What Paths We Take: 23. Enemies Return

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23. Enemies Return

Life in North Ithilien was good. It had been a month since Legolas and Eowyn returned from Minas Tirith. That day had been a joyous one. As soon and the Elves set eyes on Eowyn, they knew she was with child. 'The lady gives our lord an heir.' they sang. When Eowyn asked Legolas how they knew, he told her it was just elvish intuition, like how a farmer knows rain is coming. They were very perceptive of such changes. After that, the Elves made sure she was never without anything she wanted or needed.

Eowyn was just starting to feel the effects of pregnancy. She soon learned that morning sickness did not just happen in the morning. The healers gave her a special blend of herbs to make a tea that would soothe her queasiness. They were waiting on her hand and foot and she had a feeling Legolas had something to do with that. She was beginning to feel useless again. She needed something to do, somewhere to go or she would lose her mind. Eowyn never was one for sitting still so she started working with her friends, learning Elvish again. She would need to be fluent if she were to teach her daughter. She spent a lot of time in Legolas' library, learning about his heritage. Now if only she could fire a bow, there would be nothing she could not teach her. However, that was not an option. Eowyn could wield a sword like it was nobody's business, but the skills of an archer were wasted on her. It just was not the weapon of choice among the Rohirrim so she never learned. Who would teach her when Legolas was gone? Faramir was quite skilled with a bow.

Now there was someone she had not thought of in a while. She used to think about him every day. Now it was only occasionally, usually when she saw or heard something that reminded her of him. She wondered how he was and what he was doing. Had he ever met someone and fallen in love again? She never heard anyone speak of him. Actually, no one had heard much from the Prince of Ithilien in a while. Some say he kept to himself most of the time, locked in his study. Eowyn hoped this was not true. She only hoped for the best for him.

Eowyn put off her plans for returning to Rohan for the time being. The messenger from Lothlorien had finally arrived with word of the growing number of Orcs and ruling Uruk Hai. Legolas would not let Eowyn travel with such danger about, not even with an escort. It was better if she stayed here with him in Ithilien where he could protect her and their unborn child. Eowyn agreed and now that she was pregnant, she was in no hurry to leave the elven forest. If something were to go wrong, they would be the best to help. After all, the baby was half-elven and Legolas' healers would know what to do.

The messenger said he was on his way to Osgiliath to warn Faramir and then Minas Tirith to speak to King Elessar. Legolas told him to go to Osgiliath. He would ride to Minas Tirith and inform Aragorn, saving the messenger time. He was not too fond of leaving Eowyn behind but he felt she was safe. There had been no activity in the area.

"I will return as soon as I can." Legolas told Eowyn as he gathered his weapons.

"Stay safe, Legolas." she said, kissing him. He smiled and placed his hand over the baby. Then he was off.

~^~^~^~^~

"Aragorn, I have received word from Haldir of Lorien. Orcs gather in the Golden Wood. Rumil himself witnessed Uruk Hai seemly passing orders on to them. He thinks they are organizing the Orcs. They attack the forests, knowing the number of Elves diminish. They are no longer frightened of us. I believe they have further motives to attack Men, though I know not where they will strike first. There are three main places where they will attack, Osgiliath, Minas Tirith and Rohan. You must prepare your men to be ready to help defend any of these areas should they call for help." Legolas warned.

"We will be ready. I will step up the watches of the guards. We must extinguish this before it gets any worse."

As Legolas was going over strategies with Aragorn and Gimli, the Lorien messenger came in. Legolas was surprised to see him so soon.

"I have been to Osgiliath to warn Lord Faramir but he would not listen. He said it was nonsense and that the Orcs would never think of attacking Osgiliath again. He is not himself. He will not listen to reason. Of all the cities, his is the most vulnerable to attack yet he does nothing." The messenger was very worried for Faramir and his people.

Aragorn went to where his weapons lay. "I will go. He must be made to listen and do what he can to protect his city."

Legolas knew sternness would not work with Faramir. "I will go. We were good friends once. Maybe he will listen to me."

Aragorn nodded in agreement. "Alright, then. But you must know Faramir has deteriorated much since losing Eowyn. He seems to have followed in his father's footsteps and ignores all that happens outside of his city walls. He may not be willing to listen, even to you my friend."

"I will do what I can, even if I must stay and protect the city myself." Legolas bowed respectably to Aragorn and left to fetch his horse.

~^~^~^~^~

Legolas knocked at the doors of Faramir's study. There was no answer but he found the doors were unlocked. Slowly, he opened them and went in. The room was very dark, lit only by a single candle. It smelled musty, like fresh air had not been introduced in a while. There was a chair and a dark figure sat in it. Legolas took a few steps into the darkened room.

"I told you to leave me be messenger. Your warning means nothing here." said a low gruff voice. Legolas hardly recognized it as belonging to Faramir.

"I am no messenger. It is I, Legolas, your old friend, or have you forgotten?" Legolas cautiously approached him.

Faramir lifted his head and looked at Legolas. "Well, well, if it isn't my old elven friend. And what brings you to my city? I have not seen you in a very long time. Tell me, how does my forest fair?"

