legolas and haldir

Eowyn listened hard.

Judging by the amount of light that was leaking down the passage, and the apparent closeness of the quiet sobbing, Cyllien and Hentmirë—and, presumably, their captors—were just around the next corner, but she could hear no sound from Wolfram or his elven accomplice.

What should she do?

What could she do?

From what she had seen of Cyllien's earlier attempt to escape, the elleth would be in no condition to help her. Hentmirë had been unconscious; even if she had since revived, it was unlikely that she would be able to walk as yet—and Eowyn did not think that she would be able to carry the heavier woman.

Her only option was a bold attack.

Vardamir is weak and easily led, she thought. And he does seem to care for Cyllien. Without Wolfram he is probably little threat.

I must be swift and accurate.

Gripping her knife, she ran into the next cavern.


Keret hid the carpet bag under his blanket.

Gods, it's getting busy round here! First the two kids. Then the man. And now two elves...

He sat down on his mud brick bench and took the remains of the sausage out of his pocket. Not that it's anything to do with me, he thought, wiping some fluff off the meat. If those kids want to get into trouble...

That fat one! What a stupid thing to do! Why not pick pockets like everyone else?

He took a bite of sausage.

Who are the elves looking for, anyway, he wondered. The man or the two boys? I've seen that thin kid before, but where? Not on the street...

He chewed the sausage, mechanically. Where had he seen the boy before?

Oh PIZZLE! he thought. Pizzle, pizzle, pizzle. It's the princess! And she may be in real trouble.

He pulled back the blanket, took out the lamp, and held it up in the fading light.

What's so special about this?

The Princess's elf saw me in the souk, so he knows I took it. He looks soft, but I bet that big one would give me a hiding—if he caught me. On the other hand, if I tell them where to find the princess, they might forget about the lamp.

They might even give me a reward...

He put the lamp back in the bag, hid the bag safely under his blanket, and slipped out into the darkness.


Eowyn stormed the cavern like an Uruk Hai berserker—weapon ready, mind and body entirely focussed on finding her quarry and killing him.

Her quarry was not there.

In the eerie light of two large oil lamps, she could see Cyllien, chained hand and foot, cowering against the cavern wall, and Hentmirë lying beside her, still unconscious.

But there was no sign of the elf, nor of the Man.

Slightly disoriented, Eowyn sheathed her knife and knelt down beside the elleth.

"Cyllien..." she whispered.

There was no response. Eowyn grasped her face. "Cyllien, where are the keys?"

"What are you doing here?"

Eowyn smiled. "I am here to rescue you. Where are the keys to your chains?"

"Vardamir... Vardamir has them."

Eowyn swore. "Where is he?" she asked, turning to Hentmirë and quickly checking her for any signs of serious injury. "Where is Wolfram?"

"They went through there," said Cyllien, pointing to another passage, which Eowyn had not noticed. "Did you come here for me?"

"Yes," said Eowyn. "We both did." Hentmirë's breathing was regular and her pulse seemed strong. Eowyn carefully rolled her onto her side, arranging her limbs to keep her in position.

"Why?" asked Cyllien.

Eowyn looked up from her task. "Why did we come for you? Because I know Wolfram—I know what he is like and I would not wish him on anyone. And, also, for Haldir's sake." Satisfied that Hentmirë was safe, she rose to her feet. "I am going after Wolfram," she said, drawing her knife. "Try to stay calm. And keep a watch on Hentmirë."

"What did you mean?" asked Cyllien. "About Haldir?"

But Eowyn was already running down the passage.


Legolas took another look at the map. "Wait," he said, "Eowyn's cross is beyond these buildings, further to the west—what is that, past the rock ridge?"

"Tombs," said Haldir. "I believe those are tombs. But surely—"

"That is exactly the sort of place that Wolfram would choose," said Legolas. "Come."

"No—wait a moment!" Haldir dropped to the ground and examined the surface of the road.

Legolas joined him. "I cannot make it out," he said. "This sand does not hold tracks well..."

