. "Nobody follows me and start counting."
She turned back to the field outside the Wall and jumped headfirst and made a salto in the air before hitting the ground. This was something that nobody expected. The silent was so thick it could be cut. Nobody moved or made a sound, most even forgot to breath for a moment. Buffy dusted of some imaginary dust and walked with confidence and purpose toward the Chieftain of the Hruk-Hai.
After she had walked 1/3 of the way toward him, he woke up from the shock and sent the Orcs who had accompanied him to intercept her. A war cry came out of their mouths. Buffy was still calm and even smiled at them. The first to reach her swung a sword at her. She broke his wrist, that held his sword. While she took it away, she slipped passed him cutting his head off. The next Orc, that approached her she kicked ten feet away. The third one she ran through with the captured sword. She lost the sword and grabbed the spear off the fourth one, with the spear she stabbed the last one. She made the fourth Orc fall on his knees and broke his neck with his spear at his throat from behind. The second Orc, which she had kicked away, came running at her right into the spear she put in between them at the last moment.
Buffy stood up surrounded by 5 dead bodies. She removed the spear by pushing the Orc away with her foot and walked, no she stalked toward the Chieftain. He unconscious stepped back.
"Hey, you invited me to the dance. So lets dance." She taunted him.
He stepped back and she stepped forward. The distance between them slowly shrunk. He now openly showed fear and turned his head toward his army. "Attack her."
They didn't move at once, but slowly they started to run in her direction. Before one of them could approach her she pulled her arm back and threw the captured spear into the chest of the Chieftain, where his heart should have been. He had a shock of disbelief. He couldn't believe that he was dying by the hand of a woman about half his side.
The Orcs hit her like a tidal wave, which she confronted head-on. She ducked, she flipped, she kicked and she slayed. In no time there were bodies lying around her, most dead other unconscious. She wasn't there to hold ground so she didn't. But they paid dearly for every inch they conquered on her. She didn't fight long with any weapon. She took the weapons of her opponents and used them against them. At one time she was fighting with two swords and made a carnage amongst them until she lost one sword in the abdomens of a Orc. She grabbed a spear and let her other sword fly into the chest of another Orc. The Orc, who was holding the spear, didn't let go of it. So Buffy used him to make room for herself by spinning around with the Orc.
It gave her a breathing moment. Buffy used the spear like as quarterstaff. She was grinning at the Orcs. Her insane grinning kept the Orcs more at bay, than the spear ever could. One of the Orcs tried to approach her from the back, but she slit his throat before he could even come close to her.
The Orcs had no leader to spur them on to attack. So they waited for a sign. Then a chanting could be heard from the Wall. They were chanting one word. Slayer! First it was small then it grew to an epic form.
"Sorry guys. My fans are calling. I think that is my cue to leave the party." With those last words she run at the Orcs that were between her and the Wall. She used the spear to pole her over a few Orcs, but had to kick a few Orcs out of the way to get a clear run to the Wall. Her retreat was covered by arrows and cheers that told her to hurry up. Somebody dropped a rope from the Wall. She jump half way and climbed the Wall in record time.
Aragorn and Grimli were at the top of the rope helping her over the Wall. An eery silent was falling around her, when she reached the top. Buffy felt a little uncomfortable with it. So what does Buffy do when she gets nervous she gets witty.
"I think I have done my quota of 25 Orcs."
Gimli laughed and stated. "I think it was 63."
"It 54. You can't count the unconscious one." Legolas correct him.
"55. The leader counts at least for two." Buffy correct Legolas with a smile.
Gimli agreed with Buffy and Legolas had no other choice but to accept it. Gimli gave her crossbow back. Buffy thanked him and looked over the Wall to see what the Orcs were up to. She didn't like what she saw. The Orcs were retreating.
"Hey, they are going the wrong way. They should attack."
"It is good that they are leaving." King Théoden didn't understand at that moment, why it was a bad think.
"No, they are not leaving." Buffy explained.
"Lady Buffy is right, they are retreating." Aragorn understood Buffy's reasoning. "They need to chose a new leader. We want them to attack now while they are still disorganized."
"We have to agitate them into attack." Buffy thought aloud.
"How?" King Théoden asked.
"Calling them chicken, mice, cowards." Buffy gave him a 'duh' face. "They look stupid enough to fall for it. Don't you guys have an insulting song you can chant to them?"
Buffy looked around and saw that it was a no. "I can't belief this. You don't even have a children rhyme." Buffy saw their faces. "Then we'll make on up."
Buffy came up with a very insulting verse with the help of Gimli. The taunting didn't work. They were agitated, but not enough to attack. Buffy was think about a next strategy.
"We have to open the Gates or wait for them to have selected the next leader." She looked the King in the eyes and told him it was his decision. The King stared back and made his decision by nodding his head.
Before Buffy went to the Gates, Buffy unsheathed the big broadsword on her back.
"Ten Orcs." She raised her sword. "Nobody is allowed to die until he has killed at least ten Orcs, the rest are mine." She yelled last part again. "Ten Orcs!"
"You heard the Slayer. Nobody dies until he has killed his quota of 10 Orcs." Gimli was helping Buffy to shake up the moral a little.
The men around her repeated the chant of 10 Orcs. Buffy turned smiling to Gimli and asked if he wanted to join her. He accepted and together they walked toward the Gates.
"So you are the Slayer." Gimli asked in passing.
"Yep, one Girl in whole the World. That's where my Strength comes from. When we survive this I'll give you the whole story." Buffy answered the unspoken question.
Gimli nodded and they reached the Gates.
"Open the gate." Buffy commanded to the group of men that guarded the Gates. They looked as if she was crazy.
"It is an order of the king." Buffy gave them the look they better do what she told them or else. The news about what she did on the outside, travelled quickly through the fortress. They only hesitated for a moment and they began to remove the beam, which let them open the Gates.
"You guys." Pointed to a group of soldiers. "You guys stand with me and Grumpy here." Buffy turned to the men who opened the gates. "Close the Gate again on my command."
Buffy was standing in the gateway and Gimli was standing next to her. A group of 25 to 30 soldiers were standing behind them. Buffy didn't look them in the face.
"Like I said on the Wall. Nobody dies until he has killed at least 10 Orcs. Understood."
The men around her mumble a confirmation. Buffy didn't like the tone.
"I want to hear a clear 'Yes Ma'am'."
"Grumpy?" Gimli was a little offended remembering how she called him.
Buffy smiled at him. "I tell you later. Be lucky I didn't call you Sneezy."
Before Gimli could reply, they heard some commotion behind them. They looked back and saw horsemen ready to leave. Legolas was among them. He approached them.
"The King thought that a nice cavalry attack would 'agitate' them enough to attack."
Buffy didn't like it to put those men in danger if she wasn't there at least to give them at least some kind of support. But nodded anyway, she couldn't fight all their battles. She turned to her 'men'.
"On my command make room for the cavalry." She turned back to Legolas. "Give us a signal and we are out of your way."
Legolas nodded and rode back to the other horsemen. He spoke with one of them, who probable was the leader of the group of riders. Legolas turned to Buffy and gave her a nod. Buffy turned to her men.
"Now." And when the last man wasn't in the gateway anymore, the horses thundered past them. Buffy thought that it would really hurt to be caught beneath them. "Do not get in their way when they return." Buffy gave one last instruction, before she looked out of the gate.
She saw how they took the Orcs by surprise. Legolas was very skilled with his bow and arrows. Buffy frowned.
"I think the Elf is trying to catch up on us. I already saw him kill 3 Orcs."
"Yes and don't forget the 7 when he helped you outside."
"We better correct that quickly, before he gets help of those Rangers and they outdo us." Buffy was looking how the Elf killed 3 more Orcs and was doing some acrobatics on his horse. She was impressed by his flexibility. She didn't know if she could have done that even with enough training. They were on the way back with a horde of Orcs behind them.
"Plan works. Remember we have to hold them for a few minutes to give them false hope that they can hold or get through the gates. Ready?" The first riders passed the Gates. When the last horse thundered by Buffy waited to give the signal until the Orcs were close enough. "Now!"
Buffy and her men engaged them with a brutal force. Before the battle could really start , Buffy struck two Orcs down. Right after that the sound of sword against sword, weapon against flesh and the outcry of dying and cries of pain was singing a cruel song in her ears. But she didn't let it distract her.
Her men were holding the Gates. Noone gave an inch. Buffy's back was covered by Gimli. He didn't let any Orc near her. While her back was covered Buffy almost covered everybody else's back. She used her two bolds in her crossbow to save two soldiers. She threw captured or fallen weapons to save more, but she couldn't save them all.
Buffy thought that enough time has passed to retreat. She gave the sign to retreat. She kicked-spinned a few Orcs to make room for her men to retreat. Gimli and she covered their back, the Gates were starting to close. She was the last one to slip through it and with a push of her hand she closed the gate. She leant against it to make sure it stayed closed until they could put the beam back.
She turned and was looking at her men. Most looked okay only out of breath, a few had serious wounds and needed medical attention. And 3 were dead.
"Bring the wounded to the healers. Those who have minor cuts clean the wounds before they get infected."
They quickly did what Buffy ordered. Buffy went to the 3 corpses. "How many did they kill?" Buffy voice was almost emotionless, but a clear sadness could nevertheless be heard.
"Jon killed 2, Isar 1 and Urlick 3, I think."
Buffy took a big breath. "24" The man who spoke looked confused. "Pick 24 men and tell them that they have to kill an extra Orc. To make sure that these men killed there 10 Orc each."
The man understood what Buffy was doing. "I'll take two and I'll find 22 other men who would be honoured to add one extra for their fallen comrades." He saluted and left her alone.
Buffy wanted to cry. It never was easy for her to lose someone even if she didn't know them. Gimli approached her and sensed her discomfort.
"They storming the Wall. Want to join the party? The Rangers are doing a good work killing Orcs. But I think we are still ahead." Gimli wanted to put an arm around her but thought that this wasn't the right time.
Buffy let a small smile appear on her face. "We better go and find us a few Orcs we don't want to lose the bet."
Gimli grinned and Buffy put an arm on his back and they walked toward the Wall. But then Buffy stopped and turned to Gimli.
