Wilawen and Valandil

Nine o’clock

“Where are you going, my dear?” asked Hentmirë, trotting across the lobby behind Legolas. “You are still shaky.

“She has not drowned, gwendithen,” said the elf. “She may have fallen into the water, but I know that she is still alive. And I am going to summon the djinn.”

Hentmirë caught Galathil by the arm. “Go and fetch Gimli,” she whispered, “quickly—Legolas...” She followed her friend into the bedchamber. “The djinn will not obey you, my dear.”

The elf turned to face her, his blue eyes enormous, and smiled. “No,” he said. “Not if Eowyn is still alive.”


He opened the wardrobe door. “If he will not obey me, we will know for certain. But I will tell him that she is in danger, and he will go and look for her anyway.” He reached into the shelf, above Eowyn’s clothes, lifted down the brass lamp—“Stand back,”—and rubbed it vigorously.

A curl of smoke rose from its long spout.

Legolas rubbed harder.

WHO HAS DISTURBED MY SLEEP?” roared the djinn, bursting into the room fully-formed and bumping his massive head on the low ceiling. “OW!

He peered down at Legolas. “You are not my pretty little mistress!” he cried, flowing towards the elf menacingly. “I will crush you where you stand!

“No!” wailed Hentmirë, trying to catch his wispy tail.

But Legolas was overjoyed. “See, gwendithen—see! She is still alive!” He ducked under the huge fist and jumped up onto the bed. “Your mistress is lost,” he shouted, trying to look the djinn in the eye, “and she needs you! Go to her! Now!”

Lost?” The djinn cocked his head to one side. “You are her little husband...

“Yes,” said Legolas. “Please! Go and help her. Now!”

I shall.

The djinn coiled his body into a ball and, both arms whirling, shot out of the bedroom, bounced off the lobby wall—“OW!”—veered left, and streaked through the main door, knocking Gimli to the floor as he went.



The sun was already setting by the time Haldir, his brothers, and their human guide reached the outskirts of Newhome.

“That is the Mayor’s house,” said the old man, pointing to a large, two-storey building set some way back from the road. “Gods rest his spirit and the spirits of his family.” The elves bowed their heads and uttered a similar blessing.

The road turned into a street, slicing its way through the centre of the small town, passing a tavern, a blacksmith’s forge, several stables, a tiny House of Healing and, tucked away down a side street, what Haldir suspected was a brothel.

“The Reeve’s house is at the better end of town,” said the old man.

“Let us hope he was not a guest at the wedding,” said Haldir.

“No.” The old man shook his head. “He will not have been invited. He and the Mayor fight—fought—like cat and dog. The Reeve is the King’s man, you see, newly appointed, and the Mayor always stood up for the locals...”

“Are King Elessar’s edicts not in the locals’ interests?” asked Haldir, puzzled.

“That depends,” said the old man, “on which of the locals you happen to be.”

They turned a corner and rode up to a wooden gatehouse, which ran the full width of the side street.

“Masters Haldir, Rumil, and Orophin from The Colony, with important news for the King’s Reeve,” announced the old man.

“It is late, Master Damrod,” said the guard, “come back tomorrow.”

“Brand, son of Bain,” snapped Damrod, “I have known you since you were no more than a glimmer in your grandpa’s eye—open the blessed gate for us!”

“The Reeve has guests, sir,” said the guard, “and cannot be disturbed.”

“I fear that this news will not wait,” said Haldir, firmly.

The young guard looked from the old man to the impressive elf, and back again. “Very well,” he said, unlocking the gates and swinging them open. “But be sure to leave your horses beside the trough. Do not trample Lady Morwen’s garden.”


The Divor Rocks

Camthalion settled back against the rock and took a bite of Lembas.

There is something strange about this place, he thought. Something about the rocks...

On impulse, he pressed his ear to the stone, closing his eyes and, letting himself become one with the sounds around him, listened to the complex, interwoven song of Arda’s children—and found, there, slicing through it, a lone female voice, dark and guttural, chanting.

He beckoned to Orodreth, pointing, and mouthing, Listen.

His friend lowered his head to the cliff face—and immediately pulled away, his eyes wide with surprise. “I will fetch Valandil,” he whispered.


The door to the Reeve’s house was opened by teenage boy—a tall young man, but slight, with a girlish face and long, dark hair that fell forward over his eyes. “What is it, Master Damrod?”

“These gentlemen have brought bad news, Master Arador,” said Damrod, “and need to speak to your father.” He stepped aside, so that the boy could see the elves.

“Oh... Good evening, sirs,” said Arador, smiling at Haldir and his brothers with a mixture of excitement and curiosity, “please, come in.” He showed them to a reception room just off the entrance hall. “I will fetch my father.”

“That is the Reeve’s son,” explained the old man, quietly. “Do not mind his staring—he means no harm—his mother’s got it into her head that he’s delicate, and doesn’t allow him out much. But he’s a good enough lad—a friend of my grandson.”

The Reeve did not keep the elves waiting long. “Welcome to my home, gentlemen,” he said, “have you come from the King?”

“No, sir,” said Haldir, with a polite bow. “From Prince Legolas, with bad news.” He described the massacre at Eryn Laeg.

“Dear gods... And you have no idea who did this terrible thing?”

Haldir shook his head. “Master Damrod’s wife mentioned the dark people—”

“Mere superstition, sir.”

“I see... Well—though there is evidence that the killers have taken trophies, the object does not appear to have been robbery. My main concern is to protect the victims from further violation; my elves are doing what they can, but the bodies are scattered and vulnerable to scavengers. And I am anxious to trace the child’s family—she is frightened amongst strangers.”

