legolas and eowyn

Part 1

Eowyn frowned. “How could anyone abandon such a sweet little—” She stopped herself, aware that the elfling’s huge eyes were fixed upon her. “He is so wet, Lassui,” she said. “We had better get him home straight away.”

“Melmenya!” Legolas shook his head, smiling fondly. “We cannot just take him home.”

“Why not? That is what the note says.”

“He is not a Yuletide gift, my darling.”

“But we cannot leave him here!”

“No.” Absently, Legolas picked up the child’s waterskin and pulled out the cork. “But we must make some effort to find his parents.” He handed the skin to the boy.

Melannen took a drink, then offered it to Eowyn. “Would you like some?”

“Thank you,”—she raised the skin to her lips—“Melannen! You speak Westron!”

The child nodded.

“You clever boy!” She gave him a little hug; then she took a sip, and handed the skin to Legolas.

Melannen smiled up at her, proudly.

Legolas, meanwhile, having drunk from the waterskin, re-corked it, and put it back in the child’s basket. “Come, melmenya,” he said. “We will follow Melannen’s footprints back to wherever he came from and, with luck...” He saw the disappointment on Eowyn’s face, and laid a gentle hand upon her shoulder.

“It is getting so late, Lassui,” she pleaded, “and—ohhh...” She yawned.

“There is still enough light, my darling. And we must make absolutely sure.”

Eowyn covered her mouth and, yawning again, nodded reluctantly.

“Goodness,” said Legolas. “You are making me feel tired!”


Part 2

They scrambled to their feet, and Legolas picked up the basket and, with Melannen walking between them, holding their hands, they traced the trail of little footprints through the snow-covered Forest, tramping beneath the tall, dark pines until they reached a frozen stream, which they followed eastwards, gradually climbing up flights of snowy steps—pausing now and then to admire the delicate icicles fringing the sides of the gorge—every step taking them farther and farther from the Doro Lanthron road.

At last they came to a stone bridge.


“Across there?” asked Eowyn, doubtfully.

The child nodded.

“That is where his footprints lead, melmenya,” said Legolas.

On the northern bank the trail left the stream, and wandered back into the woods, and they continued to follow it, through the frosty undergrowth, until, as the light began to fail, they came to an abrupt halt at the foot of a sheer wall of rock.

There, the elfling’s footprints turned east and skirted the cliff, then suddenly turned again, and disappeared into a crevice.

“Did you really come through there, Melannen?” asked Eowyn.

The boy nodded, vehemently. “Yes, Lady Melmenya.”

Legolas and Eowyn looked at one another, startled. Then they both laughed.

“It is Lady Eowyn,” said Legolas, “but I am sure,” he added, bending down to the child, and pretending to whisper, “that she will let you call her Gwanur Eowyn, if you like. And I am Gwanur Legolas.”

The laughter had raised their spirits and, without further ado, Legolas led them into the passage, and they followed its twists and turns until, after a few minutes, they came to the other end, stepped out into the open, and found themselves looking down into a little valley. Snow-covered houses dotted the hillside, lining the road that wound along the valley bottom until they clustered together in a little town. Here and there, chimney smoke curled up into the dusky sky and lights already shone invitingly.

“Where are we?” asked Eowyn.

“I do not know, melmenya. I had no idea that there were settlements this far out. Is this where you live, Melannen?”

The boy nodded, pointing—beyond the town—to the dense Forest that covered the other side of the valley. “Over there,” he said.


Part 3

By the time they reached the town, darkness had fallen, and the clear night sky was filled with twinkling stars. “It is too late to go any further tonight, Lassui,” said Eowyn. “Perhaps there is an inn we can stay at.”

They found one in the market place—The Two Ways—a big, half-timbered tavern with a row of latticed windows filled with light and laughter, and a heavy, panelled door from which, when Legolas opened it, the mingled smells of mulled ale, and woodsmoke, and roasted meat spilled out into the street.

“Welcome, welcome!” cried the landlord, rushing from behind the bar. “Strangers are always welcome! And it’s a long time since we saw any of the fair folk in these parts! Here, my Lady,”—he pulled out a chair for Eowyn—“sit beside the fire and let me fetch you a drink—a tankard of hot mulled ale is just what you need on a cold night like this.”

Eowyn sat down, and patted her lap, and Melannen climbed onto her knee.

Legolas smiled at them. Then, “Thank you, landlord,” he said, nodding politely to the regulars as he followed the man to the bar, “but the boy will have mulled apple juice—”

“Of course, sir.”

“—and we would all like some food—pease pudding, perhaps?”

“With butter and mint sauce, sir,” said the landlord, “and fresh-baked bread.”

“Perfect. And two rooms for the night, if you have them.”

“I’ll get the wife to make them up. Take your seat sir,”—the landlord gestured towards the fireside—“and I’ll bring your ale over, and your food, too, when it’s ready.”


Part 4

When their supper was finished, they thanked the landlord, said goodnight to his other guests, and took Melannen up the narrow, creaking stairs to his attic bedroom.

It was small but cosy, for the landlord’s wife had lit the fire and made up the bed with a warm quilt, and had found a tiny nightshirt for the boy to wear. Eowyn asked her to fetch some hot water and—whilst Legolas sat beside the fire and amused them by making hand shadow puppets on the wall—she helped the elfling change out of his still-damp clothes, which she hung over a chair to dry, and to wash his hands and face, and put on his nightshirt.

“Now,” she said, “into bed!” She pulled back the coverlet.

The elfling climbed in. “Where’s Niben?” he asked.


“The toy rabbit, melmenya,” said Legolas, making a shadow-rabbit, which peered at the elfling, took fright, and scampered off.

Melannen laughed.

“Of course.” Eowyn rummaged through the child’s basket. “Ah, here he is...” She turned, holding the toy up in the firelight, only to find that the elfling had already fallen into reverie.

Smiling, she laid Niben on his pillow. “He must have been so tired, Lassui,” she said, carefully arranging the quilt around his shoulders, and kissing his forehead. “Sleep tight,” she whispered.

Then she and Legolas, hand-in-hand, tip-toed from the room, quietly closing the door behind them.


Part 5

Their own room, on the floor below, was large and draughty, but the landlord’s wife had lit the fire and aired the bed, and had provided them with flannel night clothes. Legolas held a thick nightshirt against his chest. “What do you think, melmenya? Does it suit me?”

Eowyn shook her head. “No.” She sat down heavily.

“You look tired.”

“No... It is just... It has been a strange day. Do you think we will find Melannen’s parents?”

Legolas draped the nightshirt over a chair to warm. “I do not know, melmenya,” he said, kneeling down to unfasten her jerkin. “I think it unlikely that they live in the Forest.” He slid it off her shoulders.


He pulled off her boots. “Because: why would anyone with such a well-situated home abandon a child?”