"Perhaps you should leave this dark room and come see for yourself, Faramir. It seems you have not been beyond your city walls in quite some time." Legolas said, noticing the accumulation of dust.

"As you can see, I don't get out much anymore. I prefer to stay right where I am. I have captains and guards and servants to run my errands." he said getting out of his chair. Legolas watched as he seemed to have aged tremendously. Something was not right. Legolas sensed foul play at work.

"I hear you sent a messenger of Lorien away without hearing him out. He brings a very important warning. I have come to make sure you understand what is happening as of late."

"I heard what he said. Uruk Hai and Orcs. They would be fools to attack my city. They will not stand a chance." Faramir said casually.

"These are not your typical breed. They have strengthened and are in charge now, growing and leading the Orcs. You must prepare your men for battle. I feel they will attack here first, being Osgiliath is weakened since the last war." Legolas kept his voice calm.

Faramir walked to where Legolas stood. "Are you saying my men are weak?"

Legolas stood his ground. "I am saying the city itself has not yet been rebuilt to its fullest, leaving it vulnerable to attack."

Faramir laughed under his breath. "You have little faith in me, old friend." he said with emphasis. "The Orcs will not strike here. They will challenge the White City before Osgiliath."

Legolas had had enough. "Do you not remember where they struck first last time? Osgiliath is not yet ready for such an attack. If you stay, your people will be murdered. Send them to Minas Tirith, Faramir. At least there, they will have a better chance at survival."

Faramir got right up in Legolas' face. The Elf barely batted an eye. "My father would not have allowed this city to run away in fear. He would have us fight until the last man was standing."

"And how did that work for you last time? You were the last man standing, but not for long. They brought you in thinking you were dead. Faramir, you must listen. Get your people to safety before it is too late."

Faramir was about to retaliate when some of Legolas' Elves came in. Their faces looked grim and he knew right away that something bad had happened.

"My lord, you must come back to Ithilien at once. The Orcs have breeched the city. We tried to hold them off but they were too many." said one of the Elves.

Legolas' heart dropped. "And the Lady Eowyn? Is she alright?"

When they didn't answer right away, he knew his worse fear was about to come true. "I said, is the Lady…" Faramir cut him off.

"Eowyn lives in the forest… with you?" Faramir asked. He had not known of her whereabouts for some time.

Legolas looked at Faramir but his mind was elsewhere. He turned his attention back to the Elf. "What has happened?"

"I'm sorry my lord. The Orcs have kidnapped the Lady. Those who fought to protect her gave their lives. They were too many and we were overpowered. When they saw she was not elf kind, they took her. We could not stop them but we sent out trackers to follow their trail. If we hurry, we may catch up to them. It seems they go in the direction of Lothlorien. It is believed that they have made that their mainstay."

Legolas kept his composure but inside he was a mess. "We must hurry. One of you should go to Minas Tirith and inform the King. Tell him I need his help and the Dwarf Gimli also. We will set out from Ithilien as soon as they arrive." He had forgotten about Faramir at that point and started for the door.

"Legolas, wait. What is going on? Why was Eowyn in your city? If you knew Orcs were about, why did she not come with you?" Faramir asked.

"She is not able to travel. I thought she would be safe there." Legolas said with guilt in his voice.

Suddenly, Faramir became very concerned. He showed more emotion now than he had in a long time. "Is she injured? Is that why she cannot travel?"

Legolas looked straight at Faramir. "She is with child." he said.

"Eowyn is pregnant?" Faramir said and he watched as Legolas looked down and a single tear rolled down his cheek. Faramir took a step back and tilted his head. "It is your child." he stated.

Legolas could not speak as the thought of Eowyn and his unborn child being at the mercy of the enemy. All he could do in response was nod his head.

This bit of news shocked Faramir. Eowyn had gone back to Legolas. He always wondered if she would end up with the Elf. Faramir seemed to become unclouded by this latest information. He had to help somehow.

"What can I do, Legolas? How can I help?" he asked.

"Leave the city at once. Get your people to Minas Tirith. If the Orcs have invaded Ithilien, it is only a matter of time before they strike here." Legolas looked Faramir in the eyes trying to push his point through. "I must go."

Faramir put a hand on Legolas' shoulder. "I will do as you ask and evacuate my people, but I will not leave my city. I will stay and do what I can to fend off the enemy."

Legolas knew this was a bad idea but he had no more time to argue with him. "Stay safe, Lord Faramir."

~^~^~^~^~

Legolas had arrived back in North Ithilien to find sections had been ransacked. The bodies of the fallen were placed in a special area ready for a burial ceremony. However, there was no time for that. Eowyn was out there somewhere. He hoped she had not been injured.

