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Eowyn and ?

The noise was unmistakable—the grunts and the guttural howls and the clash of steel on steel.

But why here? Eowyn wondered, leaning over Brightstar’s neck to peer through the forest ahead. Why here, when they should be three miles further east by now, approaching Doro Lanthron, where Legolas and Haldir are waiting for them?

She had never seen Orcs avoid a fight—even if this band had, somehow, learned that a company of archers was waiting for them at the settlement, she was sure that it would not have stopped them mounting their raid.

So either they were fighting amongst themselves—a petty grievance having escalated into a full scale battle—or they had crossed paths with some unsuspecting traveller. And if that were the case…

Eowyn urged Brightstar through the trees.

As she approached the melee, concentrated in a small forest clearing backed by a rocky ridge, she saw him—a single, hooded warrior, surrounded by more than a dozen orcs shoving and jostling each other in their eagerness to engage him.

But the man—his height and build told her that he was a man, though the fluidity of his movements suggested otherwise—was quickly reducing their numbers. He fought with a quarterstaff—his attacks and guards like nothing Eowyn herself had ever learned—spinning his weapon before him, leaping and whirling like a dancer, sometimes using the strange glowing ends of his staff like a sword, to cut or stab his attackers, sometimes kicking them with his powerful legs, and sometimes—with a mere gesture of his hand, it seemed—raising rocks from the ground to knock them senseless.

Eowyn’s martial heart stirred with admiration, and she had almost decided to withdraw, and leave the warrior to enjoy his well-deserved victory alone, when a big Uruk Hai, standing on the ridge behind him, hurled a boulder and—by sheer luck—caught him, mid spin, in the centre of his back, and he stumbled, and hunched over, winded.

Then she had no choice.

She swung from the saddle—whispering, “Fetch Legolas, Brightstar! Quickly!”—already planning her attack.

She knew that she could not hope to defeat so many Orcs by herself but, as she ran through the trees, skirting the pack and making for the rocky outcrop, she could see that the stranger was already recovering. His staff had somehow broken, but he was standing with his back to the rocks, and using what was left as a club, smashing it into the face of any Orc foolish enough to come close.

Once again, Eowyn wondered whether he would welcome her interference—


Gods, one of the Orcs had caught her scent! And he, with three of his companions, immediately lost interest in the cornered man and, instead, rushed for her. Eowyn dodged right and, ducking between them, streaked up the ridge, weaving through the boulders until she reached the summit, then slipped under the Uruk Hai’s outstretched blade, and dropped to the ground at the warrior’s side.

As she fell through the air it seemed to her that some force took hold of her, and slowed her descent.

The warrior’s only acknowledgement of her presence was to turn away, and they stood, almost back-to-back, Eowyn doing her best—with defensive cuts and blocks—to hold the Orcs at bay until her strange companion was ready to help her beat them back.

“We must break out soon,” she muttered, “and find a proper redoubt. More will come… And Legolas may not be in time—”

She sensed a sudden surge of energy behind her, and heard a strange noise—like the buzzing of a thousand horseflies—and she risked a glance over her shoulder.

The warrior was back on the offensive—the remains of his staff having somehow turned into a sword with a blade of fire—and, giving her no warning, he had begun to advance, wielding his weapon with both hands and striking with deadly precision—and, for the first time, Eowyn realised that the acrid smell hanging over the glade was the stench of burnt Orc flesh.

For a moment she was mesmerised—as much by the wonderful weapon as by the stranger’s skill with it—until she recognised that, by abandoning her, he had left her an easy prey for the Orcs that were already closing in on her.

She surged forward, unconsciously imitating his aggressive style—with mixed success—beheading the first Orc, but merely scratching the Uruk Hai behind him. The monster roared, and lashed out with its serrated blade, and Eowyn dodged the Uruk’s cut—but her strange companion’s spinning attacks did not allow for a second at his back, and a near miss showed her that she was in almost as much danger from his blade as she was from the enemy.

Fuming with anger and frustration, she went for the Uruk Hai, going in close and hacking with no finesse. Her fury took her opponent by surprise, and his momentary hesitation was all the opening she needed to take off his sword arm.

Eowyn continued to press, but the situation was already changing around her—the Orcs were losing heart and beginning to withdraw—even her Uruk Hai was backing away unsteadily, nursing his bleeding stump.

For a few more moments she waited warily, sword raised in a high guard, but the battle was over—for now—and the enemy had melted away. She turned to her companion, and was just in time to see his fiery blade disappear into the hilt of his sword.

The stranger raised his gloved hands to his hood and, very deliberately, lowered it.

Eowyn gasped. The jagged pattern of red and black markings on his face was, she realised, tattooed, but the crown of short, curved horns that encircled his bald head, and the golden eyes—Gods, those eyes!—that stared down at her, unblinking, measuring her, like a healer listening to her heartbeat—those were not human.