“I think it strange,” said Eowyn, unlacing her leggings, “that he managed to walk so far without being found. And did you hear what the landlord said—that it was a long time since he had seen any elves?”

“Yes. I pressed him on that but he was adamant: he has never heard of any elves living in the Forest. Of course,” he added, “elves are not seen when they do not want to be.”

He fetched the warmed nightshirt, and Eowyn slipped out of her tunic, and put it on. Legolas pulled back the quilt and she climbed into bed.

“Oh,” she cried, “it is freezing!”

The elf laughed. “Just a moment.” He undressed quickly and, naked, climbed in beside her.

“I win,” said Eowyn, snuggling close.


Part 6

Legolas wrapped his arms around her, and hugged her closer. “Better?”


He shifted his hips.

Eowyn giggled.



He laughed and kissed her forehead.

Then he kissed her mouth.



Eowyn responded.

And Legolas, still holding her close, moved his hips again, and Eowyn moved hers, and—“Ah,”—he pushed himself inside her.

Lassui,”—it was so beautiful—“oh, my love...” she whispered. And she closed her eyes, smiling, and let his thrusts—deep, deep and strong—drive her closer, and closer, and closer, until, “Ah,” she wailed, and her smile turned to astonishment as her body arched upwards, “AH!

And Legolas felt her climax envelop him; and his own body, in swift response, spiralled helplessly into sweet release. “Melmenya,” he groaned. “Ai! Ai, meleth nín!”


Part 7

“Good morning, melmenya.”

Eowyn pushed herself up on her elbows.

Legolas was sitting beside the fire, stirring up its embers, which were beginning to crackle merrily. “The landlord’s wife has brought you some hot water,” he said, “and I have asked her to prepare us some breakfast.”

Eowyn yawned. “Melannen,” she said.

“I have been to see him, and he is still resting.”

“We must get him dressed.”

Legolas smiled. “We must get you dressed, first.”

Eowyn pushed back the quilt, climbed out of the bed, and padded over to the wash stand. “How long do you think it will take us to walk to the Forest?” She washed quickly.

“Two hours, perhaps. Here, melmenya.” He picked up her tunic, which had been warming by the fire, and held it for her to slip on.

“Oh, that is better!”


To Eowyn’s disappointment, when they reached the elfling’s room they found him already up and dressed, standing by the window with his toy rabbit. “Look, Gwanur Eowyn,” he said, showing her the frosted panes.

“Oh, yes!” She crouched down beside him. “It is beautiful, Melannen! Look, Lassui,” she said, tracing one of the crystals with her fingertip.

“Like a faery Forest,” said Legolas.



They ate a hearty breakfast of porridge, eggs, and bread and butter; and then, whilst Legolas paid the landlord, Eowyn spoke quietly to the man’s wife.

“Here you are, my Lady,” said the woman, moments later, handing Eowyn a bundle of coarse brown fabric. “It’s old, but it’s still sound, and it should do the job.”

“Thank you.” Eowyn reached for her purse.

“Oh no, my Lady,” said the woman. “Please have it. Mine have long grown out of it.”

“Thank you very much, mistress. Come Melannen, this will keep you nice and warm.” She unfolded the thick brown worsted and wrapped it round the elfling’s shoulders, fastening it beneath his chin with a large wooden toggle. The heavy cloak bunched in stiff folds about the boy’s legs, and parts of its hem brushed the floor. He looked like a particularly stout, blond dwarf.

“Melmenya,” said Legolas, smiling fondly, “he is an elf. You do not need to be so protective.”

But Melannen was beaming up at his new Gwanur as though she had just given him a riding cloak of fine silk velvet.


Part 8

Outside The Two Ways tavern, the market was already bustling.

Eowyn took Melannen by the hand and the trio spent a few moments walking up and down the rows of stalls, buying bread and cheese, some rosy apples, and—as a special treat—three slices of spiced yule cake.

The stalls were hung with garlands of spruce and holly, and decorated with strings of glass baubles, and with stars of woven straw, and many were selling seasonal gifts—scented salves and beeswax candles, boxes of sweetmeats, nuts, and exotic fruits.

Whilst Legolas and Eowyn were carefully stowing a bag of peppered almonds in Melannen’s basket—which Legolas had volunteered to carry—the elfling wandered over to the next stall.

“Good morning to you, young sir,” said trader, hanging a toy bear from a hook in the stall’s pitched roof.

Melannen studied the wooden creature—smartly dressed in a blue shirt, a flowered waistcoat, and grey leggings—and frowned. “He looks like a man,” he said.

“Watch,” said the trader and, unseen by the elfling, he pulled a cord, and the bear suddenly leaped up and down, waving its arms and legs.

“Oh! Gwanur Eowyn,” cried Melannen, in amazement, “Gwanur Legolas! Look! Look!

Legolas and Eowyn hurried to his side.

“It jumps!” said the boy, pointing excitedly.

Laughing, Eowyn gave him a little hug. “Would you like one of your own, Melannen?” she asked. “Then your Gwanur Legolas can show you how it works.” The boy smiled up at her. “Which would you like?”

Besides the bear, there were several men, an oliphaunt, and a big striped cat to choose from.


“The bear,” said Melannen. “The bear with clothes on.”


Part 9

They left the market square, turning east at the crossroads, and followed the narrow lane through a huddle of grey stone cottages—past a blacksmith’s forge, and a cabinet-maker’s workshop, where they paused to look at the frosty spider’s web stretched across the window—then out onto the common, where cattle and horses, their breath steaming, were waiting patiently for the thaw.

A little further on, where the road crossed a bridge, they came upon a handful of boys sliding excitedly across a frozen stream.

Melannen turned to watch them.

Eowyn squeezed his hand. “We must press on,” she said.

“We can spare a few moments, melmenya,” said Legolas, “if he would like to try it.”

Eowyn looked up at the elf in alarm, and mouthed, No.

But the biggest of the boys had already seen them, and came running along the snowy bank. “Does the little ’un want a go, sir?”

“Do you, Melannen?” asked Legolas. The elfling nodded. “Yes, please,” he replied to the boy. “Just one.”

“Come on then,” said the boy, taking the smaller child by the hand. “Melanner’s ’avin’ the next go,” he shouted to his friends.

Legolas wrapped his arm around Eowyn and they watched as the elfling attempted to slide, fell—Legolas held Eowyn back—was briefly coached by the other children—who mimed various techniques—and then, on his second attempt, slid gracefully across the full width of the stream.

Melannen threw up his little hands in triumph.

Some of the others cheered, and some laughed, good-naturedly.

“Come on, Melanner,” said the big boy, “yer Dad said jus’ one go.”

“You were right, Lassui,” Eowyn admitted, softly, as the children tramped back to the bridge. “It is just—he is so small...”

“I know, melmenya,” said Legolas, gently, “but a child must always be permitted the chance to learn. Thank you,”—he handed the boy the bag of spiced almonds he had bought in the market—“to share with your friends.”

