The next day
Eowyn: So few. So few of you have returned.
Theoden: Our people are safe. We have paid for it with
Gimli (approaching Eowyn): My lady
Eowyn: Lord Aragornwhere is he?
Gimli: He fell.
You are watching for him?
Legolas turned, surprisedfor 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 handLegolas
had watched her, proudly. But now he could see that her eyes were
red and that her sweet little nose was swollenwith crying,
he supposed, or with the effort of keeping her tears in checkand
it was so human, so mortal, it made him want to hold her
Is there any hope? she asked.
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
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
But she has left him, she said, quietly.
He could not lie to hernot about thisnot even
to save her painPerhaps
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.
Legolas smiled. And you probably think it a blessing.
Iyes, 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
We tire, my Lady. And, in the West, there
She considered that for a moment. Then,
Will youin the West, will you be with your family?
she asked. With your wife and your children?
I have no wife or children, said Legolassilently
wishing that her question were less innocent. But yes, we
live there with our loved onesthough life is quite different
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
At that, his face must have betrayed him, because she suddenly
turned from himthough 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 Ladyand
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
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
My Lady. Legolas placed his hand upon his heart and
bowed his head, formallyand 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 minds eye he saw himself telling her the truth.
Lady ArwenArwen Evenstar is one of
the peredhil, my Ladythe 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 choiceand
that is why she gave it to him.
For a long, long moment Eowyn stared up at himthough
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.