Her mother lies at Edoras, beside her father, with
their ancestors; his mother lies in Mirkwood, alone amongst the
I cannot believe that Aredhel told you that, whispered
Legolas. There should be a law to prevent an elfs
first sweetheart slandering him before his betrothed.
Eowyn smiled. Is it a slander to say that a young elf was
gentle and considerate
And squealed like an elleth when shetouched him?
Eowyn pushed herself up on one elbow and peered down at him.
It was darkmoonlessoutside her hut, and she could
see little more of him than a vague shape amidst a pool of velvety
blackness, but she knew thatwith his keen elven sighthe
could see her clearly. How old were you?
Is that young?
Well, I suppose I would have been like
Who must be seven or eight, said Eowyn. So,
My father had explained the facts of life to meafter
I asked him why my horse was climbing on another horses
back, said Legolas; and Eowyn could almost feel the hot
blush staining his cheeks.
She smiled. But?
He told me that, with elves, it only happened if the elf
really loved the elleth.
That was cleverhe was not telling you a lie, exactly,
nor forbidding you, but discouraging you from experimenting too
soon. She felt Legolas hand gently brush her hair
over her shoulder and her smile broadened. No wonder you
were shy with Aredhel.
She leaned forward, inviting him to draw her closer, and felt
his hand slide obligingly down her back. Her father told
me a story too.
About me? Legolas kissed the top of her head. Not
about my sexual inadequacies, surely?
No! Chuckling, she found his hand and twined her
fingers in his. He told me that he once came upon you toddling
along with a big bow and quiver in your arms, adamant that you
were going to teach your father how to use them! You could not
She felt Legolas chest rise and fall, and heard his quiet
Lassui? She raised her head. What is it?
I remember that, too, he said.
She squeezed his hand. It is a painful memory! I am so
No, melmenya. He kissed her fingers in the
darkness. I was trying to cheer my fatherI thought
that archery would make him forget. It was the sort of foolish
thing a child does.
My mothers deathmissing her, I meanI
thought that when he was sad he would be able to lose himself
Oh, Legolas! She slid her arms beneath him and hugged
him tightly. Then she said, softly, How did he react?
I am sure, she said, after a few moments silence,
that that was exactly what he needed. You saved him, Lassuiyou
gave him something to live for. I only wish
You must not blame yourself, melmenya.
I do not, said Eowyn. She pulled away from him and
rolled onto her back. I blame her.
Legolas wondered what to do. Eowyn
She did not answer.
Now it was his turn to seek her hand. He held it firmly, but
gently. She did not abandon you, Eowyn nín.
No? Her tone was bitter. Then how do you explain
Legolas squeezed her hand. She died.
She should not have died! She was angry now.
She had children to live for! A son and a daughter,
who needed her! Your father did not give up and die!
My father is different. Legolas turned onto his side
andthough she offered him no encouragementtook her
in his arms. If I were to lose you as your mother
lost your father, I would die.
Not if we had children!
Legolas closed his eyes and tried to imagine the unimaginable.
Yes, he said, at length, yes I believe I would.
And it would not mean that I did not love our children, melmenya.
It would mean that I could not live without you.
Their bodies had settled into their customary closeness, his lying
lightly upon hers, hard muscle upon soft curves. He buried his
face in her hair. Could you live without me,
Eowyn did not reply.
When I dreamed of the future, he murmured, you
were sailing west with me, and we were both leaving our son behind.
To follow us later.
Yesjust as you were expected to follow your mother
and fatherwhen you were poisoned, melmenya, did you not
say that you saw them, waiting for you beyond the light?
Eowyn said nothing for a long time. Then, I needed her
I know you did, my darling. But she could not be here.
I will never forgive themnot my father for the pride
that led him into an ambush, nor my mother for the weakness thatthat
Took her away from you. He kissed her gently. But
you are so like them, Eowyn nín. Call your fathers
pride honour, and your mothers weakness love, and you
are describing yourself
No! I would never, ever, be so foolish as to do
what my father did!
Then I should call your brother in to witness that oath,
said Legolas. For it would certainly set my mind
You stupid elf!
She tried to get out from under him, but she was no match for
his gentle elven strength, and he held her until she had calmed.
I am sorry, melmenya, that your life was so filled with
pain, he whispered. If there was any way that I could
It was not, said Eowyn. Not filled.
There was my uncle and Theodred, and, always, Eomer. And now there
The stupid elf?
The stupid elf.
They lay, once more, in silence, Legolas watching over his beloved,
aware of each rise and fall of her chest and of the soft sounds
of her breathing.
Then Eowyn said, Will you sing to me?
And Legolas smiled.