The Circles: Book 1: The Triumph of The Shadow: 15. Three Honeyed Kisses

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15. Three Honeyed Kisses

Chapter Written by Angmar and Elfhild

He stood there, looking down at them, a smile on his tawny face. "Broshan," he said in a voice thick with the accent of the East. "Does all of the land of Rohan possess such beauty as I see before me?" His tongue darted out of his mouth and slowly licked across his dry lips. Not giving them time to reply, he continued, "Let me introduce myself. I am Sergeant Daungha of the Khandrim Cavalry. I see that your sire has been blessed with two of you, and you seem exactly alike. What are your names, maidens of the Horse Lords, and how may I tell you apart so I will know which one of you it is that favors me first?"

Elfhild and Elffled warily looked up at the Easterling, appraising him carefully, as though they had encountered a strange, new creature and were trying to determine if it meant them good or ill. Indeed, this was the first time that they had ever seen a man of the enemy at so close a distance, and they had heard that such men were cruel and wicked.

The two girls stared at the sergeant. His speech was heavily accented, and sometimes it was difficult for them to fathom his words. His face was swathed in shadow, making his tawny skin appear much darker than it was in truth. They had been able to discern little of the soldiers they saw passing on the Road when they had first been captured, for the faces of those men were oft concealed beneath helms or hidden behind veiled headdresses. The twins wondered why the men of the East and South had such dark skin. Was it because their hearts were black and this evil radiated out from them, tainting their flesh? The sisters could only speculate in their innocence of the world.

"Hail Sergeant Daungha," Elfhild said at last, her voice calm and even, slightly friendly but not overly so. The flattering words of an enemy did not impress her, and she much preferred compliments from folk of her own race. She would hold her judgment upon this man, though, until he proved himself to be either fair or foul.

"Good evening, sir," Elffled shyly greeted, looking up at the sergeant. His presence made her nervous and she hoped he would go away.

"Aye, sir, your eyes do not deceive you in this gloomy reek. Indeed, we are twins." Elfhild smiled slightly. "However, I fear there is no way to tell us apart, and oft this is a source of confusion for those who do not know us well. If it were brighter, then, perhaps, you could discern between us by our dress."

Elfhild paused. The man wanted to know her name. She remembered her foolishness before the kingly rider, and how her aunt had rebuked her greatly for it. But yet neither she nor her sister had done anything to provoke this man's attentions, and it was not their fault that he wished to speak with them. Mayhap he was just being friendly, or had come to taunt them. They would see his true intent soon enough, she guessed.

"Elfhild daughter of Eadbald is my name and this," she turned to her side, "is my sister Elffled."

Elffled nodded and gave a quick, reluctant, polite smile. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, sir." The words were spoken stiffly, and not meant at all. How could she be friendly to a man of the enemy? She would be civil and naught else.

"Beautiful maidens Elfhild and Elffled, I doubt that you truly mean your words. Why would you be pleased to see me? No need to be coy." He stood above the two sisters, stroking his oiled beard as he looked down at them.

Elffled glanced at the ground, her cheeks warm. Indeed, she was not pleased to see the man, but she did not want to appear completely rude. Years of being taught always to be ladylike and well-mannered prevented such an infraction of the unspoken rules of polite and acceptable behavior.

"Forgive me, sir," she replied quietly. "I meant no discourtesy. It is just that I have never talked to a man of the East before." She forced herself to smile politely, her cheeks aching with the strain.

"Aye," nodded Elfhild, feeling awkward. "Only orcs have we spoken with so far in our... travels." She almost choked on her ill choice of words; she sounded more like she was tramping across the countryside seeking adventure instead of being led away into slavery.

"They are nothing more than provincial peasants, daughters of herdsmen," Sergeant Daungha thought to himself. "I wonder if they both are feeble-minded and dull-witted. It is difficult for me to make out their Common Speech, for their tongues slander it, slurring their words almost beyond discerning. Fair and comely on the outside, but nothing of any quality here. Serving maids in the house of one of their lords, most likely, and like the slave girls of my land, always so wanton and easily led! These two seem more than willing to follow without much coaxing. Perhaps I underestimate them, though," he reflected, entertaining thoughts of where he would like to lead them.

"Stand so that I may see you both more clearly," his words rolled out languorously. "I will not require you to bow before me, for you are as yet ignorant of such matters and are untrained in the way that slaves should behave. You are as all new slaves, stiff-necked and defiant."

