"What can you reach for right now without getting up and without cheating. Pick the weirdest and strangest thing within your grasp and write about it. The weirder the better." This was the challenge issued by Jo Prescott at her cool site, A Reader's World. Below is my response. I hope you like it.
I stood atop the Deeping Wall. Aragorn stood to my left, sword held by his side, eyes fixed firmly on the advancing army. King Theoden, now over his spell thanks to the magic of Gandalf, was on my right. Archers lined the walls, swordsmen stood by the ramparts, awaiting the arrival of the enemy, axes and swords in hand, ready to deliver the killer blow to the heart of The Evil One.
The battle horn sounded from afar. I could hear the enemy below the fortress chanting their war song. Unintelligible words soared upon the wind, carrying with it the smells of boiling tar and rotting flesh. I knew that my foes would catapult the hot, viscous mass up and over the walls. We were prepared.
Swords clashed on shields, pikes held at the ready – the enemy advanced. It wasn’t a quick march, mind – they were slow and ungainly creatures, but their size, strength and thick skins were going to make it hard for our men to penetrate their defences. But I knew these men – I knew they would stand tall, stand firm – for their King.
I held my sword by my side as I waited for the right time to issue the command to attack. I could feel it coming closer...
“Captain, you must come see this.” It was Legolas – my elfin friend. He was agitated and pointing in the direction from which he had come. “Bad news coming from the East. Very bad news. You must come at once.”
I watched as he raced back to his vantage point, gesturing to others in the vicinity to come and see. I strode across and smiled as the men remained at their posts. Legolas was flighty and prone to exaggeration.
Coming across from the East were creatures that I had never seen the likes of. They stood tens of feet tall and must have weighed in the hundreds of tonnes. Even from this distance, I could tell that what we possessed here would be no match against these vile creations.
Gimli strode forward, rested his hand on my shoulder and addressed the King.
“Sire, if arrow and sword fail, my axe would be most pleased to sink into the flesh of those fell beasts.”
“Gimli, you honour your ancestors with such fine intentions. We shall battle this new evil in whatever fashion we must – and we must if we are to save Middle Earth.”
My attention returned to those at the base of the walls. They still waved their torches and beat upon their drums of war and slowly made their way towards us. Then, without obvious command, liquid fire began to rain down upon the Hold. Men around me cried out in agony, some died before they had a chance to seek the temporary shelter. Arrows began to fly over the walls as the enemy fired blindly. Several found their marks and I watched, devastated as man after man, fell in battle.
“We must fall back.” Theoden cried out to Aragorn and those around him. “Fall back.”
I stumbled backwards and fell, staring up at the sky and saw the mass of fire and stone hurtling towards me. I knew there was no escaping...
“Dad...Dad! I thought we agreed that the figurines and ornaments were for decoration only. Put them down and just watch the movie, all right?”
The winning piece by Kathy Monson is available to be read HERE.