"No," said Haldir. "But I think there was some sort of fight here." He followed the faint traces to the softer sand at the edge of the road. "And look at this!"

He was pointing to a mark—part of a footprint—most of it crumbled and indistinct, but a tiny patch of it miraculously preserved by a splash of fresh blood.

"Oh, no," whispered Legolas. "Oh, Melmenya, no!—I begged her to stay at home, Haldir. And she promised..."

Haldir squeezed his arm. "We do not know that it is Eowyn's blood, mellon nín," he said. "The print is small, but still too big, I think, to be hers, or Hentmirë's or—thank the Valar—Cyllien's. I think it is Wolfram's. And I think he did go this way..."


"So we'll let Cyllien go," said Vardamir.

He had drawn Wolfram to the mouth of the cave—a low, wide opening in the cliff wall—in the hope that he could keep the man from learning of the elleth's attempted escape.

"Don't be stupid!"

"But if Abdi is in prison, what else can we do with her—oh no! No!"

Wolfram sighed. "The moment we set her free she'd be singing to the Hatja's Guards."

"I'd make her promise—"

"How old are you?"

"Then I'd take her away," said Vardamir. "To Rihat... Yes, I'd take her to Rihat and keep her there—"

"She hates you," said Wolfram.

"What do you mean?"

"She may be all over you now, but that's only because she's afraid of me. If the two of you were alone, she'd knife you the moment you turned your back. Not that I care," he added, quickly. "But then she'd come back to Carhilivren—back to Ribhadda. And one or the other of them would turn me in." He beckoned to the elf. "Come here."


Wolfram smiled, wolfishly. "You don't trust me do you?"

"You just said that you didn't care if I died."

"I just gave you some advice that will keep you alive," Wolfram corrected. "And I'm about to give you some more... Come over here." He led the reluctant elf out onto the shallow ledge and pointed to the foaming sea, thirty feet below. "One push at low tide. That's all it will take."

"No—you can't."

"Not me—you."


"YAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!" Eowyn flew into the cavern, roaring like a orc. Wolfram, though taken by surprise, instinctively dodged her blade. And Vardamir—moving, for once, with all the speed and precision of an elf—caught her about the waist and lifted her off her feet.

"Oh, My Lady!" cried Wolfram. "My beautiful, beautiful she-wolf! You have come looking for me!"

"Come anywhere near me and I shall slit your throat!" cried Eowyn. "Put me down," she yelled at Vardamir. "He is not your friend. He despises you. Let me deal with him. Let me set you free..." She struggled against his elven strength.

"Who would not love this woman?" said Wolfram. "Imagine being inside that! Gods' bollocks, she would suck your bones out through your prick! Let her go."


"Let her go; I want her." He drew a short knife from the scabbard at his hip. "Come, My Lady, dance with me!"

Reluctantly, Vardamir dropped Eowyn to the ground.

"Leave us alone," said Wolfram.



Vardamir left.

Eowyn and Wolfram, daggers raised, eyed one another. "Strike, My Lady," said Wolfram, "both my weapons are ready..."


He dropped his knife and threw himself at her, catching her wrists and smashing her down on the sloping rock floor. Eowyn lay trapped beneath him, gasping for breath. Her knife fell from her hand.

"There is no one like you, is there?" said Wolfram. He leant down and devoured her mouth, at the same time pressing his erection against her belly. "God's prick, we're going to enjoy this! I can be just as wild as you are, and—Oh!"

Eowyn had brought her knee up between his legs but had missed her target.

"You're fighting dirty," he whispered. "Just like last time! But I like that. I like it very much. And, of course," he pressed his hips down, "it only makes me harder."

"You pig!"

"Wolf," he said. "I am a wolf and you are my bitch."

Eowyn smiled. "Real wolves do not wear breeches. And, the moment you let go of my wrists to open yours, I will rip your eyes out."

"Then I will fuck you blind."

"Wolfram..." Vardamir had returned.

