Eowyn and Haldir

Eowyn gazed into her glass of cordial. It was time to clear the air. “Legolas has told me,” she said, quietly.

Arwen was far too old, and far too wise, to mistake what she was referring to. “Good,” she said.

Eowyn looked up in surprise. Arwen was smiling. “Had he kept it from you, Eowyn, it would have become a wedge, slowly driving you farther and farther apart,” she said. “And it would always have stood between us—and I should very much like us to be friends.”

Eowyn considered Arwen’s offer—for that was what it was.

She had never had a female friend before. Female servants, yes, with some of whom she had been close—as with Míriel, now—but her friends had always been male—her brother, Eomer; Theodred; and, especially, Legolas. And, of course, Gimli and Faramir, and—she supposed—Lord Fingolfin...

“Yes,” she said, with a slightly nervous smile. “I should like us to be friends, too.”

“But it still troubles you?” asked Arwen, gently.

Eowyn chose her words carefully. “I knew that Legolas must be experienced—what man—male—is not? It is just... He is so much older than I, Arwen and, when I try to think about it, I cannot comprehend it.”

“Do you wonder about the future?”

“You mean, do I wonder what will happen when I am old?”

Arwen’s nod was almost imperceptible.

“All the time,” Eowyn admitted. “But Legolas...” She gazed down at her glass again.

“He will never forsake you,” said Arwen, gently. “Just as I will never forsake Estel.” She placed her hand upon her rounded stomach as she said her husband’s name.

“I know,” said Eowyn. “I do know that. But...”

Arwen waited patiently.

“He says he will follow me. In death. He will follow me wherever I go, and he will beg to be permitted to join me.” She looked up at her new friend, all her anxieties suddenly finding release. “I do not want him to die, Arwen. I do not! But a part of me—a part of me...”

“Wants never to be separated from him,” finished Arwen. “There is no shame in that—”

“It is not shame I feel. At least, not just shame.”

“What else?”


“You must not feel guilty,” said Arwen.

Eowyn stared at her, suddenly remembering what Legolas had told her of the advice Lord Elrond had once given him, and of the the peace it had brought. “You are your father’s daughter,” she said, softly, and Arwen’s answering smile was radiant. “You do not condemn us?”

“Condemn you! Of course not, Eowyn—remember—the Valar themselves have blessed your union. They mean you to be together.” She leaned forward in her chair. “You must trust them. If his following you is not the way, then they will make another way clear to you—in time.”

“Will we recognise it?”

“If you are open to their guidance.”

“Thank you,” said Eowyn. “Thank you.”

She caught Arwen’s gaze and held it, and they shared their first smile as friends—but it was immediately interrupted by a light tap at the door. “That must be one of your brothers.”

“No, I do not think so,” said Arwen, “it does not sound like one of them—I think they must have sent a messenger.

“Come in!


“Haldir!” Arwen held out both hands to her childhood friend. “Come and sit with us—join us in a cordial.”

Haldir greeted her formally. “Thank you, your Majesty, but I believe you have an errand for me? Your brothers will be in conference with King Elessar for some time, and have sent me in their stead.” He raised his head and smiled.

Arwen hesitated for the briefest of moments.

She is far too wise, thought Eowyn, to have missed the tension between us... And a part of her wondered, dispassionately, what Arwen would decide to do.

“Lady Eowyn,” said Arwen, “needs an escort down to Rath Bein.”

So Arwen trusts us. But it will be so uncomfortable...

“Of course, your Majesty,” said Haldir, with another bow. He turned to Eowyn. “My lady?”

What could she do? Eowyn nodded her assent—and automatically closed her eyes as Haldir bent over her and scooped her from her seat. She had no memory of the last time he had held her—in the strange, distorted world that the Merman had created in her mind, Haldir had been an orc—but she knew that she had been naked, and she had no doubt that Haldir’s memories of the incident were vivid.

“I have sent word to the stables,” said Arwen. “Your horses will be ready.” She smiled at Eowyn. “I do hope you find what you are looking for,” she said.

And Eowyn knew that she was referring to something far more precious than the Yuletide gift.


“Lady Eowyn,” said Arwen, “needs an escort down to Rath Bein.”

Ai ceryn Manwë, thought Haldir. But, “Of course, your Majesty,” he said, with another bow. He turned to Eowyn. “My lady?”

Haldir had spent almost five thousand years as March Warden of Lothlórien, but he had never heard The Lady’s voice as clearly as he was hearing Eowyn’s anxiety now.

