To that question Fingolfin had, as yet, no answer.
The Eryn Brethil Road
But why will you not help her? Legolas demanded.
His double walked back to his horse. I have said nothingI
have yet to decide, he replied. But it has never been
our way to involve ourselves in the affairs of men.
Legolas pushed the letter inside his jerkin. Never been
our way? How was Sauron defeated if not by an alliance of
men, elves, and dwarves! How could this colony exist without the
permission of the King of Gondor and the grace of the Prince of
Ithilien? How can you ignore the human homesteads within its boundaries,
the human settlements along its borders? How
You speak of your own world, not of mine, said his
double. And may I remind you that you agreed not to interfere
in the running of my colony. He mounted Arod.
EOWYN NEEDS YOU! Legolas saw Valandil wince, but
he pursued his double. What happened to you? he demanded.
What happened with Aragornwith Eowynduring the
Ring War? Why are you not friends?
That, said the other elf, coldly, is none of
your concern. Now I suggest that we take Aranwë back
to the cityValandil, return to the guard post.
The Mirkwood elf, though clearly confused by what he had just
witnessed, accepted his orders with a bow of the head.
Keep a watch for these dark warriors, said Legolas.
We will send reinforcements
That is for me to decide, said his double.
Legolas stared up at him. Then you had better make the
right decision, he said. Immediately.
Go, Valandil; I will do what is necessary.
You must assemble your Inner Council, insisted Legolas,
grasping his horses shoulder and springing onto its back.
This war is already putting the colony at riskyou
cannot pretend otherwise simply because you have decided to shun
men. Even if you will not help Eowyn, the dark army has already
invaded your land. You must
I will do what is necessary, his double repeated,
catching up Brightstars reins. Come, we have wasted
enough time already.
Five years earlier, at Edoras
The revels were over. One by one, the few determined drinkers
that remained in the Golden Hall were falling asleep where they
sat. Legolas, wandering aimlessly between the carved wooden columns,
glanced into a dark corner and met the startled eyes of a warrior,
vigorously enjoying a young serving wench.
Apologetically, the elf backed away and, suddenly needing
to see the stars, fled outside onto the terrace.
But the sky was veiled and a dark shadow of foreboding settled
across his mind. He raised the hood of his elven cloak.
Is something troubling you, my Lord? King Theodens
beautiful niece came up beside him.
I needed some air, my Lady.
The smell of sweat and ale can be overpowering, she
agreed. She looked out across the plains of Rohan. What
is it you see?
The eye of the enemy is moving, my Lady.
Searching for the Ring?
You should rest, my Lord. I believe my uncle's steward
has already found you a bedchamber, but if you need clean clothes,
or a bathor company for the night...
How long did I sleep? asked Eowyn, emerging, still
undressed, from her tiny bedchamber.
Berengar looked up from the ledger he was carefully updating.
Eight hours! How could you leave me
You needed ithere. He rose, unfolded a chair
for her, and helped her sit down.
I must wash...
I was not going to mention that. He grinned. You
will need breakfast, too. I shall send one of women in with soap
and water. After, that is, I have made my confession.
Stifling a yawn, Eowyn squinted up at him. What else have
Berengar leaned back against the table, arms folded across his
chest. I have sent a messenger to your brother, he
admitted, with Captain Alfgars help. We have asked
Eomer King to send an army.
Oh Béma, no! Eowyn sprang to her feet.
We need help, my lady.
That is why I have sent to Legolas.
But he is an elf, my lady, said Berengar, gently
easing her back into her chair. And the fair folkeven
those that remainshun our world and all its troubles. I
do not believe he will come.
He will come; he said that he would...
Eowyn rubbed her face, sighing. You do know that he and
Eomer hate each other? If they both come we will have three
hostile forces to deal with.
Then perhaps they will all fight amongst themselves,
said Berengar, and leave us alone.
To Legolas surprise, when they reached the city, his double
wasted no time in dispatching reinforcements to Eryn Brethil.
The Inner Council will meet in half an hour, he said.
You may attend if you wish.
The guards beside the door bowed uneasily as Legolasleading
Eowyn and Hentmirë, and followed by Gimli and Berrynentered
the Council Chamber. His double was already seated at the table,
together with Lords Fingolfin, Caranthir, and Lenwë, and
his March Warden, Golradir. I did not invite your entourage,
he said, quietly.