"I said go away! Now, where were we?" Eowyn was still smiling. And, as Wolfram leaned down, and her smile broadened, his confidence suddenly wavered. "What are you—"

She arched her back, and rubbed herself against him. It did not take much.

"Oh!" He came hard, his body convulsing.

Then he relaxed, panting, and his grip slackened...

Eowyn pulled her hands from his grasp and, thrusting him away, rolled across the ground and snatched up her knife. Then she rose, a Shieldmaiden once more, and turned on him, her dagger raised.

But Wolfram had already recovered.

He pushed himself up from the rock, laughing. "What a woman!" he said, shaking his head with genuine admiration. "What a team we'd make! The wolf and his bitch!" And, ignoring the knife, he reached for her.

Eowyn took a step backwards.

"No!" cried Wolfram. "No, no!"

He lunged for her, but he was too late.


"Eowyn!" cried Legolas. "Something has happened to her! I can feel it. She is under water—sinking!—terrified! She cannot breathe!" He pressed his hand to his chest. "I can feel it!"


"I do not know—"

"Are you talking about the princess?" asked a small voice.


The desert at night was Keret's natural element and he had approached the elves so stealthily, neither had been aware of him until he spoke.

"Princess?" The smaller elf turned in surprise. Then, "You!" he cried. "Release the djinn! Quickly!"

"Djinn?" Of course, you blockhead! thought Keret. The lamp has a djinn inside! "What will you pay me for it?" he asked, cheekily.

"Anything you ask," cried the elf. "Anything! Just give it to me. Quickly!" He caught Keret by the arms.

"Hold your hair on! Let go of me and I'll fetch it..."

"No," said the elf. "Take me to it."

"All right. But you promise—anything I want."

"Eärendil is my witness—now, please—"

"Ear what?"

"Yes! Anything you want! Please! Eowyn—the princess—we must hurry—"

"Did you see the man fetch her?" asked the big elf, suddenly.

Keret looked from one elf to the other. "The princess? The princess went down by herself. The man took the fat kid."

"Which tomb?"

"The small one with the broken door."

"Go and release the djinn," said the big elf. "I shall go down into the tomb."

The smaller elf squeezed his friend's arm. "Thank you, mellon nín," he said. Then he turned to Keret. "Let us go. Quickly."


Wolfram's field of vision contracted to the tiny patch of water the woman had disappeared beneath.

No! No, no, NO!

Not NOW!

He jumped.


Side-by-side, the boy and the elf sprinted across the desert.

It's true they're fast, thought Keret. This one could go faster than a horse...

But, as they neared his hideout, the boy's instinct for self-preservation suddenly asserted itself.

How do I know I can trust him?


"Cyllien..." Haldir crouched beside the weeping elleth. "Shhh, shhhhhh..." He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. "Just be brave for a few moments more," he said, softly. "Where is Eowyn?"

He felt her body stiffen. But she answered. "She went after Wolfram and Vardamir. Down there."

He lifted her chin. "Take care of Hentmirë, Tithen Dúlinn. I will be back for you soon, I promise."


Wolfram dived beneath the surface.

In the dim moonlight he could just make out the dark shape of Eowyn's body, floating, hands outstretched...

He swam over to her and, grasping her beneath the arms, pushed her head out of the water.

"You are not escaping me," he cried "Not again!" He pulled her over his shoulder and hammered his fist on her back until she took a great spluttering gulp of air.

"Yes!" he cried, pounding her back to keep her breathing. "Yes! Stay with me, my brave bitch, stay with me!"


"Remember what you promised," Keret panted, "with your friend Ear-something as a witness..."

"Anything you want," said the elf. "I swear it—on the princess's life."

Good enough for me, thought the boy. "In here!" He swerved off the road, jumped over a pile of mud bricks—the remains of a garden wall—ran across a chequerboard of sand and soil—dried-out flower beds—and ducked through the canvas curtain that served as the door to his dilapidated villa.

The elf followed.

Keret pulled back his blanket. "There."

The elf snatched up the bag, ripped it open, pulled out the lamp, and rubbed it vigorously.

