32. Chapter 32
In the north of Rhun things did not go well for the rebellion. Their hand was played in the Prefect's assassination and the release of Khurg from prison. Despite these early successes, achieved through surprise, they had been compressed by an increasing force on three sides into an ever-diminishing part of northern Rhun. Further to the north were the dwarves of the Iron Hills at the ready. The rebels had not yet fought with them and had no desire to. To the west pressed the Army of Dale across a solid front that kept them from infiltrating west. From the south pushed the combined might of Gondor and Rohan, reinforced by the Easterling Guard that remained loyal to the Prefect and Gondor. Food now ran low and resolve of the northern clans had become strained.
The collective of former commanders and officials that thought getting Khurg out would be a good thing were mostly of the fragmented Sagath clan. Even they saw how their hopes had been misguided. Despite their intention to restore the old ways, matters had gone terribly awry. They had underestimated the degree of Khurg's declining mental state. Khurg had shown little gratefulness for his freedom, with fierce admonishments that it had taken all he had to offer them. After the first weeks of masterful military tactics that saw them withdraw from a superior force, it became apparent that Khurg now lived in some past moment of his life. He could not accept their present reality and dismissed it as fantasy. He was convinced that he was once more the supreme warlord of Rhun and whittled away his days with rants and edicts for underlings that had either died or never existed. Soon, his closest circle was comprised only of the few servants cared for him. Nobody was sure what happened, but the morning the joint Gondor/Rohan/Dale offensive started, Khurg was found dead in his bed. Blood seeped from his ear and stained the linens about his head. They whispered that it was his mind at war with itself; each part finally killing each other in an intense battle in his sleep. Ignominious old age and dementia proved the end of Khurg, the Easterling Warlord General of Sauron.
The armies of the West made little headway when the offensive started. The first day proved difficult, but signs of weakening rebel resolve became clear as their lines fragmented. Tired and hungry, they began surrendering, in small units at first that increased in size as the days passed. Word spread through the rank and file of Khurg's passing. The remaining senior struggled with each other to assume command. Beset with disarray and privation, the will of the northern clans to continue disintegrated. Many of southern and central Rhun quietly thought it a fitting end to the rebellion. Kings Aragorn and Eomer rode forth to meet only two tribal chiefs and accept formal surrender. For the Sagath clan it was a bitter moment, their pride bruised and their resolve in tatters. The remaining Sagath scattered and made their way east, some hoping to find the armies of Khor while others hoping to find the Black Company.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The remaining men of the Order had hunkered down in a thick wood to the north of the town on the eastern sea. Their commander was puzzled and unsure what to do after the blast and resultant disaster had claimed their mistress.
"It should never been able to happen! It had to be treachery!" The second said, scratching his head.
The commander said, "Yes, something unlooked for I think. My suspicion is on the sisters three. The young one, a dreamer, was never fully committed, and I had my suspicions about the eldest as well. She always seemed distant. But no matter, whatever it was, it has killed our supreme mistress as well as the wizard of old. With their deaths, the rift is now closed to us. There will be no returning to our lands."
The second nodded, but then said, "But the shielding the sisters have… could they not still find a way back? Would they know enough?"
The commander shook his head and said, "It is doubtful they, or any of the House survived. Powers known and unknown to us were at work, and they all came to head in the house that our mistress occupied. Maybe some of our comrades survived, but it is doubtful."
The second looked deflated and lost, and asked, "What of us now? All we had served and believed in has come to an abrupt end. We are now lost in a foreign land, adrift."
"Not adrift!" the commander said, "We have come to do what had been ordered, and that is what we will do to the last man."
The second nodded reluctantly, recalled a conversation he had with the elder of the sisters on the ship. Maybe he wasn't as committed as a man of the Order was expected to be, he thought. He wished to know the fate of the sisters. He would have to go along with his commander… for now. He said, "What can eighteen of us do here in this land?"
The commander gazed the fire. It hissed with every raindrop that fell into it. "We must go down into the city and see what we can discover. The way will be watched, so stealth and evasion will be our path. Kill only if needed, and listen and see. Groups of four will go, starting tonight. The rest will stand here, for it is quiet, off the tracks and well hidden."
