That is not, said Eowyn, what
you told me yesterday.
I lied to you yesterday, said Haldir.
Eowyn sighed. Sit down. We need to talk
About what? The haughty mask had fallen; the elfs
anxiety was obvious, written upon his face and signalled by the
redundant movements of his hands. I have confessed.
Sit DOWN. She made it an order, knowing instinctively
that Haldir, the soldier, would obey.
Thank you. Eowyn took the seat opposite and studied
him through narrowed eyes, trying to remember exactly how much
she and Legolas had already revealed to him about the murder.
How did it happen? she asked.
The elf shrugged. I showed you what the note said. HeHeralwas
fucking Cyllien. So I killed him.
But tell me how it happened, Eowyn persisted. In
detail. Were you alone with him?
And how did you arrange that?
She saw him shift on his seat slightly, and draw the smallest
of sharp breaths, before replying, I waited beside his flet
until he came out, and then I followed him to the building works.
I confronted him, and he laughed at me. He saidhe
called me names.
Eowyn remembered what Bawden had told her and Legolas the day
before: He said that her husband couldnt make her happy.
I lost my temper, said Haldir, and stabbed
In the chest.
I ran away.
Where is the knife?
I threw it into the waters of the Gynd Vyrn.
Superficially his story fitted the facts. And Eowyn herself had
seen him following Heral earlier in the day. But he has said
nothing about the ears, she thought. So, she said,
you stabbed him in the chest. Tell me exactly what happened
I ran away.
With the knife?
I told you. Yes.
And you cut him only once?
He spread his hands in badly-acted confusion.
I think so.
Gods damn you, Haldir!
Very well, said Eowyn, angrily, rising from her chair.
Despite the fact that you should be helping Gimli in Eryn
Valen, I am placing you under house arrest. Galathil will escort
you home; Captain Golradir will send warriors to guard you. But
Legolas will want to talk to you soon.
And she swept out of the study.
Half an hour later
Legolas opened his eyes, saw her sitting beside him, and stretched
out his arms. Eowyn did not hesitate.
I love you melmenya, he whispered, gathering her
close. You are my heart.
Oh, Lassui. They snuggled together, he beneath the
covers, she above
Melmenya, he cried, suddenly, I broke our celibacy!
No. She lifted her head. No, Lassui. We did
not make love.
But I came. In your mouth!
Because the figurine is a charm, said Eowyn, hugging
him fiercely, and because I made it work on you.
She explained what she had deduced about the coil of Herals
hair. And I am so sorry, my darling, but
What about you melmenya? Are you all right?
Yes, I am fine. She laid her head back on his chest.
I did have a few moments of madness earlier, but it is amazing
what a little responsibility can do. So much has happened
since you fell asleep, Lassui. I hardly know where to begin. First,
I had to deal with the figurineit is safe, for now, in my
jewel boxthen Haldir came back from Eryn Valen, and
She told him about the March Wardens confession.
But he is lying, said Legolas.
Yes, of course. Even if I did not know him so well, I would
be suspicious. His story is weak; it does not fit the facts. If
he had followed Heral from his flet, as he claims, and if Heral
hid the figurine that nightwhich he must have done, because
that was when the plank went missingHaldir would hardly
have waited until the man had finished before approaching him,
would he?oh, I have worked out why Heral hid the figurine,
by the way.
To control it. I went into the study intending to destroy
it, Lassui, but then I realised I had no idea what that would
do to you. And I understood why Heral had walled it up:
like me, he needed to control it but was afraid to harm it.
Do you think a man like Heral would want to control
it, Eowyn nín?
Eowyn frowned, remembering how Legolas had dowsed himself with
water. I thought it was painful?
Not painful, melmenya. Excruciatinglike having
your penis in a red hot vise. He leaned back against the
pillows. It is agonyunbearablebut only whilst
you try to resist. The moment you give in
The moment I touched
myself, the moment I was in your mouth,he sighedthen
it was like returning to the stars.
Eowyn found his hand and squeezed it. And how do you feel
Normal. He gathered her close. But, believe
me, melmenya, a better elf than Ia better man than Heralwould
want to feel that pleasure again. I do not think that Heral would
have tried to control it. I think he would have used it often,
taking women by force whenever he wanted them.
But, had he actually raped anyone, said Eowyn, we
would surely have heard of it from Golradir.
We know he attacked Cyllien.
Perhaps she was the first
And your father stopped
him before he got what he wanted.
No wonder he was cursing, said Legolas. I almost
feel sorry for him.
