Map
Home Stories Whos who Maps Costumes Recipes References Contacts Spacer
legolas and eowyn
 

 

Part 16

The cabin door opened and Eowyn, barefoot, and wearing nothing but her tunic and sword belt, appeared in the doorway.

Legolas raised a finger to his mouth: Shhh!

She padded quietly to his side. “You woke me,” she mouthed, alluding to their close mental bond, “what is wrong?”

Legolas looked over the ship’s side. The first man had already reached the half-way point. “We are under attack, melmenya,” he whispered. “They look like farmers, but they are well armed. They must think that we are pirates, from a world above the clouds...”

“What shall we do, Lassui?” She loosened her sword in its scabbard.

Legolas was not sure. “Wait...” He looked over the gunwale again. The first man was still climbing steadily, the second was gaining upon him, and a third had joined them. Many more, he thought, and they will drag us out of the sky! “Do you remember how to work the anchor rope, melmenya?”

Eowyn looked down at the mechanism, another of Master Eldacar’s inventions. “Yes...”

“Good. Then get ready to use it—but not until I give the signal.”

He crossed to Haldir. “We must make it harder for them. I need you to take us up,” he said, “slowly, one foot at a time.”

“I shall do my best...”

Legolas took his place at the starboard anchor housing. The men on that side were climbing more slowly than their comrades on the port, but he knew it would not be long before the first of them reached the hull—The Shieldmaiden must rise. He seized the winch handle, and waved to Eowyn: “NOW, melmenya,” he shouted, “lift the ratchet, and let the rope out as fast as you can!”

She did as ordered, winding—it almost broke his heart to see it—with every ounce of her strength, and Legolas matched her, turn for turn, whilst Haldir raised the ship: one foot, two, a yard, two yards, three—

Eowyn’s hand slipped, and her handle locked. The Shieldmaiden floundered, and a wail of terror rose up from below, ending in a sickening crash, and the creak of broken branches.

One of the men had fallen!

“Keep winding, melmenya,” shouted Legolas, “keep winding!” For he knew the effect the man’s death would have on the rest of his comrades.

Higher the ship rose, higher and higher, with Haldir struggling to keep the hull level and the ropes taut, until—at last—the anchors were fully lowered.

“Gods...” Eowyn collapsed, hands on knees, panting for breath; Legolas rushed to her and, as he rubbed her back, proudly, he peered over the gunwale.

The men on the port side already seemed to have lost heart—the first had stopped climbing and was looking up at the extra distance; the second had begun to descend.

“We mean you no harm,” the elf shouted, in Westron. “Climb down, and we will sail away and leave you in peace; climb up, and you will force us to defend ourselves!”

...

It took a well-placed arrow to persuade the last of the farmers to retreat, but the men had one final surprise in reserve, and they used it then, hacking at the anchor ropes until the starboard line gave way.

The Shieldmaiden veered violently to port, turning her broadside to the wind, and strained against her remaining rope, her planking creaking ominously—but Master Eldacar was on deck and, at his command, Legolas took Eowyn’s sword, and cut the ship free.

The Shieldmaiden surged forward in the current—rising, falling, righting herself, and throwing Eowyn, who was not tethered, down upon the deck—but Eldacar seized the helm and, within moments, he and Haldir had regained control.

Legolas helped Eowyn to her feet. “How will we land, Lassui, with no anchors?” she asked.

“I do not know, my darling,” said Legolas, wrapping her in his arms. “But I am sure that Master Eldacar will think of something.”

 

 
snowflakes
back
Map