eowyn and legolas

"Go—find some firewood, and bring it back, here," said Eowyn, pointing to the ground.

"I hear and obey," said the djinn, favouring her with an elaborate bow. Then he soared up into the sky, and disappeared towards the mainland, leaving a faint trail of smoke behind him.

Eowyn shook her head. "What am I going to do with him?" she asked Legolas. "We can hardly take a djinn back to Eryn Carantaur with us."

She crouched beside him and carefully pulled the woollen cloak up around his shoulders. "We should soon be able to light a fire, my love..."

Legolas smiled. "Stop worrying, melmenya," he said. "I am quite warm enough."

"How can I stop?" asked Eowyn. "The fall could have killed you. And it was my fault. If I had not been so foolish about flying—"

"Eowyn! I fell because of the storm!" He stroked her cheek. "Who rescued me, using her very own magical being?" He leaned closer, and whispered in her ear: "And who warmed me, using her very own magical body?"

Reluctantly, Eowyn grinned. "Stop it," she whispered. "Anyway," she added, "I think the Magus will find a fire comforting. I have never seen a man so shaken by the sight of—"

She stopped in mid sentence at a tiny sign from Legolas and turned to look behind her. The magician was coming towards them.

"Your Highnesses," he said, urgently, "I do not believe the rubble is a natural rock fall. Someone deliberately blocked the prison entrance and left everyone to die—and Queen Naqiya does not have the power to move matter. Something extraordinarily malevolent is going on in there, and your friends are still trapped inside." He drew out his wand. "I must go back inside. Will you accompany me?"

"Valar!" said Legolas, springing to his feet. "Of course!" He held out his hand to Eowyn. "Come, melmenya."


Wilawen's stake sank into Naqiya-Zakutu's back like a hot knife into butter, but the undead woman simply reached behind her, drew it out, and dashed it to the floor.

Then she rose from Valandil and, with a strange, spider-like motion, turned on Wilawen, whose presence she seemed to be registering for the first time.

"Gods, preserve me," whispered Wilawen, backing away—until a few steps brought her up against something solid.

Oh, no! Without taking her eyes off the woman, Wilawen felt behind her. One of the weapons racks. Her hands searched blindly for a knife or a sword...

The rack was empty.

Nothing. Oh gods...

Queen Naqiya's hands reached for her throat.

Wilawen, her strength suddenly spent, slid to the floor.

Valandil moaned. "Run, meleth nín, run..."

But Wilawen could no longer move, and she knew she would not have run had she been able.

How could I leave him? My life was empty before I met him... She stared defiantly into the queen's dead eyes. "Do your worst, you she-orc," she whispered.


"I cannot move the rock," said Niqmaddu, as they climbed the steps, "but I may be able to protect Valandil and Wilawen, at least for the time being. Then, perhaps, if your djinn can remove the rubble for us, we—oh..."

He faltered, once more, at the sight of the dead guards, but Legolas squeezed his arm.

"When the djinn returns, we will free their bodies and help their spirits find rest," he said. "In the meantime, the living need you."

"Yes," said Niqmaddu, "yes." He raised his right hand, pointing his wand at the rubble, paused for one, two, three heartbeats, then cried, "Shield them!"


For a split-second, confusion flickered across Naqiya-Zakutu's hitherto impassive face. Then she drew back her hands, curled them into fists, and hammered them down on Wilawen's head.

But the blows ended harmlessly, in mid air, inches from her victim's temples.

Wilawen stared at the queen's grazed knuckles. What is happening?

She reached up and tried to touch the woman's hands, but could not. A smooth, hard surface—an invisible wall—was standing between them. Wilawen ran her fingers over it, following its contours. It seemed to surround her completely.


Ignoring Naqiya's relentless attempts to reach her, Wilawen crawled, on all fours, towards the elf. "Valandil..."

Her head hit something solid—Of course, he is surrounded too!

She came up on her knees and, for a moment, hung in mid air, hands spread, pushing against the magical barrier with all her might. Then the walls gave way and she fell through.

But Valandil was there to catch her.


"Something is happening," said Niqmaddu. "My spell is active. Your friends are in danger!"

