The darkening of hearts


Chapter 10: Powerplay

The tents were easy to erect and Mablung even dug a fire pit and prepared a bonfire for later. He was both swift and efficient and she could clearly see that this was something he was used to do. He had routines for everything, even for where he put the dry wood for later. It felt safe knowing that he was so used to this and she started to compare his kind of wisdom with the rather theoretical knowledge of the noldor and vanyar. Her conclusion was that his knowledge was way more useful than theirs, for it was based on real things.

When the tents were prepared and her stuff put into one of them he went over and picked some nuts in a woven basket, he did find several types of nuts and Lerina got some berries. There were a huge cluster of bushes not far from the small camp and several species and she filled a bowl to the rim. Then it was time for the fishing and he had found a long thin stick and attached some line made from hair to it and used some pieces of dried meat as bait. The river was not very wide, but it was rather deep and the current strong and she felt a little uncertain yet again. With everything they did she revealed just how inexperienced she was, how different she had to be from the females he was used to. She longed to be like them, sure of herself, strong, confident and proud but she knew she was lacking a lot if she compared herself with the Sindarin females she had met.

He tossed the bait and the hook in and showed her how to hold the rod and move the bait through the water and after a little she forgot about her doubts for this was both fun and exciting. He told her of the different types of fish which lived in the rivers and lakes, of how to catch them and how to cook them and she listened with her ears wide open and a sort of trustful naivety that was rather endearing. He had never had such an attentive student before, she was like a sponge, soaking everything in and eager for more. Mablung did land a couple of rather small trout and Lerina continued to try for she wanted to contribute too and suddenly she felt that something jerked at the line and she almost fell in for the fish seemed to be very strong indeed. She yelled and started pulling and soon it became apparent that this was no mere trout, this was something much larger and way more aggressive and tough. The fish was fighting her and she didn’t want to lose, no way.

He stood there and watched as she swore and struggled and something within him did find it kind of fascinating that she was this stubborn, and strong willed. It was just that her strong will had been subdued and choked by the environment she had lived in and he was quite surprised by the small glimpses he got of her real personality when it emerged. Finally she managed to land the fish and she was panting and her eyes were shining and Mablung whistled and grinned. “That is a huge thalakk, a sort of salmon. They are delicious but hard to catch, well done indeed!”

She stood there beaming with pride as he killed the fish and started gutting it. It was enough meat on that one fish to feed them for two whole days and when he was finished with the gory job he hung the fish over his shoulder and they returned to the camp. He got a fire going and now he showed her how they roasted nuts with some salt and honey on a flat thin piece of slate over the fire. The fish he cut into several pieces and wrapped them in the leaves of a plant which added some nice flavor to the meat and he did also wrap some herbs around each piece and then he took some clay, flattened it and wrapped it around each piece. Lerina just stared and he grinned and understood that she knew nothing about how to fend for herself out in the wild. “When the fire dies down a little I will put each pack into the embers, it will cook the fish rather fast and when we hear the clay crack we know it is done”

She felt a spark of pride, she had managed to catch a huge fish, and land it too and she was looking forward to some food for she felt famished. It was odd, usually she didn’t have such good appetite. While they waited for the fish to be cooked he entertained her with stories about the things he had seen over the sundering sea and he described the animals and the people. She was very curious about the second born and the dwarves and the fact that dwarf females had beards made her giggle and gasp. Mablung realized that she in many ways was like a child, completely ignorant and like a blank page and in other ways she had a lot of baggage and he suspected that little of it was good. He could see that in her sometimes shy glances, the way she said something and then doubted her own words and excused herself for having said something stupid. She was used to being scolded and held down, to be treated like she was a thing, someone who wasn’t supposed to have a voice or a will of her own and he felt angry because of that. She reminded him of a falcon with its wings cut, trapped in a golden cage. Sooner or later it would perish and he wanted to see if he could free her and make her test her wings yet again.

The fish got finished and they ate on some huge thick leaves, Lerina couldn’t believe that fish could taste that good, it was delicious and she found that the nuts and berries too were good. She ate until she felt completely stuffed and Mablung had brought some wine and gave her a cup of it. She accepted and drank eagerly and he had to laugh and tell her to slow down, it was a very potent wine and she wasn’t used to it. The darkness had fallen and the bonfire threw a sort of gentle light over the camp, she felt drowsy and relaxed and at ease, it was an odd sensation really. Mablung was pointing at the different constellations and telling her their names and stories in Sindarin and she tried to keep up with his very interesting tales but she was getting too tired. Finally he sat up and grinned, pushed some dirt over the embers. “I think we should get some sleep now, there will be a lot to do tomorrow”

She nodded and got up, felt tipsy and giggled and felt just silly when he grasped her elbow to give her some support. “ You really aren’t used to wine now are you”

She shook her head. “No, I wasn’t allowed any before I got married, and …hick…mom was afraid I would get fat so I wasn’t given much food neither”

He frowned. “Really? That sounds…rather terrible if you ask me?”

She nodded and leaned onto the strong arm which was supporting her. “It was, I was always hungry but she thought that a nis should be skinny, to show she is in control of herself. My…my husband said I looked like a child”

Mablung blinked, he couldn’t reveal how much he did know so he sort of made a sheepish grin. “You don’t look that way now, that is for certain”

She almost burped and her eyes got wide, she covered her mouth. “Do you think I am fat?”

He shook his head, shocked by the hurt in her voice. “ Absolutely not, you are perfect”

She suddenly beamed. “Really? You think so?”

He nodded and gathered his courage, let a huge worn hand slide over her backside in a very swift caress. She gasped and giggled but her eyes told of confusion and a wee bit of shock. “Yes, you are perfect, do never doubt that. Any ellon would be glad to be near you”

She giggled again and he helped her open the flap to her tent, oh Eru she was so…He couldn’t really describe it. He gave her a polite bow and let the flap down, returned to the campfire and made sure it couldn’t rekindle itself, then he checked upon the horses and mules and sat down next to his own tent to think things over. She tempted him, oh Eru how she tempted him. He longed desperately to run his fingers through that long incredible hair, to caress every inch of smooth perfect skin, to hear her moan his name and feel her body writhe against his own. By every vala known, he was torturing himself, he’d better get to bed before he did something stupid. With a low curse he crept into the tent, rolled himself into his blankets and went to bed. He would have to force himself to sleep now, but tomorrow would be yet another day and nobody knew what it might bring.

The palace was brightly lit by torches and lamps and the wide corridors and huge gardens were guarded well, yet there were places where people could meet unseen and this night some were. A small group of elves had gathered in a room usually used for the storage of extra furniture for the great feasts but now it was empty since the walls were scheduled to be repainted. The elves were staring at each other, some were a bit pale, while others seemed rather undisturbed by the news one of them had caught wind of. One of them sighed, straightened himself. “So, what do we do? How much time do we have?”

The one who had delivered the message shrugged. “The maiar I overheard spoke about two days, three at the most, then he will return. “

The leader made a grimace. “Damnation, we cannot do much in two days”

A tall blond elf tilted his head. “No? We all know that those darn Fëanorions are very close, aren’t that bitch of a nis here at the moment?”

The leader frowned. “And you are suggesting?”

The blond looked smug. “Oh, if she went say missing, wouldn’t the others do whatever they could to get her back, unharmed? Like ..abdicating?”

