legolas and eowyn

Go,” said Eowyn. “Go back through the passage! I will stay with the horses. You go, and—”

No.” Legolas grasped his wife’s hand. “We must stay together, melmenya.”

“Stay...? Oh, gods! You mean...”


Cautiously, they went back into the crevice. “It is so quiet,” said Eowyn, softly. Then, as Legolas came to a sudden halt, “What?” she hissed. “What is it, Lassui?”

That, melmenya.” He pointed to a small, sturdy iârloth bush, rooted in the rocky wall, several feet above their heads. “I do not recall seeing that before.” He caught a leaf, spiralling down from the snow-laden branches and, crushing it in his fingers, inhaled its sharp scent. “No, I am sure it was not there before.”

Look,” said Eowyn, grasping his arm. “There are no footprints. Not even mine!” She crouched down, and examined the unblemished snow. “This cannot have fallen in the last few minutes—”

“Of course!” said Legolas. “We must go back to the valley, melmenya. At once!”

“But, why? What has happened to the others? Where are they, Lassui?”

“I do not know,” he admitted, hurrying her down the passage with a hand at her waist, “but I am sure that they are safe. Remember what the being in my dream told me? The task is for me and my wife.”


Eryn Carantaur

“Here we are,” said Hentmirë, opening the door to the guest apartment.

After a long and heated discussion with Lord Caranthir, Melannen’s parents, Túon and Roseth, had finally agreed to stay in the city until Legolas and Eowyn returned, but the little woman had no idea what had persuaded them.

“This will be perfect,” she said. “You have a large bed chamber, a bathing room, a sitting room, and a study, and there is a second, smaller, bed chamber just for Melannen.” She squeezed the boy’s hand, and he smiled up at her.

“It seems unnecessarily luxurious,” said the elfling’s father, looking round the lobby disapprovingly.

“Well, we are visited by dignitaries from all over Middle-earth,” said Hentmirë, “and they must be treated with proper respect. Now, Rimush will bring Melannen’s things—”

What things?”

“Oh, just a few necessities,”—she decided not to mention the full-length robe of finest silk brocade she had given his son—“clean underwear and things. Melannen, this is your bed chamber.” She waited until the boy had opened the door, then turned to his parents. “You see, he has his own lavatory and washbasin.”

The elves said nothing.

Your bedchamber is next door...”

Still, they said nothing.

“Well, then,” said Hentmirë, “I will leave you to settle in. I am sure you will be very comfortable but, should there be anything you need, I am only across the way.” She gestured in the general direction of her own home. “And I will come back, just before seven, to take you down to supper.” She placed her hand upon her heart and bowed her head in formal leave-taking.

The elves did not return her courtesy.

“Yes... Well, good bye, Melannen. Be good for your mummy and daddy.” She gave the boy a little wave and he, at least, waved back, smiling.


Eowyn followed Legolas out into the open.

The mysterious town was still nestling in the valley, and Arod and Brightstar were still grazing on the damp grass under the shelter of the cliff.

“Thank the gods,” she muttered, tramping over to her horse. He nuzzled her shoulder, and she grasped his bridle, and stroked his ears, murmuring “Good boy,”—she kissed his muzzle—“good, good boy.” Then, “What do you think happened to Gimli and the others, Lassui?”

“Nothing,” said Legolas. He came up beside her. “I think that we have somehow found our way back into the shadowland.”

“The shadowland?” She considered his theory. “Through the rocks?”


“And left them behind.”


“By the gods,” she said at last, “let us hope you are right! Yes, that makes sense, but... What do we do now?”

“We go down into the valley,” said Legolas, summoning Arod. “And do whatever it is we are supposed to do.”

“Wait a moment, Lassui,”—she grasped his arm—“does this mean that Melannen is from the shadowland?”

“I do not know, melmenya.”

I do not think he is.”

“I think we need to make sure,” said Legolas.

“Yes,” she agreed, quietly, “yes, let us go down. But we will have to walk the horses.”