Legolas bowed. I took the liberty of bringing my companions,
my Lords, since Lady Eowyns opinion will be of great value
in this matter, and Master Berryn has detailed geographical knowledge
of Emyn Arnen, Lord Gimli is an experienced warrior, and Lady
I insisted on coming, said the little woman.
I have no objection, my Lord, said Fingolfin,
to hearing the opinions of Lord Legolas friends.
Nor have I, said Caranthir. Lenwë and Golradir
murmured in agreement.
Very well, thenplease, all be seated. But do remember
that we must keep these proceedings brief.
Then might I put Princess Eowyns case? Legolas
drew her letter from inside his tunic.
His double waved a hand in assent.
I have spoken to Master Dínendal, said Legolas.
Aranwë is awake and will join us shortly to describe
what he saw at Emyn Arnen. Until then, I will explain what we
know from Princess Eowyns message.
Approximately three weeks ago, an army of what she calls
dark warriors emerged from the rocks immediately south
of Caras Arnen. They stormed the city under cover of darkness,
taking the people by surprise and inflicting heavy casualties,he
wrapped a supportive arm around EowynPrince Faramir,
I am sad to report, was amongst the dead.
Lord Fingolfin gasped.
By dawn, the dark army was in control. Princess Eowyn managed
to escape and, together with the remnants of the North Ithilien
Guard, led the survivors to a refuge south of the hills. The following
night, a small force of dark warriors attacked but were easily
repelledPrincess Eowyn thinks that her present position
isor rather wasrelatively safe. Whatever method
the dark people use to pass through the rocks, she believes that
they cannot use it there.
You say that she was safe, said Lord Caranthir.
What has changed?
Aranwë observed a second army on the Caras
Arnen road, replied Legolas. It will have reached
Emyn Arnen shortly after dusk, last night.
The dark warriors, he continued, now have reinforcements.
In her letter, Princess Eowyn suggests that the two forces may
be planning to attack in concert.
But that means, said Caranthir, that it may
already be too latethe Princess may already be dead.
She may began Legolas.
But she may not, said Eowyn suddenly. She is
entirely alone, my lordscut off from King Elessar in the
west and her brother in the north, and she has appealed to you
as a last resort. You are her only hope. She spoke
directly to Legolas double. Pleaseyou cannot
ignore her cry for helpeven if she is dead, her people
still need you.
Legolas gave her a comforting hug. His double poured out a glass
of water, and pushed it across the table.
Remember, my lords, said Legolas, that these
dark warriors have already invaded your lands. Princess Eowyns
letter mentions the Divor Rocks
Oh shierI mean...
The elves of Inner Council turned towards the new voice. Do
you have something to say, MasterBerrynis it not?
asked Legolas double.
Yes, my Lordyes, I do. Three days ago, said
the cartographer, in our world, several bodies were
found in the forest of Eryn Laeg, immediately south west of the
Divor Rocks. Now, it may be a co-incidence, he admitted,
but The Aelvorn, the Divor Rocks, and Emyn Arnen all lie
along a crack, or fissure, that seems to join our two worlds...
Washed and dressed, Eowyn left her tent and, threading her way
through the mêlée of people and horses, crossed the
plateau to where a group of hastily-erected wooden sheds and canvas
awnings had been turned into a field Healing Room.
She paused beside the door of the largest building, screwing
up the courage to enter, then stepped inside.
Eowyn was no stranger to battle woundsshe had been injured
herself on Pelennor Fieldbut this was the first time that
she had had to face the agonies of men and women who had been
wounded as a direct consequence of her own orders.
She let her gaze travel round the room, taking in the broken
and bleeding bodies, heaving and moaning and sobbing on their
beds of straw and blankets. She bent over the manno more
than a boywho lay at her feet, and tried to shoo away the
flies that were feeding on his wound.
The young soldier caught hold of her tunic. My Lady,
he sobbed, please dont let me diemy mother has
no one elseplease dont let me die...
Tears spilling from her eyes, Eowyn squeezed his hand, but no
words of reassurance would pass her lips.
