4. Black Magic
Erestor went out on deck. It had turned cold. The wind had picked up and clouds were scuttling in long ropes across the moon. The weather was changing. He wondered if it would bode ill or well. He saw Lornis leaning against the mainmast. Erestor went over and asked him in a whisper if there was any news. Lornis shook his head. "They've kept to themselves as usual," he said. "I have to be careful. If I become too close, I will seem suspicious."
Lornis was different, detached somehow. Erestor looked at him carefully. "Come wake me if there is anything of concern," he said.
Lornis nodded, then continued staring out to sea.
By the time Erestor returned, it appeared that Ardan and Glorfindel had come to terms. They were sleeping peacefully together on the bed - but this time they were clothed. They looked so sweet together. Glorfindel was curled around the boy's back with one arm thrown protectively across his chest. Erestor sighed. It could never be him in Ardan's place. He knew that.
Erestor climbed up into his hammock and tried to sleep. He tossed fitfully back and forth until he finally went into a light doze. Suddenly, he heard the stallion screaming in the hold below. But when he bolted upright, there were only the murmurs of wind and wave. So, it must have been another dream.
In the dim light of dawn, Erestor awoke again to the sounds of lovemaking. It seemed that they really were trying to keep quiet this time, but occasionally there would be a wet pop of flesh and a suppressed moan. It was both irritating and arousing, and therefore doubly torturous. He closed his eyes and endured it. Finally he heard Ardan get up and move about the cabin, humming to himself. Erestor yawned loudly, turned over to see what the boy was doing. Ardan mouthed, "Breakfast duty," then slipped out.
Glorfindel was sitting up on the bed, his golden hair rippling down over his bare chest. He was pulling tight his crotch laces. Apparently he had forsaken his Haradrim clothing. He grinned up at Erestor, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and said, "I've already had my breakfast."
"You are horrible," Erestor said.
"Admit that you love it," Glorfindel replied.
"Never," Erestor said. "I gather you have forgiven Ardan?"
"Maybe. I still don't trust him completely."
"Good impulse, for once," Erestor said. He climbed out of his hammock and began dressing.
Glorfindel watched him intently. "Erestor, are you ever going to tell me why you took that vow of celibacy?" he said.
"It is no concern of yours."
"Because I've been thinking about that kiss yesterday," Glorfindel ran a finger over his lips, "that marvelously passionate kiss. You cover it up well with your caustic words. By Mandos, sometimes you sound just like an old fishwife. But I have watched you over the years and noticed little things: the way you lick your fingers after eating toffee pudding or the way you close your eyes when smelling a wreath of flowers. Then yesterday, that kiss, so fiery . . . Erestor, I believe you are fooling us all and you are, in truth, a very sensual elf. So, by the Valar, why must you . . ."
Erestor froze in the midst of doing up clasps on his jacket. "Go no further with that thought," he warned.
Glorfindel slid off the bed. He came over, put his hands on Erestor's upper arms, and squeezed them affectionately. "It must have been something terrible to warrant such a great sacrifice," he said. "I am sorry."
"There's nothing to be said about it," Erestor replied. "It was my choice, my fate."
Glorfindel sighed. "Maybe some day you can tell me. I just wanted you to know that I liked it . . . the kiss, I mean."
"Good," Erestor said. "There won't be another. I'm going to get breakfast - something more substantial than the one you had." He turned away so that Glorfindel couldn't see that his heart was pounding. Why did Glorfindel have to make him feel like this - confused and shaky inside? He hated it.
The Captain was late joining them for breakfast. He came in looking consternated, drops of mist in his hair. He strode across the room, threw open his trunk, and began tossing maps onto the bed. "Ardan, tea," he said. He pulled a map, studied it with a frown. Ardan handed him a cup, but he waved it away, then he went back outside. Glorfindel and Erestor looked at each other before getting up and following him.
The day was bleak and wet with a gusty wind. Anor showed as a wavery yellow light behind a veil of clouds. The motion of the ship was choppy. "We should be here," Armalak stabbed at the map with his finger. "We should be able to see the land. Do you see land?" He turned to the elves, fixing them with a fierce glare.
"No," Glorfindel said.
"No!" Armalak declared. "My instruments say we've turned again. Turned in the night, heading out to sea. I've never seen the like."
"Did your steersman fall asleep?" Erestor asked.
"By Mandos' cock, I'll find out," Armalak roared. He grabbed the nearest crewman. "Go and wake Nadroth."
