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She whispered a warning to Éomund who nodded his head without turning. He felt it too. He kept moving his head from side to side, ears alert for any sound. Grimbold continued on ahead of them, stepping lightly, not making a sound. He motioned to Baldor to go ahead. Houses for the dead lined the road, most of them smaller in this section of the Hallows. The larger ones, for the wealthier and more important lords of Gondor, loomed ahead. It was still very difficult to see; however, it would be suicide to light a torch here. Grimbold heard a noise and the hair lifted on his arms. He motioned for Baldor to circle round the house they were nearing. The noise had come from there. He left the road himself and circled around the other side. If the enemy were there, he hoped they would be caught unawares.
Silence reigned. Éomund crouched slightly, watching Grimbold and Baldor in the distance. He motioned for the rest of the company to stop. An age passed as the two warriors disappeared from sight. He stiffened. Someone was turning the corner. It was Baldor and Grimbold meeting at the front of the house. He sighed, gave the all clear sign and they continued.
They had only walked a few steps when a muffled cry from Aldor sent chills down Indis' spine. She whirled around and found a hand reaching to cover her mouth. Trying to scream, she kicked as hard as she could. Her sword was still sheathed and she cursed herself for her foolishness. She could not break free; she was literally picked up and carried behind one of the houses. Losing sight of the boys, she sobbed.
Éomund had heard Aldor's muffled grunt and turned at the same time as Indis. He saw her assailant capture her and moved to strike him down. A blade found Éomund's arm and his sword fell, useless, at his side. Blood rushed down through his fingers and was greedily sucked up by the ground. He was struck again, this time on the back of his head. The Rohir fell face forward.
Faramir screamed at the same time and ran towards Boromir, but a hand grabbed his arm and he felt himself being lifted. A sack covered his face. He bit the hand that held him and heard a stifled curse, but the arms did not drop him.
Baldor lay dead on the ground at Boromir's feet. Rushing back to help, he was rewarded with a sword cut to his throat. Théodred and Boromir crouched, back-to-back, swords drawn, but their enemy laughed at the sight. At least thirty men, dressed in the livery of Gondor, stood around them, faces twisted in cruel mirth.
"Give it up or you will be dead like those around you," their leader stated as he strode to the front of the thugs, stepping over Baldor's body, "and after that I will kill your brother." He patted Faramir, still trussed in a sack and carried over the back of one of his men. Boromir looked at Théodred and they both dropped their swords.
"Do you know who I am?" Boromir tried to sound calm.
Laughter greeted his words. "You are an upstart, a pretender to the Steward's Chair. You are under arrest, by authority of Lord Amandil, Steward of Gondor."
Boromir's mouth dropped. He did not know a Lord Amandil. "I see. And what will you do with my brother and me?"
"Your fate is in the Steward's hands. Come, we have tarried too long. He will be waiting."
One man shoved Boromir forward, another pushed Théodred. Théodred swung around, furious. "You have laid hands on the Prince of the Mark! My father will make you pay!"
"Your father thinks you dead, Prince," the man answered scornfully. "Remember the Orc attack at the cave? Do you not know how effortless it was to find bodies matching yours? Disfiguring the faces was an easy enough task. You are dead in your father's eyes!" He threw back his head, laughing uproariously, his men joining with him.
Their laughter rang through the Hallows, echoing until Théodred had to place his hands over his ears, tears falling. He could not help it. His father thought he was dead.
"My aunt?" Boromir called back to the leader. "Where is the Lady Indis?"
"She could be dead for all I know," the man laughed cruelly once more. Boromir was beginning to hate that laugh.
Shoved unceremoniously forward again, they walked the length of Rath Dínen. When they came to the door, they found it unattended. Boromir was not surprised. Vaguely, he wondered where the keeper was, but that thought only stayed in his mind a moment. He knew the man was probably dead. His head ached from the fear and the horror of what had just happened. Grimbold, Baldor, Aldor and Éomund were dead. Indis? He shuddered. What had happened to Indis? He fought the tears. He could not, would not let these men see him weak. He stole a glance at Théodred. His friend walked beside him, head held high. But Boromir caught the slight tremble of Théodred's chin. It almost undid him. He wished terribly to reach out and take his hand, to try to comfort his friend, but knew he could not. He caught Théodred's eye and tried to smile. It came out twisted, but he didn't care. Théodred would understand.
Before they passed out into the light and onto the Sixth Circle, the men moved forward and surrounded them again. Boromir's hands were caught and bound. He struggled to keep himself free, but he was no match for the two men who held him. A third man placed a sack over his head, but before it covered his eyes, he saw that Théodred suffered the same fate. They were then picked up and swung over the backs of their enemy. Boromir called out to Faramir, but had no reply. Someone struck him on the head, yelling at him to keep quiet; the pain, so intense his eyes blurred and he knew no more.
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