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legolas, eowyn and gimli


Part 6

The friends set off at dawn, following—according to Ozwell—the 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 snow—over 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 he—wait!”

Gimli stopped. Eowyn leaned over the grave and, using her fingers, carefully picked the clods of earth from the dead man’s face.

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, March Warden?”

Haldir shook his head—

“Hey, what d’you think you’re doing?”

A small, stout, angry man came racing through the trees. “That’s a grave you’re—oh, 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 man?”

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. He’s 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 wife—said he’d 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 was—I told him Eryn Carantaur, my Lord, but he said he wasn’t going there, so I sent him towards Caras Arnen.”

Legolas was surprised by the man’s tale, but one detail in particular intrigued him: “Did the knight explain why he didn’t 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 grimace.


* Eowyn met the leader of the Greenwood Gang in The Servant and the Lady.