The second nodded, deciding to take three of his hand-picked men with him this night. He found two of them and gave them the word to be ready. But the third he could not find.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ravenclaw watched and listened. He circled the perimeter of the camp and slowly drew closer. The first guard he came to didn't even notice him and only realized his presence when he felt the thin rope seize his neck. Not a sound was heard as Ravenclaw stretched him out on the earth, neck broken in a swift twist. Ravenclaw moved forth in silence and two more guards fell the same way. Satisfied with his work, Ravenclaw retreated to the safety of his small cave where he notched the staff he always carried.
The commander did not get word of his dead men until after his second officer set out with three others for the town. He ordered further vigilance and to await the return of their scouting team. But they never returned. The next night, three more guards fell in silence. The commander realized too late they had been found and were being picked off, one by one. The third night he did not set guard, but set out for the city himself. He took with him three men, and his second officer accompanied with another three. They had little hope to live another day if they did not move.
Ravenclaw followed one of the groups and took out a lagging man. He set himself in his place and made his way down. He was impressed with the skill the sergeant showed in evading the watch of the Easterlings, and they got past a couple watchpoints the Black Company set up as well. They sought out the brethren of the Order, but realized they would find none alive. Ravenclaw slipped away from them once in the town, shed his disguise and headed toward the Company's camp. He would have much to answer for in his disappearance.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The meeting of the Company was tense and Hanasian could feel there was something in the air. However he could not dwell on whatever it was right now. He had given long and hard thought to the Company's next step and the news brought to him by a swift rider earlier in the day made him think even harder. The whole Company saw Gondor's messenger arrive and hand over the parchment. With a bow and a few words, the man was off west without rest. The Company knew there were tidings, perhaps even further orders. The man had delivered a message from King Aragorn that confirmed he was now in Rhun with the army of Gondor. News of Khurg's death and the rebellion's collapse had also arrived. Aragorn intended to come east as soon as possible with King Eomer in hopes to settle hostilities. This was welcome news. Hanasian was mindful his Company sorely needed rest. The wisdom of the King would be most welcome in seeing to the mysteries of the mariners and the Order. Had it not been for the ill-fated rebellion, they may have never come to know of all this in the east. Yet it was the veils of wizardry that fogged the vision of the King, and his suspicions proved to be mostly true.
Hanasian wanted to announce his retirement as Captain, but he resolved to await the King's arrival. Maybe after that, this matter would be settled and he and Rosmarin could leave freely. Maybe it would be the end, and the King will disband the Company? These matters would have to wait for another day, despite how they circled his mind on wings. This day, other matters had to be addressed.
"Company attend me well!
"It has been a hard run here and little rest has been had while we grieve our fallen comrades. Yet we do rebuild our strength. We will remain here a little longer, for our King is coming. The armies of Gondor and Rohan have been successful in bringing an end to Khurg's rebellion. Though it had only brought more grief to the people of Rhun, it is hoped it will be the beginnings of healing between the clans. As for the Company, we have grown. Dedicated Easterling soldiers serve in honor, and the recruits of Gondor have served with distinction. We have established a strong medical cadre and individuals with the ability for leadership have blossomed and will be ranked as sergeants.
"Is there anything that anybody wishes to say here while the whole of the Company is gathered?"
"I do," spoke a voice well towards the back of the assembled Company. A bit of celebration formed around the man who spoke, for it was Ravenclaw. That they had one of three men return provided no small measure of cheer to the grieving Company.
Hanasian called to him, "And we want to hear it Hamoor. But first, where have you been? We were about to bury you along with the others, but my gut said to give you a few more days."
Ravenclaw spoke of how he got separated from the Company, his attempts to return and how his misfortune led him to find and kill several of the Order renegades. But he didn't tell all. Hanasian cut him short and said that he wanted a full report by the next day.
He then said, "Is there anything else that I should know about?"
