haldir and faramir

The roc flew along the shoreline—keeping a careful watch for other birds—until, at last, she spotted her destination and, sweeping in a gentle arc, struck out across the dark sea towards the tiny islet where she knew that her master—still saddened by her earlier failure—would be waiting in his lonely prison.


"Tell me more about your colony, my dear," said Hentmirë.

They were sitting on her balcony, drinking iced tea, and watching the sun set over the sea. To his right, through the windows of his own bedroom, Legolas could see Eowyn, dressed in her loose trousers, practising her sword techniques with a wooden dolly she had borrowed from the laundry. He smiled.

"It is called Eryn Carantaur," he said, "which means 'Great Red Forest'."

"The trees are red?"

"All year round. And tall," said Legolas. "The oldest are hundreds of feet high. Most of the city is built amongst their branches. Our homes are in the trees and the forest is a part of our lives."

"And you are its ruler? But you are so young!"

Legolas laughed. "I am almost three thousand years old, my lady."

"Three thousand years! I cannot imagine—"

Sensing a third presence on the balcony, both Hentmirë and Legolas turned towards the door. "What is it, Rimush?"

"A letter, my lady," said the servant, bowing, "addressed to you. It was not formally delivered, just pushed under the iron gates, and no one in the house saw the messenger."

"Thank you, Rimush." Hentmirë took the scroll from him. "There will be no answer. You may go." She broke the seal, unrolled the papyrus, and quickly scanned its contents.

Legolas watched her with interest. Though, outwardly, she appeared calm, he could sense her mounting anxiety. "My lady," he ventured, quietly, "what is it?"

"It is nothing," said the woman. "Nonsense." She screwed the letter into a ball and threw it on the floor. "But I am quite tired, now, my dear, so I think I would like to rest."

Though troubled by her change of mood, Legolas immediately rose to leave, but Hentmirë caught his arm. "You must promise me, faithfully, Legolas, that you will never leave the house at night."

"My lady," said Legolas, "Eowyn and I have already given you our word that we shall not run away..."

The woman looked confused. "Yes! Yes, you have." She released his arm.

Legolas bowed.

But then she caught his hand again. "No," she said. "No! This is different, Legolas. Please promise me."

"What was in that letter?"

"Nothing," cried Hentmirë. "It was nothing, just—just leave me."


"Look at the island," shouted Valandil, pointing towards a tiny rock standing isolated in the deep blue ocean. "It looks as though there is some sort of building carved into the cliff." He peered intently, craning his head forward. "Yes! And I can see someone," he cried, "standing on top of the tower. I think he is calling to the bird! Can you see him?"

Wilawen did not respond.

Valandil turned to her anxiously, not knowing whether she was too exhausted to speak or whether she simply could not hear him over the beating of the bird's wings. "Wilawen?"

Still no response.

Then the roc stilled her wings and, fanning out her feathers to catch the air, began a rapid descent towards the mysterious island, and Valandil instinctively closed his eyes, so he did not see the precision with which the bird opened her claws at the critical moment, dropping him and Wilawen onto the stone terrace, nor how she turned abruptly, and rose again, and swooped a second time to land neatly on the low wall herself.

It was the bird's cry of joy that brought him back to his senses. He opened his eyes and stared at the graceful elf standing beside her.

"Figwit!" he cried. "What are you doing here?"


"Legolas—what is wrong?" asked Eowyn. She caught the elf by the arm and, partially supporting his weight, led him to the chair beside the dressing table and sat him down. "What is wrong, my love?" she repeated, gently sliding his short, embroidered waistcoat off his shoulders.

"It is not the physical confinement," said Legolas, shaking his head, bitterly. "It is the surrender of all responsibility that is unbearable. It is—oh…" His complaint turned into a sigh of pleasure as Eowyn began to massage his neck and shoulders. "Oh, do not stop..."

Eowyn smiled. "Just for a moment," she said. Carefully, she gathered Legolas' loose hair, twisted it, and secured it with his mother-of-pearl comb. Then she selected a small jar from the array of pretty bottles on the dressing table, uncorked it, and poured a little of its contents onto her hands.