Shortly the trembling man was facing Armalak's wrath. He swore he had steered true all night and had not fallen asleep. He admitted that he had felt strangely disoriented for a time but it had passed and he'd thought nothing of it. Erestor was beginning to be very suspicious. While Armalak stormed about shouting orders to turn the ship in the right direction, Erestor went down into the hold to look for Lornis. He found him fast asleep in his hammock, tossing and turning, beads of sweat on his forehead.
"He's been sick all night," Zirik said. "I don't know what he's got."
Erestor cursed himself for not checking on Lornis last night. He didn't like this at all.
"When did he become ill?" he asked.
"Just after the second watch," Zirik said. "He went on deck for a while. When he came back he said he didn't feel well and went right to sleep."
Erestor felt Lornis' face. It was cold and clammy. "Lornis," he called, "can you hear me?"
The man mumbled incoherently.
"I'll be back with some herbs," Erestor said. When he got topside, he found that the wind had increased. The sky roiled with black clouds. Light spits of rain smacked his face. The ship heaved and rolled as it climbed the grey-green waves and then dropped into the troughs between.
He staggered into their cabin where he found Glorfindel sitting on the edge of his bed, looking pale. "Are you well?" Erestor asked.
"Yes, fine," Glorfindel said, although he didn't look well at all.
"Come, I need you," Erestor said. "I think those two witches have been practicing magic. The time for watching and waiting is done. We must put a stop to it. Bring your weapons."
Glorfindel nodded. He slowly rose and removed his belt with the sword and long knives from the hook on the wall. Meanwhile, Erestor pawed through the medicinal supplies in his trunk. What would cure such a malady? He found a small ceramic jar, pulled it out, and read the label. Yes. Agarthond. A good counter-reactive against spells. He stuffed the jar into his belt pouch. The ship made a rolling lurch. Erestor grabbed the edge of the trunk to steady himself. He turned to see Glorfindel bent over, clutching his stomach. The belt left his hands and clattered to the floor.
"I hate this," Glorfindel hissed through clenched teeth, "I hate feeling so weak." He grabbed a pot under the bed, then emptied the contents of his stomach into it.
"Ai no," Erestor cried in dismay. He went back through his supplies, found the little bag of eel powder. The ship rolled again; there was a sound of thunder outside. "It's getting worse out there, Glorfindel," he said. "We've got to try this stuff."
"Not on your life," Glorfindel said and retched again.
"Don't be stubborn," Erestor said. He sucked on his finger, stuck it in the bag to coat it with the powder, then sat on the bed next to Glorfindel and took him by the chin. "Here, open your mouth."
"Ugh," Glorfindel gasped.
"Do you want to feel better or not? Open!" With an exasperated moan, Glorfindel opened his mouth and Erestor stuck his powder-coated finger under the elf's tongue.
Abruptly Glorfindel pulled away. He choked, retched, spat, and then let loose with a string of obscenities that Erestor had to admit was quite artful. He concluded the diatribe with,"By Ossë's foam-soaked prick, I am never setting foot on a bloody, wretched tub like this again."
"Well said, friend," Erestor replied. "I concur completely. Feel better?"
"No," Glorfindel gasped, "and that was the foulest tasting crap I ever put in my mouth."
"Let's try this," Erestor said. He took Glorfindel by the wrists; pressed hard with his thumbs in the spot where the apothecary had shown him. Then he projected thoughts of balance, quiet, well-being. For many long minutes they sat like that.
Finally Glorfindel raised his eyes. They looked bruised, huge and child-like in his pale face surrounded by straggling locks of yellow hair. Erestor's heart went out to him.
Glorfindel managed a wan smile. "That . . . that seems a little better," he said.
"I would not have thought it would work, but I won't argue if it does," Erestor replied. "However, we can't sit holding hands the rest of the voyage and I need your help with our two miscreants."
"You could tie something to my wrists to keep the pressure in the right place," Glorfindel suggested.
"Good idea. I know just the thing," Erestor said. He released Glorfindel's wrists, rose, and dug around in his trunk until he found the leather bag containing the tiny ivory horse he'd meant to give to him on Mettarë. He also grabbed a cotton rag. Then, he went to Glorfindel's trunk, and after much searching, finally found one of the little bells the warrior had worn in his hair. He brought all of them back to the bed where Glorfindel was starting to double up again.
"Here, hold this," Erestor said as he began tearing a long strip of cloth.