"…bury you with the others…"
Rin could not help but be stung by sharp and bitter resentment. Why had Ravenclaw returned and Loch hadn't? It wasn't fair that everyone should be cut down so violently and so early around her. Her jaw tightened and she squeezed her eyes shut. And then she heard it. Loch's voice, asking her solemnly if she'd really turn her back on all she was to trade one man's life for another's. Oh, but that cut deeper still. And then, the beguiling murmur that perhaps Loch wasn't really dead either. That way lay madness, but it beckoned sweetly to her to come slithering down its slippery precipice. In this time, Ravenclaw had finished his report and Hanasian had asked a question. Her eyes flew open and she found he was staring pointedly at Mecarnil and, worse still, Mecarnil looked ready to talk. The expression on Rocks' face was sheer panic. They'd tear him to pieces if Mecarnil reported now. This was not the arrangement they had made, she and him. She had to intervene before it all slipped between her fingers.
"It is not a Company matter," Rin said loudly and far sharper than she intended to.
Farbarad, at Rocks' shoulder, lifted both brows in open surprise and Mecarnil choked on his own tongue. Those assembled murmured to each other and a number of the core Company members began to appear gravely concerned indeed. It was going from bad to worse!
"It isn't," she hissed at Mecarnil, "And well you know it! I will not see the entire Company dragged into this mess. Cardolan's ambitions have stolen enough lives. You insist I accept my rank and position so here I am. Mecarnil, as your queen and a Crown Princess of the court of the Reunited Realm, this is not a Black Company matter. Gainsay me at your peril, Ranger."
Though this was said all very quietly, everyone had observed them. From her position behind Mecarnil it was clear his spine had stiffened. Anger, dismay, disapproval? Her heart thudded in her ears. Time dragged before Mecarnil finally broke his silence.
"Princess Erían" , he said with particular emphasis on that wretched name, "Is correct."
Rin felt the urge to grab Mecarnil's ears and tug them in the opposite direction. Hanasian's gaze flickered back and forth from Mecarnil's face to his wife's furious one. A Cardolan matter, then, he swiftly deduced and calmly nodded his thanks to Mecarnil for saying as much so neatly.
"Very well, then. We will reconvene once the King has arrived. Until then we will maintain our current position. Ravenclaw, your report by this time tomorrow. Company dismissed."
As people peeled away, Rin swept around to confront Mecarnil with eyes that glittered with her anger.
"I suppose you consider yourself particularly clever now," she snapped at him and he rolled his shoulders belligerently.
"I believe I have already made my position on this matter clear. You have no way of comprehending the perils associated with this notion of yours," he replied as Farbarad pushed Rocks towards where they stood.
"What better teacher than bitter, cruel experience? The ambitions of these men have taken everything from me. I have lived my life under their shadow whether I knew it or not. Do not patronise me, Mecarnil!"
Mecarnil's stony expression wavered at her answer. It was entirely unexpected. He glanced to Farbarad, who actually looked chastened, and then dropped his eyes a moment.
"My apologies," he murmured, meeting her icy eyes a moment later.
Hanasian watched this exchange with no small amount of interest as he waited for the others to depart. Some, the old crew, lingered until he dispatched them with a clear signal to be gone.
"One of you, I presume, will tell me what is going on," Hanasian said once they were on their own, looking in turn at each of them.
Rocks' mouth compressed into a thin line. Mecarnil resumed staring holes through Rocks. Farbarad re-evaluated Rin with new eyes. Rin approached Hanasian and extracted a piece of folded paper from beneath her jacket. The pair stood off to one side, heads together. Hanasian flinched as he read the opening line and glanced at his wife. Her eyes also lingered on the words Loch had set there and he could see the pain within their depths.
"Where did you get this?" he murmured to her.
"Loch left it in Wulgof's keeping. He gave it to me just before midday. The second half, love, is the heart of it," she replied and redirected his attention back to the letter.
When Hanasian came to the end of it a second time, he found himself confronted with the urge to take Rocks' throat out then and there. Rin's hand tightened over his forearm. Mecarnil watched them discuss the matter. Back and forth it went between them for a span of heartbeats and then Hanasian drew a deep breath and nodded tersely before they swung back to face the others.
"Secure Rocks and make arrangements to meet with us at dusk in our tent. Bring Videgavia, Folca, Frea and Berlas with you," Hanasian ordered and after a moment's delay the two Rangers complied.
