Faramir wiped his blade clean on the shirt of the sailor, he had just killed and looked around. The sounds of fighting had died down. The ship was firmly in the hands of the pirates.
The elves on the ship hadn't really had time to prepare. The morning mists had kept Faramir's ship, the "Stormcrow", nearly invisible. Only when the grappling hooks had hit the elven ship, had they realised the trouble they were in. But by then Faramir's men were already descending on them like hungry wolves.
Now they were herding those elves together, who had surrendered. Eomer, Faramir's second in command, strode over to the captain, grinning from ear to ear. "All secured, Captain." he reported. "Three dead, four wounded on our side." Faramir nodded, pleased with himself. His decision to follow the elven ship in a safe distance had been right.
"So what have we got?" he asked Eomer. His friend grinned even more. "Seems to be a transport of various riches for the governor." he answered. "Some of the boys are checking the cargo-hold. We should hear from them soon."
Faramir let his eyes rake over the ship again. It was a fine craft, but he would have no choice but to burn it down. No use giving the elves more ships than they already had anyway. His gaze stopped, when he noticed an unmoving figure, chained to the main mast.
"What did you say?" he asked, when he realized he hadn't been listening to Eomer. "I asked, what we are supposed to do with the surviving elves. The usual?" "Are there any cute one who might fetch a good price?" Faramir asked, while he walked over to the mast to investigate.
"Naw... not really. Just the usual stuff. The captain might get us a ransom..." "He surrendered?" Faramir looked at Eomer in surprise. Usually elven nobles were to proud to lay down their weapons. Eomer shrugged. "Was one of the first. Seems there are cowards even among elves."
"Well then, let's keep that captain and put the rest of them in one of the boats. There is an island nearby... they can row to safety." Faramir hated useless bloodshed. Some of the other pirate captains insisted on killing every single elf aboard the ships they raided. Faramir thought that did not make them the heroes they pretended to be but only savage animals.
He stopped next to the chained figure and had a closer look. And suddenly he felt hot anger well up in himself and reconsidered his orders concerning the survivors. Maybe they didn't deserve to live.
It was a human, still wearing the shabby remains of gondorian uniform trousers. His back was covered with fresh blood and his long blond hair was matted with old, crusted blood as well. His breath came only shallow. He was unconscious. Obviously he had just been whipped. Probably Faramir's attack had interrupted the "show" and saved the man's live. If he was going to survive.
"Eomer!" Faramir shouted over the noise of cursing elves and pirates calling to each other the riches they had discovered. But his second in command heard him. They had years of practice. "What?" he shouted back. "Bring that captain over here!" Faramir ordered, clenching his hands to hard fists. He was going to rip the bastards guts out, if he didn't have a really convincing reason for torturing Faramir's fellow human.
Eomer came over, dragging the bound elven captain with him. When he noticed the chained man, Faramir saw rage rise in Eomer's eyes as well. "Who is this man?" Faramir asked the captain, his voice burning with his anger. The captain looked surprised.
"That?" He spat the word. "Just some prisoner who had to be disciplined." Faramir looked at the human again. Obviously human and elven thoughts on discipline varied wildly. "What did he do?" Faramir asked deceptively polite.
The captain managed a shrug. "How should I know? He's a troublemaker. If the boatswain ordered him whipped he surely had a good reason." Faramir looked at Eomer and found his own thoughts reflected in the face of his friend. "Hang him." he said and turned to the chained man, to free him.
Eomer dragged the kicking and screaming captain away. While Faramir picked the lock on the chains, he heard a cheer from the elves being loaded into the boat and couldn't suppress a smile. Obviously the elven captain had not been well liked.
The unconscious man fell limply to the deck and Faramir caught him just in time to spare him further injury. He waved two of the other pirates over. "Take him to my cabin aboard the "Stormcrow" and tell Beregond to have a look at his wounds when he is finished with the others." They nodded and carried the man away.
Eomer came back to his captains side. "Well... what do you think?" He asked and pointed to the elven captain, who now hung down from his own mast. "Perfect." was Faramir's only comment. Then they both concentrated on loading as much of the riches aboard the "Stormcrow" as they could carry away.
When Faramir finally found the time to get back to his own cabin, it was well past noon. They had watched the elven ship burn with a tear for the beautiful craft. Then they had set sail towards "Hawk' Nest", the pirates stronghold in these waters and started sorting through the loot. As was custom among the pirates all had been shared and now the off-watch was already well into celebrating.
Only one lamp was burning low by the bedside. Faramir stopped in the doorway to look at the motionless figure in his bed. He had met Beregond some minutes ago and the healer aboard the "Stormcrow" had told the captain, that his 'guest' would survive. It had been clear, that Beregond wondered, why Faramir had put the man in his own cabin. He had gotten no answer from the captain. Faramir was not sure himself and now he wondered, what he was going to do with the man.
He carefully closed the door behind him, but the small sound was enough to wake the wounded man. He jerked upright, only to fall back with a groan immediately when the pain of his ripped back hit him. Still he tried to move back and put more space between himself and the captain.
"It's alright." Faramir said as soothingly as he could, raising his empty hands. "You are not with the elves anymore. Nobody's going to hurt you here." For a moment the man just starred at Faramir, his green eyes wide with fear, then his eyes suddenly cleared and he relaxed visibly.
"What happened?" he asked, his voice coarse with pain. Faramir stepped closer to the bed. "We raided the Elven ship you were on. It is no more." The other man looked at him more closely. "So you are a pirate." It was a mere observation with no note of judgement attached.
Faramir nodded. "Why did they beat you?" Maybe this time he would get a more useful answer. The man gave a short humorless laugh. "Because I was the only one left? When they set out on this journey, there were several human 'prisoners', but they were all killed." He lowered his head and Faramir felt deep sympathy. "I was the one who survived longest." he finished.
Then he raised his head again and looked at Faramir with those amazingly green eyes. "So what are you going to do with me now? Sell me? I don't think you'll get much..." Faramir had to contain a grin. Obviously the man had no idea, how... yes... what exactly was going on in Faramir's head at the moment? He caught himself falling into those questioning eyes.
"No... I don't sell humans. Only elves and then just the really cute ones. Call me racist but I tend to treat humans better then elves. Bad habit..." The man gave a soft sigh and relaxed even more. "We are sailing to "Hawk's Nest" right now. If you want to, you can stay there, till you catch a ship going to Gondor."
Faramir's eyes got calculating. "Or – if you are a good fighter – you can stay aboard this ship. We lost three men in the attack today. And we will sail to Gondor sooner or later as well. There is always work with the king..."
The man actually managed a weak smile. "What makes you think, I want to go to Gondor?" he asked. Faramir shrugged. "Your uniform?" The man closed his eyes and let his head fall back into the pillow. He gave a soft sigh and didn't say anything for a while.
Faramir was already wondering, if he had fallen asleep, when he spoke again. "It is very gracious of you to offer me a place on your ship, Captain. I would like to stay. And yes..." He opened his eyes and there was some strange mirth in their green now. "...I can fight."
For a moment Faramir wondered, if he had made a mistake by taking in the stranger but then he shoved the thought aside. He was not really sure, what the feeling, curling in the pit of his stomach was trying to tell him, but he was sure, that he wanted to keep the man around.
"So what's your name?" he asked, before the tired man could drift into sleep for good. "Boromir." the man answered, yawning. Faramir smiled. "Get some sleep." he said. Boromir nodded and was out cold only seconds later. His body needed as much rest as he could possibly get.
Faramir looked down at his bed and smiled. So where was he going to sleep? Somehow he could not begrudge Boromir the place in his bed. He stretched and yawned too. He did need some sleep. The watch at the helm tonight was his.
