The rescuers, consisting of Aragorn and
Eomer, Imrahil (who had experience of sailing), Gimli, Legolas,
Dínendal (who refused to be parted from his patient, and
insisted that they would need him if Lady Eowyn or the March Warden
had been injured), Eofred and Brenalboarded the Starlight
without further delay.
"Are we really going to risk taking him out to sea?"
asked Eomer, quietly, indicating the distraught Legolas with a
jerk of the head.
"Do we have a choice?" replied Aragorn. "Would
you like to try to stop him?"
Eomer looked back at the elf, this time taking in the bow and
the white knives strapped to his back, and reluctantly shook his
"Besides," continued Aragorn, "if anything haserhappened
to Eowyn, we will need him there to take care of her."
"Béma," muttered Eomer. "Let us pray she
can keep that animal at bay until we catch up with them."
They had been sitting, side-by-side, on the bunk, holding improvised
weaponsa chair leg and a broom handlefor what seemed
Haldir raised his head. "Someone is coming," he said.
He stood up. "Get behind me."
"Haldir!" said Eowyn, exasperated. "We are in
"Please, my lady"
Eowyn aimed low: "Legolas would not make me hide
behind him, like a little girl," she said, though she knew
it was not strictly true.
Haldir sighed and motioned her to stand beside him.
They raised their makeshift clubs just as the door swung open.
Herzog was standing between two archers, with arrows trained on
"Drop the weapon, Master Elf," he said, "unless
you want to watch her die. You, too, my lady! That is better.
Now," he said to Haldir, "you are going to come with
me and we are going to have a little talk, whilst my comrade here,"he
jerked his head towards Wolfram, who had suddenly appeared behind
him"entertains the lady."
The Starlight was gaining on the galley.
"The winds dropped, which is in our favour,"
said Captain Fafner. "Were faster and more manoeuvrable
than he is. But if it drops much more hell run out his oars
again, and if we dont catch him before he gets those slaves
rowing, well lose him."
The rescuers, squeezed into the captains cabin, were holding
a council of war.
"Can you tell us anything about the layout of a ship like
that, Captain?" asked Aragorn.
Fafner took up a piece of chalk and drew a crude diagram on the
wooden wall. "On deck there should be a helmsman, here, the
officer on watch, here, and lookouts here, here and here,"
he said. He pointed to the quarterdeck. "The captains
cabins in here and, at this time of night, hell probably
be drinking with his First Mate and three or four of his men.
The main companionway is here, leading down to the rowing deckyoure
looking at two tiers of slaves, about 250 in all. Theyll
be chained to their oars, but there should be two, maybe three,
guards and theyll be well armed. The galleys here,
but I wouldnt think the cookll give you any trouble;
hes not much more than a slave himself. The hold, down here,
is where youll find the crews quarters, the armoury,
and storage rooms for swagall off a single gangway running
from stem to stern. And thats where youll need to
look for your woman."
"How close can you get to him," asked Aragorn, "without
his seeing us?"
"If we dowse all our lights we can probably get within quarter
of a mile," answered Fafner.
Aragorn nodded. "Good. Then I will need a small boat, to
take us right up beside him."
"What is your plan, Aragorn?" asked Eomer.
"We get Legolas close enough to board." He turned to
the elf. "I need you to deal with anyone on deck, fast and
"Once the deck is clear," Aragorn continued, "the
rest of us will board and take the ship. Imrahil, you and I will
make straight for the Captains quarters,"he pointed
to the diagram"and Brenal will back us up. Gimli and
Eofred will go down to the rowing deck, deal with the guards,
and set some of the slaves freeI wager they will be only
too happy to join us. Eomer and Legolas will head straight for
the hold, find Eowyn and Haldir, and get them back to the boat.
Master Dínendal will stay here and prepare some sort of
healing room, just in case."
He turned to Captain Fafner. "I will need one of your men
to steer the boatwe can row ourselves. Any advice, Captain?"
"Other than the obviousdo not underestimate themno
Once we are in the gangway, thought Haldir, they will
not have room to draw those bows. With my speed and strength...
"Do not think about escaping, Master Elf," said Herzog,
holding up a small vial. "Three drops of this and you will
sleep for twenty four hours, and then who would keep Wolfram
away from your pretty lady? More than three drops and you will
be waiting in the Halls of Mandos," he added.
He motioned Haldir towards another small cabin. "In here.
Take a seat, Master Elf."
