Lindar walked lazily down the hall to his room, grabbed his sword, then made his way down to the ring. He kept his ears and eyes on the alert, glancing around in anticipation of whatever it was that Teleri was going to do. Quietly he entered the ring, looking around for the princess.
“Teleri?” he called. “Te-ler-i!” He was a bit surprised to get no answer, but that was probably part of her plan. Drawing his sword and twirling it in his hand, he made his way to the middle of the ring and looked around. “Teleri!” he called again.
“Lindar?” a voice asked. Lindar whirled around to see Aramir walking towards the ring. “Where’s Teleri?” the king asked.
Lindar shrugged. “Plotting against me somewhere,” he quipped.
Aramir chuckled. “And I can only imagine why. Oh yes, by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you how many inquiries I received last night about the ‘handsome young Elf’ that was dancing with my daughter.”
Lindar covered his face with his free hand, sank to the ground, and groaned. “Tell me you are kidding.”
Aramir crossed his arms over his chest. “Am I ever kidding?” he asked, then grinned. “Don’t answer that.”
Lindar chuckled, but was cut short when Aramir’s sword was pressed suddenly to his throat.
“Care to ‘dance’ with me?” Aramir asked.
Lindar stared at him in surprise. “Me? You want me to sword-fight with you?”
Aramir nodded. “I’ve been watching you and Teleri. You are an excellent fighter, Lindar. Come on.”
At Aramir’s insistence, Lindar rose to his feet and moved into a fighting stance. He had no idea what to expect from the king, but whatever it was, he wanted to be ready. He momentarily forgot his premonitions and Teleri’s absence as the excitement of the spar surged within him. Aramir smiled slyly and raised his sword. He twirled it around his had once, twice, and then suddenly struck with lightening-quick speed. Lindar dove to the side as the king charged at him, spinning around at the last minute, sword raised to meet Aramir’s. The weapons clashed, then swung apart. Aramir gave Lindar an impressed look, then struck again. He struck with several more hard blows, grinning as he did.
“Lindar, have you ever heard of Janst?” Aramir asked suddenly in the middle of the fight.
Lindar almost dropped his sword, and as it was, it sagged the ground as the Exile stared at Aramir in surprise. He had to quickly raise it as Aramir swung at him again.
“Can’t we talk and fight at the same time?” the king asked with a smirk.
“Uh, yes, I suppose,” Lindar muttered, still debating what Aramir’s question meant. “Yes,” he answered finally in an evasive tone. “Yes, I’ve heard of him.”
Aramir’s eyebrows raised briefly as he watched Lindar’s entire fighting stance and technique change at the mention of Janst. He struck again, but said nothing to Lindar.
“You exiled him, didn’t you?” Lindar asked in a neutral tone, striking again.
Aramir blocked Lindar’s strike, then answered, “Technically, no, Arodan exiled him. But, yes, I did ask for him to be exiled rather than executed.”
Lindar’s face was tight with concentration as he blocked Aramir’s strike. “I think you should have killed him,” he muttered finally.
Aramir paused in surprise, then struck again, harder than before. “Why do you say that?” he asked.
Lindar shrugged and tried in vain to prevent himself from being pinned between the wall of the ring and Aramir’s sword. He dodged to the side, rolled, jumped to his feet, and leapt for the king. “I don’t know,” he panted. “You just…should have. He never did anything but cause hurt.”
“And where would you be today if I had killed him?” Aramir asked suddenly.
Lindar froze in shock, and Aramir struck. The young man’s sword went flying out of his hand and he fell back against the wall of the ring. Aramir stood over him, sword at his throat. The Exile backed himself up against the wall, but Aramir only moved closer, keeping his sword where it was. Slowly he leaned forward, and Lindar stared up at him in fear.
“Give me one good reason why I should not kill you, son of Janst,” Aramir hissed.
Lindar’s eyes widened in horror, then he hung his head in defeat and sighed. “I can give you none,” he murmured.
“None?” Aramir asked slowly. “You can think of no reason why you would care to live?”
“Oh, I can think of many reasons why I would like to live,” Lindar said sadly. “But no reason why I deserve life.”
To his great surprise, Aramir’s sword was removed from his throat. The king reached down, seized Lindar’s hand, and pulled him to his feet. He stared into Lindar’s eyes. “I can,” he whispered.
Lindar stared at him in complete amazement. “You mean…” he began, but could think of nothing more to say.
Aramir smiled kindly at him. “Come back to the light, Lindar. You are not bound to him.”
Lindar realized what was going to happen a second too late. Sure enough, he heard a bowstring twang, and an arrow sailed past his face, right into Aramir’s chest. The king stumbled back in surprise, then fell to his knees. Lindar stared at him in horror. NO! he wanted to cry, but no words came. Another arrow whizzed past Lindar, but Aramir swayed to one side suddenly, preventing the arrow from going into his heart and piercing his shoulder instead.
Suddenly a dark-clad figure appeared next to Lindar. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t My Lord Aramir,” he drawled sarcastically, throwing a longbow down on the ground next to Aramir. He stepped over the king, a terribly nasty smile on his face, and planted his foot on Aramir’s chest, shoving him over. Aramir fell back on the ground, staring up at the figure. His breathing became shallow and hard, and his chest ached where the arrow had struck. Black blood stained his tunic and covered his hand.
“Janst,” Aramir spat.
“No!” Lindar yelled, finally finding his voice.
“Well, Lindar,” Janst said, turning to his son. “I was beginning to worry about you.”
“About me!” Lindar retorted. “You were worried that your ‘plan’ was going to fail if I got caught!”
