eowyn and shadow legolas

Half-past ten
Eowyn’s guest quarters

“Just a moment!” Eowyn ran to the door—hastily tying the laces of her elven gown—and threw it open. “Oh...” The smile fell from her face.

“You were expecting Lord Legolas,” said Lord Fingolfin, gently.

“I—yes, I was hoping...”

“I am sorry. But I think, my lady, that when you hear what I have to say, you will understand why it is not Lord Legolas—and you will be relieved. Might I come in?”

Relieved? I do not under—ah—yes, of course, come in—please.” Eowyn stepped aside.

Fingolfin wasted no time in getting to the point. “What I am about to tell you, my Lady, will probably sound,”—he searched for the right word—“fanciful. But I do believe it can be tested... Might we sit down? Explaining this may take a while.”

He waited until they were both seated, before continuing. “Mannish society has always been of great interest to me. I have read, questioned, collected—”

“I know, my lord,” said Eowyn, with a faint smile.

“Yes, of course.” Fingolfin returned her smile. “Well, since coming to live in Eryn Carantaur, I have made a particular study of the lore of this region, and the men here have a peculiar set of beliefs... You mentioned waking up beside The Aelvorn?”


“And you were wet?”


“Do you remember falling into the water?”


“Do you remember how you came to be beside The Aelvorn?”


“Then let us try something that may help your memory.” Fingolfin leaned back, settling himself more comfortably. “Do you remember waking this morning?”

Waking? Why...?” Eowyn blushed, suddenly remembering exactly how Legolas had awoken her. “Yes, my lord.”

Fingolfin cleared his throat, delicately. “Well... Do you remember eating breakfast?”

“Yes...” She smiled. “It is working!”

“Good. What happened next? What did you do after breakfast?”

“Legolas had some papers to deal with,” she said, slowly, “from his father, so I went to see Lady Lessien—yes, I wanted to ask her something about the Harvest Rite—”

“Then you know Lady Lessien?”

“Of course.”

“Go on. What happened after that?”

“There was a meeting of the Inner Council—we discussed problems with the building works. Then Master Amdír arrived and—oh Béma!” She described what the craftsman-builders had found in Eryn Laeg, and how Legolas had sent Haldir to investigate.

“Who is Haldir?”

Haldir? Our March Warden.”

“I once knew a Haldir—Haldir of Lorien—before the Ring War.”

“That is he.”

“The Haldir I knew died in battle,” said Fingolfin, softly, “defending your country from Saruman’s armies.”

Died? No! I saved him!” said Eowyn. “I nursed him.”

“I see,” said Fingolfin. “That is interesting—”

Interesting, my lord? It is maddening! You say that Haldir is dead. I know that he is not. Legolas says that Angaráto is alive. I know that he took his own life. And Alatáriël—how can Legolas be betrothed to Alatáriël?”

“Haldir is not dead,” replied Fingolfin, “and nor is Alatáriël Lord Legolas’ betrothed.”

“But you just said—”

“I will explain in a moment, my Lady. But, first, can you remember what happened later in the day?”

Eowyn frowned. “We had lunch in the garden. And then... Then...” She closed her eyes tightly, trying to summon up her memories. “I went to The Aelvorn with Berryn! Yes! He said...” She turned to Fingolfin. “He told me about a great crack in Middle-earth—he showed me where it lay. Then he went to pack his equipment, and... And I woke up alone.”

“The local edain,” said Fingolfin, “believe that there are two Middle-earths. They believe that a being may pass between them, through certain clefts—”

“The crack?”

“Yes, perhaps—certainly, the locals believe that The Aelvorn is one such cleft. And, interestingly, the Divor Rocks, close to Eryn Laeg, are said to conceal another.”

“My lord,” said Eowyn, suddenly realising the implications, “are you saying that this is not my Middle-earth?”

Fingolfin nodded. “I am.”

“Then he is not my Legolas!” She leaped to her feet. “My Legolas still loves me! My Legolas—oh, dear gods, he will be frantic! I must get back to him.”

“I know,” said Fingolfin.

“Are you sure that what you have just told me is true?”

“As sure as I can be.”