Hanasian and Rin spoke quietly with each other as they returned to camp. The pair disappeared into their tent and were not seen until Mecarnil and Farbarad arrived with the others as instructed at dusk. Husband and wife were waiting for them. Once all were settled in Hanasian laid out the matter.
"We have within the Company a man who has been approached by one of Cardolan's rebels to perform a task."
"Who?" Videgavia asked sharply. His dark eyes glittered with sudden danger.
"Rocks," Folca replied swiftly, "Saw Mec and Farbarad bring him up after the meeting."
"Is it him?" Videgavia inquired and Rin nodded her head.
"It is…and I would say at this point that he has not done as asked by these rebels despite at least one opportunity to do so. He is the sole advantage we have over these men and I mean to exploit it to the fullest extent."
"Fine…I hear what you're saying. Don't slit his throat, yet," Frea grumbled.
"Just what was he asked to do? Assassination?" Berlas queried, head cocked to one side.
"No…his part, as far as he admits, was to deliver Rin to others who would make themselves known to him at Lake-Town by mid winter. That is all we have," Hanasian answered.
"How certain of this are you?" Folca inquired and Hanasian looked to his wife.
"Runner's squad noticed something amiss back at that city and reported it to Loch. Truth be told, so did I, but events overtook us before I could pursue it further and in any case it was a minor thing.
"Loch mentioned his concerns to me before he set off that last time," Rin paused and her eyes fell as she mastered a welter of emotion that was entirely unwelcome at that juncture, "But he was vague. Apparently, he set down the details he had yet to substantiate in writing and left it with Wulgof in the event of anything…untoward. I received that letter today, just before midday."
Rin's jaw bunched as she recalled that final conversation with her brother. They had nearly argued outright. She'd found his suspicions outlandish and unfair and she had told him exactly that. She remembered the queer look he gave her. His mouth had been open to argue and then he had changed his mind and directed their conversation onto safer footing. She knew now why. He knew he had written it all down and he trusted to Wulgof. He had not wanted their last exchange to be one fraught with conflict. She would take it all back now if she could. So many things she would do differently. As her thoughts circled, the discussion in the tent surged on.
"So I take it that you intend to use this information to flush the rest of them out into the open and deal with them once and for all," Videgavia said and Hanasian nodded assent.
"You'll need more than Mec and Farbarad for that," Videgavia stated.
"This is not a Company matter, Vid, and in any case we cannot risk a large group. If they see us coming it will tip their hand and any advantage we have will be lost," Hanasian replied.
"May not be a Company matter but it is a family one. We're in," Frea said and Folca nodded emphatically at their cousin.
"And I…because Loch isn't here to see this one through," Berlas said simply and Rin found her thrust into a humble realisation that she had not yet considered.
"If you set out within the next month, you could be in position comfortably at Lake-Town before mid winter," Videgavia said and Hanasian nodded.
"This will be discussed with the King, Vid. Until then, we need Rocks under constant watch. This needs to stay tight, so others won't fetch any ideas into their heads. Nothing is official until Rin and I have spoken with the King, but it would be wise to commence preparations for a journey to Lake-Town with our small group," Hanasian stated and it was done.
On the discussion went, plans set down and arrangements made. Rin found it difficult to keep track of it all. Within the hour things were in order and the tent went from crowded to comparatively empty. Hanasian dropped some wood into the brazier and stirred the coals. He studied Rin carefully as he did so. She seem distracted and withdrawn.
"You're quiet," he observed softly and set down the poker to sit beside her, "Have you doubts?"
A wry smile flittered across her face at his question and she emerged from her thoughts and met his eyes.
"Only a few thousand, just like you," she answered and Hanasian smiled as she continued, "But I do not doubt this is the right course to take. It has to end, beloved. We cannot live our lives forever under the shadow of their treachery, nor can Aragorn's realm."
Hanasian gathered her close to him and held for a moment. He stroked her hair and felt her heart beat against his chest.
"Come, lay your troubles aside for just a while and rest here with your husband."
"Gladly," she sighed.