“Thank yer, sir.” The boy bowed, clumsily. Then, eyeing the elf shrewdly, he added, “Melanner says yer takin’ ’im inter the Forest.”


“Yer don’t want to go in there, sir.”

“Why not?”

The boy shrugged. “It’s ’aunted,” he said. And he ran back to his friends.


Part 10

It was midday by the time they reached the Forest. There, the road dwindled to a narrow trail, and patches of pale light, filtering down through the frosty branches, fell like jewels upon a covering of smooth, unblemished snow.

No human has set foot in here for years, thought Legolas, and he remembered the child’s warning.

He stopped, and listened intently.

All around him, the trees were creaking under their snowy burden, squirrels were scampering across the Forest floor, deer were browsing on the sparse undergrowth, but he could sense no sign of Silvan elves—no songs nor laughter, nothing to suggest their presence.

Perhaps, he thought, they have chosen to fade...

Perhaps that is why the humans believe this Forest is haunted—

“Well,” said Eowyn, “who else is hungry?”

Melannen, who had been listening with Legolas, looked up at her, a frown of surprise on his little face.

Legolas laughed, hugging his beloved. “We elves to do not hunger like humans, melmenya,” he said, “but, since you are hungry, now would be a very good time to eat. Come, Melannen, help me...” Handing Eowyn the basket, he led the boy to a fallen tree, sheltered from the worst of the weather, and, together, they cleared the dusting of snow from its broad trunk.

Then Legolas turned back to Eowyn and, with a deep, sweeping bow—“My Lady?”—offered her a seat.

Melannen clapped his hands, bouncing up and down and giggling happily.

“Thank you,” said Eowyn and, after curtseying to both of her elves, she sat down, setting the basket beside her.

“How far is your parents’ house, Melannen?” asked Legolas.

Eowyn removed the basket’s cloth and spread it out on her makeshift table, then lifted out a loaf of bread and broke it into three, handing the smallest piece to the elfling and the largest to Legolas.

“Thank you,” said the elf.

“Do you not know, Melannen?” asked Eowyn, carefully unwrapping a piece of cheese.

The elfling shook his head.

Legolas crouched down beside him. “Who put the note in your basket?” he asked. The child said nothing. “Was it your Ada?” Melannen shook his head again. “Your Nana, then?”


Legolas glanced at Eowyn.

She shrugged, helplessly. “Would you like some cheese, Melannen?”


They finished their meal—particularly enjoying the yule cake—and continued on their way, following the lonely trail deeper and deeper into the Forest. Every few minutes, Legolas would stop, and he and Melannen would listen, carefully, then turn to Eowyn, and shake their heads.

After an hour or so of fruitless searching, Legolas grasped Eowyn’s arm and the couple fell back a little, still carefully watching the elfling, who was stamping along, trying to leave deep footprints like his Gwanur Eowyn.

“If we do not find his parents soon, melmenya,” said Legolas, softly, “we will have to turn back. Melannen and I could spend the night out here with no discomfort, but you... No, I want to get you back to The Two Ways before dark.”

“Lassui!” Eowyn shook her head. “Do not treat me like a—”

Her protest was cut off by a sudden wail—a cry of desperate anguish—that echoed around them—and whether it had been made by a man, or an elf, or a beast, or even by a tree, none of them could have said, but its effect upon Melannen was terrible.

“Nana!” he cried. “Nana! NANA!

And he ran off into the woods.


Part 11

Melannen!” cried Eowyn. “Melannen, come back! Oh, Lassui,”—she turned to the elf—“Lassui! Fetch him back! Please. Go after him!”

“No, melmenya,” said Legolas, taking her by the hand, “we will both go after him.”

They left the track, following the elfling through the trees, until the faint trail disappeared completely, and it became harder and harder to be sure which way he had gone.

“Oh, where is he, Lassui?” asked Eowyn, anxiously. “MELANNEN!”

Snow fell down from the branches above her.

Legolas pulled her into his arms. “Hush, Eowyn nín.” He closed his eyes, listening intently. Then, “This way!”

On they hurried, across deep-drifted snow, Legolas walking easily, Eowyn labouring, her feet sinking deep.

“Go on, Lassui,” she panted. “I am holding you back.”

But Legolas put his hand to her waist and, supporting her, led her on. “It is not far now, melmenya—I can hear him, just up ahead. Yes, look!”


They found the elfling, standing in a tiny clearing, staring up into the trees.

Eowyn struggled to his side. “Melannen,” she cried, grasping his shoulders, “you must never, ever, run away like that!” The child threw himself against her, sobbing. “Sweetheart? What is wrong?”

Legolas, catching her eye, nodded upwards.

Eowyn scanned the trees until, perching in the largest, she spotted the remains of an elven house, its broken walls and exposed beams barely visible amongst the branches—and then she realised that the snow-covered bushes all around her were the remnants of a garden.

“We must go up there, Lassui,” she said, softly, “just to make sure...”


The stairs were still in place, spiralling up the tree trunk. Legolas went first, carefully searching each room until he was certain that the elfling’s parents were not lying in the ruins, then he beckoned to Eowyn, who brought up Melannen, clinging tightly to her hand.

“Are you sure that this is your house, nadithen?” asked the elf, crouching down beside the boy.

Melannen nodded.

Still uncertain, Legolas looked up at Eowyn.

“Show me your room,” she said, gently squeezing the child’s shoulder.

Melannen led her through the broken doorway—splintered, it seemed, by several blows from an axe—across the roofless sitting room—its floor and walls blackened by fire—up a short flight of steps, and into a tiny bedchamber, where the carved window frames were still draped with fragments of frozen curtain.

“This must have been a lovely room,” murmured Eowyn and, stooping down beside a little couch, she picked up a battered picture book, opened it, and spelled out the name written inside its cover. “Mel—ann—en.”

The boy sniffed. “I can help you practise your reading if you like, Gwanur Eowyn,” he said.

Eowyn hugged him tight.

“Come melmenya—Melannen,” said Legolas, gently. “We will go back to the town.”


Pages from Melannen's Picture Book


Part 12

It was a long, weary tramp back to the town.

As soon as they left the Forest, Eowyn asked Legolas to carry Melannen and, within moments, the child had fallen into fitful reverie, his little head resting upon the elf’s shoulder.

“What do you think happened in that house, Lassui?” asked Eowyn, softly.

“An Orc attack,” replied Legolas.

Melannen sighed, and shifted into a more comfortable position.

Eowyn waited until the elfling had settled again before continuing. “That makes sense—if his parents knew that it was coming, they would have tried to send him to safety. But there have been no Orcs reported in this region, Lassui. Not recently.”

“The damage was old, melmenya.”

“That is what I thought, too. But Melannen cannot have been wandering the countryside for—how long? Months?”

“Years,” said Legolas. “The beams were well-weathered.”

“How can that be?”