"Notify me at once when Aragorn and Gimli arrive. We will leave immediately. Eowyn must be found before the enemy discovers she is with child." he said to his captain. Legolas went to the place where Eowyn was taken. She had been in her garden. There was some blood on the ground but he did not know if it was Eowyn's or that of his fallen kin. He found the place where the attack happened. Many nearby plants had been crushed. He could see where someone had been pushed to the ground. There had been quite a struggle. Eowyn had fought hard against her foe. Then, amongst the bushes nearby, Legolas saw something glimmering. He moved in for a closer look and found the necklace he had given her. She must have been wearing it. The chain was broken, probably as a result of the fight. Legolas picked it up and held it to his lips. He whispered an elvish prayer for her safe return then tucked the jewel into a pocket inside his tunic.

"My lord, Aragorn and Gimli have just arrived." said the elf captain quietly, seeing that Legolas was deep in a private moment.

Legolas jumped up and went straight to where his friends waited for him. "Aragorn, Gimli, thank you for coming." Legolas' voice wavered. Only now that his former fellowship members were with him did he begin to let the situation sink in. "They took her. Why? What would they want with her?" he said with desperation. He could take no more and his legs went out from under him as he knelt on the ground.

Aragorn got down on one knee and comforted his friend. "We will find her Legolas. And we will slay those involved. But we must stay strong. It is time to go. There is no time to waste."

Gimli stood next to the distraught Elf and placed his hands on his shoulder. "I know how much you love her Legolas, my friend. I will lay down my life to bring her back to you."

Legolas had never known Gimli to be so serious. He never called him by his name and if he ever did, it was because he was being most sincere. "Thank you, Gimli." Legolas whispered. He got up and took a deep breath. His moment of weakness had passed. It was time to become the warrior once again. "Come, let us go. Aragorn, my trackers believe they head for Lorien. We need your Ranger skills now more than ever, my friend."

The three fellowship members stood looking out over the countryside. Aragorn was no longer the mighty king but had become as he was during their journey with the Hobbits. "Gimli, I hope you are prepared for another challenge though this time we will not be on foot. I hear your horse riding skills have improved."

"Improved, yes. But it is still not my first choice of travel. I'll ride with the Elf." he said.

They gathered all they would need and mounted their horses. They would ride as far and as long as their horses would allow. At least there was a trail to go by. Aragorn could not help wonder why such an obvious path was left for them to follow. It seemed like the Orcs wanted them to pursue. They would need to be at the height of awareness for it seemed they were being led into a trap.

~^~^~^~^~

Eowyn was waking up to a nightmare. The smell was familiar as she choked on the putrid air. Slowly her mind cleared as she remembered what had happened to her. She was in her garden, tending to some weeds when there was a commotion in the woods. Three elf guards burst from the tree line. One put a finger to his lips when he saw Eowyn, telling her to stay still and be quiet. She dashed behind a tree and watched a bloody scene unfold before her eyes. Orcs, many Orcs came out of the woods. The Elves stood their ground and whistled a warning to the others. They shot arrow after arrow taking down a few in the process but there were too many. They were quickly overcome. Eowyn just could not hide and watch. She had to do something. She had no weapons but her talan was near. She jumped out from behind the tree and yelled to the Orcs, distracting them from the Elves. When they saw she was human, they ran to where she was. Eowyn ran as fast as she could to the rope ladders leading to the upper talan. The elf guards followed, trying to keep them from getting to her. Meanwhile, more Elves came and immediately saw Eowyn being chased. They joined in the fight, firing arrows at their foes.

Eowyn made it to the rope ladder and started to climb but she had not the speed of the Elves. An Orc grabbed her legs and pulled her back to the ground. The Elf guards shouted to the others not to fire towards Eowyn so they concentrated on the others. The Orcs split up and began attacking the Elves. The Orcs that captured Eowyn saw their moment of escape and went back the way they came, through the garden and towards the woods.

Suddenly, the Elf guards appeared, taking the Orcs by surprise. Eowyn saw her opportunity for escape. She broke free and ran to the garden, leaving the guards to deal with the Orcs. She did not have her sword but some of the garden tools might give her enough aid to make a getaway.

The Elves slew the Orcs who took Eowyn. They looked over to Eowyn. "Are you alright my Lady?" one asked.

"Yes. I am fine but…" Suddenly Eowyn's blood ran cold as she watched an arrow protrude from the Elf's chest. He fell to the ground leaving the second Elf looking down at him in shock. A second arrow hit him and he looked down at the weapon in his chest. He slowly fell to his knees. Looking up to see Eowyn flushed white with fear, his last words were to warn her. "Run… run… my Lady." he managed to say before he fell to the ground and died.

Eowyn was frozen in place. More Orcs approached her. She looked around her trying to find something to use as a weapon but there was only a pitchfork lying on the ground. It was better than nothing so she picked it up and held it out in front of her. The Orcs never even slowed as they ran toward her. She managed to stab the closest one in the arm but he ripped the garden tool out of her hands and became enraged over being wounded. He grabbed Eowyn around the neck and meant to strangle her when a second Orcs came up to them. He sniffed her and grunted to the first Orc who released his grip on her neck.

"She is no Elf. She is human. We'll take her. Now, go before more Elves come." he grunted.

