eowyn and legolas

“I am sorry, melmenya.”

“It was my fault.” Eowyn turned her head and gazed into the elf’s blue eyes. “I should not have looked at the figurine, Lassui, I should not have touched it, but I was—”

No.” He raised her hand to his lips. “I wanted to know what it would be like if we were both aroused by the charm; I insisted on keeping the thing here.”

“It was exciting,” said Eowyn.

“But it was not love,” said Legolas.

“No…”

“I did sense your love for me, melmenya, still there, beneath the appetite, but—”

“I felt your hunger,” said Eowyn, stroking his face. “Ravenous hunger.” She smiled, sadly. “And I felt your penis, as though it were mine; felt its power as it entered my body and thrust into the warmth and the wetness, just as though it were mine, and my body were yours.” Her smile became radiant. “That was wonderful, my love.”

“I know.” Legolas kissed her hands, again and again, though he did not admit what he had felt. “But is it worth risking the love that we already share,” he asked, at last, “for that?”

Eowyn frowned.

“Melmenya?”

“No…” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind his pointed ear. “But, whatever we do, my darling, we must not be hasty. It is growing more like you.” She described the changes she had noticed. Then she added, “And I examined the braid ring more closely, Lassui, and I think I know now what the creatures gave Heral in return for the baby.”

North of Eryn Valen

“Elven rope,” muttered Thorkell bogsveigir, unconsciously addressing the knots securing his horse, a quarter mile away, “do not let me down.” He raised his fingers to his mouth and whistled. Beneath his other hand, the tad-dal began to struggle. “Stop that!” he growled, cuffing its ear.

Moments later, the horse trotted into view.

With a sigh of relief, Thorkell grasped his prisoner by the scruff of its neck and—dragging it to its cloven feet with a few oaths and another well-placed blow—he bundled it, face down, over his saddle, securing it with the rope hanging from the horse’s bridle.

Then, taking the reins, he began the long walk back to Eryn Valen.

Legolas clutched the arms of his chair, riding out the deep shiver that twisted his body, as Eowyn, behind his back, carefully wrapped the magical figurine in its cloth.

“I cannot be certain, of course,” she said, “but the hair in the braid seems too coarse to be Cyllien’s. And it does make sense—the tad-dail are known for their potency.” She laid the wax charm in her jewel box and closed the lid. “There.”

Legolas sighed, and fell back in his seat, though his hands remained tense.

“Whether he deliberately got Godith with child,” Eowyn continued, “or whether it was just a lucky accident, we may never know.” She shrugged. “If he did, he and the tad-dail must have made their bargain some time ago.” She crouched down beside Legolas, smiling up at him.

“Do not touch me, melmenya,” said the elf, softly.

Eowyn frowned. “You cannot still—”

“My whole body is aroused.”

“Oh, Lassui!” She pulled away from him. “It is less than two hours until the Rite, my darling. Bathe now, and I will go to Hentmirë’s house, and dress there.”

North of Eryn Valen

Thorkell bogsveigir scanned the Forest to left and right.

He could see nothing, but he was certain that he was being stalked by the tad-dail. They are unlikely, he thought, glancing at the creature sprawled across his saddle, to give me much trouble, but—

His prisoner let out a sudden, piercing cry—and, in response, a storm of tiny stones rained down on the Beorning, stinging his hands and face and forcing him to close his eyes. “Bastards!” he yelled, struggling to control his startled horse. “Damn you!”

Through narrowed eyes he saw a tad-dal dart into the open, whirling a slingshot around its head.

“Oh no, you do not!” And—forgetting, in his haste, the elven rope—Thorkell pulled out his knife and, ducking down behind his horse’s shoulder, he cut through the binding at his prisoner’s ankles and dragged the creature to the ground. “Let us see how fast you can run—”

Another hail of stones stung the Beorning’s face. “Gods damn you!” he roared, swinging up into the saddle. He dug his heels into the horse’s sides, and the terrified creature galloped off, dragging the wailing tad-dal behind it.

King Thranduil’s apartment

“My dear,” said the Elvenking, gazing up at Cyllien, “Luthien herself would fade in your company.” His eyes shifted to her bosom, and rested upon the soft curves revealed by her low-cut gown of pale elven lace. “You are perfection.”

