legolas and eowyn

It was a long, slow tramp along the shadowy tunnels of Mount Mindolluin to the foot of the Hill of Guard; then an even slower climb up the steep, uneven staircases linking the rough-hewn under-raths. The friends walked in silence and, when they encountered other travellers, took care to keep their faces hidden, as Berkin had advised.

At last, their guide brought them to a halt. “Third level,” he muttered to Berkin. “Rath Luin. How many are going out?”

“Two,” said Berkin, indicating Haldir and Arador.

The man scrutinised the pair, looking them up and down as though trying to decide if they were trustworthy. Then, “Wait here,” he said. “I’ll prepare the way. Be ready when I get back. Ten minutes.” He walked off into the darkness, taking his torch with him.

“They have to be very careful,” said Berkin, apologetically. Legolas patted his arm.

“Ten minutes,” sighed Eowyn, sitting down, heavily, on one of the worn steps.

Legolas laid a hand on her shoulder. “And another ten or so whilst he lets them out, melmenya.”

He was proud of her—of her courage and resilience—but he knew that the physical demands of next few hours would be far harder on her than on him. Eowyn smiled up at him, shuffling sideways to make space for him beside her, but Haldir had already caught his eye.

“In a moment, Eowyn nín,” he whispered, squeezing her shoulder. “I need a word with the March Warden first.”


Haldir drew Legolas away from their companions. “There is something I...” He sighed. Then, making up his mind, he continued, resolutely, “It is not my secret, but she did not ask me not to tell you, and only you can know whether Eowyn need be warned.”

He beckoned Legolas still further down the tunnel. “There is a child,” he said, softly.


The guide returned sooner than expected. “Come,” he said, showing the way with his torch. “Everything is ready.”

Haldir turned to his fellow travellers. “Ortheritham hain,” he said.

Eowyn scrambled to her feet. “Be careful Haldir,” she murmured, making a final adjustment to his headgear. “And you, too, Arador.”

The boy mumbled a reply—hiding a huge, blushing smile by fussing with his travelling pack.

“Remember,” said Legolas. “Afterwards, we will meet at Berkin’s father’s house.”

Na-den pedim ad,” agreed Haldir, with a curt nod. “Come, Master Arador.”


Arador and Haldir followed their guide down the curving under-rath for a few hundred yards before turning into a narrow side-passage.

“We could almost be back in the Underdark,” whispered Arador.

“No,” replied Haldir. “These tunnels are safe. I can feel it.”

The boy frowned. “Yes,” he said, suddenly serious, “why have they not captured them?” Then, “Sir,”—he addressed the guide—“have you ever seen them down here?”

“Seen who?”

“The dro—”

“Ignore him, sir,” interrupted Haldir, grabbing Arador by the arm. “He is a dreamer.”

The side-passage ended abruptly in a well-lit chamber, with a heavy iron door set in the far wall, barred and bolted and guarded by two armed men.

“Wulfric will see to you from here,” said the guide, and left without another word.


Eowyn shifted on her uncomfortable seat, stretching out her aching legs with a sigh. “What was Haldir saying, Lassui?” she asked. “It looked... I thought he seemed to be looking at me...”

Legolas kissed her hand; she had decided it for him. “He was telling me something that your double told him, melmenya,” he said, “not exactly in confidence, but she begged him to say nothing to my double...” He glanced around. Gimli and Berkin were standing, some distance away, in a pool of torchlight, Gimli showing Berkin how to grip an axe. “You remember that night, after Helm’s Deep, outside the Golden Hall?” He was referring to the moment when he had first revealed his feelings for her.

“Of course,” said Eowyn.

“Well, on that night, they...”

“Our doubles?”

“Yes. And...” He squeezed her hand gently. “There was a child, melmenya—a boy.”

Eowyn turned to him abruptly, her face frozen in a frown. Then she smiled, and she whispered, excitedly, “That is what went wrong, Lassui! That is why everything is so different here! You were right all along—you said that I was wrong to regret not making love that night, and you were right!” She stood up—and the sudden movement startled both Gimli and Berkin, who turned, and stared her for a moment before returning to their lesson. “Eomer must have stepped in, with all his usual tact, and that is why he and my double are estranged!”

