Lord of the Rings

The Battle of the Pelannor Fields

Note: This chapter is not quite finished, so some of the pictures are broken links.

The Witch King paused. The darkness was breaking too soon, the battle was turning against him. He turned from the gate and vanished.

The armies of the Rohirrim drove into the force of orcs before the gate. Elfhelm's men were among the siege-engines, hewing, slaying, driving their foes before them. Many were already fleeing towards the river.

The main force of the Haradrim held fast, though, southward beyond the road.

The horsemen of Harad gathered to meet the onrush of Theoden and his knights. Crying to Snowmane, Theoden charged headlong to greet them. Great was the clash of their meeting. But the fury of the Northmen burned the hotter, and they clove through the Southrons like a fire-bolt in a forest.

Right through the press drove Theoden Thengel's son, and his spear was shivered as he threw down their chieftan.

Out swept his sword, and he spurred to the standard and hewed staff and bearer. Then all that was left unslain of their cavalry turned and fled far away.

But in the midst of his triumph, the new morning was blotted from the sky, and Snowmane reared and fell. A great shadow fell like a cloud , as a great winged creature dove from the sky and settled on the horse's body.

Upon it sat a shape, black-mantled, huge, and threatening: the Lord of the Nazgul. To the air he had returned, and now he was come again, bringing ruin, turning hope to despair, and victory to death.

Theoden's knights could not control their terrified steeds, and they were borne away. Only one knight remained, Dernhelm the young.

Merry had been thrown to the ground, and he crawled on all fours in a daze, averting his eye from the horror of the Nazgul. But he saw Dernhelm standing defiantly, and he heard a voice that was strangely familiar.

"Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion!" ordered Dernhelm. "Leave the dead in peace!"

A cold voice answered: "Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! No living man may hinder me!"

Dernhelm laughed. "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. Begone, for living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch my lord."

Dernhelm's helm had fallen from her, and Eowyn's bright hair was revealed. The Ringwraith made no answer, as if in sudden doubt.

Eowyn made a swift stroke, skilled and deadly, and clove asunder the outstretched neck of the Nazgul's winged steed. The huge shape crashed to ruin, crumpled on the earth.

Out of the wreck rose the Black Rider, and with a cry of hatred he swung his mace. Eowyn stumbled to her knees and her arm was broken. The Nazgul raised his mace again for the kill, when he suddenly stumbled forward with a cry of pain.

Merry's sword had stabbed him from behind, piercing the sinew behind his knee. With her last strength, Eowyn drove her sword into the space between the Nazgul's crown and mantle.

A cry went up dinto the air, and faded to a shrill wail, passing with the wind. Eowyn fell forward on her fallen foe, but the mantle and hauberk were empty.

Merry was left standing in the midst of the slain. He went to the side of Theoden, who had been crushed in the fall of Snowmane. "Farewell, Master Holbylta!" he said. "My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not be ashamed."

Just then there was a great clamour, and the knights of Eomer's company rode up. Eomer dismounted and rushed to Theoden's side.

Theoden opened his eyes one last time, looking upon Eomer. "Hail, King of the Mark!" he said. "Ride now to victory! Bid Eowyn farewell!" And so he died, and knew not that Eowyn lay near him.

Eomer suddenly beheld Eowyn lying on the field as if dead, and he was siezed by sorrow. "Eowyn, Eowyn, how come you here? Death, death, death! Death take us all."

Eomer's voice rang out. "Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!" And with that the Rohirrim returned to battle, and gathering speed roared away southwards.

A group of knights stayed to bear away the bodies of Theoden and Eowyn, mourning as they carried them towards the city. Merry walked beside them, until they were met by Imrahil and his knights coming forth from the gates.

And now the fighting waxed furious on the fields of the Pelannor, and the din of arms rose upon high. Eomer's fury had driven him into the midst of the forces of Mordor, just as new companies of Haradrim were entering the fray.

battle by river

Even as the day began to turn against Gondor and their hope wavered, a new cry went up in the city. The watchmen saw a new sight of fear, and their last hope left them.

ships coming by river

Looking south along the river, the armies saw the source of the dismay. A black fleet was borne north by the wind. "The Corsairs of Umbar!" men shouted. "The Corsairs are upon us! It is the last stroke of doom!"

At the sight of the ships, Eomer's hope died in his heart, but he laughed with the lust of battle. He lifted his sword to defy the ships, but then wonder took him, and a great joy.

aragorn's standard by river

Behold! A standard broke forth on the foremost ship, the White Tree of Gondor, and the signs of Elendil. Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, borne upon a wind of the sea to the kingdom of Gondor.

aragorn drive back

Aragorn led the Dunedain of the North, along with a force of men of the southern fiefs, forth against their foes. But the hosts of Mordor were seized with bewilderment, and a great wizardry it seemed to them that their own ships should be filled with their foes; and a black dread fell upon them.

The armies of Mordor were caught between the hammer and the anvil, with Eomir and the Rohirrim on one hand, Imrahil and the knights of Dol Amroth on the other, with Aragorn and the Flame of the West driving from the river.

meet in battle

And so at length Eomer and Aragorn met in the midst of the battle, and they looked on one another and were glad. "Did I not say we would meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor lay between us?" asked Aragorn.


"Twice blessed is the help unlooked for," said Eomer, "and yet much loss and sorrow has befallen us."

"Then let us avenge it, ere we spek of it!" said Aragorn, and they returned to battle to drive off the remainder of the enemy who had not been slain or fled.

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