Eowyn knew she was being taken. Once she was kidnapped, there was no telling what would happen to her. Now she had her child to think of. She kicked one of the Orcs in the shin sending him falling to the ground. She ran but she did not get far. Another Orc knocked her to the ground. She fought as hard as she could, kicking and scratching at her enemy but she was no match.

"Get the sedative." yelled the Orc who was holding her down on the ground. Someone brought him a rag and he held it over her nose and mouth. Eowyn slowly stopped struggling. Her world began to fade as the chemical took affect and she passed out.

~^~^~^~^~

Now, Eowyn awoke to find herself in a strange forest. She was no longer in Ithilien. She made sure not to move as she regained consciousness. She was surrounded by Orcs who were arguing about something.

"She is to return with us, unharmed. That was our instructions. She may have some importance to the captain." said a big Orc.

A smaller Orc argued with him. "She was the only human amongst those Elf scum. She is nothing but a slave. She has no worth. I say we make her our slave."

"We have our orders. She is not to be touched by anyone but him." said the big Orc.

Eowyn wondered to whom they were referring. Meanwhile, a third Orc walked up to the others. "We have word from the Uruk Hai. We are to split up. Half will take the woman back and the other half are to join with the troops going to Rohan. Our other armies are in position and ready to go into the White City and Osgiliath. As soon as the others are ready at Rohan we strike."

The big Orc looked at him. "And when do we move in on the three cities?"

"On the third eve of the new moon. They'll never know what hit them. Then with all three cities under attack at the same time, there will be no one to call for help. Osgiliath will be the easiest of them all. They are still in ruins and I hear their ruler cares not about the outside world. He is oblivious to what is happening. Let us hope it remains that way. It will make our job a lot easier. Soon we will take over and Men will be our slaves."

Eowyn listened carefully to their plans. If only she could warn the others. At least they knew something was stirring. However, they had no idea all the major cities would be attacked at the same time. That could be detrimental and they would have a serious disadvantage.

The smaller Orc noticed Eowyn's breathing had quickened. He motioned to another who brought him a bottle and a rag. He poured the liquid on the rag and came up behind Eowyn. She was suddenly being gagged again by the putrid smell. Darkness once again took her over and she fell into horrid dreams.

~^~^~^~^~

Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli had traveled non-stop for two days but their horses were worn now. They needed to rest. While they made camp, they went over possible scenarios.

"If we go this direction, we'll be close enough to Rohan to possibly take a few of Eomer's men with us." Legolas said. "The messenger said the Orcs had only been seen in small groups but what I witnessed in Ithilien was different. There were many tracks, at least fifty by my guess. And if they are headed for Lorien, there is no telling how many we will come across."

"Something much bigger is at work here." Aragorn said, building a fire for the night. "Orcs do not work well in such big groups unless they are being commanded to. Someone or something is in charge here. I believe Haldir's brother was correct in his assumption of the possibility that the Uruk Hai control them. It is why they attacked there first. If they take over the forests, Men will be left alone to fight. But if they have only been in small groups, then why send so many to Gondor?"

Gimli broke in with his opinion. "They might focus all their energy on Osgiliath, knowing it is the weakest place to attack first. It is just like the Ring War. From Osgiliath, they built their troops and then invaded Minas Tirith. I just don't understand why they think the same tactics will work a second time?"

Legolas looked at his friends. There was such sadness on his face, as they had never seen before on the Elf. "They have Eowyn. What would they want with her unless they knew they could use her as a bartering tool?"

"Orcs aren't that smart." said Gimli.

"No, but the Uruk Hai are. They know more of the doings of Men." said Aragorn. "The Orcs wouldn't know her purpose in the war. The Uruk Hai will keep them in the dark. They will want Eowyn for questioning and try to find out as much as they can before they attack. We must get to her before she's delivered to the Uruks."

Legolas knew what Aragorn was implying. If the Orcs delivered her to the Uruk Hai in Lorien, her life and the life of their child would be in severe danger. "We can not linger here. We must go."

"We will leave in a few hours. Our horses…" Aragorn began.

"I can stay here no longer." Legolas said anger in his voice. "I made her a promise many years ago that I would let no harm come to her. I will never break that promise. I am leaving. I can follow the track from here. Stay if you must, but I cannot. Gimli, ride with Aragorn. I will only be a few hours ahead. If I come across them, I will not try anything until you arrive. I just need to get sight of her, know she is all right. I can not sit still knowing she is scared and worried about our baby."

Aragorn patted him on the shoulder. "Do what you must, Legolas. I cannot risk tiring my horse. I have already pushed him beyond his limits. If you think Arod can make the journey then go. Just be careful. Wait for us, please."

Legolas bowed. "I will see you soon." he said and he jumped up onto Arod and rode off as quickly as he could.

~^~^~^~^~

Eowyn began to stir again. She had no idea how long she had been unconscious. She was light headed and felt sick to her stomach. They must have been giving her the sedative regularly to keep her comatose. They knew she would put up a struggle if she were awake. There was no telling what this drug was doing to her system or that of her unborn child.

