Smoke and Fire
Author: Anso the Hobbit
Characters: Merry, Pippin (Dernhelm)
Timeline: March 1419, Gondor
Summary: Seeing Minas Tirith burning, Merry suddenly realises that Pippin is
trapped inside the City
Note: Written for Marigold`s Challenge 9 based on this "Shirebunny":Merry,
riding with "Dernhelm" (Eowyn), sees Minas Tirith for the first time.
The city is in flames, and the armies are massing before it. In this moment, he
realizes that Pippin is in that burning city. Like almost all of my
stories, this is book-verse, but for the sake of story-progression I have added
a little movie-verse at the end.
Smoke and the distant orange light of fire was all that you could see of the
legendary City of Stone as you tried to keep your balance behind Dernhelm on
Windfola. Minas Tirith your brain informed you. So it was here that the last
day of your life would be spent, for so you thought it was.
The enormous armies of Mordor and the Haradrim with their wicked towers, trolls
and catapults were forming a huge mass that seemed to break into the walls and
hammer the City as one large, menacing organism. The sound of trampling
Oliphaunts (so there are Oliphaunts!), shrieking Orcs and wild Men and
their clashing weapons rang in your ears and you thought you´d never hear the
sound of a bubbling brook or laughter again, because this surely would make you
Could you survive this day? You thought of your own death, for you didn´t think
it was possible to live after this. The Rohirrim were so few, and one small
soldier could do only so much. And even if you came to aid Gondor, who knew how
many still lived inside the City? As these despairing thoughts filled your
mind, your heart lurched and you suddenly thought of Pippin! Pippin was
trapped inside the burning City. Your heart clenched with fear and for a
moment you couldn´t breathe. Your hands sought to grasp the saddle tighter as
the horse leaped over the dead bodies of Men and Orcs and beasts, but your
brain had gone numb with one single thought: Pippin.
The fear for your cousin´s life made the adrenaline pump and you heard the sound
of your heart beating in your ears. Dimly you thought that couldn´t be possible
as the sounds of battle were ear splitting. You had to get to Pippin. Had to
find him and get him out, out of the flames, out of the burning City. You
thrust. Blindly you stabbed your sword deep into the body of an attacking orc
and Dernhelm shouted in triumph over your kill, even as his own blade struck
the head from another. The smell of blood and fire and death was so strong that
it made you sick but you couldn´t think about that. Pippin! Your brain shouted
again. Save him! Go to his rescue!
You thrust again. Deep and deadly. For Pippin! you shouted as another life
faded away, ended by your hand. One less to possibly harm Pippin! Oh please!
Please! You begged the Valar for mercy. To spare Pippin. To not harm your
little cousin. Suddenly your vision was filled by a laughing face – infectious
smile, shining green eyes, and wild cinnamon-coloured curls. You could hear
Pippin´s laugh as if he had laughed at you just then. Such innocence, such
love. You couldn´t live without Pippin. You knew that. There was no life for
you without your little cousin. Again you thrust. The Man from the South
shrieked in agony and you almost fell off the horse as he gripped your
Barrow-blade with both hands and tried to drag you off, to kill you as you had
killed him. He was quickly weakened, and you managed to right yourself and pull
the blood-covered blade from his body and he fell, Windfola’s deadly hooves
hastening his end.
An arrow came like a flash into your field of vision and you ducked away
reflexively. It pierced the cloak of a Rider close behind you and you heard a
strangled cry before the thump that heralded his body falling to the
ground to join thousands of others.
The burning City was drawing closer. You could easily distinguish the buildings
and towers of the seven levels now. Pippin! your heart cried in anguish and
fear. Where in that massive, burning ruin was he? How was he faring? Was he
well? Did he even...did he even live still? You tried to stop the flow of
questions you couldn´t answer and again you lifted your sword to kill, to fight
your way a little closer to the walls.
Gandalf! Where the thought came from you didn´t know, but Gandalf was there to
look after Pippin. Pippin was safe with Gandalf. Could Gandalf protect him from
the fire? For a moment you looked up at the now looming City and you saw that
the fire was mostly at the lower levels. If Pippin had managed to get to the
upper part of the City... Your stomach made a lurch at the height, but Pippin
wasn´t afraid of heights. He´d manage. Somehow, Pippin always seemed to be on
top of things.Come on Pip! You can do it! Unconsciously you cheered
Pippin on. Hoping that he would manage to stay safe and out of harm´s way. Hoping
he would survive.
Then something hit Windfola and you fell. The next thing you knew you were
crawling on all fours on the ground and a mist was in your eyes. Then you saw
Him. And as Dernhelm became Èowyn you begged the Valar to protect your Pippin
because your own death was upon you, and then you stabbed Him.
Are you going to bury me? you whispered as your eyes fixed on Pippin. At
least you got to see him one last time, and that was such a comfort, more than
you had ever hoped for when the shock of stabbing Him coursed through your body
and the blackness and despair and pain overcame you.
No, Merry. I`m going to take care of you. Just hearing his voice drove away
the darkness, and his words sank in. It would be all right now, because Pippin
had come. Something warm covered you, and his familiar hand gripped your own
and filled you with relief and joy and strength.
You felt Pippin stroke your face as you slipped back into unconsciousness, but
you knew then that Pippin was safe and so were you, and you weren’t afraid
anymore of the darkness, because you were sheltered by a spirit filled with
light and love.
Pippin would take care of you. It was not yet your day to die.