Well, the bed was wide enough for two... So he just got in next to the other man, who didn't even stir and quickly fell asleep as well.
"You want to take me back to my father?!" Fury was suddenly blazing in Arwens eyes and she sat up straight, shrugging out of Aragorn's embrace. "How can you say something like that?!"
Aragorn sighed. "Love, you have to understand... This is no life for one as beautiful and refined as you. And your reputation will suffer irrevocable damage if you stay any longer."
Arwen looked not appeased at all. If possibly she was getting even angrier. "My reputation?! Shouldn't you have considered that a tiny bit earlier? I don't want to leave. I want to stay with you. And how dare you decide what life is right for me and what is not?! Do you think I will be happier, if I marry some old noble, picked by my father to cement some alliance?!" "Love... your father will hunt us..."
Arwen snorted. "And you think he won't hunt you, if you give me back?" "I will ask a hearty ransom. Then he will think, nothing has happened to you..." Aragorn's reasoning was cut short by a resounding slap. He put his hand to his burning cheek and watched, as Arwen climbed out of bed and started dressing.
"So this is, what all this is about." she mumbled more to herself than him. "And I thought you loved me." Aragorn could tell, she was close to tears. He got out of bed as well and tried to take her into his arms, but she wouldn't have it.
"You have just used me for your pleasure!" she accused. Aragorn shook his head. "No. I do love you." he said sadly. "But a pirate and a princess... don't you see, this could never work?" "I would have tried." Arwen answered, her voice flat and cold.
She squared her shoulders. "Now take me back to my cousin." she said, sounding distant and untouchable. "As you wish, Mylady." Aragorn bowed stiffly and called one of his men, to escort her.
Only when the door had closed behind her, did he sit down heavily on his bed, rubbing his face. He had hated to send her away. How much he already longed for her soft touch, her silver laugh, the sparkling of her wonderful eyes. But it could not be.
He had hoped so much, she would see his reasons, would understand. That she at least would keep a fond memory of him. But it was not to be.
'He is going to pay for this' It was like a mantra already, when Arwen reached the small cabin, where she and her cousin were kept. Or rather, were her cousin had been kept, while she was with... with that bastard. She suddenly felt the urge, to scratch her skin raw, to get rid of the remembered feel of his hands on her. 'How dare he? How dare he use her like this? He would pay! Would pay dearly!
The man escorting her opened the door and motioned her inside. So now she was a prisoner as well. No more walk on deck in the starlight. No more kissing under a full moon, no more beautiful words whispered to snare her heart.
The door closed behind her and she had to look her cousin Legolas in the eye. Deep worry was clearly written on his face. And impotent rage at not having been able to protect her. He was bound with heavy chains. The pirates had learned the hard way, that it was not an easy task to restrain him.
"Mylady Arwen... are you alright?" he asked, fearing the answer. Arwen set down next to him, brushing an errant strand of his normally well kept long hair out of his face. "Do not fear, cousin." she said, trying to keep her voice emotionless. "The only thing hurt is my pride."
"What did that monster do to you?!" Legolas tore at the chains, loosing himself in his rage. Arwen put her hands on his shoulders and tried to reassure him. "Legolas, don't. You will only hurt yourself."
He pulled at the chains one last time. Then he buried his face against her neck. "Forgive me, Arwen, I have failed you." he whispered and Arwen felt moisture against her skin. The feeling of utter defeat he radiated almost broke her heart.
"No, Legolas, you have not failed me. You stayed alive for me. What use would it have been, had you died in battle for me like all the others? Now you are here to comfort me and I am grateful." He did not move, but his breathing became more even.
"That bastard is going to pay!" she said. "He is going to pay for all this. He is going to wish, he had never seen my face! This I vow by the Valar!"
The sea was quiet. An almost flat, shiny surface, reflecting the moon and the stars. The only sounds were the creaking of the sails and soft sounds of water licking at wood.
Faramir felt at peace with himself and his world. He loved the late-night watch, when he was alone with the sea and his thoughts. When the only other waking being on the ship was the man in the crows-nest. He loved to listen to the water mumbling his secrets around him, to watch the stars, so different from his far away home.
But this night, he realized that his silent happiness did not entirely stem from the pleasure of being alone on a ship usually bustling with activity. The thoughtful smile on his face rather appeared, when he thought of the man, still asleep in his bed.
Faramir had slept surprisingly well, considering that he normally only shared his bed with anybody, while he was making love to what ever person it might be. He did not believe in long term relationships. Not when he could end up at the gallows any day. Even less, when the same was true for most of his bed partners.
But he had slept deeply and peacefully until Boromir had turned around in his sleep and put one arm around him, like a lover would. Faramir had immediately been wide awake, his had going to his dagger automatically. It had taken him some moments, to calm his body again. To used was he to defending himself.
When he had looked over to his bedfellow, he had realized, that the other man hadn't even woken up. Trusting type, obviously. Or just to tired to care anymore. All kinds of interesting ideas had flitted through Faramir's head then. And they all centered around getting even closer to the body of the other.
He had closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of Boromir, heavy and musky, mixed with the bitter smell of dried blood. Would he wake up, if Faramir started to caress him? Or would he stay asleep and only make small sounds of pleasure, while Faramir erased the touch of the whip with the touch of his fingers?
Instead of touching the other man, his hands had slowly moved over his own body until they curled around his hardening manhood. He had moved slowly, not to wake the other, stroking himself to full hardness. What would it feel like, to have Boromir do this to him? His hands would be callused and hard, just like his own. Would he be able to find just the right speed of rubbing him? Would he smile while he did it?
Faramir had bit his lower lip to prevent himself from moaning out load. It had taken him only a few more movements of his hand and he had come, biting his lip almost bloody. And Boromir had still been asleep, had one arm still thrown over Faramir in an almost protective manner.
With closed eyes Faramir had waited for his heart-beat to slow down to a reasonable pace again. Then he had opened his eyes and blown a small kiss at the other man, his decision firmly in place. As soon as the newest addition to his crew was well again, he would put all his considerable charm into the task of seducing him. And then he had fallen asleep again. Now he smiled again at the memory.
And there he had thought the sea and the "Stormcrow" where the only things he'd ever truly desire. But there had been times, when even that had been quite different. To think that once he had been terrified of the ocean. He remembered clearly the first time he had ever stepped onto a ship. They had dragged him screaming and kicking all the way.
He had grown up on a small farm somewhere between Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth, having grand dreams of becoming a soldier and fighting in the endless wars against the elves of Umbar to gain fame and fortune. One evening, when he had just turned seventeen, subscribers from the kings army had stopped in the tavern of the small village and gotten him and some of his friend drunk enough, to sign life-time contracts.
It hadn't taken him long, to figure out, there was neither fame nor fortune to be earned as a common soldier. Just a dirty, painful death on some battlefield, only having meaning to some noble sitting safely in his tent miles away.
So he had done the only sensible thing and run. Of course he had been caught. He had just been a foolish boy then. They had decided to give him another chance, as they desperately needed crews for the warships then. And there was no escape from a ship...
He had served on a galleon for more then a year and by that time he had learned to despise any kind of gondorian officer. Freedom had come from an unexpected source. The galleon had been escorting some traders going to the colonies in Mulambun, when the whole convoy had been attacked by pirates.
After the fight had been over, they had offered the sailors of the captures ships a place in their crew and Faramir had readily agreed. Anything had to be better, then getting beaten for opening your mouth. The other sailors had been put on an island, much like Faramir still did today with the crew he raided.
He had never regretted his decision. He had worked just as hard to gain the trust of the pirates, as he had before to stay alive. He had shown a talent for the helm, so he had been taught by Captain Isildur how to steer the ship. In the following years, he had become something like a father to Faramir, teaching him almost everything there was to know about pirating.