"Your Hentmirë is a strange woman," she said, rubbing her hands together. "When she gave me this oil she told me that her mother used to use it to soothe her father's aches and pains. I told her that elves do not have aches and pains..." She began to knead the tense muscles in Legolas' neck. "It seems I was wrong. Tell me what has happened."

Legolas told her about the letter. "She will not talk about it, melmenya. I know she is being threatened—but if she will not speak to me, what can I do?"

"You are not responsible for her, my darling."

"But she is so unworldly, Eowyn nín. She only survives because she is rich."

"It is being rich that has made her unworldly, Legolas. Had she not been so rich, she would have had to learn to survive, like the rest of us." Eowyn sighed. "But I can see that you will not be reasoned with, my darling, so... What did she do with the letter?"

"She threw it on the floor."

"Of the balcony?"


"Then what are you waiting for? Go and get it!" She wiped her hands on a small towel then pulled him to his feet. "Go on," she said, pushing him out onto their own balcony. "It cannot be more than three yards. And I have seen you jump three times that."

Legolas grinned. "You exaggerate, melmenya, but you are right; it is not too far..."

He leaped onto the balcony wall, jumped across the gap, and dropped silently onto Hentmirë's balcony. Moments later he was back, empty-handed.

"It has gone," he said.

"Perhaps one of the servants has tidied it away," said Eowyn.

"No," said Legolas. "Hentmirë sent everyone away. She must have come back for it herself."

"So she is worried..." said Eowyn.

Legolas nodded.

Eowyn held out her hand. "Come," she said. "You can concern yourself with this again tomorrow. Tonight, I have plans for you."

"I am not sure that I am in the mood, melmenya—"

"I will not have her come between us, Legolas."

The elf smiled, ruefully. "I cannot win, can I?"

"Oh, I do not know about that," said Eowyn, leading him back indoors. "I think that most elves would consider me a rare prize."




"Valar, it glows."

"Mmm. It contains pepper oil," said Eowyn, massaging another of Hentmirë's balms into his buttocks and down the backs of his muscular thighs, "to relieve more severe aches." She leaned forwards and placed a soft kiss on the back of his neck. "But Hentmirë's maid, who worked at Arinna's in her younger days, tells me that a 'glow', as you called it, on the back of the legs has a very interesting effect certain other parts."

Legolas squirmed beneath her, rubbing himself against the bed. "She is right."

"That is why some men enjoy being whipped, apparently..."

"I am quite sure," said Legolas, "that being whipped is highly overrated."

"You never know," said Eowyn, "you may want to try it later." She nipped his ear.

"Oh..." His hips moved again. "I do not think I approve of your taking lessons from a former whore."

"You may change your mind about that, too. Turn over," she said, softly.

"Do not rub your oil there!"

Eowyn laughed. "Turn over!"

"There are far better ways to relieve that ache."

"I know." She leaned down and kissed his ceber, gently brushing her lips over its head. "But," she whispered, "since you will not allow me to touch it"—she wriggled her oily fingers—"you will have to help me."

Smiling up at her, and with a touch of pride on his beautiful face, Legolas used his hand to raise himself. Eowyn sank down upon him, rocking her hips, pressing his oiled buttocks into the bed. "How does that feel?" she asked. She leaned forwards and kissed his mouth.

"Good," he answered, through clenched teeth. "Very good."

"It is quite nice from where I am sitting. Mmmm." She smoothed her oily hands over his straining muscles, leaving a glistening trail on his arms, his chest and his taut belly. Then, grasping his wrists and pinning them to the bed, she began to slide up and down on him, grinding her hips, until the elf's sighs of pleasure had hardened into moans.

"Sweet Eru, melmenya," he sobbed, writhing in her fiery grip, "I am going to drown you!" He began to thrust, wildly. Eowyn drew herself upright and, still riding him hard, pressed her hands down on his belly, just above his golden curls.

