This always seemed to vex Éowyn. Most of the time she seemed perfectly content to live with him in harmony; very little disturbed their domestic felicity, and they ruled Emyn Arnen together, one in heart and mind. She was good at running a kingdom, even a small one; perhaps all the pressure and responsibility Théoden had heaped upon his niece had been for the good, because there was very little administratively she could not do. Faramir was proud and happy to have such a wife. Brave as a warrior, shrewd as a lord, yet bashful and kittenish in the bedchamber – ah yes, his marriage was almost perfect. But when he would return from his visits to Doro Lanthiron, she seemed short with him, and tended to lose her temper more easily, and Faramir could do nothing worse in Éowyn’s eyes than to hum, whistle, or sing an Elven song he’d heard in Legolas’ talan.
Most executive discussion between Osgiliath and Doro Lanthiron could easily be made in the forest, away from Faramir’s capital, but on occasion his advisors would press upon him the need for the Elven lord himself to be present at the meetings, and Legolas would be summoned to the city of Men. He would usually come accompanied by a small group of Elves of both sexes and of indeterminate function; they were dressed as soldiers, acted as friends, and performed as musicians and dancers after the conferences were over. Éowyn seemed to resent that too, and would complain to Faramir in their chambers at night that discipline amongst Legolas’ people was extremely lax, and it was a disgrace to have their closest allies so incompetently arranged. Faramir tried to explain on several occasions that Elves had no need for rank and file, as did Men, but it only irritated her more that he disagreed with her, so he gave up and let her criticize. He kept reminding herself that she was as yet very young; surely, he thought, with age would come increased wisdom regarding their immortal neighbors.
Legolas was indeed in Osgiliath at that time, for an assembly of all the lords of the various small fiefdoms in and around North Ithilien; they were discussing the grape and olive harvests, which affected the Elves of Doro Lanthiron greatly, as the vineyards and orchards were tended and cared for by them. There had been some indignation on the parts of the leaders of the mortal companies that such a significant cut of the profits should go to the Elves just for pruning and watering, but the increase in production since Legolas’ people had moved there was so indicative of their influence over the green and growing things that Faramir felt the percentage was justified. They had finished their discussions, and most of the other lords and vassals had started to depart, and Faramir roamed the halls in search of his golden friend, hoping to convince him to stay awhile and visit. Perhaps, thought Faramir, if Éowyn spent just a little time with Legolas, she would grow to love him, too.
Voices echoed down the hallway and around the corner to him, and he recognized them as Éowyn’s and Legolas’. He smiled to himself, thinking, “Speak of Mandos and you see his doors!” when it occurred to him that the conversation they were having was not being conducted on very friendly lines. He froze and listened.
“There’s no use in pretending to deny it,” said Éowyn, voice laced with insult; “You’re afraid, admit it to me! You’re afraid of me!”
“I, afraid of you?” laughed Legolas, filled with scorn. “Then why is it you never accompany Faramir to my home? Are you afraid, afraid of what you might see there?”
“What would I see?” demanded Éowyn, scoffing. “Just a group of Elves living in trees; that’s all it is. It’s not worth the trip.”
“I think you’re afraid, my lady; you’re afraid I might have found better company.”
“Better company than whom, friend Elf?” she demanded, but the tremble in her voice bespoke her unease.
“Better company than you,” he retorted hotly, “Though to be truthful it wouldn’t be difficult; I could share my bed with a badger and not be bitten as often.”
“Pig!” she hissed; Faramir, frozen with horror, heard her draw her sword with a steely scrape. There was an answering whisper of metal; Faramir could almost envision them, facing each other, swords drawn. “If you were not afraid of me, you would eat the food prepared for you in the kitchens, and not skulk out of doors to find your own!”
“I do not fear you, but I do not trust you, either,” answered Legolas. “I would sooner eat in a dung-heap than risk anything you prepared for me. You’re a snake, small but poisonous; there’s no sense in my getting stung by you again.”
“I don’t need you now!” replied Éowyn angrily; “Why would I want you again, after that last time? You are disgusting; I don’t know why I touched you in the first place!”