A couple of years ago, they had raided a beautiful frigate and Faramir had asked his Captain to give him the ship instead of a share on the loot. Isildur had grinned wildly and agreed. They had taken the ship back to Hawk's Nest and Faramir had recruited a crew.
That was, when he had taken Eomer on. They had known each other for quite a while, having spend in the tavern, Faramir telling the younger man of his adventures on the sea.
Eomer and his sister had grown up in Hawk's Nest, being the kids of one of the many whores who kept the pockets of the pirates empty. Eomer had always known, he would someday be a pirate and Faramir had been more than glad to give his friend a place in his crew. Another decision he had never regretted. He couldn't count the times, they had saved each others life in battle.
And now the price-money the elves had put on his head was higher then ever and all in all he was more than happy with his life. Why care, if he could die any day, when the days he had lived were more than worth the risk?
He looked down at the deck, when he heard the silent footsteps of naked feet. Eomer climbed up to the after-deck. Faramir smiled. "Shouldn't you be asleep?" he asked.
Eomer shrugged. "Not been drinking enough of that fine elven wine, I suppose." he said. "Somebody had to keep a level head after all. Everybody else is out cold."
Faramir shook his head. "We'll all wake up in the dungeons one day and wonder how we got there." he said. "Probably." Eomer agreed and for a while they just watched the silent water together.
"Sooo..." Eomer started again. "How is that man in your bed doing?" Faramir looked at Eomer. So his second in command was to curios to sleep. "He will survive." he said, sounding deliberately uncommitted. "Ah." Eomer was obviously searching for a way to gain more information from his captain.
"Why did you put him in your bed?" he asked. Faramir wasn't able to contain his grin anymore. "Why don't you just ask, what you really want to know." he said. Eomer gave him a hurt look. But then he complied.
"So are you going to bed him?" "Well..." Faramir scratched his chin. "I might. Is it so obvious?" Eomer nodded. "Yes. Well, we all know, what kind of guy catches your eye and that one surly fit the description. There is a bet, how long you will take to get him..."
Faramir raised one eyebrow. "Is there? Sometimes I get the impression that this crew doesn't respect me at all." Eomer laughed. "Oh no, we all respect your... abilities." Faramir gave him a friendly punch. "So what is your bet?" "Before we reach Haw's Nest." "I'll see what I can do for you."
Governor Elrond ran towards his daughter, pulling her into his arms and holding her against his chest. Arwen hid her face against him, not to let anybody see the expression on her face. She knew she should have looked relieved to be back in safety. Instead she was furious.
She still had difficulty believing Captain Aragorn had really gone through with this. Somehow, somewhere in her heart she had still believe, he would come to her, apologize for his stupid behavior. And of course she would have forgiven him. As soon as the first anger had died down, she had started to miss him.
But not anymore. She had steeled her heart against any feelings for the bastard, when he had handed her over to her fathers men like some piece of property. Even having the impudence to count the coins right in front of her eyes.
"Oh my poor, sweet bird... what have they done to you?" her father asked, worry and fear prominent in his voice. Arwen felt malice rise in her heart. Would serve the bastard right... "It was so horrible father..." she responded in a choked voice, still not showing her face. "I... I cannot speak of this... oh father... promise you will avenge my honor..."
Her fathers arms tightened around her. His anger was almost tangible. "I swear this pirate will suffer for what he has done to you!" he proclaimed. 'Yeah, sure' a small voice said in Arwen's head, 'if you ever catch him...' She silenced that voice immediately. 'Hate him!' she told herself firmly.
Her father made that task a lot easier with his next words. "Look who is her, love." he said and pried her face from his chest. "Your fiancée will make all this much easier for you."
Arwen stared at Haldir uncomprehending. Shouldn't he be back in Umbar where she had left him? Happily left him. He came to her, taking her hand and pressing it against his lips. "My beautiful Lady, I will do anything in my power to punish the bastard, who did this to you." he declared in his oily voice.
"He came the moment he heard of your abduction." Governor Elrond explained. Arwen started to feel slightly ill. Wasn't that just great? He came to comfort her. She managed a weak smile and started to say something appropriate, when Haldir turned on Legolas, who had so far been ignored.
"Why did you not protect her?!" he accused the tired elf. "She was your charge!" Legolas looked like he had been beaten. He started to apologize, but Arwen interrupted him: "He did protect me!" she said angrily. "Had he not been there to keep those monsters at bay, who knows what they would have done to me!"
Legolas gave her a confused look, that was mirrored in Haldir's face. But Haldir decided quickly, that it would be safer right now, to go along with whatever his bride to be wished. So be consigned himself to another accusing glance at Legolas.
Then he took Arwen's elbow. "Let me take you to your quarters, my Lady. You must be exhausted. You need to rest." There was a good idea finally. Resting meant being alone. Without people fussing about her like she was some precious porcelain doll. Yes, rest would be good. And then she could deal with the renewal of her boring life as a useless princess.
It was early evening, when the "Stormcrow" finally reached Hawk's Nest. Faramir watched, as Eomer guided her into the natural harbor. He had become a pretty good helmsman in the last years. Faramir still didn't trust anybody, to sail his beloved "Crow" through the wild autumn-storms of these waters but Eomer could now be entrusted with the usual stuff.
He looked over to Boromir, who stood at the railing, gazing over to the small town, that had once been an outpost of Gondor. A high castle, build into a cliff, now in ruins. The town huddling at the foot of the castle. Neat little stone houses with narrow cobblestone streets leading up to the castle. Now Hawk's Nest was lost to the memory of the high ups in Gondor and a perfect hideout for the pirates, who guarded the location of their safe harbor jealously.
Boromir had slept through the last two days, then he had emerged from his slumber, pretty much healed and very hungry. Faramir had consigned himself to watching the man from a far, while he got to know the crew. He didn't want to rush things. He enjoyed stalking his prey.
When the "Stormcrow" was securely anchored, Faramir announced the skeleton-crew that would have to stay to keep watch on the ship and told everybody else, to go out and enjoy their hard-earned riches. Eomer came up next to him.
"Are you coming over to the "Dead Gull, too?" he asked, referring to the tavern his sister owned now. Eomer had made sure, she always received half of his share of loot. She had used her share much wiser than he had, giving both of the siblings a stable home-base with the tavern.
Faramir nodded. "Sure. Looking forward to seeing your sister, are you? Or is it that little belly-dancer I saw you hang out with, when we were here last time?" Eomer snorted. "As if she would remember my face." "She surly remembers you coins..." Faramir patted his friends shoulder.
"And how are your conquests progressing?" Eomer asked, looking over to Boromir, who was talking to Beregond. Faramir grinned. "Ah... young one, you are to impatient. What is the fun in bedding one, who is easy prey? This one will take some time, getting to know him."
Eomer raised an eyebrow. "You sound almost serious about this..." he said thoughtfully. "Could it be, that our brave Captain is falling for that man...?" Faramir looked at Boromir as well and took the time to consider the idea. Even that he actually thought about it, was worrying. "Naw..." he told Eomer but he was not so sure he was telling the truth.
As if he had heard his thoughts, Boromir finished his talk with Beregond and came over to the Captain. For a moment he looked like he was about to bow to Faramir, but then he caught himself. He was still trying to get used to the informal ways of the pirates.
"Beregond told me, I should stay with you, when we go ashore, till everybody in town knows, I belong to your crew." he said. "To make sure I don't get confused with some ownerless slave..." Faramir glanced over at Beregond who was grinning back. Obviously his whole crew was trying to assist him in seducing this one. Or rather, trying to collect the bet. He briefly wondered what would be next. Eomer made some choking sound and fled over to Beregond. Probably to compliment him on his good idea.
