A thorough search of Godiths parents
house, and of the few buildings, clustered around a bend in the
Heledir river, that comprised the village of Eryn Valen, yielded
nothingno sign of the missing baby, no clues as to who might
have taken him, or whyso, leaving the distraught mother
in Hentmirë's care, Legolas and Eowyn, Gimli, and Haldir
and his Border Guards proceeded to search the surrounding forest.
Do not get lost, said Legolasseriously, for
the Woods were unfamiliar to him and something about them, a feeling
they aroused in him, which he could not quite name, made him uneasyor
I will never let you go by yourself again.
Eowyn walked a few paces down the narrow track, found a dense
patch of undergrowth, andafter quickly arranging some twigs
in an arrow that pointed back to where Legolas and Gimli were
waitingslipped behind it, unlaced her leggings and pushed
Behind her, someone laughed.
Eowyn gasped. Who is there?
Whoever it was did not reply and, peering through the trees,
Eowyn could see no onebut then, as she hurriedly re-laced
herself, she heard him laugh again.
Who are you? she demanded. And what
are you? she wondered aloud, for she was sure from his voice,
and from his wayward laughter, that he was neither elf nor manand
nor was he the strange leaf-being who had once rescued her from
I must get back to Legolas, she thought. And she stepped
out onto the path, and looked for her sign.
It was gone. No!
Nervous now, Eowyn called out, Legolas? Legolas,
where are you?
But all she heard was more laughter.
Do you think the poor mite is still alive? asked
I hope so, elvellon, said Legolas, distractedly,
for he kept looking in Eowyns direction.
What kind of Orc steals a baby? And why?
That, I do not know, GimliValar, what is taking her
Give her a few more moments, lad, said the dwarf.
You know, women are not built like us.
The soft, haunting melody curled like scent upon a breeze, seeping
into her, stirring her limbs, untilthough a small, quiet
voice within her told her that it was foolishEowyn raised
her arms, and began to dance.
She is lost again, Gimli, said Legolas, suddenly.
Stay here with the horses, elvellon. I will go and find
Slowly, she followed the musics ebb and flowand the
creature came out from his hiding place and joined her, lifting
his double-flute high as he twisted and turned, weaving his magic
Another appeared, with bells at his wrists, and he joined in
the dance, trailing silvery notes behind him.
Then a third emerged, and silently beckoned Eowyn to follow.
Andthough some lingering sense warned her of dangerwhen
she tried to resist, her doubts simply floated away. And then
it no longer seemed strange that her companions should have horns
on their heads, nor hair on their legs, nor that, in place of
feet, they should have little, cloven hooves.
Legolas strode along the path, following the traces of Eowyns
passagea trampled leaf here, a handful of scattered twigs
thereuntil, in a patch of soft mud, he found several of
her small footprints, pointing in different directions
Gimlis eyes flew open. Wait!
The young woman, whose stealthy footsteps had disturbed him,
froze, mid-step. I am sorry, my Lord, she said, raising
her hands in surrender, I didnt mean to wake you.
I was just resting my eyes, said Gimli. But
you should not be here, all by yourself, lass. These woods are
Youre right, Lord Gimli,she lowered her
handstheyre not. But I know them well.
She gestured towards the north. I live nearby.
How do you know my name?
Everyones heard of Lord Legolas friend.
She looked about her. Is Lord Legolas with you?
Yes, said Gimli, somewhere.
Do you think hell help me, my Lord?
Still weaving their enchantments, the three creatures led Eowyn
further and further down the pathdeeper and deeper into
the Forestuntil they came to a great mead hall, standing
atop a platform of hewn stone (and it did not seem strange to
Eowyn to find such a fine building in that remote part of the
Then one of them took her by the hand, and drew her up the steps,
and through the carved wooden doors.
With mounting anxiety, Legolas searched in every direction until,
to the east, he found a single, pale hair snagged upon a bramble,
glittering in the sunlight like a thread of pure gold.
He pulled his bow from its strap, and hurried on.
But why have these creatures taken your sister,
lass? asked Gimli. Is your family rich?
The woman blushed. Theyll not ask for a ransom, my
Lord. They just want to bed her. They have no women of
The mead hall was dark, lit only by the fire and by a smoky shaft
of sunlight falling through the hole in the roof, but there was
no mistaking what stood beside the fire pit.
Legolas crouched and examined the groundMore footprints,
he thought, and fresh. But not hersnot even human.
Come on, lass, said Gimli, jumping from Arods
back. He drew his axe. We will both look for her. Avo visto,
Arod; avo visto, Brightstar.
Eowyn approached the row of tiny cribs.
Hello, she whispered to the first childand
he smiled up at her, waving his perfect little fistsand
something about a baby stirred in Eowyns memory, and she
was about reach in, and lift him from his bed, when she heard
The next child, a blond elfling, was fast asleepthough
Eowyn gently touched his cheek with the back of her hand, to make
sure that all was well, before moving on to the next cradle.
