Eowyn and Legolas

Legolas paused in the doorway of the solar.

Eowyn—sitting hunched over the workbench, with her back to him—was grinding herbs for all she was worth.

So small, but so determined. The elf’s heart filled with tenderness. Gently, he took the pestle and mortar from her hands, wrapped his arms around her, and hugged her tightly.

“What in Middle-earth did Master Dínendal say to you?” she mumbled against his chest.

“He said that you are very strong, melmenya,” he said.

“Well—that is a relief. Then why are you holding me as though I will not last the day?”

“I am just happy, melmenya.” He released her, giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head, then drew up a stool and sat down beside her. His seat was lower than hers, and he had to tilt his head to look up at her; they both grinned at the reversal of their customary positions.

“Dínendal also said,” Legolas continued, “that you are well enough to go on the raid.”

I told you that.” Eowyn selected several sprigs of iârloth and dropped them into the mortar, added a few drops of olive oil—“Legolas! Put those down!”—and continued grinding.

Legolas sniffed at the handful of herbs.

“I said put them down! They have been weighed,” said Eowyn, “and I must add them in the correct order.” She sighed and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand, leaving a smudge of green to complement several marks already on her cheeks. “I thought you were going to help me.”

Legolas, hiding a smile, replaced the iârloth. “Yes—you are working far too hard, melmenya,” he said, “let me show you how to do it.” He took the pestle from her. “Like this.” He worked it slowly, pressing it down and twisting it into the green paste.

“Very impressive,” said Eowyn.

Legolas grinned. “Though I,” he said, “am not wearing the magical symbols.”

“What magical symbols?”

Legolas dipped his finger into the salve—“No!” cried Eowyn—and drew his fingertip across his forehead, leaving a green line above his dark brows. Eowyn stared at him as if he had lost his mind. Still grinning, Legolas touched his finger to the tip of her nose. “Oh!” Her hand flew to her face.

“Do not rub it, melmenya, or you will spoil the effect. Let me just...”

No!” She dodged his hand.

“But you need one on your chin.”

“Need...? What are you...?” She picked up a broad-bladed knife and looked at her reflection in its polished surface. “Oh no!”

“Is that not part of the spell?”

“You idiot!” She laid down the knife. “How am I to get it off?” Searching amongst the materials on the workbench, she found a jug of water and a pile of bandages, dampened one of the cloths, and handed it to Legolas.

Smiling wickedly, Legolas lightly wiped her face, then peered at the result. “No, melmenya. It does not come off. You are green.”


“I am sorry.”

“No, you are not!” She grabbed the cloth and began scrubbing her cheeks.

“Be careful, melmenya!” He caught her hands. “You will make your face sore!”

“But I cannot go outside looking like this!”

“Why not?”

“Oh, Legolas!” Her eyes filled with tears. “Your warriors already think me a fool...”

“No, Melmenya! No.” He took her in his arms, suddenly serious. “There is not one elf out there that does not admire you for your courage and your swordsmanship; not one that does not recognise the true value of your Orc map. And there is not one elf that does not envy me.”

“But the creature—they do not believe me—”

Shhhh.” He rocked her, soothingly. “A few may not be sure. But when we find it, melmenya, they will know that they should have believed you. And they will believe you in future.” He hugged her tightly. “Shall I tell you a secret?”

She nodded against he shoulder.

“Let me see your face.”

She lifted her head.

He kissed her forehead. “The salve is made from oil, melmenya. And oil and water do not mix.” He poured a small amount of olive oil into a shallow dish, dipped another bandage into it, then gently cleaned her face.

“Is it gone?”

“Yes—most of it.” He gave her one final wipe, then handed her the cloth. “Will you do my forehead?”

Eowyn found a clean patch of bandage, and carefully removed the smudge.

“Handsome again?”

“Yes, you conceited elf!” Eowyn grinned. “Speaking of which...”

She sat down at the bench, picked up the pestle and mortar and held them out to him. “I think you were showing me how it should be done?”




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Chapter 2

The name Iârloth means ‘blood flower’. Legolas uses the leaves again, to revive Eowyn, in Misrule in Mirkwood; its blossom is used to decorate Thranduil's Great Hall for the betrothal ceremony.