Even though neither wench had the slightest idea of what he was talking about and were defenseless and ignorant, still Sergeant Daungha enjoyed this baiting. If they were in his house, he would soon teach them that a master's word was law!

The two sisters were taken aback by the man's words. These past ten days the captives had been called many things which both offended their dignity and challenged their honor, but always the word "slave" fell upon their ears like a mighty hammer striking an anvil with heavy blows. It was the stark realization of their fate wrapped up in one word, a solemn declaration of unrelenting finality, beating down upon the heart and senses and showing no mercy.

Elfhild and Elffled exchanged frightened looks and then quickly rose to their feet.

"My apologies, sir. We were not born slaves, as you know," Elfhild spoke cautiously, trying to keep her voice even. Yet there was a twinge of bitterness in her speech, as though the taste of the word "slave" was loathsome to her tongue.

"We do not know the customs or ways of your land either," Elffled admitted truthfully. Hopefully the man would understand that and neither she nor her sister would be punished for some wrongdoing which they had inadvertently committed.

The faint glow of the western sun touched the faces of the two sisters. "They are very comely," the sergeant mused to himself, "but I have seen far more beautiful maidens in my own land. Though many would think they are fair, they seem more to me to be as exotic as snow on distant mountains and just as cold. Their bodies, though, are shaped most admirably, their breasts full and their hips ample. How I would like to see that pale skin stripped of its clothing and lying naked on a couch before me!" the sergeant thought as he licked his lips again. He had been on the trail far too long.

"You never thought you would be a slave, did you?" the sergeant asked arrogantly. "Perhaps in time you will come to like it." The corners of his lips turned up in a scornful smile.

"Nay, sir, we did not," Elfhild replied, her voice cold. "I highly doubt we will ever enjoy being slaves." Her fists clenched involuntarily and she gritted her teeth. Ah, so the Easterling came to mock and to taunt. How long would this man continue to vex them?

"There is no point in belaboring your present condition. Slave you are now, and slave you will forever be! I will neither debate nor discuss with you why you are slaves, other than that to state the obvious: your men were too weak or cowardly to protect you, and thus your fate is left in our hands. It is the way of life and no changing of it," he said, reciting a favorite phrase of his, as though it were some sacred writ.

"That is not true!" Elfhild protested vehemently. "The men of Rohan are neither weak nor craven, but merely less in number than the endless hordes of your land."

"Saucy little slave girl!" the sergeant exclaimed. "I am not interested in the strawheads of your land, for needless to say, I shall meet them in battle soon enough. I do not wish to bring any more despair to you. I tell both of you this as a man who acknowledges the philosophy of reality and all that incurs. The land of Rohan cannot withstand the might of the Great Lord, the High Holy One, the Righteous Glory! But," he said, attempting to sound more persuasive, "maidens such as you should not wish to discuss either philosophy or politics but something far more basic than that."

"And what is that, sir?" Elfhild asked hotly, not thinking upon the sergeant's words or upon her own, for she was always the more bold and impetuous of the sisters. Elffled glared at the sergeant, but held her tongue.

"The women of Rohan are subservient to their lords, yielding to them in all matters, are they not?" Sergeant Daungha asked, his words sounding strangely oily to Elfhild.

"Well, yes," Elfhild admitted, "I suppose. But women in Rohan are valued highly."

"Aye," Elffled nodded, eying the Easterling suspiciously, "very much so."

"In my land, among the people of my tribe, women are more valued for the pleasure they can bring to their lords, and for naught else do they hold worth. Those who are too ugly or old for that are worth nothing other than to cook, clean, carry loads, work in the fields, and herd flocks," the sergeant stated.

"That is not the way it is in the Mark," Elfhild declared haughtily. "The women in our land are honored and respected, held in high reverence and awe. Any Rider would bravely defend a woman - no matter how old or how young - with his very life and begrudge not his deeds."

"Our men are chivalrous, noble and honorable, sworn to protect women and avenge their honor," Elffled added, wishing that they had a few Riders of the Mark to protect them now.

"You are captured wenches of the enemy. The lives of you and the rest of your women were spared only because you are young, your faces are not too unpleasant, and you will fulfill the use for which you were created: to serve your conquerors!" he exclaimed emphatically, as though he were stating another of his sacred writs.

