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The Strange Adventure of the Lady Arwen - the conclusion

"Have you taken leave of your senses, Holmes?" protested Plodder. "Unhand the Lady at once!"
"Not until she confesses to her crime." retorted the Detective.
"What crime?" demanded the Sherrif.
"Murder."
"Preposterous!" exclaimed Plodder.
"Astounding!" said I.
"How dare you!" said the Lady Arwen, breaking free of Holmes. Her deep, blue eyes flashed dangerously, her bosom heaved, and her lips drew back in a disdainful snarl of rage. Holmes lunged forward and ripped the dress from her shrinking body.

"Explain that!" he shouted triumphantly, his outstretched finger pointing accusingly to the trail of double punctures running down the inside of her forearms.
"Good gracious!" ejaculated Plodder. "She's a miruvor addict!"
"Precisely!" said Holmes. "I have little doubt that she initiated Harry Gaunt into the vile habit to revive his flagging desire for her."
The Lady Arwen threw back her head and laughed. The sound chilled the marrow of my bones, but had precisely the opposite effect upon my Hobbithood, which threatened to expose my hunger for this drug-crazed immortal to the keen eyes of my mentor. I crossed my legs and trembled with the violence of the unnatural urges surging through my body.
"You old fool!" she exclaimed. "Miruvor is deadly to Mortals."
Holmes regarded her with a sardonic smile.
"Harry Gaunt was no mortal and you knew that. The tainted blood that runs in your veins runs in his also. Which is why you injected him with a concentrated solution of monkshood, and then left the vials of miruvor to give the lie to the fiction that you were still lovers. Unfortunately, the poor fool did not realise you'd switched the drugs until it was too late."

The Elf maiden drew herself up to her full height. She had never looked more beautiful or more terrible. Fair as a Queen among women, yet cruel as an Orc, and as worshipful as the filthiest whore who ever whipped a lusty young Hobbit's bottom. I shuddered, and would have taken her roughly from behind if only I had been a little taller and a lot better looking.
She plunged her hand into her undergarments and sprang at Holmes.
"Look out!" I cried, "she has concealed weapon!"

Holmes stepped nimbly aside as she slashed desperately at him with a vicious looking stiletto.
"Arrest that woman!" shouted Plodder.
The first Sherrif started toward her, and would have fallen from the knife thrust she aimed at his chest, had Holmes not intervened, and felled her with an expert jab to the superior vein in her neck. She swayed and clutched at me. Then she swooned, and I fell heavily to the ground with her on top of me. For a moment all I could think about was the delicious weight of her pressing against my groin and the taste of her naked breasts upon my burning lips. Her perfume filled my mind with madness: my arms reached out to clasp her, my tongue caressed her silken flesh. She moaned at my touch and arched her back. I shuddered as she grasped my Hobbithood in her slender hands and I felt a fierce pleasure spreading through my body. For an eternity I seemed to drown in her hot caresses. Then the Sherrifs pulled her off me and I knew no more. When I recovered my senses the Sherrifs had secured her and Holmes was standing over me with a sardonic smile playing upon his aristocratic lips.

"Don't look so disappointed, Bingo," said he. "It was the Elven Breath. Few among mortals can resist its evil spell, least of all a dull and unimaginative Hobbit like yourself. You are fortunate that she was only partly conscious or she would have riven what little remains of your furry brain: not to mention reducing your Hobbithood to a pair of shriveled filberts."
I blushed and hung my head.

"I say, Mr Holmes," said Plodder, leaning over the unconscious Elf, "That was a neat trick, I trust no permanent harm has been done?"
"None", answered Holmes. "She will awaken in an an hour or so."
"Thank goodness you discovered the truth in time, Mr Holmes," said Borrowmore. "Or that ninnyhammer would have hung me!"
"Would you, Inspector?"
"Now then, Mr Holmes," blustered Plodder "You must confess the evidence was pretty damming. This syringe, for instance. My men searched Mr Gaunt's flat thoroughly and found nothing."
"That is precisely what I would expect your men to find," snorted Holmes. "But I can assure you that the murderer dropped it in the shrubbery before they could dispose of it and there it remained until I found it yesterday evening."
"Why would they do a thing like that?" asked Plodder.
"Because they were unexpectedly disturbed," replied Holmes.
"Disturbed by whom?"
"By me." said Borrowmore, rising from his chair.
"By you!" repeated Plodder. His face was a study in confusion.
"Harry and I were lovers. When he didn't answer the door I guessed that the fiend had discovered our secret, and I feared the worst."
"F-fiend?" spluttered the Sherrif.
"She wanted the crown of Rondor and would stop at nothing to get it."
"Crown of Rondor? What the devil has the crown of Rondor got to do with the murder of Mr Gaunt?"