“I know. And I am sorry, my darling.” He could see that she was tired, and he put his arms around her, and gave her a gentle hug. “We will go straight to the inn, melmenya, and take a room, and you can rest before supper.”

“It would be nice to lie down for a moment or two.”

“It has been a hard few days.”

“Yes... Well, not our wedding.”

Legolas smiled.

“Just... All this.”


Later, trudging down the steep path, she suddenly asked, “Do you think he is missing us, Lassui?”

“Oh, I am sure he is, melmenya,” Legolas replied. “But Hentmirë will be taking good care of him, and—who knows—maybe his parents are with him by now.”


Hentmirë crossed the walkway with a heavy heart. She had wanted to tell Melannen that he could come to her whenever he needed, but she knew that that would have been inappropriate.

Still, she could not help feeling that she was letting him down—and Legolas and Eowyn. She could not imagine how two such stern parents could have raised such a loving child.

But when she reached her own front door, and automatically looked back at the guest apartment, she was very relieved to see—in silhouette, through the window of Melannen’s bed chamber—Roseth hugging her son at last.


“Welcome back, sir!” cried the landlord of The Two Ways inn, when the couple walked into the parlour. “Good to see you and your lady wife again so soon!”

He wiped his hands and, hurrying to Eowyn’s side, guided her to one of the chairs beside the fire. “Here you are, my Lady—you look perished! Take the weight off your feet, and I’ll get the wife to bring you a nice hot drink.”

“We would like a room,” said Legolas, nodding greetings to the regulars as he followed the man back to the counter.

“Of course, sir.”

“And we will want some food later, and feed for the horses—they are already in your stables.”

“Very good, sir—ah, here’s the wife, now.”

The landlady soon had them settled in her best room, with a cheery fire and tankards of mulled ale.

Eowyn sat down on the bed.

“Mmm,” said Legolas, taking a good draught of the hot, spiced drink, “this will put you straight to sleep, melmenya. We had better get you ready.” He set his tankard on the night stand and, kneeling at Eowyn’s feet, pulled off her boots.

“They remember us, Lassui.”

“I know.” He laid the boots aside. “Your feet are cold...”

“Did you notice that the landlord said we had not been gone long?” She unfastened her jerkin and shrugged it off.

“I did.” Legolas lifted her foot onto his lap and gently massaged it. “Better?”

She smiled. “Yes.” Then, “His wife asked where Melannen was.”

“What did you say?”

“Staying with his Aunt.”

Legolas patted her knee. “Lie back, my darling.” He waited until she was settled, then he pulled the quilt up over her shoulders.

“I have been wondering why,” said Eowyn, stifling a yawn, “if you are right, and we are in the shadowland—and I think you must be, because there is a town here but not in our own world—”

“Which is easily explained, melmenya,” said Legolas, sitting on the edge of the bed, “because we know that small changes can lead to big differences between the two worlds, so, if one of the Stewards—Faramir’s grandfather, perhaps—”


“Yes. If he granted these people the right to hold a daily market, just as Aragorn is planning to do in our world, and then—just as Aragorn anticipates—a permanent settlement grew up around it—”

“That would explain the town, yes,” said Eowyn, turning onto her side. “But what I was really wondering, Lassui, is why the Valar would send us here if they want us to help Melannen’s people?”

Legolas frowned.

“Because the one thing about this world that we know for certain,” she continued, “the one thing that we have seen for ourselves, is that, here, the Elven settlement has already been destroyed.”


Eryn Carantaur

Hentmirë looked up from the tengwar character she was forming, and listened.

Someone was knocking at the door.

Fearing that it might be Melannen’s father, she wiped her inky fingers, and went out into the lobby. Donatiya had opened the door to a young elf, whom Hentmirë recognised as one of the palace servants. He was insisting that his message could only be delivered to Hentmirë, in person.

“Well she can’t be disturbed,” said the old woman, firmly.

“It is all right, Donatiya,” said Hentmirë, approaching the door. “Did Melannen’s father send you, my dear?”