"Yeah..." he answered Boromir. "Might be a sensible thing to do. People can get rather rough out here. But I am pretty sure, you can defend yourself." Boromir smiled ruefully. "If my Captain would borrow me some kind of weapon..."
Faramir nodded. "Sure, no problem. What do you need?" He had made sure Boromir got some new clothes from their stored stuff, but he had forgotten to supply a weapon as well. "Any good sword will do." Boromir said. They went to Faramir's cabin and Boromir rummaged through the Captains extensive collection of blades.
Finally he chose a well balanced longsword. "I am more used to a broadsword." he explained, while he tied the scabbard around his waist, but on a ship this one will serve better. Faramir nodded. It had not escaped his attention how closely Boromir had checked the weapons and chosen one of the best. He definitely was a seasoned warrior. Might be a good idea to keep that in mind.
"How long have you been a soldier?" he asked the other man, when they had rowed over to the town and where walking along the quay. Boromir shrugged. "For most of my life." he answered, ducking some pirates from another ship, unloading loot. There were still a lot of people about, although night had already fallen.
"Seems to be a pretty busy place." he said, looking around. "Didn't know there were so many pirates hereabouts..." Faramir smiled. "It's not only pirates." he explained. "There are quite some illegal human colonies down here and they come her to buy and sell. It's has turned into a bustling place during the last couple of years."
"How long have you been a pirate?" Boromir mirrored his own question. "Hmm... let me see. For almost ten years now, I think." Boromir grinned. "Then you must be a pretty good one. Reassuring to know." Faramir gave a flourished bow. "Thank you. I shall try my very best, to keep you alive, too."
For a while they walked up the streets, leading towards the castle-ruin in silence. Boromir curiously surveying the town and it's people, Faramir watching Boromir and greeting old friends.
At last they reached a long, flat house, build against the still standing castle wall. A painted wooden sign showed a seagull, pierced by an arrow. "That's the tavern of Eomer's sister." Faramir explained. "It's the pace where most of the Captains hang out."
He opened the door and a mixture of different nice smells and sounds wafted out: roasting meat, sweet smoke, freshly brewed hot drinks of all flavors mixed with the laughing of young women, singing of not to drunken pirates and the buzz of many conversations in an enclosed space.
The "Dead Gull" was as crowded as ever, but it's owner Eowyn somehow managed to see Faramir coming in. She swept over to him and he caught her in a hearty hug, pressing a loving kiss to her full lips.
She was a wonderful woman. Her amble bosom more exposed then hidden by a white blouse, wide skirts, that showed enough of her shapely legs to make any man gap and golden hair, flowing over her back and long waves. Truly a sight to return to.
But she was not easy to have. Even before she had bought the tavern, she had never worked the streets, always finding other ways to earn the money to live on. That was probably, while the Captains like her establishment so much. It just had more class and the boys and girls working for her were well fed, healthy, never overworked and happy.
"My dear Faramir," she laughed breathlessly, when he let go of her, "you truly know how to greet a woman." She looked at Boromir. "And what a wonderful specimen of man have you brought to me here?" "This is Boromir." Faramir introduced. "Part of the loot from an elvan ship." "Oh, and is he part of your share, or may others have a go at him?" Eowyn asked, only joking but nearly making Faramir blush none the less.
Thankfully Boromir was busy, bowing to Eowyn, taking her hand and gracefully kissing it, so he didn't notice. Eowyn giggled. "Oh, thank you, beautiful Lord." She said, giving a pretty good imitation of a curtsey. "I'm sure the two of you will want some food and drink. Let's see where I can put you...?"
She scanned the room for a free table, finding none. "I fear I will have to put you at Captain Isildur's table." she said. "But I'm sure you won't mind." Faramir grinned. "When did I ever mind the company of the old wolf. Nice to see him again. How has he been doing?" Eowyn laughed. "You better ask him that yourself. I'm sure he'll have another wild sailor's yarn for you."
She led them over to a table in a corner, where Faramir spotted Isildur, chatting animatedly with a cute young woman in his lap. "So where is my brother?" Eowyn asked. "Or did he manage to loose his head this time?" Faramir shook his head. "No, dear Eowyn, I fear he is still alive and kicking. Probably buying you some gifts, before showing his face hereabout. Which reminds me..." He reached into one of his pockets and drew out a golden bracelet adored with small rubies.
"For the most beautiful Lady in Hawk's Nest." he said and fixed it around the wrist, she immediately offered. Eowyn was beaming with joy and gave him another kiss, this one to his cheek and much more meaningful. Faramir smiled at her. If he had any kind of family it was Eowyn and Eomer.
Then Captain Isildur noticed Faramir and his booming voice rose above the general din: "Faramir, my son, come over here and greet your Captain like a good little boy!" Only moments later he was enveloped in a bearish hug and drawn over to the table.
Several hours and beers later the tavern had quieted down and most of the Captains in the town at the moment where seated around the biggest round table, discussing there last raids and the general news. Faramir had introduced Boromir to most of them, so he could very well have gone off on his own now, but for some reason he had decided to stay and was well on his way to being very drunk.
Faramir noted one of his friends, Captain Aragorn, sitting lonely in a dark corner, drinking all by himself. When Eowyn came by with fresh drinks, he caught her sleeve. "Do you know what's wrong with Aragorn?" he asked lowly. "He looks like he has been in stormy weather lately..." Eowyn looked over to the man, hunched over his drink and shrugged.
"It pretty weird, actually." she said. "His crew is drowning in gold at the moment. They came in about three days ago and they are still spending it. Seems they caught some kind of elvan princess and exchanged her for a small fortune. He should be pretty happy. But he's been sitting there ever since they arrived, drinking like there is no tomorrow."
Faramir got to his feet. "Let's see if he will tell me, what's wrong." he mused, walking over to the other Captain. They had done some raiding together two summers ago and gotten to know each other. There had even been a brief fling between the two Captains, but they had split up when they had gone their own ways again.
He sat down across from Aragorn, who looked up at the sound. "What ill luck has befallen you, my friend, that you have to drink alone?" Faramir asked, spending no time with pleasantries. Aragorn answered with a tired smile.
"You were always to curious for your own good." he said, downing the last of his drink and signaling for a refill. "That may be." Faramir amended. "So are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?" Aragorn gave a tired snort but didn't say anything.
Faramir looked at him more closely. He had dark circles under his eyes, as if he hadn't slept for days and his rugged appearance was even worse than usual. Faramir was quite drunk already, so he voiced his first guess: "You look like you are in love." He was surprised, when deep pain flitted across the face of the other man.
"You are in love." he stated dumfounded. "Who would have thought... Who is it?" Aragorn started to deny it and then just sighed deeply. "That elvan princess." he admitted, sounding almost relieved at saying it out loud. Faramir rubbed his nose. "You have fallen in love with an elf? That's... inconvenient."
Aragorn gave a short, unhappy laugh. "That's the understatement of the century." he said. "Especially as she hates me. Now, that I have given her back." Faramir gapped at him. "She loved you back? Your not serious!" Aragorn nodded and then dropped his head to the table. "Why did I let her go?" he mumbled into the rough surface. "I must be a complete idiot."
Faramir didn't know what to say for quite a while. That was a problem, he had never pondered. "Well, she surely wouldn't have been happy on a pirate ship..." he tried to reason after a while. "She said she would be." Aragorn grumbled, still not raising his head and talking into the table.
"And your crew wouldn't have been happy either..." "Who cares about them." Aragorn promptly answered. "And you would have gotten tired of her eventually..." "Never!" Aragorn's head snapped up and he glared at Faramir. "Then you are an idiot." Faramir concluded and Aragorn nodded unhappily.