“Yes. And my double took himself off to Eryn Carantaur in a sulk,” said Legolas. He rose, and caught her, mid-stride. “But the child, melmenya,” he began, gently—

“If they can have one, Lassui, so can we!” She smiled, broadly.

“Oh. Yes.” He hugged her close. “Yes, melmenya,” he said, kissing the top of her head, “so can we. But the child has been adopted by Aragorn and Arwen—and if they are being held prisoner then, the chances are that he is too.”


The concealed exit

“Over here, gents.”

The man called Wulfric left his station beside the door and crossed to a shelf cut into a wall of the chamber, beckoning Haldir and Arador to join him. “These are your permits,” he said, indicating two parchments lying on the stone slab, “signed and sealed by the King himself.” He winked. “But they’re good enough to keep you out of trouble, provided you get your story straight.”

“Story?” said Haldir.

“You’re a merchant,” said Wulfric, showing him the appropriate place in the document. “One Master Lennard.” He folded the parchment and handed it to the disguised elf. “And he,”—he nodded towards Arador—“is your apprentice.”

“Do you know a Master Geruil?” asked Arador, scanning his permit.


“Are you sure? His shop is somewhere near—”

No. Now,” continued Wulfric, speaking to Haldir, “if they stop you, bow politely keeping your hands by your sides and in full view. If they ask to see your permit, show them that, and pray. Do not ever mention us. Understand?”

“Yes,” said Haldir. “Do they stop everyone?”

“No. But it’s early in the morning, so they’ll be suspicious—though, saying that, the main patrol has already passed and you may just slip through. Ready?”

Haldir glanced at Arador; the boy nodded. “Yes,” said the elf.

“Once this door closes you’re on your own,” said Wulfric. “There’s no coming back inside.” He signalled to his fellow guard and the man snuffed out the torches. In the darkness, Haldir heard the well-oiled bolts slide back in their chutes. Then a line of light appeared, growing wider as the door swung silently open.

Now,” said Wulfric, quietly.

And Haldir and Arador stepped outside.


“Are you all right, melmenya?”

They had scaled three more levels, by Legolas’ estimation, and Eowyn—climbing doggedly, head down, up step after step—seemed miraculously to have discovered an extra reserve of strength.

She nodded, smiling, though she looked tired.

“Almost there,” said the guide.


Rath Luin

The door that had closed behind them was set in a shadowy alcove, tucked beneath the arches of a portico that ran the full length of a row of shabby shops. From the outside, it was indistinguishable from the rest of the stone wall.

Cautiously, the pair stepped out into Rath Luin.

In the damp, early morning light, the fabled White City was a dull grey. Arador looked up and down the street to get his bearings, then set off eastwards, following the curve of the rath towards the Third Gate. Haldir followed, glancing behind every few steps, his elven senses alert—

Suddenly, the boy grasped his arm and—with a grin of triumph—drew him into an alley that headed back into the Hill of Guard. “If the shop exists,” he whispered, “it will be down here. I am sure of it...”

The lane twisted its way past several small workshops—a tanner’s, a boot-maker’s, a place selling lanterns—all closed and shuttered, before reaching, at the very end, a double-fronted shop displaying a faded sign,

Geruil and Daughter

The elf peered through one of the dusty windows. “It is empty,” he muttered. “Abandoned.”

“No,” said Arador, “it always looks like this.” He pushed the door. “Hmm. Locked.”

Haldir looked to left and right. They were not visible from the main rath, but he could see nowhere for them to hide if anyone were come down the alleyway...

Arador, however, had slipped off his pack and was rummaging inside. “Keep watch,” he said, brandishing a bunch of bent metal rods and, crouching down beside the shop door, he selected one and slid it into the key hole.

Haldir had had little experience of locks, but he immediately understood what his companion was doing. “Where,” he whispered, moving to screen the boy, “did you learn that?”

“My father sent me to school, here in Minas Tirith, for a while.” He selected another rod, and aligned it with the first.

“And they taught you to pick locks?”

Arador grinned. “They shut us in at night, so—ah—there we are!” He withdrew the skeleton keys—“Simple!”—pushed the heavy door open, and stepped inside. “Bugger!”