"What are the stakes of our little wager anyway?"
Gimli just laughed and continued to walk. Buffy was just behind him.
The Defenders were fighting with courage, sweet and blood for their life, family and friends. The Orcs paid a high price for those few, that reached the top of the Wall. Even those few were killed and thrown back over the wall. But they made the Defenders pay a price, they could ill afford. Even while Buffy was fighting among them like the Angel of Death. She couldn't save them all. People died on her watch.
Gimli covered her back and was counting the many Orcs she beheaded, slashed or shot. Her crossbow saved a lot of soldiers. The wave of Orcs was staggering and finally they retreated. The Defenders were celebrating. Buffy was less enthusiastic, but she still had a smile on her face.
She walked over to the King and Aragorn, but first she ordered a soldier to retrieve her crossbow arrows in the Orcs, who were still on the Wall. Gimli was walking over to Legolas and they had a discussion about how many Orcs were killed and by whom.
Buffy nodded her head with respect to the King, who nodded back. The King spoke first.
"You have saved a lot of my people. I thank you for that."
Buffy looked at the dead people and wounded that were carried of the Wall and replaced by new soldiers. "I'm sorry I couldn't save more."
Aragorn saw the sadness in Buffy's eyes and put a reassuring arm on her shoulder. "Be glad you could save those you could."
Buffy nodded and changed her demeanor. "We have lost many and we'll lose more in the next attack. Even they aren't stupid enough to make the same mistake twice. They will be organized far more efficiently, before they attack again." Buffy pointed to a place behind the Orcs. "I see a big battering ram. I'm sure they will use it in the next attack. Plus I don't like those Orcs, that are huddling over there. Elf."
Legolas immediately reacted and was next to her. "Girl."
Buffy smiled and pointed to the Orcs. "What do you see?"
"Barrels, 1 or 2 gallon."
Gimli joined them. Buffy had a bad feeling about them.
"Do you see anything special about them. Some markings on them."
"No, I only see, that they are all marked with red paint." That didn't help Buffy much. "Wait, I see some ropes being cut by some Orcs nearby."
Ropes or maybe fuses. The Dwarf came to a conclusion. "Garith's powder. That is not good."
Buffy thought, that she came to the same conclusion. "Gunpowder, very explosive. We can expect some fireworks."
"Why should we fear fireworks? I know they could be dangerous in the wrong hand and create fire, but not to worry about that much." Aragorn knew about fireworks for he had seen Gandalf often work with it.
"Oh yeah, fireworks is always fun, nice explosion of colours in the sky. Why do you think fireworks are in the sky?" There was a hint of sarcasm in Buffy's voice.
"We use Garith's powder to mine through hard rock." Gimli gave an example, how dangerous those barrels could be.
Buffy looked at the barrels. "What do you think two or three barrels will be enough to blow up the Gates?"
Gimli stoke his beard in thoughtful way. "No, I think more like 5 to 6."
"If they need more to carry, it will give us a better chance to stop them." Buffy was looking squeezing her eyes to have a better look at the barrels. "Too far for a bow and arrow. Don't think I'll can throw a spear that far." Buffy picked a sizeable rock up and was pondering on her skill of throwing it.
Buffy suddenly smiled. "Baseball."
The people around her looked confused at her, while she looked around for something to use as a bat. Her luck was that an Orc left his weapon, when he died on the wall. It was a bat-like weapon with spikes on it. Buffy picked it up and began to break of the spikes. She received surprised looks form the Man of Rohan, who were still surprised about Buffy's strength. After finished with the weapon, Buffy picked the rock up, she just held a few seconds ago.
"What are you planning to do, Lady Buffy?" The King asked.
"Playing a modified game we like to play home." Buffy threw the stone up. "Batter up."
She hit the rock, as it descended. The rock flew with an arch toward the Orcs, but it missed its target, overflying by 20 feet and to the left by 50 feet. But on the bright side, it hit an Orc.
"Another one for the Buff-meister's team." Buffy wanted to high five the Dwarf, but he didn't get it, so she hit him lightly on the back.
Legolas looked at the fallen Orc. "Sorry, he is still moving."
"Damn thick Orc Skull. How about half a point? I bet he can barely move less fight for at least a few days."
Legolas smiled wicked. "Sorry, only dead Orcs count."
Buffy frowned at the Elf. "Gimli find me some more rocks and find a way to put them on fire. So that when I hit the barrels we have something to light the G-powder."
Gimli obeyed and left, while Buffy picked another rock. She threw it up a little to weight it first and then she threw it up for real. She gave it a smack, making a sound audible to be heard on the other side of the Helm's Deep. It flew with a great arch and hit another Orc, but this Orc stayed down.
Buffy looked proud at the result. "Only missed my target by 10 feet, but at least I hit an Orc, that stayed down."
"You are further away from the barrels, then first time. At least 80 feet." Legolas liked to rub it in.
"Oh ye of Little Faith. The barrels weren't my target. I need a few practice runs, before I go after them and I don't want them to discover, what the real target is and move the barrels to a safer position." Gimli was next to her and had a few rocks in his cloak and a bucket with her naphtha.
Buffy picked 6 rocks that were the roundest. She dipped two in naphtha. She turned to Gimli. "Here is the plan. Two hits for fun, two to crack the barrels and two to light them."
Gimli nodded and was searching his pockets for some flint. Buffy removed a silver lighter from her own pocket and lit it in front of Gimli's face.
"Fire pretty, Fire good." Buffy smiled at him and she lit the lighter twice more to show him how to use it and then she handed it over to him. He looked awkwardly at the lighter and tried it a few times.
"I want it back. You lose it and you and I are going to have a little talk." Buffy tried to look menacing, but failed. Gimli didn't show his amusement and nodded.
Buffy took her first rock. She first tried to find a target. She saw a very big, ugly Orc. Even from afar Buffy could recognize, how ugly he was.
"Okay, pretty boy. You're next." Buffy was aiming for Big Ugly. She threw the next rock up and slammed it out of the park. It went straight for the Orc, but missed him by a foot, because he moved. The Orc looked shocked around.
Buffy was pissed off. "Damn."
"Milady missed." The Elf was gleaming at Buffy's failure.
Buffy shot daggers toward the Elf and picked up the next rock. "Oh no, Pretty Boy ain't getting away, that easy." The Orc moved away from the Wall, where he thought the rock came from, that almost hit him in the head.
Legolas thought of something. "You hit him and you get two points." The big ugly Orc was running father away now. "You miss, I get five."
"Deal." Buffy smacked the stone and flew in the Orc's direction, but he was running father away. The rock came closer to the Orc and hit him where it hurt. He made a very funny 'dance'. Those who were close to Buffy and observed what she had done, laughed. The Orc was too far away to clearly see, where he was hit, but the little dance he performed made it all clear.
Buffy turned to the Elf, who was grinning and next to him was Aragorn, who was doubled over, from laughing. "I say, that was worth four points."
Before Legolas could answer back, Aragorn interrupted him. "Give her the points Legolas. She earned them."
Buffy gave Aragorn one of her brighter smiles. Legolas had no other choice, but to agree. Buffy picked another rock up. "Now comes the big work. Light the rocks and throw them up, when I say throw."
Gimli nodded and lit the rocks and held them in his hands. He was wearing gloves that would protect him from the fire for a short period. Buffy picked her first target, it was a barrel next to an Orc. She wanted to make it seem, that she wanted to hit the Orc and not the barrel. She hit her target and went for the next barrel. Another rock flew and hit its targets.
"Throw." Gimli threw the burning rock for Buffy to hit. Buffy hit it. "Throw." The first rock was still in the air, when Gimli threw the next rock for her to hit. The first burning rock hit its mark and caused a series of explosions. When the other rock hit its target, it made sure the rest of the barrels were exploding. Several of the barrels flew in the air and landed with an explosion on the ground taking Orcs to the death. Burning Orcs were running away. It was a very spectacular sight and it left a big crater behind. The Defenders roared in celebration.
Buffy turned to the Elf. "I say those were about 40 around the barrels, 15 caught fire and 12 were hit by falling debris. That makes close to 80 to our team."
"67." The Elf corrected her.
"Whatever." Buffy shrugged her shoulders.
Legolas looked closer at the carnage. "And if I counted correctly, I only count 59 dead."
Buffy glared at him. "Doesn't matter. We are still ahead." Buffy stuck her tongue out. The Dwarf laughed at Buffy's immaturity.
Buffy took a more mature pose before turning to the King. "I don't think we were so lucky that that was their only G-powder. But if we are lucky, they have to get their next supply from far away."
The King nodded in agreement. Buffy turned to the Elf and poked him in the chest. "You and the Pointy Ear Brigade are on the lookout duty." The Dwarf and Aragorn had to hold their laughter in and Legolas glared at her. But she ignored him. "I don't expect them to make the same mistake twice, so they probably hide the G-powder the next time. Be on the lookout for that."
Buffy turned to the Orc army, while the Elf mumbled something about retaliation. Buffy hearing this smiled inwardly. "I don't expect them to attack within the hour. They might even wait until somebody motivates them to attack. They don't seem to be in the mood to attack, after their defeat and my little fireworks display."
"Yes, you seem right." The King turned to one of his soldiers. "Tell the men to rest and have lookouts."
"Yes, Majesty." The soldier bowed his head and left.
"I'm hungry. Slaying always makes me hungry." Buffy picked a piece of Orc out of her clothes and flicked it away. "And see if I can clean up a little bit. Can't let people think I like to look filthy and disgusting." Buffy gave the King and Aragorn a bright smile before turning to Gimli. "So Master Dwarf, do you think you can find me something to eat?"
Gimli smiled back and he replied with a joyful voice. "Of course, Lady Buffy. Please follow me." He bowed toward Buffy and Buffy performed a curtsy and she giggled. Together they left and were discussing on how many Orcs they had killed. Buffy was greeted with revered and respect by the Defenders of Rohan, when they let her pass. And the soldier she asked to pick her arrows handed them to her. She thanked him for it.
The King shook his head. "I still can't believe, how innocent she looks and behaves one moment, and deadly and dangerous the next."