Lassui, said Eowyn, I think I know how to
stop the charm affecting you.
Put Herals hair back. I could not do it earlier because,
when I looked at the figurine, I could not control myself. But
we could ask someone else to do itsomeone who would not
be affected by the charm. I thought of asking Hentmirë
Oh, no! Legolas was genuinely shocked. No,
absolutely not, melmenya! Hentmirë knows nothing about sex!
It would be like asking a child to do it!
But that is why,Eowyn bit her lipno,
you are right, Lassui. Then what about Lord Fingolfin?
Fingolfin? Melmenya, suppose the charm proved too strong?
What do you mean?
I mean: suppose Lord Fingolfin and I found ourselves in
Legolas! That is not funny!
It is not meant to be funny, Eowyn. I have felt
the power of this thing. I know just how strong it is.
Then what are we going to do?
Legolas pressed his lips to her temple. For now, nothingno,
melmenya, listen to mewe cannot risk doing anything that
might leave me impotentshhhh, shhhh,he
kissed away her protestswe will keep it safe, but
hidden away, just as you say. When the Rite is over, we will replace
Herals hairyou will do it, melmenya, and I
will be there to help you.
Now, he added, gently releasing her, I must
bathe and dress because tonight,he threw back the
covers and swung his feet down to the flooryou and
I have some serious merrymaking to do.
The banquet, held to welcome colonists from the outer settlements,
who had travelled to the city to attend the Harvest Rite, proved
very merry and ended very late.
The following morning, Eowyn awoke with a headache and an upset
stomachor, rather, with the feeling that a headache and
an upset stomach were lurking just around a corner, which was
the way that her newly immortal body seemed to deal with illness.
She dressed quickly and, excusing herself from Donatiyas
fussy care, she crossed the walkway to join Legolas in their garden.
There was something she desperately needed to ask him.
When she reached the flet she found that breakfast had already
been laid out on the table, and immediately her phantom queasiness
stepped out from the shadows. I cannot eat this morning,
she said, sitting down beside the elf. But there is something
I need to know, Lassui, and please do not say, It will not
happen, melmenyatell me, truthfully: what will you
do if the Valar do not choose me?
I will ask my father to take my place.
Eowyn let out a long sigh of relief. She had no idea what consequences
that might have, politically, socially, or mystically, but it
did not matter: his answer made her heart soar. Thank you,
she said, smiling. That is all I needed to hear.
Eowyn was finishing her second slice of toast when Master Bawden
appeared at the top of the garden staircase, with a companion
My Lord, my Lady, said the crafsman-builder, bowing
deeplyand reaching out, with his right hand, to push his
colleague into a similar positionwe are sorry to disturb
you, but your servant told us to come straight up. This is Lyell,
son of Aubour, and he has one or two things to tell you. And I
have brought that list of names you asked for, my Lord.
Thank you Master Bawden, said Legolas. Please,
join us, gentlemen.
The men sat down at the breakfast tableBawden calm and
courteous; Lyell perching uneasily on the edge of his seat. Bawden
handed Legolas a piece of folded parchment. You'll find
ten names here, my Lord, he said. Five couples.
Thank you. Legolas scanned the listwhich included,
he noticed, Haldir and Cyllienthen handed it to Eowyn and
turned back to the men. What do you have to tell us, Master
Bawden gave the man a prod. Go on, Lyell
his companion still hesitated, Bawden looked up at Legolas. You
asked about the lady who came to see Heral, my Lord. Well Lyell,
here, heard what she said.
Eowyn laid down the list of names. Please tell us, Master
Lyellwould you like some cordial? She poured him a
T-thank you, my Lady. Lyell took the goblet from
her, carefully set it upon the table and, blushing, spoke directly
to her. She w-walked out onto the beam, and she gave
Heral a b-bag, and she saidshe said, begging your p-pardon
my Lady, that shed cut his b-balls off and put them on a
Eowyn smiled. And what did Heral say to that? she
asked, making a note of the threat on her wax tablet.
He c-called her an old bat, maam, though she wasnt, and
then he w-went for her.
And you pulled him away, said Eowyn.
Me and B-bawden, my Lady.
Do you know what was inside the bag, Master Lyell?
N-no, my Lord. But I heard her say that it n-neednt go
no further if he stopped it now, something like that.
Legolas and Eowyn exchanged glancesboth already knew that
the lady was Arinna, and both knew that they must
speak to her soon.
Master Lyell, said Eowyn, gently, on the day
that Heral died, I saw you arguing with him. Can you tell us what
that was about?
