All in a Day's Work: 1. All in a Day's Work

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1. All in a Day's Work

The Farmer

The wind blew past the fields towards the village.  Between the noise of the plough and the harness's jingle and creak, Beleg only noticed the alarm bell in the quiet after it stopped.  

Fingers fumbling in haste, he unbuckled the traces and swung onto the horse. He crested the hill and saw the Corsair ship passing the encircling arms of the bay, its black sail rising. Men lay in the street on dark damp stains and old women wailed.

The Prince kept a garrison not two leagues south. Wrenching the horse around onto the road, he kicked for a gallop.


The Merchant's Factor

As soon as the broad-beamed cargo ship made port, the Prince commandeered her. When the merchant's factor arrived, he found marines tossing bales and jars into haphazard piles on the dock.

"Stop them! That's no way to offload!"

A hard-faced knight pushed him away from the gangplank. "They only make room amidships for themselves. We need to keep this tub balanced to get all the speed she can muster.

The factor wrung his hands. "She could be fully unloaded quite quickly."

"Nah. Rich and easy targets ride low.  She's fine as she is. You'll be compensated if aught goes amiss."


The Captain

The ship wallowed and drifted.  In thirty-five years at sea, he'd never looked such a fool. Neither the old storm-tattered sail hoisted to hide the marines nor the incompetently wielded oars gave his lady any headway.  He felt the rowers' growing frustration.  Each time they began to pull in their usual smooth rhythm, a clout from a marine would stagger them back out of time, risking broken oars and broken heads.  

Was the dark sail turning towards them? Surely, even to Corsairs, they must look too much like a trap.

The Prince used the Captain's spyglass.  "They've taken the bait."


The Marine

A Corsair sail should be black, but the young marine peering out through the white, ragged sail saw this one looked a streaked and faded grey.  Clutching his knife and keeping a hand on his sword, he watched the flurry of activity on the Corsair as the mast was dropped and stowed.  Gleaming oars hit the water. A drum pounded out a quick, steady pulse. The enemy ship picked up speed, heading straight for the wallowing merchantman.  

He tried to scrabble backwards.  "They're going to ram us!"

The Prince smiled a wolfish grin.  "Steady, boy. They won't sink a prize."


The Archer

He kept a firm grip on the bow, but the arrow lightly nocked, as he gauged the wind and the roll of the ships.  The heave of the swell blocked his view of the southern scum lining the rail, before bringing them into range again.

"They'll expect some resistance."

"Aye.  I can give them that."  He raised his bow and drew.

The Prince's cautionary hand stayed him.

"They are slavers. I'll not rain death down on our own chained to the oars. See your arrows fall short or hit their target."

The archer spat over the side. "I'll waste none."


The Knight

The grapples bit into the merchantman with an uneven series of thuds.  Rowers dropped their oars and sawed at the ropes with knives.  The knight, crouched in the shadow of the sail, heard the shrieks of women and the wails of frightened children from the hold of the Corsair.

Discipline held. The marines stayed motionless and silent waiting for their moment.  As the ships noisily grated together, the Corsairs surged over the rail, bellowing their rage and hatred.

"Now!"

In seconds, practiced hands unstepped the mast and dropped it, and the enveloping sail, over the pirates.  

"Out cutlasses, and board!"

The Prince

The fight was short and bloody.  Imrahil, leaping the gap between the ships, felt only satisfaction as his sword stabbed, slashed and dripped red.  He pulled his blade from the Corsair captain and surveyed his prize.  

The rowers were already being released from their chains, and the women and children from their bonds.  Soon they would be home.

As his men tipped the slavers' corpses overboard, the scent of southron spices wafted from the hold.  Imrahil ran his hands over the polished rail of the captured Corsair ship and grinned.  Repainted, she would be a worthy addition to his fleet.


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.

Story Information

Author: Gwynnyd

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/02/08

Original Post: 11/15/05

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Comments

WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

All in a Day's Work

Ti'ana Luthien - 15 Feb 06 - 4:10 PM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

Hi Gwynnyd!

I really, *really* enjoyed this - you convey so much with so little (the beauty of the drabble) and the vision of a piratey Imrahil was just wonderful.

This was actually the first Imrahil fic I'd ever read - so thank you for making it such an enjoyable experience!

Cheers,

Ti :)

All in a Day's Work

Imhiriel - 16 May 07 - 2:16 PM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

The build-up of this drabble series is marevellous. Not only is each drabble in itself complete, but they also build on the previous one and so paint a picture that is bigger than its parts. And it also gives a picture of the many diverse professions it takes to work together successfully.

The strategy for this battle is very well considered. Trust Imrahil to be so sneaky Cool!

I admire the amount of little details you managed to include in each drabble: the mariners tossing the bales onto the dock, the ship seeming so ineptly handled, the archer being asked to think of the chained oarsmen...

And the end, reserved - naturally - for the Prince himself - was a worthy climax. Of course he would make good use of the Corsair ship and its contents!

All in a Day's Work

Larner - 27 Dec 07 - 12:24 PM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

Ah, so wonderful a series of ficlets these, Gwynnyd--and particularly as they feature Imrahil's wisdom as they do!  Marvelous!

All in a Day's Work

Elena Tiriel - 26 Mar 08 - 8:18 PM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

Ah, what a delightful series of drabbles, each a perfect gem, and each building together to make a whole that is well beyond the sum of its parts.

I love the rich sensory details that make me feel as if I'm actually witnessing these events... the farmer only noticing the alarm bell in its absence, the haphazard piles of merchandise, the ship wallowing and drifting, the young marine scrabbling backwards, the heave of the swell gauged by the experienced archer, the uneven series of thuds, the scent of southron spices....

This is exactly what a drabble series should be! (Which is why I've added it to my Inspiring Drabbles list....)

I've seen it featured on the HASA front page a couple times in the last few weeks, and eagerly drop everything to re-read it yet again. Thank you for sharing this well-matched string of polished, faceted jewels with us!

Very, very nicely done!

- Barbara

All in a Day's Work

Gwynnyd - 26 Mar 08 - 9:21 PM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

Thank you so much! This was a fun series to write, and it gave me an excuse to play Mike Longcor's version of Kipling's "The Ballad of the Clampherdown" way too loudly and over and over for inspiration.  Steal from the best, I always say. Wink

Gwynnyd 

All in a Day's Work

Freyalyn - 06 Feb 10 - 8:17 AM

Ch. 1: All in a Day's Work

I really felt the excitement and euphoria, and nearly smelt the sea and blood with this one - it really caught me up in the whole feel of the story.


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Playlists Featuring the Story

Inspiring Drabbles - 15 stories - Owner: Elena Tiriel
Elena Tiriel's favorite drabbles (vignettes of precisely 100 words), drabble multiples, or drabble series from Tolkien fanfic; a very personal and eclectic list of drabbles at HASA that have touched me in some way. See Inspiring Stories for a list of favorite stories of other types.
Included because: A rollicking fun set of drabbles with Imrahil's buckles all aswash — and the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

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