The elves there looked at each other, eyes were shining, yes, the plan was a good one, the Feanorions would never allow one of their own to come to harm. The leader turned to another ner, dark haired and with a grumpy face. “And your plans my friend? How are they going?”

Lerina’s father sent the leader a rather grim smile. “Very well, I will ride to her soon, and she will of course obey me. Through that marriage we will have access to the court again, and we can start to gather followers, and gain some real influence”

The leader smiled but the smile didn’t reach his eyes, he looked just cold. “Brilliant, make it so. I know the widow of Fëanor is rather fond of her, they won’t allow her to be harmed neither. We will strike two birds with one throw thus”

They all nodded, pleased with their decision and the leader grinned, a slow ominous grin. “So, who volunteers to catch that little wildcat?”

When Lerina woke up she felt a bit confused but then she remembered and felt excitement rush through her, she got up and found a skirt and a blouse in her bag of clothes and prepared herself for a day of work. She braided her hair and saw that the weather was perfect outside, and her excitement got the better of her so she started to hum and whistle as she rolled her bedroll up and got out. Mablung was already up, he sat by the firepit and had rekindled it, heating some water for tea and he had two large rolls of bread dough laid onto the flat piece of slate to bake them. Lerina had never seen that type of bread before but it did smell good and she suddenly felt hungry again. Her mother would have thrown a tantrum had she seen what her daughter did now. But Lerina did no longer feel guilty when she ate and she sat down and smiled to the huge sinda who nodded back and turned the breads. “This was something every soldier had to learn, we often stayed out in the woods for months and had to be able to cook”

She understood that and before long the bread was done and he found a small jar of honey and handed it over to her. “Try this, it will taste marvelous as long as the bread is still warm”

She saw that he simply ripped pieces of bread out of the large loaf and poured honey onto them and she did the same, he was right, it did taste divine and she ate almost the entire loaf before she started feeling full. Mablung licked the honey of his fingers and for some reason the sight made her feel a bit weird, she blushed and looked away and he got up and started gesturing towards the trees. “I think we have to do this systematically, one tree at a time but we have to leave some nuts behind for the squirrels and other animals. We are not greedy edain. “

Lerina had started to recognize his Sindarin words and nodded, she knew that humans tended to take more than they needed and that it was bad. They carried some baskets over to the first trees and started picking up the nuts which had fallen to the ground. Lerina felt happy, there was so many nuts there and she sang as she worked. Mablung was a bit impressed by her zeal and her ability to just drown herself in her work. Before long the first basket was full and Lerina climbed up into the tree to shake the branches. She had done that a lot the last years, and she had become a good climber and so she didn’t hesitate at all. She went up like a squirrel and Mablung just stared, a bit shocked by her lack of fear. He had expected that shaking the branches would be his job. She almost ran out over the thick branches and stood with her feet on one branch each since there were two which ran parallel to each other with just a few feet apart and she started shifting her weight back and forth to make the tree sway. But these two branches were thicker than she was and very sturdy and she did grunt and try harder and Mablung did walk over, just out of sheer politeness. “Do you need some help?”

He took a peek upwards and immediately froze, he hadn’t been thinking. She stood there above him in a skirt with her legs apart and Eru, had nobody taught that elleth about underwear?! He blinked and stared down at the ground but what he had seen was burned into his mind, oh sweet Elbereth, he had gotten a very intimate view of her intimate areas and it did have its effect. Shit, he would have to watch himself, or else he would do something not very smart. Lerina didn’t notice his little dilemma at all and continued working, happily humming and singing and he concentrated on the fallen nuts, not his own, even though it was rather tough there and then. She had been perfect there too and the mental images it sort of unleashed had nothing to do with foraging at all!

But they did work well together and as they both relaxed their conversation ran more easily, became friendly banter and jokes and he sort of managed to get a view of her life in Tirion. She didn’t reveal who her husband had been but he realized that she had been fairly happy with him, and that he had protected her and shielded her and tried to make her stronger and more free. She told him of the library where she had learned so much, and of her niece who had been so dear to her and of her daughters first years and the joy she had brought. He did find that a bit endearing, that she was so loving and fond of her family, it was a good trait and one he liked. She was actually rather lively and impulsive and yet she held back, as if there was something she didn’t want to speak about, or some secret she was afraid to reveal. That was intriguing and he tried to ask her tiny questions which seemed innocent enough but lead to her revealing more.

She asked him questions too, and he did his best to answer them even though some were bizarre and he tried to avoid speaking of the battles he had fought and the blood he had shed. But he did tell her of the times when he had fought small groups of orcs and the tactics he had used and of the injuries he had received too, just to sound a bit heroic. After all, he did want to brag a little about his skills. Lerina listened and she went strangely quiet when he told of the one time a fellow soldier, a female, had been caught by some orcs and they had managed to rescue her just in the nick of time. His strong instinct immediately told him that something was off and he remembered what he had been told, that she had been attacked. “Lerina? What is wrong, has anyone ever tried to hurt you?”

She froze, her huge eyes got even larger and for a moment she reminded him of a doe caught in the middle of a pack of blood thirsty hounds. She was pale and he was quick to continue. “I have upset you, please, you do not need to tell me anything”

She cocked her head, stared at him. He of all elves would understand this, for the world he had lived in had been wild and dangerous and being caught by the enemy would usually mean both torture and death, he had a better knowledge of such matters than the elves of Aman. She felt that she ought to tell him, that her secrets were safe with him, at least the emotional ones. She stared down, fidgeting with her blouse, feeling how her heart was beating wildly in her chest. “Some did try to hurt me yes, twice. First I was at a feast in the palace and two ner tried to…have their way with me. I was saved in the last minute, and then after…after the darkening a group attacked me, but a maia saved me”

Mablung had to swallow hard, twice? Oh Eru poor thing, these Aman elves were so unaccustomed to the threat of violence and death and she was a very shielded person, she had probably never been faced with the possibility of such things at all. He had only heard of the incident with the maia and he tried to make his voice calm and soothing. “But you got away unharmed?”

She bit her lower lip. “The first attack almost made me fade, my niece saved me though. But…but I couldn’t bare to face everybody and I was ill for a long time so my family…they lied and said I had lost a pregnancy, just to avoid a scandal”

He felt a surge of mixed emotions, so she hadn’t lost a child after all, that was encouraging and yet the information sort of shocked him. Her daughter had been born before this incident for sure? “Was that after Ariniel was born?”

She shook her head. “No, before, some years before”

He tilted his head, she had almost been raped. She didn’t have to say the word but he knew the signs, saw it now in the way she acted towards him, the shyness, the lack of complete trust, the way she would cringe if he came too close without a warning. He should have understood it before but he just hadn’t thought of it. Oh poor poor thing, so young and probably terrified, no wonder she was close to fading. He had dealt with elves who had been violated before, by orcs and in fact a couple by humans, young ellith who had made the mistake of thinking that human males would act just like Ellyn. It sometimes killed them but most survived, since they were aware of the danger and mentally prepared. Elves from Aman on the other hand always perished, the shock was simply too much for them, they didn’t even have a word for the foul deed and he thought grimly that those who claimed that the noldor and vanyar were weak was right in many ways. For they were, they were like children who never have learned what it means to be an adult and continues to see the world as a playground until it is too late and the local monsters rear their ugly heads.