“Thoron!”

Smiling, he patted the seat beside him. “Come!”

Cyllien bit her lip. “I have another favour to ask of you—your Majesty…”

“I have told you not to call me that, remember?” Thranduil studied her face. “Hmm. I think a tonic is called for—sit down.”

He had dismissed the servants, so he rose, crossed to the sideboard, took up the decanter, and poured out a large measure of cherry brandy himself. “Here, drink this,”—he handed her the glass—“then tell me what I can do.”

He sat down beside her.

The elleth took a sip. “I was aout to tell Mistress Perfect everything, Thoron,” she said, staring into her drink, “I really was—my hand was upon the door—”

“Mistress Perfect?”

Cyllien blushed. “Princess Eowyn.”

Thranduil laughed. “She is not bad, you know—for a human. She would die for Lassui.”

“I know.”

“You did not speak to her?”

“I—no, I was too afraid.”

“Good. Come here.” The Elvenking wrapped an arm around her slender shoulders, and drew her close. “Just tell me what you want me to do, mell nín.” His lips brushed her temple.

“Save Haldir,” said Cyllien.

Later: in the Banqueting Hall

Eowyn smiled nervously at Legolas.

His hand was trembling, but he gave hers a brief squeeze before they stepped into the Banqueting Hall.

They worked their way around the ring-shaped table, greeting each of their guests in turn, before crossing to the centre of the Threshing Floor, where Legolas seated Eowyn on one of a pair of elegant thrones.

The guests fell silent.

“I call upon all those present,” announced Lady Lessien, “to witness that Legolas Thranduilion, Lord of Eryn Carantaur, takes Eowyn Eomundiell, Lady of Eryn Carantaur, as his Harvest Queen.”

As the crowd applauded with genuine affection, the Mistress, turning back to the couple and joining their hands, continued, “Repeat after me, my lord: My heart is your heart…

Eryn Valen

Hentmirë, sitting in the doorway of Godith’s parents’ house, scanned the line of trees beyond the village green.

Godith, her parents, and the three babies were upstairs in the sleeping room, where—Hentmirë had assured everyone—the children would be safest should the tad-dail attempt to recapture them.

Rimush was in the storeroom, carefully packing up parcels of provisions to be handed out to the search parties when they returned for fresh instructions.

That left the little woman on watch alone—and with plenty of time to appreciate just how boring a very important job could be.

Berryn’s search party had returned at dusk to report that the region to the north west—labelled tinco on Hentmirë’s map—was clear. Hentmirë had crossed it off, allocated them ando—a large, featureless tract of Forest to the west—and, as they moved out again, had watched them light their torches and snake away in single file, like a huge fire-worm.

Now she was expecting Gimli’s party, back from the south west. The dwarves will be hungry, she thought; and she was about to ask Rimush whether the food would be ready when she saw a movement—Yes, there it is again…

The little woman leaned forward, peering into the dark Forest. The disturbance did not have the telltale rhythm of marching men; the Forest was rippling to right and left, Like a pack of hounds closing in on their prey, she thought.

Quickly, Hentmirë rose to her feet, moved her chair aside, and began to shut the door—

Thorkell bogsveigir burst out of the Forest and thundered across the village green, dragging the tad-dail behind him.

As he reached the house he leaped from his horse—slapping its flank to drive it away—and, with his prisoner still in tow, he dashed for the part-closed door, crying, “Stand back!”

Hentmirë disappeared—and the Beorning dived through the gap.

The creature, having no choice but to follow, hit the door jamb, howling.

Thorkell hauled it inside.

“Rimush,” cried Hentmirë, pushing the door, “Rimush, come quickly!”

The huge man flew from the storeroom and, together, they shut and barred the door, barricading it with the map table for good measure. “See to the shutters, my dear—hurry,” said Hentmirë.

Thorkell bogsveigir, meanwhile, had lashed the tad-dal to a wooden post and silenced its wails with a blow to the head.

“Leave that one open,” he called to Rimush, as the latter approached the window beside the door. “We will need to see what they are doing.”

