The friends set off at dawn, followingaccording to Ozwellthe
same trail the traveller had taken. Fresh snow had obscured
any tracks but, every so often, a pile of fallen ice or a broken
branch told the elves that someone had been there before
them, and recently.
By mid-morning they had reached the Caras Arnen road, just
south of where it met the road to Eryn Carantaur.
There, they hesitated, for there seemed no way to tell in which
direction the traveller had turned, and Legolas was contemplating
sending Haldir and Gimli to search to the south, whilst he and
Eowyn did the same to the north, when Haldir suddenly raised
a hand and pointed northwards.
There, he said. There is something
lying beneath the snowover there.
They rode to the strange mound and, immediately dropping to
the ground, Gimli began scraping away the layer of snow. The
earth has been dug over, he said. In the last two
days or so.
Why would anyone do that? said Eowyn. In
this weather, the ground must be as hard as a rock.
Legolas glanced at Haldir; if the shape of the mound had not
given its purpose away, both elves would have sensed the reason:
It is a grave, melmenya, he said, quietly.
Another grave? Eowyn dismounted, and crouched
beside Gimli. Then he has killed again, she murmured.
And we need to know whom, said Legolas.
Why does he bother burying them? Gimli grumbled,
drawing his axe and using it to drag the soil aside.
Well, said Eowyn, perhaps hewait!
Gimli stopped. Eowyn leaned over the grave and, using her fingers,
carefully picked the clods of earth from the dead mans
He was a big man, with a broad, scarred forehead and long,
shaggy hair, and at some point his nose had been smashed with
a fist, and had healed crooked.
He is not from the Colony... she said.
Legolas turned to Haldir. Do you recognise him,
Haldir shook his head
Hey, what dyou think youre doing?
A small, stout, angry man came racing through the trees. Thats
a grave youreoh, Béma!
He came to an abrupt halt and, placing his hand upon his heart,
elven-fashion, bowed deeply. Lord Legolas. He hoisted
himself upright, and bowed again. Lady Eowyn.
Mae govannen, mellon nín, said Legolas,
gracefully returning his greeting. Do you know the dead
The fellow came closer, and peered into the grave. Aye,
he said. As well as any man knows the rascal who holds
a knife to his throat and demands his purse. Hes one of
the Greenwood Gang*or, at least, he was.
Did you kill him? asked Eowyn.
Me, my Lady? No! It was a knight in shining armour, luckily
for me. Then he told me to get home to my wifesaid hed
give this un a better resting place than he deserved.
I do not suppose he showed you a brass oil lamp,
said Eowyn, and, perhaps, asked if you wanted to buy it?
An oil lamp? The man scratched his head. No,
my Lady. But he did ask me where the nearest town wasI
told him Eryn Carantaur, my Lord, but he said he wasnt
going there, so I sent him towards Caras Arnen.
Legolas was surprised by the mans tale, but one detail
in particular intrigued him: Did the knight explain why
he didnt want to go to Eryn Carantaur? he asked.
The man hesitated. Then, He said, That place is
crawling with elves, my Lord, he replied, with a
* Eowyn met the leader of the Greenwood
Gang in The
Servant and the Lady.