18. Sweet Songs of the Night
The river slipped away from the dark forest behind them through high banks lined with straggling trees and bushes. They kept to the middle of the swift current both for speed and for safety from any that might hide on the banks, but they saw no one that first day. Paddling with the current they made good time, only stopping briefly a couple of times to change sides and stretch cramped legs. It was late afternoon when they approached the place where their five comrades had been killed, rather than camp there they had already decided to keep going into the night. The moon was only just past full and should give them enough light to travel by.
As the shingle bay came in sight, Lindir began to sing a slow melody full of quiet emotion, the others joined in one by one as they halted their paddling to drift by the beach letting the river take them and their song. Théodred sat in silence. He did not know the words but thought he recognised the sentiment behind them – this was a song for fallen comrades if ever he heard one. Abruptly, the wind changed and blew the stink of the rotting orc carcasses out to them. They choked and held their hands over their faces to divert the stench, then quickly paddled on, steering towards the opposite bank until they were clear of the noxious smell.
A short while later they could resume their place mid-river.
"Tell me about the song," said Théodred,
"That…? It was the Comrade's Song, Lindir wrote it," replied Lórindol.
"Really?" Théo turned to the elf, "Can you translate it for me?"
Lindir didn't miss a stroke of his paddling, he nodded, "Let me just think how the words should lie," he said.
After another mile or two, Lindir began to hum the tune, muttering the song under his breath as he sought to turn the Sindarin phrases into Westron.
Eventually he nodded in satisfaction, "I have some of it," he said.
Théodred was eager to hear it; he was a good singer whose voice was a pleasing tenor and he was noted for the many old ballads and songs he could perform from memory. A particularly desirable skill among a people who wrote little down above accounts; their histories and stories were kept by bards and a pleasant singing voice was deemed a gift to be cherished. Around the camp-fires it was normal to hear songs and sagas performed by those who could, and those who could do it well were soundly appreciated. Théodred's talent was for the sentimental ballads that men only sang when alone around camp-fires, or in their cups in the dark of the night; the sort that would bring a tear to the most hardened eye. If truth be told, many warriors when in their own company love nothing better than a sad song – or a dirty one. Théodred knew both.
Lindir began the first verse:
You rise like the wind on the water,
And you fall gently back to the sea.
Now I want to know how to keep you,
Return to me, return to me.
I am here calling the wind,
I am here calling your name,
I am here calling you back,
Return to me, return to me.
Théo listened with rapt attention, recognizing it instantly as the heartfelt lament from one love to another now departed. This was like the songs his Riders knew, not a 'high' formal song, but one full of yearning, something one could sing after an evening's drinking when the rowdy songs had died away – or when one was completely alone and contemplating only memories. He liked it – it made these sometimes aloof and distant elves seem more 'human', to realise that they too sang sad songs in the dark night of the soul – and such a beautiful song to absent friends and lovers.
"Will you teach me?" He said eagerly.
Lindir laughed, "But of course, Rohir; if such songs please you I'd be delighted"
Théo felt a little overawed again at seeming foolishly eager, he dipped his head to hide his blushes.
"No, do not be ashamed of loving beauty and cherishing friends," said Lindir.
Théo shook his head. They could read him so easily! Gelmir noted his discomfort and spoke as Lindir translated.
"He says – when you have our years, you'll be able to read a man as well!"
The elves laughed easily among themselves – which set Théo to wondering just how old his companions actually were…
"And if I teach you… then you must sing for us later,"
Théodred nodded, "Though, I'm afraid you might find our songs somewhat rough and homespun…"
Lórindol clapped him on the back, "Let us judge that when we've heard them, Rohir, but we all love a song well sung, no matter how simple – now the melody…"
The sun sank and the elves paddled on, steering through rocks and fallen trees, their voices quietly raised in song, to which a fifth now joined, growing more confident as the song became familiar.
It was late when the deemed it as far as they could go without sustenance. Théo had nodded in sleep for sometime, but the cramped conditions of the boat made deep sleep impossible. Gwindor spotted a high bank above the river where a jumble of rocks made a tiny sheltered cove. They woke him as they paddled towards the shore, and he stretched tired limbs, grateful at the prospect of walking a little.