Legolas shook his head.

“Well, there was nothing to suggest that the parents did not survive,” said Eowyn, thinking aloud, “so I think... I think that we must take Melannen home with us, now, and send someone back to investigate more thoroughly—Orodreth, perhaps, and Camthalion—yes, if Melannen’s parents are still alive they will be looking for him, and Orodreth and Camthalion will find them.”


By the time they reached the town, darkness had fallen and the market square was filled with excited merry-makers. Some of the stall holders had lit braziers, and were selling mulled wine and yuletide pies, or were roasting chestnuts.

Legolas and Eowyn, making straight for the tavern, worked their way through the milling crowd.

yule treefirechestnutsfireworks

Suddenly, there was a wooooosh, and a sharp crack, and a burst of coloured stars filled the sky before twinkling down to earth.

Melannen raised his head. “Fireworks,” he said.

“Would you like to watch them?” asked Eowyn.

The child nodded, but his eyes were bright with tears.

“Oh, do not be afraid, Melannen,” said Eowyn, gently rubbing his back, “your Gwanur Legolas and I—we are going to take care of you.”


Part 13

They watched the fireworks, and the dressing of the Yule Tree, and they ate hot pies, and Melannen tried a few sips of mulled wine, and Legolas and Eowyn did their utmost to reassure the elfling, and to make him feel safe but, later, back in the tavern’s warm parlour, the child sat quietly on Eowyn’s knee, his little lip trembling.

“Do not get him a separate room tonight, Lassui,” said Eowyn, hugging the boy. “Let him stay with us...”

Legolas leaned down, and kissed her forehead.


The landlord’s wife put them in the same room as before but, this time, she had a small bed brought in, and made it up for Melannen and, whilst Legolas stoked the fire, Eowyn helped the elfling undress, and wash, and get into bed, and tucked him in with his toy rabbit.

“Can we have a story, melmenya?” asked Legolas, laying down the poker.

“A story?” Eowyn frowned. “What sort of story?”

“Oh, I do not know... What sort of story would you like to hear, Melannen?”

“One about Gwanur Eowyn,” said Melannen, with a sniff, “when she was an elfling.”

“Good idea,” said Legolas. “Tell us about when you were an elfling, melmenya.”

“Well...” Eowyn pulled a chair up to Melannen’s bed and sat down. “There was the time that Eomer and I climbed onto the roof of the Golden Hall.” She smiled down at the boy. “Eomer is my brother—my big brother—and, when we were young, he and I were always getting into trouble together.”

Melannen managed a little smile.

“We lived,” Eowyn continued, “in a great Mead Hall, known as the Golden Hall—”

“Because its roof gleams in the sun, like gold, Melannen,” said Legolas, sitting on the end of the child’s bed, “and all its wall hangings are woven with golden threads, and all the carvings on its doors and its pillars are gilded. Your Gwanur Eowyn comes from a strange country called Rohan, the land of the horse lords.”

“Who is telling this story?”

“You are melmenya—I am sorry. Why did you climb up onto the roof?”

“To see the oliphaunts,” said Eowyn, as though the answer were obvious. “Theodred—that was my cousin, Melannen—Theodred had told me that a herd of oliphaunts had come to live on the downs. I was sure that if we climbed up onto the roof we would see them.”

Melannen sniffed. “And did you?”

“No,” said Eowyn, stroking the boy’s hair.

“Why not?”

“Because Theodred was just teasing. There were no oliphaunts. And Eomer knew it, but he climbed up with me anyway. And then I got my skirts caught and, however hard I tried, I could not get them loose, and Eomer wanted to cut me free using his hunting knife—but I would not let him ruin my gown.”

“How did you get down?” asked Legolas.

“I...” She hesitated.

“You are blushing, Eowyn nín!”

“I took my gown off. It was Eomer’s idea. I had to climb down, and run back to my bedchamber, wearing nothing but my shift and boots.”

She looked down at the elfling—and smiled, for his eyes were already closed in healing sleep.



Lying awake, staring up at the firelight dancing on the ceiling, Legolas heard the creak of bedsprings, and the patter of little feet, and he lifted the covers and let a small person climb up over him, and snuggle down between himself and Eowyn.


Part 14

Next morning they rose early. And, whilst they were breakfasting on porridge, toast and strawberry jam, the landlord of The Two Ways secured them a ride on the cart that delivered milk to the houses on the western slopes of the valley.

“Now, Melannen,” said Legolas, lifting the elfling onto the back of the cart, “this is going to be an adventure.”

Eowyn climbed up beside the boy. “Yes,” she said, arranging his heavy cloak around his shoulders, “it will be lots of fun.” She gave him a little hug and, when he clung to her, she looked up at Legolas, and the elf sat down with them, and pulled them both into his arms.

The carter shook his head, smiling at his passengers’ antics.

Then, with a click of his tongue and a smart jerk of the reins, he signalled to his ponies, and they pulled away.


Slowly, the little cart meandered up the hillside, stopping at each dwelling so that the lady of the house could come out with a cloth-covered jug and hand it to the carter to be filled with creamy fresh milk from one of the churns.

And, without exception—after passing the time of day with Legolas and Eowyn—the women would ask the carter to wait, and would run indoors, and return with a gift for Melannen—with sweetmeats, or cake, or with a pair of woollen mittens—and the boy would thank them, shyly.

And, for the rest of their days, the women of the valley would delight in telling their families and friends of the unexpected visit they had received from the beautiful elven couple and their adorable little son.


The carter left them near the foot of the cliff and, after waving him off, the trio quickly retraced their earlier path up to the rock wall, and found the passage.

In moments, they had crossed to the other side.

Niben!” cried Melannen, suddenly. “I have lost Niben!” He hung his little head.

“Oh, sweetheart,” said Eowyn, crouching down beside him, “do not worry. Your Gwanur Legolas will find him.”

“Did you have him when you got off the cart?” asked the elf.


“He must have dropped him in the rocks, Lassui.”

“Wait here,” said Legolas. “I will go and look for him.”


The elf ran quickly through the narrow pass and, to his immense relief, immediately found the stuffed rabbit, lying spreadeagled on the ground, at the foot of the cliff.

As he stooped to pick up the toy, his gaze swept across the valley...

He frowned.

The narrow road still ran the length of the valley bottom; the Forest still spilled down the slope at the far side; small holdings still peppered the landscape; but the town, in which he and Eowyn and Melannen had spent the last two nights, was nowhere to be seen.


Part 15

Legolas ran back to the others.

Eowyn was waiting for him at the mouth of the pass. “Lassui! Oh, Lassui,” she cried, wringing her hands—and little Melannen, standing behind her, holding on to the skirts of her jerkin, looked just as worried.

“Sweet Eru, what is it?” asked Legolas

“Our wedding!” She grabbed his outstretched arms. “We have forgotten our own wedding!”