But that meant that she had become pregnant after this incident and well, either she had overcome the trauma or her husband had been an insensitive bastard and forced himself upon her. He would have to find out which answer was the right one. “ I am so sorry to hear about this, it must have been so hard on you”

She smiled, a rather dim smile. “It was, but…but I survived, and then Ariniel was born and …things were alright again”

Mablung started to wonder if they really had been alright, there was something odd in her voice and he remembered what he had heard of Maedhros. He had been known as a womanizer before he got married, and he did in fact prefer males? He could have been rather insensitive then, and one who saw females as something to be used but then again, he had obviously taken good care of her, shielded her from her dirtbag parents and given her a better life. The truth was hard to find, he would have to dig some more.

He sort of threw the conversation over into another direction, started chatting about the trees of Doriath and their beauty and she returned to her good mood again, lightening up and listening attentively. It was just when things got personal that she acted like some sort of clam, keeping her mouth shut and freezing up. He wanted to unravel this mystery, he felt like a bloodhound on a blood fresh track, sniffing his prey down. They filled many baskets and he suggested that they could weave some simple ones from reeds and willow branches and fill them and leave them behind for later, the idea got her ablaze with zeal for she wanted to gather more nuts than what the mules could carry and if they just left the squirrels and other animals would take it all. The day got very warm and Mablung sighed and ordered her to stop working, they had filled four huge baskets with excellent nuts and she had made sure that they had sorted out the bad ones before they went in the baskets so she wouldn’t have to do that when they got back. That would save her a lot of time. “We’d better call it a day, it is getting too hot to work now.”

Lerina nodded, she felt a bit stiff and yes, she was very warm and felt a bit uncomfortable. They returned to the camp and drank some water and ate the last of the bread. Mablung had saved some of the fish and Lerina felt very pleased with her results this day. He was very fast and worked hard and he knew so much too, talking to him made the hard work into something she enjoyed and she felt that she did deserve some rest. She returned to the tent for a little nap and Mablung told her he was going to the river to take a bath, he wouldn’t be far away. He strolled down to the river and found a rather large slow flowing section not far from the camp, the water was rather pleasant and the shore consisted of a huge area of rock which the water had worked on for centuries so it was smooth as a dance floor and almost completely flat, angled just a little towards the water. It was a perfect place for a sunbath and he shed his clothes and dove in. The water did cool him down and he got back onto land and laid down on the warm rock just to relax. It felt wonderful and before long he dozed off, sensing that there was no danger there.

Lerina had problems falling asleep, she felt restless in spite of being tired and she didn’t quite know what to do, or what to think. She liked him, in fact she liked him a lot but she was also afraid because she knew that he would turn his back on her the moment he realized who she really was, and she didn’t want to lose him. She had to be honest with herself, she had never felt so at ease with a ner before, he treated her with such respect and didn’t act as if she was some kid who needed to be taught even the smallest thing. It felt odd, and good and she didn’t want it to end. But he did awake strange feelings in her too, the way he moved, those amazing eyes with the dark lashes which made the color even more striking, the deep voice. It gave her goosebumps and she wasn’t stupid. She knew she felt attracted to him, physically and it terrified her. She couldn’t go further with it, that was the grim truth, not without revealing her greatest secret, the one she didn’t want to reveal to anyone. She couldn’t tell him she was untouched, that her daughter wasn’t her own, but born out of wedlock after her cousin had had a threesome with Lerina’s husband and his cousin. She didn’t trust him to keep his mouth shut if he found out, and Ariniel shouldn’t have to hear the truth from someone else, Lerina didn’t possess the courage to tell Ariniel the truth herself, in fear of hurting her most precious gift.

She would have to keep him at bay, make sure they only remained friends but that would be hard for she knew he liked her, she wasn’t blind, it was in his eyes the whole time. She would have to come up with some excuse, that she felt it would be wrong to sleep with him, considering the fact that she was a widow. She could play prudent, claim that it would be immoral to have sex with someone again, that she still owed her late husband her allegiance and fidelity. That was it, she could go with that one, it was believable.

But still she couldn’t sleep and so she got up and decided to go for a stroll, and the river did cool the air a bit so she headed in that direction. She washed her feet, splashed some water in her face and sighed with relief, having made a decision made everything seem a little bit more orderly, more easy to control. She started to walk along the shore, without really thinking about what she was doing and then suddenly she remembered that he had gone to bathe and she hadn’t heard anything at all, no splashing. She got a bit worried, could something have happened to him? She picked up her speed and made her way through some bushes and then she stared at a turn in the river and she let out a sigh of relief when she saw that he laid on the river bank, asleep. She was about to turn around and return to the camp when she felt the urge to just stand there, and stare. She had seen him before but now he laid there on his stomach, his head resting on his arms and he was quite a sight to behold. Maedhros had never gotten tanned, after all he was a redhead but Mablung was like a copper kettle, and extremely athletic too. She had to stop and admire the elegant lines and the toned muscles and she felt herself blush. Now what the heck was she doing? This was wrong, very wrong, and yet she couldn’t pull her eyes away from him. He looked so peaceful, so beautiful and she had hardly ever seen such an enticing sight. She hid behind the bushes, just admiring the view when he let out a sort of soft gasp and moved and she almost yelped when she realized that he was rolling over onto his back, and he was clearly aroused.

Mablung had been fast asleep when his instincts told him someone was near, he had woken up immediately but he didn’t move and he just laid there, allowing his keen senses to go to work. He heard a very faint rustle in dry leaves along the river bank and the wind brought a whiff of a scent he recognized, it was Lerina. She used a sort of soap which smelled of lavender and he hid a grin. So she hadn’t been able to sleep? She didn’t get any closer and he got an idea, he didn’t know if it was a good one but some devil did possess him and he felt that he was getting hard. Being watched felt oddly stimulating and he decided to see how far he could go before she bolted, maybe he even could trigger some reactions of the more pleasurable kind also in her? He stretched out in a deliberately sensual manner and moaned, he didn’t know if she was close enough to see everything but he could sure as hell pretend that she was. And he needed it too, the small mishap with the branches and the skirt had awakened his lust and he would have a hard time getting some real sleep without releasing some of the tension first. So he rolled over and started caressing his own skin, almost making a show of it. He pinched his own nipples and gasped, trying to angle himself so that she could see everything and yet without revealing that he knew she was there.

It was exciting, could he turn her on too? The idea of her hiding in the bushes, touching herself almost made him frantic, he started stroking himself hard, moaning and writhing and he didn’t try to hide his pleasure at all. Normally he wasn’t that loud but now he threw every reservation he had ever had aside and tried to really make her hear how good this felt. He wouldn’t last but he tried to hold back for as long as he could, to give the little display maximum impact upon her and he just hoped she was still there, watching him.

Lerina felt her cheeks burn, her ears too, she wanted to run and flee but she couldn’t, if she got up and ran he would hear her for sure and she was so ashamed of herself and yet she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. It was so intimate, and it felt so wrong watching this and at the same time it was tantalizing. She had heard Maedhros and Fingon making love quite a few times and she had even seen them once, in the garden. But that hadn’t affect her thus, this on the other hand did. She saw his hand move up and down his shaft and seeing his male parts erect was something very different from seeing them flaccid, it created an odd almost hollow feeling inside of her and she bit her lower lip to choke a whimper. He was breathing hard and making such wanton sounds and his hips were moving, thrusting against his grip. It made her legs feel weak, and her own heart was speeding up. Oh Eru, what was she feeling now? And why? But this was all that she could allow to happen, to simply watch and she started to mourn that fact, but she had to be adamant now, and not give in to some simple flare of physical need. It could ruin everything if she gave in, for would he be able to keep his mouth shut and not reveal the truth?