“Yes, my Lady.” The elf bowed respectfully. “Master Túon asked me to return these,”—he showed her a pile of folded clothes—“and to tell you that his son does not require them.”

Hentmirë took the bundle. “What a pity,” she said, recognising the little tunic that Lord Lenwë’s wife had given the boy, and the embroidered nightshirt that Míriel had found for him, and—on the top of the pile—the beautiful silver robe that she, herself, had chosen for him.

“And, er... This, ma’am, I am afraid,” said the elf. He held out the jumping bear that Legolas and Eowyn had bought.

Donatiya swore under her breath.

“Thank you,” said Hentmirë, taking the toy. “When you see Master Melannen, my dear, please tell him that I will look after the bear for him.”


Legolas waited until he was sure that Eowyn was fast asleep, then went down to the parlour.

The inn was busy, crammed with locals who, having come to town for the Yuletide market, were making merry with mulled ale and other festive fare, but the elf managed to find himself a place beside the fire. He ordered some supper and, whilst waiting for his food, tried to strike up a conversation with the man across the table, who had pushed his empty plate aside and was shuffling a deck of playing cards.

Legolas began by remarking on the coldness of the weather, but that drew no response. Then he talked about the Yuletide celebrations, and the market, and the fireworks, and when, at last, the man replied, gruffly, that, yes, people came from all over the valley to join in the tomfoolery, he seized the opportunity, and asked, “Do many elves come? I have heard that there is a settlement nearby.”

“A settlement?” The man placed his cards upon the table and looked at Legolas thoughtfully. Then he pushed the pack towards him. “Cut,” he said.

Legolas was surprised but, nevertheless, lifted about a third of pack off the top, and set it down beside the rest.

His strange companion took the first five cards from the larger pile and laid them on the table, face-down. Then—without so much as glancing at the elf—he asked, “You looking for family?”

Legolas thought of Melannen. “Yes,” he said, “in a manner of speaking.”

The man turned over the first card.

the childspacer

It was crudely printed, in thick black lines and overlapping patches of bright colour, but—to Legolas’ surprise—its compelling design depicted a small child, wandering through a thicket of wooden staves. “Family,” the man said, thoughtfully. “In danger.”

He turned the second card.

the beingspacer

It showed a divine being, standing in a blaze of yellow light, and the man seemed impressed. “Your task is blessed!” he said, and quickly turned the third card.

the hanged manspacer

Legolas gasped, softly, for it depicted a man hanging from a tree, and the fact that the rope was tied around his ankle, and that his body, therefore, was hanging upside-down with one leg bent at the knee, only served to make the image seem more menacing. The man rubbed his chin. “Change,” he said, and turned the fourth card.

the princespacer

This one showed a swordsman on horseback—tall and lightly built, with long blond hair—and, beneath him, a line of roughly-printed characters read, The Prince. “You,” said the man.

He reached for the final card, declaring, “Your destiny,” and turned it over.

the knightspacer

“Valar,” whispered Legolas.

At first sight, the picture seemed to show a young lad, bravely brandishing a sword in each hand. But, on closer inspection, it was obvious—to Legolas, at least—that the boy was, in fact, a woman in disguise.

“Strange,” said the man.

Dernhelm,” said Legolas.

“Hmm...” The man thought for a moment. Then he took a sixth card from the pack and, glancing at it briefly, laid it face up beside the others. “Your destiny,” he repeated.


The card showed a skeleton, beheading a warrior with a sweep of its scythe, and beneath the grotesque image was written a single word.



Eryn Carantaur

“We green elves are unaccustomed to... feasting,” said Túon to Hentmirë, as she led him and his family towards the Banqueting Hall.

“Well,” replied the little woman, patiently, “there is a wide choice of food—some of it quite plain—and you can eat as much or as little as you wish.”

She took them up the steps, and into the domed pavilion, and—having foregone her usual place near the head of the table—she found them seats next to Lord Fingolfin, who had volunteered to help her entertain Lord Legolas’ guests, seating herself beside Melannen.