Legolas swung Melannen up onto his shoulders and they hurried back—across the stone bridge, along the frozen stream, through the Pine Forest—to where they had first found the elfling.

“There is still time, melmenya,” said Legolas, trying to sound reassuring. “It has only been two nights, which makes today the twentieth. Aragorn and Eomer are not arriving until late this afternoon, and the ceremony is not until tomorrow evening...” He whistled for the horses.

“But how could we have forgotten?”

Arod and Brightstar emerged from the trees, looking none the worse for their two days of freedom.

“That is not the only strange thing, melmenya.” As Legolas lifted Melannen onto Arod’s back, he told Eowyn about the town.

“But how could it disappear?”

“I have no i—”

Oh gods!” Eowyn’s hands flew up to her mouth. “My gown!”

Legolas laughed. “That is the least of your worries, melmenya,” he said, giving her a little hug. “If there is one person in Middle-earth you can rely on, it is Valaina. She will have everything in hand.” He helped her mount Brightstar.

“Yes... Yes, of course, you are right.” She gathered up the reins. Then, “Your father!”

“Now he will take some soothing,” Legolas admitted. “But leave him to me, melmenya.”


They galloped down the Doro Lanthron road, reaching the city by mid afternoon and, leaving the horses in the care of the stable-elves, they quickly climbed the main staircase.

Melannen’s eyes were as big as saucers. “Do you really live here, Gwanur Legolas?” he asked, as the elf set him down on the walkway. He ran to the wall and, standing on tip-toe, peered out across the city, pointing excitedly at the guard house, the market flet, and the new public gardens. “Elves!” he cried. “Gwanur Eowyn! Look! Lots and lots of elves!”


Part 16

Lord Fingolfin was waiting in their private chambers.

Suilad, hîr nín,” he said, rising and greeting Legolas and Eowyn formally, hand on heart, “e suilad, hiril nín.” Then, noticing Melannen, hiding behind Eowyn, he bent down to the child’s level, and added, “E suilad, hîr dithen.”

At Eowyn’s gentle urging, Melannen stepped forward and, head bowed and blushing, returned Fingolfin’s greeting.

Legolas ruffled the boy’s golden hair. “Well done, nadithen.” He smiled at Fingolfin. “Good afternoon, my Lord. Please accept my profound apologies for missing our meeting the other day.”

“Our meeting, Lord Legolas?”

“To discuss your kind offer to stand as my Guardian at the wedding. I am afraid I was detained. But I hope that you are still willing.”

“I think you will find,” said Fingolfin, tactfully, “that that particular meeting is arranged for today, my Lord. For now, in fact.”

Frowning, Legolas turned to Eowyn.

“What day is it, my Lord?” she asked.

“The eighteenth day of Girithron, my Lady,” replied Fingolfin.

“Are you sure?”


“But we were gone for two days.”

“I... I do not understand, my Lady.”

“No matter, my Lord,” said Legolas, taking control. “You and I have much to discuss, and we will be far more comfortable in the study. Galathil,”—he called to a servant—“we will have mulled cider and caraway cake in the study, and I am sure that Lady Eowyn and Master Melannen will have the same in the sitting room—no, make that apple juice for the boy. We will talk later, melmenya,” he added, quietly.


Eowyn led Melannen into the sitting room. “Well,” she said, setting his basket on the sideboard and handing him his toy rabbit, “first, we will need to find you some clean clothes—”

Clutching Niben to his chest, the elfling turned full-circle, admiring the garlands of evergreens that draped the elegant beams, the spangled curtains at the windows, and the hundreds of tiny white candles that glittered on the mantelpiece and in the hearth.

“—then,” Eowyn continued, “we will have to bathe you, and find you a chamber of your own—” There was a knock at the door. “Come in!”

Miriel, Eowyn’s elven lady’s maid, stepped inside, holding the door open for the seamstress, Valaina, who entered carrying a large bundle carefully wrapped in white cloth. “Good afternoon, my Lady,” said the elleth with a deep curtsey. “Are you ready for your fitting?”

“Oh,” said Eowyn, “yes—I had almost forgotten!—yes, of course.”


“You can look now, Melannen.”

The elfling, who had turned his back and covered his eyes, for good measure, turned, and slowly lowered his hands.

His Gwanur Eowyn raised her arms. “What do you think?”

Instead of the suede jerkin and the leather boots that she had worn on their adventure, she was dressed in an elegant gown of rough-woven silk the colour of pale, sparkling wine. Its scooped neck and deep hem were embroidered with bands of creamy buttercups and tiny red pimpernels scattered over a lacework of blue briars, and its wide, translucent sleeves were edged with delicate pale blue leaves.


“Oh, Gwanur Eowyn,” said Melannen, “you look like a princess!”


Part 17

“Ah,” said Legolas, turning towards the door, “that will be the March Warden. Come in!”

Haldir entered, greeting Legolas and Fingolfin formally. “I have selected the Guard of Honour for your wedding,” he said, handing over the list.

“Thank you.” Legolas scanned the names. “Fine,” he said, “but that is not why I sent for you, Haldir. There is something else I need you to do.”

Pouring the March Warden a goblet of cider, Legolas described how he and Eowyn had found Melannen, sitting in the snow beside the Doro Lanthron road, how they had retraced his steps, along the stream and through the rocks, and had found the little town—

“I had no idea that there was a settlement up there,” said Haldir.

“Nor had I,” replied Legolas, and he went on to explain how, the next day, they had searched the Forest and found the ruined house, but no sign of the child’s parents.

“So you want me to make a thorough search,” said Haldir.

“Exactly,” said Legolas. “But do not go yourself. I suggest you send Camthalion and Orodreth.”

“May I make a further suggestion?” asked Fingolfin, who had been deep in thought since first hearing Legolas’ story.

“I would be grateful for it, my Lord.”

“Speak to Berryn, March Warden,” he said, referring to the colony’s cartographer. “He has mapped that region and will know the town. And, if he is willing to go, he will be a useful addition to the search party.”

“Of course,” said Legolas.

“Do you want me to send them out now,” asked Haldir, “or to wait until after the wedding?”

Legolas leaned back in his chair, lacing his fingers together with a sigh. “Just between us three,” he said, “I am worried for Eowyn. I am afraid that she is losing her heart to the boy. It is easily done.”

“He seems an excellent little fellow,” agreed Fingolfin.

“If she must part from him,” continued Legolas, “the sooner it happens, the better. So send them straight away, Haldir, with permission to return for the ceremony. They can continue the search afterwards, if need be.”


Part 18

His meeting over, Legolas went to join Eowyn and Melannen in the sitting room—

“No, my Lord!” cried Galathil.

Legolas, his hand frozen on the door handle, turned in surprise.

“Lady Eowyn is trying on her wedding dress, my Lord.”

“Ah—yes—thank you.” He knocked. “Is it safe for me to come in, melmenya?”

“Just a moment!”