"So what are you going to do about it?" Aragorn looked at Faramir, uncomprehending. "Do?" "Well..." Faramir shrugged. "Nothing will change, if you just sit here and decimate Eowyn's beer reserves." Aragorn glared at Faramir angrily. "And what should I do, oh wise Captain Faramir?"
"You could always kidnap her again." he suggested. "And if she insists on hating you, you can exchange he for a ransom again." Aragorn stared at him. "You are nuts." he declared. "Nuts and very drunk." "Yeah... true." Faramir grinned at his old friend. "But I do have a point, haven't I?"
It was a rather confusing experience to wake up with no recollection of going to sleep. Faramir had no idea where he was, or how he had gotten there. But wherever here was, it sure was comfortable. He opened his eyes and faced a whitewashed wall only inches away from his face.
Warm sunlight was streaming in through an unseen window, basking him in warmth and brightness, that made his head spin. To much beer. Mostly definitely way to much beer, he concluded.
He turned onto his back slowly in anticipation of a searing headache, but he was only greeting by a dull, quite bearable throbbing. He looked at the wooden ceiling. This probably was one of the guest rooms in the "Dead Gull".
It had advantages to pass out drunk in the tavern of a good friend. You were put to bed and not thrown out into the street. He sighed deeply. Considering that he had spend the whole night drinking, he felt surprisingly good.
He made a metal note to compliment Eowyn on the quality of her beer, when he heard a soft moan from right next to him and felt another warm body move against his.
Turning his head, he looked into the startlingly green eyes of Boromir, who was lying next to him, looking sleepy and content. "Morning, Captain." he greeted Faramir and rubbed his eyes.
Faramir didn't know what to say. How the hell had they ended up in the same bed? Had Eowyn just stuffed them into it or had something happened? And if, what? And what a pity that he didn't remember a thing...
He was about to say something stupid, when Boromir sat up, stretching like a graceful cat, giving Faramir a perfect view on this muscled arms and torso. The Captain of the "Stormcrow" again found himself beyond words. It took all his strength of will not to drool.
Boromir, oblivious to the effect he was having on his Captain, got out of bed and walked over to the window. With a mixture of relief and disappointment Faramir noticed, that Boromir was still wearing his trousers. So nothing had happened between them. Would have made things a lot easier – but would also have been a pity if he couldn't remember his first time with this desirable hunk of man.
With another sigh Faramir tried to get a grip on himself and sat up rubbing his face. "How did we end up in bed together again?" Boromir asked, leaning his elbows on the window sill, looking out over the town. Was there some strange undercurrent in his voice? No... just imagination.
"I have no idea." Faramir answered honestly. "Probably Eowyn just put us together." That didn't sound like he had wanted it to. Much to suggestive. But on the other hand it was most likely true, taking into consideration, that Eowyn was Eomer's sister.
"She is one beautiful woman." Boromir commented, completely ignoring any extra meaning, Faramir's words might have had. Faramir felt a twinge of jealously. So Boromir was into women? Rats.
"Not really my type, though." Boromir continued and Faramir's heart made a painful leap in his chest. He was getting way to emotional about this man. With strength of will alone, he calmed his heart and got up too. "How about breakfast?" he asked as nonchalantly as he could. Boromir turned around and gave him a radiant smile. "Sure." He raised a questioning eyebrow. "But I would have thought you are getting tired of my company..."
Faramir managed to shrug without any kind of expression on his face. "Well, if I minded your company I would have sold you to Eowyn..." He grinned at Boromir. "I think she would have liked that." Boromir raised his hands in a defensive gesture. "I would very much prefer if you didn't." he said and again Faramir thought there was some additional meaning to his words.
He watched, as Boromir put on his shirt and boots. If only he had been surer of the feelings of the other he would make a move now. But as it was, he would wait and watch a little longer.
"And you are sure, that this will work?" Governor Elrond nervously walked back and forth through his study, his hands clasped behind his back. At last he stopped to look at Haldir, who was standing by the window. The other elf nodded
"Of course I am sure. My spy is with them as we speak. He will lure this Captain Aragorn into our trap. It is only a matter of time now, till he is in our hands."
Elrond nodded slowly. "Yes. It always pays to use cunning with humans. They are just to stupid to see through our plans." The two elves smiled at each other.
"Wouldn't it be nice, if we managed to catch him, before Arwen's birthday?" Haldir that, sounding almost dreamy. "Wouldn't that be a splendid gift for her?" Elrond smiled fondly at the elf, he had chosen as husband for his only daughter. "Yes, indeed. That would be a gift, to catch her eye."
Night and fine mists hid Aragorn's ship, as they drew nearer and to the steep rocks of the island. The captain watched the dark shape of the small castle, that clung to the top of the cliff carefully, looking for any signs of trouble, but all seemed peaceful.
He turned to the man, standing beside him. "And you are absolutely sure about this?" he asked for the hundredth time. The man nodded. "Yes, Captain. They hide the jewels here, because nobody will expect them in such a remote place. The soldier will not be a match for your men."
Aragorn turned back to watching the castle. The idea of great riches made his fingers itch but somehow he had a bad feeling about this. Maybe it was, because he didn't know the man beside him as well as he would have liked to. But he generally was a good judge in personality and that ability told him, that this man was greedy. Which should have reassured him, considering, that they had agreed, that a quarter of the loot would go to him. Still the bad feeling remained.
His second in command stepped up to them. "Well?" he asked. "What are we waiting for?" Aragorn rid himself of his doubts. No risk, no gain – he reminded himself and smiled at his second. "Let's do it!"
Arwen resisted the urge to rake her hands through her hair. She wouldn't have managed anyway, the way her maids had done it up in a complicated knot she wouldn't be able to untangle herself. She couldn't remember, when she had ever before been as frustrated as today.
Wait. She could. The day Captain Aragorn had told her he was going to give her back to her father. She picked up a tall glass vase and was about to throw it at the wall, when the door to her chambers opened and her father swept inside, beaming at his daughter.
Arwen quickly schooled her face to an expression of innocent happiness. As was to be expected on her birthday. Then she realised, she was still holding the vase and pretended to be examining it's beauty. It actually was beautiful and it would have been a pity to destroy it. Not that she truly would have minded. There seemed to be an endless supply. She had thrown quite a few in the last couple of weeks and nobody seemed to mind.
"Arwen, my dear." Her father came to her, radiant with... not joy, Arwen thought... rather triumph. What had he done now? Somehow Arwen doubted, it would make her as happy as her father.
He embraced her. "Happy birthday, little bird." he said, after letting go again. Arwen smiled back at him. "Thank you, father. But didn't you already say that this morning at breakfast?"
Breakfast had been a long and splendid affair this morning, taxing Arwen's patience to the limit. She had listened to endless compliments from Haldir and endless chatter about the upcoming wedding from her father. He was so happy, they were going to get married here, were he could oversee the festivities.
After finally getting back to her rooms Arwen had seriously considered drowning herself in the harbor. That would shorten her suffering and would spare her the grand ball Lord Elrond was giving this evening in honor of his daughters birthday.
Arwen's thoughts went to her brothers. Elladan was in Rivendell, ruling the ancient family holding in their fathers absence. He was allowed to do whatever he pleased there. Nobody was forcing him into any marriage for politics.
And Elrohir? Arwen suppressed a snort. He had joined the marine of the Elves of Umbar, captained a ship for a while... and then taken said ship and joined the pirates down here. He was the great shame and disappointment for Elrond, his name never spoken now. Although Arwen suspected, that her father was rather negligent in catching this particular pirate.
Must run in the family, Arwen thought. With him being a pirate and my falling in love with one. She stomped on the thought immediately. I hate him, she told herself. Hate him, hate him, hate him. Nobody ever doubt that.
