Gimli yelled as he slid under the Uruk-Hai Berserker. The creature raised his blade, but too late, and Gimli's axe caught it in the belly.
"Legolas! Two already!" Gimli called to his Elvin companion.
"I'm on seventeen!" Legolas called back, drawing back his bow.
"What? I'll have no pointy-ear outscoring me!" Gimli turned rapidly and sought out another foe to cleave. He was almost out of earshot when he heard Legolas yell "nineteen". Frustration gave strength to his swings, and another uruk fell to his axe.
The Uruk-Hai outside of the wall stood restlessly. Their group wasn't due to enter the battle for awhile, and the sounds of battle on top of the wall made them impatient. Only their discipline kept them from all storming the wall at once. Ladders were unreliable, and it was practically suicide to go up one.
And besides, there was a new sound rising over the din of the battlefield, one that made the uruks more and more reluctant to go up the ladders.
"Seventeen! Eighteen! Nineteen! Twenty! Come on!"
Yes, this group of uruks was glad they weren't going up the ladders.
The men of Rohan stood behind the gate and listened. They heard the battle raging just outside, with the roars of uruk-hai and the screams of elves intermingling. Some of the men had seen the wave of black armor descending on the valley. They had no illusions about their chances of survival. The men were cold, uncomfortable, and most of them knew they would be dead by the end of the day. In short, they were not having the best time of their lives.
One of the younger boys opened a hatch for a moment to get a better look at how the battle was progressing. The sounds of metal clashing became briefly louder, and with it they could hear a new sound rising over the din. The sound brought hope to the younger soldiers, and even brought smiles to some of the older grizzled warriors.
An old soldier grinned. At least someone was enjoying himself.
When the wall exploded, the Uruks knew the battle was theirs. Now that they could move their full force inward, there wasn't a foe that could stand against them.
Which explains why they were a bit surprised to find their way blocked. The mere fact that it was blocked was enough to surprise them, but the true surprise was that the breach was blocked by only three warriors.
Their eyes was first drawn to the man, tall and dark-haired, wielding a double-handed sword that shone like the cursed sun, his face tired and bloody, but an inner fire shining though. This was a warrior to be wary of, the Uruks decided.
Next, the Elf. No gilded armor covered his body, no silver crown upon his brow, yet there was a grace with him that drew attention better than any battle-standard. Every arrow he shot brought death; every knife strike pierced armor and flesh. He moved from one enemy to the next with unnatural speed and fluidness, looking more like a dancer than a warrior.
Last, the dwarf. Short, slow, yet swinging his axe in deadly swaths around him. Size didn't matter. Armor didn't matter. Numbers didn't matter. The dwarf kept moving, kept swinging, kept killing. Kept counting.
The uruks had been told that they did not feel fear. If that was so, what was the sensation that gripped their chests and made them hesitate to move forward?
The gate was near breached. The battering ram had done its work, and the only thing keeping the wood together was the mass of bodies on the other side. The defenders could see the beasts through the splits in the wood. The retreat would soon be sounded.
And then… someone short, bearded and bad-tempered hit the uruks from the side. Someone wielding a large axe. Someone who counted.
On the narrow span of the bridge, his whirling axe brought death, if not by hewing uruks, then simply by pushing them off the edge. He kept the ram from hitting the gate. He gave the defenders time to barricade the wood. He struck down uruks left and right. He never stopped counting.
As the men of Rohan braced the gates, one man remarked "I'm glad he's on our side".
No one disagreed.
The battle was over. The Uruk-Hai were overrun and in disarray. Two uruks were fleeing through the gap in the wall when they were confronted by a single warrior. They rushed at him, determined to plow through and escape.
The axe blocked the first strike. It swept up and gutted the first uruk.
The axe came down, embedding itself in the second uruk's head.
Gimli looked around. He didn't see any more enemies close by, and the ones fleeing were too far for him to reach.
"Oh well." Gimli shrugged as he sat down on the uruk his axe was still stuck in. "That's that."
Finally, the counting ceased.