"What can we do?" asked Legolas.

Eowyn turned, and ran out of the prison door. "DJINN," she shouted across the sea, "DJINN! COME HERE! NOW!"


Valandil crushed her against his chest. "Meleth nín," he whispered, his lips pressed to her temple, "I thought she would kill you."

Wilawen hugged him back, fiercely. "And I thought she would kill you. But your friends must have arrived with the magician," she said, "just in time."

Valandil kissed her forehead. "Just in time."

"Where has she gone?"

"I do not know—"


"Valar! I had forgotten about him!"

"Can you stand?"

"Yes—I think so..."

They scrambled to their feet and, hand in hand, followed the trail of Naqiya-Zakutu's blood.


"Here he comes," said Legolas.

The djinn swooped down, somersaulting flamboyantly, before landing on his whispy tail and bowing to Eowyn, laying two large armfuls of wood on the ground before her. "You called me, pretty little mistress," he said, "and your wish is my command."

"Through there," said Eowyn, pointing towards the prison entrance, "there is a pile of rocks. I want you to move the rocks out here," she pointed to the sea, "as quickly as you can."

"I hear and obey," said the djinn, leaping into the air.

He flew through the prison door, seized a massive boulder from the top of the wall and, turning in the air like a swimmer, skimmed back long the ground, dumping the rock in the sea; then he turned again and flowed back inside.

Faster and faster he moved, carrying one rock after another, until—to Eowyn's eyes—his actions dissolved into a continuous blur of colour, surrounded by a halo of dust.


"Oh no," whispered Wilawen, "no..."

Figwit was lying, pale and still, on a wooden bench, like a corpse on a marble slab. Queen Naqiya-Zakutu was bending over him, her face buried in the crook of his neck.

"Leave him!" cried Valandil.

The queen raised her head and stared at them; her mouth was dripping with blood.

The elf squeezed Wilawen's hand. "I will get her away from him," he said, "then we must use our bodies to shield him with the spell."

Wilawen nodded. "Say when."

Valandil squeezed her hand again. "Now!"

Co-ordinating their movements by instinct, they ran to the bench.

Valandil released Wilawen's hand and jumped, swinging his feet up and over the wooden surface and slamming them into Naqiya's face. At the same time, Wilawen threw herself on top of Figwit, stretching out to cover as much of him as possible. A moment later, Valandil joined her.

She felt his hand on her waist and turned to face him, smiling slightly.

He smiled back. Then, "What is that noise?" he asked.

"Someone is breaking through the rubble."

"No," said Valandil. "The other noise."


"Stop!" cried Eowyn.

The djinn froze, mid cartwheel, his arm outstretched, his head pointing downwards. "Does my work not please you, pretty little mistress?" he asked.

"Your work is excellent," said Eowyn, "but the gap is big enough. You may return to your lamp now."

"I hear and obey."

He took a moment to right himself, then disappeared down the narrow spout. Eowyn carefully placed the lamp in her bag and drew out her sword.

"All set," she said.

Legolas had already strapped on Hentmirë's father's quiver and his one white knife. He picked up the small, heavy bow. "Perhaps," he said to Niqmaddu, "you should stay out here, Magus."

The magician shook his head. "As much as I would like to do exactly that, your Highness," he said, "I think that you and your friends may need me in there."

"Then take care—stay by the entrance until we tell you it is safe," said the elf. "Come, melmenya."

As they were clambering through the gap in the rubble wall, Legolas suddenly held up his hand and listened intently. "They are in a side chamber, to the right," he said, "and we had better hurry!"


"What other noise?" asked Wilawen. Then, "Oh..."

She turned her head slowly and looked in the direction of the strange crackling sounds. "Oh, gods!"

Several of the mummified corpses had risen from the floor and were advancing on them with the same relentless determination Naqiya-Zakutu had shown.

"Courage, Wilawen," said Valandil, softly.


"Some magic re-animates their empty shells, meleth nín," he said, "but their spirits stand beside us and they wish us no harm. Remember, the spell will protect us. We must protect Figwit."

"I'll remember," she whispered, closing her eyes tightly.