Théo helped them haul the boat out of the water. Gelmir's leg was stiff from sitting and Gwindor's shoulder ached painfully, evident in that he held his injured arm cradled in the crook of the other. 'I should make them let me take my turn' thought Théodred. He insisted on helping to carry the packs and set up camp. It would be meagre but they decided since they'd seen no signs of life that they could risk a small fire. Gelmir and Lindir set about building a small cairn from the loose rocks at the very back, below the steep bank. The others gathered drift wood from around the cove. There was plenty from the previous winter, now good and dry at its heart, though they made sure to break any sodden bark away before they fed the wood to the small fire. At least this little shelter meant they could make a hot drink and warm themselves; it was still early enough in the year for the night to be chill after sundown.
They'd already set water to boil as Gwindor unwrapped a loaf saved from breakfast, sliced it and spiked it on sticks to warm over the flames. Lórindol produced a round cheese and placed it on a hot stone at the edge of the fire, from another pack came dried fruit, and tea to tip into the water-kettle. Théodred suddenly realised how hungry he was; they'd passed some bread and cold meat earlier, but the smell of warming bread and cheese made his mouth water. They soon finished eating and where savouring the hot tea with pleasure.
"Now we should hear your song, Théodred" said Lindir, leaning lazily back against Lórindol's shoulder.
Gwindor nodded, but carried on to say something the others agreed with.
"He says we should get some bedding first and then you can sing us to sleep," Lórindol said as he pushed Lindir away to allow him to stand. "No, stay here, we'll be back soon."
He and Lindir walked to the lowest point and climbed the bank, disappearing into the darkness. Gwindir fed the fire a little more and searched his pack for a vial of oil he set to warm. The elf stripped off his tunic and shirt and flexed his shoulder, the wound had healed remarkably quickly, but it was evidently still tender. Gelmir examined it carefully, probing with long sensitive fingers, eliciting small gasps of mingled pain and pleasure as he kneaded the tense muscles of Gwindor's shoulders and neck. Gelmir picked up the warmed oil and poured a small amount into his hand; he rubbed it over the strained muscles and Gwindor almost purred with pleasure.
Théo heard his name called from above. He looked up to see Lindir with a bundle of dry brush.
"Catch this, and I'll fetch more. Lórindol is behind me."
Dutifully, Théo caught the bundles of brush and last year's bracken they dropped. He cleared an area around the fire free of stones and piled the brush there. Shortly the other two clambered back down. They piled the rough bedding into two heaps and spread a blanket over each of them. At first, Théo wondered were he was to sleep then saw that his pack had been placed with those of Lindir and Lórindol. Lindir beckoned him to sit and join them as they spread their cloaks comfortably around each other.
Meanwhile, Gwindor had shrugged back into his shirt, and was helping Gelmir remove his leggings. Théo couldn't help but glance at the fine muscular thighs displayed in the firelight. He tried hard not to stare but as Gelmir lay full length opposite him and Gwindir took his turn in massaging warmed oil into the exposed thigh… the sight made Théo swallow. Especially when he realised that Gwindir's hand strayed high above Gelmir's inner thigh to touch and cup what was hidden from Théo's view, but not his imagination.
"Take your leggings off and I'll rub your leg if you like," said Lindir lazily.
Lórindol leant back against the piled packs at his side, smiling reassuringly.
"The oil will help the stiffness."
A chuckle and soft remark from Gwindor didn't have to be translated as to just how much and which 'stiffness'. He lay at Gelmir's side and they'd thrown their cloaks completely over them, only the slight movement of his sliding hand indicated what might be going on underneath.
"Don't think we would coerce you, Rohir," said Lórindol. "We know where your heart is."
Lindir picked up the oil. "It will make your muscles feel easier."
Théo eyed it cautiously, but after a moment decided he was only being prudish. He was sure they had no designs on his body – their own being beautiful and obviously available to one another. He quickly stripped off his borrowed leggings and sat down again, but Lindir urged him to sit between himself and Lórindol with his damaged side towards the firelight. Lindir knelt to one side and pursued his lips at the damage; the thigh was healing but the flesh was still swollen enough to make the skin shiny in the flickering light. He poured some oils into his palms rubbed them together and then ran his hands up the full length of Théo's thigh from knee to hip and back. Théo hissed with shock.
"Did I hurt you?" There was genuine concern in Lindir's voice.
Théo shook his head, not quite trusting himself to speak – the sensation was incredible! Whether it was the oil, the unfamiliar hands, or his new found sensitivity… that touch had him trembling. Lindir began to gently and thoroughly knead the muscles, beginning at the knee and slowly working his way upwards, all the while keeping his head down concentrating on his task. Théo was grateful for that; he certainly couldn't have looked him in the eye at the moment. A whimper escaped his lips and he shifted a little, dragging his cloak into his lap to hide the burgeoning swelling there. He felt the warmth of Lórindol at his back, placing a leg either side of him.