“What?” Haldir followed. “Oh.” His first impression of the shop had been correct; two overturned chairs, a half-emptied display case, and an open strong box sitting on the counter—all suggested that the owner had left in a hurry, taking his valuables with him.

Arador reached into the display case and, ignoring the amethyst crystals and the lumps of fool’s gold, lifted out a piece of carved black onyx. “Why would Geruil bother to lock the door behind him?” he wondered, putting the object in his pocket.

“Perhaps to protect what remained of his shop from people like you,” replied the elf.

The boy smiled. “I will pay him for this when I see him,” he said. “Well—what do we do now?”


The under-raths

“Yes,” repeated the guide, “almost there...”

Legolas frowned—reaching out to hold Eowyn back—because there was something up ahead...

Men! Not one of the groups of travellers they had been passing from time to time, but warriors lying in wait!

The elf’s hands flew to his white knives and, immediately, Gimli pulled out his axe and, a split-second later, Eowyn drew her sword, and the three stood, side by side across the passage, with the nervous guide in front and Berkin, safely shielded, behind.

“Now, now, gentlemen,” came a friendly-sounding voice from the darkness above, “is that any way to treat your host? Put up your weapons.”

With elven speed, Legolas sheathed one knife, caught the guide by the neck, and laid his second blade across his throat. “I have your man,” he shouted.

The voice laughed. “What is that to me?” he asked. “Now listen,”—and he sounded much less affable now—“if you want to enter the Citadel—if you want to leave these tunnels at all—put up your weapons and surrender. You are outnumbered, five to one.”


Haldir and Arador had searched the shop and the dwelling above it from end to end but had found no clue to the whereabouts of Geruil and his daughter, nor any indication that the man might know where the portal—if it existed—was concealed.

“So—do we go up to the Citadel?” asked Arador. He uncorked his water skin and took a sip, then offered it to Haldir.

The elf shook his head. “No. Our orders are to wait for the others at Berkin’s father’s house.”

The alley outside was still empty, but the doors of the workshops were open now and, as the pair approached the main rath, they could hear the quiet sounds of people going about their business in a time of trouble.

Haldir adjusted his hood. “Try to look—”

“Ordinary,” said Arador.

They stepped out into Rath Luin.

A cart, laden with vegetables, was trundling by and Haldir, grasping Arador by the arm, followed in its wake, letting it clear a path for them. They reached the Third Gate unhindered, walked slowly past the houses beyond, through the tunnel in the great stone prow, and were about to enter the next level when a troop of liveried horsemen emerged from the Fourth Gate.

The leading rider waved the cart past. “Permit,” he said, to Haldir.

“Of course, sir,” said the elf, bowing—as the outlaw had instructed—before reaching inside his cloak for the document—

“Lower your hood when you are spoken to,” said the rider angrily.

“Pardon... Sir.” Very carefully, Haldir lowered his hood. Arador did the same.

“That is better.” The man held out a gloved hand. Haldir gave him the permit. “It says that you are a merchant, Master Lennard. What exactly do you sell?”

Sell? Haldir’s mind raced.

Curios,” Arador piped up, “from other lands. Crystals and... and things.”


“Anything our clients want,” said Haldir, regaining his composure. “Like this.” He opened the leather pouch at his waist, took out a leaf-shaped piece of gold, and handed it to the soldier. “It is a rare elven coin,” he explained. “A fifty-piece, from the colony in South Ithilien.”

“A fifty-piece...” The man weighed the coin in his palm; then he tossed it in the air, caught it, and slipped it into his pocket. “Move along,” he said.

Haldir bowed again. “My permit, sir,” he said, diffidently.

What? Oh.” The soldier opened his fingers and let the parchment float to the floor. “Come,” he called to his men, and spurred his horse.

Haldir bent to retrieve the document. “I will remember that Orc’s criss—”

“Haldir,” said Arador, suddenly, “Haldir—look! Going into the house over there! Look!


Emyn Arnen
Eowyn’s tent

“Is there any change?” asked Eowyn, looking at the elf sleeping on her camp bed.

“No,” said Hentmirë, yawning.

The younger woman smiled, sympathetically. “Were you awake all night, my Lady?”