"Proud and haughty little vixens, both of them, but oh, they are lush," the sergeant thought, "and as ripe for the taking as sweet flavored fruits! How I would like to taste them both!" Gone were the thoughts of philosophy and politics. Urges far less refined and more primitive worked in Sergeant Daungha's mind. Already he felt a tingle in his loins at images most inviting. "Sweet, sweet, sweet," he thought, "just a taste, just a sampling of the spoils, confections of sensuous delight."

"Forced to serve our conquerors we might be, but we were not created solely for that purpose," Elfhild retaliated, her heart beating faster at the thrill of verbal battle. Yet she also was keenly aware of the danger which she was in, and her mind screamed warnings for her to stop talking. But she had always been brash and foolhardy, and ever eager to state her mind.

Elffled eagerly came to Elfhild's aid, daring herself to speak as bravely as her sister had to this man of the enemy. "Aye, though any land may fare poorly in war, still no race of Men was ever born merely to serve another, and definitely not that of the Eorlingas!"

"If you belonged to me, my concubines, slaves to serve me when I was needful, your lips would be put to far better purposes than they are in useless talk." Sergeant Daungha had difficulty understanding what the two maidens were saying, and their Common Speech, heavily laden with an Eastfold accent, perturbed him. But their defiance excited him.

"I could tame them," he thought with exhilaration, "force their spirited wills to submit to me. Sweet interludes of warm flesh, silken thighs parting at the touch of knee," the sergeant thought to himself. "Foolish military directives to keep us from claiming what is ours! Peasants though they may be, their souls burn with a fire that would be put to better use on my couch."

His own thoughts inflamed him. With the nearness of the two maidens, he felt the excitement course through his veins and his heart beat rapidly. Too many nights without release had stretched Sergeant Daungha's mind and body like a taut rope. He felt the moisture exuding from his armpits increasing and clinging to his tunic beneath his mail. The feeling was a maddening one, making him feel sticky, his heavy livery clotting with the wetness. Sweat eddied on his forehead.

He took a step forward towards the sister which he perceived as the weaker - the younger, demure Elffled. But what did it matter? One would be as good as the other.

"Elffled, you are comely, and though your words are difficult to understand, you say them with lips of honey. Elffled... Elffled..."

He stepped even closer to her. She stood there, a doe startled in the forest, trembling. Suddenly his hand slid around her waist as the other hand grabbed her loose hair and quickly wrapped it around his fist. He jerked her close to him and after tilting his head, he forced a kiss upon her unwilling lips. He gripped her hair tightly, roughly twisting it. Pushing her face to his mouth, his lips moved upon hers. He smelled of soured sweat and horse mingled with the perfumed oil upon his beard.

How she trembled against him, her heart beating rapidly, virginal purity yearning to be despoiled, honeyed lips so moist and tender. She filled him with passion and he desired her greatly. "Directives! Fruit that is denied! Directives be damned!"

"Leave my sister alone!" Elfhild cried in dismay.

"Hush, maiden, I do not know what you are saying, but your turn will come next," he hissed as his lips tore from Elffled for a moment. Then he was back upon her, his fingers digging into her hair, holding her securely, his other hand caressing her flesh in ways it had never been touched before. His tongue savored her lips and then demanded entry into her mouth. When she set her lips firm, refusing, he twisted her hair until she gasped in pain. Then he plunged his tongue into the sweet depths, delving the soft cavern, his tongue licking over hers, their saliva mingling.

Elffled struggled against the sergeant, but his strong muscles held her in a grip of no escape as he clenched her hair painfully. His beard scraped against her face, the perfumed oil smearing across her skin. Her protests were muffled by his lips, a force so dreadfully firm yet soft and moist. And his tongue into her mouth, licking over hers slowly, was a new and unpleasant sensation, and she felt ill with revulsion. Recoiling, she drew her tongue back, but he pressed his lips against her tighter and chased her tongue with his own, prodding and thrusting as though it were a sword wielded in a warrior's hand. Again she tried to evade him by flattening her tongue to the roof of her mouth, but he licked beneath it, tickling her sensitive skin with vibrating tingles. She whimpered, the sound being lost in the echoless recesses of his mouth and throat.

She pushed her hands against his chest and arched her neck back as does a skittish horse, but she could not free herself from his grasp. Twisting and writhing, she tried to avoid his free hand which so wantonly and intimately sought to touch the gentle curves of her body. A battle was waging in her mouth, for she now tried to use her own tongue to push his away, but her thrusts were to no avail. He pounced and, taking her by surprise, pinned her tongue down to the bottom of her mouth, and holding it there firmly, he licked over it again, caressing and teasing his soft and sweet foe. She gasped, drawing the breath from his chest, and the feeling frightened her. Moaning in terror, she felt momentarily faint, her eyelids fluttering.