"Compose yourself, Inspector", said Holmes kindly, putting his hand upon his shoulder, "Or I fear you will burst a blood vessel. The threads of this dark intrigue are really very simple if you will divest yourself of the notion that romance played any part in them."
"Then I wish you would unravel them for us, Mr Holmes, for it makes so sense to me at all," said Plodder, falling into a chair.
Holmes rubbed his hands and sat down. He leaned forward in his chair with an expression of extraordinary satisfaction upon his clear-cut, hawk-like features and smoothed the pages of the 'Shire Recorder' with the tips of his aristocratic fingers.
"Simple as the case appeared when Mr Borrowmore brought it to me, I suspected that there was some dark, underlying evil at work."

"Simple?" I expostulated
"No murderer would be so dim-witted as to leave the scene of their crime littered with the most obvious clues to their identity!"
"What clues?"
"Really, Bingo, you are the most obtuse of Hobbits! Firstly, the item so cruelly inserted into the unfortunate Ranger's bottom. Had you taken the trouble to examine it as I did you would have discovered that it was not a 'shrub' as the 'Shire Recorder' reported, but an immature sapling of the genus 'Teleperion Alba Rexiensis'. I see by the blank expression on the Inspector's face and the wideness of your eyes that the name means nothing to either of you. Perhaps Mr Borrowmore would enlighten us?"
"It's the lore master's name for the sacred White Tree of Rondor."
"Quite so," said Holmes briskly. "The first clue. The second was the drinking horn."
"The horn of Rondor!" said I.
"No—it was a common drinking horn which can be found in any Shire inn. That was the murderer's first mistake. They hoped it would implicate a Rondorian just as the tree did, and it did do so until Bob Borrowmore begged me to take his case. He made it clear that no man would ever put the sacred horn of Rondor—or an inferior copy—to such sordid use."

Borrowmore nodded gravely as Holmes warmed to his exposition: "But a woman might. The ropes which bound the deceased to the bed were knotted in slipshod fashion which would have shamed the clumsiest Hobbit child—but not a woman. Finally there were the vials of the drug miruvor—used by the Elves in their perverted sex rites. I confess that puzzled me for a time. Why should the murderer go to such lengths to implicate a Rondorian, and then leave a deadly drug lying about which was used only by Elves? When the good inspector produced the Lady Arwen as his prime witness I realised she had left the drug to confirm her story that Borrowmore had interrupted their lovemaking, overpowered her, and murdered Harry Gaunt. Had she not been disturbed by the untimely arrival of her victim's lover, she would not have dropped the syringe, and might very well have got away with—"
"—Murder!" I interrupted.
"Quite so, Bingo."
"But how the deuce did you connect the Lady Arwen to the syringe?" asked Plodder.
"Women are never to be entirely trusted," replied Holmes peevishly.
I did not dare to presume to argue over this atrocious sentiment and waited for the great detective to continue.

"Three links in a very long chain: the altercation in the 'Blue Tit' in which Borrowmore is alleged to have said that he would kill 'that scheming trickster'. Now, Plodder took that remark to refer to Harry Gaunt. It might with much greater justification, be taken to refer to the Lady Arwen. Secondly, the drawing which fell out of Harry Gaunt's pocket that evening which my fur brained assistant took to be a childish doodle, but was clearly a warning couched in the symbolic language of Rondorian heraldry. What Bingo took to be a 'pixie', was in fact an 'Elf'. The cash and crown require no elucidation. The hanged man is none other than the unfortunate Mr Gaunt who feared that the Lady Arwen would murder him because he had transferred his affections to the only other man who could offer her what she coveted: the crown of Rondor, and through it, the domination of Middle-Earth. Unfortunately Borrowmore did not grasp the significance of the note until I had explained it to him, by which time it was too late to save his lover. When he revealed to me that he and the Lady Arwen had been lovers in Rondor I finally understood her hatred of him. A hatred that was increased a thousand fold when Harry Gaunt told her that fateful evening that he could not marry her because he was in love with Bob Borrowmore. She saw the prize she had schemed to obtain for so many years slipping through her fingers, and like a woman took the only revenge which would satisfy her twisted heart: the murder of her lover and the framing of the hated rival who had taken him from her."

"Astounding!" gasped Plodder, mopping his brow.
"You have saved my life!" sobbed Borrowmore.
"Bravo!" I exclaimed in admiration. "You have reasoned it out beautifully. It is so long and tangled a chain and yet you have grasped every link and hammered out the truth."

Holmes leant back in his chair and put the tips of his fingers together. "My life is simply one long effort to escape the ennui of existence, my dear Bingo. These little problems keep me off the cocaine."

Finis


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© 2003 Story by Mercedes Dannenberg and Miranda S Givings.
Picture and construction
© 2003 utterpants.co.uk

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