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“Do not stray too far, Melmenya.”

Easy for you to say, thought Eowyn, when you hardly ever need to go—and, if you do, you can just stand behind a tree...

She took a few more steps, and glanced backwards. She could not see any elves, but that did not mean they were not there—and watching her. She ducked behind a dense bush, unlaced her leggings, squatted, and relieved herself.

Tweet-tweet, tweet!

A tiny brown bird, hopping amongst the branches, surveyed her, thoughtfully.

“Well you can mind your own business,” Eowyn grumbled, pulling up her leggings and re-lacing them. She stepped out from the bush and started back towards the camp but, after less than a dozen yards, she began to suspect that she was heading in the wrong direction.

Tweet-tweet, tweet!

The little bird seemed to agree.

Eowyn stopped, and turned full circle.

Everywhere looked the same—and she was no longer sure where she had just come from.

“Legolas?” she called—softly, because she knew that orcs had occasionally been seen in this part of the Forest. “Legolas?

There was no response but Tweet-tweet, tweet!

“Which way?” she whispered, looking up, beyond the little bird, through the forest canopy, to a tiny patch of clear blue sky.

No clue there.

She decided to call for help—

And, somewhere behind her, a twig snapped.


That, thought Eowyn, taking cover behind another bush, is not an elf.

She peered through the dense foliage, holding back a gasp when three orcs ambled into view. (They were not on her Orc map).

The leader stopped, and sniffed the air. “Woman flesh...

Eowyn grasped her sword.

One of his companions shook his head, snuffling appreciatively. “Woman piss,” he corrected. There was a pause; Eowyn heard him making water.

“Where’s the woman?” asked the third brute.

Silently, and taking great care not to disturb the branches around her, Eowyn drew her sword from its scabbard.

The first orc sniffed again. “Can’t smell nothing but him,” he said, jerking his head towards his incontinent friend. The third orc slapped the culprit across the back of the head. “Don’t!” He sniffed again. “Yes—she’s over here.” He swaggered towards Eowyn’s hideout.

Eowyn slipped her sword into a gap between the branches, and aimed its point at his unprotected belly.

The brute took another step.

Eowyn focussed.

Tweet-tweet, tweet!

The orc staggered backwards, hands flailing, trying to bat away the tiny assailant fluttering in his face.

Tweet-tweet, tweet!

One of his companions drew a dirty black blade and slashed—“Gaahh!”—and Eowyn heard his weapon connect with a soft thud, like a child’s paddle hitting a leather ball.


Hardly thinking, she pulled out her sword, began to rise—then froze, her skin prickling. There was something behind her.

Eyes wide, orcs temporarily forgotten—for this was not an orc—she slowly turned her head.


Just a pile of fallen branches covered in dry leaves—but, for some reason, Eowyn could not tear her gaze away from them. She leaned closer.

And pair of eyes—green and golden—opened and stared back at her. Then a head moved, and a hand rose—

Eowyn bit back a cry of surprise, but she had betrayed herself.

“Woman!” came a triumphant howl, and the three slavering orcs crashed through the undergrowth. “Mine!” shouted the leader. “All mine.”

Unprepared, outnumbered three to one, and with the strange leaf-man still at her back, Eowyn—for a split-second—considered using her blade upon herself.

But then she thought of Legolas, and she swung her sword back and forth in a wide arc, shouting at the top of her voice, “Legolas! Legolas, help!”

Two of the orcs stumbled backwards, startled by the sweeping sword, but the orc leader, intent on taking his prize, drew his weapon and advanced.


“Eowyn!” The elf’s voice seemed a hundred miles away. “Keep calling, Eowyn nín!”


“Elves!” snarled one of the orcs, retreating into the trees, “Elves come for her!”

But the leader would not be distracted. “You and me,” he said.

Eowyn planted her feet firmly, and raised her sword.

“Melmenya! Melmenya, keep calling!”

Eowyn had no chance to fight—the first orc struck; she parried. The second orc came at her from the right; she parried again. More orcs, drawn by the commotion, were closing in on her.

The leader struck once more and, this time, Eowyn was too slow—

But a pair of strong arms—rough with bark and leaves—wrapped themselves around her waist and whisked her out of harm’s way just as—


Thud, thud.


The orc leader fell to his knees, an arrow buried deep in his skull. The second orc, dropping his sword, clutched in confusion at two arrows protruding from his chest. Elves were streaming through the trees, in pursuit of the rest. And, suddenly, Legolas was beside Eowyn, lifting her from the ground and gathering her against his chest.

“Melmenya! I told you not to go too far...”

“Where is he? Where has he gone?”

“Where has who gone?”

“The leaf-man. He was here... He saved me...” Eowyn searched the ground, looking for a tiny corpse. “What happened to the little bird...?”


Deep in the Woods, a pair of leafy hands opened, and a little brown bird spread its wings, and fluttered away.





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This short story gives a tiny glimpse of a character who also appears in Season of Mists—and somewhere on this page there's a link to a picture of him...