Eowyn noticed they were in a different place now. It looked to be some sort of cave. She was lying on the cold hard floor and she was chilled. There was no fire to keep her warm. As she moved her head around for a better look, an Orc nearby saw her. He grunted to some of the others who came over to where she was laying. They each grabbed one of her arms and forced her to stand. She was very weak from lack of food and water. At first, she could not feel her legs and standing was a problem. The Orcs were not very helpful as they dragged her from her resting spot to another part of the cave. "They brought her to an Uruk Hai.

The massive creature circled her making sniffing sounds. He came back around to face Eowyn. "She smells of Elf. Where is it you said you found her?"

"She was in Ithilien in the elven colony there, one of their slaves, my lord." the Orc answered.

"You fool. Elves do not keep slaves. She was there by her own free will. Now, what would a woman be doing living amongst the Elves?" The Uruk Hai approached Eowyn again. He sniffed her some more. "Ah, it seems this one has been mating with the Elf scum." He grabbed her chin to make her look at him. "You carry one of their offspring?"

Eowyn would not answer. She was afraid of what would happen if they found out that she was pregnant. Instead, she took the opportunity to gather as much saliva as she could muster and spit in the Uruk's face.

Without even wiping his face, the Uruk Hai laughed. "I will take that as a yes. Well, well… this is news. It is forbidden for human and Elf to mate unless it is blessed by a higher power. Who is the lucky one to have tasted your wares? Must be someone important. No Elf is born a bastard."

Eowyn gave him a look that would have made most cower. "I'll tell you nothing." she said, clenching her teeth. "You will all be dead soon anyways. They will be looking for me."

The Uruk laughed again. "So it is someone important. Now let me think… who is ruler in Ithilien? Ah, yes… that Elf scum from the Ring War. Legolas, is it? Well there is one Elf I will enjoy killing myself."

"You will not touch him!" Eowyn spat.

"And now I have my answer. So the Mirkwood Prince has crossed breeds and created a mutt. How nice. I will enjoy watching him suffer, but first he will watch you die. There's nothing more satisfying than watching an Elf fade before your very eyes." He noticed the look on Eowyn's face. "Oh yes, I know all about Elves and Humans. You know, an Elf dies almost instantly when he witnesses the death of a soul mate. This will be better than killing him with my bare hands."

Eowyn was infuriated more than she was scared. "He does not come alone. He'll bring others with him."

The Uruk tilted his head. "Now let me think. Who would join him? Ah yes, that false king, that Ranger. Aragorn I believe is his name. And there was one other. A dwarf was it not? I will enjoy telling him it was I who killed his Moria kin. Now, are there any others I have forgotten?" he said looking around to his company.

"There is that steward who now rules Osgiliath." said an Orc.

"We'll not be seeing him. He will not leave his desolate city. I have made sure of that." The Uruk turned back to Eowyn.

"What have you done to Faramir?" she demanded.

"I almost forgot about him. He has been a good puppet. Seems you know him too. Now wait… wait a minute." The Uruk Hai turned and walked away as if in deep thought. "Yes, it is all coming back to me now. I know who you are. You are the one. I thought you seemed familiar to me. Well, boys it seem we have ourselves a real treasure here. You are Eowyn, the one who destroyed the Witch King of Angmar. I have heard your story. You are Princess of Osgiliath. However, here you are with an elven child in your belly. Someone's been a bit naughty."

"My life is none of your business." Eowyn yelled.

"It is better for me that you are with the Elves. Your Lord Faramir would not come even if he knew you were dying. Locked in a spell he is. He has been for quite some time now. I remember the day we imbedded him with the poison. Thought he would have been dead by now, just like his father. Bet you didn't know, when he was struck by the Orc blade, he was implanted with a shard from the hilt of a Nazgul weapon."

Eowyn's eyes widened. "What are you talking about?"

"Now I have your attention. Yes, that day he was struck was not by mistake. We meant for him to survive, a back up plan if you will. I hoped no one would find the shard in the wound. Being struck by the weapon of the Nazgul will bring you anguish, but having a piece imbedded under the skin… Let's just say, I'm sure he's not been himself in a very long time. Now I see why you were with the Elves. He sent you away, didn't he?"

Eowyn looked at the ground. How did this Uruk Hai know so much?

"Hit a nerve, did I? You see, having that shard under your skin makes you easier to control, even more so than a Palentir. No one knows it is there, killing your soul, making you useless to the world, leaving you to wallow in self-pity. Bet he hasn't left his city in months. That's what happens. It slowly eats away at you until you think you are worthless and weak, just in time for my troops to invade your city. Faramir will be too weak. Osgiliath will be mine. From there, Gondor will follow."

Eowyn started to struggle, trying to get away but her captors held her tight. "Take her away." said the Uruk Hai. "Tie her up and keep her quiet until the others arrive." Then he got in Eowyn's face again. "It will be a pleasure watching all of you die." He laughed and walked back to the cave entrance.

~^~^~^~^~

Rumil and Orophin had been observing the Orcs in the outer edges of Lorien. Now they sought council with Haldir with news of their findings.