Aragorn was thinking the same thing. "Be glad Your Majesty, that she is on our side. If she fought for Saruman, we would have been dead or captured by now."
"Praise Helm's Spirit."
Both men looked at the retreating figure and were glad, that Buffy was on their side, before turning to the business at hand, defending the Wall.
Buffy's prediction came true, the Orcs didn't attack within the hour. But neither did they attack the Wall again, after the hour had passed. No they were more interested in fighting amongst themselves. The Orcs were divided and the first attack on the Gates and the Wall was made by an impulse and the rest just followed like sheep.
But now that they had time to think, Buffy hated to admit but these creatures had some rudimentary thinking abilities, they were fighting and arguing amongst themselves for leadership. Buffy thought, that it was too much to hope for, that they might kill each other. Even the few skirmishes that broke out weren't even worthwhile mentioning. Buffy was very disappointed about it and she spoke her disappointment out loud for the Dwarf and the Elf to hear.
"See it on the bright side, more for us to kill." The Elf stated.
This brightened Buffy up a little. "It is always good to look at the bright side of things." Buffy gave the Elf a wicked smile. "For example we are ahead."
The Elf raised his eyebrow in annoyance and Buffy smiled warily with the thought about Xander, who would probably made a victory dance just to annoy the Elf or rubbing it childishly in the Elf's face. Buffy's smile wavered for a second, before she suppressed any bad memories. Neither of her companions saw the wavering smile.
Buffy looked at the army of Orcs, she had no doubt that in the next assault, they would break through the Gates or the Wall. Now that they didn't have the gunpowder anymore, it would cost them more lives to break through, which was a bonus for them. But who knows, they might get lucky and repel the next assault. But the assault after that, they have to retreat to the citadel.
The Orc army started to move.
"Seems they picked a leader. Party is about to start."
Before the Elf or the Dwarf could respond, one of the Elf brothers was shouting. "They gathering for the next attack."
"See told you so." Buffy was rubbing it in for the Elf. He simply glared back.
Buffy smiled and it wavered when she looked at the approaching Orc army. They were screaming for their heads. Buffy could even hear a few, who were shouting for her head personal. She found herself 'wanted'. Behind them the battering ram was rolled slowly forward. Buffy had no idea, how to stop the battering ram from reaching the Gates. The only tactic she could come up with was shooting the Orcs ful of arrows, that were pushing it, but Orcs that carried shields covered them.
"Elf! Tell the archers to target the Orcs at the ram." Buffy pointed at the battering ram. The Elf nodded and left. Buffy looked at Aragorn and saw, that he was telling the guards to fortify the Gates. She and Aragorn had a brief eye contact, but that was enough to convey each others approval.
Buffy turned back to the approaching army and she started to grin. She drew her sword and to nobody special she said. "Who wants to live forever?"
"Not me, I'll get bored after a century or two. But the Elf might." Gimli pointed with his thumb.
"I might live forever, if you don't accidentally chop my head of with your axe." Legolas yelled playfully back. He picked it up with his elf hearing.
"Who said it would be an accident?" Buffy gave the Elf a evil grin. The Dwarf laughed and even the Elf smiled. "Heads up, Bogies are approaching."
The Orc army was approaching fast. Buffy felt a little uneasy, even thou they had made a large dent in their numbers. They somehow looked larger then the first few times they attacked. Legolas went to join the archers. Buffy berated herself inwardly for being nervous.
When they came in striking distance, Buffy understood where the uneasiness came from. They were more organised. For Buffy it wasn't any extra strain. But when the Orcs came on them, she saw far more defenders fall then before. She also noticed, that the archers didn't have much luck with the battering ram. The carriers dropped like flies, but as soon as one dropped another replaced him.
While Buffy was defending the Wall by slaying one Orc after another, she was looking around for anything to stop the battering ram. Then she saw something useful. "Grumpy, hold the fort."
Buffy decapitated an Orc, before jumping of the Wall in the inner court. Buffy sheathed her sword and walked toward the forge. There was a big boulder that was part of the forge. Buffy kicked it a few times to loosen it and the forge collapsed. Buffy removed the 3 ton boulder from the rubble and heaved it above her head. She walked toward the Wall. There were a few shocked expressions, but most didn't let it disturb them. They were way too occupied to stay alive from the Orcs to be surprised.
On the Wall, there was a small respite in the fighting, when the Orcs saw her with the heavy boulder above her head. But soon they started to intensive their assault toward Buffy. Gimli and a few men covered her back. Buffy aimed the boulder at the battering ram and threw the boulder. But she didn't succeed, for she only hit the side of the ram. The boulder didn't crack the ram, but it took a few Orcs to their graves and halted their advance.
There came a few sheers from the men. It at least pushed up moral. Buffy absentminded backhanded an Orc from the Wall. There was nothing else she could do to stop the battering ram. She turned to Gimli.
"Didn't get the ram, but at least I crushed 5 Orcs. You can add those to the score."
"I already added them to them. I just spoke with the Elf and we are still ahead by 20."
Gimli guttered an Orc and his Axe got stuck in it. Another Orc approached the Dwarf from behind. Buffy kicked it in the head and while it was lying unconscious on the ground a soldier put a sword through his heart. Buffy was a little put out, that she couldn't count that Orc as one of her kills, but she shrugged it off. There were plenty of Orcs left to kill. Buffy removed the Dwarf's axe out of the Orc and slit another Orc's throat before handing it back to the Dwarf.
There was no time for thank-you's, for another wave of Orcs was descending on them. After a few minutes in the fighting Buffy could hear a loud bang. She didn't need to look to know, that it was the battering ram and several minutes later she heard wood crack. The cracking wood was a bad sound. She really hoped, that the Gate would hold longer. It seemed somebody up there seemed to have heard her plea, for after half an hour later the Gates were still holding.
Buffy saw a soldier, who hadn't participated in the fight, he was way too clean. Buffy wouldn't say clean, for she thought, that these men didn't know the meaning of the word bath less take one. He approached Aragorn and they had a short conversation. When Aragorn was finished with the soldier, he turned around to find somebody and that somebody seemed to be Buffy.
When they had eye contact, he yelled something to Buffy and pointed to the Gates. Buffy didn't even understand half what he was saying, but she got the point. Aragorn wanted her to defend the Gates, when it came crumbling down. Buffy picked up Gimli and jumped off the Wall in the inner court.
The Dwarf didn't like it to be carried as a child, but Buffy explained it quickly to him, while they were walking toward the Gates. She saw the cracks in the Gates and how the men were pushing against the Gates trying desperately to prevent it.
"Let go. The Gates are already lost. Save your strength to fight the Orcs."
Only a few soldiers hesitated, but even they retreated back just behind Buffy and the Dwarf.
"Three lines." Buffy waved parallel to the Gates. "One man length apart. I don't care if the first line lets an Orc pass, but the last line will and I repeat 'Will Not' let any Orcs pass. We will not retreat until the signal and even then we 'will' do it in orderly fashion. Understood!" Buffy put a lot of authority in her voice.
She kept her eyes on the Gates. She didn't wait for and confirmation. She had proved herself this night. They instinctively knew, that their survival had increased with her at their side. They didn't have to wait long for the Gates to crumble and the Orcs were filling the inner court.
"Stand ground!" Buffy held her sword up and charged the Orcs to lessen their impact on the first line. It had done the trick most of the Orcs were concentrated on her. After a few seconds of head bashing and general Orc thrashing, Buffy flipped backwards over the Orcs. Another flip and she landed behind the first line.
The first line was holding and Buffy covered the soldiers' back by stepping in where she was needed. Only a few Orcs came through the first line, but the second line immediately stopped them. Buffy periodical changed the men from the first line with second line or when the men got too wounded or dead.
The Orcs seemed to be coming from an endless supply. The men were getting tired, even Buffy was feeling her Slayer stamina getting weaker. But they were holding the Gates longer then the Walls. Buffy stepped back to have a look at the Wall and saw that it was about to be overran by the Orcs. Buffy knew that they needed to retreat. Why didn't the King or Aragorn gave the signal for retreat? Buffy was going to bust their heads, if it was some misplaced male pride. Buffy finally made eye contact with Aragorn. She pointed to the Citadel. She saw understanding in his eyes and she concentrated back on the Orcs in front of her.
When Buffy heard the horn, that gave the signal to retreat, she was relieved. The men gradually were backing off. They only gave ground away because they let the Orcs advance. No inch was conquered, what wasn't given. The Wall's retreat was chaotic compared to Buffy retreat. Buffy's line was now the only thing that prevented the Orcs free path to the Citadel. She received some re-enforcement from the Wall, but most were running to the Citadel.
In Buffy's eye corner she could see the archers being in place to cover their retreat. Legolas was with them. Buffy readied herself waiting for the first arrow to hit the Orcs.
"Ready to run."
The first arrow hit the Orc in front of her. No doubt it was Legolas'. "Run!"
As one they turned their back and ran to the gate of the Citadel. The Orcs halted in there advance by a barrage of arrows. Buffy and Gimli were the last to arrive at the gates. Buffy to cover their back and the Dwarf because of his short legs.
Buffy stayed outside to cover for the archers whose turn it was to run to the Citadel. The archers made it with time to spare. Buffy was the last one who came through the gate. Outside they could hear the Orcs roaring and howling, but not attacking. It seemed they had enough for the moment. They probably were gathering and preparing for the next attack.
Buffy met up with Gimli and one of the Elf twins. Buffy had no idea which one, it also didn't matter. Gimli was happily counting the mass of Orcs Buffy and he had killed. He needed to find Legolas to compare numbers. But he seemed content in his belief that they were ahead. Buffy smiled about it. Buffy knew it was macabre, but it was better, than feeling down all the time. It was a way to lift their spirits.
Buffy felt somebody tuck her sleeve.
Buffy looked down and she saw a wounded soldier. Buffy bent down and looked at his wounds. They seemed serious and mortal wounds. The chances were great, that he wouldn't make it to see another sunrise. He continued speaking, when he held Buffy's eyes.
"I've killed 13, milady." He said proud and tiredly.
