The intrepid orc hunters

She had ridden out to meet Faramir in the foothills of Emyn Arnen.

"You have visitors," he said. "They are venturing into the wilds of North Ithilien to help me hunt your orc band."

Eowyn smiled.

There was Aragorn, dressed in his Ranger's leathers, sword over his shoulder—the very picture of a man escaping his tedious responsibilities for a few days, and Gimli, sturdy as a bear, mischievously winking as he suddenly moved the butt of his axe, and Legolas—tall, strong, beautiful Legolas, missing, for once, his practice shot, because Gimli had tapped the arm of his bow and spoiled his aim.

"Oh, dear," said the dwarf.

The elf glared at him.

But all Eowyn could see, as if for the very first time, was the elven height, the swell of hard muscle under jerkin and leggings, the pale golden hair lifting in the breeze...

She swallowed hard.

"Come, greet your guests," said Faramir.

She swung down from the saddle.

"Good morning, Eowyn," said Aragorn. "I hope you will not mind us taking Faramir away for a few more days."

"Hello, lass; how are you faring?" asked Gimli.

"Good morning, my lady," said Legolas, placing his hand upon his heart and bowing his head. "Will you be so good as to show us your Orc map?"