It was late and little moved within the camp. He had waited for precisely this moment. The Company was a living creature to him. He knew its moods, its heartbeat and breathing like his own. He slipped into the supply tent where Rocks was being held with a clear purpose in mind. The man had been restrained, bound to the wrist thick sturdy centre pole. Rocks did not sleep easily and this was no surprise. He padded towards where the man had curled around the pole and slowly drew out a long knife. He crouched and pressed the chill metal against the man's jugular. Rocks grunted as his eyes flew open and his body tensed. His mouth nearly brushed the man's ear as he bent and whispered.
"Have you wondered why we are called the Black? Betray her and you will learn. We will come for you. Have you heard what the Easterlings, Dunlendings and Southrons do to traitors?"
Despite the honed edge pressed over his throat, Rocks swallowed and blood started to well in a thin line across his neck, as the man elucidated further. Satisfied, he withdrew his dagger and padded out of the tent again. Outside he nodded at Khule and Molguv and signalled his thanks to Berlas who had agreed to watch Rocks through the night.
Berlas resumed his position with a grimly satisified smile as he watched the Dirty Three stride into the night. If anyone could terrify, it was Wulgof in a very bad mood. Dunlendings…scratch the surface and they were howling savages. Wulgof, at least, was their own.
In the tent, Hanasian was admittedly surprised when Rin complied with his suggestion to rest. Her nightmares were intense and he knew she had come to dread the long stretch of the night as a result. She unfolded from her position tucked under his chin and stretched out on her stomach with her hands beneath her head. Her eyes were still open and he wondered how he might still those thoughts and terrors that haunted her so that she might, on this night, find some comfort and rest. As he thought, his hand ran down the abraded leather of her leggings. Rin said nothing but he saw her eyes close. His thoughts could not help but turn to the soft, smooth skin that he knew lay beneath the leather he stroked. Uncertain though he was, it had been so very long since he had savoured such joys as that.
His thoughts turned to the last time, a stolen moment beneath the blankets before the city, before the battle, and before Loch's death. It seemed years ago. Before that, it had been Minas Tirith. Despite their cares and concerns, they had found solace in each other, life and love. Rin had succumbed to the exhaustion that had dogged her steps since the city. He could feel her muscles twitch in her sleep beneath his hand on the smooth curve of her calf. He continued stroking in the hopes it might see her push past these initial dreams and into something deeper and more restful. It was not to be.
The softness of her expression hardened into anger and then fear. The twitches became deeper and more violent. Her hands clenched into fists and she started to curl. She buried so much, this woman of his, and she was helpless beneath its weight in her sleep. She muttered something he could not understand, tangled words of Westron and Dunlending, an urgent statement and then a strangled moan. He could not bear to watch her torment.
Hanasian curved himself around her, tightened his arms in an embrace and began to slowly wake her and bring her out of the shadows that haunted her dreams. She emerged with a gasp, startled and confused. He pulled her to him, murmuring softly, stroking the taut muscles of her shoulders and back. Rin wound herself around him like a vine.
"A dream, that is all," he whispered to her, brushed strands from her face and kissed her softly.
"Hanasian," she murmured and drank from his lips.
He could not help but feel himself stir. She was so close, wrapped around him. The taste of her mouth, the scent of her suffused him. It had been so long. Her kiss deepened into something else and she drew him further along until he broke off and peered at her.
"My love-" he said hoarsely, struggling with what roared in his blood.
She kissed him again, hard this time, driving him on. Could it be that she was as hungry as he? Hanasian shifted so that he lay over her. Stretched beneath him as she was, anchored by his weight and pressed against him was nearly too much for him to bear. He was still unsure as he drowned in her eyes.
"Do you know what you do?" he asked her and she answered by winding her legs around his hips and locking him hard against her.
In such a position, the extent of his need for her was pressed against the apex of her legs. He saw a brow lift just slightly.
"The night is long, and I will find no comfort in sleep," she whispered to him.