Fighting the sudden feeling of weakness, Elffled renewed her struggles against the sergeant's grasp but his grip only grew firmer. Now the tip of his tongue was here, then there, darting back and forth, moving so fast she could barely comprehend what was happening or where her unwelcome assailant was attacking. His scent filled her nostrils, a reek of strong sweat, fragrant oil and the deep odor of horse. There was also something else, a strong musky scent that she could not recognize. Yet her primal instincts sensed what the new aroma was and she recoiled even more, trembling, the tears streaming down her face. Her heart pounded wildly and she whimpered again, the soft noise being caught in the sergeant's mouth. The sounds of her sister's angry protests were all around her, but her terrified mind only vaguely acknowledged the shrill cries.

The orcs looked from the circle of their campfire and laughed, all envying Sergeant Daungha for so boldly taking the girl in his arms. Most wished it were they who were ravishing her mouth and fondling her body. But this was a matter for the officers and the orcs would never dare intrude there.

"Sweet taste of clover honey stolen from the hive. Nay, the taste is apricot! The first blush of maidenhood, delicate, appealing in innocence, but so willing to trade it for pleasurable wisdom! Just an hour with this one, no, less," he told himself, "and the maid would know she had been mastered, and the next time she would be begging to be filled again!" The act was first thought and then consummated in his mind.

Elffled's thoughts were wild and frantic. Would the man try to rape her, right there, before all the captives, the orcs and the other two Easterlings? She felt faint again and fought the urge to slump limply against the sergeant's chest. If this were the life of a slave, she would rather be dead! Why could she not have died as her mother did, honorably, in the fight for her home? Then her unlucky life would have ended and she would never have to suffer the disgrace and shame of being ravished again and again by the evil men of the Nameless Land.

"Though her mind and speech are slow and stupid, her body is not. She eagerly responds to me," he exulted, misreading her in his vanity. "She hungers for my touch almost as much as I do hers. Perhaps the other sister is as eager as she! What I could do with these two if I had them both together pleasuring me in my bed!"

His hand groped, delving wonders hidden beneath her dress. As he found one of her breasts and cupped his hand about it, he almost staggered with the weakness he suddenly felt in his legs. Taken off guard, Elffled gasped again, almost coughing on the breath that she pulled from the sergeant's throat. His touch was vile and repulsive to her flesh and she tried to shrink away, but her struggles and whimpered protests were for naught.

"Directives? Curse the Directives! Surely there will be no punishment for a few kisses and touching? How she wants me," the sergeant gloated, seeing her struggles as nothing more than the expected false protests of a maid who was willing to give all while still clinging to the trappings of offended modesty. Her sister? What importance were her complaints! Perhaps the other golden-haired maiden desired his caresses, maybe even more than her sister, and she was jealous that he was not kissing her!

At last the sergeant broke the long, slow kiss as he breathed heavily, his hand still clasped about Elffled's hair, the golden strands entangled. Her mouth so recently relinquished, his lips felt cold where their heat had burnt. He groaned in frustration and felt a deep aching in his loins.

Elffled gasped for breath and her lips felt sore from the two unwanted and unwelcomed kisses. The man's saliva lingered in her mouth, bubbly spittle oozed out of the corners of her lips, and she longed to spit and maybe to retch. Her heart was pounding and all of her limbs were trembling. Her wide eyes looked up to the man's lust-filled face and she tried to find her voice to plead or to curse, but all that came out was a tiny squeak.

His lips sought Elffled's again, more urgently this time. His mouth clashed against hers, the unexpected impact causing their teeth to meet and her upper lip to become caught in between. She tasted blood and her stomach churned at the sharp, burning savor of iron. Again her mouth was raped by the sergeant's tongue and she weakly tried to evade his intrusive thrusts.

He tightened his hold on Elffled's hair and wrapped his fingers in its silk. His left leg crooked behind her calf, the strong muscles of his legs trapping her. He moaned as a groping hand slid down to the cleft of her womanhood, and he moved his fingers against the cloaked flesh. His skin was flushed, hot with desire, and he only wanted to pull her down to the ground and have her right there. But Directives, always Directives.