A wisp of smoke curled from its spout.

The elf kept rubbing.

A great cloud exploded from the lamp, instantly forming itself into a head, two hands, and a body...


"In the sea!" cried the elf. "Go and—"

But the djinn was already soaring into the sky.


Eowyn had begun to struggle. "Let me go! Let me go!"

"Stop it!" cried Wolfram, spitting out a mouthful of salt water. "God's prick, you have spirit, but, for once, let me be on top!"

He could swim like a fish but not with a struggling woman in his arms and, when he looked along the coast in either direction, he could see no way to get them both ashore. "Vardamir!" he shouted up at the cave, "Vardamir, where are you? Throw me a rope—"

As he was looking upwards, something appeared at the corner of his eye—something man-shaped, but vast—something with a head, and shoulders, with arms and hands—but with a body that tapered into nothing but smoke...

Wolfram shook his head, trying to clear the impossible vision from his sight, but the thing was still swooping down towards him, and shouting, "Pretty little mistress! Pretty little mistress! Your wish is my command!"

Pretty little...? Instinctively, Wolfram grasped Eowyn more tightly.

Eowyn raised her head from his shoulder, "Help me!" she croaked.

"I hear and obey!" The thing caught her by the shoulders. "How, mistress?"

"Take me to Legolas."

It tried to wrench her from Wolfram's arms.

"No!" cried Wolfram. "No! You shall not take her from me! She is mine. She—"

Like a parent with a naughty child, the thing raised its hand, and cuffed the side of his head.


"Wolfram!" cried Vardamir. He turned to Haldir, who had just arrived at the cave mouth. "That thing has killed Wolfram."

"I doubt it," said Haldir, watching the djinn carry Eowyn away, leaving Wolfram floating, face down, on the surface of the water. "That man is immortal.

"Come, Vardamir," he added, "you can surrender or you can force me to overpower you—the choice is yours."


Three hours later

"Lady Hentmire appears to have suffered no permanent harm, sir," said the healer, rather stiffly, to Legolas, "in fact...

"In fact, she seems healthier than I can remember seeing her for some years... Younger." He peered at the elf, as if expecting an explanation.

Legolas smiled. "That is good news, sir."



"Elleth is clearly distressed, but I can find no sign of illness or injury in her—though I am, of course, unfamiliar with people of your kind."

Legolas nodded. "And my wife?"

"The young lady was, I understand, submerged beneath the sea for several minutes," said the healer.

"Yes, I believe so."

"And that was three hours ago?"


"Then the next five hours are of most concern. Give her sweet cordial; keep her temperature normal: if she feels cold, cover her up, if she feels warm, cool her down—sponge her with cold water, if necessary—and, if she wants to lie down, try to keep her head and shoulders raised. If she feels no worse after five hours, I think you can assume that she is fully recovered."


"What is wrong, Melmenya?" asked Legolas, gently.

He laid her carefully on their bed, arranging the cushions behind her head, then sat down beside her and took her hand in his. "I am not angry with you..."

"Angry?" she turned to him in alarm. "What do you mean? How do you know—"

"Well, you did break your promise to me—"

"Oh, that..." Eowyn sighed. "I thought you would understand that."

"Of course I understand—you went to rescue Cyllien," said Legolas. "I would rather you had kept your promise, but I do understand."

He gathered her into his arms. "I do not think I will ever let you out of my sight again, Eowyn nín. In fact, I think I am going to ask Gimli to make you a collar and chain so that I can keep you attached to my belt."

Eowyn's body was shaking in his arms and he smiled down at her, thinking that she was laughing...

"Melmenya! What is wrong?"

She was sobbing, silently, against his shoulder. He lifted her chin and tried to catch her gaze but she avoided his eyes, and began to cry out loud: "I am sorry, Lassui! I am so, so sorry!"

