A/N: This is a narrative I created about the last defense of Edoras in the year 2758 (Third Age) which was led by Haleth, the son of Helm Hammerhand. The description in book is as follows: "Wulf took Edoras and sat in Meduseld and called himself king. There Haleth Helm's son fell, last of all, defending the doors." – The Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl. I really hope I did justice to Tolkien's descriptions. And the Dunlendings that I have written about here are not like the ones we see in the movies adaptions. I would think these ones would still have a little sophistication in their culture.
Note: It is noted in the family tree of the Kings of Rohan that Helm had a daughter, though she wasn't given a name. Here, and for possible future use in my fanfiction writings, I have named her "Gálwinë." I have also taken the liberty of making up numbers of how many men stayed at Edoras and how many Wildmen attacked it. I couldn't find any number references in any of my books or any Tolkien websites. If the numbers are recorded, I did not know, and therefore please excuse the false numbers.
Disclaimer: I have not owned The Lord of the Rings in the past, I do not own it in the present, and I shall not own it in the future.
Haleth son of Helm was a vigorous man, most like his father in body; he was tall, broad, and strong. But he had a more fiery nature than his father and siblings, he was proud, though not arrogant, and he delighted in deeds of valiance and strength. His hair was long and golden, as was his beard, which he braided with silver. Never in battle had he been defeated, and in those days, he was one of the chief defenders of Rohan.
Now he turned his eyes to the northwest, to the great fortress of the Hornburg; thither his father had fled, and Háma his brother, as well as his sister Gálwinë. But also to the northwest he saw the company that advanced. Many Dunlendings, clad in scant armor and armed with bows and swords and axes, and they were led by Wulf, the son of Freca.
It was at the doors of Edoras that Haleth stood with what remained of his éored and the few members of the King's Guard that had not followed Helm to the Hornburg, one hundred fifty men in all. And from afar they could see that already the Dunlendings had at least thrice their number. What hope they had in victory lay in their prowess at war and the famed valor of the Eorlingas.
As the sun rose in that hour, it glinted off of the golden roof of the great hall of Meduseld, but hearts of the last defenders of Edoras darkened. For now that the sun had risen above the mountains, the Dunlendings would no doubt increase their speed in the light of day.
Indeed the Wildmen hastened their pace, for some select few traveled on horses, and Wulf rode a great white mare, who had, no doubt, been stolen from the pastures of Rohan. It was in little time that they arrived, for they were eager to see the demise of their enemies, whom they named usurpers.
Wulf, who led the company, dismounted from his horse and stepped forth and cried, "As the rightful holders of this land we demand that the Rohirrim-"he said the word with hate "-abandon this city and all of the land surrounding it. My orders are to be obeyed, for I am Wulf, son of Freca, whom is of the line of Fréawine and the just owner of this land."
It was Haleth that stepped forth to parley with Wulf, and with him went Elfbrand, who bore the banner of Helm Hammerhand. There was no fear in his grey eyes, and he said to Wulf, "No cowards or usurpers have passed the gate of Edoras or the doors of Medusled without the assent of the King of Rohan, who is Helm. You have been declared enemies of Rohan and the House of Eorl, and all its people. You may not pass, now, or ever. That is the order of Helm, King of Rohan."
Wulf's dark eyes smoldered with hatred and in a quick fury he took his sword and slew Elfbrand. "So you have chosen the path of war son of Helm! You shall rue the day when you made an enemy of Wulf!" And so the attack on Edoras began.
The banner was recovered by Éowinë, who had been a great friend of Elfbrand, and it was he and Haleth that led the attack against the charging Wildmen. And with a mighty bellow, Haleth cried to his men, "Forth Eorlingas!" The onslaught was fierce and bitter, and though the Dunlendings held much hatred for the sons of Eorl, they could not overcome the strength and fury of the few men that remained at Edoras. The flash of swords from their sheaths and the shouting of voices were all the sounds and sights that were heard and seen for a long while.
The defenders of Edoras pushed the Wildmen away, and for a short time their hearts were glad, for it seemed they had the upper hand in battle, and some sang while they slew. It was at last, when the Dunlendings had retreated to the Barrow lanes that they regained their strength. Wulf had been lost in the midst of the attack, trapped in a sea of his own men, but now he re-emerged, and his heart had grown hotter and more bitter than before.
With a fierce cry he led his men forth once more, and he sought to fight his way through the bodyguard of Haleth and slay the son of Helm himself. And his attack proved disastrous, for the Wildmen were of like mind as their leader. Many men were injured and lost in that one rush of the Dunlendings, and Haleth called for a retreat up through to the lower levels of Edoras.
"To me! To me Eorlingas!" he called and his men followed, those that could. And so the Dunlendings passed through the gates of Edoras and they were pleased, and they still had many men and the advantage of the battle. Some of their fell men took a short leave from the battle and set fire to the houses of the living, those who had been too ill or too proud to leave, and pillaged and sacked the houses that had been abandoned.