Then trumpets sounded, and everyone rose to greet Queen Arwen and Queen Lothiriel as they entered the Hall, accompanied by King Shamash of Kuri, and took their places at the table. Arwen, glancing round the company, honoured Hentmirë with a brief formal greeting, hand upon heart, which the little woman returned in kind, and smiled at Melannen, who—having recenty been introduced to both of the beautiful ladies—waved back enthusiastically, until his father caught hold of his hand.

Meanwhile, a small army of servants had begun carrying out the first course of pork-and-cheese tarts, spicy minced-meat pies, and simple platters of bread and cheese.

Hentmirë heard Túon sigh, and she turned towards him, intending to suggest that he choose the latter.

The elf was not looking at the food, however, and the little woman followed his gaze, up one of the elegant pillars and across the intricately carved ceiling, taking in the velvet hangings and the garlands of Yuletide evergreens. “Human follies,” she heard him mutter.

But Lord Fingolfin had heard him, too. “Our colony,” he said, a trifle sharply, “welcomes elves from all over Middle-earth, humans from Rohan, Gondor, and the hot lands to the south, dwarves from the Glittering Caves, and halflings from the Shire. We live together in peace and friendship, and we are proud to observe the customs of all of our citizens.”

One of the serving elves set a plate of tiny minced-meat pies on the table, between Hentmirë and Melannen.

“Those are my favourites,” said the elfling, in a loud whisper.

“I know,” Hentmirë whispered back and, with a wink, she slipped an extra pastry onto his plate.


The Two Ways

Eowyn awoke suddenly, sat up in bed, and peered into the darkness—and it took a second or two before, with a gasp of relief, she recognised Legolas, sitting on a stool beside the dying embers of the fire.

“Light a candle, my love...” she said.

He went over to the dresser and, moments later, the room was filled with soft light.

“You look troubled.” She held out her hand. “Come and sit beside me and tell me what you are thinking.”

Legolas pulled up a chair. “I have just spent more than two hours in the parlour, melmenya,” he said, sitting down, “quizzing the locals.”

“What did you find out?”

“There are no elves living in the Forest. They are all agreed on that. Several people have explored the remains of the flets, and one even admits to having found a gold brooch, which he sold to a jeweller in Caras Arnen for ‘a tidy sum’, but no one has ever seen a living elf there.”

“Did you mention the noise?”

“I did. They believe it was wolves—”

“That was no wolf!”

“Or possibly Orcs. At any rate, it seems that the men of the Night Watch patrol the eastern slopes regularly—though they seldom venture into the Forest itself—and the farmers tell their children that the trees are haunted to keep them out of it.”

“We must go and see for ourselves,” said Eowyn. She leaned over to the night stand and poured two glasses of water.

“Are you hungry, my darling? I can ask the landlady—”

“No,”—she took a sip of water—“no, I will wait until breakfast.”

Legolas leaned closer, and lowered his voice. “Melmenya... Something else happened down there. Something strange.” He told her about the man and his pack of cards.

“He has really upset you.”

“He showed me Melannen, melmenya. And I have no idea how he did it.”

“Nor have I,” she said, softly. She set down her glass, and reached for his hand. “But at least he seemed to think that I was your destiny.”

“Death was my destiny.”

“Oh, Lassui, no!” She grasped his hand, firmly. “You told me,” she said, “that he turned over your card, and then mine, and then he had to take an extra card from the pack. If that means anything at all, it means that we have a joint destiny. And we are not afraid to face it together, are we, my love?”


Later, when Eowyn had gone back to sleep, Legolas gently freed himself from her embrace.

He was too unsettled to rest.

Had he been at home, he would have gone outside, and walked under the trees; here, he did not want to leave Eowyn alone so, instead, he drew back the curtains, and looked out.

Below him, the Yuletide market was quiet at last, its rows of stalls boarded up for the night; the square was in darkness; the lamplighters had snuffed out the street lamps.