“Of course—of course. I will call up the Night Watch, sir. They will accompany you to the Forest, recover the bodies, and carry out a thorough search...”


The moment the Reeve had left the room, his son, who had been hovering outside the door, approached Haldir. “Did you find any weapons, sir?” he asked.

The elf hesitated.

“Tiny black darts?” the boy prompted.

His voice had a strange timbre, neither high nor low but a mixture of both, which made each utterance sound like a groan, but his mind seemed quick enough. Haldir drew the crossbow quarrel from his pouch.

“Yes...” Arador took a handkerchief from his pocket and used it to lift the dart from Haldir’s palm. “I once nicked myself with one of these,” he explained, “and slept for twelve hours.” He handed it back. “Did you find anything else, sir?”

“Just this.” Curious, now, to learn what the boy might know, Haldir showed him the sword tip. “It had broken off in one of the wounds.”

The boy examined it carefully. “Hm... I have never seen one of their blades before,” he said, “though they use these same runes on—”

“Do not trouble the gentleman, Arador,” said the Reeve, coming back into the room. “I must apologise for my son’s behaviour, sir—he is something of a dreamer.” He shooed the boy away. “The Night Watch are assembling at the gate; they will follow your orders. Now, on behalf of King Elessar, sirs, I thank you for your kindness to his unfortunate subjects. Rest assured that I shall commend you—and your Elven Lord—to the King in my next report.” He bowed, deeply.

As the elves filed out into the entrance hall, the Reeve’s son caught Haldir’s sleeve. “We must talk more,” he said. “I will join you outside. Wait for me...”


“It sounds,” whispered Camthalion, “as though it is coming from inside the rocks. But it cannot be...”

Valandil raised his hand for silence and, for a few moments, listened intently. “It should not be, but I think it is,” he said, quietly, “and I think it is approaching a climax. I do not think we have much time.”

“To do what?” asked Wilawen.

“To prepare our defences, Faer Vara.” He turned to his comrades. “Bring the guards in from the clearing—the dead must fend for themselves now. Wilawen—get the little girl and the other civilians into the centre of the camp. Camthalion—surround them with archers. Orodreth—we do not know where these animals will emerge, but you and I will build fires all along the back wall.”

As they set about their appointed tasks, Wilawen caught Valandil’s hand. “I love you,” she whispered.


“All ready, sir,” said the Captain of the Night Watch.

Haldir scanned the assembled crowd. There was no sign of the Reeve’s son. I will give him a little longer, he decided. “Five minutes, Captain,” he said, “and then we depart.”

“Very good, sir.”

A moment later, the boy emerged from the shadows, leading a sturdy pony and carrying a large travelling pack.

Haldir sighed. “I cannot allow you to come with us, Master Arador,” he said, quietly. “Your father will—”

“But you must,” the boy insisted. “I know more about the dark people than anyone else in Middle-earth—half the people here still pretend they do not exist.” He frowned. “You do intend to strike back, sir?”

Haldir shook his head. “I am here to see that the victims’ bodies are recovered by their families. Nothing more.” He turned away, but the boy grabbed his arm.

“You have left your own people in that clearing,” he said. “I pray to the gods that they will still be there, alive, when you reach them. But, if they are not, you will need a guide to take you into the Divor Rocks—an expert in the ways of the dark people—and that is me...” He shrugged. “Think about it, sir—if nothing bad has happened, you can send me home, tomorrow, with the Night Watch. And you need not worry about my parents. They will blame me, not you.”

Haldir shook his head. “No.”

The boy bit his lip. “Let me show you something,” he said, opening his pack, “that will change your mind. This cost me most of my grandfather’s legacy...”

Keeping the top of the bag almost closed, he held it so that Haldir could peer inside. “Their world is so dark, sir, that even you would be blind in it without something like this.”

“Valar,” muttered the elf. “What makes it glow like that?”

Their magic,” said the boy, smiling. “Now can I come with you?”


Ten o’clock
Legolas’ study

The djinn returned empty handed.

What a nasty place this Forest is,” he grumbled, pulling several carantaur leaves from his hair and extracting a twig from down his loin cloth.

“You could not find her,” said Legolas.

Of course I found her,” he replied, haughtily, “but she is where I cannot reach her—beyond the black lake.”

Beyond? But you are sure she is still alive?”

You are not my mistress,” he boomed, folding his arms across his chest, “and so I cannot answer your question.”

“You already have,” said Legolas. He held up the lamp. “Here. Go back to sleep.”


Hentmirë handed Gimli a tankard of dwarven ale and watched him take a sip. “Are you sure that you do not need a healer?” she asked.

“Nay lass. It takes more than a knock on the head to flatten one of Durin’s Folk.” He took another sip.

“Well, I will be just over there, if you need me...”

She joined Legolas, who was sitting at his desk, carefully preparing his bracers and quiver. “What are you planning to do, my dear?” she asked.

The elf looked up at her, his startling blue eyes burning with cold fire. “I am going to follow her, gwendithen,” he said. “I am going to follow her into The Aelvorn and I am going to bring her back.”

Hentmirë nodded. “I knew you would say that,” she said. “When do we leave?”




Contents page


Previous chapter: Three's a crowd
Legolas and Eowyn talk. Why are their stories so different? Lord Fingolfin has his suspicions.

Chapter 4

Next chapter: The Aelvorn
Fingolfin explains his theory; Legolas follows a fugitive.

Chapter 6