Further and further the Wildmen drove Haleth and his forces into the city, for now they began rob the bodies of the slain, taking the superior swords of the Rohirrim. And now it was their turn to laugh and sing as they slew, and the hearts of the defenders grieved.
Now it was the waning afternoon, and the sky had grown dark with smoke and ash, and the ground was stained with the blood of the Dunlendings and of the Eorlingas. Wulf was now drawing closer to Haleth, whose bodyguard was greatly diminished, and about him now only stood Éowinë and a few others. But Haleth was still yet strong and he was not yet scathed or weakened from the battle. And therefore he struck out and slew many enemies.
The Dunlendings once again began to fear the wrath of the Rohirrim, though they dare not admit it. Their quivers were nearly empty and their muscles were weary. But revenge was still in the heart of Wulf, and in the hearts of all that followed him. And so they renewed their attack.
And Haleth, seeing now that hope was diminished in the hearts of his men, and that victory was far off, gave a blow of his great war horn, whose echoes were heard for miles around, and called all his men around him to retreat to the steps of the Golden Hall.
And thus began the last stand of the defenders of Edoras, which is renowned in the songs of the Mark. There was now less than fifty men left, and all but five were unscathed. The banner of Helm Hammerhand still yet stood, and while it was there, the men of the Mark were not afraid. There was pride in their grey eyes, and they put aside all fear and replaced it with unwavering determination, though they knew they were doomed.
Once again Wulf stepped forth from his host of men and shouted to Haleth, "I give you the choice once again! Will you leave or fight? For all your men shall be slain if you remain here, surely you know that! There can be no victory in this battle for you."
Haleth laughed and cried back to Wulf, "I told you once Dunlending, and now I shall tell you again! No usurpers or cowards have ever entered the golden hall of Meduseld, and none ever shall, while the House of Eorl defends it!"
Wulf sneered at Haleth's proud words, and once more he ordered his company to attack the last men. And so began the final leg of the battle of Edoras. For at Haleth's words, the Dunlendings became enraged, and now at last, they were near their revenge. And they slew many men. But the Rohirrim were not yet lost, and in return, they cut down the Dunlendings quickly.
As hope faded in the last hour of that day, for the sun was going down, and it promised to be a red sunset, Haleth ran to the doors of Meduseld and stripped himself of all armor and weapons that he had, but for a coat of chainmail and his sword. And he thought to do deeds of valor in that hour to be remembered in the songs of that land for ever after.
Few men had made it the steps of Meduseld, and fewer now made it to the doors. The Dunlendings ran up the steps, and hewed the bodies of the dead as they lay there. It was that all but ten men, including Haleth, made it to doors of the Golden Hall.
Now it was that the hearts of the Rohirrim grew the hottest, and with fierce yells of war and wrath, they attacked the Dunlendings with such rage that for a moment the Wildmen quailed in fear. But Wulf would not let the victory slip from his hands, and he himself ascended the stairs of Meduseld to challenge Haleth. The last of Haleth's guard fell, and it was Éowinë, he was shot in the eye with a barbed arrow, and his death was mourned by Haleth.
And now Haleth took the banner of his father, and propped it up against a golden pillar, and he was the last of the defenders, and he knew there was no hope. Yet he laughed and sang as the Dunlendings came up the stairs in many numbers.
He killed many of them, but he was backed up against the doors of his father's hall, and there was now where he could escape, though he did not think of fleeing. Many men came and challenged him, and none lived, but last of all the challengers came Wulf, and he was armed with a great axe, and his men cheered behind him.
And so came the demise of Haleth, son of Helm. Though he was valiant and strong, he was now weary and injured, but he did not bow down to the usurper. Their battle was long and fierce, and both received many injuries. But it was Wulf who came out the victor, for Haleth had thrown all of his armor down. And with a mighty swing of his axe, Wulf felled the son of Helm. So great was the impact of Haleth's body upon the doors of Meduseld, that they burst open, though he was already dead. No coward or usurper passed through the doors of the Golden Hall while one of the House of Eorl defended it.
Haleth was killed as the last rays of a red sunset vanished beneath the mountains, and so fell a great night and sorrow upon the Rohirrim. For Wulf sat upon the throne of Rohan and called himself lord and king of that land, though the rightful King lay in wait at the fortress of the Hornburg. It is not known where the Wildmen buried the body of Haleth, for they still feared his dead body, and they believed his wraith haunted Edoras while they occupied it. But the Dunlendings burned the banner of Helm Hammerhand and stomped the ashes into the ground.
Haleth remained one of the greatest men of Rohan, and one of the most valiant. His name was remembered in the songs of strength and courage in the land of the Mark for ever after.
A/N: Um, that came out a little darker than I intended. I was trying to replicate a Third Age version of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears) from the Silmarillion. But it came out pretty much a tale of its own, I think.
Reviews are most welcome and greatly appreciated!