Haldir shot him an ugly look, "I prefer to stand,"
Herzog shrugged his shoulders. He took a seat himself and, head
tilted, looked Haldir up and down. "I have a business proposition
for you, Master Elf."
Haldir gave him another withering look.
"It will be worth your while to hear me out," said
Herzog, in his rich, seductive voice, "for I will use you
whether you will or no. But if you are inclined to co-operate,
I will reward you well"
"You poisonous orc! There is nothing you can tempt me
Herzog smiled broadly. "Now we both know that that
is not true, Master Elf," he said. "As you no doubt
knowsince your light-fingered lady-friend stole my bookI
require a quantity of seed from a full-blooded elf." Haldir
sneered. "But I started thinking: why limit myself to one
client when I can supplyoh!an infinite number? You
give me seed regularly, I make up the Elixir and sell it to the
wealthy citizens of Far Harad; we both benefit." Herzog smiled
"There is not enough money in the whole of Middle Earth
to persuade me tototo do that, you filthy wargs
"I was not thinking of money, Master Elf," said Herzog,
his infuriating smile growing broader. "I was thinking of
the thing you want more than anything else in the world."
Haldir stared at him.
"The woman!" said Herzog. "A simple love potion,
and she would forget that thiswhat is that name? Leg-ah-lass?ever
existed. You could do whatever you wanted to her and she would
love itshe would beg you for moreuh"
Haldir wrapped his hands around Herzogs throat, and he
throttled the apothecary until one of the archers beat him senseless.
Wolfram locked the door.
"Well, my lady, he said, "it is time for you to pay
for your fun and games with the sword." He advanced on her,
The cabin was small, and Eowyn was forced to take a step back,
but she was determined not to be intimidated by this little man.
"I have already crippled you," she said. "And
however it may be that you are walking now, it will not take much
to stop you again."
Laughing derisively, Wolfram took a small bottle from his pocket
and shook it in her face. "A little help from the apothecary
soon repaired your handiwork," he said. He put the bottle
away and advanced another step.
Eowyn tried to step backwards, but found herself trapped against
Triumphantly, Wolfram pressed himself into her, moving his hips
suggestively, trying to push her down onto the bed.
Eowyn ducked sideways and dropped to the floor, but Wolfram responded
fast, dropping on top of her and pinning her down with his full
Eowyn struggled, trying to roll out from under him, but Wolfram
held her steady with a knee either side of her thighs.
Suddenly, Eowyn became aware of something hard pressing into
her back andstill struggling, so as not to alert Wolframshe
reached with her right hand and carefully examined the object...
It was the chair leg, her makeshift weapon. Eowyn smiled inwardly;
it felt good as she closed her hand around it. I must make
the first blow count, she thought. I have only one chance
to take him by surprise.
She forced herself to go limp.
Wolfram laughed. "Not so dangerous without your sword, are
you, my lady?" he gloated. "You will enjoy thisbeing
ridden by a real man instead of a pretty-boy elf!" He lifted
himself up, taking all his weight onto his knees, freeing his
hands to unlace his breeches. "The apothecarys potion
works wonders on pain, but it does have an unfortunate effect
on the prick," he said. "Luckily for you, it is just
beginning to wear off or I would not be able to get a proper rise.
But we will need to be quick. I must not miss my next dose."
He bent to pull his breeches open and Eowyn seized her chance;
with all the strength of a Shieldmaidens sword arm she smashed
the table leg into the side of his head and, at the same time,
drove a fist deep into his groin.
Wolfram was taken by surprise; the pain was crippling, in his
groin, his head, and his wounded leg. "You bitch,"
he screamed, "you elf-riding bitch!" He rolled onto
his side and curled up in a ball, pressing both hands to his groin.
Eowyn scrambled to her feet and lifted the club. Wham!
Once. Wham! Twice. Wham! Three times. Wham!
"This is for Legolas!" Wham! "This is for
When she finally regained control of herself, the man was no
longer moving, and his face was a bloody mess. Eowyn pulled a
filthy sheet off the bunk, twisted it into a rope, and tied his
hands together, looping the sheet tightly round the bedpost.
Then, taking a deep breath to control her revulsion, she reached
into the pocket of his breeches and retrieved the key to the cabin
"Are you sure we should be relying so much on Legolas?"
asked Imrahil, pulling on his oar.