"My love, I have another very special birthday gift for you." her father was just telling her. "It only arrived an hour ago. You will be so glad to see this!"
He clapped his hands and the doors to her chambers opened again to admit first a Haldir, who looked just as happy as her father and then – two soldier who dragged Captain Aragorn between them.
Wounded, dirty and with impotent rage in his eyes he was forced on his knees in front of her. Arwen's hand flew to her mouth to suppress and gasp and she made an involuntary step backwards.
Her father misinterpreted her gesture and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Do not worry, little bird." he said, sounding smug. "He can not hurt you anymore." Aragorn just stared at the floor, looking at none of them, the soldiers still holding him down.
Haldir grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head up, so he was forced to look at Arwen. There was only defeat in his eyes. Arwen felt her heart breaking.
"That is so... nice... father." she pressed out. "Thank you so much." "Take him to the dungeons!" her father ordered the soldiers. "He still frightens my daughter and dirties the rugs."
They pulled him up and dragged him out again. Arwen noticed bloodstains on the floor. He must be badly hurt. Worry clenched her heart. "Do nit fear, my Lady." Haldir stepped close to her and took her hand. "As soon as he has told us, where that accursed pirate island is, we will be hung right in the square before your windows. He will never touch you again."
It sounded like her own death sentence to Arwen. Whatever evil she had wished upon Aragorn, all those thoughts were forgotten now. The only thing she could think of now, was how to get him out of this situation alive. Never mind how much he had hurt her feelings. She just wouldn't watch him die.
She turned to Haldir, her voice small with fear and looking utterly cute, when she spoke. "Oh, thank you, Haldir. You truly are a hero, saving me from this bastard." Haldir's smile widened. "With pleasure, my Lady, with pleasure." he said.
"Will you please allow me to rest for a while now?" she smiled at him, all sweetness. "Seeing him again has shaken me and I do want to look my best for you this evening." Haldir nodded. "Of course, beloved. Although your beauty will surpass that of any living woman any day." Arwen curtseyed graciously. "You flatter me." she said, accepted a kiss to her hand from Haldir and another hug from her father and then watched as they left.
She breathed deeply. Quick thinking and swift planning where in order, if she wanted to safe the man, she was now absolutely sure she loved more than anything else.
Legolas had never been more sure in his long life, that he was doing something remarkably stupid. In fact he was rather surprised to still be alive. Had he been in the boots of the people he was about to meet, he would have killed the intruder immediately. Maybe not all humans were animals. He had to believe that, or what he was doing would quickly go from foolish to completely nuts.
The man who had escorted him so far stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "Your weapons." he said, holding out his open hand. Legolas looked over to the small boat, that would take him over to the ship he could see out in the bay.
The thought of going out there completely unarmed made him shiver. To trust these pirates with his life like that... But he did not have a choice, if he wanted to go through with this. If he wanted to go through with this. That really was the question, wasn't it. Now was his last chance to turn back from what all of his people would consider treason against the elvan nation.
But how could be refuse the pleas of his beautiful Lady Arwen, when she came to him in the middle of the night, begging his help with tears of desperation in her eyes. How could he turn her away, when she asked him to safe the life of her one true love. Even if that love was a human and a pirate on top.
He had tried to reason with her. Had tried really hard, to convince her, that this was a passing passion. That she would forget quickly. That she would be happy with Haldir. Probably that had been the moment, when he had realised, she was right. She would never be happy with that elf. Nobody could.
But he had not really seen a way, to safe the Captain imprisoned in the dungeons of Lord Elrond's fort. Even if the two of them had managed to sneak down there and free him, there simply was no way of the island, that the Governor didn't control. So he had told Arwen and she had nodded. And told her the plan she had made. He should have known, that a Lady as cunning and wise wouldn't just come to ask his help, if she had given thorough thought to the matter.
Her plan might be wild and daring but not all together impossible. If he helped her. And he had not had the heart to refuse. Which now brought him to since remote island.
In contrast to the Lady Arwen nobody cared, where he went and what he did. He was just some minor relative, unimportant to the plans of the great elvan Lords. So he had left Kirakh following the information he had bought from a drunk soldier in a tavern. First he had found out, who among the pirate Captains might be inclined to help Lady Arwen's beloved, then he had tracked down the one name, that had come up again and again. And now he was about to meet Captain Faramir of the "Stormcrow".
He slowly pulled his two long knifes from their sheath on his back and handed them over to the waiting man. His bow and quiver followed. For a moment he considered being completely honest and giving him the knife hidden in his boot as well but then he decided against it. He would act foolish but not utterly demented.
The man nodded satisfied and let him continue to the waiting boat. The two pirates rowing him over to the ship were eyeing him just as suspiciously as he was watching them.
Finally they reached the proud frigate called "Stormcrow". There were several men waiting for him, when he climbed aboard and Legolas started to feel slightly amused. What did they think he was going to do, alone and unarmed as he was? Turn into a dragon and breath fire on their precious Captain?
A tall blonde man came down from the quarterdeck. "So you are the elf, who wants to talk about Captain Aragorn?" he asked. Legolas tried to get a feel for the young man. He was suspicious as well, but not as worried as the other pirates. Actually Legolas got the feeling, that nothing much worried this man. So he nodded.
"Well then, come along. The Captain's waiting for you." He turned around without introducing himself. Legolas suppressed his anger at the manner of these humans. What could you expect from pirates? Certainly not civilized behavior.
The man led him up to the quarterdeck, where Legolas saw two more blonde man standing. Both tall, both older than the one who had greeted him. One standing by the helm, leaning against it and watching him approach with a curious frown on his face, the other standing back, one hand on his sword hilt, watching his with careful distrust.
"So here he is." the man who had led him, told the one by the helm. "And I still think it's utter stupidity to even listen to him." So that was Captain Faramir. "Your protest has been noted." he told the younger man. "Now let me hear, what he has to say." He turned to Legolas and for the first time Legolas met a human, who had eyes just as keen and piercing as an elves.
"Your message was somewhat cryptic." the Captain said. "Why do you want to talk about Aragorn? There is not much use talking about a man who will be dead in a couple of days or weeks." It did not escape Legolas attention, that he called the captured Captain only by his name. So it was true they were friends.
Legolas looked pointedly at the younger man, who was still standing right next to the Captain. Faramir looked at the man as well and smiled. "Speak openly, elf. I do not keep secrets from my men." Legolas sighed. So he would have to reveal the princess before these commoners. But she would have wanted him to.
"My Lady Arwen, the Governor's daughter, asks your help to rescue the Captain Aragorn from the gallows." he said. There was a sound of surprise from the man next to the Captain, but Faramir just raised a curious eyebrow. "Is that so?" He stroked his chin thoughtfully. "So she does not hate Aragorn as much as he thought."
He suddenly smiled and Legolas realized to his own surprise, that he looked quite friendly when he did that. "You are very lucky, friend elf." he continued. "For Aragorn told me of his love for your princess. If he hadn't I would now feed you to the sharks. But as it stands... I might actually be inclined to help."
"I still think it's a trap." Eomer said and looked at his Captain challengingly. Faramir shrugged. "I know. You can still turn back." He was not going to have the whole argument again. They had discussed the plan several times already. There just was no way to convince Eomer that there was honesty to be found in an elf.
Actually the plan, that the princess had proposed, was not as dangerous to him and his crew, as he had expected. She just wanted him to wait in a small bay near the town of Kirakh for her and Aragorn. She had wanted to get him out of the dungeon all by her own. She must be a pretty brave woman. Or really desperate.
The elf, she had sent, Legolas, had told him, that he would help her. Faramir had thought long and hard about it and come to one conclusion. There was no way the two elves would manage to get Aragorn out of there on their own. As soon as they were noticed by anybody, they wouldn't make it.