Your Highness! The healer in chargeformerly
the Palace physicianhurried to her side, gently disengaged
her hand and drew her towards the door. What can I do for
you, my Lady?
I... It is more a matter of what I can do for you,
said Eowyn. Is there anything you need, Master Ethelmar?
The healer smiled tiredly. Bandages and splints, my lady;
clean water, spirits, healing herbs and salvesbut I believe
that Master Berengar has it all in hand.
Eowyn nodded. Good.
There is one thing more, though. He drew her further
from the boy, and lowered his voice to a whisper. A good,
strong man, who is not afraid to use a club.
Eowyns blood ran cold.
To ease their passing, my lady, he added, softly.
I will try to find someone, Master Ethelmar, said
Eowyn, the words catching in her throat.
Thank youexcuse me. One of his patients was
screaming in pain.
Eowyn returned to the boy who had earlier caught her hand. I
will find your mother, she began.
But his eyes were staring up at her, unseeing.
Aranwë, though still somewhat drowsy, had given a detailed
account of everything he had seen, both on the Caras Arnen road
and at the camp in Emyn Arnen.
Would you say that Princess Eowyn is overmatched?
Indeed I would, my lord, replied the messenger. The
lady is resourcefulthere is no doubt of thather captains
are loyal and all her men love her. But her forces are few and
her supplies are running low.
Legolas turned to his double. What do you propose to do?
The other elf addressed his counsellors. Naturally, my
Lords, March Warden, I would value your opinions. What do you
advise, Lord Fingolfin?
We must aid the lady, said the counsellor, without
hesitation. It is the only honourable course open to us.
From what I have heard, my Lord, said the Treasurer,
it is also in the interests of our own security to do so.
I agree with Lord Lenwë, said Golradir, and,
in addition, I suggest that we send a small force to the Divor
It is unanimous then, said Legolas double, with
a faint smile.
How many troops can you raise? asked Legolas.
No more than a thousand, replied Golradir, without
leaving the colony itself unprotected. In time, we may call up
another two hundred, perhaps, from the southern settlements.
Legolas shook his head. It is still too few...
When we reach Emyn Arnen, said Gimli, speaking for
the first time, we must send immediately to Aragorn and
make sure that the message gets through. He turned to Legolas
double. May I make a suggestion, lad?
The elfs face froze in a most peculiar expression. You
may, Gimli, son of Gloin.
I suggest that Legolas, Eowyn and I leave now, with a handful
of volunteers. We will follow the route your messenger took, running
the gauntlet if need be, and inform the lady that your army is
on its way. Then we will leave for Minas Tirith immediately.
Gimli, said Legolas, you are a genius.
Eowyn stumbled from the Healing Room and vomited her breakfast
at the foot of the rock wall.
My lady... Captain Alfgar remained at a tactful
I Eowyn wiped her mouth before turning to face
him. I am ready to discuss tactics, she said, resolutely.
There is no shame in feeling for the wounded, my Lady,
said the soldier gently. Then he added, We have taken a
prisoner. I thought you would want to question him yourself.
Does he speak Westron?
He has not uttered a word, my lady. But he has a smug look
about him, if you know what I meanas if he does understand
what we are saying. This way... He guided her between
two groups of citizensmen and womenpractising simple
sword skills. We have put him in one of the refugee tents.
Where was he captured.?
He had fallen into the gulley and got himself a stake through
the shoulder. We missed him in the first search because he had
managed to hack through the wood and hide in the undergrowth.
Will he survive his injuries?
The healer thinks so.
Alfgar raised the tent flap and Eowyn stepped inside. The prisoner
was sitting against one of the tent poles, his hands crossed behind
the wood and bound with a length of stout rope.
Eowyn watched him, thoughtfully. With the wound in his shoulder,
the position must have been excruciatingI am surprised
the healer permitted them to bind him like thatbut there
was no sign of pain on the creatures handsome face, nor
any fear in his fiery red eyes.
I want him stripped naked, she said.
My Lady! Captain Alfgar stared at her, open-mouthed.
I want our armourers to examine his leather and mailto
test its strengths and weaknesses. Were his weapons found?
A long knife, my lady, replied Alfgar.
No, my lady.