Suddenly he tensed up, rolled over onto his side and let out a hoarse roar and she could see it, see him coming, spurting thick ropes of seed over the rock next to him and it made that odd feeling in her so much stronger, so strong she sort of forced herself back up and she ran, back to the camp, with a feeling of being set aflame. She did hear him moan her name once before she got out of the bushes and the sound of that almost made her legs buckle again. Oh Eru, she should leave but she couldn’t, being there with him did endanger her virtue in so many ways for she didn’t trust her own strength, not anymore. He was too darn nice, that was the problem. Had he been curt or unpleasant it wouldn’t have been a problem at all but she liked him, she liked him a lot. How was she to avoid doing something very silly?

Mablung heard her leave, she sounded as if she was running off in a fit of panic and he grinned to himself and allowed himself to relax completely. The post orgasmic haze almost knocked him out and he just laid there for a while, enjoying the aftershocks and the relaxed sensation. Then he got up a bit reluctantly, washed himself, got clothed again and walked back to the camp, only to find her by the firepit, desperately working on a basket. It was obvious that she tried to ignore certain feelings and she tried to pretend as if nothing was wrong at all but he did see her hands tremble and her voice was a bit tense too. He on the other hand managed to pretend that nothing had happened with ease, he was his usual friendly self, telling her small anecdotes about the sindar and their culture and how it was compared with that of the avarin elves and after a while she seemed to cool down and she started to listen again.

He hid a grin, how long could he tempt her before she gave in and told him what she wanted? Now this was a true challenge and he knew how to seduce females, he would take this slowly, very slowly indeed. Lerina spoke of the palace in Tirion, and of the life at court and they both agreed that the vanyar elves were a bunch of nitwits and she sort of thawed again and laughed and enjoyed the conversation. They ate the last of the fish and he gave her another cup of wine and she didn’t drink as fast this time, she took her sweet time with it, she had learned. Darkness fell and he entertained her with some very pretty ballads from Doriath, telling of their minstrel Daeron and his unfortunate infatuation with Luthien and how he always bragged about being the best singer there was. Mablung remembered Daeron as a young ellon who had sounded a bit like a crow with something stuck in its throat at a stage in his life and it made Lerina laugh heartily. She told of Maglor and his talent and Mablung didn’t reveal that he knew the minstrel had been her brother in law, he just told of the many who had wanted to get those two together to see which one was the best, once and for all.

But nighttime came and they both returned to their tents, tired and with different things in mind. Mablung was looking forward to the next day, to see if he could win her over in the time they would spend there. Lerina was determined to remain on a friendly level and her own reactions did confuse and frighten her, after all, she had never felt such attraction before. She did fall asleep and hoped that they could work the entire next day, hard labor ought to keep her thoughts on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately a certain vala had gotten the message Namò wrote and she soon slipped into a dream. Lorien had understood what Namò wanted and he did obey, although reluctantly, asking to send someone that sort of a dream was a first, at least from that vala.

She was by the bank once more, staring at him as he was pleasuring himself, listening to his soft moans and this time she wasn’t running away but kneeling down, letting her own hand slide up underneath her skirts. And then all of a sudden she was naked and she wasn’t by the river anymore but in some room on a bed and warm worn hands were caressing her and she was gasping as surges of strange new sensations rushed through her. It felt so good and yet it frightened her and she was hollow and unfulfilled and needed….she didn’t know what she needed really.

But she was gasping and panting, feeling as if every nerve in her body was aflame and she could feel how slick wetness spread between her legs, how those secret areas were throbbing and she ground herself against him, feeling a new sort of desperation. She knew she was dreaming and she was feeling aghast by her own shameless desire and then some part of her yelled at her that this was her mother speaking, and that it was wrong to be ashamed. But the strength of it scared her and she wasn’t familiar with her own needs at all. She had no way of controlling this and she suddenly felt warm hardness press against her and she let out a shriek, thrusting her hips against it and she woke up, panting and wild eyed and terribly confused. She was aching, no other word could describe it and she whimpered and realized that she had pulled her blanket into a tight roll and had been humping that like some bitch in heat. Oh Eru, she was …she was shameless!

Then the tent flap was pulled aside and Mablung entered, looking worried. “Lerina, are you okay? You screamed! Are you having nightmares?”

She pressed her blankets tighter around herself, almost sobbing, her eyes were huge and he could see a faint shimmer of sweat on her forehead, and then he could smell it. It sent his senses reeling, she did ooze of arousal and he had to fight hard not to moan and sniff her like some animal. “I….”

She didn’t manage to speak at all, her body was completely out of her control and if she moved she was afraid she would pull him over her and lose the battle completely. He sat down, gently and slowly, his eyes were gentle and his voice smooth and soothing. “Lerina, what is wrong? You can tell me”

She whimpered, having him this close, smelling his masculine scent and feeling the heat from him was simply too much. “ I…I watched you…by the river”

She didn’t know why she did confess this but she couldn’t think straight, all she could think about was this new alien feeling of need, of hunger. She wanted but she didn’t know what she wanted, or yes, she did but she couldn’t. It wasn’t that she was afraid of pain, for if he took her now it would hurt, but she was afraid of having to reveal that her entire life was based upon lies. He sighed and reached out, let a hand slide through her hair and she jerked like a nervous horse and squealed.

“You have had one of those dreams now haven’t you? And now you need someone’s touch?”

She gasped, her hand shivering and her body felt as if it wasn’t her own anymore. She had to rub her thighs together and a hot sensation just rushed through her and made her gasp and moan. Mablung was a bit confused, she was horny as hell no doubt but why hadn’t she touched herself? Not that he mourned the fact that he had arrived before she could solve the problem on her own, now was his chance and he had to play his cards well. He leaned in and caught her lips in a very gentle light kiss, barely more than a peck. “ I will be very glad to help you Lerina, believe me, you shouldn’t have to suffer”

She moaned again, her eyes on the ground and her breath fast. “I…I can’t. You will hate me Mablung, you don’t know who I really am”

He slid closer, pulled her into a hug and felt her tremble, oh by every sacred being, she had some odd reactions for sure. “Lerina, I told a friend of mine of you, that I was taking you out here, and he knew who you are. He told me, I am sorry I haven’t told you but it doesn’t matter”

She just stared, as if he had fallen down form the moon or something. “It doesn’t?”

Her voice was thin, pleading, and he did pity her so much. “No, it doesn’t matter. I want you Lerina and I would have wanted you even if you had been Melkor’s wife.”

She squealed. “But…we can’t…I…I cannot let you…in”

He swallowed his disappointment and knew she probably had some problems regarding what she had been through, but sooner or later she would give in to him. “That is alright little one, I don’t have to take you to offer you release, do you trust me?”

She closed her eyes and nodded and he felt a surge of triumph, it was going the right way. “Then just relax, let me please you and worship you like you truly deserve”

He pulled the blankets aside and she gasped and made a gesture as if to shield herself from his view but then she gave in and he pulled her shift up, revealed her body in all its exquisite beauty. She whimpered, an arm over her face, trembling and so desperate, so wanton. He leaned down, then he gently kissed her again and she sort of floated against him, helpless. He wondered what had caused her to become so needy so fast, erotic dreams could of course turn you on but this much?