Lyell looked down at his hands. It was about H-heryeth,
maam, he mumbled.
Heryeth. Eowyn made a note. Is she your sweetheart?
Lyell shook his head. No, my Lady
She works in the
pavilion, making the t-teas and so on. He looked up at Eowyn.
I did threaten him, my Lady, its true, but
it didn't mean nothing. Everybody threatened him. Even the March
Bawden turned to Lyell, frowning. What are you talking
The mans blush deepened and his stammer got worse. I
t-t-told the March Warden that Heral was s-s-seeing his elf-lady,
Bawden. I wrote him a l-l-letter.
Legolas glanced at Eowyn. She made another note before asking,
Did you hear the March Warden threaten him, Master
Yes, my Lady. At least
I w-w-went back for my tool
bag, and saw them in the b-building works, arguing. I couldnt
hear exactly what they were saying, but the M-m-march Warden was
angryleaning in close, like, so I could guessand who
could b-blame him, my Lady?
Master Lyell, said Eowyn, looking again at the list
of names, did you write to any of the other husbands?
N-no, my Lady.
Are you sure? It is very important.
H-h-honest, my Lady.
Then why did you write to the March Warden, Master Lyell?
Because Heral was always b-boasting, my Lord,the
mans voice dropped to the faintest whisperabout
how he could k-k-keep it up all night, and allin front of
Heryeth. I just thought that if the March Warden knew what was
g-going on with his missus, maybe hed do somethinglock
Heral up or s-send him away, or s-something.
Does Heryeth know how much you care for her, Master Lyell?
The man shook his head.
I think you should tell her.
Strange, said Eowyn, after the two men had left.
Lyell seems so sweet, the way he talks about the girl,
yet in his letter to Haldir, he used the word fucking.
I doubt that any of the builders would say making
love, Eowyn nín, said Legolas, not to
another male. Besides, he needed to be sure that Haldir understood
exactly what he meant. Do you think he is the killer?
Eowyn thought for a long moment. No, she said. He
was very nervous, but that was because he was shy of us,
I think, not because of a guilty conscience.
Then I think we must go and speak to Haldir, melmenya.
The guards, bowing their heads respectfully, stepped aside. Legolas
opened Haldirs door without knocking, and he and Eowyn went
in. The big elf was sitting in the darkness, quiet as a stone;
but when he became aware of them he roused himself, and lit some
Eowyn moved a gown aside, and sat down. Where is Cyllien?
I wanted to keep her out of this, said Haldir. She
is staying with Arinna.
I did not know that she and Arinna were friends.
They are not not, but Arinna seems to have taken Cyllien
under her wing. Haldir turned to Legolas. Would you
like something to drink?
Sit down, mellon nín. Legolas waited for the
March Warden to lower himself, wearily, back into his chair, before
asking, Tell us, Haldir: who did kill Heral?
The big elf seemed genuinely puzzled. I did.
No. Legolas shook his head. Eowyn and I both
know that that is a lie. If you had killed him, you would have
confessed immediately. Legolas leaned forward. I know
that you are lying to protect the killer.
My Lord, I
For a moment it seemed that Haldir
might cooperate. But then, I killed Heral,
Then we have no choice but to leave you here, replied
Legolas, sharply, hiding in the dark until you to come to
your senses. Let us go, melmenya.
As they left, Eowyn glanced back at Haldir.
The big elf was sitting, quiet as a stone, gazing into empty
He is protecting Cyllien, said Eowyn, as they walked
back towards their chambers.
But, surely, she cannot have done it?
Why not? You said yourself that she was the only person
you could think of who might have cut his ears off.
Yes, Lassui, but I cannot believe she killed him! For all
her prickliness, when it comes to standing up for herself, she
is weakeasily cowed.
Those are the dangerous ones, said Legolas.
Eowyn sighed. On the other hand, she admitted, Cyllien
is the only person I can imagine Haldir protecting like this.
Her and you, said Legolas. He grinned. I do
not suppose that you did it, melmenya?
Eowyn laughed. But the real question is: did Cyllien tell
Haldir that she had killed Heral, or has he just put two and two
And made five. We must question Cyllien.
Yes. Straight away.
Legolas took her hand, and drew her,
off the main walkway, onto one of the little garden flets that
provided a secluded refuge from passers by. There is something
I want to ask you first.
