Eowyn and Legolas

A flock of birds, wading at the water’s edge, suddenly took flight, filling the sky with a great dark sigh of flapping wings.

“The Lady of the Shield Arm,” said Thorkell bogsveigir, bowing low in his saddle. “I am honoured.”

“You are a fool, bow-swayer,” hissed Eomer, reaching for his sword, “if you think that I will permit this—”

“Eomer, stop!” cried Legolas, holding up his hands. “Eowyn has accepted his challenge.”

“It is ridiculous! Surely you will not—”

She has accepted it!” repeated Legolas. “And we,”—he wrapped his arm around Eowyn’s shoulders—“must abide by her decision.”

The Beorning acknowledged the elf’s reluctant support with a bow of the head, before addressing himself to Eowyn: “Since it was I who issued the challenge, my lady, you may choose the weapons.”

“Swords,” said Eowyn, without hesitation.

“And your second?”

“My brother, Eomer.”

What!” Eomer swung himself down from his horse, but Haldir caught his arm and held him fast.

“I will return at dawn,” said Thorkell bogsveigir; and, ignoring the King’s curses, he spurred his horse and galloped back to his companions.

Have you lost your mind?” cried Eomer, shaking off Haldir’s restraining hands.

Eowyn stood her ground.

“By the gods’ grace you survive one battle and now you think you are a warrior? He will kill you before you have drawn your sword! And as for you!” He turned on Legolas.

“I must speak with Eowyn in private,” said the elf, calmly.

“You encouraged this! You took her hunting orcs!”

“Please, give us a moment together.”

Legolas held out his arm, and Eowyn took it, and he led her away from the crowd, through the yellow furze bushes, down to the river bank. Only then did he pull her into his arms. “Why, melmenya?” he whispered, “Why? Does what we have been granted—eternity together—mean nothing to you?”

“It means everything to me, Lassui.”

“Then why?”

“He was challenging you,” said Eowyn, softly. “Berryn was just an excuse—he knew that Berryn would not fight. He expected you to defend him.”

“Oh, melmenya…” He pressed his lips to her temple. “Did you think he would refuse you? Did you think you could shame him into riding away?”


“So you thought you were protecting me?”

“I thought… I thought that a bully and a coward did not deserve to fight you. I thought that a man who sneered at maidens should be taught a lesson. I thought…” She sighed. “Perhaps I did act foolishly. But I will not go back on my word.”

Legolas crushed her to his chest.

“You think that I will lose,” she said.

“I fear it, melmenya. Of course I do! He is…”

“A man?”

“A man, yes—bigger and stronger and more experienced than you are.”

“Will you stay with me, Lassui? Stay at my side until dawn?”

“How can you ask?”

“And support me?”

“You named Eomer as your second.”

“Only to bind him, my love, on his honour; only to stop him doing something foolish, like killing Thorkell bogsveigir during the night.”

“Of course I will stay melmenya—till dawn and forever—I have sworn it. No matter what happens tomorrow, I will never leave your side.”



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This takes place immediately after Thorkell bogsveigir.