Alatáriël! cried Legolas.
Alatáriël, come back! He released Eowyn
and ran out into the lobby, catching his betrothed and pulling
her into his arms.
Come back to me, meleth nín, he whispered,
cradling her against his chest and, rocking her like a child,
he stroked her hair until he felt her body relax...
Then Eowyn appeared in the doorway, wearing nothing but the coverlet.
NO! shrieked Alatáriël, NO!
NO! Look at her! Look at her! I heard what you said
to her, Legolas Greenleaf! I heard you! And she started
to struggle again, beating her fists against his chest, and sobbing,
Let me go! Let me go!
Legolas dragged her back into his bedchamber, forcing Eowyn to
retreat before them. Tell her, he cried, tell
both of us what you are doing here! Tell us what you have
done to me!
What am I doing here? said Eowyn, coldly.
You tell me what she is doing here!
When I left you this afternoon, you made me promise that I would
return before dusk; you insisted on a proper kiss before
you would let me leave
Alatáriël roared, lashing out with her little fists.
Eowyn promptly seized a jug of water from the nightstand and splashed
it in her face. The elleth froze, mid scream, gulping for air.
Legolas, also dripping wet, scowled at Eowyn.
To calm her, she said, so that we can talk
Legolas guided Alatáriël to the bed, sat her down,
and crouched before her. I am going to send Galathil to
fetch your father, nadithen, he said, gently. Then
he can take you
You want to be rid of me!
You want to be alone with her!
Legolas looked up at Eowyn. Will you leave us please? Wait
in my sitting roomI will join you in a moment.
Eowyn gave him a look that said, You will if you know what
is good for you, rearranged her coverlet, and walked out of
the door, head held high.
Lie down, nadithen, said Legolas, helping
Alatáriël lift her legs onto the bed. I will
be back soon. He kissed her forehead.
I am your betrothed, she sniffed.
I know, meleth nín, I know.
Send her away.
I will. He smiled reassuringly.
But in his heart he knew that things would not be so simple.
Eowyn stood, tall and straight, in the centre of the sitting
room, tears welling up in her eyes. Not since Aragorn had abandoned
her at Dunharrow had she felt so helplessso hopeless
The door opened and closed behind her, and she knew that Legolas
had entered, but she could not bring herself to face him.
Why are you here? he asked.
I live here.
Eowyn whirled round. What are you
Give my complements to Master Dínendal, said
Legolas to the young guard, and ask him to come here immediatelytell
him it is an emergency. Then ask Lord Fingolfin if he will be
so kind as to join us.
Why are you sending for Dínendal? demanded
To find out what is wrong with you.
Wrong with me? There is nothing wrong with me. It is you
who have changed. How long has she been your mistress, Lassui?
Mistress! What are you talking about
Eowyns hands suddenly flew to her mouth.
What? Legolas demanded.
You said you would send for her father.
Her father is dead, said Eowyn. He died
by his own hand, soon after you passed sentence on him. And Alatáriël
has not spoken since. How can she be here with you? How
could you send for Angaráto?
Legolas ran his hand through his hair. Sit down.
I do not want
Eowyn could not refuse him, but she perched on the very edge
of her seat, nervously wringing her hands. Legolas crossed to
the sideboard, poured two glasses of strong red wine, handed one
to herHere, drink this,and downed the
Will this make everything all right? she asked, bitterly.
Legolas sat down beside her. I knew you were coming,
he said. I have been dreaming of youof sharing my
life with you. I knew you would cause trouble. But this fantasy
It is not a fantasy, cried Eowyn. You
do share your life with me, Lassui. You have done so for
almost a year.
How do you know that nickname? Lassui?
It is what I always call you. It is what your father calls
you. And your friend, Singollo. And Lindorië
How can you possibly know Collo and Lindë?
I met them in Mirkwood, when we went to ask for your fathers
permission to marry.
Legolas shook his head. No. You are confused, híril
nínor lyingI do not know whichbut
There was a knock at the door. Come in!
Eowyn turned towards the newcomera dark, strikingly handsome
elfand sighed with relief. Oh, Lord Fingolfin,
she said, I am so pleased to see you!
Fingolfin gave Legolas a courteous nod before turning his full
attention to her. Have we met before, híril nín?
Eowyn sank back in her chair. You
have been my tutor, and my friend, my Lord, for almost a year,
she said, teaching me to speak and read Elvish, and advising
me on Elven custom.
Princess Eowyn claims to be my betrothed, explained
Legolas, and the co-ruler of the colony.
I did not claim the latter, said Eowyn, firmly, though
it is trueI have a seat on the Inner Council, as does Gimli,
when he is staying with us
Gimli! cried Legolas. Gimli, son of Glointhe
Your best friend.
You do seem to be confused, madam, said Fingolfin,
gently. He sat down beside her. Heniach nin?
Henion, replied Eowyn, without hesitation.
Fingolfin glanced at Legolas.
Man eneth lín?
Eowyn i eneth nín, replied Eowyn, adding,
trenaro enni i vent o thelien hen.