The bow's range was short and the arrows were heavy but Legolas judged the shot perfectly, piercing the skull of the leading corpse, from back to front. For a split-second the creature staggered. Then it continued advancing as before.

Legolas drew two arrows and loosed them simultaneously, with exactly the same result.

"They are already dead," cried Eowyn. "But perhaps we can dismember them!" She ran forward, sword raised, and struck at one of the stragglers, severing its spine—and the creature fell to the ground, its legs still walking where they lay.

Following her lead, Legolas drew his white knife and began removing heads and arms with surgical precision; Eowyn, at his side, continued hacking and slashing with her scimitar.

Rapidly, they cut a path to their friends.

"Quickly, Valandil," said Legolas, "see if you can get Figwit outside—the Magus will help you—we will hold them back."

Valandil swung himself off the bench. Wilawen followed and, together, they pulled the semi-conscious Figwit to his feet and began dragging him towards the entrance. Legolas and Eowyn, fighting on the left and right flanks, tried to keep the way clear but, as they passed, more and more corpses rose up, brandishing weapons, and pieces of wood, and dismembered limbs.

The odds were becoming insuperable.

Suddenly, Niqmaddu stepped through the door and raised his wand. "Be still!" he cried.

The corpses froze.

Everyone waited, nervously...

But the spell held.

With a sigh of relief, Eowyn let her sword hand fall to her side.

And at that very moment—with the magician's attention completely focussed on the dead—a slender figure swathed in black robes flew through the guardroom door on Niqmaddu's own carpet. He skimmed over the rescuers, dipped behind the wooden bench, and raised up Naqiya-Zakutu, who was still lying where Valandil had left her. Then he swept out of the chamber, bidding Niqmaddu farewell with an insolent salute.

"That was the pedlar!" cried Eowyn. "That was Baalhanno! And he has my bag! He has the djinn!"


They ran out onto the wharf, but Baalhanno was already gone.

Valandil and Wilawen set Figwit down on the stone steps. Valandil crouched before him, chafing his hands.

Wilawen examined his neck. "Dear gods, she has bitten him," she said. "It is quite superficial, but I wish we had some water and clean cloths..."

Eowyn, sitting hunched forward on the steps, buried her face in her hands. "Why did I leave the lamp out here?"

"Do not blame yourself, melmenya." Legolas sat down beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "None of us imagined he was close by..."

"But now he has the djinn," said Eowyn. "He has what he has wanted all along—"

"No," said Niqmaddu. "No; the djinn is your slave, your Highness; he is yours for the rest of your life. He will not obey Baalhanno."

"Does Baalhanno know that?" asked Legolas.

The magician shrugged. "He must know it."

"Then why did he take it? Unless—"

The elf and the magician stared at each other in alarm, both coming to the same conclusion at the same instant.

"He does not expect Princess Eowyn to live much longer," said Niqmaddu, softly.

A small stone bounced down the cliff face.

"We are sitting targets," said Legolas, leaping to his feet, "but for what?" He raised his bow, looking about the wharf. "There is nothing out here..."

"Perhaps that is the danger," said Niqmaddu. "Perhaps he intends for us to die of thirst, like the prisoners. Perhaps that is why he took my carpet."

Another stone clattered to the ground.

Legolas shook his head. "That would surely take too long," he said. "Besides, Hentmirë will be here at any moment, with her ship."

A handful of pebbles rained down onto the wharf. The elf looked up at the cliff. High above him, thousands of small stones were pouring down its face, like a waterfall, and, here and there, jagged cracks were appearing in the rock behind.

Oh Valar! Yes, sitting targets… "Into the sea!" he cried "Quickly, quickly! Into the water!"


Legolas broke the surface and looked around wildly.

Where is Eowyn?

The rocks were falling in a thundering curtain now—the wharf was buried in debris and the prison entrance already invisible—and massive blocks were breaking off the cliff and bouncing into the water.

Where is she?

He heard a splash behind him, and turned.

Thank the Valar!

But Eowyn was not a strong swimmer and she was working far too hard to stay afloat. Legolas swam towards her. "Keep calm, melmenya," he said. "Let me help you..."