Pity. Have the armourers test the knife, too. Then fetch
Master EthelmarI want him examined. I want to know
his strengths and weaknesses.
Yes, my lady.
And, when Master Ethelmar has finished, send for me and
I shall question him.
Naked my Lady?
Eowyn chuckled. No, Captain. You may find him a blanket.
Or, better still, a tunic and some leggings!
Well? asked Legolas.
It is a good plan, Master Dwarf, said his double.
You have my permission to recruit your volunteershow
many do you seek?
Six, said Gimli.
March Warden Golradir will assist you.
I shall need a sword, said Eowyn.
I am sure we can accommodate you, my Lady.
After leaving the Council Chamber, the Lord of Eryn Carantaur
hurried to his private chambers and climbed the stairs to his
garden flet. He had some unpopular news to break.
Alatáriël was waiting for him, sitting motionless
on their swing. Legolas crossed the wooden platform and knelt
You are going to war, she said.
All her customary sparkleall her mischiefhad deserted
her, leaving her barely recognisable. Legolas lifted her hands
to his lips. Yes, he said, softly.
Because of her.
Because it would be dishonourable to leave Princess Eowyn
to face this threat alone, yes. But also because if North Ithilien
falls, South Ithilien will follow soon after.
I do not want you to go!
I would be disappointed if you did, said Legolas,
gently. But in time of war, nadithen, a warrior has
Let me go with you.
You have not been trained to fight, meleth nín.
It would be too dangerous.
She is going! They will both be there.
Yes. They are both warriors.
Promise me, Legolas Greenleafpromise that you will
never make love to hernot to either one of her.
Smiling, Legolas wrapped her in his arms. I love you, Alatáriël.
Do not doubt me, meleth nín.
Five years earlier, at Edoras
Company for the night! Legolas, still affected by what
he had seen in the Golden Halland painfully aware of the
months that had passed since he had last been with an ellethreached
She did not resist.
He lifted her onto the parapet andkissing her hungrilygroped
for the hem of her skirts, pulled them up, pushed her legs apart,
and buried himself inside her with a sigh that seemed to anticipate
the satisfaction to come.
He felt her gasp, and open her legs wider to take his bulk. Then
she crossed her ankles behind him, and drew him in tight...
Legolas grasped her buttocks and thrustwith hard, sharp,
sudden lungeshis body trembling at the prospect of release.
Eowyn dug her fingers into his hair, holding his head close
whilst she devoured his mouth, moaning, Yes! Oh, yes!
against his lips.
And when he reached his first climaxbursting inside
her with a cry of wonderhe did not feel that what he was
doing was wrong...
The five companions returned to the guest house in silence.
Gimli immediately disappeared into his bedchamber to fetch his
Hentmirë, who had insisted on volunteering for the missionI
know the journey will be dangerous, Legolas, but once we
are there I shall be right at the backhelping to make food
and bandages,went to change into her trousers and
Lassui... Eowyn drew Legolas into their bedchamber.
Are you sure, she asked softly, that we should
be doing this? Since Berryn mentioned the Divor Rocks, I keep
wonderingwhat if the bodies that Master Amdír found
in Eryn Laeg were the start of an invasion? Do you not want to
Legolas took her in his arms. We do not know what may be
happening in our own world, melmenya, but this invasion
is real. And this Eowyn needs us. He hugged her tightly.
When you fell into The Aelvorn, my darling, I did not stop
to consider my responsibilities to Eryn Carantaur. I followed
The colony did not seem to be in danger then.
Do you think that would have made any difference?
He kissed her forehead.
No. But she is not me, Lassui.
I know, melmenya. I know. But there is something...
Her handher signatureis exactly like yours.
Do not confuse us.
You will find that I can be a very jealous wife, Legolas.
Laughing, the elf lifted her off the ground, and kissed her thoroughly.
As Legolas double descended from his garden flet, with Alatáriël
clinging to his arm, a tiny movement, visible through the window
of the guest house opposite, caught his attention and held it,
Five years earlier, at Edoras
Legolas raised his head from Eowyns bosom.
This did not happen, she whispered. Nothing
can come of it; it cannot have happened.
But I am bound to you now
No! You cannot be! I am the niece of a Kinghis
heir, should my brother fall in battleI have a duty to my
people. I cannot be with an elf.