Legolas’ sharp elven hearing caught the soft sounds of rustling fabric, and running feet, then silence.

Then the door opened, and Melannen smiled up at him. “Gwanur Eowyn and the sewing lady are hiding in the bedchamber,” he said.


By the time Eowyn re-emerged—dressed, once more, in her jerkin and boots—Legolas had taken out the gaming board and he and Melannen were setting up the pieces.

Eowyn smiled at the charming scene. “I am going to invite your Father to tea, Lassui,” she said.


Thranduil arrived with his ‘bodyguard’ in tow.

Eowyn nodded to Thorkell bogsveigir—standing beside the door, all dark and brooding, with his arms folded across his leather-clad chest—and handed him a glass of nettle tea and a plate of dainty savouries.

“Thank you.”

“Ridiculous!” cried Thranduil.

“Ada!” Legolas inclined his head, indicating with his eyes the child sitting beside him, who had heard and understood every word the Elvenking had spoken.

“Perhaps Melannen would like to see the new gardens,” said Eowyn. “I could ask Hentmirë...”

But the elfling had immediately jumped up, and scooped up Niben and, to everyone’s surprise, was holding out his little hand to Thorkell bogsveigir.

Thranduil sighed. “Yes,” he said, “take the child to the gardens for half an hour.”

The Beorning set down his glass and plate, dusted the crumbs from his fingers and, with only the slightest hesitation, took Melannen’s hand and let the child lead him from the room.

“That man,” said Thranduil, “shrinks from nothing.”


“I am not making him the heir to the Woodland Realm, Ada,” said Legolas—and, knowing that Eowyn would not want to hear the truth, he found her hand, and squeezed it gently—“this is just a temporary arrangement, until his parents are found.”

“And who are these parents, I should like to know,” said Thranduil, “that they send their son into the wilderness with nothing but a cloth toy and a piece of parchment to protect him? I am not suggesting that he should not be taken care of—of course he should—but I am cautioning you against showing him so much personal favour. What is to stop these scoundrels pursuing their advantage and demanding compensation from the Lord and Lady who, they will say, having no children of their own, have kidnapped their boy?”

“They are elves, Ada,” said Eowyn, coldly. “Good, decent people.” Their eyes met, and the look that passed between them conveyed an intimate understanding of skulduggery on his part, and a refusal to be intimidated by majesty on hers. “They are not Haradrim. And nor are they Elvenkings!”

“Melmenya!” Legolas clamped a hand to his mouth but was unable to stop his body shaking with laughter. “Ada,” he said, once he had regained his composure, “it is already settled. We rescued Melannen and we will take care of him until his parents are found. He is a fine little boy, a credit to the elves who raised him. I know that they did not abandon him lightly, and I know that they will be too overjoyed at finding him safe to ask for anything more.

“But if anyone should ever question our motives,” he concluded, “we will simply publish the letter.”


Part 19

When Thorkell bogsveigir did not return with Melannen after half an hour, as ordered, Legolas and Eowyn went to look for them.

They found the Beorning in the public gardens, leaning against the flet wall—arms folded across his chest, as usual—watching the child build a snow-castle with two elflings and a tiny dwarf. “It seemed a shame,” he said, “to drag the boy away.”

Eowyn came up on tip-toe, and kissed his cold cheek. “Thank you, Uncle Thorkell.”

“Can I go back into the warmth now?”


Whilst the trio sat before a cheery fire, eating a supper of cheese tart and roasted vegetables, the servants cleared out the cloakroom—which Eowyn had decided would make the perfect bedchamber for Melannen, because it was snug and warm, with its own lavatory and washbasin, and a little bay window with a view of the city—then brought in a bed, two chairs, and a chest of drawers.

Miriel, meanwhile, found the boy a nightshirt, slippers, and a little dressing robe and, for the morning, a clean tunic and some leggings.

Then Eowyn bathed the boy, and put him to bed, and she and his Gwanur Legolas sat with him, telling him stories, until he fell into reverie.


Legolas sat in bed, watching Eowyn, at the dressing table, brushing her hair. “Melmenya...”


“That is a beautiful smile.”

“You are going to warn me of the dangers of growing too fond of him.”

“If you think that I need to.”

Eowyn laid down her hairbrush and turned to the elf. “I do not love him as I love Meldon, Lassui,” she said, smiling at the memory of her double’s child, “truly, I do not. But I am very, very fond of him. And it is wonderful to be able to—to have the chance to spend this time with him.”

“Come here, melmenya.” Legolas held out his arms. “I will love you,” he whispered, kissing her tenderly, “until the End of Days and, however it may happen,”—his hand moved lightly, stroking, through the sheer silk of her nightgown, her gently curving belly—“we will have a child one day, I promise. The Valar have promised.”


He was so beautiful in the pale moonlight, so slender, yet so well-muscled, and he smelled so fertile, like a Forest in the rain, that Eowyn wanted more than their usual lovemaking—she desperately wanted his child.

Now, Lassui,” she whispered. “Please let it be now.”

And she felt his weight settle upon her, and his hard thigh gently nudge her legs apart, and his warm, thick penis press into her aching body, and—though the healer had told her that it was hopeless—she could not stop herself hoping, and—

Oh!” she cried.

Oh, dear gods, please!


Part 20

Next morning

“Do you love Gwanur Eowyn?” asked Melannen.

Silently, Legolas closed the sitting room door and tip-toed across the room. The elfling—still in his nightshirt and slippers—was kneeling on the fireside rug, talking to his cloth rabbit.

“So do I—and Gwanur Legolas and Gwanur Thorkell.”

Legolas smiled.

“So there is no need to be scared,” continued the boy, “because they will take care of us until they find Nana and Ada.”

Legolas retraced his steps, waited a few moments, then noisily opened the door. “Melannen? Are you there?”

A little face popped up from behind the couch.

“Shall we go and wake your Gwanur Eowyn, nadithen?”


Now,” hissed Legolas.

The two elves ran across the bedchamber. Legolas grabbed Melannen round the waist, lifted him onto the bed, and bounced him up and down.

“Yaaaa!” cried the elfling. “Yaaaa, yaaaa!”

“Oh!” Eowyn awoke with a start. “Oh, you two!”


It took a surprisingly long time to wash and dress and when, at last, everyone was ready, it was time to join Hentmirë for breakfast.

The trio crossed the walkway to the woman’s house.

“Look, Melannen,” said Legolas, “a robin.” The elf held out a hand, and the bird fluttered down, and sat upon it, tilting its head to regard the elfling with a beady eye.

The boy laughed, and clapped his hands together, and the robin, untroubled by the noise or by the sudden movement, hopped onto his arm, then onto his shoulder, and up onto his head.


“Ow,” said Melannen, giggling, and wriggling under the bird’s tiny claws, “ow!”

