It was small at first, no more than a few houses, and Legolas
did much of the work himself, collecting the timber from fallen
trees, learning to shape it with an axe, and to fashion it into
stairs, and flets, and the dwellings upon them.
But word spread, and soon Elves who, for whatever reason,
had decided to stay in Middle-earth came to join their fellows,
Fingolfin bringing scholars from Imladris, Caranthir bringing
craftsmen from the Havens, and Haldir bringing warriors from Lothlórien.
Dwarves and Men came, too, and made it their home.
By year 5, the city of Eryn Carantaur was thriving. It sat
like a dusting of blossoms upon the mighty red-leaved carantaur
branchesa central palace, with a Council Chamber,
guards quarters, a Library, and a school for elflings, dwarflings
and children; a busy market flet; several public gardens; many
villages, nestling amongst the boughsand, on the ground
beneath, workshops, stables... Even a graveyard.
And in Iavas of that year, as was the custom amongst
the Wood Elves, Legolas held the colonys first Harvest Rite,
in praise of Yavanna, Lady of the Harvest.
To the Harvest celebrations came Eowyn, the wife of Faramir,
Prince of Ithilien, whose marriage had sadly miscarried, though
she and her husband remained the dearest of friends. Legolas had
loved Eowyn from the moment he first saw her; Eowyn had come to
love Legolas gradually; Faramir wished only that his wife might
On the first night of the celebrations, Yavanna smiled, and
Eowyn became Legolas Lady of the Harvest.
The couple travelled to Caras Arnen, the City on the Hills,
andwith Faramirs helpwrote to Aragorn, asking
him to dissolve Faramir and Eowyns marriage. Their petition
was granted and, the following Echuir, the couple journeyed
to Eryn Lasgalen, seeking King Tranduils permission to marry.
To test the couples resolve, Legolas wily father
set Eowyn three tasks. The first was to catalogue his disordered
correspondence, and this she accomplished overnight, with the
help of her friend and tutor, Lord Fingolfin. The second was to
persuade the Green Elves of Sad Glawar to pay their taxes, and
this she achieved using her own reasoning and eloquence. The third
and final task was to beg a jar of salve from the Healer of Eryn
Aras and, although she succeeded, she was fatally poisoned, died,
and was revived immortal.
Her transformation, however, convinced King Thranduil that
the Valar had approved his sons choice of wife and, in Rhîw
of the following year, during the Yuletide celebrations, he presided
over their joining ceremony.
The first night of Rhîw, year 6 of the Fourth Age
Climbing up the main staircase, at the end of an afternoon spent
sparring with Rumil and Orophin, Eowyn stopped, one hand on the
rail, and listened hard. The voice had been soft, no more than
a sigh upon the wind, and at first she thought she had imagined
no, it was real, and its owner was just behind her.
Eowyn turned, automatically reaching for her sword, but there
was no one else on the stairs.
Puzzled, she climbed to the top, and stepped onto the walkway.
To the right, her and Legolas chambers stood out from the
rest of the buildings, decked with pumpkin lanterns made by the
colonys schoolchildren to celebrate of the first night of
Gods! The voice had grown louder, and now seemedsomehowto
be coming from up ahead!
Eowyn hurried towards it, her hand upon her sword. She could
see no oneNo one at all, she thought. No servants.
No guards. And where is Legolas? Why, tonight of all nights, has
he not come out to meet me?
Beyond the brightly grinning lanterns, the shadows seemed unnaturally
dark, and Eowyn realised that she was trembling, but the voice
drew her on, past her chambers, and up the stairs to her garden.
There, between the pools of light, she thought she saw a figure,
and asked, Who are you?
She was hardly expecting a reply, but the voice responded, Do
you not recognise me, Eowyn?
Its owner stepped closer, and his already insubstantial form
faded more in the lanterns glow, but Eowyn could still see
his silhouette, and she gasped, Are you lost? Are you here
because you are not at peace?
I am with my ancestors.
Her hands came up to her breast, and she
smiled. Is your father there with you?
She smudged away a tear. I was there
myself, once, for just a moment.
There was a smile in his voice, and Eowyn moved closer. If
you are at peace, why have you come?
Because, tonight, we are permitted to visit our loved
ones, if they light the way.
Light the way
You mean the lanterns? She looked
up at the grinning faces, which Legolas himself had taught the
children to carve (because, he had said, the first night of Rhîw
meant something to all the races of Eryn Carantaur, and the colony
should celebrate it). Do you have a message for me?
she asked. Oror is it a warning?
I just wanted to see you,his voice had
changed, become softer, more intimateto see what
my shieldmaiden had become. And, strangely, his tenderness
made her blush.
Do you like what you see?
You are so much wiser, Eowyn, and stronger, and even
more beautiful. You were a girl then, and now you are a woman.
Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. I am happy,
she told him, because she knew that he had loved her, and because
they had once believed that their futures lay together.
He is the luckiest of beings. But,his
voice began to fadehe loves you, shieldmaiden,
and will always love you, and will never, ever, take you for granted.
Wait, she cried, rushing towards him because he was
leaving her, growing every moment less and less distinct. I
want to tell youwaitI loved youI didI
did not know it then, but I didplease!and I would
have made you a good wifeI would
But he was gone.
Legolas found her sitting in the garden. Melmenya? I went
down to the practice field, looking for you. What are you doing
up here? He crouched down beside her. Have you been
On this night, said Eowyn, softly, the dead
may visit their loved ones.
And who were you hoping to see, my darling? He pulled
her into his arms, and tried to rub some warmth into her. Your
uncle?oh, Melmenya, you are so cold!
It was Theodred who came, Lassui, she said, smiling.
Theodred has given us his blessing.