Somehow, he managed to slip his hands beneath her arms and pull her head and shoulders against his chest.

"Prince Legolas!" cried Valandil, suddenly. "To the east! There is a cove—we can climb ashore!"

"Good! Lead on!" Legolas spat out a mouthful of salty water. "Relax, melmenya," he said, softly. "Keep still and leave it to me. I will soon have you back on dry land."


The cove was a semi-circular shelf of barren rock, backed by vertical cliffs. There was no obvious way out.

"What are we going to do now?" asked Wilawen, helping Figwit out of the water.

"Hentmirë and the others will soon be here," said Legolas, reassuringly. "But we must think of some way to attract their attention."

"I still have my wand," said Niqmaddu. "I should be able to conjure up a few fireworks—"

"Look!" cried Valandil, pointing out to sea.

Legolas turned, and stared. Rolling across the vivid blue water was a huge black ball, its boiling core spiked with flashes of lightning, like a giant Palantír.

"Could it be..." Eowyn began.

"It is the ship, melmenya," said Legolas. "It is Hentmirë's ship!"


"Hold on!" cried Captain Mutallu.

A mass of white, foaming water burst over the Early Bird's bows and rushed towards the stern. With a split-second to spare, Faramir grabbed the taffrail with one hand, and Hentmirë's arm with the other, and clung desperately to both as the water surged over and under and through them.


Then another wave, helped by the shrieking wind, laid the Bird over to port, with her deck almost vertical and, for a few terrifying moments, Faramir's right hand—slipping on the wet wood—was all that prevented both him and the little woman from falling overboard...

The next instant the boat had righted herself.

"Tie my lady to the mainmast!" shouted Mutallu.

Faramir tried to estimate the distance: Thirty feet, perhaps. Can we make it?


Another massive wave, higher than the Great Gates of Minas Tirith, was approaching the starboard bow, moving faster than a running man. As Faramir braced himself for the impact, he felt Hentmirë's hand squeeze his own—she had caught the taffrail and was doing her very best to pull her weight.

Faramir squeezed back. "Ready?" he shouted.

She nodded, her plump face grimly determined.

Then the boat dropped out from under them, just as the wave broke, and the water hit them like a charging warg, turning Faramir around and smashing him into the rail, leaving him hunched over the wood, struggling to fill his lungs.


A spot of red, like a dragon's eye, opened in the black depths of the storm-tossed ball, glowed menacingly, then flared orange—yellow—white—

And the ball blew apart with a dull boom.


"No!" cried Eowyn. "No! Faramir! Faramir! Haldir!"

She ran towards the water, but Legolas caught her in his arms and pulled her against his chest, shielding her eyes from the sight of the broken ship.

"Shhhh, melmenya," he whispered, hugging her close. "Shhhh, shhhh..." He bowed his head to hers and prayed for both of them, "Hiro hyn hîdh ab'wanath."

"No..." sobbed Eowyn.

Fade to black...


Dragged from oblivion by something grinding insistently against the wall, he opened his eyes and peered into the airless dark. The vessel was shaking violently around him. It was time to leave...

The moment some life had returned to his limbs, he pushed himself towards the pinprick of light, wriggling his way through the narrow space, until, at last, his head emerged into the open, and his hands grasped the edges of the hole.

And then—with a glorious sense of relief—he pulled himself free.

"Who rubbed my lamp?" he demanded, bending his fluid body and peering into the face of the stranger. "You are not my pretty little mistress."

"Your mistress is dead. I am your master now."

"Bulls' shit," said the djinn, haughtily. And, abandoning his ancient brass home, he took off into the sky.


"Shhhh, shhhh," whispered Legolas, rocking Eowyn in his arms. "There may be some survivors, my love. Valandil and I shall swim—"

"What is that?" asked Wilawen, suddenly. "Up there?"

A strange ribbon of white smoke was curling its way down from the cloudless blue sky.

"Valar," said Legolas. "Melmenya! Look!" Gently, he turned her round to face it. "Look! The djinn has escaped! He is coming back to you!"