Oh, there had to be ages since she got some last, that could be the explanation and he wasn’t complaining, not at all! He then went for it, licking her neck while his hand slid down between her smooth thighs and she shook all over. The silky hairs of her sex were sopping wet and he knew she was close already. Then he kissed and sucked her nipples and enjoyed feeling her arch up against him, moaning. He was getting very aroused too but he sort of pushed his own feelings aside, now he had to concentrate on her, and her alone and he let a finger glide gently and slowly in between her nether lips and found her clit and she let out a yell, then she started to shake almost violently and he knew she simply was too sensitive now so he pushed himself down along her body and let his tongue do the work instead. Lerina gasped, what in Eru’s name was he doing down there and …She threw her head back as pleasure exploded through her, this couldn’t be real, she had to be dreaming still, he couldn’t really be licking her down there?!

But the sensation was real for sure and it was too much, too strong, too good and she grasped onto locks of long dark hair and tried to both keep him in place and push him aside at the same time and she forgot how to think! Waves of exquisite pleasure flew through every nerve in her body but it all congregated down there and it made her keen and mewl, hopelessly lost to her newly awakened need.

He kept teasing her a bit before he added more pressure, enjoying her sounds and the sensation of her bucking against him, pleading for more. She tasted divine too, and he started teasing her with a finger too and she tensed up, arching again, he added some suction and she screamed, trembling as the orgasm rushed through her and he could feel her muscles spasm and it almost made him come too, untouched. He kept licking until she came down from the intense high and she was sobbing and whimpering, wet with sweat and her eyes were enormous and filled with shock and confusion. He got up onto his elbows, staring at her and then he realized that her reaction was that of one who never has had a real orgasm before and he frowned. What the hell? Had that overly tall redhead been a complete disaster in bed? He had to have been if he hadn’t managed to make his own wife come even once!

Lerina couldn’t believe it, she hadn’t even considered the possibility of something feeling thus, so overwhelming. Saeriel had tried to explain the joys of such intimate acts to her but she had sort of turned a deaf ear to the careful instructions, now she knew that her niece hadn’t been lying at all. It did feel….well, beyond description and she knew she never would have dared to explore this on her own. She bit her lower lip, and sat up, feeling a bit wobbly and terribly insecure. What did he think of her now? She had acted like some darn animal in heat, with no restraint whatsoever. She wished the earth could open up and swallow her whole and she shook with a very volatile mix of emotions.

Mablung saw her unease and the mystery that was her past just got even deeper, he knew that some vanyar were so mad that they thought a female shouldn’t feel any pleasure at all but had her mother been of those imbecile morons? “Are you alright?”

His voice was soft and low and he crawled up next to her and laid down, his groin was aching like mad but he ignored his own need, this was something odd indeed. She sort of yelped and tried to pull the blankets over herself again and he deliberately put his weight onto them, hindered her. Instead he grasped her and pulled her down, allowed her to lie next to him and she shook again but relaxed as he started to gently stroke her arm, up and down in a hypnotic rhythm. It was like soothing a scared animal and she was close to tears, he could see it. She swallowed. “Y…yes. I guess so”

He sighed and grasped the blankets, pulled them up and let them cover them both, allowed her to rest her head on his shoulder and she sort of surrendered, allowed herself to relax. “You have never felt like that before now have you?”

She didn’t answer and he knew from her silence that he was right, this had been the first time she really had cum and that made him quite humble indeed. It was an honor and a privilege to show her true pleasure for the first time and he felt an odd sense of tenderness awaken in his heart. Lerina just laid there, feeling both wonderful and conflicted and she whispered. “I…thank you…but….”

He held her hand. “Yes?”

She hid her face against his neck, his scent was almost addictive and she fought her own feelings with all her might. “I can’t go…all the way, it wouldn’t be right! I feel that I still owe my husband to stay true to him”

Mablung hid a grimace and a wry grin, yeah right, if he ever had heard a thin excuse it was this. She had wanted him and she had been more than ready so why wouldn’t she let him do it and fuck her? He would get to the bottom of this, one way or the other! Had perhaps Maedhros been rough with her? Or did she have problems because of the attacks? Could it simply be physical? She was rather petite and he knew that not all females could handle someone well endowed without feeling considerable discomfort or even pain. She was shivering a bit still and he kissed her cheek. “That is alright little one, just relax. I will never do anything you doesn’t want too. But now I think you need some sleep, am I right?”

She nodded slowly, to tell the truth she felt like a wrung out cloth and it felt good laying there close to him, it felt warm and she also felt protected. She nodded shyly and he yawned deliberately and put an arm around her. “ I will stay here Lerina, don’t be afraid. I will wake you up if you start dreaming again”

She blushed but managed to relax, to let the heavy drowsy feeling overtake her. It didn’t take long before she was fast asleep and he stayed awake for a little longer, deeply intrigued by these odd things he had learned about her and his own feelings. Was he falling in love? He had to admit that he wasn’t sure, but it wouldn’t take much before he did, and he wasn’t sure if that was a good idea or not but destiny sometimes must be allowed to run its course and he knew that he found her more fascinating than any other female he had met. He too allowed himself to drift into sleep again and he just hoped that this would speed things up.

In Tirion Alciel had been working with Nerdanel for a few weeks, they were to finish some statues of Fëanor and Finwë and also a few of Fëanor’s sons and Nerdanel was tired and very nervous. She had worked so hard clearing her husband’s name and the rumors of a new sort of rebellion among the noldor scared her. Alciel had been handing out flyers telling of Nerdanel’s next exhibition and she was heading home. Her temper was infamous by now and she had gotten into a real argument with some blonde vanyar bitch who thought that all the Finwëions were abominations. In the end Alciel had grasped a fish from the market booth of a fish monger and slapped the nis across the face with it. She had left uttering curses that would have made Melkor plug his ears and Alciel grinned viciously and knew that the piousness was merely skin deep.

Nerdanel had asked her to pick up some bread at the bakers and she got a basket of warm loafs and headed back towards the house. Nerdanel had reopened the old family home and now the ambarussa were painting it. The problem was that they both agreed upon disagreeing considering the choice of color and Nerdanel had sworn the house was bound to look like something from a psychotic nightmare with clashing colors everywhere. The hallway was for the moment painted half in an odd mint green color and half in a sharp ochre one and it usually made those unaware stop in the door rubbing their eyes. And the bath, oh Eru’s mercy! Amrod had insisted on blue while Amras wanted red and they had mixed the two so the bath now had a palette of colors ranging from pale pink to dark violet. Alciel was glad she didn’t drink, waking up with a hangover in such a room would make you think you have gotten completely delirious.

She was passed by a few times by other city dwellers, some talking or singing and others just hurrying and she didn’t react when she heard rapid steps getting closer, it was probably just someone in a hurry, the shops were closing for the day and many were rather stressed out. She didn’t really think of anything until she suddenly felt hands grasp her and something was pressed against her nose and mouth. It did stink and she reacted out of sheer shock, she kicked backwards and hit something soft. Someone yelled out loud in agony and then she felt the world slipping away from her and everything went black.