"Rumil was correct. The Uruk Hai are organizing the Orcs. We have seen a group of about twenty headed for a cave on the eastern borders. They seemed to be carrying something. We could not see what it was for it was wrapped in a cloth. It looked like a body." said Orophin.

Haldir creased his brow. "A prisoner perhaps?"

Rumil stepped forward. "Why would they capture a single person?"

"An Elf maybe. We will not know for sure unless we get in there and extinguish this group. Orophin, what are your plans?"

The three Lorien brothers went over their plan of attack. It was a well-known fact that the Elves of Lothlorien had such stealth and silence as to never be seen until it was too late. The Orcs would not stand a chance against the Marchwarden and his guards but they had to make some adjustments. The cave caused a slight problem. With only one way in and out, it would be more difficult to take out the Orcs. They would find a way and they did after much discussion. They gathered their weapons and their guards and set out. They did not know one more would be joining in the cause.

~^~^~^~^~

Legolas was very close to finding the group of Orcs that held Eowyn captive. He had traveled long and hard, hoping Aragorn and Gimli were not far behind. A smell permeated the air and he knew the enemy was near. He would not be able to wait long, especially if he caught sight of Eowyn. Every ounce of common sense told him he could not take this group on his own. But if he saw her being hurt or tortured in the slightest way, he would have no choice but to go in alone.

Legolas heard voices. They spoke the dark speech. Orcs he thought to himself. He hid in the trees and observed. They emerged from the mouth of the cave. It looked as if they were on the move again, headed for Lothlorien. One carried something over his shoulder, something wrapped in a cloth. That must be Eowyn Legolas thought. He figured she was unconscious by the way the bundle hung loosely. He had found her but the Orcs were leaving. He had to get her back before they took her any farther. Legolas maneuvered along in the branches of the trees. He would wait no longer. The Orcs were unsuspecting. Now was the time to attack. He was just one Elf against many but that did not matter to him now. Getting Eowyn back was all he cared about and he would do what he must. Legolas readied his bow, notched an arrow and drew his arm back. Just when he was about to release his arrow, he heard a noise. It was so faint; he almost did not notice it. He heard it again and looked it the direction of the whistle. His elf eyes caught movement up in the trees across from where he was perched. He aimed towards the distraction and saw an arrow aiming back at him. Out from the branches came three golden haired warriors. Haldir and his brothers had been tracking the same Orcs. Legolas' heart raced as he realized he would not have to do this alone.

Haldir was surprised to see Legolas. He wondered what brought him so far from his home in Ithilien. He was glad to have another seasoned archer among his troops. Haldir signaled to Legolas to flank to the right. Then he pointed to the areas where other Elves were stationed. There were almost as many Elves as there were Orcs but Legolas was worried about Eowyn. The Lorien Elves may not realize that the Orcs were carrying precious cargo. He made his way in the direction Haldir told him to go. When he caught Haldir's eye again, he signaled for him not to shoot at the Orc carrying Eowyn. Legolas would deal with this one himself.

Everyone was in position and on Haldir's signal, the Elves opened fire. Orcs instantly began falling dead in their tracks. By the time they realized they were under attack, it was too late. Legolas took his shots and dropped to the forest floor right behind the Orc holding Eowyn. The ugly beast reached for his weapon but it was too late. Legolas brought one of his white knives to its throat.

"You will release the prisoner, slowly." he said. The Orc lowered Eowyn's body to the ground, and then looked back at Legolas. Once again, the Orc tried to get his weapon but Legolas was quicker and slashed its throat. He caught his breath and stepped over to where Eowyn lay. He unwrapped the cloth. He gasped as he looked upon her face. She was so pale and cold. He laid his hands on her face.

"Eowyn? Meleth nin, can you hear me?" he whispered. Legolas was glad to see her but worried about the condition she was in. As he was checking her for injuries, he did not notice the Uruk Hai stepping out of the cave. Suddenly he heard Haldir.

"Legolas watch out!" he yelled. Legolas spun around to see the huge Uruk Hai darting towards him, holding his blade in the air, ready to bring it down onto Legolas' head. He grabbed his bow and an arrow but there was not enough time to shoot. The Uruk was too close. Legolas braced himself for the attack but was surprised when his foe stopped. He stood still for a split second and then fell forward, landing on the ground next to where Legolas was. The Elf saw what stopped the Uruk. Three arrows protruded from the back of its head. Legolas looked up in the direction the arrows came from and saw Haldir, Rumil and Orophin jumping down from the tree they were in. They came running over to see what was taking place and looked down upon the pale white face of Eowyn.

"Do you know this woman, Legolas?" Haldir asked as he too knelt down next to Eowyn, checking her vital signs.

"Yes. This is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan. She resides in Ithilien. It was there that she was kidnapped. I have been tracking her, along with my fellowship companions, Aragorn and Gimli.

Haldir remembered them all from the time they intruded upon his forest during the War of the Ring. "You still tolerate that Dwarf?" he asked, seeming to be bothered by the friendship.

