The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 7:
Forth they rode from the gates of Medusald. In the red light
of the setting sun the fields of dandelions appeared to be ablaze.
As they rode past the silent graves, Giggly read the inscriptions
"'Thengel, and his cat Tiger'."
"'Fengel, and his dog Rex'."
"'Folcwine, with his fish Goldie'."
"'Folca, with his dog Prince'."
"'Walda, and his lizard Bert'."
"'Fluffy, and his dog Brylca'."
"Um, I think you got that one backwards," corrected Lego-lass.
"No, that's what it said," insisted Giggly. "Let's ask one of
the locals. Hey, Eonard! What can you tell us about King Fluffy?"
"Those were dark days for Rohan," replied Eonard, "of which we
do not speak."
They rode on in silence, into the deepening night.
Slowly, though, a light grew in the west, as if the sun had
decided to make a U-turn after sunset. Gandalf called Lego-lass
forward. "Can you make out the source of that light?" he asked.
"It's coming from up towards Isengard. I fear that Aruman is
brewing some new trouble for us."
Lego-lass peered towards the glow on the horizon. "I don't
understand what it is that I'm seeing," she reported, "I can see
the tower of Orthanc silouetted against hundreds of bright
lights. The glare is too great to make out any details, though."
"I must be off!" exclaimed Gandalf. "HeyHoDen, you'll have to
get down and ride with Eonard and Aragon." At this Eonard and
Aragon's horse let out a grunt of dismay, but somehow HeyHoDen was
able to scramble onto his back.
As Gandalf rode off in haste, one of the farmers asked the
smith marching beside him what was up.
"'Tis none of our business," said the smith. "The affairs of
our betters are too high for such as we."
"Humph," snorted the farmer, "I say he's running off as soon
as the danger starts, leaving our butts out here on the line.
Darn wizards. They're going to be the first ones against the
wall when the revolution comes. Them and suck-up smiths, that
The horses were getting worn out with two or three riders each,
so Aragon and Lego-lass went now with Eonard in the van. As the
internal combustion engine was not to be invented for another few
millenia, though, the van had to be pushed by six of the peasants,
including one very irate farmer. "Darn princes and elves are going
to be up against the wall pretty soon after the wizards and smiths."
They decided to turn aside from the Isengard road to take refuge
in the fortress of Deem's Help, because they felt that this would also
be a good place to make their stand. It didn't hurt that Erkenbrand,
the commander of the Hornburg, was known to stock the best wine
cellar north of Gondor. Deem's Help was a narrow canyon cut back
into the mountains. A wall stretched across the mouth of the canyon,
at one end of which stood the fortress known as the Hornburg. It was
named after the great jazz bands of old. In the days when Deem himself
lived in the fortress, they would have open-air concerts in the canyon,
and the surrounding hills acted as a natural ampitheater. Even today
a trumpet blast from the walls of the Hornburg would make the hills
ring with the sound of music. Julie Andrews herself could do no
"Who goes there?" came the challenge from above the gate into
the Help. "Does the Golden Hall send any aid in our time of need?
Oh, it's just you, Eonard. Can't be helped I suppose. Who's that
you brought with you, then?"
"Do you not recognize your lord and master? Come forth and
kneel before King HeyHoDen!" came the response from Eonard.
"My liege!" grovelled the guard. "We had feared that . . ."
"That I was hidden in Meduseld, beguiled by the lies of a
traitor?" finished HeyHoDen.
"Well, not that exactly. Mainly we just thought you were too lazy
to get off your fat butt and ride all the way out here. The word
in the outer provinces is that you've turned into a total couch
potato." Then, turning back to the guard tower, he cried out "Open
the gates! Your King is here!"
Glad cries of "Hey! Ho!" arose from the walls. The king of the
Mark rode through the open gates, flanked by his sister-son and
sister-daughter, not to mention his brother-neighbor-cousin-dog-
-groomer-lover-aunt-husband-nephew-friend, and several other
relations of even greater removal. Aragon, Giggly, Lego-lass
and Arwen were left milling around with various smiths and farmers
outside the walls.
"This is more like it," chuckled Giggly, looking around at the
cliffs. "No more forests and plains for me. This country has good
bones. The sinews are only so-so, but the bones are really good."
"How do you feel about the cartilige?" asked Lego-lass.
"Not as good as the bones, but definitely first rate."
"Stop your dawdling," ordered Aragon, "we have to prepare. Even
now the forces of Aruman approach."
They could see an ominous glow coming up the valley, sillouetting
the orc-forms coming before it. Luckily they were able to set up the
barbecue and have dinner before the hoard of orcs approached the
gates. Before they were done clearing the dishes, though, the enemy
ranks filled the valley. The shouts of the prefects rose above the
"50 house points for the first one through the gates!"
"Move that battering ram into place!"
"Fight for the honor of house and school!"
"No more non-selective comprehensive education!"