“Oh no,” said Hentmirë. “No—I was dozing. I am not tired at all.” She yawned again.

“Well,” said Eowyn, “I will have Berengar arrange some hot water for you, and then—will you join me for breakfast, Lady Hentmirë?”


Minas Tirith

Arador ran across the rath, reaching the door just as it closed.

“Wait,” he hissed, trying to speak through the wood without drawing the attention of passers by, “wait, please!” He knocked, anxiously, but softly. “Open up! Please! Mistress Wilawen...”


Emyn Arnen

“I have found some butter,” said Berengar, “just for you.” He set the tray down on Eowyn’s map table. “And a little strawberry jam, and some honey as well.”

“Thank you.” Eowyn cut Hentmirë a slice of bread. “Please, my Lady,” she said, indicating the tray, “help yourself.”

The little woman took a tiny portion of the precious butter.

“You were saying that your Legolas is married to my double,” prompted Eowyn.

“Yes,” said Hentmirë, spreading her bread. “Well, they will not be fully married until they hold the public ceremony at Yuletide but, yes, they have already taken private vows.” She added a small spoonful of honey.

“Are they happy?”

“Oh, very happy. They are devoted to each other.” Hentmirë took a bite of bread and honey.

“And, the other elves—do they accept her as Legolas’ consort?”

“She is the joint ruler of the colony,” said Hentmirë. “And it is not just elves—men have settled there, too, and dwarves. We all live together.”

“And Eomer approves of this?”

Hentmirë frowned, thoughtfully. “Well, I have never met Eomer King myself,” she admitted, “but I do know that he visits regularly.”


Minas Tirith

Desperately, Arador knocked louder.

The door opened. “Hush,” said the woman, “go away! You will bring the patrol down on us—”

“May we come inside, Mistress?” asked Arador, stepping forward. “Please—”


“Wilawen...” Haldir’s voice was full of calm authority, and he pulled off the velvet cap—borrowed from Berkin—which, with Eowyn’s help, he had been using to conceal his pointed ears and most of his long, elven hair.

“An elf!” cried Wilawen. “What...? How do you know my name?” She looked anxiously up and down the rath.

“I will explain everything,” said Haldir. “Please, let us in.”

“My father—”

“It is your father we need to speak to, Mistress,” said Arador. “It is very urgent.”


The under-raths

Still concealed beneath their hooded cloaks, the elf, the woman, the dwarf and the boy followed their unknown captor down a narrow passage, through a broad, vaulted hall (lined with armed men), and into a large, well-lit chamber.

The room was furnished like a nobleman’s study, with heavy wooden furniture, brightly coloured tapestries, exotic rugs; the effect was rich, but tasteless. Legolas watched the door swing closed and the two guards, who were standing either side, step forward to block it.

This, he thought, is the lair of the Outlaw King! He leaned closer to Berkin and whispered, “How much should I offer him?”

“Five thousand gold,” replied the boy. “Each.”

The ‘Outlaw King’, meanwhile, had thrown himself down in a chair behind his huge, carved desk and, with his hands clasped over his bulging stomach, was looking at each of his captives in turn.

Slowly, his gaze returned to Legolas. “I have been receiving reports of you since you left Osgiliath,” he said. “I must say—you have some clever moves. Who are you? And what do you want in The Citadel?”

“I will pay you twenty thousand gold pieces—that is five thousand gold for each of us—for safe passage into the Palace,” said Legolas, calmly.

“That hardly answers my question,” said the man, “though it does tell me that you are someone important in the world outside. Let me see your face.”

Legolas could see no advantage in refusing. He lowered his hood.

“An elf...” The man seemed mildly surprised. “Why does an elf want to enter the Palace secretly?”

“Melmenya,” said Legolas, “let him see your face.”

Eowyn lowered her hood.

“And a princess, too,” said the man. “We are honoured.” He inclined his head in a mock bow, but it was obvious from his expression that Eowyn’s presence had piqued his interest—and that he sensed an opportunity.

“I am Legolas of the Woodland Realm,” said Legolas, with princely authority, “Lord of the Elves of South Ithilien, sworn ally and brother of His Majesty, King Elessar. In normal times, Princess Eowyn and I would ride up to The Citadel with a royal escort—but, as you know, these are not normal times.”