Eowyn began to pace. “You said it could be tested?”

“Indeed. When the messenger returns from Prince Faramir with news that his Princess Eowyn is not missing—”

“Then we will know for certain. Yes. But that could be four—five days. Must I wait that long?”

“You intend to re-enter The Aelvorn?”

“I have to.”

“You are a brave adaneth,” said Fingolfin. “I shall be honest with you, my Lady. I can find no evidence to suggest that, by simply by entering the water, you will be transported back to your own world—indeed, no evidence that you will not be drowned. And I would not be doing my duty as—I hope—your friend if I did not strongly recommend that you wait until we do, at least, have Prince Faramir’s confirmation that our theory has a basis in fact.”


Half past eleven

Legolas could not rest. His mind was too full of questions and—shamefully—of images of Princess Eowyn running towards him, arms outstretched...


Taking great care not to disturb Alatáriël, he slid out of bed, walked silently to the window and, pulling aside the muslin curtain, sat down on the window sill, touching his forehead to the carved wooden frame.

Why? he asked the Valar. Why, when everything—the colony, my future with Alatáriël— seemed so settled, why did you send her? Princess Eowyn! Bright and brave and beautiful and—he cursed—immortal Eowyn.

Why did you make an adaneth immortal?

And what was that, he added, that she was saying about last year’s Harvest Rite? And Angaráto?

He leaned out of the window and breathed deeply, savouring the scented air, thankful for its cool caress.

But the click of a door latch quickly undermined his attempts to calm himself, and he opened his eyes, and watched a slender figure leave the guest house opposite.

“Of course,” he grumbled, “who else would it be? And where is she going at this time of night?”


He pulled on his boots and, with a final guilty glance at the sleeping Alatáriël, hurried from his chambers.

There was no longer any sign of Eowyn on the walkway; he leaned over the wall. There she is, he thought, crossing the clearing and heading for the stables. Naturally. He ran to the spiral stair and, taking the steps two at a time, reached the bottom just as the woman thundered past on what looked like one of Lord Caranthir’s mares.

At least she has not taken Angaráto’s horse...

Legolas, despite his superior senses, had never been a skilled tracker like Aragorn. If she gets too far ahead, I will lose her. He ran to the paddock, summoned Arod, and set off in pursuit.


She was waiting for him at the city’s edge, where the main east-west thoroughfare shrank to a narrow forest trail. “My Legolas,” she said, “would never have made such a din.”

“Where are you going?”

“The Aelvorn.”

What? Why?”

“Because I want to,” she said. “Are you coming?”

“That place is not safe—”

Are you coming?

The elf sighed. “Someone must make sure that nothing happens to you.”

She gave him a withering look.

“What did you mean,” he asked suddenly, “your Legolas?”

But she had already spurred her horse and set off down the trail.


21st day of Cerveth
Half past one in the morning

It took almost two hours to reach The Aelvorn, and the woman remained stubbornly silent throughout the journey.

Legolas bided his time until they were seated, side-by-side, on the grassy verge, overlooking the still, black water. “It is strange,” he said, “that the sky is full of stars, and yet not a single point of light is reflected in the lake...”

Eowyn nodded. “It is no ordinary lake.”

“Explain what you meant, Eowyn, when you spoke of your Legolas.”

“You will not believe me.”

The elf laughed. “After finding you naked in my bedchamber tonight, I think I can believe almost anything.”

“Very well.” She repeated what Lord Fingolfin had told her. “So my Legolas is at the other side of that water.”

“And you are planning to do what—throw yourself in?” He caught her arm.

“No!” She shook off his hand. “Not now! Not yet! But...” She sighed. “I just wanted to be near him.”

“You love him very much.”

“Of course I do!” She frowned. “You sound as though you believe it.”

He shrugged. “I believe that you believe it... And I am certainly not your Legolas. Not now—not—”

“You never will be,” said Eowyn, vehemently.

He smiled. “Are he and I really so different?”


“Tell me about him. Where did you first meet?”