A challenge lay in her statement and he responded by surrendering to the desire that set him alight. He devoured her mouth, pressing her hard into their bedding. She nipped his lower lip and he ground against her. Rin arched underneath him and he chuckled deep in his throat. Yes, who was driving who, he wondered as he kissed along her jaw and down her neck. For all of this, they were still both fully clothed. As he raided further down to her collar bone, grinding still against her, his mouth met with the barrier of her tunic. It was a ratty thing, frayed and worn clear through in some places only she and he knew about. Her nails raked up his back and she writhed beneath him, matching the rhythm of his hips.
"This will never do," he murmured against her throat, flicked his tongue over the delicate skin there and curled his hands in her tunic.
A swift flex of his arms and fists and the fabric split like overripe fruit. Hanasian surveyed his handiwork with undisguised satisfaction. He lifted his eyes slowly to her face. Lips parted, she was breathing hard and watching him through her lashes.
"Much better, but a start only," he said as he eased the tunic wider and slipped it around her shoulders.
He trailed his fingers back over the soft bounty of her breasts, traced them delicately and slowly. He cupped the yielding weight of one in his hand, the nipple taut against his palm as he bent his mouth to the other. She quivered as he nuzzled and a sharp moan was driven from deep in her throat when his tongue flicked over her. Nails raked over his lower back as he sucked and kissed his way across to the other breast that warmed beneath his hand. Yes, who was driving whom? The taste and feel of her was sweet torment for him.
Hanasian took his time, pausing every now and again to capture her eyes. She dragged up the hem of his shirt in a bid to hurry him along. She needed him now. Each kiss, each caress, drove a fire through her belly and along her skin. She pulled his shirt over his head and he paused briefly to shuck it completely off, a small victorious smile on his lips. Then, he resumed his work, sinking lower to kiss across her belly. If she had not caught the light in his silver eyes she would have by now thought he meant to toy with her only. His eyes glinted with a primal need that spoke of a need for something more than that.
Down he worked inexorably, sliding himself down her leg. She could feel how hard he was and she knew what she wanted more than air itself. Yet, down he slid, further and further away as his mouth found the top of her leather breeches still snugly in place at her hips. His fingers teased the skin beneath, raided and stroked. Take them off, cut them off, she didn't care. She wanted him! He did neither and with that devilish smile, simply let his fingers slid over her leggings. Down his fingers danced until his thumb pressed over her sex. The pressure made her body sing with need and desire. Then it was gone, and fingers stroked over leather.
Her breath came in pants that made her breasts heave in what Hanasian considered a delightful sight to behold. He could feel the heat of her, smell her arousal. He could toy with her like this for hours, he knew, stroking this way and that, or her could bury himself in her and grant them both the release they so hungered for. Hanasian rose to his knees and her eyes raked over his bared torso with naked desire. He soaked in the sight of his wife stretched out before him. From the soft swell of her belly he swept up the panes and curves of her breasts to her face. The fear, the sorrow, the anger that had inhabited her expression had vanished in this moment. There was only desire, need, hunger and love. He saw it in her eyes. They became so very blue in such moments, an endless sky to soar in.
He let his knuckles trace down her flanks, grazing her skin and making her arch ever so slightly, until he reached the lacings at each hip. He stroked the skin through the laces and she moaned deep in her throat. His fingers made short work of the laces and she lifted his hips so that he could peel them away from her. He pushed the leather down hard, seized her bare hips and drew her up towards him. His arm snaked up her back to pull her to him, hand cradling her head as they rolled. As soon as he was beneath her Rin took her revenge. She kissed him hard and savagely and his body surged instinctually against her.
She tore her mouth from his and raided mercilessly down over his chest and abdomen, nipping, kissing, tongue flickering as if she would consume him whole. Her fingers did not toy with the lacings of his breeches and she had him freed in moments. Relief at that suffused Hanasian as the pressure that had constrained him was finally removed. Her hair trailed in the wake of her mouth, silken torment that caressed his sensatized skin. Down further she rampaged until he felt her mouth close around him.
This drove a gasp of surprised pleasure from him. Her tongue flickered, circled and then she took his length into his mouth.
"Rin-" he warned, uncertain how much he could bear.
She ignored him and sucked relentlessly, her tongue rubbing against him. His fingers tangled in her hair and his hips responded to her. It was too much, too much, and yet he could not bear for her to stop.