"In truth," said Aragorn, pulling beside him, "I
do not know. But we do not have much choicenone of us
could board a galley without being seen, nor shoot men up in the
rigging. I just pray that his love for Eowyn and his determination
to rescue her are strong enough to keep his mind clear of both
the poison and the sea longing..."
Strange, thought Legolas, how much calmer I feel now
that I have a job to do. And, as for the sea longinghe
looked out across the sparkling waterI can see that it
is beautiful, but it is as though I had never heard its call;
my only desire is to get Eowyn back.
I will get her back, I know I will.
And if that animal has already hurt her, then I will be there
to support and comfort her. Because I, too, know something of
what it means to be taken against your will. So she will not have
to cope alone.
Eowyn had no idea how much time had passed since the fiend had
dragged her away from Legolas bedside. She had no idea whether
the elf would still be sleeping or whether, by now, he would be
fully recovered. But what she did knowwhat she was absolutely
certain ofwas that Legolas would rescue her as soon as he
So all I have to do is hold out until Legolas arrives,
But I cannot stay in the cabin with this animal. I must find
a better weapona sword or a bowfind Haldir, and get
us both to somewhere defendable.
Cautiously, she opened the cabin door and checked the gangway.
It was empty.
Gripping her chair leg, she crept out of the cabin, opened the
door opposite and was momentarily stunned by what she saw inside.
I have little use for gold and jewellery in my present situation,
Four doors later, she found the armoury. She tried several swords,
testing their weight and balance, before she found one that suited
her and strapped it around her waist; then she selected a bow
and a quiver full of arrows.
This is far inferior to an elven bow, she thought. I
will have to use it carefully.
Then, because she had no idea where they had taken Haldir, but
some instinct was telling her she should be up on deck, she crept
cautiously back to the companionway and began climbing up the
The tiny boat bobbed silently beside the galley.
Legolas slipped out of his borrowed cloak and gloves, stood up
and, balancing effortlessly as the boat rose and fell, pulled
his bow from its strap and, holding it ready in his left hand,
jumped lightly onto the deck of the galley without making a sound.
The rescue party held its collective breath, but it was not necessary.
The elfs right hand moved so fast it was barely visible:
his first arrow took out the helmsman, his second the officer
on watch, his third, fourth and fifth, the three lookouts.
The deck was clear.
Aragorn threw Legolas a rope and the elf tied it securely to
a cleat; Eomer threw a second rope and Legolas secured it to another.
Aragorn and Eomer began to climb aboard, but as the elf leaned
down to help, his keen senses alerted him to danger behind him,
and he turned and simultaneously ducked, narrowly avoiding a knife
Another sailor had come out on deck!
Legolas reached for one of his own white knives, but the man
was quickand very luckyslashing at him again, slicing
through his leather bracer and biting into the flesh of his forearm.
The pain was intense. Legolas knife dropped from his fingers
and he automatically raised his bow to ward off another slash,
butto his surpriseit never came. Instead, the man
stumbled towards him and fell, an arrow protruding from his back.
Legolas scanned the deck, looking for his protector.
She was standing by the companionway door, her bow still raised.
Legolas managed to stifle his cry of joy but could not stop himself
running across the deck and using his good arm to pull her against
him. "Are you all right, Eowyn nín?" he
She smiled up at him. "Yes," she whispered back, "I
knew you would come for me."
"Did he hurt you"
"No, my love. No, he did notand he must be regretting
now that he ever tried. I left him tied up in a cabin. But they
took Haldir away and I could not find him; I do not know where
"We will find him," whispered Aragorn. "Legolas,
Eomer, get Eowyn down into the boat. Imrahil, Brenal, with me;
Gimli, Eofredyou know what to do."
Aragorn, Imrahil and Brenal silently entered the captains
cabin, and took the Captain and his officers prisoner without
incident. Gimli and Eofred, meanwhile, crept down to the rowing
deck, knocked out the two guards, and released ten of the most
trustworthy-looking slaves. Then the entire rescue party quietly
made its way down to the hold and the crews quarters.
Taken by surprise, the crew put up little fight, most of the
sailors surrendering without even rising to their feet. Imrahil
put the slaves in charge of the prisoners, giving them strict
orders that no one was to be harmed. "When we return to Dol
Amroth," he said to the slaves, "I will set you free
and reward each of you with fifty pieces of silverand there
is a place in the army of Belfalas for any man that wants it.
But only if you behave honourably."
"Come, we must search the storerooms," said Aragorn;
"Haldir is still in danger."