"Lean back against me, and let him attend to you," he whispered softly in the Rohir's ear.
Théodred felt that he shouldn't, but he'd only had his own hand for release for weeks and the touch of the elf on his thigh and the warmth of the other at his back - and did he feel a certain hardness to Lórindol that hadn't been earlier? Lórindol's arms circled his chest lightly and Théo gave up and relaxed into them, his head leaning back to rest against the elf's shoulder. Lindir worked tellingly on his inner thigh and Théo shuddered, springing to fully erect beneath the concealing cloak. Lórindol spoke softly in Sindarin and Lindir answered with a chuckle before he translated for Théo's benefit.
"He said, he's often wondered how much that plant resembled the real thing – may I show him?"
Théo shivered and groaned as Lindir's hands slid under to cup his balls; he nodded once and arched back against Lórindol's chest. Lindir reached to Théo's waist and undid his small-clothes and slid them down, then lifted the cloak aside to reveal Théo standing high and proud, a thick, veined stem capped with a dark rosy hood bearing a white dew-pearl at its tip. The sudden coolness made Théo jerk his hips, aching suddenly to be touched, but not daring to ask.
"Most like the woodland stem – and what would it taste like?" Lindir leant forward to brush the hair from the Rohir's face, the other hand again cupping his hardening balls.
"May I?" Lindir whispered.
Again, Théodred could only nod, eyes tightly closed, though he wanted to yell 'Yes! Yes! Do it now!' He felt himself shifted as Lórindol leaned him further back and Lindir stripped his clothes from his ankles and pushed a pack under his backside to raise him up. Lindir knelt between his legs and took one knee and put it over his shoulder, sliding his hands under Théo's buttocks to lift and control him.
Théo felt a chill as Lindir blew across his rampant groin. Eyes screwed shut, he tried hard to stifle a huge groan and failed; his hips jerked towards the teasing mouth… and then… and then… the tip of a warm tongue licked at that pearl, warm lips circled the rosy cap…
"Bite this," whispered Lórindol, putting a piece of wood wadded in cloth to Théodred's mouth.
He bit down on it hard as the much anticipated lips descended; Lórindol kissed his neck and ear and held him tight as Lindir made the most of enjoying this unfamiliar stem, teasing and licking his way up and down before taking it deep into his clever mouth. Théo writhed and thrust - anything to get more of that glorious tongue around him, his ecstatic moans muffled by the cloth. He came in an intoxicating gout of release, his back arched like a great bow, thrusting himself as far as the elf would allow into that wonderful mouth. As he did he felt the wood splinter, and for a second, thought he'd broken his teeth. He collapsed panting, his bones liquid, his senses spinning around the moon. He felt Lindir release his leg and Lórindol shift behind him, leaning him forwards so that the two elves changed places.
"And would you allow me to show you why those flowers of the forest are called 'Maid's Delight'?
Théo's chest heaved; he had felt the growing hardness between Lórindol's legs as he leant against him. 'Why not?' Panting still, Théo nodded as he was bodily shifted and his knees bent. He felt the slight chill of the oil slick down as it was poured between his cheeks, then a pressure as a finger prepared him, then two, then an unfamiliar pressure breached him. He hissed, and the pressure halted, though hands gripped his hips hard. Théo took a deep breath, and rocked steadily against the pressure. The shaft was narrower than a man's, it slid in more easily, and kept sliding… and kept sliding… until he almost wondered if there was an end to it. Then he felt the heat of heavy balls slap gently into his. The shaft withdrew with exquisite slowness, then slapped back into him making him gasp. The third time Lórindol shifted slightly and slid in impossibly deeply, running long and hard against that deep-seated sweet-spot inside a man. Théo mewled like a kitten, panting hard, holding himself ready to receive another thrust as the elf drew slowly back. He was not disappointed. Lórindol found his rhythm and thrust again and again, his fingers gripping Théo's hips, pumping into him, until finally with a great quiver and a muffled cry he came, and moments later flopped down to lie for a second on Théo's chest.
"Beautiful man," he panted, "…and may my partner join us?"
