It was quiet. Too quiet. It had been quiet ever since they had left the mountain, disappointed and discouraged. But as they drew closer to the fields of Pelennor, the stillness had become unnerving.
Aragorn held up his hand to stop his two companions.
“Stay low. Without the Dead Army, we are no match for a battalion of orcs.”
Gimli snorted. “I think we’d have a good chance. I –“
Legolas shushed him. “There’s movement beyond that ridge.” He pointed at a hillock about a hundred yards ahead of them. His footfalls silent, he made his way towards it, crouching slightly. An arrow was already in place in his bow.
Aragorn and Gimli followed. The three knelt down behind a mess of boulders in the grass. As one, they peered over the edge.
For a moment, nobody moved. Even the wind seemed to still, the air becoming heavy with dread.
Gimli was the first to make a sound; a raspy moan-sob that came from somewhere deep within the dwarf’s soul, his shoulders heaving with emotion.
Even Aragorn couldn't stop the horrified expression that overcame his features.
Legolas just stared blankly. He hadn't even the strength to summon the anguish he felt into a facial expression.
Before one of them could voice the questions and thoughts they were all thinking, the gruff, ugly noise of orcs reached Aragorn’s sensitive ears.
“Down!” he hissed. They ducked back behind the rocks, as the grunts that passed for Orc-talk got steadily louder. When he felt the danger had lessened, Aragorn ever so carefully looked out. A steady stream of orcs and men – what was left of Sauron’s army – were threading their way across the battlefield. Many had already reached the river at Osgiliath. They were not careful with the dead; trampling or kicking any bodies in their way. What caught Aragorn’s eye were the Mûmakil, several of them trudging along in the procession, huge canopies atop them holding more men. There were, he was pleased to note, also several Mûmak bodies lying among the dead.
That and the amount of dead orcs were the only silver linings in an otherwise obsidian cloud of darkness.
“Do we make a run for the city?” Gimli asked quietly, his head appearing to Aragorn’s right.
He shook his head. “There are too many of them. We would never get across without being seen.”
“So we wait them out,” Legolas stated from his left. The bow was still in his hand, but the arrow had gone back into the quiver on his back. His fist was clenched tightly around the wood, but it could not mask the slight shake of his always steady hand.
“That would be the best course of action. It could be a while, judging from the mess out there. I suggest we get some rest.”
Of course, none of them could or would rest. They settled at the bottom of the hillock, out of sight, but still close enough to hear what was going on. Legolas paced in short, regimented lines, before turning his back on his companions and staring out into the distance; south, farther south than they had come from. Towards the sea.
Gimli sat on the grass, his ax never leaving his hand. He stared at the sharp metal, willing it to do something – anything. Anything would be better than this. For once, he had nothing to say. He had never thought this would happen.
Aragorn, on the other hand, had been expecting it. He had been the leader the people of Rohan had needed, that Frodo had needed, but not for himself. He hadn't wanted it to end like this, of course, but all along, ever since they had set out from Rivendell, he had known, deep down, that it would. He sat on a rock, his sword in one hand, Arwen’s necklace in the other.
He saw her, in his mind, her dark hair swirling around her as they danced together in the moonlight. The lithe, graceful movements of the elves, of the life she had forsaken to be with him.
“Do not worry,” she whispered to him. “I am here with you. Gi melin, hîr vuin. Na lû e-govaned vîn.”
A solitary tear slipped from Aragorn’s closed eyes as his fingers closed around the Evenstar. He could feel her lips on his, the softness of her skin.
“Na lû e-govaned vîn, Arwen.” His words, whispered as they were, were whipped away by the breeze. Far away, the eleven princess awoke from a deep sleep, Aragorn’s name on her lips and a heavy sense of foreboding in her gut.
The sky darkened around them, and soon, silence fell. No words were needed; Gimli and Legolas simply followed Aragorn as he led them over the hillock. The entire battlefield stretched out in front of them, right up to the walls of Minas Tirith. Aragorn did not stop to take in the destruction, afraid that his resolve would crumble. He would not let his companions see him fall.
They made their way forwards, stopping every now and then to identify a body. None of them would say what they were looking for, but they all knew.
Bodies of orcs lay tangled with Riders of Rohan; mountain men slain with Gondorian soldiers. Far above them, a shrill cry rang out. They needed no command now, as they ducked into the shadow of a broken battering ram. None of them shuddered as the air grew darker, the Nazgûl and steed flying low above the city. Searching for survivors, on the orders of Sauron, no doubt.
Once the fell-beasts cries had faded in the direction of Mordor, they continued their search. Words would defile this moment, so they kept quiet. The buzzing of the carrion flies became background noise.
Legolas had seen a lot of death, had participated in many a battle, including the infamous battle of the five armies outside Erebor, but never before had he felt such a connection to others not of his kin. The elves had no part in this war, so why did he feel this sadness so profoundly? He glanced at Gimli, the dwarf sweeping the dead with apprehension, and felt his heart harden. Never before had he had friends that were not of his kin. Now he did. No other explanation was needed.
He wasn’t normally jumpy, but every noise made his hand jump to the arrows at his back. He needn’t have worried. There were none alive except the three of them.
Gimli stared in wonder as they passed the carcass of a massive Mumak, the red, grey and black banners hanging limply from the harness, so strongly suggestive of the eye of the Enemy that he could not look for too long. Arrows stuck out of every visible piece of grey skin, the beast’s eyes peppered with the wooden shafts of both Rohan and Gondor alike. The bodies of the Haradrim riders lay scattered about, and here and there, a hand or foot could be seen sprouting from underneath the animal.
It was a sight unlike any they had ever seen, and yet Aragorn’s mind was far from the Mumak and its riders. He had lived a long life, and had seen many things that could be described as horrific. He had chosen the life of a ranger partly because of the solitary nature of the travelling life, and yet he found himself, yet again, searching for dead comrades and friends. He picked his way through the bodies of friend and foe alike, none of the morals that differentiated them in life to distinguish between them in death. At one point, he knelt by the head of a brown mare, its dark eyes wide and staring.
The elf and the dwarf watched solemnly as he muttered a few words in a tongue neither of them knew. Everyone reacts to death differently, but there is a certain feeling that comes with it, one that you cannot escape. Unless you are someone like Sauron, that is. That feeling of dread, heavy and sticky, that covers every surface, seeping into your mind and shadowing every thought – all three felt it. They had felt it before. Gimli wasn’t sure what was worse – looking for dead friends, or anticipating your own painful demise.
The closer they got to the White City, the more weighted the air felt. Their very breaths fell to the ground, leaden with apprehension. Hours seemed to have passed, time warped in this blood-bath of a battle field.
That was when they found the first one. And the first led to a second and soon they were surrounded by familiar faces.
 Or Oliphaunt, as the hobbits call them.
 I love you, my Lord. Until next we meet. In Sindarin, from http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/elvish/phrases.html So it may not be entirely accurate.