The first storeroom was filled with chests of gold and silver
jewellery, plate, works of art, and rich fabrics from Far Harad.
"Gods," said Imrahil, "they must have been operating
in these waters for years, posing as traders but looting the merchantmen!"
In the second storeroom, a broken chair, a jagged strip of rose-coloured
velvet, and a twisted sheet tied to the bedpost told a worrying
story. "This must be where they held Eowyn," said Aragorn.
He fingered the improvised rope. "This is where she left
the fiend tied up. But he has escaped us again!"
"He must be hiding amongst the sailors," said Imrahil.
"But why would they protect him?"
Aragorn shook his head. "I do not know," he said, thoughtfully.
"Unlessunless he found a bolt hole somewhere in the
fabric of the ship..." He began tapping the cabin walls,
searching for a hiding place.
"Aragorn!" Gimlis gruff voice called from further
down the gangway, "Aragorn! We have found the elf!"
Abandoning his search, Aragorn ran down the gangway and into
another small cabin. Eofred was kneeling over Haldir, carefully
supporting his head. "He has been badly beaten, your Majesty,"
he said, "but I think he will recover."
"Get him back to the boat, EofredBrenal, help him,"
said Aragorn. "Master Dínendal will take good care
of him." Then, as the two men lifted the elf and carried
him out of the cabin, he added, "Well, at least we have one
prize!" And, with the toe of his boot, he poked the dazed
apothecary, who had been lying trapped beneath the elf.
Eowyn had removed Legolas bracer, rolled back the sleeve
of his tunic and was carefully binding his forearm with a strip
of cloth cut from her shift. "This will help until Master
Dínendal can dress it properly," she said.
"Thank you, Eowyn nín," said Legolas,
softly, drawing her closer with his good arm and burying his face
in the crook of her neck. "Eowyn," he whispered, "my
Eomer cleared his throat. "There are other people
in this boat, you know."
As dawn broke, the Starlight and the Sea Maiden returned to Dol
Amroth together, the galley crewed by a handful of men provided
by Captain Fafner.
Herzog the apothecary was immediately transferred to the castle
dungeon to await trial. The Captain and crew of the Sea Maiden
were imprisoned in the city gaol, and the Corsairs gold
and other valuables were moved to the castle treasury.
Keeping his promise, Aragorn rewarded Captain Fafner with fifteen
hundred gold pieces plus another five hundred for the extra assistance
he had provided. Imrahil set all 250 galley slaves free, rewarding
each man with fifty pieces of silver and the opportunity to join
the army of Belfalas. But he also, discreetly, limited their access
to the taverns, and stipulated that each man must either find
paid employment within three months or leave the city. Thus, he
hoped, he would avoid setting 250 sturdy beggars loose on the
streets of Dol Amroth.
Once the galley was completely empty, Imrahils palace guard
searched it repeatedly, from stem to stern. But no trace of Wolfram
"Keep still," whispered Eowyn.
They had finally reached their bedchamber by mid-morning, but
Eowyn had insisted on replacing the dressing on Legolas
arm, which had meant her removing his jerkin, and his tunic, and
then one thing had led to another...
And now Legolas lay naked on the bedhis limbs outstretched,
his hair loosewith Eowyn, fully clothed, straddling him.
"Shhhhh. Keep still."
Using the lightest of pressure, Eowyn brushed her fingertips
up the insides of his thighs, over his testicles, upwards along
the hard length of his penis, and gently explored the curves and
hollows of its head. "You are so beautiful," she whispered.
Legolas outstretched hands gripped the bedclothes.
"Keep still..." Eowyn leaned forwardher hair
spilling over Legolas belly and thighsand slowly licked
him from root to tip. Then, slipping her hands beneath his buttocks
and squeezing him firmly, she took the head of his penis in her
mouth and sucked, very, very, gently.
"Oh Valar!" cried Legolas, his back arching off the
bed. "Please, melmenya," he begged, "do not torture
But Eowyn had never had much taste for foreplay and, with one
final lick, and a wicked, wicked smile, she lifted and held his
penis and sank down upon him, sighing with pleasure. And then
she began to ride him, slowly and luxuriously, rising and falling
and circling her hips. "Keep still," she whispered.
"Keep still, my love... keep still... Gods!"
Legolas had reached up and torn open the remains of her velvet
dress and had enfolded her breasts in his hands.
"There were moments when I did not think we would ever share
this again, melmenya," said Legolas, kissing Eowyns
hand. "I thought you were gone forever. Master Dínendal
wanted to lock me uphe tried to force me to sleep, to stop
me going mad..."
