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eowyn and melannen

“Gwanur Eowyyyyyyyyyn!”

Melannen flew along the walkway like the shot from a trebuchet, forcing startled passers by to dodge him as he homed in on his target, Eowyn, who caught him and, wrapping her arms around him, lifted him off his feet, and hugged him tightly.

“Now what have I told you,” she said, “about running up here? You could fall.” She turned to his mother, who had just caught up with him, and added, “Thank you for bringing him.”

“Thank you for letting him spend the afternoon with you, my Lady,” said Roseth, placing her hand upon her heart and bowing her head. “I shall return for him at dusk.”

Eowyn deposited the elfling on the wooden pathway, and returned the elleth’s formal gesture. Then she held out her hand. “Come, Melannen. We must check all our lanterns and replace any candles that have burned too low.”


By the time the pumpkin lanterns were ready, the sky had already begun to darken and the air had turned chilly. Eowyn lit a taper, and she and Melannen began lighting the candles, starting with those at the back of the garden, working their way towards the the staircase—where the spirits of the two women had first appeared the night before—and then continuing down the steps.

“Why are you doing this again, Gwanur Eowyn?” asked Melannen, turning one of the lanterns until its grinning face was aligned to his satisfaction. “I thought the First of Rhîw was finished now.”

“Yes, but they look so nice,” said Eowyn, not wanting to frighten the boy with talk of ghosts. She reached into the next lantern. “Oh, this one still needs a new candle. Can you go back up to the garden, and fetch one—no, do not run!”

But the elfling had already disappeared up the curving staircase.

Eowyn continued lighting candles, and it was not until several minutes had passed that she realised he had been gone longer than expected. “Melannen?”

He did not reply.

Melannen!” A bolt of cold terror shot through Eowyn’s chest leaving her covered in goose flesh. She blew out the taper and hurried up the steps, gasping with relief when she heard the boy’s voice; she rushed onto the flet, and stopped short.

Ahead, the tiny elfling was bravely standing his ground, gazing up at the pale spectre of a warrior of Rohan in full armour.


Eowyn watched her foster-brother’s spirit reach out as though to ruffle Melannen’s hair, and her heart glowed with pride when the elfling politely suppressed a shiver at the large, cold hand passing over him.

He is a fine boy, shieldmaiden,” said Theodred.

“Yes...” She came up behind Melannen and laid her own hands, reassuringly, upon his shoulders. “Have you come to help me find your friends—”

I have come to see you.”

“—because I think I know who killed them, Theodred,” she said. “I think it was their father’s younger brother, Baldor, but I need to be sure.” She moved a little closer, and spoke more urgently, “Do you know, Theodred? Can you tell me? If I am to help them, I need to find their bodies.”

They lie amongst the trees.”

“Trees? What do you mean? There are no trees in Morden. Unless... The story mentions an orchard...”

Amongst the trees,” said Theodred, “in the lair of the dragon.”

“A dragon?” squeaked Melannen.

“There are no dragons in Rohan, sweetheart,” said Eowyn, gently squeezing the boy’s shoulders. “It must be the local name for a place... Is that right, Theodred? Are they buried somewhere in the Vale of Morden?”

I must go...

“No! Please! Theodred! Shall the women come tonight? Can I speak with them again?”

Follow your heart, Eowyn,” said Theodred, as his form began to fade, “it is brave and true. And may the gods bless you, shieldmaiden, shieldmaiden, shieldmaid...


When Roseth came for Melannen, he did not want to leave, explaining that he was hoping to see the ghost of the warrior again, or perhaps the ghosts of the two ladies, or even the ghost of the dragon but, after some tears—which, Eowyn thought, were really nothing compared to the tempests a Man-child would have unleashed—he agreed to go home, provided his Gwanur Eowyn would visit him the next day, and tell him whether she had seen a dragon.


Legolas and Fingolfin arrived not long after the boy and his mother had gone, and the three settled down to wait.

Night fell, and the Palace Guard began their regular patrols. All over the city, lanterns were lighted and the noises of the working day were replaced by those of merry-making until, gradually, those too faded...

But the women did not come.

And, as they kept watch, Legolas and Eowyn, with the help of their friend, devised a plan, which they decided to put into practice as soon as possible.


Next morning

“Did you see the dragon?” asked Melannen, excitedly.

“No,” said Eowyn, smiling as she lifted him into her arms for a hug, “neither the dragon nor the ladies, so you did not miss anything.” She set him down again and kissed the top of his head. “But I have come to tell you that your Gwanur Legolas and I are going away for a little while, and I want you to promise that you will be very good for your Nana and your Gwanur Hentmirë whilst we are away, and that you will work hard at school.”

She held out her hand and he took it, and they walked towards the market flet.

“Are you going to find the dragon?” asked Melannen.

“Yes. We are going to find the trees, and the dragon, and the two ladies, and put them to rest.” She led him towards one of the food stalls.

“Does that mean that the ghosts will not come to see us any more?” He was obviously disappointed.

“It does,” said Eowyn. “But that will be a good thing, Melannen, because it will mean that they are happy.”

She bought two bowls of thick potage, and two cups of warm apple juice, and they carried them to a table.