“Would it not be better,” said Hentmirë, fetching some hot water and a cloth, “to watch from upstairs? There are three windows in the sleeping room—let me clean your wounds, Master Thorkell.”

The Beorning rewarded her with one of his rare smiles—which quickly turned into a wince. “Very good thinking, my Lady.” He nodded to Rimush and the big man, having secured the window, helped him drag his prisoner up the wooden stairs.

“Do take care not to wake the babies,” muttered Hentmirë, following them, anxiously. “They are very loud when woken.”

The Banqueting Hall

Too excited and too nervous to eat, Eowyn watched restlessly as King Thranduil selected a peach from the silver charger before him, took a bite, and offered the rest to Cyllien.

He is such an old rake, she thought. And she cannot take her eyes off him.

Poor Haldir…

She remembered the conversation she had overheard earlier.

Gods, she thought, we have still not spoken to Cyllien! Lassui and I have become so obsessed with sex we are in danger of forgetting that a man has been murdered!

She turned to Legolas.

The elf smiled, but looked so ill that her heart faltered in her chest.

If only I could take him in my arms!

At last, a trumpet fanfare signalled the end of the feast, and Lady Lessien, rising from her seat, took the couple by the hands and led them out to the centre of the Threshing Floor.

“The King and Queen of the Harvest stand before you,” she cried; and, as the guests cheered, she added, softly, “Repeat after me, my lord: As my seed fills the Queen’s womb…

Eryn Valen

The tad-dal had been gagged, but not before its cries had woken the babies. Now Godith, her mother and the long-suffering Rimush were doing their best to quieten the infants, walking them back and forth, rubbing their little backs.

“It is no wonder,” muttered Thorkell bogsveigir, drawing an arrow from his quiver and fitting it to his bowstring, “that my father did not like children.” He peered out of the window.

Hentmirë crept up beside him. “Can you see them?”

“Do not cramp my bow arm,”—the woman quickly stepped back—“yes, they are over by the goat pens. At least two dozen of them.”

“What are they doing?”

“They have set the beasts free,” said the Beorning, “and now they are watching. And waiting.”

“For what?”

“They want him back,”—he nodded towards the captive tad-dal—“and I daresay they will take as many women as they can find.”

“But how?” asked Hentmirë. “If we all stay indoors, how can they…” But the rest of the question died on her lips, for it suddenly became very clear how the tad-dail intended to drive everyone outside.

“Melmenya,”—kiss—“oh, melmenya,”—kiss—“mmm, melmenya…”

His mouth and his hands were everywhere at once—devouring her lips, kissing her throat, cupping her breasts, nuzzling her neck; and then his penis was thrusting and filling her, thrusting and filling, and every heart-stopping stroke was making her body arch and twist with joy.

“Oh—Lassui, my—my Lassui…”

After the savagery of the afternoon and the torture of the banquet, she had expected him to cover her like a stallion—and she would have welcomed it—but this was tenderness; this was marriage; and, as she basked in its sunshine, she sensed the emotions of their guests, deeply moved by the love they were seeing expressed before them.

“Water,” said Hentmirë; “we need water!”

Hush!” Thorkell bogsveigir raised his bow. One of the tad-dail had darted from the shadows, and was whirling its slingshot—loaded with burning straw—around its head.

The Beorning drew, took aim, and loosed.

His arrow sliced through the darkness with a menacing hiss and pierced the creature between the eyes; it fell, and the burning missile rolled from its dead hand.

“Well done, Master Thorkell,” said Hentmirë, watching from the next window.

“Keep back!” cried the Beorning, drawing another arrow. “You are a big target!” He steadied himself, loosed, and dropped the next tad-dal just a split-second too late—but the straw fell short, landing upon the road, and its plume of flame spread harmlessly across the dirt.

“They are using oil,” said Rimush, beside Hentmirë. He turned away, using a hand to shield the baby’s eyes from the glare.

Now two tad-dail were running forward; Thorkell drew and loosed—hit the first—drew and loosed again—narrowly missed the second—

Oh!” cried Hentmirë, as the straw projectile shot through the window and landed upon the wooden floorboards behind her. Fire spilled across the floor. The little woman blundered over to the bed, pulled off a blanket, and tried to beat out the flames.