Buffy remembered the quota she gave at the beginning. He killed 3 over the quota. Buffy had the feeling he was asking her permission to die. His eyes looked tired. He wanted to rest; the big rest, the final rest, death. Buffy understood his feeling.
"You have done well, soldier. What is your name?"
"Gundar, I'm going to tell you something what I told my sister before ... before I went into the battle of my life. The hardest thing in this world is to live. Live for me. Do you understand me soldier?" Buffy gave him an intensive look.
The soldier first only stared back at her, but then he lowers his eyelids and nodded.
"Good." Buffy stood up. "I'm expecting you to survive this and live a long rich life."
The soldier smiled at her, before Buffy turned and walked away toward Gimli and the Elf Twin. When they were out of earshot of the soldier, Gimli spoke.
"I have seen those wounds before and I don't think he will survive to see another dawn."
"I know, but if he would give up hope, he would already be death now. Now at least he lives. Without hope there is no life. And who knows I have seen miracles before."
The Dwarf stopped to let it settle in his head. But he quickly followed Buffy toward the King and Aragorn. They were discussing something, but they stopped, when they saw Buffy approaching.
"Lady Buffy." Aragorn nodded his head in respect.
Buffy almost rolled her eyes in annoyance. Maybe he would stop calling her 'Lady', if Buffy was really 'rude' to him. But Buffy was taking the higher ground, she alway could insult him later. If they live through another attack.
"I say that went very well, wouldn't you say it?" Buffy said it in a very cheerful voice.
Most of them looked at Buffy as if she was crazy. They just have lost the Wall and she was cheery about it. Gimli, who laughed his belly off, broke the silence and he gave Buffy a slap on the back.
"It looks bad, but we are still alive and we kicked some 'major ass'." Gimli was using some of Buffy's slang. Buffy was so proud, that she patted him on the back.
"Yes, Lady Buffy is right. We are still alive and where there is life there is hope." The King said.
Buffy turned Gimli. She wanted to say something, but let it pass. Gimli saw it and laughed even harder.
The King ignored the Dwarf. "And that is why I will ride at dawn."
"Are you crazy?!" It flipped out of Buffy's mouth before she knew it. Buffy could feel the eyes on her. She continued in a somewhat more calm and subdue voice, but not much calmer and subduer. "I shouldn't have said that out loud. But still, do you have a death wish. For it would be easier and less painful to just fall on your knife. You are not going."
The King was becoming angry. Who did this girl think she was, that she dared to speak to him in this way. The King made himself bigger by straighten himself up. His level of intimidation went up, but he was using it against Buffy, who saw scarier things then the King could even imagine. But he made a nice Ripper impersonation.
"I'm still The King of Rohan, Woman. You do 'not' command me in my own lands."
Buffy could play the intimidation game with the best and straighten herself up in the same manner as the King. "I'm the Slayer and my duty is to protect people like you from the evil out there." Buffy first pointed at the King and then behind her with her thumb. "Even from themselves if I have to."
Buffy didn't let the King get a word in her tirade. "Plus these people need a life king, not a death one to mourn." Buffy had heard the love and respect he received from his subject by the way they talked about their king and acted around him.
Buffy still continued. "I'm not letting you go without a valet reason and if you think I can't stop you." Buffy looked menacing at the King. "Before you could even take another breath, I can break some vital bones like this." Buffy swung her arm up and snipped with her fingers. "And this argument will be obsolete."
"Buffy." With one word Aragorn was warning her, that she was going to far.
"What!" Buffy snapped her head toward Aragorn and he was facing Buffy's full fury. He took unwillingly a step back. He totally forgot, what he wanted to say next. She stared a few seconds at him, before Gimli put him out of his misery.
"Buffy. I think what Aragorn wanted to say is, that it isn't wise to threaten the King while he is surrounded by his men."
Gimli had the desired effect and Buffy had stopped glaring at Aragorn. In stead she looked around. She saw that most man in vicinity were on edge and a few even grabbed their sword handles until their knuckles were white. Buffy understood the implication.
"I'm not letting him go until he gives me a good reason." Buffy folded her arms and had her resolve face on.
The King also looked around and saw that his people were reluctant about going against Buffy. It didn't surprise him at all, for he saw her fight, but she had probably saved a few of their lives personal. It had been a long time since somebody questioned his authority. And this woman just did it to preserve his own safety. No personal gain. And he shouldn't put his men in any more danger then they already were.
"I can't sit idle behind these walls and wait for death, while my people are dying. I can fight with a spear in my hand and a horse under me." The King was now having a staring contest with Buffy.
Buffy broke the stare and turned away mumbling something about stubborn, pigheaded men. Gimli came to stand next to the King looking at Buffy's retreating back.
"It seemed she gave you permission, Majesty."
The King looked angry at the Dwarf. "I don't need her permission, Master Dwarf."
Gimli shrugged his shoulders. "Nevertheless she gave it, Your Majesty."
The Gimli bowed and walked after Buffy, who was going to the wall.
"If by Helm's degree I won't survive the upcoming battle, I want you to do something." The King sounded calm. He didn't fear death for he knew death was unavoidable.
Sadness appeared in Jomer's expression. "Yes, Majesty."
"I want you to give that insolent woman the title; Lady of Helm's Deep. I think she has deserved it."
Jomer grinned. "Yes, Uncle."
"I hope you don't think she is going act more respectful by giving her a title, Your Majesty." Aragorn had a faint smile plastered on his mouth.
This made the King laugh. "No. It is my way of honouring her." The King changed the direction of the conversation. "Would you ride with me, Son of Arathorn."
Aragorn bowed his head to him. "It would be an honour, Your Majesty."
They heard some commotion from the outside. Aragorn went to the cantles, while the King was making preparation for the attack at dawn. When he arrived he already saw Buffy there fighting the Orcs of the wall. He approached her.
She had an annoying look in her eyes, when she noticed him. "What are you doing here?"
She knocked an Orc of the wall and he took one of his friends with him.
He thought it was a strange question. "Fighting." The answer was simple and he gave a demonstration by killing an Orc in front of her.
"You are planning to go with the King?" She kept it vague and she saved a defender's life in the progress.
"Yes." Aragorn slit the abdomens of an Orc.
Aragorn started to understand. "I'm not needed here?" He sounded insulted almost sulking.
Buffy grinned and decapitated an Orc. She kicked the rest of the body against another Orc, which fell off the wall. "I'll keep the wall until dawn."
Aragorn could hear the promise in her voice and he wasn't going to doubt her. He took a few steps back from the fighting. "I take my leave, Lady Buffy."
Buffy wrinkled with her nose, but didn't let him have the last word. "Make sure the old fool stays alive. His people need him alive."
Aragorn smiled at the lack of respect, she showed the King of Rohan. "I will."
Aragorn left the wall and saw how she was defending the wall with everything she got and some more.
Buffy saw the pale sky in eastern direction, which indicted that dawn was approaching. Any minute and the sun would be up. She kept her promise to Aragorn. But if the King wanted to make a cavalry assault, they needed to clear the gate. While Buffy was thinking about it, she saw a few Orcs carrying barrels. Buffy didn't need to play 20 questions to guess to know, what was in those barrels.
She killed an Orc who was about to kill a soldier. She pulled the soldier away from the fighting. "Tell the King or Aragorn, that the Orcs have gun powder." The Soldier looked confused. "Gareth powder. They're probably going to blow up the gates for them. Now go."
Buffy gave him a push in the right direction and she didn't wait for his confirmation. The Orcs were retreating and regrouping for the next and probably final assault.
They were chanting. "Come out and give us your King. Or will come and get him out of his hole. We are the fighting Uruk-hai." They chanted more in different variations.
Buffy didn't like it and stood on the cantle. It quiet them up. "The King? You want me to hand you over the King? Ha, you got more chance to get an award for a beauty contest."
"Give us the King and we might let you go." Was their somewhat angry response.
"Ha, do you think I'm gullible. Begone it is almost dawn." Damn she was almost sounding like she belonged in a Shakespear Drama.
"We are the Uruk-hai. We do not fear dawn."
"You should fear dawn, because Dawn gives hope for the Light. Leave before that hope is crushing you." Buffy looked at the horizon and she could swear, that those trees weren't there before she arrived yesterday. Damn she wasn't here already 24 hours and it felt like dags.
Buffy was so far of in thoughts that she didn't saw the archers, but she just barely ducked before a barrage of arrows could hit her. Buffy turned to a soldier next to her. "Tell everybody to get away from the gates. It is going to be blown up."
A minute later just before dawn, the gates were blown. Because of Buffy's warning nobody got killed or even hurt. The Orcs were flowing through the gates and nobody tried to stop them. But their advance was stopped by the sound of the Helm's horn. The Orcs were trembling and a few even were kissing the ground by rolling on the ground covering there ears with their claws.
"Couldn't we have used that horn before?" Buffy complained and mumbled to nobody. The horn was hurting her ears, but not to the ecstence it did to the Orcs.
But the echo of the horn didn't stop for it bounce from one side of the valley to the other side. At that exact moment the King, Aragorn and the Lords of the Mark were riding out to confront the Orc army. Buffy had to admit that the King looked regal on his white horse. But what impressed Buffy more was how they cleaved through the Orcs like a knife through butter. And the Orcs were fleeing in panic.
Buffy saw this as her cue to gather her forces and to take the Orcs down a notch or two, before they could reorganize and organize a counterattack. She left a contingent in the inner courtyard to take care of the Orcs the King and his riders didn't kill and they needed to stay in case they didn't make it.
Gimli was next to her and she could see the Elf doing his fighting somewhere to her far left. She went with the big chunk of her force outside of the Wall. She placed her men in such a formation, that the Riders could herd the Orcs right into their lances and spears.
At that moment a rider in white appeared at the Horizon. He sat their on the most impressing white stallion Buffy had ever seen. Next she could hear Gimli say 'Gandalf'. She heard horns from the west behind Gandalf. And then troops arrived a thousand man strong lead by a big guy. Cheers sprung around her 'Erkenbrand' and 'the Lord of the Westfold has arrived'.
"Hey, didn't you guys say there wouldn't be any cavalry to the rescue?" Buffy was happy confuse seeing the re-enforcement.