So he had told Legolas, that the princess should find a way, to get him into the palace, so he could help. Eomer had been horrified. The next minutes had past with the Captain and his second shouting at each other. Legolas and Boromir had stood by, both looking a bit embarrassed at such a behavior.
In the end Eomer had realized, that Faramir would go through with this crazy plan, no matter what he said or did and announced, that he would come with him as well. Faramir thought, he knew, why. Eomer was his best friend and just wouldn't leave him. Even if he was sure, it was suicide, what Faramir had in mind. Or maybe he just wanted to look at him accusingly when they were both led to the gallows.
He had been rather surprised when Boromir had insisted on coming as well. The blond warrior had just shrugged and explained, he owed Faramir his life and that this was a good chance, to repay him. And then with a wild grin, that he didn't want to miss the action.
That was something, Faramir could relate to. That probably was, why he was doing it himself. The idea of stealing Aragorn from right under the Governor's nose and his daughter to boot was just to tempting. With a deed like that his reputation would surpass even that of Captain Isildur.
And if it didn't work out? What the hell! He was going to hang sooner or later anyway. So why not make the most of the time remaining. He just hoped, he wouldn't get his friends killed as well. At least his crew was safely back on the "Stormcrow" waiting for their return.
He looked down the street again, to make sure, there was no unwanted attention around and them started climbing the wall, that surrounded the gardens of the Lady Arwen. She had sent word, that she would make sure, there were no guards at this hour of night.
When he was on top of the wall he gave Eomer a hand and then Boromir. They jumped down into the gardens, crouching for a moment to make sure, they had not been noticed. Then they hurried along the wall towards the entrance, that should be unlocked.
"We are all going to get ourselves killed..." Eomer grumbled, when Faramir opened the door and slipped inside. "Stop complaining and get moving." he heard Boromir answer just as low. Faramir grinned. It had been fun to watch the two of them. Since they had left Hawk's Nest they had been bickering endlessly and none of them seemed to know exactly why. They just always managed to find something they didn't agree on.
Faramir had wondered, if Eomer was jealous, because Boromir made it a point to always stay close to the Captain, as if he was his personal guard. But Eomer still constantly nudged Faramir to finally bed him, so that couldn't be a reason. Maybe they were just enjoying arguing about nothing.
A figure stepped out of the shadow of the stairs and Faramir had his sword half drawn, before he realized it was Legolas. He looked almost as unhappy as Eomer, but he quickly schooled his face to indifference, when he noticed Faramir's eyebrow raising questioningly.
"The Lady Arwen awaits you." he said, gesturing up the stairs. "After you." Faramir answered smiling, his hand still on the sword hilt. He might he daring but he was not stupid. He followed the elf up the stairs, then along several dimly lit passages, obviously only used by servants. then down a very long spiral staircase, till Faramir was sure, they were under ground.
At last they stopped in front of a heavy wooden door. Legolas motioned them to stay silent and carefully opened the door and peeked through. Light from torched flickered on the other side. Obviously he was satisfied with what he saw, because he opened the door and stepped through in front of Faramir.
They came into a small room with another heavy door leading on. But the important thing inside the room was the Lady Arwen. Faramir heard Eomer noisily draw breath behind him and he knew why. She was devastatingly beautiful. Even now, not dressed in finery befitting a princess, but the garb of a male servant. Faramir wondered why she had bothered to dress up like that. Nobody could mistake her for anything but a princess. Especially with that mass of dark curls, tumbling down her back
"My Lady." Legolas bowed to the princess and Faramir hastily followed suit. Wouldn't do to treat a courageous Lady with anything but the honor she deserved. The princess smiled at Legolas briefly, but Faramir noticed strain in her expression.
Then she turned to him. "I thank you for your generous help, Captain." she said, sketching a perfect curtsey. "But I am deeply worried as well." She threw a quick look towards the closed door. "They have been trying to force Captain Aragorn to speak for two weeks now. My father and fiancée are rather angered by his refusal to reveal the location of your pirate island. I was hoping we could get him out of here tonight, but moments ago I heard Haldir pass this door on his way to the dungeons. Now I am not so sure if we should risk it."
This was exactly, why he had come along on this rescue mission. Because he had feared something like this might make a fight unavoidable. "It is now or never, My Lady." he said. "My ship can only wait this one night, then we will be easy prey for your father's men."
He saw fear flicker through Lady Arwen's eyes but then she squared her shoulders. "You are right. It must be done now." Faramir heard Eomer mutter something to himself and then the unmistakable sound of Boromir kicking him. He chose to ignore the two. "Let's go then." he told the princess, drawing his sword.
She opened the next door and ducked through, Legolas and Faramir on her heels. Another spiral staircase began in the next room, going even deeper under ground. They hurried down the steps. At the foot of the stairs they met the first guards, but managed to dispatch them, before they could raise an alarm.
When the princess picked up the keys from one of the guards, Legolas tried to stop her. "Please, my Lady, stay back here, where you are safe." Arwen glared at him. "I will most certainly not!" she said, raising her head high. "I've had a boring life long enough. If I can run away with a pirate I can crawl a dungeon just as well."
Faramir suppressed a grin. So she intended to come with them, once they had found Aragorn. He wondered, if Aragorn really knew, what he was getting into with this princess. He was not sure if should envy or pity him. But first they had to find him and get out of here alive.
"Do you know, where they keep him?" he asked the Lady, while she unlocked the door to the dungeons. She shook her head no and was about to say something when they heard a muffled scream coming down the corridor they could now see behind the door.
Faramir and Lady Arwen looked at each other for a second and then both hurried down the hallway. They were pretty sure, that it had been Aragorn's voice.
At both sides of the corridor were doors leading to dungeon cells but at the end they could see an open doorway leading to a room lighted by many torches. That was where the scream had come from.
When they drew near, they both slowed down, to give the others a chance to catch up. A loud laugh was the next sound they heard and Arwen's eyes went dark with anger. "Haldir." she whispered, barely suppressed hatred in her voice.
When she started to move towards the doorway again, Faramir held her back and shook his head, when she looked at him questioningly. This time she agreed to stay back. Faramir stepped closer, keeping in the shadow of the doorway and peeked through, to get a feel for the situation.
Aragorn was chained to the far wall. He was stripped to the waist and fresh blood was dripping from cuts across his chest. Facing him stood a tall blond elf in fine clothes, holding a burning hot branding iron. There was a angry burn mark on one of Aragorn's arm and his head hung low. Now Faramir knew, why he had screamed.
Three elvan guards stood close by and a third tended the brazier with hot coals, where more branding irons were heating. While Faramir was watching, the elf in front of Aragorn grabbed his hair and pulled his head up. "Well?" he hissed, his voice full of malice. "Are you going to answer or will your eye be next?" Obviously they had arrived just in time.
A quick look towards his friend and Legolas showed him, that they were ready as well. Some gestures decided who was going to attack whom, then they were into the room and into the fight.
Faramir had wanted to take on the noble elf Haldir, but that one was wise enough to move back behind his men and let them fight for him. The guards were well trained and not as easily defeated as the ones, that had been guarding the door.
Only when Faramir heard an enraged shout from the noble elf, did he notice that the Lady Arwen had slipped into the room as well and was busy freeing Aragorn from his chains. A quick glance showed him Aragorn barley pushing Arwen out of the way from Haldir's wild attack. Then he had to concentrate on his own opponent again.
When he looked again, Aragorn had grabbed one of the branding irons and was trying to defend himself from the enraged elf. It didn't look good for him and Faramir renewed his attack, to get to help him.
Finally he found an opening in the defense of the elvan guard he was fighting and stabbed him. He thought that would be enough and turned around to hurry over to Aragorn. Only when he heard a shout of warning and then a hard thumb, did he look back at the elf. He held his sword raised high over his head and Faramir realised, that he would not have had a chance to survive a blow like that.