“You are speaking of the new laws?” asked the man. “Why would they affect you?”

“I am speaking,” said Legolas, “of the people responsible for the new laws—of the people who, it is my belief, are holding the King and his family hostage—the people who plan to destroy Gondor and, with it, your,”—he waved his hand to indicate the opulent chamber—“your kingdom forever.”

The crime lord stared at the elf for a long moment. Then, “Nice try,” he said. “Interesting story. But nothing happens here that I do not know about.”

“You do know,” countered Legolas, “that the King is behaving out of character. And you have wondered why. Suppose I prove to you that what I am saying is true?”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “How?”

“I assume that you have more than one way into the Palace,” said the elf, “and that you can see into the royal chambers from your tunnels?”

“Suppose I can?”

I need to find the King,” said Legolas, “and set him free. Then I need to help him drive out the invaders and restore proper order. You need that too. For your help I will pay you triple the sum I offered you before—once the King is back in control. How he will reward you,”—Legolas shrugged—“I do not know. But I can tell you that I have never known him be less than generous to his friends.”

“Thief by appointment to His Majesty, King Elessar,” said the crime lord, rubbing his chin. “It has a ring to it...”


Emyn Arnen
Eowyn’s tent

“My lord.” Eowyn greeted Lord Fingolfin with a formal bow, and offered him a seat. “I am afraid that Prince Legolas’ condition has not changed,” she continued. “Lady Hentmirë is sitting with him...”

“I am sure that he is in good hands,” said the elf. “But, in truth, your Highness, I came here to speak to you.”

“Me?” Something in the elf’s manner made Eowyn glance towards her bedchamber. The curtain was closed, but she knew that the silk hangings would not prevent Legolas from overhearing their conversation should he awaken, and something told her that she would not want that. “I was just about to inspect the fortifications, my Lord,” she said. “Perhaps you would join me.”

They left the tent and crossed the busy plateau, and started down the winding path to the outer redoubt with its barricade and ditches.

“I believe you know what I have come to say, your Highness,” said Fingolfin. “Your obvious concern for Prince Legolas has made me hope—”

“Is this not a matter, my Lord,” said Eowyn, “for Prince Legolas and me?”

“Of course, my Lady,” said the elf, bowing slightly. “Of course. But I am speaking for the colony. I have observed you; I have observed your double and my Lord’s double. And it is my belief, your Highness, that you would make Eryn Carantaur a fine co-ruler.”

“This is premature, my Lord! Prince Legolas is still betrothed and I—I am not free.”

“There can be no question of Lord Legolas’ marrying Alatáriël now, your Highness,” said Fingolfin. “And, after the proper period of mourning has been observed—”

“I do not speak of my late husband, my Lord.”

Fingolfin frowned—then his brow cleared, as the truth dawned upon him. “Haldir of Lorien,” he said.

Eowyn felt herself blushing.

“But he does not belong in this world, your Highness,” said the elf, gently.

“Be that as it may, my Lord,” said Eowyn, “he and I...”

They had passed through the inner barricade, at the mouth of the gorge, and were walking out onto the plain—and a commotion at the outer barricade suddenly caught their attention.

“I believe we have visitors, my Lord,” she said. “Yes, I believe that my mercenary has arrived!” She turned to the elf. “I would value your support during the negotiations, my Lord.”

“Of course, your Highness. I am at your service.”


Minas Tirith
Wilawen’s house

“So you are saying that he is the owner of the shop,” said Haldir, dubiously.

They were sitting, incongrously, in the pretty front parlour of the little house—Like guests at a tea party, thought the elf—waiting for Wilawen to fetch her father. He knew that the woman had locked them in the room and, although he was sure that there was no one else in the house, and he knew that she would never summon the patrol, he had already planned his and Arador’s escape through the window, should the need arise.

But the boy was insisting that it was Wilawen’s father whose help they needed. “I am sure of it,” he said. “I never met Geruil’s daughter in our world but, when I saw Mistress Wilawen, I remembered what Valandil had told me about her father, and I put two and two together, and... Well...”

