legolas and eowyn

Eowyn’s head jerked up. Legolas—his spirit—was close!

She scanned the trees, looking for his captor, spotted a strange, birdlike thing lurking—watching her—and reached for her sword. “Set him free,” she said, calmly.

The thing stepped out into the open. It was small, and filled with malice.

Eowyn gripped her weapon.

But the creature swung its great pack pack from its shoulders and opened it, inviting her with a sweep of its hand to come closer, and view its wares.

Eowyn shook her head.

The thing edged nearer.

Eowyn watched it like a hawk.

It took another step, and then another.

Eowyn waited, tensely.

The thing dipped a hand into the clutter of knick-knacks, scooped out a tiny bottle—of sapphire crystal—and, removing the stopper, held it out to her.

Eowyn’s concentration broke, for just a moment; she looked into the bottle’s sparkling depths, clear and blue like the huge skies over Rohan, and she seemed to hear the bustle of the great Golden Hall at feast-time...

Her hand rose to take it—

But Legolas’ voice filled her head: “Be careful, melmenya!”

And, “No,” she screamed, clumsily swinging her sword.

The creature reeled back, dropping its pack. Trinkets flew in all directions, and Eowyn’s eye was strangely drawn to an iridescent shell, which sailed through the air, hit a stone, and smashed open.

...

Legolas sat bolt upright. “Melmenya!”

“Lassui?” Eowyn turned towards him—

No, melmenya!” he cried. “Kill it! Behead it!”

Eowyn spun back.

The thing was still lying on the ground, its arms and legs flailing, and her warrior’s heart faltered at the thought of striking an enemy already brought low.

But, breathing deeply, she steeled herself and, raising her sword, cleaved its head from its shoulders with a single blow.

...

They burned the body.

Then, carefully, they gathered up all the bottles and the jars, the flasks and the drinking horns, the boxes and the birds’ skulls, and laid them beside the stone that had set Legolas free.

“We must break them open, melmenya,” he said, “and release the fëar.”

“But...” Eowyn’s fingers brushed lightly over the objects. “What will become of them, Lassui? They are all so far from their bodies… Suppose they cannot find their way back?”

“Then they will fly to the House of Mandos, melmenya,”—he smiled, sadly,—“and I do not believe they will wait there long. Mandos will give them new bodies, and let them choose—whether to dwell in bliss in Valinor, or to return here, to Middle-earth.” He took her hands and raised them to his lips. “We must do this, melmenya, for I promised them—we all promised each other—that none of us would rest until the others were free. Death, my darling; death before captivity. We swore it.”

...

When it was done, Legolas helped Eowyn to her feet and, hand-in-hand, they walked slowly back to the city.

“Can you tell,” asked Eowyn, softly, “what has happened to them?”

“Some, I think, are back in their bodies,” Legolas replied.

Oh, thank the gods…

“But most are still with us, melmenya.” He smiled at her as, frowning, she peered into the air around her. “They are giving you their heartfelt thanks before they set out on the happy journey home.”

THE END

 

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part 9