Above him, the stars were shining like jewels scattered upon a mantle of black velvet.

There are no clouds, he thought. It will be cold tonight.



There are no clouds, thought Gimli, looking up at the stars. It will be cold tonight.

He nodded to a young Gondorian who, standing lookout at the edge of the encampment, was stamping his feet and blowing on his freezing fingers. “Away to your bedroll, lad,” he said. “I will take your watch.”

The man bowed his head. “I thank you, my Lord, but King Elessar—”

“I will make it right with Aragorn. Go on.”

Gimli watched the boy disappear into one of the canvas shelters they had erected against the foot of the cliffs. Then he drew his axe and, planting the butt firmly on the ground, he settled down to watch—for a dwarf could stand, still and silent, for hours, waiting like a coiled spring—

“What do you think happened to them?”

Gimli growled; Thorkell bogsveigir had the most annoying habit of sneaking up from behind. “You,” he grumbled, “should be getting some sleep tonight. It may be your last chance for a while.”

The Beorning ignored his advice. “One moment, she was there, in front of us, all golden hair and tight leggings; the next,”—he shrugged—“she was gone. And there was no trace of her—nowhere for either of them to have disappeared to, no crevices, no chimneys, no holes in the ground... Nothing.”

“We will find them.”

“How?” The Beorning had insisted that, as Thranduil’s agent, charged with the protection of the Elvenking’s son and daughter-in-law, he be allowed to join the discussions between Aragorn, Eomer and Gimli, and had made himself unpopular—with Eomer in particular—by pointing out the flaws in every plan they had come up with. “Oh, yes. By riding across the valley and appealing to our friends, the green elves, for help. I do not think so.”

“You made no better suggestion,” said Gimli.

The man sniffed. “Maybe not. But the green elves are already here. Look, over there,”—he pointed to a knot of trees, directly ahead—“and there are more, there, by the ruined farmhouse and, there, where the stream cuts through the rocks. When I spotted them lurking, I got Camthalion to have a look. He has no idea what they are doing, nor why they are letting us see them do it. He says that green elves are ‘strange’.”

“They had nothing to do with the disappearance,” said Gimli.

“So what are they doing?”

“Just keeping an eye on us. Being cautious.”

“Hmm. Well, I seriously doubt that we will get any help from them.”


The Two Ways

“Lassui...” Eowyn padded over to window and, grasping her husband’s arm, coaxed him back towards the bed. “You must let it go, my darling...”

He was still fully dressed; she sat him down and, kneeling before him—just as he had earlier knelt before her—she parted the skirts of his tunic and set to work on his leggings, untying the lacings and pulling down the flap.

He showed no signs of arousal but, when her fingers brushed his flesh, she heard him gasp, “Oh! Melmenya,” his voice cracking on the second syllable of her name, and she felt him jerk against her palm.

She leaned in and, supporting him in her hands, though he had begun to harden now, and quickly, she took him in her mouth.

“No, melmenya; no, you are too tired, you should not—I must not let you—oh, melmenya—oh, oh no...” he protested. But her tongue and her lips soon silenced him, and then she felt him lean back, and carefully shift his hips forward, and relax, and grow to his full size, at last, in her mouth.

“I love you, Lassui,” she murmured, though the words were muffled, “I love you so much, my darling.”


They left The Two Ways an hour before dawn, having asked the landlady to hold their room, since they were intending to return the same evening.

“It was so good of her,” said Eowyn, as they rode out of the town, “to provide us with all this food.” The woman had been horrified at the thought of their leaving without a proper breakfast, and had insisted on packing a basket for them to take with them. ‘There’s bread and cheese and apples,’ she had said, ‘a couple of slices of pease pudding—made with best butter, my Lady—pasties for your dinner, and a jug of pear brandy, to keep out the cold.’

“We must give them some extra coin when we leave, Lassui.”

Legolas, riding beside her, stretched out his hand; Eowyn grasped it and they exchanged smiles. “We shall,” he said. Then he added, “Who could be anything but happy, with you by his side, melmenya?”

