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Part 17

Legolas grasped Arador’s wrists and hauled and, for a split second, the young man hung in mid-air, his feet kicking.

Then his head was through the hole and, as his hands were scrabbling to find purchase on the slates, the Elf grasped the back of his belt and pulled him out onto the roof, and he lay there, gasping for air.

Legolas hopped up onto the roof ridge.

“Has my father arrived?” asked Arador, trying to crawl up the roof, to get a better view.

“Quickly,” replied Legolas, coming down again.

Without giving himself any time to think about it, Arador launched himself across the slates, grabbed the edge of the roof, and—grazing his hands and knees as he went—half climbed, half tumbled to the ground.

He got down relatively unharmed—a split-second, it seemed, after Legolas landed beside him—picked himself up and, limping slightly, ran across the yard, following the Elf.


“I said, stop this nonsense!” Ma roared.

Eowyn’s hand closed around the hilt of her sword. Though she had come to Eryn Hollen with the Reeve, determined to rescue Arador by force if need be, she couldn’t help feeling protective towards Ma. She knew that Belecthor was also torn, and she said to him, softly, “Go to your comrades,” but the young man did not move.

The twins were behind their mother and, to Eowyn’s surprise, the workers she had assumed were captives were also flocking to Ma’s side, brandishing spades, and hammers, and stirring rods.

The scene was set for a short and unnecessarily bloody battle.

“Stop this now, Baranor son of Barathor,” shouted Ma, “or I’ll tan your hide for you!”


Arador raced towards his father, wondering what he could possibly say to stop him—wondering whether his father would even recognise him when he approached.

Arador was under no illusions. He might be his father’s only son and heir, but he was also a disappointment, and he knew that his father’s actions had little to do with him and his captivity. There was something going on between his father and Ma, some agreement that had been broken when the twins had caught him taking water samples from the stream.

Ma—in her cryptic way—had hinted as much.

But, despite all his best efforts—probing her whilst she had been trying to persuade him to help her—he had been unable to learn what that agreement might be.

Arador raised his hands above his head, and shouted, “Father! Do as Ma says! STOP!