Six oclock in the morning
Eowyn, said Legolas, gently, we have seen the
dawn and I must go back to the city. Alatáriël
Lassui... said Eowyn.
I hate that nickname
No! She pointed to the lake. Lassui!
She sprang to her feet andcrying Lassui! LASSUI!ran
to the waters edge, falling on her knees.
And Legolas gasped as his own exact double slowly crawled from
the water, and gathered her into his arms.
On the Caras Arnen road
By dawn, the messenger from Eryn Carantaur was standing beside
a small, grassy clearing, about twenty miles beyond the northern
tip of the Divor Rocks.
Ride with all speed to Caras Arnen, Lord Legolas
had told him. This,he had handed Aranwë
a sealed dispatch bag is for the eyes of Prince Faramir
I will reach The City on the Hills by nightfall, Aranwë
thought. There is time for a brief rest. Avo visto,
Gwaloth, he said to his horse, leading her off the road.
We can take no more than a few moments, so enjoy them.
He found himself a place to sit, opened up his travelling pack,
pulled out his water skin, and took a sip. The leather dispatch
bag felt heavy at his hip; the elf patted it absently. Everyone
knows, he thought, that Lord Legolas has a weakness for
ellith. But Princess Eowyn is a woman. And married! What excuse
can he possibly be sending to her husband?
If ever an elf were tempted to break a seal
Sweet Eru! Aranwë threw himself to the ground and
lay in the deep grass, keeping perfectly still, hiding from whatever
it was he had just glimpsed running along the forest road.
He could hear no breathing, no footfalls, no rustle of fabric
nor clink of metal, but he knew that they were theresmall,
dark, and moving quickly through the shadows.
An entire army of them.
Oh, melmenya, whispered Legolas, I will never,
ever, let you out of my sight again. Never. I swear it.
He hugged her tightly. Have you been waiting here all this
She came to Eryn Carantaur and caused chaos.
The voice sent a shiver down Legolas spine. He raised his
eyes, already knowing what he would see, but was still taken aback
by the sight of his exact double, bending over a wet and
spluttering Hentmirë and rubbing her back soothingly.
My betrothed is now convinced that I have a human mistress,
said the double.
His betrothed is Alatáriël, whispered
Eowyn. Everything is different here, LassuieverythingHaldir
Legolas looked to his double for confirmation.
YesI am sorry, mellon nín, said the
other elf. But we can talk later,he summoned
the horseswe must get you and your companions back
to the city. He smiled down at Hentmirë. Do you
think you are recovered enough to ride now, híril nín?
Cautiously, Aranwë raised his head, and peered across the
The dark army had passed without detecting himhe could
sense no one lying in waitbut he felt for his bow and prepared
himself to use it, before he risked rising to his knees.
Keeping low, he crossed the grass and crouched on the road, examining
its surface with sharp eyes and sensitive fingers. Dear Valar,
he thought, had I not seen them I would have sworn that no one
had passed this way for days!
What should he do now? Return home to warn Prince Legolas?
No, he thought. The army was moving north, towards
Caras Arnen, and running swiftly.
He raised his fingers to his mouth and whistled like a bird and,
moments later, Gwaloth emerged from the trees and trotted to his
side. Aranwë patted her neck. Clever girl, hiding in
the forest, he whispered. I shall do the samekeep
to the west, take the old sheep-herders track up to Emyn
Arnen, and warn Prince Faramir before the dark army attacks.
I trust that this will not take long, said Legolas,
following his double across the lobby. Eowyn may wake at
any moment, and I do not want her to find herself alone.
You love her very much.
Of course I do.
His double smiled. That is exactly the answer she gave.
No, it will not take long. I just want to discuss somepracticalities.
He opened the study door and motioned Legolas inside. Does
it look familiar?
It is identical, said Legolas, except for Eowyns
desk, which should be there. He grinned. And
a pair of her little boots, which have usually been kicked off
about here, and one of her dressing robes, which is generally
draped over this chair. I am always complaining but she takes
no notice... What practicalities did you have in mind?
Please sit down, said his double. What concerns
me is that, as far as I can see, no oneexcept, perhaps,
your Princess Eowyncan tell us apart. So we must find a
way to make the difference clear.
What do you suggest?
I think that you should wear blackI will have some
clothing sent to you.