Eowyn brought their joined hands to her lips and kissed Legolas
"And," he continued, "I was afraid that, if I
did get you back, you would be..." He hesitated, trying to
find the right words, "Broken, meleth nín,
raped and broken... And I swore that whatever had happened, I
would help you cope. But, in truth, I had no idea how I was going
to do it."
"Shhhhh, my love," said Eowyn, rolling over
and lying on top of him. "Do not torture yourself. It was
he who was broken."
"Yes. I should have known he could not conquer your spirit,"
said Legolas, slipping his arms around her waist. "But there
is still a part of my mind that cannot stop imagining you hurt
beyond hopeand if I could get my hands on that man, melmenya,
I would kill him for what he tried to do to you."
Legolas crossed the castle courtyard.
He had lied to Eowyn, telliing her that he was going to the palace
armouries to check that his bracer was being repaired properly.
Instead, with Imrahils permission, he was going to the palace
"I have a written order from Prince Imrahil," he told
the Head Gaoler, showing him the parchment. "I want to talk
to the apothecary."
Herzog, manacled hand and foot, was dragged out of his cell,
and thrown into a small room furnished with a table and two stools.
"Sit down," said Legolas, coldly.
Herzog, sensing that the elfs simmering anger was out of
character, decided to do as he was told, for now. He is dangerous
in this state, he thought, but he is not used to feeling
anger and that makes him vulnerable... Perhaps I can use it to
"I want to know where your accomplice is," said Legolas.
"I want him to stand trial for the kidnapping and attempted
rape of my wife. If you give me the information I need, I will
use such influence as I have to see that your sentence is commuted
from death to life imprisonment"
Herzog laughed. "Perhap an immortal, Master Elf, does not
realise what life imprisonment would be like for a mortal man
such as me," he said. "But let me enlighten youwhat
you offer is no incentive!"
"I want that orc brought to justice!" said Legolas,
"And I cannot help you," answered Herzog. It was the
truth, for he had no idea where Wolfram was, but he deliberately
made it sound like a lie. "So we are at an impasse, Master
Elf. Though there is something else I might be willing to trade
"What are you talking about?" asked Legolas, impatiently.
"Set me freeit would be easy for you to arrange it,
and make it look like an escapeand I will give you the thing
you most desire."
Legolas sneered. "You are insane if you think I would do
something so dishonourableand there is nothing I desire
that I do not already have!"
"No?" Herzog taunted. "An immortal married to
a mortalwhat might he desire? Desire so much that
he would be willing to rebel against the gods to get it? Hmmm?
Something that I could provide? All I would require is
access to my workshop and some fresh elven seedand you are
already in the habit of giving her some of that every day."
"You filthy animal," cried Legolas, his heart breaking.
He rose to leave, but Herzog caught him by the elbow.
"Think about it, Master Elf. You are seeing it in her alreadythe
start of wrinkles, the sagging breasts and belly. Set me free
and, like you, she will never age! You will have her forever!"
Legolas raised his hand to strike the apothecary but, mastering
himself just in time, he placed it on Herzogs arm and coldly
pushed him away. "My offer still stands," he said. "Tell
me where to find this Wolfram and I will try to get your sentence
commuted to life imprisonment. But do not ever speak to me about
the other thing again." He turned his back.
But, as he reached the door, he suddenly felt Herzogs hands,
cold and heavy, pressing down on his head. He immediately spun
round to defend himself, but his fist struck nothingHerzog
was still sitting at the table.
Disoriented, Legolas banged on the door to summon the guard.
Oh dear, Master Elf, thought Herzog, as he watched him
leave. You will live to rue the day you turned down my offer.
I must get back to Eowyn, thought Legolas, or she will
She will suspect...
He paused at the bottom of the staircase, trying to remember
the excuse he had given Eowyn.
"I hope the dog co-operated, my lord," said a voice
behind him. "If you need me to persuade him a little..."
Dog? What dog? Legolas turned, smiled politely at the
gaoler, and shook his head.
I must get back... Get back...
He climbed the spiral staircase. Someone is waiting for me...
He stepped out into the courtyard and looked up at the glorious
blue sky. Three white birds were circling above the castle, crying
Gulls, he thought, turning round and round, watching them swoop
and glide. Look at the gulls! How lonely they sound, calling to
Of course, how could I have forgotten?
The sea is waiting for me.