Théodred was past coherence; he nodded and felt Lórindol withdraw and slump at his side. Immediately another oil-slicked pressure was pushed against, into… so deep into him, he gasped and struggled to his hands. The voice behind shushed him and encouraged him to turn and lean foreward on his forearms and knees, backside high in the air. He felt air around him and knew Lindir teased himself, only pushing perhaps half-way into Théo's marvellously exposed riches. He felt Lindir's hand reach around to cup his slack cock, to stretch and pummel it as Lindir sawed back and forth behind him, each time a mere fraction deeper. Then he too brushed Théo's achingly sensitive spot and he was rewarded with a jerk of interest from the Rohir's cock. Lindir kept at that spot rubbing, rubbing, as he squeezed the hardening cock, before he withdrew till just the tip was inside him. Théo whimpered, he wanted more – he pushed back and Lindir backed away refusing him, but continuing to work at Théo's cock until it began to harden in his fist.
Théodred didn't know where he was or who he was; his whole being had become the exquisitely painful pleasure of the shaft rubbing inside him and the hand chafing him outside. He rocked into the hand and the shaft behind rocked into him, deeper, deeper, till he thought it must be at the back of his throat. But only deep primeval grunts came from his throat. He opened his eyes to see Gelmir and Gwindor watching them avidly from the other side of the fire, bright-eyed, their hands moving on each other under the blanket. Lórindol arched uptowards Lindir capturing his mouth and lips, kissing him deeply, his hands tangled in the elf's dark hair. Lindir broke free and teeth-bared, eyes rolling up, he thrust hard and fast into Théo, his hand working furiously at Théo's cock. Lindir came with a great cry that Lórindol muffled with a kiss. Théo collapsed under him, hips jerking in spasms as he came again.
Then he lay there, utterly, utterly spent, gasping like a fish. It was minutes before he began to come back to his senses, and even then he felt his legs had suddenly been deprived of their bones. The two elves helped him stagger to his feet, stripped his shirt off him, and, naked like themselves, took him to the river. There they sat him down with them in the shallows; it was all he could do not to scream as the cold water found all those over-heated parts. Solicitously they washed him and each other, before half-dragging him back up to the fire. Théo was half unconscious, half asleep when they pushed him into a shirt, wrapped his cloak around him and laid him on the underbrush bed. The two elves lay either side of him.
He heard a soft chuckle and remark from Gelmir that made the others laugh. "What…?" he mumbled.
Lindir whispered in his ear. "He says it was better than a song to be rocked to sleep to."
Théodred smiled drowsily, and heard no more until Lórindol shook him awake in the morning.
It took him a few moments to work out why he was so sore, and he ached… in places he'd never ached before! He lay still for several moments playing over in his mind the whole mad scenario… '…what had he done? What had he been thinking!?' With a groan he covered his head with his cloak. 'They'd used him – he was nothing but a plaything for them… how could he not have seen that!?'
Lindir brought him over a flask of water, but the man was still hidden under his cloak.
"Come, sleepy one." He nudged the form curled under the covers.
Théodred threw off the cloak with a scowl and sat up abruptly. He was going to scramble to his feet but realised he didn't know where his leggings were. He wrapped his cloak about him and sat there glowering. Lindir's smile faded, but he continued to offer the water. When Théo ignored it, he sat down beside him and took a gulp from the flask himself. Lindir stared across the river, Théodred glowered in silence; the other three elves were no where to be seen, though there was some splashing that indicated they were washing nearby. Eventually Lindir spoke.
"Guilt is a strange thing."
Théo ignored him and frowned at his fists clenched in his lap.
"Sometimes you do things that you want to do, that you enjoy, but because you feel you shouldn't have done them it makes you feel… unclean.".
Théo clasped his hands together, willing the elf to stop prattling and go away; then he could find his leggings in peace and get dressed; they could leave this place and he could forget the whole thing. But Lindir carried on, sipping water, staring across the river…
"Yet any shame is normally felt more within ourselves aone. In some situations, uncharacteristic actions are not 'wrong', they may not be right, but they are not a cause for shame…"
"You used me…" Théodred ground out the words between gritted teeth.
"No, we asked you and you agreed…"
"But I didn't know what I was agreeing to!"
"Yes, you did. You were wound so tightly, it's a surprise you did not tear yourself apart. You wanted to stay, but your duty said 'go'. You wanted release, but you were too ashamed of being disloyal. You wanted one of us, but thought you could never have us… So, we made it easy for you – and it was a pleasure to do so, do not doubt that! But you wanted this, needed this, just as much as we did.
Now, the others will come back and eat. I am going to wash. I suggest you think hard, and then come to the river and wash the sleep away. Here…"
Lindir held out the flask, and Théo took it silently. Lindir stood as the other three came back to the fire that had been re-lit before they woke him. They had evidently been bathing; they used their cloaks to dry themselves and squeezed water from their sopping hair. They spoke quietly and easily between themselves, Théodred kept his head down letting his hair cover his face; none of them addressed him directly.
