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That will not do,” said Eowyn, shooing Merry from her tent. “You will not kill many Orcs with a blunt blade! To the smithy! Go!

Legolas, standing nearby with Gimli, stole a glance at the White Lady of Rohan. Tonight, she looked fragile, and feminine, yet the elf knew that, only days before, she had fought bravely in the Glittering Caves, protecting the women and children by holding back the invading Orcs until the men arrived. He smiled—

“You should not encourage him,” said Eomer.

Legolas’ gaze fell upon Eowyn’s brother.

You should not doubt him!”

“I do not doubt his heart,” the man replied. “Only the reach of his arm.” His companion sniggered.

Eowyn stood her ground. “Why should Merry be left behind?” she insisted. “He has as much cause to go to war as you. Why can he not fight for those he loves?” She was speaking quietly, calmly, but Legolas knew that it was her own position she was describing—and so did her brother.

You know as little of war as that hobbit,” he said, rising from the fireside. “When the fear takes him—when the blood and the screams and the horror of battle take hold—do you think he would stand and fight? He would flee and he would be right to do so.” He towered over her, using his bulk to illustrate his point. “War is the province of men, Eowyn.”

Legolas glanced at Gimli.

The dwarf—surprisingly sensitive in such matters—jerked his head towards the woman’s tent.

The elf patted his shoulder gratefully.

“My Lady?” Cautiously, Legolas pulled the tent flap aside.

To his surprise, he found Eowyn kneeling on the ground—and it took him a moment to realise that she was leaning into a large wooden chest, searching through its contents. “May I come in…?”

“If you wish.” She closed the chest lid and turned towards him—spreading her arms as though trying to hide what she had just been doing—and her eyes were bright with unshed tears.

Legolas’ heart faltered at the sight. “Your brother wants only to protect you,” he said, gently, “you and Merry. To save you both from the horror of battle—”

“If I were a man he would order me to fight,” she interrupted, speaking with the same suppressed passion he had heard earlier, “he would have me flogged for a coward if I did not!”

“Yes…” Legolas held out his hands. “But you are not a man, my Lady.”

“Why should sex matter?” She let him help her to her feet. “I can fight! We need warriors and I can fight!”

“But they need something to fight for,” he said.

She frowned.

“When the time comes,” he explained, “they will have to kill—and kill and kill—and they will find something, deep inside themselves, that they—” He stopped abruptly. “And, when it is all over, they will want to return home to the one thing that matters—”


Legolas shook his head. “Their wives. Their wives and their mothers, their sisters and daughters—their women, untainted by the horror that they have just have endured—”

“And they will despise them,” said Eowyn, angrily. “They will hold their women cheap for precisely that reason—because they were not there…” The elf was still holding her hands and she pulled them from his grasp and turned away. “But I am already tainted, Prince Legolas. I have fought Orcs in the Glittering Caves.” She stiffened her already stiff spine. “I am a warrior, a Shieldmaiden.”

Legolas smiled. In her little suede corslet she looked so small, so vulnerable, and yet she was so full of fire. He laid his hand on her shoulder. “Without any doubt, my Lady, you are a warrior.”

She swung round, surprised by his touch.

It was not the first time that he had revealed his feelings for her—she had rebuffed a foolish embrace during the celebrations after Helm’s Deep—but now she stared up at him, her eyes huge and suddenly dark, searching his face (he felt) for a sign of his true intentions.

Legolas waited.

Then, at last she raised her hand, and laid it upon his.

Melmenya,” he murmured, leaning towards her.

“But I—Lord Aragorn…”

“Aragorn is betrothed,” said Legolas. His lips sought hers. “I offer you my heart.”

She pulled back. “I am mortal.”