"No Elves or Dwarves. And we have almost given up hope on Gandalf." Gimli shook his head in wonder. "Should have know that Gandalf wouldn't let us down. "
Buffy nodded and saw how Gandalf was riding down hill followed by a big guy and his troops. The panic among the Orcs raised and the Orcs were dropping their weapons. They fled into the tree lines and disappeared into the shadows of the trees. Buffy had no intention to follow them in there. The forest crept her out. She had a feeling that they wouldn't come back.
Buffy looked at Gimli. "I think we have lost our little bet to trees."
"Should we be insulted or grateful?" Gimli asked.
"Well at least the Elf didn't win." Buffy was seeing it from the brighter point.
The Dwarf laughed so hard, that it made his belly shake. "I have no doubt we are on second place."
Buffy smiled at the Dwarf, but then her expression changed in a serious one. "I think it is time for the clean up duty." She waved a few soldiers toward her. "You are going to find twenty man and search that side of the valley for survivors. If they are Orcs kill them on the spot. Otherwise you bring them to that clean stretch." She pointed to a place that seemed to be untouched by any dead body or blood. Buffy turned to another soldier. "The same goes for you. But you will search that side."
The two soldiers saluted and left gathering men around them. Buffy turned to the last two. "I want you to go back into the citadel and tell the women that the danger has passed and that we need them to take care of any wounded. We need clean linen and clean water and any disinfectants, that will clean the wounds, understood?"
"Yes, Lady Buffy." They saluted and they also left.
Buffy looked around and saw all the blood and the death. It was a victory, but at what cost? Buffy told herself that it could have been a lot worse. But she wasn't very convincing. Gimli felt the sorrow in Buffy and put a comforting hand on her Shoulder. Buffy covered it up with her own hand and smiled grateful at him. Buffy saw the King, Gandalf, Aragorn and others gather about 100 yards away from them.
"The big cheeses are meeting there." Buffy pointed to the Gandalf and the rest. Buffy offered Gimli her arm. "Shall we mingle, Master Dwarf."
Gimli took Buffy's arm and laughed. "Of course, Lady Buffy. They need good council from a sensible Dwarf. And a Slayer." Gimli added quickly.
That was how they approached the King and Gandalf. Buffy gave Gandalf a small nod accepting his presence, before turning to the King. "Milord, Are you alright?"
"Yes." The King hesitated a little at the strange questioning of Buffy, before he answered back.
"Good. That saves me from pounding some sense into that stubborn skull." Buffy wanted to say also macho, but she thought it would be a little too much.
The King laughed and Erkenbrand the lord of the Westfold looked confused at his liege. This woman had insulted his king and he was laughing. Gandalf had similar thoughts.
"Why don't you introduce me to this delightful creature, Your Majesty?" Gandalf was bowing his head a little to Buffy.
"Gandalf, may I introduce you to Lady Buffy, the Slayer and Lady of Helm's Deep. Lady Buffy this is the Wizard Gandalf the White."
"Hey Wiz-man." Her head turned quickly back to the King. "Wait a minute. Lady? Helm's Deep? What the ..." The cursing was left hanging in the air.
"Because of your bravery and service to my people, without asking something in return, I grand you the Title of Lady of Helm's Deep." The shock in the young woman's face was reward enough to give her the title.
"Wow." Buffy was astonished, but it quickly changed when she comprehended the possible implication, that would go with the title. "Wait a second. I hope you aren't expecting me to be all respectful now that you gave me the title and all."
Nobody expected the response of the King, he laughed. Buffy raised her eyebrow in surprise, but then she smiled at the old man. "Good to know you have some humour after all, but back to the more serious business. About the title it is only honourable one, for I really don't want any administrative duties or collect taxes. Because people don't like tax collectors."
The King looked amused at the petite blonde. "There are no taxes at Helm's Deep. There is only a small garrison and a horse market twice a year. The horse traders pay a fee which partially would go to you and the rest goes to the monarch."
Buffy looked questionable at the King, but then she smiled. She shocked everybody by making a perfect curtsy. "Milord, it is an honour for me to accept the title of Lady of Helm's Deep and hope not to disgrace it by my insolent tongue and behaviour."
Gimli laughed. Buffy gave him a wink before she straightened herself and turned to Gandalf. "I don't know how you did the tree trick Wiz, but it was major wicked."
Gandalf looked confuse at Buffy. Gimli came to the rescue. "I think she meant, it was very impressive and grand. And I have to agree with her. That was some very good wizardry."
"Alas, it wasn't me. It is beyond the counsel of wise. But better than any of my own design. And the events went better then I had hoped." At end of his speech he looked straight into Buffy's eyes, who only smiled back.
"If you didn't do this wizardry it surely wasn't Saruman for that is plain. Is there some mightier sage of whom we haven't heard off." The King asked.
"No wizardry was used here." Gandalf was leaning on his staff. Buffy could see he was in a story or lecture mode. She hoped for story. "This power is far older then the first elf sang or a hammer rang.
Ere iron was found or tree was hewn
when young was mountain under moon;
ere ring was made, or wrought was woe,
It walked the forests long ago."
Yep, not only story mode, but also cryptic mode. Buffy rolled her eyes in annoyance. Is she never going to escape these guys who love to be cryptic.
The King's reaction was of curiosity and he wasn't the only one. "And what might the answer be to this riddle?"
"Come with me to Isengard and there you'll find the answer."
"Isengard?" They cried in union, with the exception of Buffy.
"Yes that is where I go. I won't stay long for my path lies eastward. You can wait in Edoras before the waning of the moon."
"You sly old dog. Getting all cryptic to get the King at Isengard. Why don't you cryptic guys give a straight answer in you life for once? Is it a union rule? And if you want us to assault this Isengard, the men are too tired or wounded to go to Isengard and fight. And I'm sure the King isn't going to risk his people on a fool's errand of some good doer." Buffy stood tall in front of Gandalf and started a staring contest. "These men need rest before you or somebody else throws them into another battle."
"I'm not planning to go to Isengard to fight. I want the King there as a witness."
"Was it so hard to say? But you can't expect him to go without a rest, he isn't the youngest anymore." Buffy was playing Mother hen to the King and he didn't like it.
"Lady Buffy, I might not be the youngest, but I'm old enough to speak for myself."
Buffy looked apologetic and a little ashamed. "Sorry, Milord." Buffy made another curtsy to make up for her 'insult'. Damn, he gave me a title and I'm starting to be all ladylike. I better have that squashed in the bud, before it gets out of hand. So she gave the King her most mischievous smile she could muster.
The King received the message and turned to Gandalf. "Alas Lady Buffy is right. My old age isn't only feigned nor due only to the whispering of that cursed Wormtongue. I need my rest before I could embark toward Isengard."
"Let those who are coming rest now, for I plan to use the cover of the evening to travel. To avoid any due attention of my goings. Do not command many men to go with you, Theoden. We go to talk not fight."
"What is the fun in it to go talking?" Gandalf gave Buffy a look. She shrugged her shoulders. "So this means no fun."
Buffy turned to the King. "I took the liberty to search for any survivors and wounded." Buffy pointed to the encampment just 85 yards away. "They are taken to that encampment for treatment. I'm sure the men would appreciate it, if you could take a few minutes of your time to visit them before you take your well deserved nap."
"Yes, I think that is a good idea."
"Hey, I'm the Lady of Helm's Deep. I don't want people to accuse me of being a bad host." Buffy grinned.
"No only insolent." The King replied.
"Hey." Buffy said outraged. "That was a very good comeback. My baby is all grown up." Buffy wiped nonexistent tear out of her eyes. Which received her a few laughs.
Buffy turned to Gandalf. "You and me have a talk later, Wiz-man. But know I have to clean up my backyard. I think it is very unattractive to have Orc corpse lying around. I can't burn them not enough wood and I don't think those trees would like it if we use them as firewood." Buffy was walking away and thinking out loud. While walking she was gathering men to do her bidding.
"Is that woman crazy?" Erkenbrand asked to nobody in particular.
"It wouldn't surprise me at all." Legolas answered.
"You just jealous that we beat you by a margin of 10 Orcs." The Dwarf retorted.
"I still can't believe how many Orcs she killed." Aragorn whispered. "She killed more then all the Rangers together."
"I have sensed great power from her." Gandalf was confused and a little worried. The appearance of the trees he could understand, but Buffy? They called her the Slayer. Gandalf's train of thought was interrupted by Gimli.
"You see that boulder there, Gandalf." Gimli pointed at a boulder in the field. "She threw it from the Wall."
Gandalf was surprised. He didn't think a troll could throw a boulder that far. The King saw the surprise on Gandalf's face.
"She promised you a parley later, Gandalf. You can question her then. But I have to send word through out the Mark to send every able man to Edoras for this is far from over. I bit you well, but I have to look at the wounded, before I can rest. That is at least I could do for him." The King took his leave and walked to the encampment for the wounded.
Gandalf was left with Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn, who were talking about the events that happened in his absent, especially with Buffy as the main subject. Because of Buffy's busyness and then she took a well deserved nap. Gandalf didn't have the time to have a talk with her. They met up again when they were about to depart.
Buffy stood by her horse, a gift from King Theoden. Coincidently, it was the same black stallion that she had found comfort with in the stables earlier. After receiving him, Buffy had changed his name to 'Angel'. The stallion would only be carrying her belongings for the first stage of their upcoming journey, though. She had no intention of getting saddle sores. She only planned to ride him if she got tired of walking.
She had taken a few practice runs around the valley to make sure she could handle the horse and to test his paces. The brief rides had cemented her decision to walk alongside the horse, as she had found quickly that she was nowhere near conditioned for horseback riding for extended periods of time. She had quietly rubbed her sore muscles out of sight of prying eyes.
The travellers gathered at nightfall and rode out, pausing to regroup at the dense, foreboding tree line. Buffy didn't want to enter the woods, and she wasn't the only one who found the trees creepy. She had a bad feeling that they might end up like the Orcs. But, like the rest of the group, she trusted the wizard to not lead them to their deaths. Nevertheless, the feeling stayed with Buffy as Gandalf led the way into the forest. As they entered, a path opened and the trees formed an arch over it. Buffy felt anger from the trees and she wasn't the only one.