"Cuinon!" screamed the elf. "Cuinon! YES!" And he let out a long, throaty roar as his body convulsed and, spasm after spasm, all the frustrations of the day burst out from him.


Two days later

"Follow me," shouted Oliel, over his shoulder, a, barging through the crowds of people lining the wharf, he led the way, through narrow, twisting streets, to a noisy tavern on the very edge of the souk. "The Black Beast," he said. "Most of the slave captains come here—it's where they buy and sell amongst themselves—like a corn exchange for slaves. I have a very good contact here."

He reached for the door.

"Now remember: be discreet," he said. "Most of these animals would kill you as soon as look at you." He nodded at Haldir, waited until the elf had pulled his traditional Haradin headdress more securely over his ears, then shouldered his way through the heavy door. The tavern was heaving with sailors, talking, laughing and drinking with abandon, and Oliel greeted several men as he wound his way towards the bar. Faramir and Haldir followed him as best they could, Faramir nodding, in a curt, business-like way, to Oliel's acquaintances.

"Bodeshmun," cried Oliel, slapping one man on the back. "I believe you owe me a drink!"

The man turned to face him with a flash of anger in his eyes. Then, recognising his associate, he smiled. "Your memory is failing, Oliel," he replied, "for it is you, I assure you, that owes me a drink."

Oliel caught the landlord's eye. "A tankard of your best for Captain Bodeshmun, when you are ready, and three more for me and my friends." He drew Bodeshmun away from the bar. "I may have brought you a bit of business, Bodesh," he said.

The other man quickly downed the remainder of his ale and dumped the empty tankard on the counter. "You know I'm always open for business," he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He looked appraisingly at Faramir and Haldir. "Hmmm," he said, "come with me." He led them into the much quieter parlour. "Now, what can I do for you, friends?"

Oliel gestured at Faramir.

"We are looking," said Faramir, "for four elves—"

"And a blonde woman," added Haldir.

"Yes." Faramir glanced at Haldir, silently ordering him to be careful. "They would have arrived on the True Friend, in the last day or so."

Bodeshmun nodded. "Three elves," he said, "but only one was auctioned. And a woman—a real heartbreaker, rumoured to be a princess—"

"That is she," said Haldir.

"Fancied her myself. What do you want with them?"

"We want them back," said Faramir.

Bodeshmun nodded. "Let's get out of here," he said.


We could not be any more of a target if we were carrying a sign saying 'archery butts', thought Legolas, as he and Hentmirë moved slowly through the souk, carried in the woman's palanquin by her four attendants.

The letter had been a threat. Legolas was certain of that now for, although Hentmirë was still refusing to talk about it, Eowyn had quizzed the servants and discovered that there had been many letters, all delivered by hand, all making Hentmirë behave strangely, insisting that no one leave the house after dark...

Legolas scanned the bustling crowd. Any one these men could get close enough to use a knife on her. I would never see it coming, he thought. And if he used a bow...

He scanned the buildings above the wooden stalls. Windows, balconies, flat roofs... He could be waiting anywhere.

He closed his eyes and tried to use his other senses to detect any immediate danger.

"Look!" cried Hentmirë.

Legolas automatically reached for his white knives.

"What are you doing my dear?" asked the woman, laughing.


"I just wanted to show you the lovely saddles. Look," she said, happily, pointing to a stall selling richly tooled leather ware, "would you like one of those?"

"Elves do not usually ride with a saddle," said Legolas, "and you have already given me more than enough gifts, my lady." He hesitated. "But, if you will buy me something more, what I need is a weapon—"

"A weapon!" Hentmirë shook her head. "No," she said. "A servant who carries a weapon is a target for his master's enemies. You are safer without, my dear."

"My lady, you are clearly being threatened—"

"My mind is made up, Legolas."


"Wines! Wines! Come buy my wines!
Lovely sweet whites from Harlindon;
Robust ruby reds from Dorwinion…

"Come now, sir," said the wine seller, grasping Faramir by the arm, "you look like a man who knows his wines. Taste this and tell me what you think."