At the same time some riders left Tirion and they were heading towards the village where Lerina lived, her father rode in front with a narrow grin on his lips, this would go well and this time there would be no unpleasant surprises. She would marry the suitor he had picked out and when that ner got into power so would he. They would be there in just a couple of days and then his path to power would be ensured, others were dealing with the king and his family, there would be no obstacles, not anymore.

Mablung did awake slowly, he felt oddly comfortable and then he realized that he laid next to someone, curled up into the person’s back like a spoon next to another. He blinked and recognized that huge mass of silvery grey hair and he let out a small yip of surprise and joy. It was Lerina and he remembered last night and felt how excitement bubbled inside of him. Sleeping there next to her was wonderful, and she was so soft and warm and just perfect to hold and he closed his eyes and thanked the valar for this chance. She was sound asleep and he leaned forth a bit and planted a gentle kiss on her shoulder. She made a little mewling sound and turned over, still asleep and he got a very nice and close view of her breasts since the blanket had slid down. Oh by Oromë’s balls, she was so gorgeous. Those perfect perky globes would fit perfectly into his hands and those lovely pink nipples were made to be kissed and licked. He stared at them, wait a minute, pink nipples? When he thought the mystery couldn’t get any deeper it just did, oh he did know that some females are unable to breastfeed their young, some don’t have enough milk or any at all while others find it uncomfortable but she couldn’t have tried at all. Everybody knows that a female’s nipples will turn darker when she has been suckling an infant and hers were like those of a maiden. What in Eru’s name was going on here?

He frowned, she was stacked full of mysteries this one and why didn’t she tell him? What was she so afraid of? He tried to think rationally, perhaps she simply had been too weak after giving birth to suckle her daughter or she could have been of those who prefer to let a wetnurse take care of that job? No, she loved her daughter, he knew that. There was fierce protectiveness in her eyes whenever she did mention Ariniel and he didn’t doubt that she would do everything to ensure her daughter’s happiness. Even lying to everyone? Oh yes, he was sure she would. He kept thinking of what she had told him, of her niece and it sort of formed a pattern in his mind. Lerina got attacked, needed Saeriel’s help to overcome the trauma, and then Ariniel is born a few years later? While Saeriel still stayed with Lerina? And Saeriel suddenly married Fingon a couple of years after that? It lead to a conclusion he had a hard time believing but it was the only viable theory he could come up with. Ariniel was Saeriel’s daughter, not Lerina’s, but Maedhros was the father for sure. Had those rumors been true then? Did the four of them engage in orgies? The way Lerina had acted the day before told him she hadn’t, but Saeriel had sounded like a rather wild elleth so why not a threesome? That was more believable.

What a mess, he decided that he would allow her to tell him herself when and if she got ready for it, he wouldn’t push her but he started to wonder what else that family had been hiding. He allowed himself to sleep a .little more and when he woke up the next time she was up, blushing like mad but dressed and she tried desperately to act as if nothing had happened. That sort of hurt him a bit but he didn’t let her see it, after all, she was still hiding things from him. They ate and went to work again and this day they managed to fill yet another four baskets before it got dark. Lerina was exhausted afterwards and went to bed early but he had noticed a strange change in her behavior. Now she seemed to crave his touch and yet she tried to avoid getting near him and she didn’t speak that much, she seemed almost grumpy but he did realize that it was fear, not anger. Was she afraid of him? Why?

That night they slept alone again and he didn’t like it, he longed for her but what could he do? She had to set the pace and he tried to be just as nice and friendly as before, to make her feel safe and protected. The next morning they loaded the nuts onto the mules and Mablung wanted to transport the baskets back to the village before they returned for more. They could leave the camp there and Lerina agreed. She wanted to bring more baskets and some more equipment too and more food. They rode off and he entertained her with stories of how Thingol had reacted when the noldor returned to Beleriand. The day went by fast, she knew the route now and could concentrate upon his tales and she did enjoy herself a lot, even if she felt strangely torn. She realized that she wanted him to touch her again, to make her feel that wonderful sensation once again but it wouldn’t be right, not to him. She had no idea of how to return the favor, and she couldn’t let him take her. Ariniel should never have to live with the shame of knowing she in truth was born as a bastard.

They were approaching the village when a rider came galloping towards them, it was one of the locals who knew Lerina pretty well and she knew she could trust him. He stopped his horse and his face told of a mix of emotions. “Lerina, your father have arrived, he came this morning. He is waiting for you and he has brought some stranger, he claims that you are to marry that ellon?!”

Lerina almost passed out, the world disappeared under her and Mablung grasped onto her to prevent her from falling off her horse. Mablung almost sneered. “Did her daughter send you?”

The ellon nodded. “Yes, she said she is glad she already is married, or else that mad idiot would have gotten silly ideas regarding her too. I am here to warn Lerina.”

Mablung took a deep breath and saw that she was pale and shivering, her eyes were huge again and she reminded him of a frightened child. “Where is he?”

The ellon pointed. “He is waiting by the groove of beeches, outside of the village.”

Mablung was thinking fast. “Have anyone spoken to him?”

The local shook his head with a grimace of disgust. “No, all he has been told is that Lerina is out picking nuts, that is all.”

Mablung took a deep sigh of relief. “Great, could you do me a favor? Ride back and tell everybody that she has been engaged for say, six months? Make sure everybody knows if he asks questions, and don’t be afraid to add some juicy details too, make it sound like we have been at it rather like wild bunnies for the whole time. If he doesn’t buy our explanation he might start asking others.”

The ellon grinned, a wide grin which told Mablung he understood the plan. “Yes, I will do that! What are you going to do?”

Mablung grinned widely, a vicious grin. “Meet my future father in law of course, in a manner which will make him think twice about trying to marry her off again.”

He dismounted and helped Lerina off the horse, she looked as if she was about to swoon once more and he remembered what he had been told, that her own parents had attacked her and harmed her seriously. Of course she was afraid of her father, she was reduced to a terrified elfling again and now he had to protect her, to be her shield and sword. He kissed her forehead and whispered softly. “Lerina? Don’t be afraid, I will never let him harm you in any way, do you hear me?”

She nodded slowly, those big eyes still clouded with fear and he caressed her lower lip with his thumb. “ Listen, we are going to chase him off, to make him see that you aren’t his to rule anymore. It does require that you play along with what I am saying, and that we both act the part, can you do that?”

She tried to pull herself together. “ I…I can try”

He smiled and kissed her forehead again. “Great Lerina, now, I will leave some marks on you, to make you look as if we really are a couple, is that alright?”

She frowned. “Marks?”

He nodded. “Hickeys, and bitemarks, I will not hurt you, I swear”

She sort of let out a nervous giggle. “Ah…Okay”

He smiled and pulled her blouse down a bit, bent down and kissed her neck right under her ear, sucked hard and before long there was a dark red mark there. He did the same on the other side and added some swift bites. They would fade fast but not until her father had seen them. Then he made her change from her sturdy riding dress to a flimsy purple shift and she allowed him to do her hair so it looked like she had been having sex without combing through it afterwards. She had the bed hair of all centuries when he was finished and he smiled and pulled his tunic off. “Now, scratch me, really hard, across my shoulders.”

She hesitated and then she did what he told her to do and he hissed from the pain but now he had some very nice marks to show for. She too tried making some hickeys on him and then he got his west back on and smeared some paint onto his skin, just to look primitive and frightening. She was shaking like a leaf when they were done, her nervousness almost palpable. He hugged her tight. “Don’t be afraid little one, we will send him off with his tail between his legs, I am here and I will not desert you”

She tried to smile. “Thank you my friend”

He just smiled and kissed her hand. “You are welcome, now, let’s ride. You can sit up with me, that makes it more believable.”