Glorfindel turned the horse in his fingers. "Lovely. Where did you . . .?" Suddenly, he pressed his lips together, looking altogether green.
"It's your Mettarë gift - a little early," Erestor snapped. "Hold still now." He took the little horse from Glorfindel, placed it right over the pressure point on his wrist, and bound it tightly. Then he did the same with the bell on the other wrist. He waited a while watching Glorfindel's face anxiously. Eventually, the warrior's brow unknotted. He sighed.
"Better now?" Erestor asked.
Glorfindel nodded. "My stomach is steadier. Perhaps that dratted eel poison is working too. I owe you like for like. Eel stew, whenever we get off this blasted boat. And remind me not to question your medicinal notions again."
"No eels," Erestor said. He grinned. "I make it a rule not to eat any meat that is longer than it is wide."
Glorfindel smiled. "Do you now? What a pity."
"Now I know you feel better; your sense of humor is back." Erestor clapped his hand on Glorfindel's shoulder. "Let's go."
Erestor left the cabin with Glorfindel following, somewhat unsteadily. He took the pot with him, tossing its contents overboard. Captain Armalak was standing amidships, waving his arms and shouting directions at his crew, who were scrambling up the rigging. The elves went over to him.
"Looks like a grand lady of a storm is catching up wi' us," Armalak called over the wind.
"Lornis is sick," Erestor said. "I think I know why. We need to put those two Lorcastrans into custody before it gets worse."
"What evidence d'ye have against 'em? I'm going to need all hands to furl up the mainsails if this storm shapes up the way I think she will," Armalak said.
"None yet, but I would wager I'll find some if I search their berths," Erestor said. "I need your authority to do so, Captain, and possibly your backup if I find anything."
"You have it. Go quickly."
"Where are they now?" Glorfindel asked.
"Up there." Armalak pointed aloft where a number of men were standing on the ropes below the spar, like crows on a line, and rolling up canvas. Armalak craned his neck. "Too much to port, let it out," he yelled up at them.
Glorfindel nodded at Erestor and led the way down into the hold. First, they went to the galley where they found Ardan working over a little cookstove.
"Where do the Lorcastrans berth?" Glorfindel asked him.
Ardan gestured. "Way up in the bow."
Erestor pulled out the jar of Agarthond, thrust it at him. "Heat some water. Dissolve a big spoonful of this in it, then use it to rub down Lornis's face and chest. I think he's been bewitched."
Ardan's brow was creased with worry. "What's happening?"
"Just keep an eye out for trouble," Glorfindel growled. Erestor grabbed a lantern and they headed toward the cargo hold.
They passed by Oiolairë. He was safely secured in the harness but appeared very nervous. He was throwing his head up and down, then pawing at the floor. Occasionally he would let out a little squeal. Glorfindel paused to reassure him while Erestor passed through the area where the men slept, noting the night shift cocooned in their hammocks. He continued until he found two hammocks tucked off by themselves in a cranny around a corner. There was a faint smell of the jasmine, a sweet smell of candle wax, and something else, sharply bitter. Overhead he heard another crack of thunder. The ship rolled heavily. Erestor's head spun; he was beginning to feel sick himself. He raised the lantern and looked around. Spying a ragged cloth lying on the floor, he lifted it. There, scratched in charcoal were strange symbols clustered around a large oval like a snake's eye. It was stained dark with a substance that looked like blood. "Glorfindel, come here," he called.
Glorfindel came up behind him.
"Look at this," Erestor said. "Do you know what any of this means?"
"Yes," Glorfindel said between clenched teeth. "Annatar, the giver of gifts." He spat out the words. "We found rooms full of symbols like this scratched on the walls in his stronghold after he was driven forth from Eriador. We also found the dungeons filled with his prisoners . . . what was left of them, with a foul mark like this one on their bodies." He pointed at one of the symbols that looked like a wheel with spokes of fire.
"Do you know what they mean?" Erestor asked.
"No. But their mere presence is enough to convince me those Haradrim are up to no good." Glorfindel walked away.
Erestor hurried after him. "What are you going to do?"
Glorfindel drew his sword. "What do you think?" he said. Suddenly he hunched over as the ship pitched about. Little objects rolled and skittered about their feet. Glorfindel rose with a look of grim determination. "These things on the wrist help," he said, "up to a point. Believe me, I am not in a good mood."
