Good morning, Master Dínendal. Legolas crouched
down beside the healer. Thank you for agreeing to help us
againI know that this is an unpleasant task, but if you
can tell us anything that might help us find the murderer
Well, said the healer, gravely, the unfortunate
man was stabbed through the heart. I can examine the wound more
thoroughly in the Healing Room but, at first sight, I would say
that the blade was long and narrow with a trailing point, and
that the bolster,he pulled back the mans torn shirtwas
angledyou can see how it has dug more deeply into the flesh
at the lower edge of the wound
Something like this? asked Legolas, drawing one of
his own white knives and handing it to the other elf.
Dínendal examined the blade. Yes
held the point against the wound. Yes, that is a good match.
He gave the knife back to Legolas.
The attack, continued the healer, does not
appear frenzied. The killer struck once, withdrew the knife, and
his victims lifeblood flowed out from the hole in his heart.
The killer then used the same blade to cut off the ears.
Respectfully, he closed the dead mans shirt, smoothing the
bloody cloth over the broad chest.
He does seem to have fought, though, said Eowyn.
Look,she lifted Herals left handhis
knuckles are grazed and the blood is fresh, so the murderer may
well have a black eye, or a swollen nose.
Are there any footprints? asked Legolas, glancing
across the flet.
One on the porch, said Eowyn, but that is Herals
own: there is a crack across the sole,she looked uphe
slipped on his own blood, Lassui. There is another one, down there,she
pointed to the floor of the fletbut Master Bawden
says that is hishe is waiting to speak to us in the
workmens pavilion. I cannot see any others.
Legolas nodded. You and I will have another look before
we question Bawden, melmenya, he said. Master Dínendal,
I think that now would be a good time for you to move the body
to the Healing Room.
The stone quarry
Hentmirës carriage (recently shipped from Carhilivren)
glided into the clearing. Whoa, called Rimush, and
the horses drew to a halt.
Sitting on the drivers seat, beside her former slave, Hentmirë
surveyed the scene. Directly ahead, a curving wall of rock, crisscrossed
by sloping pathways and peppered with holes, swarmed with dwarves
cutting, and men hauling, and elves carving the smooth, white
stone to every shape and size.
Look, there he is, cried Hentmirë. Gimli!
She waved to the dwarf. Gimli!
By the time she had climbed down to the ground, Gimli, wearing
a leather cap and apron, and covered from head to foot in stone
dust, was there to meet her. Hentmirë explained what had
happened. And it is only two days until that dreadful Ceremony,
Without a word, Gimli walked over to one of the barrels standing
beside the supply tent, scooped up a large ladle of water, poured
it over his head, and shook himself like a dog. Then he rejoined
Hentmirë. Let us go and help the lad, he said.
Having found nothing further at the building site, Legolas and
Eowyn crossed the main walkway, turned onto a narrow side path,
and followed it, snaking between the tree trunks, until they came
to a long, open-sided shelter where tables, chairs and a simple
kitchen had been arranged to provide a place where the craftsmen-builders
As they approached the pavilion they could see Bawden, hunched
over at one of the tables, staring at his hands but, the moment
he became aware of them, he leapt to his feetMy Lord,
my Lady,and bowed, respectfully.
Please sit down, Master Bawden, said Legolas. He
pulled out a chair for Eowyn, then sat down beside her. We
just need to ask you a few questions.
Of course, my Lord.
Eowyn began. Why were you on the building site this morning?
she asked, opening up her wax tablet and extracting the stylus.
You told us that work had stopped.
It has, my Lady. But I
The man sighed. The
thing is, my Lady, I had a dream.
Eowyn looked up from her note-taking.
Legolas frowned. A dream?
Yes, my Lord. It didnt make much senseas is
usually the case with dreamsbut I woke up convinced that
something was wrong. The man blushed. I wouldnt
normally have taken it seriously but, today, I just wanted to
make sure that everything was sound before the servants opened
the curtains and his Majesty sawwellI was expecting
to find something that needed repairing. Instead, I found
His voice trailed away.
A body, said Legolas.
Yes, my Lord. Heral son of Eadfrid. The man sighed.
Luckily, his Majestys curtains were still closed,
so I covered up him up with a tarp and went to find Captain Golradir.