“Here, sir!” Rimush pushed the baby into Godith’s father’s arms. “Take everyone downstairs,” he said, “quickly.” And, grabbing another blanket, he attacked the fire with powerful blows. “Keep back, my Lady.”

But the flames were spreading out along the floor, and they caught the coverlet of the nearest bed, ran up the bed frame, leapt up the wall and, in a sudden burst, exploded across the ceiling, dropping burning thatch upon the tad-dal, which squealed behind its gag, writhing in its bonds as its fur caught light.

Dodging the flames, Hentmirë rushed to the nightstand, seized a jug of water and dumped it in the creature’s lap.

Thorkell bogsveigir, ignoring the commotion behind him, was still shooting steadily. But the tad-dail were attacking in greater and greater numbers—two missiles had fallen on the roof and another on the porch—and he was running out of arrows. “Get downstairs,” he shouted to the others, “we will have to take our chances outside…”

Smiling fondly, Eowyn snuggled up beside her elf.

The hum of activity all around them—muffled by the blanket the Mistress of the Ceremony had draped over them once the Rite was complete—was pleasantly soothing.

Eowyn closed her eyes, and drifted off to sleep.

Rimush,” barked Thorkell, pulling out his knife, “I said: take her downstairs!”

The big man stopped beating back the fire reluctantly—but, when he saw how Hentmirë was risking the smoke and flames in her attempts to release the tad-dal, he immediately dropped his blanket and, opening the way by kicking back the burning bed, he grabbed her by the arm, and pulled her clear.

Thorkell, meanwhile, had drawn his knife, and he rushed in, cut the terrified prisoner free and—grasping it by the hair—he dragged it past the searing flames, but Hentmirë and Rimush, still hesitating at the top of the stairs, were blocking his way out.

Move!” he shouted.

The steps were alight, and burning thatch was raining down into the stairwell. The little woman took a few faltering steps.

“Pull your jerkin over your head, my Lady,” said Rimush, “like this.” And, grasping her around the waist—“Forgive me,”—he plunged down the stairs.

Thorkell followed, shielding his face with one hand, and dragging the tad-dal with the other.

Downstairs, Godith and her parents—with the flames raging behind them—were frantically trying to open the door. “We have to get out,” cried the father, handing a baby to Hentmirë, “help me, sir!”

Rimush dragged the map table aside.

“Will they kill us, Master Thorkell?” asked Hentmirë, rocking the baby anxiously. “Shhh, shhh!”

“Who knows?” The Beorning shoved the tad-dal at Godith’s father. “Here, hold it tight.” He opened the shutters and peered through the window—“Stay back!”—quickly scanning the scene.

“The bastards may prance along the riverbank with garlands in their hair,” he muttered, “but they are bloody fierce warriors…” And, just as he feared, the tad-dail had closed in, dragging a cart, a bench and a line of barrels across the village green to give them cover. Ahead and to the right the way was completely barred, but to the left Thorkell’s practised eye detected a possible route—through a narrow alley—to one of the barns. “Another wooden building. Wonderful.”

He glanced at his companions. Lady Hentmirë is a game old bird, he thought, and the servant is handy in a fight, but the others are just one big pain in the arse…

He made a decision.

“We will give them him,” he said, jerking his thumb towards the tad-dal, “and the two changelings,”—he fitted an arrow to his bow—“and maybe that will be enough. Rimush, get ready to open—”

“They can have their friend back,” Hentmirë interrupted, “but this baby is an elf, and the other one is human.”

“They have us surrounded.”

A flaming beam crashed to the floor behind them.

“But we would have to live with it afterwards,” Hentmirë persisted.

“There will not be an afterwards—”

Just do it, my Lady,” shrieked Godith. “Do it for Little Godwin!

Hentmirë hugged the baby tightly. “But—”

Another beam came tumbling down, bringing part of the upper floor with it.

“Shit! Open the door!” cried Thorkell. “Go! Go! Go!