She giggled and he lifted her up, got in the saddle behind her and then they rode off. Lerina was still scared but with him by her side she felt stronger, more confident and she knew how she should act to deter the suitor her father had found. The groove was not far away and Mablung rode with confidence, Lerina felt a need to grasp the reins and stop the horse but that would be childish, she had to face her demons now. She felt her heart beat like a drum and she remembered the last time she saw her father, the wrath in his eyes and his hateful words. Mablung grasped her hand, whispered to her. “Do not be afraid, hold your head up high my sweet one.”

She took a deep breath and put on a cheeky expression, feeling herself shiver. There were some horses tied up by the groove and she saw that her father had brought Calpon and probably two servants. They sat on a fallen log and got up when they heard the sound of Mablung’s horse and Lerina felt a cold chill rush through her. Mablung stroked her back once, a soothing caress which brought some of her courage back, he was there, and he was strong. She had a strong feeling that Mablung in a fit of rage would be a terrible opponent and she knew that her father was a coward at heart. This should be interesting.

She saw him stand there in front of the small group, Calpon stood behind him and Lerina hissed at the sight. She knew that Calpon was the kind of person who always wants more, more of everything. He was never pleased with what he had and she had heard servants claim that he would have done anything to get closer to the center of power. Suddenly she felt a wave of anger and disgust, she saw it now, the game these elves were playing and it was revolting. She allowed her despise to show in her eyes and she did hold her head up high, leaning towards Mablung as if they really were intimate in every manner.

Costaro frowned when he saw his daughter, what was this? She looked some barbaric thing and was she wearing only a shift? And she had grown fat! Calpon seemed a bit shocked and Costaro had never seen that look in her eyes before, it flamed and he suddenly started to worry that this wouldn’t be such an easy fix after all. He just stared at her with a hard gaze, trying to intimidate her and break her will like before. “You look like a savage, and have you put on weight?! Have you no shame? You ought to be glad I am here, to bring you back to civilization. Calpon here has agreed upon marrying you, even if you are spoiled goods”

Mablung almost growled when he heard those words, fat? And spoiled goods? Oh by Aüle’s hammer, this would get nasty if that nitwit didn’t back down, he checked his axe and sword just to be sure. Lerina just gave Costaro a very cold glare. “No shit Costaro, well, you can tell that rotten excuse for a ner that I have no desire to marry him, now or ever!”

Costaro almost lost his ability to speak, when had she started acting thus? With such confidence? He hadn’t really looked at the ner behind her on the horse, he had assumed that it was a servant since she never had learned to ride when he was in charge of her but now he did see that it was an extremely tall sinda, one with war paint, and weapons. And a glare that could have frozen the sundering sea block solid.

Mablung grinned, a very wide and devilish grin. “So this is your father Lerina. Pleased to meet you Costaro!”

He held his voice polite and made sure that the four elves saw his weapons. Costaro tried to look confident and strong even if that sinda was terrifying. What a barbarian, well, he had to be at least a foot and a half taller than Costaro and almost twice his weight and that was all muscle. “ And who the hell are you?”

Mablung ignored the haughty tone and smiled even wider but his eyes weren’t smiling, they had the same expression they would have when he saw a pack of orcs. “ Oh who I am, well, it depends upon whether or not you follow the old laws. If you don’t I am Lerina’s fiancée, and if you do I am her husband”

Costaro almost coughed, his eyes bulging” Her…husband?!”

Lerina nodded with a triumphant grin. “ Yes, he is so much more of a male than any of my previous lovers, truly”

Costaro barely managed to speak. “Married….again?”

Mablung grinned, a devil was dancing in his eyes and he bent down and kissed Lerina on her cheek, thus making her shift a ,little so the huge hickey on her neck became visible for all to see. “Most certainly yes, once you plow the ground you own it right? And we have had a lot of fun together, she is really something else.”

Calpon snorted and there was disgust in his eyes, he was most certainly no longer interested and Lerina hid a triumphant smile, she leaned back and kissed Mablung back and he turned it into a very deep and possessive kiss she felt all the way to her toes. “So you see, she is mine, all mine. You could of course challenge me for the right to be her mate but honestly? I cannot see any of you being able to bear arms against me and survive”

Costaro was a bit pale. “You are but a barbarian, you have no right claiming a noldor nis as your bride?! She is above you!”

Mablung grinned again. “ Oh yes she is, and under me too, a lot. But I do like her above me, she has such wonderful curves now doesn’t she?”

Costaro tried to sound cold and angry. “ I didn’t get your name”

The voice was ice cold but trembling and Mablung stared straight at Costaro, his eyes blazing. “I am known as Mablung, that means hard hand by the way. I got it when I once crushed an orc’s skull with my bare hand, like this”

He held out a huge worn hand and closed it slowly and Costaro saw muscles bulge under the dark skin, like a nest of snakes under a thin veil. Costaro swallowed hard and Lerina could see that the servants had a hard time not laughing, they obviously were on her side in this. Mablung smiled again, deceptively friendly. “So you have a sinda son in law now, law-father. And this year have been a fecund one, in so many ways”

He let a hand run over Lerina’s stomach in a protective and possessive manner and Costaro gasped and turned even paler. The thought of having a half sinda grandchild probably shocked him even worse than would having one that was half orc! Mablung slid off the horse and helped Lerina down and she sort of made sure that she grasped onto his west and pulled at the hem so they saw the top of the impressive claw marks she had made on his back. She hung onto him and kissed him on his neck and tried to act like someone quite depraved the way the more pious noldor saw it and Costaro still looked very shocked. Calpon had returned to his horse and he was sneering. “I have no intention of getting involved with that thing over there, she has gone feral! Eru alone knows who’s cocks she has ridden, I’d rather marry a sow!”

Costaro squealed, his plans were ruined, it made anger boil up inside of him but he knew that he couldn’t use the marrying tactic again, Lerina was out of reach and it made him sneer with disappointment and rage. Mablung had pulled his sword from its sheath and he held it in a very threatening angle. “So, I suggest you go packing, before you have a whole tribe of angry wood elves on your heels. We do not appreciate it if anyone tries to mess with our mates, and she is mine! If you show you grey face here once more you will not return home unscathed, that is a promise”

Costaro heard the hard tone of the huge sinda’s voice and knew he spoke the truth, the wood sindar and the avarin tribes were infamously feral and like most noldor he had never bothered with trying to find the real truth. He bit his teeth together, staring at Lerina. “You fucking slut, this ain’t over yet, just you wait and see!”

Lerina sent him a cold glare. “Oh it is, you are not my father, you never were a father to anyone. You may have sired me but that doesn’t make you worthy of that title.”

Costaro didn’t answer, he just ran to his horse and the servants held the animal but the horse sort of backed a few steps and tried to bite him in the butt when he mounted it. Mablung grinned and Lerina smiled, a fake friendly smile. “Oh do send my regards to mom, I hope her piousness and falseness haven’t choked her just yet!”

Costaro swore and spurred the horse and Calpon followed, the two servants grinned and gave Lerina a thumbs up before they followed their masters and Lerina felt a need to scream, just to let the tension and the fear she had felt out. But she felt different now, stronger! She had dared to face him and she hadn’t broken down, that was great!