"Perhaps later, madam," said Faramir, smiling. He bowed politely and pushed his way back into the crowd, quickening his pace to catch up with the others.

Without warning, Bodeshmun ducked behind a tailor's stall, took a key from around his neck, unlocked the small, low door to what looked like a warehouse, and motioned them inside.

"Now gentlemen," he said, locking the door behind him, "we can talk. What do you want from me?"

Faramir looked around. His first impression had been right: it was a warehouse, stacked floor to ceiling with bales of cheap cloth. "We want—for want of a better word—to buy our friends back," he said. "Oliel tells us you can help us."

"Five thousand now, another five on delivery," said Bodeshmun. "In metal."

"Agreed," said Faramir. "But I do not carry so much with me, for obvious reasons."

"We cannot do business until you hand it over," said Bodeshmun, firmly.

"Sir," began Haldir, with a coldness that made the man's eyes widen, "if you know the whereabouts of Lady Eo—"

"They are good for it, Bodesh," said Oliel, suddenly. "I will vouch for them. And you can collect the money from me, tonight."

Bodeshmun sighed. "It's irregular," he said. "But, since Oliel trusts you... Sit down." He perched himself on a pile of cotton. "No? Suit yourselves." He took a deep breath. "Three elves, two men and seven women arrived on the True Friend two days ago and were taken to Arinna's—that's a whorehouse on the edge of town. Milkherem pays Arinna to prepare his goods for market—wash them, dress them up, and so on. Now," he said, "three elves went in but only one came out—"

"How do you know this?" asked Faramir.

"I make it my business to know. Only one came out—the pretty one that couldn't keep his hands off the blonde woman—"

"Legolas," said Haldir. "But there were three others. What happened to them?"

Bodeshmun shook his head. "Only two," he said. "And, word is, Arinna took a fancy to them and kept them. They will be easy to get out—if, that is"—he winked—"they want to leave their beautiful and, ahem, very talented new mistress."

"What happened to Legolas and Eowyn?" asked Faramir.

"The pretty elf and the woman were both bought by the same person."

Haldir sighed with relief.

"A rich spinster—very rich—Hentmirë, daughter of Mursilis. Said to be worth a cool ten million." He nodded, as if to confirm the sum. "The woman has not been seen since. The elf, on the other hand, is now old Hentmirë's prize possession and has been seen, on numerous occasions, riding in her palanquin with her, dressed up like a tart."

"Do you have a contact in the house?" asked Oliel.

"No one official," said Bodeshmun. "But I've never met a servant yet who can't be bought."

"Where is the fourth elf?" asked Faramir. "They took four."

"If you say so."

"Where is he?"

Bodeshmun shrugged his shoulders. "He never got off the ship," he said. "So he's either still on it—which is unlikely, since the only person who could afford him is Milkherem and his tastes are surprisingly conventional—or he left before the ship reached the harbour. Not our problem..."

"Yes it is," said Haldir. "We must find him. He is my responsibility. I left him on watch."

"Haldir," said Faramir, gently, "the others may be able to tell us where he is."

"Yes," said Haldir, "yes." He paced up and down in the small space, obviously trying to decide what to do next. "First," he said, "we must rescue Legolas and Eowyn."

He turned to Faramir. "Give the man his ten thousand. We will do it ourselves."


"Whatever did Eowyn do, to make you love her so?" asked Hentmirë, softly.

Legolas was taken aback. "Nothing, my lady—but everything. She is my heart's own choice, the companion of my spirit."

"Do you think that you might learn to love another, in time—"

Legolas shook his head. "No, my lady. An elf loves—truly loves—only once. He may care for others. But he loves only once."

"But Eowyn is a woman," said Hentmirë, "and you will live forever. What will happen when she dies?"

"When an elf's love dies," said Legolas, evasively, "he spends the rest of eternity alone, unless he dies too."

"Of a broken heart?"

"Yes my lady."