Eowyn awoke suddenly and, wrestling herself out from under the blanket, sat upright, pushing her hair from her eyes and looking around the Banqueting Hall in confusion.

Towards the entrance, a naked woman, on hands and knees, was rocking back and forth, moaning encouragement to the elf behind her, who was thrusting steadily.

The Rite! Of course…

Eowyn’s gaze travelled around the Hall, over the sleeping couples and back to the lovers, then rose up above their heads.

“Oh!” she gasped, pulling the blanket over her breasts. “What are you doing here?”

“Give it the baby,” shouted Thorkell to Godith’s mother. “Go on!” He stepped forward, bow raised, placing himself between the attacking tad-dail and the humans, his gaze sweeping back and forth along the enemy line.

The woman—needing little urging—dumped the infant into the prisoner’s arms.

“Release it,” Thorkell called to Godith’s father, “push it right out, past me! Yes! Now, everyone—”

The thatched roof behind him suddenly caved in, and flames leaped up above the eaves.

Shrieking in terror, Godith ran for safety, and the others followed, stumbling in their haste.

“Make for the alley,” yelled Thorkell, backing after them, still protecting them as best he could. As he had hoped, his former prisoner was providing additional cover, staggering towards its comrades, bleating something in its own language.

“Keep going,” yelled the Beorning, “go on, keep—oh, fuck!”

A handful of the tad-dail had leaped over the barrier and, whirling their slingshots around their heads, sent fiery missiles hurtling into the alley, cutting off the humans’ retreat.

“Shit!” Thorkell loosed his arrow. One of the creatures fell. The Beorning reached into his quiver, and muttering, “This is bad—this is bad—this is very bad,” he drew his last arrow, loosed, and brought down a second. “Rimush,” he shouted, casting his bow aside and reaching for his knife, “find us another way out! Fast!”

More creatures came over the barricade, and ran at the humans, attacking with spinning kicks.

Godith dropped to the ground, instinctively shielding her child with her own body; her mother, kicked in the head, collapsed in her husband’s arms.

Nooo,” cried Hentmirë, turning this way and that as the creatures closed in on her from all sides, “he is not yours—he is not yours!” In desperation, she scooped up something from the ground, and protecting the baby as best she could, she poked at the attackers, trying to keep them back.

Eowyn watched, fascinated, as the strange green man—his tall, spare figure wrapped head to foot in foliage—raised a branch-like hand and beckoned.

She remembered her fear when, months earlier, cornered by a band of Orcs, she had sensed his presence behind her, and turned, and had seen his golden eyes burning in what she had assumed was a pile of fallen leaves…

But she remembered how quickly that fear had turned to trust when he had pulled her to safety.

The green man beckoned again.

I have no reason to fear him now.

She glanced at Legolas.

Her beloved elf was sleeping peacefully, eyes closed, like a mortal. It would be a crime, she thought, to wake him after all that he has suffered today…

So she rose, and put on her gown and slippers, and picked her way through the sleeping couples (carefully skirting the now-sated lovers), and joined the green man outside the Banqueting Hall.

What do you want?” she whispered.

He slowly lifted a long, gnarled finger, and pointed northwards, indicating that Eowyn should walk.

Why?

He pointed again.

Do you want to show me something?

He nodded.

Very well…

Hentmirë, already on her knees, slumped over the baby as a vicious kick, to the middle of her back, drove the air from her lungs.

Beside her, Rimush was still fighting like a lion; across the village green, shouts and screams, strangely muffled by the ringing in her ears, told her that the villagers—old men and vulnerable women—had come out to help.

“I am sorry,” she panted, bracing herself for the final blow, “I… I tried…”

She waited, cringing.

But the attack did not come.

Instead, a familiar sound, slowly penetrating her consciousness, made the little woman open her eyes, and try to lift her head, and—through pain and tears—she smiled, shakily.

The sound was a dwarven battle cry, coming from a small, ferocious, axe-wielding figure, charging into the melée.

“Gimli,” groaned Hentmirë, in disbelief. “Gimli has come to save us.”

Hand-in-hand, Eowyn and the green man left the clearing and entered the rose gardens, crossing each grassy courtyard, with its carved stone terraces overflowing with fragrant blooms—until they reached, at the gardens’ centre, a rocky pool, gleaming in the moonlight.