Elffled's body went rigid, frozen in place, the breath of air that she involuntarily sucked from the sergeant's throat caught in her own chest. Then a great fear seized her and she clenched her legs together, desperately defending her most intimate of places from the man's hungry, searching fingers. She drew backwards, pushing away from him, her hair pulling painfully at the roots. But she was caught in the trammel of his grasp, utterly helpless against his burning passion and superior strength.

"How the cat arches its back. She wants me!" Daungha's thoughts soared, his arrogance growing even more than his arousal. "How the maid desires me!" He pulled her closer to him. His tight fist strained the roots of her hair as the other hand roamed her back. He began grinding his hardness against her. "How this must thrill her! The maid feels sensations, perhaps, that she never did before," he gloated in his lust.

Elfhild screamed again, a horrible, high-pitched wail. The sergeant became distracted momentarily, and then he felt Elffled kick him in the leg. She did not stop kicking him and he felt a sharp pain where her blows had landed. He knew there would be bruises there on the morrow.

At last he became aware of her twin, who pounded on his back, her fists tightly clenched, plummeting him. Then he felt her angry fingers grabbing at his braided hair, twisting it painfully. Elfhild screamed again. He looked around in alarm, the plunderer at bay.

"Curse you!" Elffled hissed, wrenching herself out of the sergeant's grasp. Though the three kisses had lasted for mere moments, she felt like she had endured each one for at least a hundred miserable years. She spat several times upon the ground and then used her sleeve to wipe the blood and saliva from her lips.

"Directives!" the sergeant's tortured mind shouted. He backed away rapidly from Elffled as Elfhild quickly rushed to her sister's side. "Onerous Directives, and with them, the threat of the unthinkable!" He realized suddenly that both sisters would like nothing more than that punishment be wrought upon him, and maybe they would enjoy dealing it themselves! "Directives, military Directives!"

Sergeant Daungha felt a heavy hand grasp his shoulder tightly from behind. The orcs had ceased their laughter. "Sergeant!" barked Captain Kourosh. "You forget yourself! Have you drunk too much wine?"

"Sir..." the one word was said in a pleading, humble voice.

"Orderly," the captain commanded. "Our horses... now!"

Tooraj scurried up with the men's horses and his own.

"Mount up," the captain ordered, his voice cold and threatening. "You and Tooraj are to ride ahead of me to the boundaries of this camp and wait for me there. Sergeant Daungha, I place you under arrest! Breach of military directives!"

The captain released his shoulder and Sergeant Daungha turned to face him. The look on the captain's face brought even greater fear to the sergeant. Daungha felt the sweat rolling off his face and body. Silently the sergeant turned away and mounted his horse, trembling. Tooraj gave the captain a grim salute and Sergeant Daungha saluted with a shaky hand. They paused their horses and then turned them, riding back the way they had come.

The captain stood holding the reins of his horse and looked to Elfhild and Elffled.

"I offer my apology, although I doubt that would make any difference," Captain Kourosh said respectfully. "We are not all this way," he lowered his voice.

Elffled clutched her sister tightly about her waist and back, trembling and sobbing upon her shoulder. Kind hands now stroked her back in comforting, soothing motions, and in her mind, she was a child again. Her mother, not her sister Elfhild, held her weeping form. She was frightened because of a bad dream instead of unwanted kisses and touches which had been forced upon her mouth and body by a strange man of the enemy.

Her head held high in haughty contempt, Elfhild glared scornfully at the captain over her sister's shoulder, her teeth tightly clenched for she was too angry to speak. She did not care if the man had come to her sister's rescue, for she judged all of these men as evil beyond redemption. He probably only wanted them both for himself!

"I see you do not believe me," Captain Kourosh remarked as he looked at them. "Sergeant Daungha thinks himself a great lover and a charmer of all female kind. I see that you do not agree with him."

"Nay," Elfhild hissed. "We do not." Her sister let out a loud sob and her hands tightened around the material of Elfhild's dress.

"My name is Captain Kourosh of the Khandrim Cavalry. I am sorry Sergeant Daungha was so brash. I will not say, though, that he is not a good soldier, for you would take that wrong, too, or perhaps you might take it correctly. We are, after all, enemies, and no doubt must remain so forever." He shook his head reflectively. "But we are not barbarians or savages. Remember that! What are your names?"

"Oh no!" Elfhild's heart sank. "To how many of these accursed folk must I tell my name?"

"Elfhild daughter of Eadbald," she admitted grudgingly, "and this is my sister, Elffled."

The captain nodded, his face expressionless. "Do you know the name of the corporal in whose charge you have been put?"