"Then we had better take good care of Eowyn..."

Legolas smiled. "May I ask you an impertinent question, my lady?"

"You may. But I need not answer it."

"How did you come to be left alone?"

The woman stared at him.

"I am sorry my lady; I have gone too far."

"No... No," said Hentmirë, quietly. "It is all right. My parents were quite old when I was born. My mother died when I was twelve and my father followed her a few weeks later—like an elf, you see. I had no brothers or sisters and I was left very rich—like the girl in the Fairy Tale"—she smiled—"but not, like her, beautiful—never beautiful. There was a man, once. But I knew that all he wanted was my money. So I sent him away. And then I waited."

"For what, my lady?" asked Legolas.

"For fate to bring me my heart's own choice, the companion of my spirit. But it never did. That is, until you came."

"My lady—"

"Do not say anything, Legolas. Let me pretend. Just for a few hours."



Faramir followed the big elf out of the building. "Where are you going?"

"To find this Lady Hentmirë," said Haldir.

"And do what?"

Haldir stopped. "From what we have just been told," he said, "that woman has Eowyn scrubbing floors and washing dishes and Legolas sharing her bed. What do you think I am going to do?"

He started walking again.

"Leave it to me," said Faramir.

Haldir shouldered his way through a group of men, clustered around a small stage, watching a woman discarding her—already flimsy—clothing. "Orc's breath, what a place!" he cried. "Leave what to you, your Highness?"

"Let me talk to her," said Faramir.

Haldir stopped again and, this time, turned to face the man. "Why?"

"Because you are a soldier. And this calls for a diplomat," said Faramir.

"I am not leaving Eowyn in that house a second longer—"

"A moment ago we thought she might have been tortured and raped!" said Faramir. "Now you are angry because she may be scrubbing floors! Eowyn is not the type to baulk at a little menial labour. If you go at this like a bull at a gate you will get nothing—"

"It is not the menial labour I am concerned about," said Haldir. "It is the other thing that she is having to endure. Watching that woman with Legolas..." He shook his head. "And you will forgive me," he added, "if I question the judgement of a man who had his marriage to Eowyn dissolved."

"I shall pretend that I did not hear that, March Warden," said Faramir, with a distinct edge to his voice. "Look—what will you do? Hmm? Threaten the woman? I will negotiate."

Haldir sighed. "We shall both go," he said.

"Good. Then slow down. We need to find the Great Royal Road that runs along the sea shore. Bodeshmun said to take the first turning on the left, which would be over there...

"Haldir! Look! Look over there!"


"My lady! Stop!"

"What? What is it?"

"My friends!" cried Legolas, jumping out of the palanquin, leaving Hentmirë's four attendants struggling to keep it upright.

"No, Legolas! It is getting late!" cried Hentmirë.

But the elf had already disappeared into the crowd.

"Help me out, Rimush," said Hentmirë, urgently.

"My lady, it is not safe here."

"You shall accompany me," said the woman. Taking her servant's hand, she climbed carefully down the steps of the palanquin and hurried in pursuit of Legolas, pausing impatiently when anyone blocked her path until he or she had the courtesy to step out of the way.


"Faramir! Haldir!" cried Legolas. He embraced Faramir. "Eowyn said that you that would find us. 'Faramir is clever,' she said, 'and'"—he greeted Haldir in a more elven fashion—"'Haldir will never give up on us.' It is so good to see you both!"

"Another elf!" cried a feminine voice behind him.

Legolas shot his friends a slightly rueful smile then turned and held out his arm. Hentmirë came forward and took his hand. "This," said Legolas, "is Lady Hentmirë, who showed me a kindness I can never repay when she rescued Eowyn from the slave market. I shall always be in her debt. My lady, this is my friend, Faramir, Prince of Ithilien—"

Hentmirë curtseyed, respectfully. "Your Highness," she said.

"And this," said Legolas, "is another friend—and the March Warden of Eryn Carantaur—Haldir of Lorien."

