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legolas and eowyn


Part 8

Mistress Livilda’s neighbours confirmed that none of them had bought the djinn’s lamp, and Legolas decided that the friends should immediately press on, in the hope of closing the gap between themselves and the knight still further.

“I know the man who lives beside the bridge at Ress Arnen,” said Haldir, “His name is Estmond. I am sure that, tonight, he will let us sleep under his roof.”

“You know these people well,” said Eowyn, with admiration.

“The outlying settlements are my responsibility, as March Warden,” he replied. “And these are Ayleth’s people,” he added. “They respect her, and they accept me because of her.”

Eowyn smiled.


As they left Sad Dholt, Eowyn urged Brightstar forward, and fell in beside Legolas and Gimli on Arod. “It sounds,” she said, “as though this knight is not the demon you feared.”

“No,” Legolas admitted. “It seems not, melmenya... And yet,” he added, thoughtfully, “for whatever reason, Eowyn nín, he seems to trail turmoil behind him like a velvet cloak.”


It was dark by the time they reached Ress Arnen.

Haldir’s friend seemed genuinely pleased to have company, and insisted that they share a meal with him before they retired. The friends asked him their usual questions, and Estmond was only too happy to talk, confirming that the knight had crossed the bridge early that morning.

“He stopped here, and asked me,” he said, “whether I remembered seeing a man and a woman ride by, about three or four years ago.

“I told him that I did remember, and that it was three years not four, and that I knew that for a fact, because it was the day my wife left me and went back to her parents.” He shrugged, resignedly. “I told him that the man had asked me the way to the salt mine—”

“The salt mine?” Legolas interrupted.

“Yes. There’s an old salt mine up at Nan Arnen, though it hasn’t been working since Beregond was Steward of Gondor. The man said he had family thereabouts. I said I didn’t know if anyone was still living up there, but he was on the right road.”

Legolas glanced at the others.

“Did the woman—the one that rode by—say anything to you?” asked Eowyn.

Estmond shook his head. “The knight asked me that, too—and he asked whether she seemed frightened—but, to tell the truth, my Lady, I couldn’t answer him. She was all bundled up. I never saw her face.”

“How did the knight react when you told him that?” asked Eowyn.

Estmond shrugged. “He was a man of few words, if you get my meaning, but I think he was worried... Yes, I’m sure he was worried.”

Eowyn nodded, thoughtfully.

“Oh...” Estmond rose, fetched a small object from the dresser, and laid it on the table. “You’ll probably want to see this,” he said.

It was a silver buckle.

“He traded with you,” said Legolas. “What did he want?”

“A bag of corn,” said Estmond, sitting down again. “I offered him a loaf, and some biscuit, and a pouch of dried beef, but he said, no, it was just the corn he needed.”


Ress ... Ravine
Nan ... Valley