It was hard to hear beyond the roaring in his ears. "He raped you," he whispered; then louder, and angrily: "The bastard raped you! Oh, Melmenya..." He pulled her close. "You have nothing to be sorry for. Nothing..." He rocked her to and fro, rubbing her back soothingly, tears falling from his eyes. "Shhhhhh, shhhhhh, Melmenya—"

"No!" wailed Eowyn. "I raped him."

"Melmenya?" Legolas stopped rocking. "Whatever do you mean?"

Haltingly, she explained what had happened between her and Wolfram in the cavern. "I do not know why I did it, Legolas," she whispered. "I did not even think. I just did it."

Legolas bit his lip. "It was very clever," he said.

"Do you hate me?"

"Hate you!" He hugged her tightly. "Am I angry? Yes—with him! Do I want to kill him? Yes—after I have gelded him! Are you the most remarkable woman—the most remarkable person—I have ever met? Yes! Do I love you? More and more each day..." He buried his face in her hair. "You beat him, Melmenya. You beat him—"

"I descended to his level. I am ashamed."

"Could you have escaped him any other way?"

"I do not think so, but—"

"But what?"

"It was not honourable. It was not"—she searched for the right word—"manly."

"Oh, Melmenya." He kissed the top of her head. "No man would have been put to such a test—at least, not by him. You did what you had to do. And it worked."

"No." Eowyn shook her head. "It gave him what he wanted. And it made him want me more."

"It may have given him a taste of what he cannot have, Melmenya. But think of this: if you are feeling dishonourable now, how much more dishonourable would you be feeling if your courage had failed you? If you had given in, and allowed him to take everything he wanted?"

"I cannot bear to imagine it."

"Then do not." He kissed her again. "Tell me what I can do, Melmenya. Tell me how I can make it better..."

Eowyn snuggled closer. "Sing to me," she whispered.


"...Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon..."


The five hours had passed without incident; Legolas had taken Eowyn out onto the balcony, and now they were lying, side-by-side on a low divan, gazing up at Varda's creation.

"Legolas..." whispered Eowyn, as his song died softly away.


"Do you want to make love to me?"

He turned to face her. "Oh, Melmenya," he stroked her cheek, "always. If you feel well enough."


"Shhhhh." He kissed her tenderly, gently pulling at her nightgown, sliding his hand up her thigh and over her hip. Then, still kissing her, he opened his own leggings, and pulled her close.

Eowyn tried to roll onto her back.

"No," he whispered, "like this. Side by side, and slowly, hervess a hervenn."

Eowyn buried her face in his hair and wept.


He held her until her tears had ended. Then he felt her little hand touch him tentatively, and stroke him, gently fondling him, exploring his hardness. And he waited, letting her take her time, letting her decide.

"Ah..." he sighed. She was pulling him—still gently—drawing him towards her, taking him inside her. "Hervess nín," he whispered.

Slowly, sensitively, he took over, holding her lightly by the waist, and moving, with long, smooth strokes, inside her, soothing her, until her body relaxed and she settled against him.

"Oh Lassui," she whispered. "My beautiful, beautiful Legolas."

He reached for her with his mind...


"You can feel me, too," he whispered, smiling.


"Shhhhh. Later."

He kissed her forehead. And, gathering her close, he continued to thrust, slowly, gently, opening his mind to her, laying bare his love for her, and letting her explore it—timidly at first but then, with his encouragement, boldly and joyfully—and, all the while, he was patiently drawing her—drawing them both—towards fulfilment, and a union that nothing and no one would ever sunder.



"You need some sleep, Melmenya." He kissed her, tenderly.

"No," said Eowyn, "I am not tired at all. What happened between us, Lassui?"

Legolas smiled. "I am not sure, Eowyn nín. Some elves, as you know, can talk from mind to mind, without words. And I have felt your feelings before—"


"The first time we made love, during the Harvest Rite. But last night, when you fell in the sea, I felt everything—the physical sensations of drowning, the fear—"

"I was afraid," said Eowyn, with embarrassment.

"Oh, Melmenya, anyone would have been afraid! That terrible pain—the longing to breathe where there was no air..." He hugged her tightly. "I do not know why it has happened to us, Melmenya. I do not know if it is permanent—"

"Did you share it with—with them?"