Janst snorted. “My my, it seems that someone has developed a bit of an attitude.” He raised his hand and struck Lindar’s face. The young man only gritted his teeth and glared in anger at his father.
Janst turned away from Lindar and gloated over Aramir, who was not paying any attention to the exchange, such was his pain. “Well, King Aramir,” he sneered. “I’d like to introduce you to my son, Lindar.” He gestured to Lindar, smiling wickedly. The introduction did not have the desired effect on Aramir. Apparently, Janst did not know that Aramir already knew. He narrowed his eyes and continued. “King Aramir. It just does not sound right. Ahh, well, you won’t be king for much longer, so I suppose it does not matter. Let me tell you, I’ve very much enjoyed planning for your death, and I’ve certainly looked forward to watching you die.”
“I won’t give you the satisfaction!” Aramir retorted, kicking Janst in the stomach. He clutched his chest in pain from the effort, but was pleased to see Janst leap back in pain and surprise. He took a sharp breath, and then everything went black as he passed out. Janst did not notice. With an angry cry, the Exile drew his sword and swung it down towards Aramir’s head. It stopped only inches away from his forehead, blocked by Lindar’s sword.
“Don’t touch him,” Lindar demanded, raising the sword away from Aramir.
Janst’s eyes widened. “What did you say?” he hissed.
“You heard me. I told you not to touch him.”
Janst broke into evil laughter. “Let me remind you of something, son. He is the reason you have spent your entire life in exile. He-“
Janst was suddenly cut off by a shout from outside of the ring. The Exile turned sharply in the direction of the sound, then turned back to Aramir. “It was nice knowing you,” he sneered at the body of the fallen king, then turned and fled.
Lindar watched him go, unable to move or speak. He knew he should go after his father, but something held him back. He turned back to Aramir, staring down at the stricken king. Then he realized how this must look, him standing next to Aramir, with the longbow on the ground, and his sword in his hand. Panic filled him, and before he could think of what he was doing, he turned and fled from the ring, leaving Aramir behind.
Teleri did not remember much that happened the rest of the day. Shortly after she had been tossed into the dark room, her kidnapper had come back, picked her up, and dragged her out of the room and to a waiting horse. The rest of the day had been nothing but riding. Teleri could not see, so she had no idea where they were going, but she knew it was far away from Gondor. She also knew that there were more than two people on the horse, but she had no idea whom the other person was, either. After what must have been an entire day of riding, the horse came to a halt and she was dragged off of the horse and led through a series of paths in the woods. But, was she in the woods? She could distinctly hear her footsteps echoing around her, like she was in a tunnel. Her fear kept her from thinking too hard, however, and she made no move to run. After several minutes of being led down the path, her kidnapper shoved her to the ground and laughed wickedly. Suddenly, the gag, and then the blindfold was ripped off of her eyes and she found herself face to face with her kidnapper. He had dark, dirty hair, a long, narrow face, and hard, unkind eyes. She glanced around briefly and saw that indeed, they were within a cave lit by several torches. She drew back in fear from the face of the man. She did not recognize him, but she did recognize the figure beside her. It was her mother.
“Janst!” Isilmë spat angrily at the sight of the man.
Teleri’s eyes widened. So this was the infamous Janst. She edged away from him and closer to her mother. The man saw her move and laughed.
“You just don’t give up, do you?” Isilmë scoffed.
Janst laughed. “No, I do not. But this will be the last time, I assure you, My Lady.”
“Yes, it will,” Isilmë said bravely. “Because after Aramir finds you, you will be dead.”
Janst smirked and seized Isilmë’s arm, dragging her to her feet. He reached for her dress and pulled on the sleeve, revealing her bare shoulder. Isilmë glared angrily at him and drew back, but he would not let her go. He ran his hand over her shoulder and absently played with her long, dark hair.
“Yes,” he repeated slowly, “this shall be the last time.”
“You cannot hope to defeat father!” Teleri broke in angrily. “He and Lindar will come for us!”
Janst threw his head back and laughed. “Aramir and Lindar!” he howled. “Perhaps there is something you do not know.” He narrowed his eyes and looked intensely at Isilmë. “Aramir is dead,” he spat, then turned to Teleri. “And Lindar.” He moved his face right in front of Teleri’s. “Lindar is my son.”
Teleri gasped and drew back in horror. “No!” she cried.
“No!” Janst mimicked her. “Foolish girl. You cared for him, I can see that, but he will never care anything for you.” Janst knew he was wrong, but the more pain this girl felt, the better. He laughed again, then turned and walked to the entrance of the room. “Sleep well, ladies,” he said with an elaborate bow, then turned and swept out of the cave and down a long tunnel.
Teleri watched him go, then broke into sobs. Isilmë knelt next to her daughter, wanting to hug her, but unable to with her hands tied. “Oh Teleri,” she whispered, and Teleri was shocked to see tears in her mother’s eyes.
“Mother,” she whispered. “It can’t be true. Father, and, and Lindar.”
“Teleri, Teleri,” Isilmë repeated, kneeling close to her daughter. “I pray to Eru it is not true. Oh Aramir,” she whispered.
“He lied to me!” Teleri sobbed. “I loved him. And I thought he loved me!” She could not stop the tears that streamed down her face.
Isilmë seemed at a loss of what to say. She hung her head in defeat, letting her own tears fall freely at the hopelessness of the situation.
What if it is true? she thought. What then will we do?
Chapter 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9866.html
Chapter 4: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9913.html
Chapter 5: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9975.html
Chapter 6: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10024.html