The Lady of the Shield Arm squared her shoulders, and stared back at the creature, defiantly.

He immediately bared his yellow-black teeth in a feral snarl.

Eowyn remained calm, silently projecting strength and superiority, facing him down as she might one of her brother’s hounds.

The creature’s expression changed and his interest shifted from her spirit to her physical body. Eowyn, suddenly realising that her jerkin had been ripped open in the fight (and feeling, for the first time, the sting of a flesh wound), saw his golden eyes linger on her bosom, and she fought to stay composed as his pulled off his glove and stretched out his hand—slender but clawed—towards her chest.

A sudden sound—a twig breaking underfoot—startled them both, and they turned as one. “The Orcs,” said Eowyn. “They have brought reinforcements.” She reached for her sword.

But the stranger caught her wrist. “You are injured,” he said. “Come.”

His voice had shocked her—soft, cultured—and she now felt surprisingly little anxiety following him deeper into the forest, except, “Where are you going?” she asked. “There is nothing defendable here. But if we head east—oh!”

She stopped dead, her free hand flying to her mouth. “What is that?

It looked like the body of a huge, silver dragon lying, partially hidden, amongst the trees. Eowyn took a slow step backwards.

Her companion jerked her wrist impatiently.

Eowyn jerked back. “No!

“Ha!” He dropped her hand, raised his wrist and touched his broad silver cuff. Immediately the belly of the dragon opened.

Oh gods…” The door descended, like a castle drawbridge, and, inside, Eowyn could see a flight of steps. “It is a building,” she gasped. “But how—”

He seized her by the arm and hurried her to the entrance, dragging her up the stairs. Eowyn could hear the Orcs closing in; but, as she looked back, once again she felt an invisible force take hold of her, and push her upwards.

The drawbridge was rising behind her.

Inside the building, everything was metal—the walls, the floors, the ceiling—everything except the wide glass window that overlooked the drawbridge.

The stranger set her down on a padded metal chair. “Remove your tunic.” The timbre of his voice was naturally seductive, but his manner was brisk. Eowyn did as she was told.

He opened a small chest, took out a bottle and a scrap of cloth, formed the cloth into a pad and poured a few drops of green fluid onto it. Then, without warning, he pressed the pad to her wound.


“There is no pain where strength lies.”

She stared up into his unblinking eyes.

“You must learn to use pain: draw strength from it.” He poured more liquid onto the pad. “It would be foolish, however, to leave broken flesh untended.” He worked the fluid into the gash.

Eowyn’s hands crushed the arms of the chair, but she made no further sound.

He nodded approvingly. “You are not afraid of me.”

“You have given me no reason to be afraid,” she replied, “as yet…”

“You are strong in the Force.” He took a second pad from the small chest, peeled the ‘skin’ from it, and pressed it to her breast. “You will bear strong children.”

“I am married,” said Eowyn, for something told her that his honour would require him to respect her marriage bond.

She was right. “Your husband is fortunate.”

“You will let me go?”

“When it is clear outside…” He replaced the bottle and closed the chest.

“What is this place? Your—house? Why are the walls metal? And this—table—what makes the panels glow?” She reached for one of the coloured squares—

“Do not touch that.” He caught her hand and placed it back on her lap, but there seemed to be no anger in his action. “Metal is strong.”

“Glass is not.” She nodded, through the window, at the band of Orcs that had gathered outside, jeering, trying to goad them into fighting again. “They could break through it with rocks.”

And, as if it had heard her, a big Uruk Hai suddenly hurled a boulder.

Eowyn ducked. But the missile bounced harmlessly off the window.

“The viewport is not glass,” said the stranger, stowing the chest back in its cupboard, “but something much stronger.” He took the seat beside her. “I will deal with them.”

His fingers danced lightly on the glowing squares.

A blade of dense white fire shot out from somewhere beneath the window, slicing through the crowd of Orcs and Uruk Hai, from right to left.

“Gods!” Eowyn, shielding her eyes with her hand, watched the creatures stagger, and slowly collapse, cut in pieces by the terrifying weapon. “They are dead!”—she leapt to her feet—“You have killed them all!”

“They are vermin.”

“Yes, I know. But…”

“It was not the honourable way,” agreed the stranger. “But sometimes, crude measures are necessary.”

“You were playing with them.” She sank back into her chair. “At first, I mean—you were using them for practice.”

“A warrior must hone his skills.” The stranger reached behind her, and opened another cupboard.

“I thought you were in trouble.”

“You acted bravely—with honour. Though it would have been more sensible to have ridden away. Here.” He handed her a black shirt, identical to the one he was wearing himself. “Are there many woman-knights amongst your people?”