"It feels hot under the trees." Legolas turned to Gandalf. "There is a great anger here. Can you feel it, Gandalf?"
"Yes," was Gandalf's terse reply.
"What happened to the miserable Orcs?" Legolas asked.
"That, I think, we might never know," was Gandalf's answer.
Buffy chuckled and gave Gandalf a mischievous smile. "Don't want to scare the kids."
Buffy turned to Legolas, looking up at him as she stood next to her horse. She petted her horse absentmindedly and included Gimli in her glance when she saw him sitting behind Legolas. "Either the trees ate them or something lurking in the woods did 'em in. My money would be on the trees."
"You surely jest!" The King sounded shocked as he looked fearfully at the trees surrounding him.
"Nope. Hey, if trees can walk, why wouldn't they eat? But don't worry, I'm sure the Wiz-man over here." Buffy pointed with her thumb toward Gandalf. "Wouldn't have brought us in here if it wasn't relatively risk-free, but to be on the safe side, I would keep the topic off any discussion that isn't tree-friendly. "
Gandalf gave the petite woman an appraising look. He looked forward to having the discussion with Buffy that she had promised. He sensed that there was much to be discovered about the strange young woman. While he considered Buffy, Gimli and Legolas began a discussion about caves and forests, and the pros and cons of each, which lasted long after the others turned their attention elsewhere.
It took them a half an hour to approach the far side of the forest. As they left the forest they came to a fork in the road. Buffy considered both roads, wondering which they would take.
"The east road goes to Edoras, the home of King Theoden. The road which leads north is the one we will follow, to the ford of Isengard." Gandalf answered Buffy's unspoken question.
Before Buffy could respond, Legolas yelled. "Eyes, the trees have eyes!"
Legolas had already spun his horse around to face the forest they had just left.
"No, Elf. If you want to go to your doom, please let me get down first. I wish to see no eyes." Gimli tensed himself in readiness for a quick jump from the saddle if Legolas rode back among the trees.
"Legolas Greenleaf, stop. This is neither the time nor the place for you to go back into the woods."
Buffy couldn't help but laugh at the disappointment in Legolas' eyes and the relief in Gimli's, but she was also curious about the eyes. When Buffy looked back at the woods again she saw tree-like creatures walking out of the forest. Buffy was amazed at their size when she realized that the smallest of them stood at least twenty feet tall. Around her she could hear the men readying their weapons, but she relaxed as she realized that they weren't walking toward her group. She didn't relax too much, though. If the tree-people changed direction, she would be ready.
"Sheath your weapons." Gandalf ordered them. "They are herdsmen."
"Herdsmen of what? What is their flock?"
Theoden's questions were reasonable, Buffy concluded.Thinking it over as she noticed once again how much the creatures resembled trees, she came to the conclusion that the obvious answer would be that they herded trees.
"Trees. They are shepherds of trees." Gandalf had an amused smile on his face. "It must have been a while since you sat by the fire and listened to the old tales. A child could answer your question, they are Ents."
"Ents?" The King was shocked. "Out of the shadows of legends they come."
"Are they harmless?" Buffy asked, which got her some strange looks. "When I say harmless I mean if we don't mess with them will they leave us alone? We know that they took care of the Orcs and any creature that could do that is far from harmless."
"Yes, Lady Buffy. We are in no danger from them." Gandalf answered, intrigued once more by how her mind worked.
"Cool. Because I didn't came here to slay trees." Buffy replied.
Gandalf was curious as to why she was here, but decided to ask her later.
"We tend our horses and our fields and ride to help in the wars of Minas Tirith. We care little for what goes on beyond our borders." The King looked sad. "We should have been more aware of what occurs in other lands."
"Don't worry, you still have allies, even if you don't know them." Gandalf reassured the King.
"Yeah, look at me." Buffy smiled at Theoden.
This brought a smile on the King's face. "And it is very fortunate indeed that we found an ally such as we have in you."
Buffy blushed as they prepared to ride on. When their pace quickened, Buffy reluctantly mounted her horse.
The first part of their journey went uneventfully until they crossed the Isen. The Isen river was very low, almost dry. They saw signs of struggle and battle spread everywhere, mostly in the form of dead Orcs. On the other side of the river, they saw a fresh burial mound with spears poking from the sides.
They paused briefly as they viewed the carnage. Gandalf and the king were conversing in low voices, but Buffy didn't try to listen. He mind was focused on the many deaths she saw around her, as she glumly tallied the soldiers who she had been unable to save.
She considered dismounting to walk alongside her horse again, but reconsidered when she saw the muddy ground beneath Angel's hooves. Weighing saddle sores against muddy boots, she decided she could take a little pain and stayed in the saddle.
The group rode away from the battlefield and continued on for another hour, until the encroaching darkness made it difficult to see. King Theoden was wearying, otherwise the others might have suggested pressing on, but the decision was made instead to stop and set up camp for the night.
After Buffy dismounted, she gratefully gave her horse over to the care of one of the Riders of Rohan and walked over to Gimli, setting her bedroll and pack down next to his. They were speaking of the ride when Gandalf approached them. She looked up at the old wizard and smiled in greeting as he spoke to her.
"Milady promised a parley with me."
"Sure, pull up a rock and shoot." Buffy gestured for Gandalf to sit.
"Pull rocks? Shoot?" Gandalf was confused by her meaningless words.
"I think she means you can sit down on that rock and start interrogating her." Gimli was looking at Gandalf with amusement. "She is very colourful with her words. Almost poetic, in a very strange way."
Buffy wanted to stick out her tongue at the Dwarf, but decided she wanted to look more adult, and contented herself with a glare when Gandalf looked away. He sat down on the rock Buffy had mentioned, next to Gimli and facing Buffy. Making himself comfortable, he gave Buffy a long, considering glance before speaking.
"Tell me what a 'Slayer' is."
"A girl with the gift of Death." Buffy said cryptically.
"Whose deaths?" Gandalf asked.
Buffy leaned forward. "Are you using 'death' in the plural form?"
Gandalf caught on quickly that Buffy wasn't planning to give him straight answers. "Whose death, then?"
"Mine." Buffy smiled at Gandalf.
Gandalf didn't know what to think about that, so he changed the subject. "Where are you from?"
"From the Valley of the Sun." Buffy grinned.
Gandalf smiled, thinking he was finally getting a real answer. "And where might we find this Valley of the Sun?"
"Behind the Veil of Time and Space." Buffy gestured dramatically, bringing her hand across her body and flinging it back around before returning her arm to her side.
"It's said that only death resides behind that Veil." Gandalf said gravely.
"There are more worlds hidden behind the Veil than death alone." There was a knowing and sad look in Buffy's eyes.
"And you are from one of those worlds?"
"Knew you were a smart man." Buffy grinned at the wizard.
"I am humbled that you see me as a wise man." The wizard bowed a little and Buffy smiled a little.
"A wise man knows that he knows nothing." Buffy looked thoughtful. "Or was it that a wise man knows not everything?"
"Both. If we compare the knowledge we have to all the knowledge that exists or has ever existed, it is like a drop in the ocean." Gandalf smiled at the petite woman.
"Have some more questions?" Buffy asked perkily.
Gandalf laughed, and continued his questioning. After spending a considerable amount of time attempting to get answers to more serious questions, he gave up on that tactic and began asking more simple things, about her home and her family. This kept them occupied until the time came for them to go to sleep.
Just after midnight, Buffy was awakened by a strange sound. It almost sounded like a stampede, which startled her. She leapt upright from beneath her blanket, grabbing her sword from the ground beside her as she sprang to her feet.
Buffy hadn't been the only one to hear the strange noises. Legolas and Aragorn were also standing ready, weapons in hand. As the noise grew louder, indicating that whatever was making it was drawing near, all three of them prepared to fight.
"Sheath your weapons." Gandalf yelled before they had the chance to do more than raise their swords. "They will not harm us."
The men followed Gandalf's orders without question, sheathing their swords quickly. Buffy, who was not only more suspicious but also more sceptical about the crashing noises being harmless, instead set her sword down on her right foot. It seemed that she was unarmed, but with a quick kick of her foot, her sword would be back in her hands. Thus prepared, the group stood and waited.
Because of the dark it was very hard to distinguish the source of the noise, even as it approached and began passing them. The group calmed a little more as they saw that the horses, while growing skittish, showed no signs of panicking. As Buffy's tense muscles relaxed, she began to put her night-vision to use, peering into the forest surrounding them. She quickly discerned the source of the strange sounds as she realized that the shapes she was seeing were Ents passing their clearing, herding great groups of trees.
After what seemed like an age, but was only fifteen or twenty minutes, the last Ent disappeared into the trees beyond their camp. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the strange spectacle ended. Buffy could not sense any more danger and went back to her makeshift 'bed'. As she returned to it, she saw that the Dwarf had slept through all the excitement. A small snort escaped her and then she shook her head. The second she put her head down, she was asleep.
The next morning Buffy woke before the skies lightened. The camp was broken efficiently and quickly, and they were mounting their horses as dawn broke. They rode hard for several hours before noticing smoke rising from the direction in which they were headed.
"Isengard is burning."
Buffy looked at the smoke and noticed something. "Isn't that a little too white to be smoke from a fire?"
Legolas took an intense look at the pillar of smoke rising high into the skies. "It is steam."
"The fires under Isengard are being extinguished." Gandalf said.
"Ents don't like fire, I guess." Buffy surmised.
"No, Lady Buffy. It seems that they don't." Gandalf replied.
"Then we'd better hurry up. We don't want the Ents to have all the fun."
Buffy kicked her horse into a gallop and broke away from the group. The others quickened their pace and followed, with Gandalf directly behind her and the others fanned out as they trailed him. Buffy, even though she wasn't entirely resigned to travel by horseback, gloried in the speed of her mount as the wind whipped her hair into her eyes.
The fast pace she had set brought them quickly to the entrance of the valley of Isengard. They stopped there and looked out over the valley, which was covered in mist. The stone ring around the city was barely visible. Above the mist, the White Tower rose, blackened by the smoke of the fires that burned beneath the citadel.
