Castamir dismounted after an hour of riding. Rowen fell asleep next to a tree, and Castamir stood guard. The woods were quiet except for the even bustling of a nearby stream. Moonlight filtered through the trees, and the red light of a small fire Castamir built flickered on the tree trunks surrounding them.
A few hours later, Rowen awoke, and Castamir was nowhere in sight. She was finally sober (though something still didn’t feel right), and went over to a stream to splash cool water on her face. It occurred to her suddenly that her bow and arrows were left on Dragon, who was probably now with Jack. Rowen cursed her stupidity, but thanked the fact that a dagger remained in her boot. She reached down to check the placement of the dagger, but it was not there. She turned around abruptly, only to find herself face to face with Castamir, and plenty close to him as well. “Looking for this?” He grinned, holding up her dagger, just out of her reach. She leapt for it, but found herself tangled with Castamir. This suddenly reminded her of Jack, and how he had playfully held her arrows out of reach when they met. At this memory Rowen smiled and relaxed, even though Castamir put his arms around her waist, pulling her up against him. Oddly enough, Rowen felt a strange inclination not to pull away. Her mind told her too, but the rest of her refused to budge. His cloak smelled slightly of smoke and sulfur, and his deep green eyes held a look that was slightly unnerving. Rowen reached up and stoked a piece of his hair – revealing he had pointed ears.
“You’re an elf!” She said, astonished. Castamir did not respond, but grinned and pulled Rowen closer (if possible) to him. He ran his fingers through her dark hair and gently lifted her chin up until their faces were an inch apart. Castamir went to kiss her, but just then Jack burst through the trees riding Dragon. Jack stopped short as he saw what was going on, his eyes wide in shock and jaw slightly dropped. A look of hurt flashed across his eyes for a second, but was quickly replaced by anger and worry at the sight of Castamir.
“Rowen! Get away from him! He’s trying to capture you!” Jack shouted despairingly, fearful for Rowen who was locked in the arms of Castamir.
Rowen hesitated and Castamir hugged her close, whispering in her ear, “He lies…. Do not go to him! Do you know what he is?” It suddenly hit Rowen that she did not know what Jack was, and stood unmoving. “Stay with me, you want to stay…don’t you…” Castamir whispered again, more like a command than a question. Jack watched fearfully, afraid of what Castamir would do to Rowen if Jack charged him.
Rowen was torn between the two, and before she could make a decision either way found herself being hoisted on Castamir’s horse, Kaytar. She let herself be moved as if she was paralyzed – it seemed that drink was at work in her mind. Castamir mounted behind her and looked at Jack over his shoulder as he turned his horse and set it into gallop.
All Jack caught was the green glint of Castamir’s eye and a subtle smirk as the horse began to gallop away.
Jack sat on Dragon a moment. It’s not like Rowen was essential to help them… Sabor could deal if Jack didn’t get her…. I’m not about to challenge Castamir Jack thought to himself. Rowen was fine… she could take care of herself, she wouldn’t let Castamir try anything…
But wait, she already almost kissed him.
No! Jack thought feverishly, She has her weapons. I’m NOT going after Castamir.
It was then that Dragon nodded her head to the saddle – where Rowen’s bow and quiver full of arrows were hanging. And down on the ground in front of them a dagger gleamed in the rising sun. Rowen’s dagger.
The terrifying truth rapidly occurred to Jack:
Rowen was unarmed and half-willingly riding away with into the woods with one of the most dangerous elves on Middle Earth.
Chapter 1: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9127.html
Chapter 2: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9141.html
Chapter 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9184.html
Chapter 4: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9263.html
Chapter 5: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9297.html
Chapter 6: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9307.html
Chapter 7: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9356.html
Chapter 8: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9422.html
Chapter 9: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9472.html
Chapter 10: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9530.html
Chapter 11: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9566.html