legolas and eowyn

“I feel so guilty,” said Eowyn. She sighed, fingering the little hunting horn lying upon her breast. “I should not have taken it.”

“But he insisted, melmenya,” said Legolas, remembering how the ungainly little toddler had run after them, and pressed the horn into Eowyn’s hand. “It would have been cruel to refuse him again.”

They had been travelling for almost two hours—Eowyn riding on Brightstar, Legolas walking beside her—following Haldir along the meandering Forest trail, which the Lórien elves had decided was the best route along which to drag the wagon they had managed to rescue.

“But I wonder why—”

“He did not want it, melmenya. He had his beloved Horsie back. And who better to give it to than the Lady who rescued Horsie?”

“Hmm,” said Eowyn, “I suppose that makes sense…”

“And, I must admit, melmenya, that I am grateful to him. I only wish that you had had it when the gaur cornered you.”

Eowyn ducked beneath a low branch. “What I was actually going to say, Lassui, was, ‘I wonder why Thorkell had it with him, up in the trees?’”

Legolas frowned. When he had ordered the travellers to climb onto the flets, he had forbidden them to take any personal possessions. “Perhaps he was already wearing it.”

Eowyn touched the horn again “But why? It is a child’s toy.”

Legolas laughed. “I have given up trying to understand Master Bowswayer’s antics, melmenya.”

“Well I wonder,” said Eowyn, “if it has anything to do with that strange business with his father.”

The trail had been rising gently since they had left the river bank, but now the ground sloped sharply, and Eowyn dismounted and, leading Brightstar, climbed carefully up the rocky path until she reached the summit, and emerged from the trees, and caught her first glimpse of Caras Galadhon.

“Oh…” She stood for a few moments, gazing out over the broad depression to the circular grove of tall, gold-leafed mallorns, threaded with silvery walkways, that shone in the afternoon sun. Then, with Legolas at her side, she followed the others down into the hollow. “It cannot compare,” she whispered, “with Eryn Carantaur.”

Legolas squeezed her hand. “Because Eryn Carantaur is your home, melmenya,” he replied, smiling.

They approached the city from the north east and continued westwards, along the deep, defensive fosse, until they found the stone path that joined the Cerin Amroth road with the Great Gates at the south.

The going was slower, then, for the way was overgrown, and many of the paving stones, dislodged by the new growth, were loose and treacherous.

Eowyn, guiding Brightstar along the grassy margin, studied the fosse and the strange green wall beyond it. “There are places,” she said to Legolas, “where we could cross the moat, even with the wagon, and push our way through the hedge.”

“I know, melmenya,” replied Legolas, softly, “but that would be disrespectful.”

Eowyn frowned; then, glancing ahead, she saw Haldir leading the column, and Gimli walking beside him, and she understood what he meant.

With the sun setting at their backs, they crossed the bridge and passed down the deep lane—which, in former times, had served as a barbican, shielding the approach to the city—and entered through the Great Gates.

“We will camp here tonight,” said Legolas, “and begin the search at first light.”

Eowyn dismounted, and set Brightstar free to graze and, whilst the others were making themselves comfortable, she wandered between the mallorns—gazing up through the foliage—tracing the empty flets from tree to tree. The buildings seemed to float among the branches like mistletoe on oaks, with long, slender columns that reached down like roots, and she could well imagine how magical they must have seemed when glowing with candlelight, but—to her—there was something strange about them—and something intimidating.

“Are you any more impressed, melmenya?” asked Legolas, coming up beside her.

“It,”—she shrugged—“it is barren.”

Abandoned,” he corrected.

“No—no, it is not just that, Lassui. It is beautiful, yes, I will admit—and imposing—but it is not welcoming. And I do not believe it was ever vital, like Eryn Carantaur.”

“The elves who built it were ancient, Eowyn nín; they had erred, and had suffered for it, and they were exiled here—”

You are an elf,” she interrupted, “yet you have built something that lives; something that grows; something that does not say, ‘Elven. Keep Out’.”