Erestor followed him up the ramp where they were almost blown over by the wind. He put his head down. His jacket flapped madly about him. The sailors had partially furled some of the sails before Armalak had ordered them down from the rigging. Erestor could see a half dozen of them including Zirik, Aratanur, and the two Lorcastrans pulling on ropes to turn one of the sails at an angle to the wind.
With a shout, Glorfindel flew at them, sword drawn. "Servants of Morgoth," he roared, "drop the rope and stand away." All the sailors looked up startled.
The two Lorcastrans glanced at each other. They did as Glorfindel asked but their expressions were mocking. The one with the gold tooth named Maldomas laughed. "You know nothing, Noldo filth," he said.
Glorfindel took two great strides, grabbed him by the throat with one hand, and shoved him up against the mast. "Enlighten me," he said through gritted teeth.
Erestor saw a quick movement as the other Lorcastran's hand went to his side. There was a flash of metal. Erestor drew his own knife and threw it. The knife buried itself in the man's neck. He went down in a gush of blood. With cries of dismay, the other sailors fell back. Armalak appeared, waving his arms.
Maldomas wriggled. "Don't," Glorfindel hissed and pressed tighter. The man began to choke.
Erestor moved in. "Glorfindel, don't kill him. We need him to talk." He rolled over the fallen Lorcastran, examined him. "I'm afraid, Armalak, that you've lost one of your crew," he said. "I'm sorry."
"What did you find in the hold?" Armalak asked.
"Evidence of black magic," Erestor said. "Tell us, Maldomas, what were you and your late companion doing with those symbols scratched on the boards?"
"You'll find out soon enough," Maldomas rasped. His hands scrabbled at Glorfindel's hand about his throat.
"Glorfindel . . ." Erestor warned.
The warrior let the man go suddenly. He stepped back and raised his sword. "Answer the Counselor. The instant I think you're lying, your head decorates our prow," he said.
Maldomas coughed. His dark eyes glittered with malice but it was a little while before he could speak. Finally he said in a hoarse voice, "Secrecy no longer matters. He's coming."
"Who is coming?" Erestor asked.
"Our master. We summoned him. He's coming for you." He pointed off toward the horizon.
"Murazor?" Glorfindel growled.
Maldomas cringed. "No names," he said.
"Look!" Zirik cried out.
In the grey distance Erestor could descry a set of black sails. Suddenly he was filled with dread.
"Corsairs," Armalak cried. "Quick, you mast monkeys," he yelled, "up aloft! Unfurl the sails again."
"In this wind?" Erestor asked.
"We've got to chance it," Armalak said. "We've got to outrun them."
At that moment, the heavens opened. Rain slanted down. The men scrambled aloft. Erestor was very glad he was not up there in this gale. The ship lurched again and the waves sprayed over them. They heard a scream. A man came hurtling down and disappeared like a stone into the water. He must have slipped. Terrible! Erestor bit his knuckle.
Tilting at a dangerous angle, the ship fled before the storm. Because of the curtain of rain, they no longer could see the black ship behind them, but Erestor had no doubt that it was there.
Erestor came up close to Maldomas, close enough to smell something rank on his breath. "What have you done to Lornis?" he asked.
"Nothing much," Maldomas cackled. "He's in the Black Sleep now. He'll awaken when the Númenorean comes. Then, he'll wish he hadn't. Traitor!"
Glorfindel seemed to grow larger with anger. A white fire glowed off him and smoldered in his eyes. Maldomas averted his gaze. His lips twisted.
"The only reason you are still breathing," Glorfindel said in a voice purring with menace, "is because the elves do not kill needlessly. However if there is a need . . . " He grabbed Maldomas by the face. Holding his eyelids open with his thumbs, he stared deeply into his eyes.
"No!" Maldomas shrieked. "Stop! It hurts!" He attempted to writhe away from the warrior.
Erestor stood amazed. This was a side of his friend that he had never seen before, that of Glorfindel, the powerful and deadly enemy of the Darkness. For the first time, he had no doubt as to why the Valar had chosen him to return from the dead to aid Middle Earth in its need.
Maldomas slid down until he was groveling at Glorfindel's knees. "Stop it! I'll do what you ask," he cried.
Glorfindel picked him up by the scruff of his neck as if he had been a dog, then shoved him forward. "Remove your spell," he roared. "I will know if you are doing something evil."
"I need to lay hands on him."