“Then why does our Wilawen know nothing of the drow?” said Haldir. “Why had she never seen that map of yours? And why has she never mentioned a portal?”

Arador shrugged. “I do not know. Maybe she is not party to all of her father’s dealings. Maybe, for her own safety, he—”

Haldir rose suddenly, pulling back his cloak to uncover the hilt of his sword.

“What is wrong?” said Arador, jumping up, too, as the key turned in the lock and the door opened, but it was only Wilawen and her elderly parent.

Haldir let his cloak fall back over his sword.

Expertly, the woman helped her father shuffle to a chair and sit down. “Father says that he knows you, Master Arador—that you are a good customer,” she said; she turned to Haldir, blushing. “Please sit down, sir. I will fetch you some tea...”

Her father watched her leave the room, then turned to his guests. “My daughter tells me you have been to the shop,” he said.

“Yes.” Arador glanced at Haldir for permission to continue; the elf nodded. “We are looking for a portal, Master Geruil,” said the boy. “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

The man said nothing.

“Dark Elves,” said Arador, “drow, have invaded Emyn Arnen and captured the City on the Hills. Princess Eowyn is afraid that they will do the same here in Minas Tirith. She has sent us to destroy the portal. Do you know where it is, sir?”

“Close the door,” said Geruil.

Arador leaped up and pushed the door shut.

“The strange thing,” said the old man, “is that it is a relief to finally tell someone, after all these years.” He sighed. “It is in the shop.”

“Have the drow already used it?” asked Haldir. “Is that why you abandoned your shop?”

The man nodded.

“How many came through?”

“Whilst I was there, about twenty.”

“When you were there?” said the elf. “But... Why did they not kill you?”

“I... They could not see me, sir. You see, I—”

Bugger!” said Arador, suddenly.

The man and the elf both turned to him in surprise.

“You do not know how to close it,” said the boy. “You ran away because you do not know how to close it.”


The under-raths

It had taken almost an hour to convince the crime lord—Redwald son of Edric—that it was in his own interests to join the fight against the drow but, at length, he had agreed to assemble his men, and the four friends had suddenly found themselves with half an hour in which to rest and prepare themselves for the next stage of the mission.

Redwald had offered Eowyn the use of his private bathing room and she had stripped off her cloak and jerkin, rolled up the sleeves of her tunic, and was washing her hands and face.

Smiling, Legolas watched her—the fall of her hair, the delicate line of her neck, the soft curve of her bare shoulder...

There was no one else like her—no one so brave, no one so beautiful...

Love and desire both welled up inside him, and he came up behind her and, slipping his arms around her waist, pulled her against him, sliding his hands up to cup her breasts.

“Oh, Lassui...”

Shhhhh, my darling...” He kissed her neck.

“No,” she gasped, “we do not have time...”

“Yes, we do...”

He turned her to face him and, kissing her, he gently pushed her backwards until she was resting against the wall—his lips never leaving hers—and his mouth curved in a smile when he felt her little hands slide down between them and pull at the lacings of his leggings.

They were both so aroused and—after a little fumbling—Legolas bent his knees and slid eagerly inside her, and felt her moan against his kiss.

But he could not take her properly, hunched as he was, and he lifted her off her feet and—holding her against the wall—he thrust up into her and felt her legs wrap around his waist, and her hands grasp his shoulders, as she rode his desperate strokes.

And—in no time at all, it seemed—the waves of her climax engulfed him, and he buried his face in her golden hair and came with a ragged groan of satisfaction.


Smiling, Legolas set Eowyn’s feet back on the floor. “My lovely, lovely Shieldmaiden,” he murmured, kissing her forehead. “When all this is over, melmenya, I am going to ravish you properly.”




Contents page


Previous chapter: The truce
Can Wilawen use her new power? Or will she be forced to come to 'some arrangement'?

chapter 21

Next chapter: The escape
How badly is Valandil injured? Will Wilawen succeed in rescuing him and the other elves?

chapter 23

Ortheritham hain ... We will defeat them.
Na-den pedim ad ... Until we speak again.
Criss ... cleft, cut.
(Criss is one of the naughty Elvish words I suggested in Misrule in Mirkwood. Haldir is using the c-word ;-)