“I thought not. You have skill and you have courage. But your body is weak and you need better training. Had I not been there, you would have died.”

“Had you not been there, I would not have fought.”

He turned to her with what might have been a smile, though his facial markings did their best to conceal his expression from her.

“And it was my intervention,” she continued, “that bought you the time to recover.”

His eyes narrowed. “It was your intervention that forced me to temper my attack.”

“You are trained only for single combat.”

“I am trained to fight alone,” he corrected.

“It is a weakness,” said Eowyn.

He replied by baring his teeth, like a dog. But, this time, Eowyn saw past the tattoos, and recognised his snarl as the mildest of rebukes.

“Do all warriors of your kind wear those markings?” she asked.

“We earn them,” he replied, “during a long apprenticeship. Each Sith is free to choose the form and placing of his marks.”

“And you chose your face?”

“I chose to reveal my nature to our enemies. I chose to inspire fear in them. My master chose to hide his—”

“Your master? Who is your master?”

“You should wash,” said the stranger. “Hot water will protect your muscles. Come.”

Eowyn followed him, past the stairs to the drawbridge, into a narrow metal corridor leading to the rear of the building. “They do not work,” she said, “your markings—at least, they do not scare me.”

“No. A pity you are spoken for,” he said.

Eowyn blushed.

“In here.” He opened a small door.

Eowyn peered round him into the room beyond—it was little more than a tall cupboard, with a strange metal flower hanging from the ceiling. She looked at him in confusion.

“Take your clothes off, turn the handle on the wall, and wash yourself in the water,” he said, impatiently. “Turn the handle back when you have finished. Then come and find me.”

He left her.

The water was wonderful!

Eowyn found a bottle of soapy liquid and used it to clean off the blood and grime and sweat of battle, memorising every detail of the experience to tell Legolas later—


Eowyn jerked the handle to stop the water and—not bothering to dry herself or to dress—threw open the door and ran back to the room that housed the terrible weapon.

The warrior stared at her, open-mouthed. Then he said, in his soft, seductive voice, “Your man is fortunate that I have exceptional self control.”

“What? Oh—never mind that,”—she caught his wrists—“just do not kill Legolas!”

He twisted from her grasp and grabbed her wrists in return—“Who is Legolas?”—and, pulling her hands down onto his chest, he forced her to straddle his legs and arch over him.

“My husband. He is coming for me.”

He looked doubtful.

“I sent word to him, when I decided to help you. He will find me—track me—he is an elf… He will attack your house to rescue me. Do not kill him with the white fire.”

“Do you realise,” he asked, calmly, “that if he were standing outside, he could see you, in here, with me, naked?”

Eowyn tried to pull away.

But he tightened his grip, smiling, and his expression was at once terrifying and terrifyingly attractive.

Eowyn swallowed.

“Go,” he said, releasing her suddenly. “Go and dress. I will kill nothing more without your permission.”

She returned, moments later, wearing her leggings and boots, and the black shirt he had provided, and took the seat beside him. “Why are you treating me so well?”

He leaned back in his chair with a sigh, and stared up at the metal ceiling. “You called upon the dark side,” he said.

“I do not understand.”

“In the clearing, when you realised that I was not going to wait for you, you were angry and you called upon the dark side—and used it to defeat an enemy many times your weight. You lack discipline, but, at that moment, you fought like a Sith apprentice. My apprentice…” He sighed again. “It would be dishonourable to harm you. As I said before, you are strong in the Force. And a worthy mate for a Sith.”

“But spoken for.”


“And not attracted to you.”

He turned to her and smiled, knowingly.

Eowyn looked away. “Are they your gods? The Dark Side and the Force?”

“The dark side—”


An arrow glanced off the window.

“Is that him?”

“Yes—that was a warning shot—what are you doing?”

He was reaching for one of the glowing squares.

Eowyn lunged for his hand—“You promised!”

But the warrior was faster. “Trust me!” he cried, holding her wrists tightly, “tell him that you are unharmed and that you are coming out to him. For his sake, convince him that you are telling the truth.”

“How will he hear me?”

He tapped the glowing square. “Speak.”

He lowered the drawbridge.

But as Eowyn began to climb down he caught her wrist. “Get away from here quickly. Do not look back.”

Run,” cried Eowyn, grabbing Legolas’ hand. “Run! Run! Do not look back!” She led the elves past the pile of smoking bodies, through the forest, to the clearing beyond the rocky ridge.

Behind them, the ground shook and a great wind parted the trees as a silver dragon broke cover and rose above the foliage, wings outstretched.

It hovered briefly.

Then it rushed up into the sky, spat fire, and disappeared.





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His story
The same incident, but told from his point of view.