“At Edoras...” She described her early impressions of the elf—“Lord Aragorn’s right hand,”—and their brief conversations—“I did not realise that, even then, he loved me.” She told him how Legolas had watched over her in the House of Healing but had stood aside because she seemed to be in love with Faramir. She described how he had become a regular visitor to Caras Arnen and what she had felt when she had realised that she had fallen in love with him. She explained how Faramir had sent her to attend the Harvest Rite, not telling her what it entailed, how Legolas had chosen her, and how they had travelled to Caras Arnen and, together with Faramir, had obtained Aragorn’s decree of annulment and his permission to marry. Then, smiling, she repeated the vows that they had made before Eärendil.

“But what of my double,” she asked, at last. “Do you know her?”

“We are—acquainted.”

“But you are not in love with her?”

“I... No.” He sighed. “But, recently, I have dreamed about her. About sharing her bed.” He cleared his throat. “I am sorry.”

“No, no, do not apologise. We need to discuss this—to understand why your world is so different from mine... When did your dreams start?”

Legolas leaned back on the grass and, gazing up at the stars, admitted, very softly: “They began the day Lady Lessien and I started preparing for the Harvest Rite. I had—well, I suppose you might call it a vision—in which I chose her instead of Alatáriël. And then, that night, I started dreaming.”

“Had you ever dreamed before?”

“No. Does he?”

“Sometimes. About our future.”

“What does he see?”

“He foresaw my immortality... He has foreseen our child.”

“Do you think...”


He shrugged. “Why do you think I am dreaming?”

Eowyn looked at him thoughtfully. “Do you love Alatáriël?” she asked at last. “And do not say, ‘She is my betrothed’.”

Legolas did not reply.

Eowyn continued, “I asked—Béma, it was only this morning, yet it seems so long ago!—I asked Lady Lessien whether it were possible, when he performed the Harvest Rite this year, that the Valar would give Legolas someone else.”

“What did she say?”

“That she believed the celebrant’s vision to be an expression of his own love. If she is right, and you love Alatáriël, then you will choose her over my double, no matter what. If you do not love her—”

“I love her.”

“Well. Now we know.”

“Tell me again—what you said about her father.”

Eowyn turned onto her side and looked down at him. “In my Middle-earth,” she said, gently, “Alatáriël was obsessed with Legolas—she attempted to seduce him on a number of occasions. And her father doted on her—I am not saying that to excuse what he did—but he managed to bribe the Mistress of the Ceremony.” She described how a serving elf had given her something to drink, just before the Rite began. “We believe it was a potion meant for Alatáriël. And when things went wrong...”

She suddenly fell silent.

But Legolas persisted. “What? What are you not telling me, Eowyn? What happened to Angaráto? You said that that he was dead. And you said something about Alatáriël’s not speaking...”


“Tell me!”

Eowyn sighed. “Angaráto killed the Mistress of the Ceremony. He was tried and convicted and took his own life. And now Alatáriël is cared for in the House of Healing...”

“She has lost her mind.”

Eowyn nodded.

Nadithen vaurui,” he whispered.

“Yes,” agreed Eowyn, softly. Then she added, gently, “But do not forget, Legolas, that what I have described took place in my world. And, there, many things are different—Haldir is alive, and Gimli—Gimli is your best friend.”


Eowyn grinned. “To see you—the two of you—my Legolas and him, playing together...”

“Playing! You are sure that this elf of yours is sane?”

“Absolutely. He chose me.”

Legolas inclined his head, courteously, “I take your point.” He glanced towards the horses. “Shall we go back to the city, Eowyn?”

“You can if you wish; I will stay here, at least until dawn.”

“Then I shall stay too. But...” He whistled for Arod. “Since you are human, you might need this.” He pulled a blanket from his travelling pack.

“Thank you,” said Eowyn, wrapping it around her shoulders. “Perhaps you are not so different from my Legolas, after all.”




Contents page


Previous chapter: Fears
Haldir finds an ally; Valandil prepares for war; Legolas makes a decision.

Chapter 5

Next chapter: The cleft
The dark people appear; Haldir arrives too late; Legolas takes a risk.

Chapter 7

Nadithen vaurui ... ‘Needy little thing’.
I hope! At least, Eowyn seems to understand him.