"Kill the commoners!"
"Halt!" shouted Aragon from the wall. A strange silence settled
over the orc horde as they stopped to listen to his words. "They say
the Hornburg has never fallen when a rabble of farmers and smiths has
stood to defend it. Turn back now and you will be allowed to live."
He was answered with derisive laughter. "We are the Uruk-Hai
Prefects! We fear no man, be he farmer or smith!" Aragon jumped back
as a rain of arrows flew toward his position, and the battle was begun.
The defenders of the Hornburg and of the wall across the Help were
sorely pressed. Lego-lass and Giggly found themselves beset by foes
who had gained the top of the wall.
"How do you fare?" grunted Giggly as he ducked under a swinging
"Not so bad. There's six!" Lego-lass counted as she pulled her
dagger from the corpse of a falling orc.
"I've killed eight," returned Giggly, bringing his battle-axe down
on another foe. "Make that nine."
Suddenly there was a lull, as the top of the wall was free of orcs
for the moment. "I say," mused Lego-lass, pulling out her bow and
firing off a couple of arrows at the army below, "have you ever really
thought about it? There's eight, by the way."
"Thought about what?" asked Giggly.
"Well, doesn't it seem a bit, well (nine), wrong, to you? We just
assume (ten) that all orcs are our foes (eleven) because of their
"Here they come again!" shouted Giggly as a group of orcs came
up a ladder. He ran to the point where they overtopped the wall,
axe swinging. "Now that you put it that way, (ten) it does seem
a little odd (eleven). One would have hoped that by the end of the
Third Age we'd be beyond such race-based thinking (twelve and
thirteen)." As the headless body fell at his feet he turned back
"Exactly (twelve)!" came back Lego-lass, firing arrows as fast as
she could put notch to bowstring. "There's thirteen, we're tied!
Anyway, look at us (fourteen, I'm winning!). As elf-maid and dwerrow,
we should hate each other, but our budding relationship proves
"You've given me much to think on, fair Lego-lass. Perhaps this
anti-orc prejudice of ours is unwarranted, and we should seek to
reform rather than kill them. By the way, as you were speaking I got
six more. My count is up to nineteen. Hey Arwen!" he shouted to the
leather-clad elf who was approaching, "My count is nineteen, and Lego-
lass is at fourteen. ["It's sixteen now, dear"] How does the battle
fare for you?"
"I've killed three-hundred and seventy-two. I'd like to see them
leave THAT out of the movie," replied Arwen.
The fighting ran on late into the night. Epic songs have been sung
of the brave deeds of farmer and smith in defense of their king and
country. In the morning light the rabble of Rohan prepared for one
last push. Even HeyHoDen put on his armor and stood in the first
company with Aragon, Lego-lass, and Arwen. Eonard was skulking
around, complaining to anyone who would listen about Aragon getting
top billing. Eowyn was sent to her room, told that women weren't allowed
to fight. "What about Arwen and Lego-lass?" she whined. "They're elves,
it's different," came the reply. Giggly had disappeared during the
night. It was rumored that he'd retreated to the caves with a band
of smiths. HeyHoDen addressed the troops.
"Today, men, is a good day to die . . . "
"Bummer of a pep-talk, pops!" came a voice from the back of the crowd.
"Quiet! As I was saying, today is a good day to die. That's why I
want my sister-son Eonard to lead the first charge. The rest of us will
follow anon. We fight, my friends, for our way of life. We fight for the
right of all men to send their children to good schools, that they may
learn to read the tales of our battle today. The enemy wants to
reserve that right for only the upper classes who can afford their
fancy schools . . . "
"Hey, didn't you send your son to . . . " interrupted the voice from
the back of the crowd.
"Someone shut that guy up!" HeyHoDen cut him off. "This is your
destiny, men. We ride forth into glory! We ride forth into history!
The battle cry of Rohan was taken up by the crowd. Shouts of "Hey!"
and "Ho!" rang out as the gates of the Hornburg were thrown open with a
blast of trumpets and they surged out to meet . . . nothing. Where the
orc armies had been encamped there was a strange forest of poles of
differing shapes and heights (now darkened). Not an orc was to be seen.
Just then Gandalf rode up on Slimshade.
"Where've you been?" asked Aragon.
"Oh, you know, out and about, looking for the army. They assured me
they'd be along sometime later today. They have to all get their uniforms
back from the cleaners and should be along after having a nice brunch and
maybe playing a round of golf. How'd it go here, then?"
"Damned wizards and soldiers," muttered a certain farmer in the back
of the crowd, "always gone in the midst of trouble. They'll be up against
the wall when the revolution comes, to be sure."
The revolution would not come today, though. Today the King of Rohan
rode triumphant from the field of battle.
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Gondor is a trademark of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
The Collected Jazz Works Of King Deem, a compilation of ancient wire-recordings of the King, is now available as a collection of four compact disks from Edoras Music.