It was true – he had wanted to know what they were like in bed. He had felt so much tension inside him he was surprised he didn't shiver and ring like a struck blade! And what was worse… that bastard was absolutely right about all of it!
Théo tossed back his hair and took a deep drink from the flask, eyes closed, not against the bright early morning sky, for there was none, only dark clouds billowing up from the east. When he'd finished the remains of the flask he opened his eyes. Gwindor was folding blankets, Gelmir was cutting bread, Lórindol combed his wet hair. He saw Théo's face, nodded slowly in greeting and smiled. Théo slowly smiled back and suddenly realised – he felt relaxed. His shoulders felt loose, his head felt clearer… but his arse ached like a bastard! He scrambled gingerly to his feet.
"The cold water will help," said Lórindol, "…and Lindir has some oil that might ease you."
"I think I had enough of that last night!" remarked Théodred, but he was smiling now.
"Get washed. We'll have tea ready when you and Lindir are done, and then we'll leave."
Théo hobbled down to the rocky shore, stripped off his shirt and waded into the water. Lindir stood in the shallows, hip-deep in the cold water washing himself and his hair. Théo hissed as the icy water hit those warmest parts of him.
"Come over here, and I'll wash your back" Lindir called.
A little shame-faced Théo waded over.
The rohir felt slick, soapy hands rub over his back, shoulders and arms with nothing more than quick efficiency.
"Put you head back and I'll soap your hair."
Obediently, Théo did so, closing his eyes against the soapy oil, enjoying the expert fingers massaging his scalp.
"You were right," he said finally.
"I know," said Lindir, "now lie back in the water and I'll rinse it."
Théodred sank into the water, shivering as it came up to his chest. He felt Lindir squeeze and rinse water through his hair and he sighed with what he realised was contentment.
"That's done," said the Elf.
"Shall I help you?" Théo asked hesitantly.
"Yes. That would be kind of you."
Lindir leant back across his arm and Théo fanned water through the elf's long and surprisingly silky hair. He found he liked swirling it through the water, and for several minutes Lindir let him play with his hair in silence.
"Is it done?" he asked eventually, shocking Théo from his reverie
"Er… yes. …Sorry"
Lindir stood. He faced Théo, standing closer to him than might normally have felt comfortable.
"We would never have done anything if you were not willing," Lindir said quietly, "You do know that, don't you?"
Théo nodded; he reached to lift a strand of wet hair from Lindir's face. Lindir gripped his wrist and lent in, kissing the man hard on the lips, the other hand snaking around to press his hips forward so they met belly to belly. Théo gasped and Lindir took the opportunity to run the tip of his tongue inside Théo's lips – then he let him go - grinned and said wryly.
"And just to let you know… you were a bloody good tup!"
Théodred laughed aloud and pushed him backwards into deeper water.
"I was a fucking fantastic tup!" he announced as Lindir spluttered to the surface.
The elf laughed and held out his hand in friendship, "Yes, you were a fucking, fantastic tup!"
The two of them waded out and grabbed their cloaks, rubbing each other's backs hastily before picking their way back to the others.
"I thought you had drowned each other" remarked Lórindol, pleased to see that Théodred had recovered his good humour.
The two dressed quickly and settled down to eat. Lórindol sat behind Théo and began to comb his hair with a wide-toothed ivory comb, though the rohir resisted suggestions that the elf could plait it like theirs. Instead he found a leather thong and tied it back with that.
Gelmir snorted as he walked by, and spoke, but with a smile.
Lindir translated: "He says 'a horsetail – what else?'"
Théo grinned, what else indeed!
They doused the fire, stowed their gear in the boat and set off, Théodred insisting that he should take a turn at paddling. As they went, the Rohir introduced them to a very dubious song about a peat-cutter and his wife that had the elves spluttering with laughter as Lindir translated the raucous verses into Sindarin before Théo made them learn it in Westron.
"I was up to me neck in the mud sir, on a peat contract down in the bog,
When me shovel it hit something hard sir, like a chest or an ol' lump of log…"
And in the early morning the still river-banks echoed softly for a while to elven voices, while in the distant east the sky remained dark, and over Mordor lightening flashed inside boiling dark-grey clouds. It was only when the river turned and ran directly east that they faced the gathering storm and their mood became more sombre.
[Lindir's 'Comrade's Song' = from October Project's 'Return to Me']
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.