Return of the King Book 5, Chapter 6
The Lord of the Nazgul leaves the gates of Minas Tirith and returns to command his army against the new onslaught. Theoden is joined by his knights and Dernhelm. The Rohirrim slice into the massive battalions of orcs but they cannot directly relieve the siege. The chieftain of the Haradrim is enraged by the coming of Theoden and he seeks the King himself. Theoden sees him coming but does not wait. Instead he rushes forth and slays the opposing chief. Dark falls about the sky and Theoden calls his men to him. His horse falls and the king falls beneath him. A great dark creature flies down towards him and on it rides the Captain of the Nazgul. Theoden's knights bravely fall before him. Merry stays near the King and is amazed when Dernhelm stands to fight the Captain. He tells the creature to be gone, but the Nazgul says that no living man may hinder him. Dernhelm laughs and says that he is not a man but a woman. Eowyn lets loose her hair and says she will slay whomever harms her King. The Nazgul lord becomes silent for a moment and the darkness in the sky begins to recede. Tears glisten on Eowyn's cheek. Merry is enraged at the thought of something happening to her. He begins to move but is not noticed by the Captain. It leaps at Eowyn and she swiftly attacks. She severs the head from the flying beast and the Captain jumps to the ground. It charges and shatters her shield with one blow. She falls to her knees with the force of the hit. The Captain screams as Merry pierces its knee with his elven blade. She surges up and stabs the creature in the formless head. It disintegrates and collapses to a pile of rags on the ground. Merry stands over Eowyn's still body and hears Theoden's mighty voice. He forgives Merry for coming against his orders and asks him to keep messages for Eomer and Eowyn. He tells him that Eomer must be King.
The enemy is rallying despite the loss of their leader and Eomer leads the Rohirrim against them. Merry thinks of Gandalf as Eomer rides near and is hailed by his uncle as King. Eomer weeps and then sees his sister lying on the ground. He raises Theoden's banner and rushes back into the fray.
"And still Meriadoc the hobbit stood there blinking through his tears, and no one spoke to him, indeed none seemed to heed him. He brushed away the tears, and stooped to pick up the green shield that Eowyn had given him, and he slung it at his back. Then he looked for his sword that he had let fall; for even as he struck his blow his arm was numbed, and now he could only use his left hand." Book 5, Chapter 6, pg. 131
Merry's sword withers on the ground and Theoden's knights raise the king and defend his body from the enemy. Merry walks beside them as they struggle. Prince Imrahil approaches them through the melee. He is amazed at Eowyn and tells them that she still breathes. They rush her into the city as the fighting continues. In some places Mordor prevails, in others Gondor and Rohan. Imrahil leads them into the city and then charges with his knights back onto the field.
The Haradrim rally around their war elephants and keep the Gondor footmen from uniting with the Riders of Rohan. The fair wind shows the watchmen on the walls a black fleet coming up the river. They cry out that the new army is upon them and they call the men of Gondor back to the city. The Rohirrim become somber and Eomer rallies his men to block the renewed advance of the Haradrim. He looks upon the black ships and decides to ride to a glorious death. Suddenly, he sees the banner on the lead ship. It is Aragorn's standard flying in the wind. Aragorn comes ashore with a great host from the southern cities. Aragorn and Eomer meet in the battle. They are happy to be reunited and they wage a furious resistance together. They fight into the waning sun until the enemy is repulsed. Most of the army is slain within the circuit of the long walls. Very few escape. Aragorn, Eomer, and Imrahil ride unscathed into the city. Many men lay dead or wounded on the earth.