“Now, now, mellon dithen,” said Legolas. He reached out, and gently held a finger against the bird’s legs, and the robin hopped back onto his hand; the elf lifted it into the air, and let the bird fly back to its branch.

Melannen rubbed his head.

“No harm done,” said Legolas, tousling the elfling’s hair.

And Eowyn, her heart glowing, took both elves by the hand, and led them indoors, before they could get into any more mischief.


Legolas and Eowyn spent the rest of the day preparing for the arrival of their distinguished wedding guests, leaving Melannen with Hentmirë, who took the boy to the pleasure gardens (where they played with snowballs), and then to the market (where they each had a bowl of thick lentil soup and a baked apple from one of the kiosks), and then—in her carriage—to the stone quarries (where Gimli fed the boy again, on honey cakes, and showed him how to use a mallet and chisel).

The following morning, at breakfast, Hentmirë presented Eowyn with a gift. “We saw it yesterday, in the market,” she said, “and the colour suited him so well, I just had to buy it.”

Eowyn opened the cloth wrapping. “Oh, Hentmirë,” she cried, “it is perfect! Thank you! What do you say, Melannen?”

“Thank you,” said the elfling, dubiously.


Part 21

“Now,” said Eowyn, “raise your arms.”

Melannen, reconciled to his fate, lifted his little hands high above his head.

Smiling, Eowyn leaned in, and kissed his forehead, before wrapping the embroidered sash around his middle and folding its ends over. “Lower them,”—she adjusted the knot—“there! Perfect!”

“I,” said Legolas, looking up from his desk, “wore short tunics until my coming of age.”

“But you,” said Eowyn, “have a father who is a stickler for ancient tradition. Melannen has two Gwanurs—Gwanurs—is that right?”


“Two Aunts who want him to look,”—she hesitated, carefully rejecting ‘like a prince’ and choosing—“nice.”

“And I am sure that he will look nice, melmenya,” said Legolas, laying down his pen and regarding the boy. “Turn around, Melannen; let me see the front.”

Raising his hands again, which made his floor-length robe ride up on his chest, the elfling slowly turned full-circle. Hentmirë’s gift was of the palest silver-blue brocade, and fitted him perfectly.

Legolas smiled. “Yes, he looks very nice,”—the boy turned again, and Legolas noticed his hair—“but, melmenya, he cannot wear warrior’s braids.”


“A single braid, down the back.”

“Of course. Come Melannen,” said Eowyn, “back to the dressing table.” She held out her hand.

Legolas shot the elfling a sympathetic smile.



“Ah! Good,” said Faramir, unconsciously reaching for Legolas’ shoulders and guiding him towards the Council Chamber, “I was getting worried.”

“This is only the rehearsal,” said Legolas. “I do not need to run away until tomorrow.”


The elf grinned.

“Very funny. Now come—your bride-to-be is waiting.”

“A moment, Faramir.” Legolas held out his hand, human fashion. “Before we go in, I want to thank you.”

“It has been my pleasure,” said Faramir, embracing the elf, “though, by the time you have placated your father, Legolas, I think you may regret having asked me to ‘meddle’ in your wedding arrangements.”

“I do not mean that,” said Legolas, “though I am, of course, grateful for all you have done these past few weeks. No, I mean for sending Eowyn to me.”

“Ah,” said Faramir, “now that requires no thanks. In fact, it is I who should be thanking you for taking care of her for me. No one could be happier for you both than I am.” He gave the elf’s hand a final squeeze; then, gesturing towards the double-doors, he asked, “Are you ready?”



When the rehearsal was over, Legolas and Eowyn took Melannen down to the clearing beneath the city and, in the Banqueting Hall, which had been hung with velvet and garlanded with winter roses for the occasion, they received their guests of honour—Aragorn, Eomer, and King Shamash of Kuri—who, after taking refreshments with the happy couple, were shown to their accommodation by Lords Fingolfin and Caranthir, whilst their retinues were quartered by Captain Golradir and his palace guards.


After supper, the ladies and Melannen retired to Legolas and Eowyn’s chambers to enjoy Eowyn’s last night of ‘freedom’, whilst Legolas and his friends made themselves comfortable in the Banqueting Hall—lounging around the ring-shaped table, laughing, joking and telling tall tales; toasting nuts and sweetmeats; and drinking wine and dwarven ale.

“By the way, Legolas,” said Aragorn, pouring the elf a glass of fragrant red, “there is something I want to discuss with you—and Faramir—once the wedding festivities are over.”

“Thank you.” Legolas raised the glass to his friend before taking a drink. “Something regarding the colony?”

A cheer went up at the far side of the Hall—Gimli and Eomer, it seemed, had persuaded King Shamash to join in a drinking game. Aragorn smiled; Legolas shook his head.

“Not directly,” said the King. He took a handful of walnuts from the silver dish in front of him. “But it may draw settlers into the Daw Valley—”

“Is that the region just north of the Doro Lanthron road?”


“I have a particular interest in that area,” said Legolas. “It is where we found Melannen.”

“I see. Well, this is nothing, really. The people of the valley have petitioned me for the right to hold a daily market,” said Aragorn. “They claim—quite rightly, I think—that both Eryn Carantaur and Caras Arnen are too far to travel. My concern is that a permanent settlement will soon grow up around the market place.”

“But, Aragorn,” said Legolas, frowning, “there is already a thriving market town in that valley. At least, there was when Eowyn and I stayed there, two days ago!”


Part 22

Later, Legolas joined Eowyn in their chambers and, after checking on Melannen with her—watching her press a final goodnight kiss to his little brow, and whisper, “You were a very good boy today, sweetheart,”—he escorted her across the walkway to Hentmirë’s house.

“Aragorn is convinced,” he said, “that there is no town in that valley.”

“Which is exactly what you said when you came back with Niben.”

“Yes,” Legolas admitted, “but I must have been mistaken, melmenya. We spent two nights there.”

“Two nights that, apparently, did not exist either... Well, we will know more when Orodreth returns.”

“I shall miss you tonight,” said Legolas, knocking on Hentmirë’s door.

“It will soon pass, Lassui,”—Eowyn smiled—“and we have done it before.”

“With one or two small lapses,” said Legolas, “if I remember rightly.”

Eowyn’s smile turned into a wicked grin. “Goodnight, my darling.” She came up on tip-toe to kiss his cheek. “And, if you should get lonely during the night,”—Hentmirë’s companion opened the door and she lowered her voice to a whisper—“just imagine what you will be doing this time tomorrow!”


Knowing that he would not be able to sleep, Legolas climbed the stairs to their private garden.

The flet was covered with snow, and the plants, clustered together in their pretty pots, sparkled in the moonlight with a dusting of fine frost; but the bed, protected from the weather by its canopy, looked warm and inviting.

He sat down and, gazing up at the stars, sang softly,

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel—

He broke off at the sound of running feet.

“We dreamed it!” Eowyn bounded onto the flet.

“Melmenya, your feet are bare!”