"Nice little tower." Buffy mumbled to herself. She didn't like the colour of the Tower. She shrugged and continued to look over the scene below them, absentmindedly patting her horse. As the stallion butted his head into her shoulder, she turned to him. "Good boy, Angel. Good horsie." She stood under the horse's neck and turned back to the valley, still stroking his nose, but lost in thought as she considered the view beneath her.
While Buffy was distracted, the group decided to ride to the Gates set in the ringed wall. She hung back a little bit from the rest of her party, and was hidden almost completely by Gandalf and King Theoden as they approached the Gate. Buffy noticed two small figures sprawled in the grass. They stood up when they saw the mounted group approaching them. One of the small people bowed deeply.
"Welcome, Honoured Lords, to Isengard. We are the doorwardens. Meriadoc, son of Saradoc is my name; and my companion, who, alas, is overcome with weariness," The small person who had called himself Meriadoc gave his friend who still lay on the ground a playful kick to the ribs. "Is Peregrin, son of Paladin, of the house of Took. We came from the far North. To our utmost sorrow we doubt that the Lord Saruman, who is presently confined in the Tower, would welcome such honourable guests."
Listening to the little fellow Buffy immediately like him. He seemed to have a great sense of humour. Buffy slid of her horse mostly hidden by Angel from the Hobbit's sight. Gandalf laughed.
"And did Saruman order you to guard his damaged doors, and greet arriving quests, when your attention could be spared from plate and bottle?" Gandalf was shaking his head i
"No, good sir. It was Treebeard from whom we receive our orders. He had taken over the management of Isengard and he had placed us here to greet the Lords of Rohan with fitting words for which I think they were adequate."
"And what of us, your comrades? What about me and Legolas?" Gimli couldn't contain himself anymore. "You know the hunt you have led us? Two hundred leagues, through fen and forest, battles and death, to rescue you! And here you sit feasting and smoking a pipe! Smoking! Where did you rascals come by the weed? Hammer and tongs! I am torn between smashing your heads and dancing from joy. I almost burst for sure."
Buffy was silently giggling under her hand at the Dwarf's outburst.
"Gimli speaks true for both of us." Legolas laughed. "Though I would sooner learn how they came by the wine."
"It seemed that our would-be rescuers missed some wits in their hunt, Merry." Pippin said, opening an eye still lying down. Then he sat up straight. "Here they find us on the field of a victory, amongst plunder of armies, and they wonder how we came by a few well-earned comforts."
"Well-earned?" Gimli said outraged. "I cannot believe that!"
'Oh, yeah.' Buffy thought while keeping her laugher down. 'I'm going to like these Hobbits.'
Buffy wasn't the only one who laughed. The Riders laughed with her but aloud.
"It joys my heart to witness the meeting of dear friends." Theoden laughed. "So these are your missing friends, Gandalf? These days have marvelled me. First the Ents and now we're meeting Halflings. What marvels are we going to see next?"
"Who knows maybe flying monkeys?" Buffy answered the King's rhetorical question.
That was the first time the Hobbits notice Buffy. The present of a Lady made them straightened their clothes a little and they even bowed to her.
"Forgive us Milady. We didn't see you." One of the Hobbits said.
"Hey, I'm not that small to be overlooked. I bet if I lived in the Shire I would be called Buffy the Giantess." Buffy retorted with good humour.
"No, they would call you Buffy the Golden One." Pippin flattered Buffy.
"Or Buffy the Fair with the Golden Hair." Merry added his own praise.
"Buffy the Enchanted." Merry and Pippin were trying to outdo each other. It made Buffy laugh. Buffy turned to king Theoden.
"I think I got a far better welcome than you."
Theoden smiled at Buffy. "I can't blame them."
Buffy blushed and Aragorn thought that this was a good time to introduce her to the Hobbits.
"Merry, Pippin. May I introduce you to Lady Buffy, Lady of Helm's Deep." Aragon's introduction was interrupted by Buffy.
"Just recently acquired. You save a kingdom and they shower you with titles and lands." Buffy rolled her eyes in amusement.
Aragon grinned and continued. "And the Slayer of Monsters and Demons."
"Slayer." "Monsters." "Demons."
Gandalf laughed. "It sorrows me to interrupt this joyful reunion. But we have to speak to Treebeard. Where can we find him?"
Pippin recovered first and pointed through the gate. "Go through there and at the fifth house go left and you can't miss him."
Pippin was still staring at the petite woman, when he gave Gandalf directions. Gandalf smiled before he turned to Aragorn. "Why don't you, Gimli and Legolas stay with the Hobbits and exchange stories while I and king Theoden go find Treebreard."
Aragorn agreed, got of his horse and gave the reins to a rider. Legolas and Gimli did the same. Gandalf turned to Buffy.
"Lady Buffy. It is up to you if you want to join us or stay."
Buffy looked at the Hobbits who grinned at her. Buffy smiled and turned her eyes back on Gandalf.
"Choosing between the tree-people and friendly Hobbits, who seemed to have food. No contest." Buffy saw a small picnic lying behind the Hobbits. Buffy gave the rein to a rider closest to her. "Please take good care of him."
"I will, milady." The rider bowed his head a little.
Buffy smiled at him before she turned her attention on Angel. She petted his mane. "If I find a treat. I'll share."
Angel bobbed her with his head in half understanding. A few quick 'see you later's were shared amongst the friends before Gandalf and king Theoden left to see Treebeard leaving Buffy and the rest behind.
Gimli was the first one who was starting to ask about food and weed, making sure that they weren't serve any Orc food. Buffy was glad that the Hobbits assured Gimli that it was Man food and not Orc food. They entered the guardhouse with a warm fire burning in a stove. While Merry was taking care of the food, Pippin offered wine and ale. Of course the Hobbits served Buffy first and the Dwarf was complaining in mock. This made the Elf and the Heir of Isildur laugh.
While eating they talked about how the two groups ended up in Isengard. The Hobbits started about telling how Boromir had defended them and died for his effort, adding to the tale was how they were then captured by the Orcs. On hearing this Gimli toasted on the brave Boromir followed by the others including Buffy.
Aragorn told how they let Frodo and Sam go to Mordor to fulfill the mission. Aragorn still didn't tell Buffy about the Ring. Not that he didn't trust her, but he somehow didn't feel it necessary at the moment to tell her. Buffy, of course, took it personal, but nevertheless shrugged it off.
Both Hobbits and Aragorn spoke about their separated journey to Fangor. The Hobbits told about the Ents in Fangor and Aragorn told about what happened in Edoras and how they ended up in Helm's Deep. The Hobbits told how the Ents had conquered Isengard.
By then the story of Helm's Deep was shared by Man, Elf and Dwarf. The story revolted most about Buffy's feats of arms. She kept quiet in amusement and didn't interrupt the men tell their story. The way they told it, it almost seemed like Buffy had single handed defended Helm's Deep. Which made Buffy blush.
The Hobbits were awestricken. They couldn't believe that such a small person could have done all that. After Buffy had gotten over her embarrassment, she told the Hobbits how she didn't do it all on her own. Not that it helped to lessen the awe the Hobbits felt for her.
It didn't take the Hobbits long to fire their curious questions at Buffy and she patiently and with amusement answered as much as possible. When they were finished eating they went outside to smoke some weed.
Buffy's protests and warning about health risk didn't stop them. So she sat down wind. When she did catch some smell of the burned weed, to her surprise it didn't smell at all that bad. Although it had a familiar smell of a joint. She noticed that their moods were raising a little. Buffy had a feeling that their weed was a family of the 'weed' home. This made Buffy smile thinking about a whole Shire full of potheads.
They decided to walk to Gandalf and the others while smoking. Buffy was about to meet her first Ent. She was awed by how tall he was wit all the branches. She had seen the Ents from afar but up close they were even more impressing.
"Wow, when I get home I'm going to get me a membership of Green Peace."
"Green Peace?" The Ent asked.
"It's a nonprofit organisation which goals are to protect trees and animals. So that we and future generations could enjoy nature." Buffy explained.
"That's a noble task. Is there much need of their servers?" The Ent looked impressed.
"Alas yes, Man's greed and overpopulation is a bad combination for forests and animals." Buffy said a little careful, she didn't want to upset the big Ent.
Treebeard nodded in understanding.
"Sometimes I wonder why I fight for them." Buffy added surprising herself.
"But you fight for them." Treebeard could sense something special about the little woman.
"My friends and sister ... and people like them worth fighting for, dying for." Buffy's voice turned up cheery. "And don't forget the shoes. You really think I could get some fashionable shoes when demons rule the world, destroy or wreck amok in it?"
The Ent looked confused. But Gimli laughed.
"The lady has a shoe obsession." Gimli looked down to his own shoes. "Which I can't understand."
Buffy put her hands on her hips and frowned at Gimli. "That's because you only use your shoes to get from one place to the other. For me it's an accessory to an ensemble. But you wouldn't know that because you probably only have worn one outfit in twenty years. For every dress or outfit I own I need a different pair of shoes. You know colour scheme."
"And how many dresses does milady have?" Theoden asked curious remembering his own niece and the clothes she possessed.
"Oh, not that many ten to fifteen, I think." Buffy was counting them on her fingers. "But I'm more of a pants and skirt girl with blouses and shirts. Your lucky I only took two outfits otherwise you needed at least ten packhorses to transport all my clothes and that without my shoes."
"Valar protect us." Aragorn was shocked. "Not even Arwen has that many clothes."
"Woman, how can you afford that many clothes. It must have cost a fortune." Legolas added his opinion shocked.
"Oh yeah, it did. But where I come from they make clothes much cheaper then here. It's affordable back home even if it cost me an arm and a leg."
"I didn't know the Race of Man could regrow their limbs." Treebeard enquired. He looked intensive at Buffy's limbs.
Buffy laughed. "It's an expression. Meaning that I spent a lot of my well earned money on clothes."
"Ah, that makes much more sense." The Ent shook his head in amazement. "You little people are very strange creatures."
Buffy frowned a little about the Ent's comment. Gandalf saw fit to interrupt them at this moment.