Yesterday morning, said Eowyn, I saw you break
up a fight between Heral and another man.
Lyell son of Aubour, said Bawden.
Eowyn noted the name. What was it about?
The man frowned. To tell the truth, my Lady, Ive
no idea. Lyells not married, so
We already know that Heral had a reputation, said
That, he did, my Lord. The man glanced uneasily at
You may speak freely in front of me, Master Bawden.
Thank you, my Lady. Bawden cleared his throat. They
were always coming for him: the women would pester himafterwards
I mean, for he did all the chasing beforehandand
the men would threaten.
Can you give us any names? asked Legolas.
Id have to give it some thought, my Lord, said
Bawden, and ask some of the other men, but I could probably
draw up a list
Heral couldnt walk from here to the privy
without spotting some pretty girl and swaggering up to her, and
then,he shruggedthen hed boast about
Had he boasted about anyone recently? asked Eowyn.
An elf-lady, said Bawden. He didnt mention
her nameI dont think he knew their names half the timehe
just said that her husband couldntwellmake her happy.
And I think he said that she had dark hair.
She did not visit him on the site? asked Legolas.
No my Lord.
Did her husband? asked Eowyn.
Not that I know of, my Lady. But there was a womanwho
came recently, that iswalked right out onto the beams, brave
as you please, handed him a bag, andwell, I didnt hear
what she said, but it made him angryhe would have hit her
if I hadnt stepped in.
Can you describe her? asked Legolas.
Oh, she was beautiful, my Lord, said Bawden. A
real womanly woman, if you know what I meantoo worldly
wise to have been taken in by Herallovely, long brown hair,
coiled at the back of her neck,Bawden waved a hand
behind his head as he described the elaborate hairstyle. She
was wearing a fur mantle. Ohand she had an elf with her.
One of the border guards.
Arinna, said Eowyn. She made a note. You say
that Heral threatened her, Master Bawden. Why did you not report
that to Captain Golradir?
Well, my Ladyit was something and nothing.
He thought for a moment. You see, we craftsman-builders,
he said, were like soldierswe deal with our
own. Those of us who saw it, we got together, and we fined Heral
half a days pay. Anywhere else, the money would have gone
to the poor but, here in the colony, where there are no poor,
it went to Dunstons widow and children.
Dunston. The man who fell from the flet wall?
Yes, my Lord. Terrible loss. Bawden turned back to
Eowyn. Its the way weve always done things, my Lady.
I understand that, said Eowyn, but you are
no longer itinerant workers, Master Bawden, you are members of
this colony and subject to its laws.
And, if wed judged that the law had been broken,
my Lady, we would have reported it to Captain Golradir straight
away. But when its a matter of discipline, we have to deal
with it ourselves. A foreman who calls out the Palace Guard to
settle every little disturbance will soon lose the mens
We will discuss this again, Master Bawden, said Legolas,
at length, when we have the leisure to do so. In the meantime,
do you have any more questions, melmenya?
I can think of none at present.
Then we will bid you Good Morning, Master Bawden,
said Legolas, rising. Thank you for your time. That list
of names you mentioned would be most helpful and, if you should
remember anything else
There is one thing, my Lord, said the man. It
may not be anything to do with this, of course, but theres
a plank missinga short length, thats why I noticed
it. When I took the tarpaulin off to cover up the body, it wasnt
on the pile.
Legolas and Eowyn returned to the main walkway, lingering upon
a small garden flet to gaze out across the city whilst they gathered
their thoughts. A cool breeze was stirring the foliage around
them. Legolas took a deep breath of fresh air. What are
you thinking, melmenya? he asked.
That Arinna did not kill Heral, said Eowyn.
No, said Legolas. No, I do not believe her
capable of murder, either. But
It is not that, Lassui. She turned to face him. A
woman like Arinna would not have cut off his ears. She would have
She waved a hand in front of the elfs groin.
Ceryn Manwë, said Legolas, of course she
would! But why did she come to see him?
Eowyn shrugged. And what did she say, to make him so angry?
What was in the bag?
We need to talk to her, melmenya.
Yes. She is our first important witness. I think we should
go and see her next.
Legolas gave Eowyn his arm and they walked back through the palace,
then followed the winding thoroughfare, through the clusters of
houses, to where Arinna lived with her two elves, Camthalion and
It is such a lovely day, said Eowyn.