“Well,” said the elfling, climbing up onto his chair, “just make sure that you keep to the narrow path, shieldmaiden.”

Eowyn froze half-way to her seat. “What did you say?”

“Make sure you keep to the narrow path.” He picked up his spoon.

Eowyn sat down heavily. “Where did you hear that?” she asked, though the question was rhetorical, because she already knew the answer. “Did Theodred say anything else to you?”

“He said that I was brave,” said Melannen, puffing out his little chest proudly.

Eowyn reached over and grasped his hand. “You are the bravest elfling in the whole of Middle-earth.”

But, Se ánpæþ, she mused, as she ate her potage, se ánpæþ, the narrow path. It was a common enough name, applied to tracks, and passageways, and alleys all over Rohan. Though Theodred must surely have a particular narrow path in mind...


Elsewhere on the market flet, Legolas was deep in negotiations with one of the traders, a man of Anórien named Adrahil son of Herluin.

“A gold fifty-piece,” said Adrahil, admiring the leaf-shaped coin glistening in his palm, “for writing a letter to my brother?”

Legolas nodded. “A letter of introduction and recommendation.”

“Very well, your Highness,”—Adrahil dropped the coin into the pouch at his waist—“you have yourself a deal.”

Legolas held out his hand, human style, and the Man—to the Elf’s well-hidden horror—spat in his own hand, and shook. “Osmund,” he called to his neighbour, “will you keep an eye on the stall whilst I finish some business with Prince Legolas?”



“Hentmirë assures me,” said Eowyn, mixing four tablespoons of ground-up leaves into a paste with a some water, “that all the women of Far Harad use this to hide their grey hairs.” She set the bowl on the wash stand and, taking up a small alabaster jar, turned back to Legolas, who was waiting nervously, perching upon a stool, his long, pale hair hanging damp about his shoulders.

“Now, first,” she continued, removing the stopper, “I must put some of this salve on your forehead, to stop your skin turning brown.”

“Oh, Melmenya...”

“If this does not work,” she added, smoothing the greasy ointment along his hairline, “we will just have to apply the paste all over your face, and pretend that you have been sun-burned in Far Harad.”


Early next morning, a small group of people gathered in the clearing beneath the city.

“This, your Highness,” said Lord Fingolfin, handing Legolas a small book, “is Pelilas on curses. I hope you will find it useful.”

“Thank you, my Lord,” said Legolas, with a formal bow. “I am sure we shall.”

“And this, my Lady,” said Berryn, the colony’s cartographer, “is a map of Eastfold.” He partially unrolled the scroll of parchment. “I have revised some parts of it,” he explained, showing her the details, “according to my own observations in Year Five. Some of it is quite sketchy, but it should still be better than nothing.”

“Thank you,” said Eowyn. She carefully re-rolled the map, and stowed it in her travelling pack. Then she smiled at the young man hovering anxiously between Berryn and Fingolfin. “Master Arador?”

“Oh! Um...” Arador blushed deeply. “I—I thought that this might come in handy, my Lady.” He gave her a black velvet bag—long and narrow, and containing something unexpectedly heavy—then backed away from her with a shy bow.

Eowyn loosened the drawstring, and gasped as a bright, blueish light spilled from the opening. “Your famous Dark Elf crystal,” she said—for it was well known that the boy had squandered much of his considerable inheritance acquiring Drow artefacts. “Are you sure?”

“It will allow you to see in the dark, my Lady—I mean—if you should ever need to...”

“That will be very useful, Master Arador. Thank you. I shall take great care of it.”


Everyone turned to see Hentmirë, Legolas’ adopted aunt, rushing down the staircase from the city above, followed—somewhat more gracefully—by March Warden Haldir, carrying Melannen on his broad shoulders.

The little woman reached the ground, and blundered across the clearing. “Oh, your poor hair!”

Legolas hugged her tightly. “Does brown hair not suit me, gwendithen?”

“Well... I do like it better yellow... But never mind that—just be very careful, my dear. Remember always to boil the water before you drink it.”

Haldir approached Eowyn. “Someone else wants to say good bye,” he said, smiling.

“Good bye again, Melannen,” said Eowyn.

The little boy held out a threadbare and much-loved object, which Eowyn immediately recognised as his toy rabbit. “Niben is coming, to look after you,” he said, solemnly.

“It is very kind of Niben to offer,” she replied, “but I do not think he realises that we may be gone for several weeks.”

“Niben does not mind,” said Melannen. “He likes adventures.”

Eowyn glanced at Haldir, who—almost imperceptibly—nodded his head.

“Well, if Niben does not mind, then I shall be very grateful for his company.” She took the toy, and gave it a little kiss before slipping it safely inside her velvet bodice.

“Farewell, Eowyn—Legolas,” said Haldir. “No i Melain na len.”

The couple mounted their horses and, with a final wave, rode out of the clearing.






Chapter 2
Eowyn consults Master Bawden.

Chapter 2

Chapter 4
Legolas and Eowyn put their plan into action.

Chapter 4

Gwanur ... kinsman or kinswoman (‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’)
Niben ... ‘Small’
Gwendithen ... ‘Little maiden’ (Legolas’ nickname for Hentmirë)
No i Melain na len ... ‘May the Valar be with you’