"Greetings, pretty little mistress," said the djinn, touching his hand to his forehead, lips and heart. "I am pleased to find—"

"The ship!" cried Eowyn. "The ship!" She pointed out to sea with both hands. "Go to the ship! Bring everyone here! Do not leave anyone behind!"


Flying over the Early Bird—dismasted, and with most of her superstructure ripped away and floating beside her hull—the djinn waved cheerily to a plump little woman, trying to pull a sleeping man out of the sea.


Suddenly, he remembered his mistress's command and, swooping low, he grasped the hull with both hands, lifted it—and all the noisy little people clinging to it—and carried it back to the shore on his shoulder.


Two hours later, the Bird was lying at anchor in the cove. The djinn had salvaged her masts, sails and rigging, and had retrieved a substantial part of her accommodation—the deckhouse, forecastle and galley—which he had arranged, like a small village, on the stone shelf.

Wilawen and the Mirkwood elves had helped the boat's barber-surgeon turn the deckhouse into a Healing Room, where the injured, including Faramir and Figwit, and the woman, Arinna, were now being tended. Eowyn—despite Legolas' tactful attempts to dissuade her—was helping the boat's cook prepare some hot food. Legolas and Haldir were deep in conference with Hentmirë, Niqmaddu and Captain Mutallu.

"Can it be repaired," asked Legolas, "here and now, with the help of the djinn? We must follow Baalhanno."

"Why? You have already rescued your friend," said Captain Mutallu. "Why risk sailing through another of that villain's storms?"

"Because one of my warriors has promised to free the spirits of the dead," said Legolas. "And to do that, he must lay Naqiya-Zakutu to rest. As Valandil's lord—my father's proxy—I am obliged to honour his promise—though, in truth, I would do so even if I were not."

"And I," said Niqmaddu, "must make amends for the failure of my prison—and for awakening Baalhanno's powers in the first place." He turned to Legolas. "It seems I am a mere novice compared to my former pupil, your Highness, but such skills as I have are yours to command."

Legolas placed his hand over his heart and bowed his head. "Hannon le, mellon nín," he said.

"Legolas..." said Hentmirë, uncertainly.

The elf turned to face her, his expression grave. "I know, my lady—Eowyn and I promised that we would never leave you. But—I beg you—give me your permission to pursue Baalhanno. I swear that I shall return to your service as soon as my duty is discharged."

"That is not what I was going to say," said Hentmirë. She looked down at her hands. "You do not belong to me, Legolas. That was a dream I had, nothing more—"

"Oh, my lady..." Legolas' tone was infinitely gentle.

"But I cannot bear to think of you in danger, my dearest—nor any of my new friends. I cannot bear it."

Legolas grasped her hands. "I am a warrior, gwendithen nín," he said. "All of your new friends are warriors. And danger is a part of our lives."

"Can I come with you?"

Legolas looked deep into her eyes. She had already proved her worth, on the ship, with Faramir. "If you make me the same promise as before," he said.

Hentmirë withdrew her hands and held them up, spreading her fingers wide. "I promise," she said.

Smiling, Legolas turned to Mutallu.

"I will go wherever my lady goes," said the sea captain.

"Take good care of her for me."

The man nodded. "I shall. And, as for the Bird, we will see what can be done with her tomorrow, at first light."


"Little mistress!" The djinn's face appeared at the hole in the galley wall.

"Do you eat?" asked Eowyn. "I have made some stew—"

"No, mistress. But I need to rest."

"You have earned it."

"I have no lamp."

"Oh! No—of course." Eowyn looked around. There were no lamps on the boat—only wooden lanterns, and they were all in use. "What about a kettle," she asked. "Will this do?"

Cautiously, the djinn took it from her, removed its lid and peered inside. "It is wet," he said.

Eowyn took a cloth and carefully dried it out. "When we return ashore," she said, "I will buy you a beautiful new lamp. With jewels on the lid. I have seen some in the souk."


"You must stop now, meleth nín," said Valandil, gently removing a cleaning cloth from Wilawen's hands. "Others will do this. It is your turn to rest. Come, I have made you a bed, over here."