Your pronunciation is excellent, my lady, said Fingolfin,
thoughtfully. You say you have lived here for almost a year,
but are you not married to Prince Faramir?
Of course, I was, said Eowyn, but AragornKing
Elessardissolved our marriage by royal decree.
You know when. Both of you
she made a rapid calculation. Almost ten months ago.
She turned to Legolas. After you chose me at the Harvest
No, said Legolas, firmly, I chose Alatáriël.
Alatáriëls father bribed the Mistress
of the Ceremony, said Eowyn, to give her a potion
that would make her attractive to you. But, somehow, the potion
was given to meand you and Lord Fingolfin both thought that
it was the work of Yavanna. You chose me, Lassui. You said
She stopped, abruptly.
What, my lady? prompted Fingolfin, gently. What
did he say?
He told me something. She looked at Legolas. But
it is a secret
The younger elf shrugged his shoulders.
He said that the Valar made me glow like Ithil, said
Legolas jumped to his feet. No!
Sometimes, when we are alone, you call me ithildin
I have never told that to anyone, Lord Fingolfin!
cried Legolas. Not evenespecially notto Alatáriël!
Then how do I know it? demanded Eowyn, watching
him as he prowled about the room, venting his frustration in mumbled
curses. Then, What is happening, my lord? she asked
Fingolfin. Why does he not remember any of this?
I think a more pertinent question, híril nín,
would be: why are your memories so different from ours?
He rubbed his chin. When did things first begin to seem
When I could not find my clothes in our bedroom.
What were you doing immediately before that?
I was bathingI was so wet, I She turned
to Fingolfin, suddenly excited. It started before that!
It started when I woke up beside The Aelvorn.
The Aelvorn! cried Legolas. What in Arda were
you doing out there?
I do not re
She was interrupted by a second tap at the door. That will
be Dínendal, said Legolas to Fingolfin. I have
asked him here to examine her. Come in!
I am not her, Eowyn insisted. You
call me melmenya, or your wife, or Eowyn nín
Dínendal did not recognise her, either.
But he treated Eowyn with all the kindness and respect she had
always loved in him, insisting that Legolas and Fingolfin leave
the room whilst her examine her, and that an elleth be present
as a chaperone.
Míriel, said Eowyn, to the elleth who had
been her ladys maid for almost a year, Mírielsurely
you recognise me?
The elleth shook her bowed head. No, my lady. I am sorryI
have never seen an adaneth before.
When his examination was complete, Dínendal called Legolas
and Fingolfin back into the room. As far as I can tell,
my Lady, your mind is perfectly clear, he said.
Thank you, said Eowyn.
But I have found something
He hesitated. Something
What? asked Legolas.
Princess Eowyn is no longer mortal.
No longer... Legolas turned to Eowyn. Explain,
Eowyn gave him a withering look. Why are you behaving
like such an orc? Are you like this with your mistress? You know
that I was poisoned by the salve youryour other mistressSerindëgave
me. You know that I died. But you, Master Dínendal,
administered a decoction that revived me, and
shrugged her shoulders. And made me as I am.
She turned to Legolas. Your father believes that the change
is a sign from the Valara sign that he should accept me
as your wife.
After saying good bye to Dínendal and Fingolfin, Legolas
slipped across the lobby and carefully opened his bedchamber door.
Alatáriël, thankfully, was asleep, stretched across
the bed with almost wanton abandon
He shook the lascivious thoughts from his head, closed the door,
and returned to the sitting room.
Eowyn was sitting exactly were he had left her, beside the fire,
still wrapped in her ridiculous coverlet, and hunched forward,
gazing into the empty grate.
A strange tenderness filled his heart.
What am I to do with you? he asked, sitting down
Do you love her, Lassui? she asked.
She is my betrothed.
The woman shook her head. No. I am your betrothed,
she said, but even if your answer were true, it would still
be very strange.
What do you mean?
It was not yes.
You can stay in here, said Legolas, opening the door
to the guest house opposite his own chambers. Despite Eowyns
vehement protests, he had insisted on dispatching a messenger
to Faramir. Until, that is, your husband sends someone to
There is just no reasoning with you, is there? Eowyn
sighed, temporarily defeated. Can I at least have
some clothes to wear?
I will send Míriel. Legolas placed his hand
on his heart and bowed his head. Good night. He turned
Eowyn panicked. No! Legolaswait! She caught
Please do not leave me alone like this, wondering what
has happened to us. Tears began to run down her cheeks.
I will go mad!
I will send Dínendal
No! You stay with me! Please! She tried
to pull him into the room.
Of course you can
No. I must get back to Alatáriël.
You are afraid of me! she cried. Afraid to
let me get too close! You feared me the moment you saw me! Tell
me about your dreams, Legolas! Tell me!
The elf shook off her hand. NO.
Arrggggh! Eowyn hurled a chair at the closing door.
Lord Fingolfin sat down at his desk, uncorked his inkwell, and
opened his leather-bound journal.
Other elves might sing to the stars, or walk beneath the trees,
but Fingolfin preferred to think with his pen.