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eowyn and legolas

Evening, on the journey to Helm’s Deep

Standing watch at the edge of the encampment, Legolas sensed her approach, and turned. “Good evening, my Lady.”

She lowered her eyes, colouring slightly. “Good evening, my Lord,”—her blush deepened—“do you—do elves—eat stew?”

Legolas smiled. “We do, my Lady.”

“I have made some,” she said, “though there is not much, and it is a little cold now.”

He noticed, then, that she was carrying a small cooking pot, and a wooden bowl and spoon, and he stepped closer and looked inside the pot. The stuff she had called stew was pale and watery, shimmering with droplets of fat, and there were lumps of something pale and glutinous, lurking just beneath its surface—and suddenly his heart softened, and he wanted to wrap her in his arms, and protect her from the disappointment that must surely await her.

Instead, he slipped his small travelling pack from his shoulder and asked, “Have you eaten anything, yourself, my Lady? I have some elven waybread—we might trade…” And, sitting down upon the grass, he unlaced his pack and pulled out a parcel of Lembas.

Eowyn, meanwhile, had filled the wooden bowl with stew and was waiting to hand it to him.

Smiling up at her, Legolas took the bowl, laid it carefully on the grass, then took the cooking pot from her and set that down. “Please, my Lady,”—he gestured towards the patch of turf beside him.

Eowyn sat down.

“Now…” he said, unwrapping the bread and breaking off a small piece, “this is enough to satisfy the hunger of a grown man.”

Eowyn took it, and held it up to the fading light. “How can it be?” she asked.

Legolas smiled. “The making of Lembas is a secret passed from mother to daughter,” he said. “It is highly prized—in former days it was the gift of elven queens.”

At that, he noticed, Eowyn frowned. But she raised the bread to her lips—for a moment, Legolas found himself staring at her lovely mouth—and she took a tiny bite. “It tastes strange,” she said, “but nice.”

Legolas picked up his bowl and, carefully avoiding a white lump, selected a spoonful of stew. It tasted exactly as it looked—he swallowed it quickly.

“Who gave you the bread?” asked Eowyn, suddenly.

“The Lady Galadriel.” He sipped another spoonful of thin gravy.

Ah—Lord Gimli’s golden-haired Lady…” She watched him swallow. “Is it very bad?”

“No. It is good, for a first attempt,” said Legolas.

“That shows?”

He smiled. “Yes, my Lady, it shows. But it was very thoughtful of you to make it for him.”

Eowyn blushed deeply. “There was no one else,” she said, “to make sure that he ate.” She toyed with the handle of the cooking pot. “He said that it was good… But you need not finish it.” She smiled up at him. “You can eat your elven bread.”

Deliberately, Legolas drank another spoonful. And then another.

“Was it she—the Lady Galadriel—who gave Lord Aragorn the jewel he wears about his neck?”

There, thought Legolas. That is why she came to me. That is why she sits beside me now… “The Evenstar?” He shook his head. “No, my Lady.”

“Why is it called that?”

Legolas set down his bowl. It was surely not his place to tell her of Aragorn’s love for Arwen… But Eowyn’s feelings for the man were plain, and he was doing little to discourage her. Ignoring the small voice of his conscience, warning that his own desire was clouding his judgement, Legolas took a deep breath—

“I have been thinking,” said Eowyn, still fiddling with the cooking pot, “of what you said before—about watching for the cage door to open, and being ready to escape—”

“My Lady—”

“—and I think—”


She looked up at him, startled.

“You must ask Aragorn,” he said. “About the jewel. You must ask him.”



The next day

Eowyn: So few. So few of you have returned.
Theoden: Our people are safe. We have paid for it with many lives.
Gimli (approaching Eowyn): My lady…
Eowyn: Lord Aragorn—where is he?
Gimli: He fell.

“You are watching for him?”

Legolas turned, surprised—for this time he had neither heard nor sensed her approach.

I cannot believe that he is lost, either…” she said, softly.

She had been working tirelessly, supervising the distribution of provisions, directing her people with a firm but gentle hand—Legolas had watched her, proudly. But now he could see that her eyes were red and that her sweet little nose was swollen—with crying, he supposed, or with the effort of keeping her tears in check—and it was so human, so mortal, it made him want to hold her tight.

“Is there any hope?” she asked.