He tried to reassure her: I love you, my lady, he thought, and want nothing from you that you would not freely give. Then he scooped her into his arms, and she was so light—Lighter than a mallorn leaf—that his heart nearly broke.

“I have sent word to the stables,” said Arwen. “Your horses will be ready. I do hope you find what you are looking for, Eowyn.” She turned to him. “No i Melain na le, Haldir. Do not be a stranger, mellon nín.”

Nanarad agevedim, híril nín,” he replied, with a bow of the head.


“What is it that you are looking for, my lady?” he asked, as they rode out of the stables.

The sky had darkened early, threatening more snow, and several Palace functionaries were rushing about The Citadel, lighting lamps. Eowyn paused within a pyramid of golden light, waiting for the passage to the Place of the Fountain to clear.

“A gift,” she said, “for Legolas.” And, at the mention of him, she suddenly relaxed. “Something beautiful, Haldir. If I had thought of it earlier, I would have had a robe made for him but, since I have only a day, I thought of a sash, in some exotic fabric from Far Harad...”

They passed the White Tree and entered the tunnel in single file.

Haldir made no attempt to banish the jealousy squeezing his heart. This is how things are. “He is a lucky elf,” he murmured.

“I am sorry,” said Eowyn, as they emerged, side-by-side once more, on Rath Fain. And, at first, he thought that she had heard his complaint. “All this talk of clothes is of no interest to you,” she continued, “but I do...” She dropped her gaze, suddenly, to the pommel of her saddle. “I do want to thank you, Haldir.”

“For what, my lady?”

“For going to the Golden Goose with him—for taking care of him. I was so worried.” She glanced up at him, and frowned—misinterpreting his guilty expression. “I trust him, Haldir! Of course I do! But he is not worldly—not like you and I and Gimli. He has skills the rest of us can never hope to match, with the bow and the knives, and I have seen him leap effortlessly onto a moving horse, and climb the leg of a mûmak. But he does not know the ways of men—”

“I think he is far shrewder than you realise, my lady,” said Haldir, as they rode through the Sixth Gate and into Rath Bein.

“What do you mean?”

“Just that it was Legolas who immediately recognised Lady Lëonórwyn last night; it was Legolas who, just as quickly, thought of a way to speak to her privately and confirm her identity; and it was Legolas who bought her from the landlord—”

Bought her?”

Haldir realised that he had gone too far. And now he had no choice but to explain further. “She was disguised as a boy my lady—as a male whore—the property of the landlord. Legolas could not risk exposing her true identity, so he pretended that he was...”

“He was what, Haldir?” asked Eowyn.

Haldir selected the least of several evils. “He said that he was buying the boy as gift for you, my lady.”

There was a moment of stunned silence. Then Eowyn laughed merrily. “For me! Perhaps you are right about his worldliness, March Warden! I shall have speak to him about this—”

“Please do not, my lady. If he has not told you himself—”

“He and I have no secrets, March Warden,” said Eowyn, firmly.

“Of course not, my lady. But—”

“No buts. If he has not already mentioned it, it is because he has not yet had the opportunity.”

“Of course,” he said, thinking, Tell yourself that if you must.

The scowl he provoked should have felled an elf at sixty paces—Haldir was not sure how he survived it. “I am sorry, my lady; I realise I have little experience of such matters...” He said it instinctively, with no intention of deceiving or manipulating her, hoping merely that she would seize it as an offer of submission and let the subject drop.

Eowyn clearly thought otherwise. “What are you not telling me, Haldir?” she demanded.

There was nowhere to hide. And why should he hide? The elf brought his horse to a stop. “Legolas pretended that he wanted to bed the boy,” he admitted.


“And I...”

“And you believed it!” Eowyn stared at him incredulously. “How could you?”

YOU KNOW HOW. YOU KNOW WHY! he thought, but he said nothing.

“Did you threaten him?”

“I have since apologised.”

“Well—that is something.”

“And he was most gracious. But that is why I am convinced he will not tell you about it, my lady,” said Haldir.

“Yes, he will tell me,” replied Eowyn. “But he will wait until the time is right.” She looked south along the Rath. “There is the shop, March Warden,” she said. And she smiled with relief.




Contents page

Contents page

Back to Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Three days later
A drabble.

Extra scene

Ai ceryn Manwë … ‘Oh, Manwë’s balls’.
No i Melain na le, Haldir
‘May the Valar be with you, Haldir ’.
Nanarad agevedim, híril nín … ‘Until we meet again, my lady’.*

*Given in the list of Sindarin phrases at hithanaur.net, with the warning that Nanarad is not attested.