"Do it." Glorfindel prodded Maldomas with the tip of his sword. The man fled before him, slipping and sliding on the wet deck. Erestor followed. He was cold, soaked to the skin, and trying not to notice that the ship was shuddering in the wind, its timbers creaking with effort. They removed the cover the sailors had placed on the hatch, then marched down the ramp into the lantern-lit gloom. They passed near the hold containing the white stallion. The animal rumbled a low note of warning, then he screamed like a war-horse on the battlefield. Erestor had heard that sound as they fought before the ruins of the great elven city of Ost-in-Edhil. It caused a shiver of terror to crawl up his spine.
"Be calm Oiolairë!" Glorfindel called.
They reached the sailors' sleeping berths where they found Ardan bathing Lornis's face with the water. The poor lad's brow was drawn with worry. He looked up as they entered. "He, he's hardly breathing at all. The medicine isn't working," he said.
"You are also traitor," Maldomas said to the boy. "Too much you liked having the Noldo filth's prick up your ass. Now your father is good as dead."
Ardan looked stricken to the heart.
"Shut up," Glorfindel snarled. "Remove the spell!"
Maldomas bent over Lornis. He drew a symbol with his finger on the man's chest and on his forehead. Then the Lorcastran began to shiver and sway from side to side, emitting a strange high-pitched wailing. Erestor recognized words of the Black Speech. The sound was unbearable and Erestor and Ardan both clapped their hands over their ears. Glorfindel clenched his teeth, glowing white again. In the compartment behind them, they heard the horse's frenzied neighing.
Just when Erestor couldn't stand it any more, Lornis began to move. He flailed his arms and legs in a tarantistic dance. His eyes opened; they bulged. He began choking.
"What are you doing?" Erestor cried to Maldomas. Glorfindel raised his sword.
"Wait," the Lorcastran said, holding up a hand.
Lornis's chest heaved. He flopped about in the hammock like a fish. "Ai gods, dreams," he murmured. "Terrible dreams."
Erestor put a hand to the man's cold brow. "Lornis, are you back?" he asked.
The man nodded slightly. They heard the horse bugle again. This time the note was especially fearful. Glorfindel turned his head to listen. "We had better go topside," he said. "Something terrible is happening. You," he grabbed Maldomas by the neck, "I'm going to lash you to the mast where you can't do any more harm."
The man laughed. "My Master is coming. You will all be dead soon."
"That remains to be seen," Glorfindel said with a grim look.
Suddenly the ship shuddered violently. They were all thrown backward. Erestor hit the wall with a painful smack, then careened into Glorfindel. Hundreds of small objects pelted his body. There was a terrible shrieking, yawning, and moaning of wood as the whole ship tilted upward. Then water began pouring in from somewhere. They could hear men shouting, the horse neighing, and the roaring of water. They were sliding. Glorfindel grabbed a broken beam to stop their fall and Erestor held onto his waist. One lantern flickered nearby.
"We've run aground!" Glorfindel shouted.
Erestor was paralyzed with fear. "No," he moaned. "No, not again." Glorfindel was talking to him; Erestor could see the elf's lips moving but he couldn't comprehend the words. It was all happening again just as he remembered it, the shriek of splintering wood, the struggle to breathe, the water closing over his head, darkness, deadly cold, dropping down . . . down to a watery grave.
He felt a stinging blow to his face. "Erestor! Pull yourself together and listen to me!" Glorfindel shouted. "The ship is sinking! We must get out of it. Come with me."
Erestor shook his head to clear it. They were knee-deep in freezing water. Where were the others?
"Ardan!" Glorfindel called.
"I'm here. Help me!" They heard faintly. They discovered Ardan, barely able to stand, trying to lift a timber off Lornis. Erestor and Glorfindel both seized an end of the wood and raised it off the man. Maldomas was nowhere to be seen.
"Pull him free, Ardan," Glorfindel called. Ardan grabbed Lornis by the arm and hauled him out. "Good boy," Glorfindel said. They dropped the timber. Glorfindel picked Lornis up and half-draped him over his shoulder. "This way!" he cried.
They continued their perilous journey. When they reached the foot of the ramp, they could hear Oiolairë going mad as he battered at the sides of his stall. Glorfindel spoke in Erestor's ear. "Get them up top, Erestor. Find planks of wood to float on and jump into the sea. I must free the horse."
Erestor was petrified. He did not want to be separated as he had the awful feeling he would never see his friend again. "Glorfindel . . . ," he said tentatively.
Glorfindel kissed his brow. "We must be close to land if we hit something. Just let the tide float you in. Don't worry. I'll find you on the beach. Ardan, the same for you." Glorfindel gave the boy a kiss on the mouth.