Secondly, said the double, however familiar
this place may seem, I do ask you to remember that it is my
world and my colony.
Of course. I understand that.
And I expect your companionsGimli, son of Gloin,
for instanceto remember it too.
You need say nothing to Gimli, said Legolas, bristling
Good. Then there is just one final thing, said his
double. Alatáriël is mine.
You think I am jesting?
She is a very desirable elleth
I am sure she is, lied Legolas, but I think
that you are forgetting that I am betrothed to Eowyn.
He rose to his feet. And so I ask you to remember
that Eowyn is mine!
Still muttering under his breath, Legolas crossed the main thoroughfare
and entered the guest house opposite his doubles private
chamberswhich, in his own world, was Hentmirës
houseclosed the door, and locked it behind him.
Alatáriël is mine. The fool!
He took a deep breath, and slowly exhaled. The familiar sound
of Gimlis snoring, coming from the bedchamber to his left,
immediately soothed him.
Hentmirë, he knew, was in the next chamber, and Berryn in
the study, and EowynEowyn was safe and sound in the main
He smiled. She had refused to ride back from The Aelvorn with
HentmirëI want to hold your hand, she had
saidbut, before they had walked even five miles, exhaustion
had overcome her, and he had taken her up in his arms and carried
her the rest of the way. By the time they had reached the city
she had been sleeping so soundly, he had laid her on the bed,
loosened her clothing, and washed her face, all without waking
He opened the door to her bedchamber and slipped inside without
a sound, but she was already awake, staring up at him with enormous
Hello, she said.
Are you coming to bed?
Yes. He unfastened his jerkin and shrugged it off,
pulled off his boots, and climbed onto the bed, sinking into her
Your tunic is wet, she said. Sit up.
He obeyed with a smile, watching as she unhooked each silvery
clasp, then slid the damp fabric over his shoulders.
I must wear black from now on, he said.
So that his people will not confuse us.
You will look very distinguished in black. She wrestled
the tunic down his arms. He is rather,she
pulled it offI think he is rather spoiltused
to having his own waybut underneath he is not so bad.
Any elf who could bind himself to Alatáriël
is a fool, said Legolas.
I am not sure that he is bound to her.
What do you mean?
Eowyn shook her head. Not now, Lassui. Lie back.
She pulled at the lacings of his leggings. We can talk later.
Legolas sank into the mattress. Kiss me.
Eowyn tenderly kissed his lips.
That was nice, he whispered, but I did
not mean there. He pushed his leggings down his thighs.
Smiling, Eowyn kissed his lips again. Then, taking her time,
she worked her way down his chin, his throat, his bare chest,
andAt last!his abdomen, caressing his tense
muscles with her lips and her tongue, forcing his body to arch
in response. You taste salty, she murmured, rubbing
the tip of her nose along his erection, perhaps we should
wash The Aelvorn off you
No! Too aroused to think clearly, Legolas could not
tell whether she was serious or merely teasing, but he grasped
her shoulders and pushed her over onto her back, deftly planting
a knee either side of her hips.
Then he lowered himself upon her and let his stiff penis fall
between her thighs...
Oh, melmenya, he groaned, thrusting with quick, deep
strokes, his brows knitted in concentration.
Eowyn gazed up at her elf, her every sense sated with his size,
his strength, his beauty...
She felt the tiny sting of release begin deep between her legs,
raised her hips and felt his thrusts connect, felt the sweet pain
burst, and flow up into her head, and out into her fingers and
And, amidst her own cries of satisfaction, she heard Legolas
sob, and felt his warm seed fill her.
As the sun slipped down behind the mountains of Gondor, Aranwë
sat at the northern edge of Eryn Brethil, looking out towards
the foothills of Emyn Arnen. To the eastThank the Valar!he
could see, as yet, no sign of the dark army. To the north, however,
his sharp elven eyes detected many small encampments concealed
amongst the rocky slopes and, nestled within the deep gorge directly
ahead, a large, fortified command post.
Men, he thought. And they have been here for weeks.
Aranwë lowered his hood, so that his pale hair and faintly
glowing skin might be visible in the twilight, raised his hands
above his head and, gently digging his heels into Gwaloths
flanks and encouraging her with soft, elven words, he emerged
from the trees at a slow walk.
He had not travelled more than a hundred yards before a handful
of shadowy warriors emergedas he had expectedfrom
the brush. One of them caught Gwaloths head and held her
fast. Where are you headed, Master Elf? he asked.