“I built Eryn Carantaur for you, my darling,”—gently, he took her hands, and raised them to his lips—“in the hope that—one day—you would share it with me. That is why it seems to welcome you.”

“Then the ancient writers were wrong,” said Eowyn, firmly, “because the love between an elf and a woman has borne fruit.”


“We will gather here, at the Gates, at midday,” said Legolas, “to report our findings, to decide what we will salvage, and to work out how to move it.”

They had risen before dawn and eaten their simple rations, and—as the weak sunlight began filtering through the trees—they packed up their belongings and set off in three separate groups: Gimli’s, to search the Hythe; Haldir’s, to search the galadhrim flets; and Legolas and Eowyn’s, to search the home of the Lord and Lady of Lothlórien.

The city’s main thoroughfare—a simple path through the mallorn roots, paved in places with polished stones, that reminded Eowyn of the rose gardens at Eryn Carantaur—took them gradually northwards, following the natural contours of the hill, then curved back upon itself, and approached the crest.

Eowyn looked up at the cluster of flets. “How will we know which one was theirs?” she asked.

Legolas smiled. “We will know, melmenya.”

The path ended at a circular clearing, filled with soft, green turf but littered with fallen leaves. “The trees are unwell,” said Eowyn.

“They mourn,” said Legolas. “This is the Lawn, melmenya,”—he approached the foot of the central tree—“beneath the house of Celeborn and Galadriel; this is where the Fellowship stayed, in the pavilion they bade their warriors build for us.” He opened the gates to the staircase that spiralled up the trunk. “There were guards stationed here—ancient elves, like living statues.”

The stairs were roofed with exquisite pointed arches, like interwoven branches, that sprang from the carved steps. He took her by the hand, and they began to climb; the rest of their search party followed close behind.

“You are in awe of this place.”

“I am a Silvan elf, melmenya. A simple, country cousin to the ones who built all this.”

No,” said Eowyn, vehemently, and pride shone in her eyes. “You are the Lord of Eryn Carantaur, the prince of all the elves who have stayed behind, the founder of a city that promotes peace and goodwill between elves, and dwarves and men.”

They climbed higher, passing clusters of flets branching out from the massive trunk. At each level, Legolas sent out pairs of men to search the buildings: “You are looking for weapons,” he told them, “warm clothing, blankets, and anything edible.”

“What about silver, my Lord?” asked one of the men.


“In case we meet with any more werewolves.”

“Yes. Good thinking.”

By the time they reached the top, Legolas and Eowyn were alone. “This is the entrance to the famous Chamber of Celeborn, melmenya,” said Legolas, leading her across the leaf-shaped platform. “The last time I stood here, it was as part of the Fellowship. We had just lost Gandalf…” He fell silent.

“Lassui?” She grasped his hand. “What is it?”

“I blamed Gimli,” replied Legolas, softly. “I did not consider that he had lost his kin—had found their lifeless hröar in the mines of Moria—I blamed him, for Gandalf’s decision to travel underground, and for my own pain…”

“Oh, Lassui…” Eowyn squeezed his hand. “That is all behind you, my darling. And you are are his kin now—”

“A dwarf-friend.”

“Yes.” She smiled up at him, tears filling her eyes. “Yes, Lassui.” Then, gently, she urged him to look about the chamber. “Where do we go?”

Legolas nodded towards a shallow flight of stairs leading up amongst the branches. “Galadriel and Celeborn descended those steps,” he said. “Their private apartments must be up there.”

She squeezed his hand again. “Are you ready?”


They climbed slowly, Legolas recalling the moment when Galadriel had, one by one, entered the hearts of the Fellowship and tested their resolve, Eowyn acutely aware that she was trespassing in the private domain of two of Middle Earth’s most powerful beings.

“Would the Lord and Lady begrudge us their help?” she asked, suddenly.

“Oh, no, melmenya. No. Though the elves of Lothlórien seldom interfered in the affairs of men, they were always aware of them, and I think that, had the Lady been here, she would have given us her aid even before we asked for it.”