“It was not out of desire for me, that is certain!” snarled Legolas, voice rising angrily. “All you wanted was power; power and an end to your maidenhood, and I hate you – I hate you for it!”
There was the ring of steel striking steel; they clanged back and forth for a moment, then they broke away, Éowyn breathing hard. “Give in to me,” she panted angrily, “or I’ll call the guards down on your head and tell them you’re trying to assassinate me.”
“Trying that old ruse again, are you?” Legolas laughed mirthlessly. “Why not take me yourself? You’re growing old and fat, White Lady of Rohan; just a few blows with me and you’re puffing like a bellows.”
Éowyn gave a scream of anger and the sounds of swords striking increased in volume and frequency. Faramir thought perhaps he ought to intervene, if only he could get his feet unstuck from the stone parquet. There was a screeching sound of metal sliding down metal, and Éowyn’s voice, short of breath and straining, grunted, “Do you remember what I did to you, Elf? Do you remember how I made you scream? I know what you like!”
“And I know what you hate!” answered Legolas; there was a lunging noise and the scrape of swords together, then more clangs and clatters as they continued to fight. Then there were the cries of other voices; a couple of servants had come across them in the hall, and were calling out in alarm that their lady was in danger. Faramir coaxed his lifeless limbs to being again and rounded the corner.
Éowyn and Legolas were fighting, that was certain, but Éowyn looked to be slowing down. She couldn’t keep up with the Elf’s dancing footsteps; he swung and she parried clumsily, again and again. Faramir saw in an instant that Legolas was only toying with her – he’d had several opportunities to strike her down, when she couldn’t get her guard back up in time, yet instead of killing her he’d whip his broadsword toward her as easily and gracefully as though it were nothing more than a light rapier; already Éowyn’s ears were nicked and her throat scratched and bleeding from the tip of his hand-and-a-half.
“Legolas!” cried Faramir, horrified, seeing the desperate murder in his wife’s eyes; “Éowyn! Stop at once!”
“I’m only defending myself, Faramir,” replied Legolas, not looking at him; Éowyn met Faramir’s eye, sword in mid-swing, and Legolas batted it aside and flicked the tip of his sword across her cheek, drawing a string of blood. Éowyn cursed in her own tongue and swung at him again. “Don’t you ever spar with her, my friend? You should; she’s really out of practice.” Éowyn thrust at him furiously, but he parried her and put a small gouge in her left ear. “Or maybe it’s only because you’re getting old, my lady,” said Legolas cruelly, smiling; “Your breasts are drooping, your buttocks sagging, there are wrinkles around your eyes – “ With each phrase Éowyn desperately tried to hack at him, but he swatted her sword aside as though it were nothing but a mayfly.
“Legolas, enough of this! Stop!” begged Faramir.
“Tell her to stop first,” insisted Legolas. “She’ll cut me down if I lower my sword.”
“Éowyn,” entreated Faramir to his wife, who looked at him with wild eyes, hair sweaty and strewn about her shoulders. “I beseech you, put down your sword!”
“Never!” she screeched, swinging again, but at that point two more protagonists ran down the hall, and she faltered. King Elessar and Queen Undómiel, hearing the sounds of combat, and thinking Faramir besieged, stopped aghast at the sight, and Éowyn, with a last despondent cry, turned her sword to stab Legolas.
He didn’t parry her, but dodged the sword instead, stepping in and delivering a wicked slice to her right shoulder. She yelped in pain and dropped her sword to the stone floor, where it clattered at Aragorn’s feet.
“All right,” announced Legolas, setting the point of his sword on the floor and resting his hands on the pommel. “I’ll stop now.”
“Éowyn!” exclaimed Faramir, taking his wife into his arms. She was sobbing, angry and in pain, and fought him, biting her lip and trying to push him away. Faramir caught her close, holding her still, and looked at his friend. The Elf was regarding her with revulsion, his finely drawn brows scowling over his bright eyes; his upper lip gleamed with sweat, and there seemed to Faramir about him a feeling of ignominy mixed with hatred.