Legolas moved his hand to her stomach. I am sorry.
The mistake was not yours alone
No... He shook his head. No, I mean that
we no longer have any choice, meleth nín. He stroked
her belly, and felt her tremble at his touch. You are carrying
my child, Eowyn nín.
For a moment, she stared at him in alarm. Then she slowly shook
her head. No, Prince Legolas, she said, nofor
I am barren.
I know it for certain, she said. If you must
hear more, I will tell you. Or we can leave it at that.
But I am an elf, he said. Perhaps
No. I am barren, she insisted, tears filling her
eyes. Please, your Highness, say that this never happened.
Legolas felt an emptiness spread, like ice, from his heart
up into his head and down into his belly. Very well,
he whispered, carefully withdrawing from her body, I shall
say that it never happened. And I shall leave you now. He
rose, and instinctively turned his back to her before replacing
himself in his leggings and redoing his laces.
She was trying to sound indifferent, he knew, but a tiny tremor
in her voice gave him hope. Eowyn...?
Please, your Highness, go quickly, before someone sees
Wearily, he placed his hand upon his heart and bowed his head.
No i Melain na le, he said, softly. And if it
should prove that you have been mistakenthat you are with childyou
have only to send for meif you ever need me, you have only
You will take care of her...
Frowning, Legolas followed his doubles gaze to where Eowyn,
wearing elven armour, and carrying an elven sword and bow, was
mounting Vanyasul. She is perfectly capable of taking care
of herself, he said. She has saved me more times than
I can count.
His double smiled. Of course... He dragged his
attention back to Legolas. I shall follow you at first lighttell
Princess Eowynthe other Princess Eowynto expect me
by dawn on the second day.
Legolas placed his hand over his heart and bowed his head. You
have made the right decision, he said.
You will have left for Minas Tirith by the time I arrive.
If all goes according to plan.
Thenwhat is it that men do? He held out his
hand. No i Melain na le.
Legolas grasped it firmly. Hannon le, mellon nín.
Sílo Anor bo men lín. He gave his double
a final wry smile before mounting his horse and joining the small
force assembled in the clearingEowyn, Gimli, Berryn and
Hentmirë; March Warden Golradir; Camthalion and Orodreth;
two Lorien elves, Malgalad and Edrahil; and, to Legolas
surprise, clad in armour and with a bow, quiver, and knives strapped
to his back, Lord Fingolfin.
The prisoner, naked apart from the bandages swathing his slender
torso and the blanket draped around his loins, was still bound
uncomfortably to the tent pole. As Eowyn approached, he leered
up at her defiantly.
Master Ethelmar tells me that you can see both light and
heat, said the woman, turning up the wick on the small oil
lamp she was carrying. And that too much of either is painful
to you. Shall we see how much is too much?
Crouching beside him, she passed the lamp back and forth in front
of his ebony face.
The dark elf did not move, but a subtle change in his expression
told Eowyn that the healer had been right. She held the lamp closer,
and watched the drow keep his head still and his eyes openeven
though tears were running down his sculpted cheeks.
Eowyn smiled. Captain Alfgar, she called, bring
the brazier hereright in front of himand light it.
Let us see how long it takes this weakling to beg
The drow spat in her face.
Eowyn chuckled. So you do understand me, she said,
wiping away the spittle with the back of her hand. That
will make things so much easier.
The creature sneered.
Do you still want the brazier, my lady? asked Alfgar.
Bring it closer but do not light it just yet. She
turned back to the drow. I have watched your people,
she said. Every warrior fights aloneyou have no loyalty
to one another, no honour
You know nothing!
Your commanders do not rescue the injured; they do not
recover the bodies of the dead
I am not one of those house slaves!
What are you, then? Hmm? No one cares that you have been
taken. No one begs for your release. It is as though you had never
The creature settled back against the tent pole and hid behind
a blank expression.
I offer you a bargain, Master Dark Warrior, said
Eowyn. Tell me everything you know of this campaigntell
me what your people are planning and why. And if your information
proves true, when the war is over, I will set you free.
There was no response. Very well... She turned down
the lamp wick until the flame went out. I will give you
some time to think about it. Come, Captain Alfgar.