I have been thinking. We will destroy the charm,
I promise, but I would like us to do something else, firstlet
me show you. He took her into his arms. Close your
eyes, my darling, and let me
He pressed his forehead
to hers, and reached out with his mind; and when he found her,
it was as though she were standing in darkness; and he took her
by the hand and led her out into the sunlight; and then he opened
himself to her.
Do you see, my darling?
Do you agree?
Will it be safe?
Would you want to live for eternity without ever knowing?
Thank you. He kissed her forehead.
They stood in silence for some minutes, clasped in each others
arms. Then, remembering the task ahead of them, they continued,
along the walkway, to Arinnas house.
The door was opened by Camthalion. Good morning, my Lord,
He placed his hand upon his heart
Show them in, Cami, cried Arinna, from inside the
dwelling. I have been waiting for you, Lord Legolas,she
curtsiedLady Eowyn. Please, sit down. Can I offer
you some refreshment?
You were expecting us? Eowyn took a seat.
Arinna had crossed to the sideboard and was holding up a decanter
of apple brandy, tilting her head in a silent question. No,
thank you. Why were you expecting us?
Well, I am sure that someone must have told you
about the row I had with the murdered man.
They have, said Legolas. What was it about?
He politely declined a glass of brandy.
Arinna poured herself a large one, carried it to her daybed,
and settled herself elegantly; Camthalion came and stood behind
her. It was about his atrocious behaviour, she said,
towards the young women of the colony. She sipped
And what was in the bag? asked Eowyn, bluntly.
Arinna hesitated. But Camthalion reached down and laid his hand
upon her shoulder. Yes, yes, I know Camiit was a dead
cat, she said.
I do not understand, said Legolas.
I doubt that many people would, replied Arinna. But
that was the sort of man Heral wasif a woman rejected him,
things got nasty.
You seem to know a lot about him, said Eowyn.
I hear things.
It is a gift, said Camthalion.
Legolas smiled. Mistress Arinna
Oh, please, my dear, just Arinna. You make me sound like
Arinna, said Legolas, would you be so
kind as to look at this list, and tell us if you have heard anything
about anyone on it? He gestured to Eowyn, and she handed
the other woman Bawdens parchment.
Arinna scanned the names. If I had heard anything,
she said, cautiously, would the information be treated in
We would do our best, said Legolas, though
if it led us to the murderer, it might be necessary to reveal
it at the trial.
Tell them Arinna, said Camthalion.
The woman shook her head, smiling. Elves, she said,
to Eowyn. Who can resist them? Very well: Heral and Cyllien
were having an affair and when she tried to call a halt, he broke
into her house and left the dead cat. She was badly shaken.
But she did not report it to Captain Golradir, said
No. We were anxious to spare the March Wardens feelings.
Legolas glanced at Camthalion but the elfs face revealed
nothing. So, instead, he said to Arinna, you
decided to go to Heral yourself, and warn him off.
Yes. It was a little reckless, perhaps, she admitted.
In Carhilivren I had a certain authority but, here, things
Arinna, said Legolas, where were you on the
night that Heral was killed?
Oh, my Lord! Camthalion stepped forward to protect
No, Cami, it is quite all right. Naturally, I am a suspect.
It is just a formality, said Eowyn.
Yes, said Arinna, well, let me see. That night,
Cami, Ori and I dined with Lord Caranthir and his wife. We left
at about midnight, joined the revellers in the Banqueting Hall,
and were there until dawn.
Legolas and Eowyn exchanged glances. They would need to confirm
what she had told them, but it seemed that Arinna and her elves
were in the clear.
May we speak with Cyllien? asked Legolas.
I am afraid that she has gone out for the afternoon, my
dear. I believe she is singing,the woman raised an
immaculate eyebrowfor your father.
Outside, Eowyn slipped the list of names back inside her wax
tablet and put the tablet in her pocket. Now, she
said, looking up at the elf, since it is well past midday
and neither of us wants to see Cyllien singing with
your father,Legolas shudderedI
suggest that you put this whole business out of your mind, take
a long, soothing bath, and spend the afternoon resting.
And what will you be doing, Eowyn nín?
I shall go back to Hentmirës house, and write
up my notes.
They strolled back to the palace, walking hand-in-hand in the
cool autumnal air. As they parted, Eowyn came up on tip-toe to
kiss her elfs cheek. I shall see you later, my darling,
she whispered. She crossed the walkway to Hentmirës
door then turned back, one hand resting on the latch. Oh,
Lassuiyou had better send a discreet message to your father.
It is only fair to warn him that he might have a Harvest Rite
to perform tonight.
And no prizes for guessing with whom, muttered Legolas.