Hush, little one, she whispered to the third infant.
What is wrong? You are quite safe here.
She had had no experience with babies, but instinct guided her,
and she slipped her hands beneath him and, supporting his little
head, she lifted him from his crib and laid him upon her shoulder,
gently rubbing his back and
Oh! she gasped, for the boy, like his father, had
tiny cloven hoovesand a question suddenly occurred to her.
Where is his mother? she asked. Where are all
The creature merely smiled.
And then Eowyn knew why she had been brought to this place.
You want me to take care of them, she said,
you want me to be their mother. But I cannot
stay here,and she knew it to be true, though she could
not remember whyno, no, I cannot, but I will
fetch help. She laid the baby back in his crib, and moved
towards the door
The creature caught her by the arm.
I must get help for the children, she insisted.
She was sure that there was someone
she must findsomeone who would know what to doand
she seemed to catch a glimpse of him in her minds eye, but
when she tried to remember his name, she could not.
Melmenya! A sudden impression of Eowyn, worried and
confused, and looking for him, filled Legolas mind. I
am coming, melmenya!
He broke into a run.
Eowyn! Gimli charged down the path, following the
sound of his friends voice. Stay with me, lassie!
Stay with me!
Eowyn wrenched herself free. I am going to get help,
she said, firmly. And, oblivious now to the seductive sound of
the flute, she ran past the creatures, and through the doors,
and out into the clearing
Melmenya? Where are you?
I know that voice!
Whose is it?
Then an elfthe fairest, most noble being she had ever seenemerged
from the trees and, suddenly, her heart leapt, and she cried out,
Legolas! Yes, yes! Legolas!
Oh, melmenya! He gathered her into his arms and held
But Eowyn sensed the creatures behind her, and she tensedand
then she felt Legolas raise his head, and look at them, and was
surprised to hear him say, Thank you for finding my lady.
And she knew it was they, for she would have recognised their
wicked faces anywhere, but now they were just three simple woodsmen,
dressed in trousers, and tunics, and caps of drab grey-greenall
sign of their horns, their goats legs, their dainty cloven
And the mead hall, too, had vanished.
The babies, roared Eowyn, pulling away from
Legolas, where are the babies? What have you done
The woodsmen fell back, as if startled by her fury.
Come with me, she cried, dragging Legolas by the
hand, past the three men and deeper into the clearing. I
found the missing baby, Lassui, and some others too! They are
here, somewhere! They must be here! One of them is an elf,
and the otherthe other is one of them.
One of what, melmenya?
But Eowyn was too busy pulling aside the bracken and the brambles,
and searching the ground beneath, to answer him. I
saw them, Lassui! she kept repeating. I saw them!
I held one of them in my arms
Wait, melmenya. I can hear somethingover there.
Hand in hand they waded through the greenery, step by cautious
step, until Legolas squeezed Eowyns hand signalling her
to stop, and he leaned forwards, and drew back the curtain of
And lying on the ground, in a small hollow, were three tiny babies.
Gods, Lassui! Eowyn fell to her knees and scooped
up one of the children.
Legolas knelt beside her. Are they all right, melmenya?
Yes, I think so. She turned to him, fierce with anger.
You must punish them, Legolas. They stole these children.
They may look like men now, but,she turned and, holding
the baby safe, she frantically scanned the clearingwhere
are they? Where have they gone?
We will find them, melmenya, and they will be punished,
I promise. But the important thing, now, is to get the children
back to safety.
But one of them,Eowyn examined the infants
feetgods, Lassui, she whispered, one of
the babies is theirs, but I cannot tell which!
By the time Gimli rushed into the clearing, followed by the young
woman brandishing a heavy stick, Legolas had thoroughly searched
the undergrowth, and found no more children, nor any trace of
Is Eowyn safe? asked the dwarf, sheathing his axe.
Is that the missing babe
Have you found my sister, my Lord? cried the woman.
Is she here with them? Annis? Annis, where are you?
Gimli glanced at Legolas. The elf shook his head.
She is not here, lass, said the dwarf, laying a comforting
hand on the young womans arm. But we will find her.
We will come back, with men and elves, and we will find her.
Melmenya, said Legolas, as they slowly made their
way back to the horses, do not worry. The mother will recognise
her own baby. He hugged the elfling in his arms. And
your parents will know you, nadithen.
But what will we do with the other one,Eowyn
nodded towards the infant that Gimli was carryingwith
We will bring him back here.
And leave him?
They will be waiting for him, melmenya.
No, said Eowyn, shaking her head. You do not
know them, Lassui. They do not care. They are fecklesscompletely
And, as she said it, she heard the creatures laughter,
ringing out behind them.