"Nay, we do not know his name," Elfhild replied, shaking her head. "It is something strange in a tongue unknown to us, but the sergeant's name is Glokal."

"I will take note of this on my official dispatch." He looked at them with something akin to pity in his eyes. "May the days be merciful to you and you find favor in the sight of the Great Master," he said, not knowing what else to say, and hoped that they would take it as a benediction. "Now I must leave you. Burz tor. Farewell." He nodded to them again and turned on his heel. He led his horse away a short distance and looking back at them, he mounted the charger and then rode away.

Captain Kourosh caught up with the sergeant and Tooraj, but he said nothing until they had ridden beyond the slave camp. Then he spoke in their own language, one of the dialects of the Variags. "Sergeant Daungha, while you have overstepped the intent of the Directives, I hope for your sake it will not be considered that you have gone too far. Perhaps leniency will be shown for your maleficence and indiscretion, and you will only receive a stout flogging."

The sergeant was silent, his head bowed. Tormenting thoughts pounded his brain as a mallet drives pegs. A cold, formal voice would read, "Breach of Military Directives," while strong men grabbed him and pinned him down. He could see himself as he lay chained, screaming in agony and shame. The wicked knife would tear his manhood away from him, and then the bloody reminders would be tossed carelessly into a pail. If he survived, all that awaited him would be unending, ceaseless labor as a slave until at last death brought his miserable life to a close.

"You know I cannot tolerate those who break the intent of the Directives, but far worse than what you actually did was the example you set for the troops in this camp!" The captain always hesitated to call them "orcs;" the word was somehow disrespectful to such fierce, loyal warriors. "Pray that the troops will never act upon what you have shown them this evening!"

The captain signaled for them to halt and the men reined in their horses. "Before we return to our camp, I want you to know this. When we get back, I will send Sergeant Utana with my letter to the orc captain. The letter will give my compliments to the captain and offer him a detachment of a troop to 'assist him in guarding the captives.' His proper reply will be to accept the offer graciously, although he will hate the order itself. Then, in the morning, Sergeant Utana and his troop will ride out with them, returning once they reach Minas Tirith."

Sergeant Daungha tried to look respectful and waited for the captain to continue.

"No doubt detaching this troop will put me to some trouble when I reach the army. Let whatever happens happens! Those On High do not wish to see another breakdown of order such as there was after the fall of Minas Tirith. It took days to restore military discipline and control!" Captain Kourosh emphasized.

Sergeant Daungha only heard half of what the captain said. His lectures were always long and tiresome.

"Perhaps you have been thinking too much upon your philosophy, the way you think things should be, not the way that things actually are. In all things from the least significant to the most, there will be order and discipline!" Captain Kourosh droned on. "Philosophy is best reserved for philosophers and loremasters and not for soldiers!"

The sergeant did not bother to ponder the captain's words, for he was trying to resign himself to his doom which he felt had already been sealed.

"But mark this, Sergeant Daungha, all that has happened will be recorded in my official reports, and there will be no philosophy contained there save the philosophy of military order," Captain Kourosh stated, his voice controlled anger, sparks that kindled fear in the sergeant's heart.

"The sergeant has not yet realized," the captain mused to himself, "that some of these maidens who are taken prisoner are reserved for other uses. Virgins bring the highest prices in the markets, for chieftains and lords insist on being the first to pluck the inner blossoms of virginal purity and would be greatly offended if their new wives did not give up their chastity with a show of red upon the sheets. Other uses also are there for maidens inviolate."

He thought of the altars of stone in foreboding temples and dark groves and the bloody ceremonies that were performed throughout most of the Dark Lands. He had never favored these practices himself, but he knew that the rites were necessary. Most of the people looked forward to these high days every year, and the Masters knew that the unlearned must always have their sanguineous forms of worship. "Probably our enemies make the same offerings to their False Gods," he reflected.

Perhaps someday this would change, but Captain Kourosh knew that it would not be in his lifetime. For a moment, his mind dwelt upon the frightened twins, and he felt pity for them, should this be their fate. But upon further consideration, he concluded that as long as it honored the Holy Lords of Ice and Flame, what did it matter to a simple captain of cavalry?

Silently the three men rode back to their camp.

***
NOTES
Black Speech:
Broshan - Hail, greetings, welcome
Burz tor - Pleasant evening


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: Angmar and Elfhild

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Post-Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 08/24/09

Original Post: 10/29/06

Go to The Circles: Book 1: The Triumph of The Shadow overview

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