A voice rang out from behind Haldir. "Yes and I see I must once again defend myself from the likes of you. Still just as arrogant as ever." Gimli said, stepping out of the shadows of the trees with Aragorn. Just as they had said, they were not far behind and caught up to Legolas.

Aragorn walked up to Haldir and bowed. "It is good to see you again, Haldir of Lorien. Thank you for your help."

"Is this woman with you then?" Haldir asked.

Aragorn did not answer but rather looked over to where Eowyn lay on the ground. She was very sickly looking. He went to her and began checking her over.

"She is so cold, Aragorn. I am worried for her and the…" Legolas almost forgot about the Lorien Elves. He would say nothing about the baby in front of them. They may not understand their situation and besides, it was none of their business anyway.

"What she needs right now is some food and a warm fire. It is not good for her to be so cold in her condition." Aragorn whispered to Legolas. "The closest safe haven from here is Lothlorien. Let me handle Haldir."

"Alright, but we cannot linger here much longer." Legolas was worried for Eowyn and her safety. This was not all of the Orcs. He had seen a much larger group before and he thought they might come back before too long.

Aragorn spoke to Haldir, alone, and convinced him to take them into the Golden Wood. The Marchwarden could be very stubborn at times but he understood the desperation of the situation at hand. He called to his Elves and they found what they needed to make a stretcher to carry her on. In no time, they were on their way to Lothlorien.

They took Eowyn to the healing house where Aragorn tended to her. Legolas never left her side only leaving to fetch certain items for Aragorn. Gimli stayed with them, not wanting to be too close to Haldir. The Elf still held a grudge, as did Gimli.

A fire was burning and fresh food and drink was brought along with some blankets. As Legolas wrapped her up, he held his hand over her womb. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

"How is the baby, Legolas?" Aragorn asked.

"I cannot tell her condition but her heartbeat is strong. I think she is alright." Legolas then laid his head down where his hand had just been. He whispered words in his native tongue, praying for the well-being of Eowyn and their unborn child. They did not see Haldir come in. He stood silent, observing. Normally, he would have sensed her pregnancy, but her unconscious condition hid it from him. He watched Legolas and saw the worry and concern on his face. "This woman is with child. Would someone care to explain what is going on? Why was she taken and whose child does she carry." He looked to Aragorn. Being a man, Haldir first thought the child was his. He knew it could not be the Dwarf's and Elves were forbidden to mate with humans. However, Aragorn was married to the Lady Arwen. Certainly, he had not strayed.

Aragorn could tell by the look in Haldir's arrogant eyes what he was thinking of. He smiled. "No, the child is not mine. I thought you knew me better than that."

Haldir's eyes turned into slits. He was about to retaliate when Eowyn began to moan.

Legolas brushed the hair from her face. "Eowyn, can you hear me?" he said with desperation.

As her body warmed, Eowyn began to stir. Her eyes fluttered and she slowly opened them. Confused by what had happened, she began to panic. She saw Legolas but was not sure if she was awake or dreaming. The last few times she awoke, the Orcs still held her captive.

"Legolas? Is this real? Is it really you?" she whispered. Her throat was dry and sore. She had no voice to speak with.

"I am here meleth. You are safe now. The enemy has been destroyed." he said cupping her face in his hands.

She tried to sit up but her head was spinning and it ached, probably from the sedative the Orcs were giving her. "Ow." she moaned.

"Do not get up. You must rest for now. You are extremely dehydrated. Try to drink some water." Legolas held a cup for her. She sat up as best she could and took a small sip of water. Her throat was so dry she thought she needed to drink a river to make it feel better.

"Where are we, Legolas?" she said looking up at the leaves above where she lay. "This is not Ithilien."

"No. You are in Lothlorien. Aragorn, Gimli and I followed the trail left by the Orcs. We may have perished if it were not for the skills of the Marchwarden and his kin. They destroyed the enemy and allowed us passage into the Golden Wood. We are well protected within these borders."

Eowyn was finally able to sit up, though she was still light headed. She put her hands over her womb and looked at Legolas. "The baby. Is the baby alright?"

Legolas smiled. "She is fine but you need to eat. The lack of nourishment has made you both weak. The healers have brought you some elven waybread. You should try to eat a bite."

Haldir watched how the woman and the Mirkwood Elf interacted. There was more going on here than what met the eye. She was special to this Prince. It was his child she carried. He remembered the Lady Galadriel telling of the birth of a Peredhil, one of the last, besides Arwen's children. A child would be born to the most unlikely pair. Could this be of whom she was speaking?

Eowyn looked around and saw Aragorn and Gimli. They had left the safety of the White City to come to her aid. Then she remembered what she had heard the Uruk Hai and Orcs talking about.

"You can not stay here." she said to them. "You must return to Gondor. Rohan must be warned. My brother does not know." she said, panicked.

Legolas tried to calm her but she pushed him away. "Legolas, I overheard their plans. The Orcs are going to attack, and soon on the third night of the new moon. You three must get back and protect the lands."

"We know they plan to attack. Where will they strike first?" Aragorn asked.

