Where are you going, my dear? asked Hentmirë,
trotting across the lobby behind Legolas. You are still
She has not drowned, gwendithen, said the elf. She
may have fallen into the water, but I know that she is
still alive. And I am going to summon the djinn.
Hentmirë caught Galathil by the arm. Go and fetch
Gimli, she whispered, quicklyLegolas...
She followed her friend into the bedchamber. The djinn will
not obey you, my dear.
The elf turned to face her, his blue eyes enormous, and smiled.
No, he said. Not if Eowyn is still alive.
He opened the wardrobe door. If he will not obey me, we
will know for certain. But I will tell him that she is in danger,
and he will go and look for her anyway. He reached into
the shelf, above Eowyns clothes, lifted down the brass lampStand
back,and rubbed it vigorously.
A curl of smoke rose from its long spout.
Legolas rubbed harder.
WHO HAS DISTURBED MY SLEEP? roared the djinn,
bursting into the room fully-formed and bumping his massive head
on the low ceiling. OW!
He peered down at Legolas. You are not
my pretty little mistress! he cried, flowing towards
the elf menacingly. I will crush you where you
No! wailed Hentmirë, trying to catch his wispy
But Legolas was overjoyed. See, gwendithensee! She
is still alive! He ducked under the huge fist and jumped
up onto the bed. Your mistress is lost, he shouted,
trying to look the djinn in the eye, and she needs you!
Go to her! Now!
Lost? The djinn cocked his head to one side.
You are her little husband...
Yes, said Legolas. Please! Go and help her.
The djinn coiled his body into a ball and, both arms whirling,
shot out of the bedroom, bounced off the lobby wallOW!veered
left, and streaked through the main door, knocking Gimli to the
floor as he went.
The sun was already setting by the time Haldir, his brothers,
and their human guide reached the outskirts of Newhome.
That is the Mayors house, said the old man,
pointing to a large, two-storey building set some way back from
the road. Gods rest his spirit and the spirits of his family.
The elves bowed their heads and uttered a similar blessing.
The road turned into a street, slicing its way through the centre
of the small town, passing a tavern, a blacksmiths forge,
several stables, a tiny House of Healing and, tucked away down
a side street, what Haldir suspected was a brothel.
The Reeves house is at the better end of town,
said the old man.
Let us hope he was not a guest at the wedding, said
No. The old man shook his head. He will not
have been invited. He and the Mayor fightfoughtlike
cat and dog. The Reeve is the Kings man, you see, newly
appointed, and the Mayor always stood up for the locals...
Are King Elessars edicts not in the locals
interests? asked Haldir, puzzled.
That depends, said the old man, on which of
the locals you happen to be.
They turned a corner and rode up to a wooden gatehouse, which
ran the full width of the side street.
Masters Haldir, Rumil, and Orophin from The Colony, with
important news for the Kings Reeve, announced the
It is late, Master Damrod, said the guard, come
Brand, son of Bain, snapped Damrod, I have
known you since you were no more than a glimmer in your grandpas
eyeopen the blessed gate for us!
The Reeve has guests, sir, said the guard, and
cannot be disturbed.
I fear that this news will not wait, said Haldir,
The young guard looked from the old man to the impressive elf,
and back again. Very well, he said, unlocking the
gates and swinging them open. But be sure to leave your
horses beside the trough. Do not trample Lady Morwens
The Divor Rocks
Camthalion settled back against the rock and took a bite of Lembas.
There is something strange about this place, he thought.
Something about the rocks...
On impulse, he pressed his ear to the stone, closing his eyes
and, letting himself become one with the sounds around him, listened
to the complex, interwoven song of Ardas childrenand
found, there, slicing through it, a lone female voice,
dark and guttural, chanting.
He beckoned to Orodreth, pointing, and mouthing, Listen.
His friend lowered his head to the cliff faceand immediately
pulled away, his eyes wide with surprise. I will fetch Valandil,
The door to the Reeves house was opened by teenage boya
tall young man, but slight, with a girlish face and long, dark
hair that fell forward over his eyes. What is it, Master
These gentlemen have brought bad news, Master Arador,
said Damrod, and need to speak to your father. He
stepped aside, so that the boy could see the elves.
Oh... Good evening, sirs, said Arador, smiling at
Haldir and his brothers with a mixture of excitement and curiosity,
please, come in. He showed them to a reception
room just off the entrance hall. I will fetch my father.
That is the Reeves son, explained the
old man, quietly. Do not mind his staringhe means
no harmhis mothers got it into her head that hes
delicate, and doesnt allow him out much. But hes a good
enough lada friend of my grandson.
The Reeve did not keep the elves waiting long. Welcome
to my home, gentlemen, he said, have you come from
No, sir, said Haldir, with a polite bow. From
Prince Legolas, with bad news. He described the massacre
at Eryn Laeg.
Dear gods... And you have no idea who did this terrible
Haldir shook his head. Master Damrods wife mentioned
the dark people
Mere superstition, sir.
I see... Wellthough there is evidence that the killers
have taken trophies, the object does not appear to have been robbery.