"Not with Arwen?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"Because she is Lord Elrond's daughter. And because you are lying to me—and I do not think you would lie about any of the others."

"Do you say that because you are feeling my thoughts or because you know me?"

Eowyn shook her head. "Because it is written on your face, Legolas." She smiled. "I cannot feel you now, but there would be nothing to fear if I could," she said. "You have never been able to lie to me, even before this."

He stroked her cheek. "Perhaps it happened a little with Arwen," he said. "Vague impressions. It was certainly not the bond that we seem to have."

"Do you think we can control it?"

"I have no idea, Melmenya. Time will tell."

"Life is certainly never dull with an elf," said Eowyn.

Legolas laughed. "Is that good?"

"I think so," she said, grinning. "Shall we go downstairs, Lassui, and see if Hentmirë is recovered?"


"And find out if Wolfram has been captured?"


"And"—Eowyn took his hand, —"shall we go back to the Turquoise Gardens this afternoon? I am sure it would do Hentmirë good. And Cyllien, too. And if you and I are going to try to share our feelings again, I should like it to be amongst the trees."



Faramir clung to the saddle as his camel dropped, jerkily, to its knees, then gratefully swung his leg over the pommel and dropped to the ground. "Gods," he gasped, trying to work his stiff legs.

"May I never have to ride a camel again!" Berengar staggered towards him, stretching his back and rubbing his injured shoulder.

"Be careful!" cried Faramir. He checked the younger man's dressing. "This needs changing. And, I am sorry to have to break this to you," he added, "but you must ride all the way back to Carhilivren."

Berengar shook his head. "Oh no," he said. "No, Faroth—I will have to make a new life for myself here."

He looked past the water station, to where the city itself began. The strange buildings of mud brick—tall, many-storied, and peppered with tiny windows—were hung with all the trappings of daily life in a town—potted plants, birdcages, strings of colourful washing—and the streets between were filled with bustle—women traders crouching beside heaps of food laid out on cloths, animals foraging, and groups of noisy children playing with knucklebones.

"It does not look so bad."

Faramir laughed. He turned to Oliel. "How are you?"

Oliel smiled. "I shall be better when I have seen her, my friend."

"Of course. Let us find somewhere to stay and clean up Berengar's wound. Then you and I will go straight to the place mentioned in the letter—that is, if you are happy for me to accompany you."

"I would be most grateful, Faramir," said Oliel.

"My lords..."

The three men turned towards the owner of the voice—the woman who had dressed Berengar's wound in the Ripa'a Pass. She placed her hands together and bowed.

"My lady would be honoured," she said, addressing herself directly to Berengar, "if you will accept this, my lord, as a token of her gratitude." She handed him a small item, wrapped in a silken cloth. "And she requests, once more, that you will wait upon her father..."

"We shall, Mistress," said Faramir. And for some reason, he felt compelled to place his hand upon his heart and bow, elven-fashion.

The woman returned his courtesy, and backed away.

"Oh gods, Faroth," whispered Berengar.

"What is it?"

"A ring," said the younger man. "It is a gold ring."



Contents page


Previous chapter: Trapped
Eowyn gets into a tight spot.

Chapter 6

Next chapter: Painful truths
Oliel finds his wife. Keret clains his reward.

Chapter 8


Chapter 2

Tithen Dúlinn, ... ‘little nightingale’.
As I understand it, placing the adjective before the noun like this is ‘poetic’. But I think Haldir does it because dúlinn dithen would sound silly. Dúlinn literally means ‘dusk singer’, so it’s a doubly appropriate nickname for Cyllien.

Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon

is part of the song Ai Elbereth Gilthoniel, which Frodo hears in Elrond’s Hall of Fire. It means
‘Ever-white, I will sing to thee
From this side of the ocean; from this side of the Great Ocean.’

Hervess a hervenn ... ‘wife and husband’—Legolas is saying ‘let us make love as equals’.

Hervess nín ... ‘my wife’.