Mablung embraced her and kissed her forehead. “You did well little one, I am very proud of you. That ellon was really a piece of shit, what a bastard!”

She nodded and relaxed into his embrace, she felt safe and in a way very glad. He smiled. “Now, let us get the nuts to your home and get them ready, and now you do owe me a favor.”

She nodded. “ I do, I am so grateful”

Mablung tilted his head, there was a warm light in his eyes. “ So why don’t you show it? I have a suggestion for a counter favor”

She frowned, a little nervous. “What?”

He took her hand. “Tonight there is a festival, the wood elves celebrate it every year, in honor of the forests and the things they give us. Join me, please?”

She felt uncertain, a festival? That meant lots of other elves, and she had never liked crowds but…”What do you do during that festival?”

He caressed her hair. “ We dance, and sing and remember the old days, there will be food and lots of drinking and just fun. Say you will come!”

She hesitated for a second and he grinned widely when she finally nodded. “Wonderful, now, let us get the nuts to safety and then I will meet your daughter and she can help you get ready.”

Lerina sort of sighed, what had she agreed upon now? Oh Eru, this could get…weird.

Meanwhile in Tirion chaos had erupted, Nerdanel had waited for Alciel to return home but she had not shown up and she and the ambarussa had left the house looking but they found nothing. And so she had alerted everybody of her missing daughter and now there were elves everywhere, trying to find Fëanor’s daughter. Even Finarfin had come to help in the search and by noon the next day some servant found a note someone had left on the king’s desk. The message was very clear, if he didn’t abdicate and leave the power to more worthy ner they would never see Alciel again. But Finarfin knew he couldn’t, it would spell anarchy. The idiots behind the conspiracy had no idea of how the valar had chosen the first kings from the elven tribes and they would not allow some other family to rule. And Finarfin’s children had started being re-embodied too, just as Fingolfin’s.

He was gathering his advisors and the rest of the family when a group of maiar rode into the courtyard, among them a very tall cloaked figure and they strolled straight into the council room as if they owned it. Finarfin looked up with an annoyed glance, he didn’t like this at all but it changed when the cloaked figure removed the heavy garment. Finarfin just gasped, then he cried out. “Atya!”

Everybody stared, it was the first high king and he did look amazing, strong and determined and Finarfin rushed forth and embraced him, almost sobbing. “ Oh atya, it is really you, oh Eru”

Finwë stared at the group, his eyes were stern but held so much love. “I am back, and I know of the conspiracy and the kidnapping. Worry not, they will not achieve their foolish goals, we will find my granddaughter. Now is the time to strike back, to rebuild what once was”

Many cheered and Indis fell into his arms, sobbing wildly. He kissed her forehead and his smile was bittersweet. “There are so many of us not here now, so many lost. My firstborn will not be reborn again, but some of his sons may, in time. Until then I reclaim the throne as it is my right, and if they think they can usurp me then they’ll get what is coming”

Finarfin laughed, an almost hysterical sound made in absolute relief. He had never wanted to be king and it hadn’t suited him at all and now that burden was taken from him. He was weeping with joy. Finwë went over to Nerdanel, embraced her. “We will find her dear, worry not. I will not rest until every stone in Tirion is turned upside down.”

Nerdanel sobbed and hid her face against his robes and an atmosphere of confidence had filled the room. They would find her, it would be alright, the true king was back.

Alciel had woken up tied up like a ham, she couldn’t move even a muscle and she was inside of some sort of crate, and it moved. She heard the sound of wagon wheels and she knew she was being taken away from the city, but where to? She had lost the sensation of time and she had a horrible headache. She wasn’t really afraid, at least not yet but she was angry, more angry than ever before. She knew who she could blame for this, and she swore that she would make them pay. The crate was warm and uncomfortable and she was gagged, she fought it but after a while she lost consciousness yet again.

The next time she woke up she was no more in the crate, she laid upon a simple cot and she had a chain attached to her right wrist. It was well made and she hissed and lifted her head. She still had a headache and she felt dizzy and confused, but her keen mind was working like before. She was in a small room with no windows, it was made from solid brickwork and it had a faint moldy smell which told her this was where someone used to store potatoes. It had to be a cellar, and that usually meant that this was some sort of mansion, commoners rarely had cellars and the bricks were not that very old. The room wasn’t large, the chain was so long she could move all over it and it held just the cot, a sort of table and a chamberpot. She growled with anger and stared at the manacle around her wrist. Whoever had made it, he or she was good, she couldn’t hope to pick the lock, not without real equipment made for it. She sighed, the table was a rackety thing, she couldn’t break it apart and use it as weapons for the wood was rotten. A sort of basket stood on top of it, it contained some bread and a jug of thin wine. Great, so she wasn’t to starve, that was encouraging. But what did these goofheads hope to achieve by kidnapping her?

Finarfin would never leave the throne to them, no way. She suspected that these elves only saw the glory of ruling and not the terrible burden it was, or they were so convinced that the line of Finwë was corrupted that they were willing to let anyone rule except them. She could only wait for someone to show up and she had no idea of what day it was, or if she had been there for long. A single Fëanorian lamp gave light to the room and she got tired and had to lay down to sleep again. But when she slept someone had been there, emptied the chamber pot and put new food on the table and so someone was watching over her, she had no idea of how she would get out of this situation. She knew that days had gone by and she was getting terribly bored, there was nothing to do there except waiting and she feared that she would go insane soon. Then suddenly the door opened and an elf she had never seen entered, he just stood in the door, well out of her reach and he looked angry. He was clearly a noldo but he wore some clothes that looked more of vanyar origin and so did his jewelry. Alciel just stared at him and he frowned. “So you are the get of that darn kinslayer, I see the apple haven’t fallen far from the tree. But you will be useful now, our plans have changed.”

Alciel felt scared but she didn’t show it, she just met his gaze and the ner continued. “We hoped to get the daughter of one of our most trusted followers married to one of us, she is the widow of that darn redhead who was your brother, but some sinda have come before us and she is no longer available. And Finwë has returned, and he isn’t to be played with. But there is another way of getting influence, we just have to make some small adjustments regarding the bride”

Alciel sort of held her breath, he wasn’t thinking…. The ner grinned triumphantly. “Rejoice nis, for you are to become the wife of a very prosperous and ambitious ner, with a consummated marriage they cannot protest against it. “

Alciel just gasped, was this elf in sane? “I will never allow that, the valar will annul the marriage if it has been forced!”

The ner continued to grin. “No they won’t, not if there is a child created from the union, and worry not pretty one, we have herbs which will make you conceive, willingly or not!”

Alciel felt how cold dread crept into her, she had heard of such herbs, from elves being used as breeding slaves by the forces of Sauron and Morgoth and she would rather die than to be violated thus. He nodded. “Soon you will be our key to the court, and through you we will soon overthrow the Finwëions, it is ironic that one of their own will be their downfall.”

Alciel just stared, how could they even believe their own words? A marriage to her wouldn’t help them in any manner, were they completely bonkers? And no, she would not allow this to happen, she was the daughter of Fëanor and she had inherited her father’s ingenuity, there had to be a way to get out of there. She just growled at the ner who closed the door and she felt cold sweat flow down her back. From now on she couldn’t eat anything, she didn’t have much time left before she would go weak. Think Alciel, think! What would her father have done? How could she alert her family of her plight?

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.