2. Taming Logi
Nala wept at sending her son away, but her husband, horrified at her torn breast, argued until she was persuaded to consent.
"Already Logi is rough with his brother, though Bredor is older by four years, and the girls are afraid of him even now. What manner of household will this be, when he can run them down?" The goodman regarded the babe anxiously. "Let the Commander have him, my dear. He will know how to tame this wildness."
Canohando listened impassively, questioning within his heart whether he did know. But if he did not, there was none other who did, unless indeed the Brown Wizard could return from the Blessed Land to take this child in hand. He makes me think of Yarga, he thought, remembering his brother Orc who had tried to kill the Ring-Bearer in Mordor. What was it turned Yarga to the light?
He pondered that question many times in the years that followed. Logi was slow to talk, but he got his feet under him in his tenth month, and after that it was impossible to corral him. Malawen wearied of having her garden trampled and her stores of herbs pulled from their tidy bunches and thrown about the floor. She could not control him, though he treated her with wary respect.
Only once Logi openly defied her, when he had grown tall enough to look her in the eye. He was strong for his size, and she tried to make him wash, when he came in grimy from his play. He shoved her up against the wall, pinning her, and her green eyes snapped with fury as she ordered him away. He gave an insolent laugh, and then he was lifted off his feet and flung crashing to the floor, and Canohando stood over him with a foot on his neck and his knife unsheathed in his hand.
"Choose now, Logi," the Commander grated. "Life or death? For I am more Orc than you, and I swear you will not live to threaten Malatara!"*
The lad was rigid with terror. Always his grandfather had shown him firm discipline, but never before had Logi had cause for fear.
"I'm sorry, Adah! I will not hurt her, never again, I promise!"
Canohando jerked the child to his feet without putting away the knife. They were living then in Bridge Fort, hard by the Brandywine, and Canohando marched Logi to the River and dragged him in until the lad was chest deep.
"You are Orc, so I will take from you the blood-oath of our kind. Stretch out your arms to either side." And when Logi obeyed, Canohando slashed his knife across both the lad's forearms so they bled freely."Hold them under the water and say this. The River is my witness, I will guard the life and body of Malawen, my grandmother, with my blood. And if I fail to guard her, the River remember my blood. May water fail my life, from river, lake, and well. May my throat close up from thirst, may my skin break open from dryness, may my eyes crumble to dust, if I keep not this oath that mingles my blood with water."
Slowly Canohando repeated the words, and Logi stammered after him. When they were done, Canohando guided him home with an arm around his waist, for the youngster was shaking uncontrollably, whether from cold and loss of blood, or from fear at the oath he had been forced to take. Inside the fort, Canohando bandaged his arms and heated wine to warm him. To all this Logi submitted silently, following his grandfather with his eyes.
"I have seen an Orc die in torment, who swore that oath and did not honor it. But I will give you something to help you keep it, both for my mate's sake and because I love you." Canohando unfastened the chain from around his own neck and bent over his grandson, hanging at Logi's throat the Jewel that Frodo Baggins had given him, long ago in the mountains.
"The Lady's Jewel holds power beyond my understanding. It brought peace to my brother, the little Ring-bearer, and for long years it has kept me from the Dark. May it bring you peace as well, and keep you faithful."
Logi's eyes were very black. "Do you still love me, Adah?"
Canohando pulled him to his feet, embracing him fiercely. "You, most of all! You are more my own than any of my children; you are the son of my Darkness. But I would have you come into the Light."
From that day forward there was something between Canohando and his grandson which ran deeper than his tie to any other person, save Malawen alone. Logi followed at his heels more faithful than a hound, quick to imitate his grandfather's every gesture, even to the tone of his voice. As he matured, more and more Logi seemed like a younger version of Canohando. But the Commander wore wisdom and judgment like a crown on his forehead, while Logi was quick to anger and prone to take revenge for petty insults. Canohando kept him close and gave him responsibility as he grew into it, but he did not share his full mind with his grandson, and his son Osta remained his second-in-command.
Now Osta also had a grandson, whose name was Haldar. He was fair of face and form, some years younger than Logi, and he was as bright a spirit as Logi was dark. His rollicking laugh was ready at all times to make light of the older lad's moods, but he adored Logi and ran after him like a puppy, until he grew old enough that the difference in age no longer mattered and they were friends. Few indeed were those whom Logi loved, but Haldar was chief in his heart after his grandfather.
And Haldar kept the young Orc from many excesses. For Logi was cruel - for sport he would torment small animals to death, and many were the tricks and traps he set for his fellows, for the pleasure of mocking at their discomposure. But Haldar followed in his wake, undoing what harm he might, and persuading Logi out of his wilder pranks.
When they hunted together, Logi would shoot to wound, prolonging the death, for he liked nothing better than following a blood trail. But Haldar was keen-eyed as an Elf and a deadly bowman, and many the deer he put out of its suffering in Logi's despite.
"Go to, you're hungry, aren't you?" he would answer the Orc's grumbling. "Cut yourself a steak and start a fire, while I clean her out. You owe me a beer at the tavern, if I finish before your meat is cooked."
Canohando watched in amazement how Haldar tamed Logi's ferocity, bringing light to the smoldering eyes and an unwilling smile to the sullen mouth. As much as Frodo's Jewel, he trusted Haldar's influence to turn Logi away from Darkness. When they were both full-grown, he sent them to Bridge Fort, at that time under command of his son Balta, to guard the northern border.
"As far from trouble as I can put them," he told Malawen. "If Logi never sets foot on a battlefield, all the better for him."
"Why, melethron? He has courage, surely?"
The Commander growled softly in his throat. "His courage is not in question. The Orc-fire sleeps in his blood, and even sleeping it runs hot as molten lead. I fear to see it wakened."
*Adah - Grandpa
Malatara - "Little Golden Mother", a nickname given to Malawen by her children and used by all the Guardians except her son Arato.
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