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the knight's daughter is abducted


Part 23

You!” cried the knight, drawing his weapon.

The other man backed away, his hands raised in submission. He was taller than the knight, and younger, and years of toiling in the salt mine had hardened his body, but the knight was burning with a long-held fury.

Someone,” the knight ordered, “give this orc a sword!” He raised his own blade to the man’s throat. “I demand satisfaction.”

No,” said Legolas, stepping between the two men and pushing the knight’s sword aside. “I will not permit a duel. Whatever this fellow has done, he will answer for it before a magistrate.”

“He dishonoured my daughter!” cried the knight. “He took her from my home, when I was not there to protect her! He ravished her!”

No, Father!”

In the confrontation, Gudyth herself had been forgotten. Now she ran to her father’s side and, with a little curtsey to Legolas, she explained, breathlessly: “He abducted me, it’s true, and he brought me to this terrible place—and every day I have cursed him for it—but he did not ravish me. The gods protected me from that, at least.

“He is nothing to us, Father. Nothing! Let us forget him. Let us go home.”

The knight embraced his daughter.

Legolas, placing a hand upon his heart, bowed his head to the young woman. “You would do well to heed your daughter’s wise advice, mellon nín,” he said.


“Whatever you plan to do with the rest of them,” growled Gimli, once an uneasy calm had been established, “you had better do it soon. The villains among them did not like what you said about magistrates and trials, and the rest are cold and want food.”

“The big fellow with the scars has his eye on Eowyn’s lamp,” added Haldir, darkly.

“But the djinn will not obey him,” said Eowyn.

“Not unless scar-face kills you,” said Gimli.

Legolas grasped his wife’s hand. “Melmenya, I need you to fly to Faramir, and ask him for food and blankets.”

For a long moment, Eowyn looked up into his eyes. Then she said, “I shall be as quick as I can, Lassui,” kissed his cheek, and slipped outside to summon the djinn.

Legolas appealed to the knight. “Can I count on that sword of yours?”

The man glanced at the former prisoners; it was obvious he recognised more than the man he had challenged. “You can.”

“Good. I want all three of you,” he said, speaking to Gimli and Haldir as well, “to get as close to the trouble makers as you can. Be discreet, but be ready to deal with them.”

Once his friends were in position, Legolas sprang up onto a pile of rubble and, with the dignity of an Elven prince, addressed the crowd: “Some of you, I know, came to this place to hide from justice. Instead, you were captured and you have served a harsh sentence. In the name of my Elven-lord, and by the powers invested in me by the King of the Reunified Kingdom, I grant you a full pardon. Every one of you will be clothed and fed, and taken back home.”

He dropped lightly to the ground. “Let us hope,” he murmured, “that keeps them quiet.”


Less than two hours later, the djinn alighted on the plateau.

In each hand, he was carrying a cart. One, in addition to holding Eowyn, Faramir, and Faramir’s redoubtable secretary, Berengar, was filled with warm clothing, blankets, and enough bread, cooked meats, cheese, and ale to feed the former prisoners for several days; the other carried a small army of men.



The food and clothing had been distributed, healers were tending to the sick and injured, and Berengar and his scribes were talking to the prisoners, identifying them and drawing up a plan to ferry them home.

Legolas, Eowyn and their friends were sitting round one of the fires, sharing a simple meal.

“You have a fine blade,” said Legolas to the knight.

“I call it Surekiller,” the man replied, drawing it from its scabbard and holding it in the firelight, “for it never misses an honourable mark.”

“May I?”

After a split-second’s hesitation, the knight turned the sword in his hand, and presented it to Legolas.

“This was forged by elves,” said Legolas, examining the blade. He ran a finger along the intricate pattern on the fuller. “It reads, Mahtar, which—in the ancient language of my people—means ‘warrior’.” He handed the sword back to the knight. “Where did you get it?”

“It was part of my wife’s dowry.”

“Your wife’s...?”

Legolas and Eowyn both looked, across the fire, at Gudyth. She was sitting between Haldir and Faramir and, although she was bundled in a blanket and her hair was still matted with dried mud, something in her form and in her bearing seemed to echo the elf’s...

“I think it is time we heard your story, mellon nín,” said Legolas.