“Hope…” He smiled, sadly. “Do you know what the elves call him, my Lady? Estel. It means ‘hope’.”

“You said call,” said Eowyn. “‘The elves call him’. You are still hoping, too.”

Legolas frowned. “I suppose I am…” His fingers found The Evenstar, hanging, for safe-keeping, at his own throat.

“Lord Aragorn told me,” said Eowyn, observing the movement of his hand, “that it was an elf who gave him that jewel, and that she is sailing West, with the rest of her kind.” She turned east, gazing towards the hills where Aragorn had fallen. “Tell me about her.”

“Arwen Undomiel,” said Legolas, “is the fairest of ellith—” He broke off, feeling her stiffen beside him.

“But she has left him,” she said, quietly.

He could not lie to her—not about this—not even to save her pain—“Perhaps…” he said.

Yes,” she insisted. “She is sailing West. Lord Aragorn told me so.”

He could think of no reply.

“Why do elves sail West?” she asked, suddenly.

“We are immortal.”

“I know.”

Legolas smiled. “And you probably think it a blessing.”

“I—yes, I do.” She nodded. “A great blessing…”

“Elves do not age, it is true, and sickness and pestilence do not take our lives,” said Legolas. “But our bodies, being of the stuff of Earth, can be destroyed, and being inhabited so long by the fire of our spirits, they are gradually consumed from within… We tire, my Lady. And, in the West, there is rest.”

“Rest…” She considered that for a moment. Then, “Will you—in the West, will you be with your family?” she asked. “With your wife and your children?”

“I have no wife or children,” said Legolas—silently wishing that her question were less innocent. “But yes, we live there with our loved ones—though life is quite different there, less—carnal…”

“I see,” she said, blushing.

“So I believe,” added Legolas, quickly, “for few have returned to tell of it.”

“Perhaps you will have a family, by the time you sail…”

At that, his face must have betrayed him, because she suddenly turned from him—though she did not walk away and, after a few moments, she asked, “Have your parents sailed?”

“My mother died,” said Legolas. “many years ago.”

“I am sorry.”

“Thank you. My father…” He chuckled, suddenly. “I do not believe that my father will ever sail, my Lady—and nor will he hide in the shadows of the world, as others do. If the Woodland Realm survives this war, my father will rule it as he always has, directing the affairs of elves and dwarves and men.”

“You are proud of him,” said Eowyn, and he could hear a smile in her voice.

“Yes, my Lady,” he replied, smiling too, “I am very proud of him.”

There was a long, comfortable, almost companionable, silence between them. Then Eowyn said, “Well, I must…” She gestured towards the storerooms. “There is still much to do.”

“My Lady.” Legolas placed his hand upon his heart and bowed his head, formally—and as he leaned forward a ray of light caught The Evenstar and set it aflame.

“You never did tell me,” said Eowyn, “how the jewel came by its name.”

In his mind’s eye he saw himself telling her the truth.

“Lady Arwen—Arwen Evenstar— is one of the peredhil, my Lady—the half-elven, who may choose, if they will, to be numbered among men—”

“To be mortal?”

He nodded. "The jewel is a symbol of that choice—and that is why she gave it to him.”

For a long, long moment Eowyn stared up at him—though she seemed to be looking beyond him. Then she whispered, “I do not understand.”

“Yes,” he said, gently, “you do—”

“No!” she cried. “She has sailed West. Lord Aragorn told me so!”

But he caught her hands and raised them to his heart. “She will never leave him, my Lady. I know it.”

Tears spilled from her beautiful eyes. “You do not,” she said. “You do not!”

Legolas closed his fingers around the fiery gem. “It is called The Evenstar because it shines, my Lady,” he said.





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Part 1
The Cage. Eowyn tells Aragorn of her fears; Legolas offers her some comfort.


Legolas paraphrases the following passage from The Silmarillion:

Immortal were the Elves, and their wisdom waxed from age to age, and no sickness nor pestilence brought death to them. Their bodies indeed were of the stuff of Earth, and could be destroyed; and in those days they were more like to the bodies of Men, since they had not so long been inhabited by the fire of their spirit, which consumes them from within in the courses of time … Then the Quendi wandered in the lonely places of the great lands and the isles, and took to the moonlight and the starlight, and to the woods and caves, becoming as shadows and memories, save those who ever and anon set sail into the West and vanished from Middle-earth. Chapter 12, Of Men.