I am a messenger from Eryn Carantaur, replied Aranwë,
displaying the arms embossed on his leather satchel, carrying
an urgent dispatch for Prince Faramir. And I bring news of a dark
army heading north along the Caras Arnen road.
The men exchanged glances. How far away?
No more than three hours.
They attack at night, Alfgar, said one of the men.
Follow us, Master Elf, said the man called Alfgar.
Aranwë dismounted and let the warriors lead him across the
open scrubland, to the foot of the hills and the entrance to the
fortified gorge he had noticed earlier. There, he was searched
by a pair of sentries before being allowed to climb up the steep,
twisting trail to the command post, a jumble of tents and hastily-built
wooden sheds tucked against the back wall of an enclosed plateau.
Alfgar led him to the door of the largest tent. Wait here,
he said, raising the flap and ducking inside; he re-emerged almost
immediately. Go in, Master Elf.
The tent belonged to a lady, and had been designed for recreation,
not for warits walls were lined with pretty painted cloths,
its floor covered with patterned rugs, and a silk curtain partially
concealed a feminine bedchamberbut the living space was
dominated by a campaign table, covered with maps and charts.
Aranwë stared at its two occupants. The man was unfamiliar,
but the woman...
He had last seen the woman in his lords chambers, moments
before he left Eryn Carantaur!
Sensing his scrutiny, the woman pushed herself up from the table
and regarded him curiously. Captain Alfgar tells me you
have important news of the dark people, Master Elf.
Yes, your Highness, said Aranwë, still staring.
I have seen an army, your Highness, moving swiftly northwards
along the Caras Arnen road.
Aranwë made a rapid calculation. Perhaps two thousand.
Gods! muttered the man.
Princess Eowyn beckoned the elf to the table. Show me where.
Aranwë traced his route from Eryn Carantaur. They
passed me here, he said, pointing to the northern edge of
the Divor Rocks, I was concealed in the undergrowth to the
west of the roadI do not believe they saw me.
If they had, they would have killed you, said the
man. They take no prisonersthey do not know the meaning
of honour. The woman patted his arm. They must be
planning to join up with their comrades at Caras Arnen, my Lady.
They will take the pass between here and the mountains of Mordor
No, said the woman, shaking her head, if their
plan was merely to reinforce the garrison, they would have come
out of the northern hills, as they did before. Noto emerge
somewhere in the south and then risk travelling in daylightwhich
is painful to them, Master Elfthey must be intending something
else. She bent closer to the map, scrutinising it carefully.
A simultaneous attack from north and south... Fetch
the two Captains, Berengar. We must be ready.
The man hurried from the tent.
There is something strange about the rock here, Master
Elf, continued the woman, tracing the southern edge of Emyn
Arnen with her finger.
They cannot penetrate it. I believe we are safe here.
She looked up. You say you bring a message from Prince Legolas?
She held out her hand.
I was instructed to give it directly to Prince Faramir,
said Aranwë, with an apologetic bow. Only to Prince
My husband was killed when the dark people drove us from
the City, Master Elfover three weeks ago. I am in command
Aranwë handed her the dispatch.
She broke the seal, unrolled the parchment and quickly scanned
its contents. What does this mean? she demanded.
I... I am not a party to its contents, stammered
Do not lie to me! A messenger always knows the meaning
of the message, said the woman, impatiently. Your
Prince is claiming that he found menakedin
his bedchamber and is demanding that my husband send a troop of
armed guards to remove me. What does he hope to achieve with this
Aranwë searched in vain for a tactful answer.
You were there, your HighnessI saw
You saw me? Do not be ridiculous, Master Elf! How long
has your journey taken?
Eighteen hours, your Highness.
And do you think that I could have matched that?
No, your Highness.
Then this naked woman is clearly an impostor! She
sighed. But we will deal with that later. Your Prince has
unwittingly thrown us a lifelinedo you think you can return
to Eryn Carantaur? Past the dark people?
YesI believe so, your Highness.
Good. She crossed to a small writing desk, just inside
her bedchamber. I have sent messenger after messenger to
King Elessar, Master Elf, asking for assistance, but none, so
far, has survived to cross the Anduin.
You will take a message to Prince Legolas. Perhaps
he can help us defeat these demons...