But the light in the eyes of the elf were already fading. A dagger was buried to the hilt in his neck. A quick glance told Faramir that it had been Boromir who had thrown it. The warrior saluted his Captain and grinned. The elvan guard he had been fighting lay dead by his feet.
A shrill shriek of fury drew his attention back to Aragorn's fight. Again he was to late. Aragorn had lost his improvised weapon and was waiting helpless for the killing blow. Faramir watched, as Arwen grabbed the whole brazier and hit Haldir over the head with. The noble elf crumbled to a broken heap.
Then Arwen was at Aragorn's side, hugging him close and kissing him, tears streaming down her face. There was silence in the room. They had won their fight. And none of them had gotten hurt. A surprisingly good result, Faramir thought and smiled at Eomer, who looked almost disappointed.
"We are not out of here yet." Faramir told his friend. "So don't get upset yet." Eomer gave a snort and turned from him, to clean his sword on the uniform of a dead elf. "Seems we are even now." Faramir said to Boromir, who shrugged. "We'll see about that." he replied, somewhat cryptically.
The Lady Arwen helped Aragorn to his feet but wouldn't let go of him. Faramir walked over to him and looked him over for a moment. "Can you walk?" he asked worriedly. Aragorn smiled. "You bet I can." He grabbed Faramir's arm in a gesture of gratitude. "Thanks, man." he said. "I really hadn't thought anybody would take such a risk for me."
"You should thank your princess." Faramir answered. "It's was her plan." He watched as Aragorn looked down at the Lady in his arms in surprise and she stared at him defiantly. "And don't think you will be rid of me again." she hissed threateningly. "You are mine now. I claim you as loot!"
Faramir laughed at Aragorn's startled expression. "Let's get out of here, before we all end up in one of those pretty cells." he ordered and hurried all of them out of the room.
They managed to get back to Lady Arwen's gardens without running into any more guards. Eomer was still grumbling about all this being to easy, when they were at the wall separating the gardens from the street.
While they waited for Aragorn to catch his breath, Legolas stepped up to the Lady Arwen. "My Lady, I will not come with you." he told her quietly. "The life of a pirate is not one for me. I too much prefer solid ground beneath my feet. " He tried to bow to her, but she embraced him. "My dear cousin, I will miss you. Without your help, this could not have been accomplished." she said, holding him close for a moment.
Then she let go of him and looked at him with eyes full of worry. "Will you be safe here?" He nodded. "I should be. All who have seen me aid you will never speak again." he smiled. "And life will be so much more bearable without Haldir around." Arwen nodded with a fierce smile. "Also your father will need someone to comfort him. Now that he has lost his second child to the sea."
The princess bowed her head. "I am sorry for causing him hurt." she whispered. "But there is no other way." Then her mood got lighter again. "If you ever visit my brother Elrohir in Rivendell, tell him of this. He will understand."
"I will." Legolas looked over at the pirates, standing together by the wall, giving them some privacy to talk but waiting impatiently. "Will you be safe with these rouges?" he asked. Arwen smiled. "I think so. And if not they will have to learn, that this princess has some teeth."
Then she turned to her new friends as well. "Shall we go?" she asked returning to Aragorn's side. "I think we have outstayed my fathers welcome."
The sun was slowly rising on the horizon, when the "Stormcrow" gently drifted out of the bay. They had made it back to the ship with a minimum of trouble. After they had left the town, they had run into an elvan patrol and gotten into another fight. This time Eomer had managed to get wounded and he was now sitting on deck, telling the crew about their grand adventure while Beregond was tending his wound. Faramir stood at the helm and watched.
Aragorn and Arwen stood close together at the railing, gazing out over the sea. There was a content silence between the two of them and Faramir wondered, when they would have their first argument. He knew Aragorn well and could not really picture him with a woman – let alone an elvan woman – by his side. But he was also pretty sure, that the princess would be able to handle him.
He had offered Aragorn a place in his crew, till they came across a usable ship. Aragorn had agreed with some sadness in his eyes. He had lost his whole crew in the trap, that the elves had set, to capture him. He would need time to mourn his friends.
Faramir watched, as Arwen took Aragorn's hand, drew his arm around her waist and snuggled close to him. Suddenly he felt a stab of jealousy. It seemed everybody had gotten what they had wished for except himself. His eyes searched the deck for Boromir, but did not find him.
He was about to sigh, when two strong arms slipped around him from behind and a chin came to rest on his shoulder. "So dear Captain," a by now well known voice whispered right by his ear, "don't you think we have played hide and seek long enough now?"
The gesture was so intimate, that Faramir felt his whole body grow tense with desire. He turned his head, to look into those incredibly green eyes. He wanted to say something witty, but his ability to speak deserted him, when Boromir leaned forward a bit more and kissed him passionately.
When they at last came up for breath, Faramir didn't feel like talking anymore at all. He gestured for one of his crew-men to take the helm and hurriedly drew Boromir towards his cabin.
They barely managed to close the door behind them, before they fell on each other like hungry wolves, tearing at clothes, kissing wildly again, pushing each other towards the bed but not getting there. For a while they fought for dominance, then Boromir tripped over his undone trousers and collapsed on the bed.
Faramir took the time to catch his breath and watched the other man, lying on his bed, breathing hard himself, eyes wild with passion, half unclad, delicious skin showing. Boromir looked at him hard for a moment, then obviously made his decision, for he let himself fall back onto the bed, offering himself.
No more invitation was needed. Faramir got onto the bed as well, quickly stripping of his own clothing, then getting Boromir fully naked. When he laid down on top of Boromir, the warrior grinned at him. "I do owe you this one," he growled, his voice filled with desire, "but next time..." Faramir shivered with the delicious threat and swooped down to kiss the other senseless.
Both of them were experienced in what they were doing and soon they had worked each other into a frenzy of much to long denied lust. All Faramir wanted now, was to finally take that strong body and make Boromir beg for more. He pushed between the legs of the other man, probing him with his fingers none to gently.
Boromir's head fell back in a moan, exposing his throat, his hips thrusting upward for more. Faramir used his fingers to give him what he craved and to ready him, for what was to come. "Get on with it!" The man beneath him snarled. "I am not made of glass!"
He pulled Faramir down for another scalding kiss. "You've made me wait long enough." he whispered much more gently, when Faramir removed his fingers and got his cock into position to enter him. Still he moved carefully, pushing into Boromir slowly, as much to spare him pain as to enjoy the sensation.
When he was fully inside him, Boromir opened his eyes, which he had clenched shut and the green of them had gotten incredibly deep, filled with pure lust. "Yes." he hissed and moved against Faramir. They both moved in unison, finding a rhythm to suit them both quickly. It was strangely slow but all the more intense, their eyes locking, enjoying the sensations they read in each other.
Faramir felt Boromir draw tighter around him and used one of his hands, to wrap around the quivering cock of the other man, to bring him ever closer to the edge.
Boromir's hand searched for anything to hold on to and in the end he grabbed Faramir's head by his hair and pulled him down into one more kiss, silently screaming into his mouth when he came, his muscles clenching hard around Faramir, pulling him into orgasm as well.
For a while they just lay there, exhausted and sated. Then Faramir raised himself on his elbows, his cock still buried in Boromir, already growing hard again, and grinning down at him. "Now that was worth waiting for." he said smugly.
Boromir smiled up at him. "Aye, Captain." he answered. "Next time I get to be on top." Faramir's grin widened. "Is that so?" he asked, pulling out of Boromir a bit and then pushing back into him hard. Boromir's head fell back with a helpless moan, his body tensing up again. "I don't think so..."