“Any one of us may die in time of war, Eowyn nín.” He leaned in again and, this time, he kissed her, lightly at first and then, when she did not resist, with more and more passion, gathering her up in his arms and feeling the softness of her body and the sweetness of her lips. “Oh, Eowyn…” He slid his hands down her back, to her waist, and pulled her closer—

She drew back her head and stared up at him, wide-eyed—and, for a moment, he thought she would shove him away—slap him—call out to her brother for protection. But then she smiled—a smile of such innocent desire, of such childlike complicity, that it made his heart leap. “My Lord!” she gasped.

He smiled back. “Legolas.”

Then he devoured her, nuzzling and nipping the velvety skin of her neck, earning from her a deep, shuddering sigh. “Are you—oh—are you going to ravish me, Legolas?”

Her golden hair smelled of horses and, beneath that, of rose petals. “Only if you want me to, melmenya. Do you want me to?”

“Did you mean it—your heart? For ever?”

“If you will have me, Eowyn nín, I will stay with you until y—until we are parted.”

Yes,” she said, quietly. “Yes, I want you to.”

There was a camp bed in the tent’s side chamber, and he lifted her into his arms, and carried her behind the thick curtain, and set her down upon it. “If I had a choice, melmenya, our first time would be long and lingering,” he whispered, sliding her skirts up her thighs, “but, as it is, we must seize what little time we have.”

Her legs were as slender as a faun’s and he leaned between them, kissing the soft skin of her inner thighs—and she opened herself to him—and he worked his way up to her centre, stroking and probing the tender flesh with his tongue. There, she smelled only of herself and her scent was intoxicating. Still teasing her, Legolas reached under his own tunic, unlaced his leggings, and pulled himself free.

Eru, how he wanted her!

But he must calm himself…

Her hands, tangled in his hair, were gently urging him on—suddenly, her body arched and Legolas felt her spasm with pleasure. Then she sank back onto the bed, eyes tightly closed, and murmured, “Thank you.” And—with something less than elven grace—he shuffled forwards and straddled her, and kissed her cheek, and he felt her head turn and her lips brush his ear. “What about you?”she asked. And her little hand slipped down to his groin, and closed around him.

“Goodness,” she murmured.


“You are so big.” He felt her cheeks flame and he smiled as she began to stroke him, hesitantly at first but quickly growing bolder—harder and more rhythmical—and suddenly he wanted desperately to come, and he clawed at the fur blanket, muttering curses in his effort to stop himself.

Her hand stilled. “Have I hurt you?”

He swallowed hard. “No, melmenya…”

He heard her sigh with relief. Then he felt her pull at him, gently, and he lifted himself up on his hands and let her draw him, closer and closer, until he was resting just inside her, all warm and wet. Their eyes met, and they both smiled—Legolas shakily—she nodded, and, in a single, firm stroke, he drove himself deep, and began to thrust.

Sweet adaneth! Sweet, sweet adaneth…

He made no attempt to control himself now, no effort slow himself down, for she was meeting his thrusts with equal vigour and, as their bodies collided, and parted, and collided again, he felt the first delicious ripples of his climax starting, deep in his groin, and he threw himself down on her, attacking her mouth and moaning, “Eowyn, Eowyn, oh sweet Eowyn…!” till he burst inside her.

He sank into her arms.

“What will you do,” she asked, much later, “when I die?”

“I will sail West,” he lied, kissing her hand—for he already knew that he could not live long without her.



Startled out of his reverie, Legolas turned to the dwarf sitting beside him.

You had me worried,” whispered Gimli. “You were in a trance.”

I was just thinking, elvellon.”

Of what?

Of what might have been.”

A solemn fanfare filled the Hall of Kings, bringing the congregation to its feet.

Legolas rose, and bowed his head.

Dressed in cloth of gold, Eowyn swept through the great East Doors attended by half-a-dozen maidens. Her brother, waiting just inside the Hall, gave her his arm and led her down the aisle to Faramir’s side, symbolically placing her hand in his.

Then Aragorn, in his crown and kingly robes, said the words.

And, amidst the cheers of the Court and the people of Gondor, the Prince and Princess of Ithilien walked from the Hall, man and wife.




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