"Hate to interrupt again." Gandalf's smile was mainly directed at Buffy. "But I've done what I came here to do. I only have to see Saruman before we leave."
"Aye, I want to see this Saruman too and see how much he resembles you." Gimli frowned while saying it.
Gandalf went all cryptic and how dangerous Saruman's voice was. Buffy rolled her eyes and filtered it out. She hated it when people started to speak cryptic which made her attention span waver toward the tower. Even though at the great distance she could see someone in white move behind a window close to the top. When Gandalf, followed by king Theoden, Aragorn, Gimli and legolas, walked to the entrance to the tower, Buffy stayed behind with the Ent. The two Hobbits stayed behind with the Riders at the bottom of the stairs.
Buffy was still observing the window even though the figure wasn't there anymore.
Treebeard looked down and saw that Buffy was still standing in front of him. "You don't want to see the wizard Saruman, little one?"
If anybody else would have called her little one, she would had frowned at them, but for the Ent everything that wasn't an Ent was little. So she let it pass and even smiled. "Nah, there is no reason for me to meet him and to be honest I have no interest to be mesmerized. There is no fun in it." Buffy shrugged in disgust.
"You've been under the influence of Saruman's voice before." Treebread sounded concern.
"No, never met him before. I had a few enemies who had the power of mind control." Before the Ent could inform about these enemies, Buffy changed the subject to the Ent's aggravation. The Race of Man spoke way too haste for his taste. "Do you think you could throw me accurate to that window?"
Treebeard looked in the direction in which Buffy pointed and saw the window she meant. He had no doubt he could throw Buffy that far, who didn't weigh that much. But with accuracy he wasn't sure. He needed to think it over. His thinking took awhile and Buffy wasn't known for her patience.
"So can you?" She asked again.
Before Treebeard could answer of reprimanding her about her hast another Ent spoke.
"That shouldn't be any problem for an Ent to throw you that far." A young Ent said.
Treebeard knew him as Fastleaf, who was still young in Ent's years.
"Good, pick me up and throw me." Buffy ordered the younger Ent.
Before Treebeard could stop them. Fastleaf picked the petite slayer, guessed her weight before he threw her at the window. His aim was just slightly off. Buffy had to make some effort to grab the edge of the window to haul herself up and tumble through the window.
"Fastleaf. In your haste you almost made her fall." Treebeard reprimanded the younger Ent who looked ashamed down.
Getting up Buffy was rubbing her sore places and knew she would feel them in the morning. She had no plans to do it again and would really think it over before she let somebody threw her again. She didn't really mind the throwing part. She even found it exhilarating flying threw the air and feeling the wind in her face. But the landing was rough and the thought of what would have happened if she had missed her target completely scared her for a second. She had no idea why she had done something so foolish. Giles would have reprimanded her about it. She quickly put Giles out of her mind before she would start thinking about the others.
Looking around Buffy saw that she had landed in the bedroom with a grandeur four-poster bed. The room looked just how she would have pictured a wizard's bedroom would be. She quickly crossed the room to get to the door and opened it carefully. She didn't expect the Wizard to be there. She had seen him addressing Gandalf and the others before she let the Ent throw her, but he might have posted guards in the hallways. Better safe than sorry.
Outside the room Buffy walked toward the stairs. Her senses told her to go downward and that's the way she went. She passed by closed door without even giving them a glance. She walked on and still nobody crossed her path. It felt almost like eons had passed when Buffy stopped in front of a double door entrance that almost could have been called a gate. Buffy looked around before she put her ear against the door and when she didn't hear any sound coming from the other side, she opened the door ajar. The room was round and in the middle was a pedestal and on it was an object covered up by a clothe. Buffy pushed the door wide enough open to let her through.
Her spidey sense was on high alert. Buffy looked to all sides of the room while approaching the object at the center. She even walked backward a few steps to make sure nobody was at her back or at the door. Buffy walked around the pedestal to have a good look at the object on it even though it was covered by the clothe.
Something was beckoning her to look at the object. It was almost ordering her to do it. Buffy stretched her hand out and at the last moment she redirected her hand, instead to remove the clothe she picked the object up and warped the clothe tighter around the object. Which she now could see and feel the form which had a sphere shape.
Having the object wrapped up made the assault on Buffy's senses diminish. Buffy knew she had found what she came for. Now was the time to get out of Dodge. Buffy ran toward the door and almost slammed it behind her, but caution made sure she didn't do anything reckless. Outside in the Hallway she heard a voice. It reminded her of Gandalf. She deduced that it must belong to Saruman. She followed the voice to a room to which the door was open. Buffy peeked in and saw the back of a white figure on a balcony and about twenty feet behind him a nervous wreck of a human being, which Buffy compared in her head to a rat and a snake at the same time. She also heard Gandalf's voice who seemed to have an argument with Saruman. Buffy wasn't focussed neither interested in the argument between the two wizards. She crept up behind the miserable excuse of a human being and hit him unconscious without alerting Saruman.
Buffy approached her second victim and this time she focussed on what was said for she was about to make a grand entrance and timing was alway important for that. Buffy stood behind Saruman in such a way that she could dispatch him easily and that she was out of sight from Gandalf and the others.
" .... Gandalf the Grey. I'm Gandalf the White and you, Saruman, are cast out of the Order of Wise and Their Council."
That was Buffy's cue.
"Ahh, Big Bad Wizard has got canned."
Saruman almost jumped when he heard Buffy's voice behind him. He turned with his staff in front of him in some kind of defensive position. "What?" Confusion was clearly read on his face. Buffy didn't let him recover and snatched his staff out of his hands.
"I think this means you have to return you staff and membership card." Without any hesitation Buffy snapped the staff in two over her knee and throw it over the balustrade without removing her eyes from Saruman. "Catch Gandalf."
Without meaning to she also threw the wrapped object with the broken pieces of the staff. Saruman getting over his shock launched at her. "You wretched wench."
Buffy easily caught his one of his arms and bent it around his back. She kicked him in the back of his knees forcing him down. Out of nowhere she pulled a knife and held it at his throat.
"Gandalf with one slice through his throat and he won't be anybody's problem." Buffy raised her voice in a calm and neutral tone, so that she could be heard by Gandalf.
Buffy was waiting for an anwer but she didn't receive anything back. She heard Gandalf speak to Pippen and when she received her answer it didn't come from Gandalf but Theoden.
"Let him go, Lady Buffy."
Buffy sighed. "Yes, my liege." Buffy said it a little sarcastic. She pushed Saruman away from her toward the floor. She turned her back to the balustrade. "It's your lucky day today, Wiz-man. Don't make me regret this decision. Because the next time we meet you'll die."
Buffy made one flip backwards landing on the balustrade and her next flip she made an almost perfect landing in front of Legolas, who steadied her from falling. Still in Legolas' arms she smiled up at him.
"I think we are finished here." While she entangled herself out of Legolas' arms she saw that Gandalf at the bottom of the stair beside Pippin. "What is Gandalf doing down there?"
Buffy didn't wait for an answer and walked down. It was Gimli who answered.
"He seemed to be worried about what you threw down, lass." Gimli changed the subject. "And how did you get up there?"
"Oh, shit." Buffy now remembered that she didn't have the object anymore. "Gandalf. Don't look in the object. It is dangerous, but I think it's also important."
"I know Lady Buffy," was his response.
Being satisfied with that answer, she had a feeling that Gandalf knew what the object was, she turned to Gimli to answer his question. "I asked an Ent to threw me into Saruman's bedroom."
A few 'what?' and a 'you're crazier than a Dwarf' from Legolas. Gimli laughed after the initial shock and he clapped her on the back. "Well done."
Buffy smiled at the Dwarf and when she reached the bottom she turned her attention at Gandalf.
"I did good?" Buffy looked eager at Gandalf.
Gandalf smiled. "Yes, you did."
"So what is it?" Buffy asked curious.
Buffy saw in Gandalf face that he didn't want to say. She threw her arms up in annoyance. "Fine. Don't tell me if you don't want to."
Buffy frowned and mumbled under her breath only heard by the Elf who smirked. "It was me who risked her neck for that trinket."
Buffy changed subject. "So what now? Where are we going now?"
"Back to Helm's Deep to gather our forces for our next battle against Sauron." Gandalf said.
"So, we're going for our next Big Bad, who makes Saruman look like a small potato."
"Yes." Gandalf said with a smile.
"We aren't going to do it on our own, right." Buffy looked hopeful at the old wizard.
"No, this time we are the 'cavalry'." Gimli said.
Buffy smiled for Rohan's defenders were cavalry. "To whose rescue are we going?"
"Gondor's, Minas Tirith." Aragorn said.
"Gondor?" Buffy thought out loud. That name sounded familiar. She turned to Aragorn. "Aren't you suppose to be king - how do you call it - uncrowned king of Gondor?"
"Yes." Aragorn looked sad at that notion.
"So we are going to your rescue this time."
Aragorn nodded but kept silence.
Buffy continued. "So, what is the plan?"
"The only plan we have now is gathering our forces and going to Minas Tirith." Gandalf answered in Aragorn's place.
"You must be joking. Don't tell me the Great Wizard doesn't have a plan." Buffy said in disbelief.
Gandalf just glanced over to Aragorn. Buffy almost didn't notice it. But the glance told her enough. "Oh, you have plans but you can't tell them until Aragorn made his mind up about something."
Gandalf was shocked how perspective the petite woman was. Buffy turned to Aragorn.
"Whatever you have to decide. I think you have a few days, although I think we have most of Rohan's defenders camped at Helm's Deep. We probably need more than a few days before we have gathered the full force of Rohan." Buffy looked at king Theoden for confirmation.
"Lady Buffy is right."
Buffy smiled at the king before turning to Aragorn. "If you need help or just somebody to talk to. I'm here for you."
"That is very generous of you, Lady Buffy." Aragorn bowed his head toward Buffy.
Buffy didn't know how to take that so she simple shrugged it off. "After we have said our goodbyes to the Ents we go back to Helm's Deep."
Confirmation came from three sources. They said goodbye to the Ents and within the hour they were on their way.