I feel guilty.
Because you should be closeted in the study with Lady Lessien,
preparing for the Rite. And, instead, we are using the murder
as an excuse to spend time together.
I sent Lessien a note this morning, said Legolas,
explaining what had happened, and she replied that, in her
opinion, I am already fully prepared.
That does not excuse the way I am feeling, said Eowyn.
Like a child who has been let out of her lessons early.
Legolas drew her over to the flet wall. Do you know why
the Rite calls for celibacy, melmenya?
So that you will be pure when
No. Legolas raised her hands to his lips,
and kissed them tenderly. It is not that. When I saw you
this morning, I understoodit is so that we have the
opportunity to remember what it was like to be apartthe
opportunity to appreciate what a gift we have been given.
He smiled down at her. The Valar will not condemn us for
enjoying each others company.
The couple turned: Haldir was hurrying towards them.
Eowyn! He gave them each a hasty greeting, hand on
heart. I have just heard of the deathand Golradir
tells me that you have decided to investigate it personally. What
can I do?
Eowyn gave Legolas hand a warning squeeze. Did you
know him, Haldir? she asked.
The dead man? The big elf shrugged. Only by
reputation, he said. Why?
Eowyn thinks she saw you watching him, said Legolas,
ignoring another squeeze, yesterday morning.
I did see you, Haldir. What were you doing?
Eowyn! You cannot think
Of course not! But you were hiding in the branches, and
you did look angry!
Haldir hesitated for just a moment, then he thrust his hand into
his pocket, pulled out a square of parchment, and handed it to
her. Read it.
Eowyn unfolded the note, scanned it, and handed it to Legolas.
Valar, whispered Legolas.
Please do not look at me like that, said Haldir.
I cannot pretend to be an innocent victim. But Cyllien and
I, we are together in this, for better or for worse, and I wanted to see
him. I wanted to understand. I did not kill him.
Where were you last night, asked Eowyn, quietly,
during the banquet?
Walking, replied the big elf. I had much
to think about, so I went to Eryn Dholt, where the water cascades
down the Gynd Vyrn, and I walked. All night
A sudden commotion errupted somewhere near the palace, and a
young woman, part-dressed and with her hair in wild disarray,
crying, My Lady! My Lady! came running along the the
walkway pursued by Captain Golradir.
Eowyn reached out and caught the woman by the hands. What
She insists on speaking to you, my Lady, said Golradir. She says that someone has stolen her baby.
It was his father! cried the woman. His father
took him, my LadyHeral son of Eadfrid!
Son of an Orc, muttered Haldir.
What is your name? asked Eowyn, gently encouraging
the distraught woman to sit down on the bench that ran along the
Godith, the woman sobbed. Im Godith.
And how do you know that it was Heral who took your baby,
Because he said he would. He said that Little Godwin was
his by law. He said a mother thats not married has no rights
in this colony.
Haldir swore under his breath. He was lying to you, Mistress
The woman looked up at him. Are you sure, sir?
When did you last see Little Godwin, Godith? asked
Yesterday afternoon, my Lady,the woman sniffed,
trying hard to control her tearswhen I got back from
hop pickingmy mother gave him back to me, and I fed him,
and put him to bedand he waved to me, my Lady. And this
morning, he was gone. Tears ran freely down her cheeks.
Little Godwin waved to me! She broke down.
Eowyn wrapped an arm around her.
Where do you live, Mistress Godith? asked Legolas.
Eryn Valen, she sobbed. Its a long way,
my Lord. I just took a horse from Master Erals stable, because
I needed to get herehe doesnt knowbut Im
sure he would have let me if hed been there
We will make it right with him, said Eowyn.
Legolas beckoned Haldir aside. There was no sign of a baby
with Herals body, he said, quietly, and we have
only Godiths suspicion that he had anything to do with the
childs disappearance. I suggest that we go to Eryn Valen,
search her house and the immediate neighbourhood and then, if
we have not found the child, spread out into the surrounding forest.
Haldir nodded. I will have a search party ready in half
Legolas knelt down before the weeping woman. We are going
to take you back home, Mistress Godith, he said. And
then Lady Eowyn and I, and our Border Guards, will find your baby.