My main concern is to protect the victims from further violation;
my elves are doing what they can, but the bodies are scattered
and vulnerable to scavengers. And I am anxious to trace the childs
familyshe is frightened amongst strangers.
Of courseof course. I will call up the Night Watch,
sir. They will accompany you to the Forest, recover the bodies,
and carry out a thorough search...
The moment the Reeve had left the room, his son, who had been
hovering outside the door, approached Haldir. Did you find
any weapons, sir? he asked.
The elf hesitated.
Tiny black darts? the boy prompted.
His voice had a strange timbre, neither high nor low but a mixture
of both, which made each utterance sound like a groan, but his
mind seemed quick enough. Haldir drew the crossbow quarrel from
Yes... Arador took a handkerchief from his pocket
and used it to lift the dart from Haldirs palm. I
once nicked myself with one of these, he explained, and
slept for twelve hours. He handed it back. Did you
find anything else, sir?
Just this. Curious, now, to learn what the boy might
know, Haldir showed him the sword tip. It had broken off
in one of the wounds.
The boy examined it carefully. Hm... I have never seen
one of their blades before, he said, though they use
these same runes on
Do not trouble the gentleman, Arador, said the Reeve,
coming back into the room. I must apologise for my sons
behaviour, sirhe is something of a dreamer. He shooed
the boy away. The Night Watch are assembling at the gate;
they will follow your orders. Now, on behalf of King Elessar,
sirs, I thank you for your kindness to his unfortunate subjects.
Rest assured that I shall commend youand your Elven Lordto
the King in my next report. He bowed, deeply.
As the elves filed out into the entrance hall, the Reeves
son caught Haldirs sleeve. We must talk more,
he said. I will join you outside. Wait for me...
It sounds, whispered Camthalion, as
though it is coming from inside the rocks. But it cannot be...
Valandil raised his hand for silence and, for a few moments,
listened intently. It should not be, but I think it is,
he said, quietly, and I think it is approaching a climax.
I do not think we have much time.
To do what? asked Wilawen.
To prepare our defences, Faer Vara. He turned
to his comrades. Bring the guards in from the clearingthe
dead must fend for themselves now. Wilawenget the little
girl and the other civilians into the centre of the camp. Camthalionsurround
them with archers. Orodrethwe do not know where these animals
will emerge, but you and I will build fires all along the back
As they set about their appointed tasks, Wilawen caught Valandils
hand. I love you, she whispered.
All ready, sir, said the Captain of the Night Watch.
Haldir scanned the assembled crowd. There was no sign of the
Reeves son. I will give him a little longer, he decided.
Five minutes, Captain, he said, and then we
Very good, sir.
A moment later, the boy emerged from the shadows, leading a sturdy
pony and carrying a large travelling pack.
Haldir sighed. I cannot allow you to come with us, Master
Arador, he said, quietly. Your father will
But you must, the boy insisted. I
know more about the dark people than anyone else in Middle-earthhalf
the people here still pretend they do not exist. He frowned.
You do intend to strike back, sir?
Haldir shook his head. I am here to see that the victims
bodies are recovered by their families. Nothing more. He
turned away, but the boy grabbed his arm.
You have left your own people in that clearing, he
said. I pray to the gods that they will still be there,
alive, when you reach them. But, if they are not, you will need
a guide to take you into the Divor Rocksan expert in the
ways of the dark peopleand that is me... He shrugged.
Think about it, sirif nothing bad has happened, you
can send me home, tomorrow, with the Night Watch. And you need
not worry about my parents. They will blame me, not you.
Haldir shook his head. No.
The boy bit his lip. Let me show you something, he
said, opening his pack, that will change your mind. This
cost me most of my grandfathers legacy...
Keeping the top of the bag almost closed, he held it so that
Haldir could peer inside. Their world is so dark, sir, that
even you would be blind in it without something like this.
Valar, muttered the elf. What makes it glow
Their magic, said the boy, smiling. Now
can I come with you?
The djinn returned empty handed.
What a nasty place this Forest is,
he grumbled, pulling several carantaur leaves from his hair and
extracting a twig from down his loin cloth.
You could not find her, said Legolas.
Of course I found her, he replied,
haughtily, but she is where I cannot reach herbeyond
the black lake.
Beyond? But you are sure she is still alive?
You are not my mistress, he
boomed, folding his arms across his chest, and so I cannot
answer your question.
You already have, said Legolas. He held up the lamp.
Here. Go back to sleep.
Hentmirë handed Gimli a tankard of dwarven ale and watched
him take a sip. Are you sure that you do not
need a healer? she asked.
Nay lass. It takes more than a knock on the head to flatten
one of Durins Folk. He took another sip.
Well, I will be just over there, if you need me...
She joined Legolas, who was sitting at his desk, carefully preparing
his bracers and quiver. What are you planning to do, my
dear? she asked.
The elf looked up at her, his startling blue eyes burning with
cold fire. I am going to follow her, gwendithen, he
said. I am going to follow her into The Aelvorn and I am
going to bring her back.
Hentmirë nodded. I knew you would say that,
she said. When do we leave?