Eowyn’s strange companion released her hand.

You want me to wait here?

He bowed and, when he raised his head, Eowyn thought she glimpsed the ghost of a smile in his vivid eyes. Then he waded out into the water and, stooping, retrieved a long, narrow package.

What is that?

He brought it back to her and, setting it on the grass, carefully unravelled its cloth wrapping.

Oh, gods!

Eowyn crouched down to examine the parcel’s gruesome contents—two pale shells of waxy flesh and the elegant white knife that had sliced them from Heral the carpenter’s dead body. “How did they come to be here?” She looked up into her companion’s burning eyes. “Did you see who put them here?

The green man’s eyes seemed to dull with sadness. He slipped his gnarled hand into a crevice in the pool’s rocky bank and withdrew a small object, which he held out to her.

Eowyn stared at the damning evidence. “Oh no

“Melmenya?”

A sudden vision of Eowyn in distress jolted Legolas from his sleep. He sat up and, instantly alert, looked around the Banqueting Hall.

She is in the rose gardens, he thought, frowning, with… Thorkell bogsveigir?

He rose to his feet and, picking up his robe, quickly slipped it on. Eowyn was upset, he realised, but not in any immediate danger. Nevertheless, he was anxious to find her.

“Legolas,”—his father’s voice, quiet but imperious, stopped him in his tracks—“we need to talk, ion nín.”

Legolas looked back across the sea of sleeping lovers. “Later, Ada,” he said, softly. “I need to find Eowyn nín.”

“Then I shall come with you,” said the Elvenking. “I am sure that Eowyn will not mind.”

Legolas suppressed a sigh. “Very well, Ada.”

Deftly, King Thranduil retrieved his clothing from beneath the sleeping Cyllien, donned the silver robe, and tied its embroidered sash. Then father and son left the Banqueting Hall, crossed the clearing, and entered the rose gardens, following the route that Eowyn and the green man had earlier taken through the maze of courtyards.

“What was it you wanted to talk to me about, Ada?” asked Legolas, once he was sure that they would not be overheard.

“Your March Warden.”

“Haldir? What about him?”

The Elvenking paused to admire a cascade of ruby-red roses. “He is innocent,” he said, bending to sniff the blooms. “Release him.”

“I know that he is innocent,” said Legolas, waiting impatiently. “I know that he is shielding Cyllien, out of some misguided sense of honour, whilst she is openly betraying him—”

“The Harvest Rite does not count, Lassui.”

“I am not talking about the Rite, Ada,” said Legolas, “as you well know. I am talking about all the ‘singing’!”

“Cyllien has a beautiful voice.”

Legolas raised his hands in frustration.

“Come Lassui,” said Thranduil, suddenly setting off again. “I thought you were worried about Eowyn.”

Ada!” Legolas followed and, rushing to catch up with his father, suddenly felt like an elfling once more. “The moment the Rite is over, Ada, Eowyn and I will be concentrating all our time on solving this murder—and we will not be swayed—”

“It is nice to see that my son has at last grown a pair—”

Ada!” Legolas grasped his father’s arm. “Tell me—and, for once in your life, speak plainly—do you love her? Do you?”

The Elvenking hesitated. Then, “No,” he admitted.

“Thank the Valar,” said Legolas. “Because, I will speak plainly to you, Ada, she is not worthy to be your consort.”

“You wrong her, Lassui,” said Thranduil, seriously. “She has suffered—”

“We all suffer! But the best grow stronger as a result.”

“The true heart,” said Thranduil, softly, “loves its beloved’s weaknesses as well as her strengths; the true heart loves more when more is needed.”

Legolas turned to his father in horror. “Oh Ada,” he said. “You do love her.”

 

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Legolas
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Contents page

contents

Previous chapter: Complications
Leglolas and Eowyn question Cyllien; Gimli and Thorkell pursue the tad-dail.

chapter 6

Next chapter: Dilemmas
Legolas faces a difficult decision; Eowyn does some DIY; Gimli and Thorkell go hunting.

chapter 8