“What is all this?” demanded Aragorn, looking from Legolas, stiff and furious, to the thrashing and incoherent Éowyn, bleeding in her husband’s embrace. “What is going on?”
“I knew you two didn’t like each other,” said Arwen, in the dry and humorous voice her subjects loved, “but I had no idea you wanted to kill each other.”
“I don’t want to kill her,” protested Legolas, blinking innocently at her. “I don’t have to; she’s going to die eventually, anyway.”
“Well, you don’t have to hurry her along,” she chided him, and then turned to Éowyn, who hid her face in Faramir’s epaulette. “Will you tell me what’s going on, then, child? No? Faramir, do you know what started this?”
Faramir’s mind suddenly went back to what he’d heard, and something clicked then that hadn’t before. He looked at Legolas in horror.
Legolas read his look, and turned very pale, biting his lip. Éowyn, seeing the secret was out, broke violently away from her husband and fled down the hallway. “Go after her,” said Aragorn to the two servants. “Go! See that she does no harm to herself. Hurry!” The two servants ran off after Éowyn, and the two Elves and two Men stood alone in the hall. Arwen looked thoughtfully at Faramir, who stared at Legolas as though he’d been betrayed, and at Legolas, who gazed mortified at his pommel. She picked up Éowyn’s sword and held it, hilt out, to her husband, who took it absently, still looking at his two friends.
“It was Éowyn who put the oak leaves in the subtlety, wasn’t it, Legolas?” asked Aragorn in a quiet voice.
Legolas shut his eyes tight, and pressed his lips together to keep them from trembling. “Yes,” he whispered.
“Éowyn, whom Gandalf saw leaving your room at the third watch.”
Legolas kept his eyes closed; he did not want to see Faramir’s face. “Yes.”
“I see,” said Aragorn, and he sighed and was silent.
Arwen turned to Legolas and spoke to him gently in her own tongue. He opened his eyes and replied, flushing uncomfortably. She shook her head, looking angry.
“She tore at his ears,” she said to Faramir and Aragorn, her indignation making her go pale. “Tore them so hard he had to hide them until they healed.”
There was a loud clatter. Legolas had let go of his sword and turned abruptly to the window, setting his back to them and leaning his palms on the sill. Faramir, uncomprehending, said, “His ears?”
“A strong sexual stimulus,” explained Aragorn, taking Arwen’s hand gently. “Not many people know of this. But if you see Elves greeting each other, you’ll notice they don’t embrace; they touch foreheads or cheeks, but never ears. It produces a rather strong reaction.” He smiled a little at Arwen, who turned pink. “And the combination of oak leaves and honey acts as a love philter; get enough of it into an Elf and you may as well prepare yourself for a long night.”
Faramir looked appalled at Legolas. “Éowyn?” he said. “My Éowyn did this?”
“It was before you even met,” said Legolas, speaking towards the window. His shoulders were shaking, and his voice sounded ragged and uneven. “One night in Rohan. That is all.” He hesitated, then added in a voice so quiet they could hardly hear him: “She has held it over me ever since.”
“But – but – you couldn’t have,” said Faramir, lighting up with hope. “That would be impossible. You couldn’t have lain with her. Our first night together, our bridal night, she was a virgin, I swear it to you – I felt it; there was even blood on our sheets!”
“I healed her,” said Legolas, to the window. “I closed up her maidenhead again.”
Aragorn blinked. “You can do that?” he asked in surprise.
“It’s a rather simple spell,” said Arwen easily; at her husband’s shocked look she colored a little, and explained quickly, “Well, we do live an awfully long time, you know.”
Faramir’s hope faded. He went up to Legolas and put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. Legolas flinched, but Faramir did not withdraw his hand; he squeezed his shoulder comfortingly. “I don’t blame you, my friend,” he said gently. “She is very beautiful, and any man would have been proud to have deflowered her. And she came to you willingly – it’s not as though you raped her.”
Legolas whirled around, his eyes blazing. He threw Faramir’s hand off his shoulder and shouted, “I didn’t want her! I didn’t want her! I still do not want her! The very thought of lying with her revolts me – “ His body convulsed once, then he fled from them, retching as he sped down the hallway to his rooms.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.