She had draped a fur rug over her thin nightgown, but her breath was steaming and her body was pinched with cold. Legolas swept her up and held her tight. “Oh, Eowyn nín! You should not have come out like this.”

“We dreamed it, Lassui,” Eowyn persisted, clasping her arms about his neck. “The drink—do you remember how we drank from Melannen’s water skin, and immediately felt tired?” Legolas carried her down the stairs. “I think we fell asleep, and dreamed the whole thing. That is why no time had passed when we got back.”

Legolas smiled, fondly. “And when did we wake up?”

“When I remembered our wedding—or perhaps a little later.”

“But why would we wake in a different place, melmenya?”

“Well, perhaps we had already walked a while before we fell asleep.”

“And we forgot that, too?”

“It is possible...” Eowyn frowned. “Do you think that, if Master Dínendal were to examine the drink, he could tell what it was?”

Legolas pushed open Hentmirë’s door. “I do not know, melmenya,” he said, manoeuvring her through the doorway.

“You are not convinced.”

“No.” He carried her into Hentmirë’s guest chamber.


“Well, for one thing, we both had the same ‘dream’.” He set her down on the bed.

“Yes. Because of our bond.” She drew up her legs.

Legolas wrapped her in the coverlet. “And Melannen?”

“We do not know for sure what he thinks happened.”

Legolas kissed her forehead. “Then I will ask him in the morning. Just for you.”

“I will be coming over,” said Eowyn, “to help him wash and dress.”

“And there is no point in my trying to dissuade you, is there?”


Legolas smiled. “Good night, melmenya.”


Next day

Eowyn arrived early. “Good morning, Lassui!” She beamed up at him. “Can I come in?”

“This feels strange,” said Legolas.

“I know. I do wish we had arranged the ceremony for this morning. It is going to be torture waiting all day.”

The elf gave her a quick brotherly hug. “There is still much to do,” he said. “What is that?”

She was carrying a small bundle. “Clothes for Melannen.”

More clothes?”

“Lord Lenwë’s wife sent them. Everyone wants to make him welcome, Lassui.” She crossed the lobby and knocked on Melannen’s door. “Sweetheart?”

There was a thud, and then the sound of running feet—“Are we quite sure that he is an elf?” asked Legolas—and Melannen opened the door.

Eowyn gasped.

Hanging from the boy’s little hand was the jumping bear they had bought him, from the Yuletide Market beside The Two Ways tavern, in the town that did not exist.


Part 23

Later that morning

Galathil showed King Thranduil—and his bodyguard—into the sitting room.

“Ada!” Legolas greeted his father joyfully. “I am so pleased to see you.”

“Yes, it has been all of ten hours,” said the Elvenking.

Legolas smiled. “This is such a strange time for me, Ada.” He gestured towards one of the chairs and Thranduil sat down. Thorkell bogsveigir took up his usual position, by the door.

“Eowyn and I have believed ourselves married for more than a year,” Legolas continued, taking the seat opposite his father’s, “so this ceremony,”—he shrugged—“it calls into question matters that we have already decided, and asks us to make commitments that we have already made. It—as I said—it is strange.”

“In the longer term, Lassui,” said Thranduil, carefully arranging his elegant sash, “you will not regret having had these months to reflect, and make absolutely sure that Eowyn—”

The door opened and the lady herself entered. Thorkell bogsveigir stepped aside to let her pass.

“What are you doing here?” asked the Elvenking, bluntly.

“I will not be staying, Ada—but Melannen has lost Niben.”

“That boy!” Thranduil sighed. “And could you not have sent a maid?”

Eowyn looked under one of the chairs. “Míriel would not have known where—ah, here he is.” She held up the cloth rabbit; then, grasping its tiny paw, she made it wave to her future father-in-law.

“Melmenya!” Laughing, Legolas rose and, wrapping an arm around her waist, escorted her to the door.

“Is there any news from Orodreth, Lassui?” she whispered, anxiously.

“No, not yet.”

“You will send for me, when he arrives?”

“Of course.”

“All this business with the child has deranged Eowyn,” said Thranduil, as the door closed behind her.

“She is good with the boy,” muttered Thorkell bogsveigir.


Berryn and Camthalion arrived at midday and were immediately brought before Legolas and his father.

Legolas sent for Eowyn.

“Is there any news?” she asked, rushing into the sitting room.

“My Lady.” Camthalion bowed. “Yes, we have found out who the boy’s parents are.”


“Melmenya—here.” Legolas guided her to a chair. “Please go on, Camthalion.” He stood beside his love, resting one supportive hand upon her shoulder.

“The boy disappeared on the afternoon of the eighteenth,” said the elf. “His parents immediately raised the alarm—”

“But have you brought them here?” asked Eowyn, desperately.

“We missed them, my Lady,” said Berryn, gently. He took a step towards her, stretching out his hand, then—realising that his sympathetic gesture was inappropriate—he let the hand fall, but Eowyn rewarded him with a lovely smile. “They are out with one of the search parties, ma’am, and no one knows exactly where.”

“Orodreth has ridden to Doro Lanthron,” said Camthalion.

“It is their most likely route,” Berryn explained. “Across the valley, through the rocks—either where you found the pass, my Lord, or further east—and then along the River Emlin—”

“Just a moment,” said Thranduil, imperiously. “Are you saying that there is a sizable elven settlement in that Forest?”

“Yes, your Majesty,” said Berryn, bowing; then he glanced at Legolas for permission, before continuing, “I did not have time to see all of it, sire, but I would put the settlement at about fifty to sixty dwellings, which—at three to four persons per dwelling—would suggest a population of one hundred and fifty to two hundred elves. There was a central meeting hall, but no sign of a palace or of any other public building. We spoke with the edair—”

Green elves,” said Thranduil.

“But we saw no sign of them, Ada,” said Legolas. “Three days ago, that Forest was empty, apart from the remains of Melannen’s house, and whatever made that terrible sound,”—he frowned—“and the Orc spoor—the house had certainly been attacked by Orcs at some time in the past—”

“But what about the note?” said Eowyn, suddenly. “‘Please look after this child,’ it said. Who put it in Melannen’s basket, Lassui—who wrote it—if not his parents?”

When Legolas could not answer, she looked to the others, one by one.

“The shining elf, perhaps,” said Thorkell bogsveigir.

All eyes were suddenly on the Beorning.

“It is just something the boy told me,” he explained, sheepishly. “A tall, shining elf said that he was to wait for two nice people who would take care of him, his mother and father, and all of his friends...” Thorkell cleared his throat. “At least, that is what he said when we were—er—making snowballs together.”




Back to Contents page


Prologue: Winter Magic
Legolas and Eowyn find an abandoned elfling.


Next chapter: A Yuletide wedding
Legolas and Eowyn exchange vows.

chapter 2

Melannen's Picture Book
Pages from an Elvish ABC.

picture book