Too tired, for once, to protest, Wilawen allowed him to lead her to a small alcove in the rock wall, which he had curtained off with a piece of sail and furnished with a bedroll and a dressing table—made from a wooden box—with a hand mirror, a comb, and a bowl of soapy water.

Wilawen smiled. "Thank you," she said. She picked up the mirror, looked at herself in it for a split-second, then hastily laid it back on the box, face down.

"What does that mean," she asked, "'meleth nín'?"

"My love."


"Shhhh. We shall talk about the future tomorrow, Wilawen. You need some sleep now." He kissed her forehead. "Good night, meleth nín."


"How do you feel?" asked Eowyn.

Faramir smiled. "Fine," he said. "I have absolutely no recollection of what hit me." He touched his bandaged head. "But had it not been for Hentmirë, I think I would have drowned."

"Are you well enough to eat? I have made some stew. It is not much, but it is warm."


She held out a wooden bowl.

"Thank you." Faramir took a cautious sip. Then his entire body relaxed. "Oh," he said, "this is good."

"Really? I did have a lot of help—with the seasoning and so on. Do you think Legolas will like it?"

"I am sure he will."

Eowyn perched on the edge of his bunk. "I have not really had a chance before," she said, "to thank you for coming after us—and for finding the Magus—and then rescuing Camthalion and Orodreth—"

"Anyone would have done the same."

"No." Eowyn shook her head. "No; you have been a rock, Faramir, as always. It is your nature—strong and steady." She smiled. "It is what I have always loved about you."

Faramir laid down the empty bowl and took her in his arms.


At last, the shipwrecked adventurers were settling down for the night.

"You look exhausted, melmenya," said Legolas, softly. "Come: Valandil and Orodreth have made you a bedroom in the forecastle." He guided her to a cabin, a little way apart from the rest of the wreckage, and sat her down on the 'bed' the elves had built for her out of wooden crates.

Eowyn smiled. "I am tired," she said. "Will you stay with me?"

"For a while, meleth nín." He unlaced her bodice. "But I need to talk to Valandil about the woman, and"—he slid the fabric over her shoulders—"oh, melmenya..."

Gently pushing her down onto the bed, he kissed her breasts, sucking each nipple in turn, and grazing them with his teeth.

Eowyn gasped.

"I am sorry, melmenya," he said, raising his head, "you are far too tired for this."

"No!" She caught his hands and brought them back to her breasts. "No," she said, "I want you, Lassui. Please."

The elf needed no further encouragement. With a mischievous smile, he straddled her torso and quickly unlaced his trousers. Then he lowered himself and stroked his broad ceber along the cleft between her breasts.

Smiling, too, Eowyn kissed its tip, and sucked it, cupping his warm, full ceryn.

"Melmenya..." he gasped.

Eowyn felt his climax start in her hand, felt his shaft jerk, released him, and watched in wonder as his seed burst over her throat.

Her own body was on fire. "Please," she begged.

Without a moment's pause, Legolas slipped between her legs, hooked his hands under her knees, and, bringing them up to her waist, spread her wide open. Then he sank himself, still rock hard, deep into her body.

"Yes," she wailed, "oh, yes."

His thrusts were everything Eowyn loved—hard and vigorous—but she was far too tangled in his arms to meet them. Instead, she lay still, entirely at his mercy. He built her release quickly, lunge after heart-wrenching lunge, then slowed to a mere rocking motion, holding her just on the brink, showing her the joy of being possessed by him, until, with one deep, merciful thrust, he pushed her over the edge.

And only his mouth, locked on hers, could stop up the scream that would have brought the wood elves running to her rescue.




Contents page


Previous chapter: Cat and mouse
Will help ever reach the island?

Chapter 8

Next chapter: The Sea and Sindbad's ship
The djinn plays his part.

Chapter 10

The Early Bird
A picture.

Taffrail… 1. The rail around the stern of a vessel. 2. The flat upper part of the stern of a vessel, made of wood and often richly carved.


Gwendithen nín … I thought it was about time that Legolas gave Hentmirë an affectionate nickname. Gwend means ‘maiden’, but also ‘bond, friendship’, so there’s a pun in there, somewhere. Tithen means ‘little’.