Eowyn laughed, remembering how despondently he had been gazing at the stars when, recognising the signs, she had lured him back to bed. “It does not take much to cure you of your melancholy, does it?”

“I am lucky that way.”

As the sun was rising, they crossed the little bridge where, on their previous visit, they had encountered the children playing on the frozen stream. “Do you want to stop here for breakfast?” asked Legolas. “I can clear the snow from the stones, and you can sit down.”

They ate their bread and cheese, and drank a little of the brandy, and Legolas looked thoughtfully at the remains of the children’s slide. “I was hoping that we would follow your footprints back to Melannen’s house, melmenya,” he said, “but it has snowed since we were here before.”

Eowyn handed him the jug, and walked out into the road. Her boots left a distinctive mark—small and pointed, with a leaf-shaped pattern worked into the sole—but she could find no prints that matched them, for everything was blurred by the fresh layer of snow.

“Still, very few tracks go beyond this bridge, Lassui,” she said, looking at the ghostly marks. “And, by the time we reach the Forest, it may be that mine are the only ones left.”


Eryn Carantaur

Hentmirë awoke with the uncomfortable feeling that the day was going to be a difficult one.

She told Donatiya that, should anyone knock, she would answer the door herself, and she was not at all surprised when, just before breakfast, she opened it to find Melannen standing on the doorstep, with Niben tucked under his arm.

“Gwanur Hentmirë,” he said, with a dazzling smile, “can I stay with you until Gwanur Eowyn and Gwanur Legolas come back?”


Eowyn’s conjecture had proved correct.

Her footprints—and, here and there, little Melannen’s—though indistinct, could be followed, and they quickly retraced the route to the ruined flet, climbed up, and searched it thoroughly. In the kitchen they found a few broken utensils; in one of the bed chambers, some blankets; and in the elfling’s chamber, a wooden chest—still intact—containing a few small, homespun tunics, a pair of boots, and a cloth mouse—“Shadow Niben,” said Legolas, and Eowyn’s eyes filled with tears. But they found nothing that could tell them any more about the fate of the colony than they already knew.

Eowyn went down to the lower level and, in the remains of the sitting room, brushed the snow from the window seat, and sat down. She looked at the destruction lying all around her. Then, “Lassui,” she called, “how old is Melannen?”

“I do not know, melmenya. Ten, perhaps. Or a little older.” He put the mouse back in its nest of tunics, and closed the chest.

“But not as old as this damage?”

“No.” He came down the stairs, and joined her in the sitting room.

“So,” said Eowyn, thoughtfully, “when this happened,”—she waved her hand—“our Melannen had not been born. Here, we have found clothes and toys and, when we came before, his picture book with his name in it.”

“What are you thinking, melmenya?” He sat down beside her.

“Well... This Melannen must have been conceived many years earlier than our Melannen.”


“But, judging by the size of his clothes, this Melannen must have been about the same age as our Melannen when the Orcs attacked the settlement.”

“Yes, which—oh, Valar!” He turned to face her. “Which means that, in our world, the attack may be just about to happen!” He sprang to his feet. “We must try to get back, melmenya!”

“But, Lassui—wait! If the Valar sent us here, perhaps there is something they want us to see, something that will prepare us for what we need to do. Might it be sensible to search the other flets? If we could find out more about the Orcs, even track their route through the settlement—”

“Then we would know where the attack was likely to come from! Good thinking, melmenya, but we had better hurry. It would be a lot easier without all this snow...”

“I know,” said Eowyn, “but—oh!” Her hands flew up and covered her face, for she had just heard the same terrible cry that she and Legolas had heard before—the same wail of loss and pain and unbearable anguish that still haunted their dreams—and it was coming from the ground, directly beneath them.




Back to Contents page


Previous chapter: A Yuletide wedding
Legolas and Eowyn exchange vows.

chapter 2

Next chapter: Carafin's loss
Melannen makes some new friends; Legolas and Eowyn make a discovery.

chapter 4