Ardan seized him in his arms. "I love you," he said. "I did not want to betray you."
"I know. Now, go, quickly. May Ulmo and Ossë keep us all from harm," Glorfindel replied.
"Blesséd Ones, hear us," Erestor said automatically. Then Glorfindel was gone into the darkness of the hold.
"Go on," Erestor called to Ardan, who began climbing up the shaky ramp that was tilted at an angle greater than normal. Erestor had the harder job of supporting a weak Lornis as he climbed. The horse's screams had stopped. A good sign, maybe? He kept going.
They emerged on deck in the midst of the downpour. There was a frenzy of activity as Armalak was directing the rapid construction of a raft. When Erestor appeared, Armalak grabbed his arm. The Captain's face was drawn. "I never lost a ship afore," he said. "That cussed patch of rocks shouldn't be there. I would swear it on my own mother's grave."
"Not your fault, Captain. We've been bewitched by those fiends. They've muddled direction and distance," Erestor said. "No help for it now. Can you watch over Ardan and Lornis? They are elf-friends, Armalak. If you care at all, get them on that raft."
"I'll do my best. Where are you going?" Armalak asked.
"Back below to help Glorfindel."
Armalak gripped his arm more tightly. "Not good thinking," he said. "The hold is filling up with water."
Erestor tried to quell his rising panic. He stood at the hatchway and called Glorfindel's name. There was no reply. Then he heard one of the sailors cry, "Look, Captain! There it is again. That Corsair ship!"
"Damn!" Armalak swore.
Erestor raised his eyes. The rain had slackened. Towards the west the curtain of clouds had brightened with the pale afternoon light. Silhouetted against them was the ominous black ship. It rode up a wave, disappeared into the trough, then reappeared. It was close enough now that he could see a black banner flying above the top sail, and at its center, a lidless red eye. Along the side, he could descry a glint of helms and spears carried by a crowd of black forms.
"Armalak! Now! We must leave now!" Erestor cried.
"All hands abandon ship!" Armalak cried. "Grab whatever will float and let the waves carry you!"
Using ropes, they lowered the raft off the side. It landed with a tremendous splash. Then there were more splashes on all sides as men leapt into the water and swam to it. Lornis seemed to have recovered sufficiently to have his wits about him. He made the sign of the elf friends over his heart, clasped Erestor's arm briefly, then dove into the swirling waves. Ardan hesitated. He looked beseechingly at Erestor.
"Go," Erestor ordered. "Believe me, you don't want to be caught by what's on that ship. I will work with King Gil-galad to try to get your father freed."
"Thank you, my lord. But I don't want to leave Glorfindel."
"You must. Don't worry about Glorfindel. He'll take care of himself, no doubt," Erestor said with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.
"Come on, boy," Armalak shouted. "Don't want to lose a good cook. Over the side with you." He picked him up and tossed him into the water. Ardan surfaced, splashing and coughing. He began to swim. Erestor watched until he saw that the boy had scrambled up onto the raft.
There was a whine as something swept by his ear. That was altogether too familiar a sound recalling many an ancient battle. A black-feathered arrow hit the deck with a thud. Then came another. The blasted Corsair ship was close enough now for archery. Erestor ran over to the hatch. He could hear the stallion neighing below. Danger or no, he had to find out what was happening. He slid down the ramp where he found himself waist deep in water. There was no light except what little came through the hatch. "Findel," he called miserably. "Where are you?"
He heard a loud blow, followed by a rapid series of thuds, and the sound of splintering wood. Was the horse kicking down the side of the ship? Erestor followed the sound, trying to make his way in the dark. Finally by feel, he found the area where the horse had been stabled. It was quiet. The horse was gone. He found a portion of the harness that had held him up. Where in Arda were they?
The ship shuddered and tilted further. It seemed to be collapsing. Abruptly Erestor lost his footing and began sliding down towards the stern into deeper water. The water rapidly rose until it reached his neck.
Desperately Erestor shouted, "Ossë, Lord of the Waves, hear me! I have served you faithfully for five hundred years. Once before I begged for your help and you gave it. Once again I beseech you."
The water closed over his head. He flailed upwards and managed to inhale a huge gulp of air before the water engulfed him again. It was pitch black and freezing cold. There was no name for the terror Erestor felt at that moment. He didn't want to die, not this way. Unseen objects bumped around him. He thrashed about, but didn't know which direction to go. He was trapped in a sinking ship with no way out and no one at all to help him.
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.