Legolas and Eowyn returned to the campsite to find
everybody fully occupied: the elves, having already dismantled
one of the lower flets, had begun lashing the planks together
to form the framework of a shelter; the cooks, having rescued
a few pots, had set their assistants to picking herbs and digging
up roots; and several groups of men and women, searching the remains
of the tents, were gathering up blackened objects and laying them
in a pile, close to where the elves were building.
No one, it appeared, had missed their Lord and Lady.
The March Warden was briefing volunteers for the expedition to
Caras Galadhon. We will concentrate on three areas,
he said, pointing with a stick at the simple plan of the city
he had scratched into the dirt. The first group, led by
Lord Gimli, will search here, along the Hythe,he
greeted Legolas and Eowyn with a nodthe second, led
by Lord Legolas, will search the Chamber of Celeborn itself; the
third, which I shall lead, will search the flets to the
north of the Lawn.
Good, said Legolas, stepping forward to take command.
Gather up your rations, say your farewells. We move out
in half an hour.
The warriors quickly dispersed, leaving the couple alone with
Perfect, said Eowyn, smiling at the elves, because
I have a few things to do before we leave.
Melmenya, said Legolas, glancing at Haldirand Eowyn
knew what was comingare you sure that you are well enough?
Of course, she said, firmly. Master Dínendal
says that I am healing quickly, but should rest my ankle for a
day or so. Very well: I shall be riding Brightstar for the rest
of the day, and sitting by the camp fire all night. By tomorrow
morning, after a good nights sleep, I shall be fine.
She looked up at Legolas, her expression suddenly changing. And
Eomer has told me so much about the Chamber of Celeborn
Defeated, the elf put an arm around her shoulders. What
are these things you need to do before we leave? he asked,
shaking his head at Haldir.
They found young Hobbie helping his mother check a wagon-load
of food that had miraculously survived the fire.
Theres a fair amount thats still edible, my
Lord, said Averell, raising one of the lids, and sniffing,
though it may taste a bit smoky
That is good news, mistress, said Legolas.
Hobbie, said Eowyn, I have have not forgotten
my promise. She unbuckled her belt, slid off her hunting
knife (in its tooled leather scabbard), and held it out to him.
The boy stared at her outstretched hand.
Eowyn pushed the knife a little closer.
The boy continued to stare.
Hobbie? His mother looked, uncomfortably,
from her son, to Eowyn and Legolas, and back again. Hes
not usually like this, my LordHobbie, where are your manners?
Do you not want it, Hobbie? asked Eowyn.
The boy shook his head. I never thought you meant
it, Lady Owen.
Oh,she smiledof course I did, Hobbie.
She held out the knife again. It is yours.
The boy took itThank you, my Lady,and
drew it from its scabbard, holding it up to the light. The blade,
broad and sturdy, glinted in the pale sun, and the intricately
decorated handle glittered.
Thank you, my Lady, said his mother, with a quick
curtsey. Its a beautiful knife; hell treasure
It is a fine knife, said Legolas. It
has served its former mistress well, and I am sure it will do
the same for its new master.
I was worried, Hobbie, said Eowyn, when I could
not find you on the flets, just before the fire. I thought that
you might still be in the Forest.
He was up at the very top, my Lady, said Averell,
keeping the young uns in order.
Since Hobbie, though a sturdy little boy, could not have been
much more than seven himself, Eowyns heart was filled with pride.
Brave boy, she said.
What next? asked Legolas.
Thorkell bogsveigir and his elderly Rohirrim were searching what
was left of the mess tent. Lucky no one was sitting in here
when it went up, he said. Then, A small iron chest,
Yes, said Eowyn. It was in my shelter. About
Oh, this big. She moved her hands to indicatein
mid aira box, ten inches wide and eight deep.
And what was inside it, asked the Beorning, gold?
Jewels? He attempted to raiseone handedthe charred
top of a trestle table.
Papers? He frowned. Egric! Come and
help Legolas grasped the other end of the table, and
lifted it with him. Thank you, my Lord. There was
nothing underneath; they set it down again.
Our betrothal contract, persisted Eowyn.
I see. Thorkell glanced at Legolas; the elf nodded.
In that case, my Lady, he said, with a slight bow,
consider it found.
Thank you! Eowyn grinned up at him. And, when
you have it
I shall give it to Eomer King for safe-keeping, as soon
as he arrives.
Eowyn patted his arm. Thank you, blood brother.
Just one more errand
Little Cuthbertstanding quietly beside his mother, who
was helping one of the cookswas sucking his thumb, a picture
of misery. Eowyn squeezed Legolas hand.
Cuthbert, she said, crouching down beside him, look
what I have found. She reached inside her cuirass and pulled
out a battered toy, sewn from rough brown sacking and embroidered
with big, lop-sided eyes and a straggly mane of dark grey wool.
Oh! His mother laid down her knife, and the vegetable
she was paring, and dropped into a very awkward curtsey. Thank
you, my Lady, she cried, thank you! What do
you say to Lady Eowyn, puppy?
The toddler said nothing but, stretching out a pudgy little hand,
he took the toy from Eowyn and, turning it carefully, this way
and that, he examined it, frowning.
He has come to no harm, Eowyn reassured him.
Thank Lady Eowyn, pup, said his mother.
Cuthbert crushed Horsie to his chest and, still silent, dug his
other hand into his pocket, pulled something out, and gave it
Master Thorkell gave him that, to cheer him up, my Lady,
said his mother. But it looks as though he wants you to
It was a childs hunting horn of polished brass. Thank
you, Cuthbert, said Eowyn, smiling, but I cannot take
something that was given to you as a gift. Besides, I would rather
have a hug. She leaned closer. Will you give me a
Cuthbert nodded, solemnly. Then he stretched out his plump little
arms, and Eowyn bent forward, and gathered him up.