They passed through another elegant archway, and entered a lofty apartment, suspended between the tree’s great branches, filling the spaces like a spray of leaves; they crossed its winding floor, and passed into another chamber, similar in size to the first, but furnished in more feminine taste.

“They slept apart,” said Eowyn.

“They had been married for many years.”

“Well, I shall tell you now, Legolas, that no matter how many years you and I are married, you will never have your own bedchamber.”

Smiling, Legolas pulled her close, and kissed her temple.

“This one,” she said, “must have been hers…”

Legolas released her and, whilst he examined the row of wooden chests standing along one of the curving walls, she bent over the couch, and ran her fingers over its silken cover. “Everything is in place. It is as though she still lived here…”

“That quilt will be warm, melmenya,” said Legolas. “We will take it, and any other bed clothes you can find.” He opened the first of the chests, releasing a cloud of delicate perfume. Inside, gowns and mantles of the most exquisite fabrics—silvery silk and pale gold velvet, and the softest white wool—lay carefully folded.

“Perhaps we should take these, too,” said Legolas.

Eowyn joined him. “Our people would glitter in the sunlight.”

“Grey galadhrim cloaks would certainly serve us better,” he admitted, “if Haldir can find them. If not, these will have to do.”

Lassui!” cried Eowyn, scandalised. Then, “Imagine,” she said, thoughtfully, “how Averell, or how Cuthbert’s mother, would treasure something like this.” She lifted a silken gown from the chest, and held it against her body.

“Try it on,” said Legolas.

“Lassui!” she said again, laughing.

But whether it was the strange, timelessness of the place that had affected them, or whether the opportunity to spend a few quiet moments together had seduced them, their sense of urgency seemed to have vanished.

“I will help you,” said Legolas. He sat her down on the bed, and pulled off her boots; she slipped out of her tunic and leggings; he draped the gown over her shoulders; she turned, and he laced it up the back. “There…”

Eowyn rose, stretching out her arms and took a few steps. The weight of the beaded bodice made her feel regal, but the sheerness of the fabric floating about her limbs made her feel like a sprite. She stood before the looking glass and smiled at her own reflection. Her face was smeared with two days’ grime and her hair was tangled in a thousand elf locks, but the white gown seemed to turn her every imperfection into beauty.

“You look,” said Legolas—and Eowyn heard a catch in his voice—“like an earthbound star.”

She coloured deeply. “Well… We should get on now.”

They quickly searched the rest of Galadriel’s chamber, then returned to Celeborn’s and searched that; then they ransacked the servants’ quarters, gathering up the most practical of the clothing and the warmest of the bedding, and taking it back to the top of the staircase, where they arranged it in piles.

“We will have to lower it on ropes,” said Legolas, thoughtfully. “I will go down to the next level and see what the others have found; you,”—he grinned—“had better change back into your leggings.”

“Unlace me,” said Eowyn. She turned her back, and let him loosen her bodice.


“Thank you. I will meet you downstairs.” She sauntered back to Galadriel’s chambers—slipping out of the gown as she went—and, as she passed the looking glass, she caught another glimpse of herself in the mirror.

Still fully dressed!

She frowned, stepped back, and stared at the reflection.

A face that was not her own was staring back!

Her hands flew to her face—the reflection did not move; she tried to call for Legolas—

Do not be afraid, Eowyn, daughter of Eomund,” said a deep, feminine voice that seemed to float upon the air. “You have good reason to be proud of your husband-to-be. But his achievement hangs upon a thread, and its future rests upon a choice that you will make. You are soon to be tested.”

“Lady… Galadriel?” whispered Eowyn.

Think carefully upon what I have said.


The reflection rippled, and Eowyn saw herself—half-naked, dirty, and tousled—before the world turned white, and the floor spun away from her.



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challenge story 1

Last part



This starts after An interlude.


Caras Galadhon and the campsite.


Lothlorien and the empty flets.