"Oh – Rin!" he growled, and dragged her mouth from him before he came apart.
Hanasian hooked his hands under her arms and dragged her face back to his. A hand closed around her head as he press her lips to his and raided that sweet mouth of hers. His other hand raced down her flank and seized one bared thigh.
"Vixen," he murmured against her as her breasts brushed his chest.
Up his hand went, following the irresistible line of her upper thigh to the hot, swollen glory of her sex. She was so wet, so ready, as she had been for some time now. He released her head and lifted her hips so that she sank over him. Hanasian drove himself hard into her and she reared back so that he plunged deeply. Their eyes locked on each other, poised in that union, and then she started to move. His hands remained at her hips, locking her in as he matched her languorous rhythm. Gradually she built, and deeper he thrust into her within increasing force that quivered through her body. Faster she rode and his hands slipped up to cup her hypnotically swaying breasts. Rin tipped back her head as his fingers thrummed over her nipples and he felt her tighten around him as her back arched and her breasts were pushed harder into his hands.
Again his fingers thrummed and he heard her gasp his name, head thrown back. A third time brought his reward. She shuddered hard with the sudden release she was flung into and he gathered her to him as she pulsed and rippled around him. His eyes closed as he tried to hold back. Not yet. He was not done with her yet. He ran his fingers over her slick back as her hips bucked. Her breath came in ragged gasps that were warm against his neck. Her skin slipped and slid over his. He swallowed hard with the effort restraint required of him. As she began to subside, he let out a pent up breath. She was sprawled atop him, awash in the aftermath still. His time was now. He moved too fast for her to make sense of what was happening.
He slipped out from underneath her, slick and hard and desperate for her and used his considerable strength to lift her aside onto her belly. In an instant he was between her legs again. She was spread-eagled before him. Her ruined tunic had been torn free entirely and her leggings were pushed down to her knees. Her hair was strewn over the blankets and stuck to skin that glistened with sweat. He ran a hand up both thighs and over her perfectly rounded hips.
Her sex was red, swollen and glistening. He picked her hips up so that her knees were under her and sheathed himself in her a second time with a long grunt. This would be faster and harder again. He pulled her to him with each thrust of his hips, revelling in the building fire of his blood. It was impossible to get enough of her. Deeper he pushed, his hands locked tight on her hips. He slipped one hand around to thumb her as he thrust and he felt her again explode. The tent slipped away from him. He slid his hands up and drew her up so that she seemed to sit over him. His hands slipped up and around. The tent slipped away as he squeezed the breasts he cupped in both hands. Her quivering wealth surrounded him as he rose and thrust urgently, buried his face in the hair at the nape of her neck. Such sweet, aching heat surrounded him. Release came hard and suddenly for Hanasian. He spilled into her with a hoarse cry and together they toppled onto their bedding still locked together.
When his senses returned to him some time later, Hanasian discovered that Rin was still beneath him and warm. He was buried in her still and gently he withdrew. Her breathing was soft and even and her body was relaxed.
"Sleep now, my love," he whispered to her in the knowledge that tonight she would not be plagued by nightmares.
She murmured something in response and wriggled against him and slowly her breathing evened out. Hanasian's buried himself in her hair. He savoured this intimacy, this banked fire, this moment of satiation. His final thought as his eyes closed was the hope that there would be many more to come. Rin drifted in dreams, but not the savage horrors that plagued her sleep since Loch's death. These were familiar dreams, welcome dreams of youthful high voices singing and laughing with Hanasian as the sea sighed. And, though she was unaware of this at the time, the family she thought had lost turned over within her. In their blessings, the Valar were bountiful, and there were many that she and Hanasian would discover in the ripeness of time.
When dawn stole into the tent, he woke to find himself still lying mostly atop Rin, legs and arms tangled and her scent deep in his lungs. The fire had died down and only a few coals struggled on, but it was warm between them. She was still asleep, her face relaxed and open. He cleared a path through her hair and stroked the delicate skin of her spine with his knuckles. For that, he was rewarded with a sweet smile. It seemed like it had been a long time since he had seen that smile.
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.