When he entered the room, Erinhue spoke briefly with the town guardsmen and then sent them out. Kierul was still laying on the bed trussed up just as Tempest had left him. The guardsmen must have tired of listening to his pleas and excuses because the man was now gagged.
Standing over him, the bard took out his knife and cut the strip of cloth wrapped around his head and stuffed into his mouth. He saw Kierul staring at the knife, following its every move with his eyes. The man’s relief was noted when Erinhue slipped the knife back into its sheath on his belt.
“We have been wondering what to do with you” Erinhue said. “It seems that you might prove useful yet so, we are going to take you with us.”
Kierul spat the taste of the cloth from his mouth and sneered “I am not going to go anywhere with you.”
“I thought you would say that. Frankly I did not expect your cooperation but I am here to make a bargain with you. I am going to give you a choice. You can come along with us peacefully or…..”
Kierul did not hear the rest of the sentence. At first he thought that the bard had simply stopped speaking but the truth very soon became clear. The one time kidnapper realized that he could not hear a single sound and the room had suddenly gone very dark.
A sense of dread turned to horror with the discovery that he could not move. The bonds were tight enough to keep him from moving but now he could not even strain against them, nor could he turn his head. Panic truly set in when he realized that he could not breathe, the muscles that made that possible simply refused to work. He tried to cry out but no sound came from him.
Inwardly Kierul struggled, fighting to for the air that he could not suck into his lungs. There was now a sound but it was the pounding of his own heart and the pulse of the blood rushing through his veins. Just when he thought he would die from lack of air, he found that he suddenly was able to take a breath and gulped at the much needed air. He knew that his hearing had returned when the bard’s voice came out of the nothingness registered by his blinded eyes.
“That is your other choice. We could keep you like that all the way back to Gondor but I would rather not do that, I might forget to let you breathe from time to time. It would be easier to have you moving about under your own power so I am going to ask for you word that you will cooperate.”
Kierul’s mouth worked open and closed but no sound came.
“See, I had already forgotten that you could not speak. My memory is not what it used to be. I ask again for you to give me your word that you will cooperate and not cause us trouble along the way.”
“I will, I swear it.” The still panicked and paralyzed Kierul gasped.
Yes, I thought you would say that too,” Erinhue said, “but the problem is, Kierul, that I just do not believe you. I think that you would say anything right now and later on change your mind. Can’t have that can we?
Erinhue pretended to think over the dilemma.
“I have it.” He finally said. “I think it would be best if you continued to be mute but I can see the advantage to have you move about under your own power. Tell you what. As long as you do not get too far away from me you will be able to see and hear and walk about and most importantly, breathe. Get more than a few yards away from me or cause us any trouble and you will be instantly returned to the condition you so recently experienced. Should that happen I will know that you cannot be trusted and therefore would really not have any incentive to alter that condition as I am now about to do.”
Suddenly Kierul saw the bard’s face very close to his. The man was smiling at him but there was no trace of amity in the expression.