Hentmirë hesitated for a split second, clearly unsure of the correct form address for an elven March Warden, then, "My lord," she said, curtseying again.

"Lady Hentmirë," said Faramir, bowing politely, "I know that I also speak for my companion"—he turned towards Haldir, and Haldir nodded—"when I say that there are not words sufficient to express our thanks for your humane treatment of our friends. Might we be permitted to see Lady Eowyn?"

"Come home with us? Of course, my dears," said Hentmirë. "Though we must hurry. And, I am afraid, you will have to walk."

"That will be no trouble, my lady," said Haldir, graciously, his earlier opinion of her apparently forgotten.

Beaming happily, Hentmirë allowed Legolas to lead her back to the palanquin and hold her hand whilst she climbed in. "But you will still ride beside me, my dear?" she asked, a brief moment of anxiety marring her excitement.

"Of course," said Legolas.


"It will be such fun," said Hentmirë, clapping her hands together. "How long do you think they will stay?"

Legolas smiled. "I do not think they intend to stay long, my lady," he said, gently.

"Oh, but they must at least let me show them around the city—the Great Palace, and the Tombs of the Ancients, and the Golden Hall of Eshmunazar—and we must visit my riding stables—we can all go riding, my dear! And then there is my ship!"

"I did not realise that you had a ship, my lady," said Legolas.

"Oh yes, with its own crew."

Legolas smiled. "I am sure they will stay for a few days," he said. "And who knows, they may decide to return your hospitality."

"What do you mean?"

"They may invite you to Ithilien."

"I could see your colony!"

Legolas nodded. "You could."

"Oh! But..." Hentmirë bit her lip. "You promised me, faithfully, Legolas, that you would never leave me," she said. "You and Eowyn both promised."

"And we shall keep our word," said Legolas. Then he added, softly, "Unless you choose to release us."


It was already growing dark when they left the souk, and Hentmirë's happiness was beginning to turn to anxiety. "Hurry, Rimush," she cried. "We must not be out of doors after dark."

"Why is that, my lady?" asked Legolas.

Hentmirë looked uncomfortable. "It is just... a superstition of mine," she said.

"Your face was not made to hide untruths, my lady."

Hentmirë did not reply. And, despite her urging, by the time they reached the house the sun had already disappeared beneath the horizon. The attendants lowered the palanquin and waited for the door keeper to open the gates.

"Hurry," muttered Hentmirë. "Hurry! Please, hurry!" She rose to her feet and climbed, without assistance, down onto the road. "Yassib," she cried, "Please hurry!"

The gate keeper emerged from his kiosk carrying a large bunch of keys. "I'm sorry, my lady," he said, shuffling forwards, trying to find the right key, "I must have dozed off."

Hentmirë turned to her guests. "I must apologise, your Highness, my lord, for keeping you both waiting like this..."

"Pray, do not trouble yourself, Lady Hentmirë," said Faramir, graciously.

Haldir placed his hand over his heart and bowed. "Henion, hiril nín," he said.

A slight figure—almost invisible in jet black robes—emerged from the darkness and touched the elf's brow with a slender wand.

There was a bright flash.

And by the time the others had regained their sight, both Haldir and his mysterious assailant had disappeared. All that remained where they had been standing was a very angry baboon.




Contents page

Contents page

Previous chapter: Balcony scene
What will become of Eowyn? Can Valandil and Wilawen survive in the desert?

Chapter 3

Next chapter: Hentmire's secret
What has happened to Haldir? What was Hentmire's foolish mistake?

Chapter 5

Henion, hiril nín … ‘I understand, my lady’.


Naughty Elvish
Cuinon … literally, ‘I live!’


Figwit is the elf who can be seen behind Frodo at The Council of Elrond, when Frodo says he will take the Ring to Mordor. His name is actually an acronym of 'Frodo Is Good, Who Is That?', but his Decipher card says it's an affectionate nickname given to him by the other Rivendell elves, and that his real name is Aegnor.
Figwit has his own website, called Figwit Lives.