He smelled of rainof forest rain.
Eowyn buried her face in his chest, inhaling his scent, holding
him with arms of steel. She would never let him go... She
felt him movefelt him press his lips to her headand
all the terror of the past six hours burst from her in a great
sob. What she might have lost! Then she clung to him, weeping
She felt his arms slide down her body, felt him lift her, and
carry her, and she kept her face hidden in the crook of his neck
but she knew that he was not taking her home to their little cave.
Dínendal examined her, then drew Legolas aside.
He spoke softly, but not so soft that Eowyn could not hear: "It
is not a relapse, my lord," he said. "I believe it is
a perfectly normal reaction to your return."
"I do not understand."
"I think she is crying with relief, my lordI
recommend that you spend a few hours with her, just the two of
This time he did carry her up the steep narrow path to their
own cave, but he did not take her inside. Instead, he climbed
up the rock face, to a small plateau high above the cave mouthringed
by beeches and fringed with brackenwhere they could not
be seen from the camp, but could easily summon help, if needed.
There they sat, side by side, on a flat boulder.
"I am sorry, melmenya." He wrapped his arm around her
and held her close.
She shook her head. "No," she said, her voice weak
from crying, "I am being foolish, Legolas." She gulped.
"I know that. It is just... You were gone so long, my darling.
I could not understand why you were gone so long. I thought..."
"I know." He kissed her temple.
"I think I can see, now," she continued, haltingly,
"why men go to war and women stay at home."
"Melmenya?" Legolas looked down at her in surprise.
"To make it easier." She took his hand and, lovingly
stroking his fingers, she struggled to explain: "If I had
never known how it was to fight by your sideif, like other
women, I thought it was my place to stay at home and waitperhaps
I could have borne it more..." She searched for the right
"You are not saying that you will put away your sword and
leave the fighting to me?"
Her spirit had returned in that one word. Legolas hugged her
proudly. "What will you do, Eowyn nín?"
"What will we both do?" asked Eowynand her voice
had grown stronger, bolder. "We will both suffer because,
sometimes, our paths will reverse and it will be you who
is waiting for me...
"But," she continued, "I would endure a
thousand times the terror I felt today for just one more
moment fighting by your side."