"They will strike simultaneously. Rohan, Gondor and Osgiliath will be attacked at the same time so one will not be able to aid the other. Their numbers are greater than we thought. They are already in position in Rohan. The rest are well on their way to Gondor by now. We have to leave, now." Eowyn warned.

"You are going nowhere." Legolas told her. "You must regain your strength before you can travel again. And I will not leave you."

"You must go, Legolas. There is more. It's Faramir. He has not been himself lately for a reason. The Uruk told me what they did to him. You have to go and help him. He will not be able to defend Osgiliath on his own." Eowyn was desperate to make him understand but at the same time, she was confusing him.

Legolas wrinkled his brow. "What did they do to him? What have you heard?"

Eowyn laid back down, exhausted from all that had happened. She began to cry as she realized why Faramir behaved the way he did. Deep down she knew he would never have treated her so unkind.

Legolas watched her as she let the tears flow down her cheek. His heart broke to see her so distraught. "Tell me Eowyn. What did they tell you about Faramir?"

"It happened back during the war, when he went to Osgiliath a second time. The blade that poisoned him and almost cost him his life contained a shard from a Nazgul sword. It was left behind in the wound and remains there to this very day. It continues to poison his mind." She looked deep into Legolas' eyes. "He has been under a spell, sinking deeper and deeper into shadow. They did this knowing he would become weak and they could once again take over the city. They have been planning this for a very long time. Please Legolas, if you do not go and fight for him, I am afraid he will perish. This is what the enemy wants. They have found the weak spot in the dam. It's Osgiliath and Faramir. They will have him begging for mercy before the end. Then they will once again rule over the city. After that it is just a matter of time before Minas Tirith and Rohan are taken over."

"I don't want to leave you. I have just found you." Legolas pleaded with her. He had gotten used to being with her and it hurt his soul to not be near her.

Haldir saw the conflict between them and interrupted. "Legolas, Eowyn can stay here. She will be looked after. Our healers are the best in Middle Earth. I will personally see to her well-being. But I think you should go. The Lady seems very worried about this Faramir. You do not want to upset her any more than she already is. Go and help them. I have guards to spare. They will travel with you to Rohan and Gondor. Protect our human friends."

Legolas looked at Eowyn again. He touched her face memorizing the feel of her warmth. Taking his hand in hers, she closed her eyes and kissed his palm. "Faramir doesn't deserve this. His whole life has been hardship. He needs peace in his life. Tell the healers what I have told you. Bring back the Faramir I know."

Legolas could see the love she still held for him in her eyes. He remembered what Arwen had told him. He was meant to give the gift of life but would not be here to see it through. He had been fooling himself to think otherwise. Arwen had said she'd seen a vision of Eowyn and Faramir happy once again. It was happening. Legolas was coming to the end of his journey. They now knew their enemies plans and would be one step ahead of them. Evil would once again be defeated. It was his last mission before building his ship and sailing away. Feeling like everything was finally falling into place he agreed to go and leave Eowyn in the care of Haldir and the Lorien Elves. His decision relieved her. She hoped he would be all right and return to her unscathed. She prayed they got to Osgiliath in time to save Faramir and get him the medical attention he needed to remove the shard. But what would this mean? Would he remember anything he did or said to her that hurt her? Would he pursue her once again? And if he did, would she let him into her heart yet again?

Legolas sat with Eowyn until she fell back to sleep. When she was resting comfortably and he was sure the baby was all right, he gathered his weapons and went in search of Aragorn and Gimli. As he wandered through the Golden Wood, he happened upon Celeborn.

"Legolas Thranduilion. I received word that you were in my woods. Is the Lady Eowyn resting comfortably now?"

Legolas bowed properly to the Eldar Elf. "Yes Lord Celeborn. Thank you for taking care of her and letting her stay while she recovers. I was just looking for Aragorn and Gimli. We must be on our way if we are to be of any help."

"You will find them soon enough. There is something I would like you to see before you depart." Celeborn turned and Legolas followed him. They entered into a tiny glade set in the trees. In the middle was a stone pedestal which held a bowl, Celeborn led Legolas to it and gestured with his hand for the Mirkwood Elf to draw near it.

"I believe there is something you wished for at one time; a last bit of advice from the Lady of Light." Celeborn said with a smile.

Legolas looked at him, confused. "A message from the Lady Galadriel? But how?"

"My dear Legolas, this is Galadriel's Mirror. Before she departed to the West, she foresaw your future. She knew you would come to a point on your path when you would need her counsel but it would be long after she was gone. The Valar granted her one more time to communicate with this world but it would not be with me. It is you she has chosen. Something plagues your mind. Look into her Mirror and speak once more to the Lady Galadriel." Celeborn, holding his hand out, pointed towards a silver water pitcher sitting next to a fountain amongst the rocks. Legolas went over, picked it up and dipped it in the pool of water, filling it. He then walked to the pedestal and poured the water into the bowl. When the ripples had calmed, he stepped forward and looked into the water. At first, there was nothing there. Then slowly, shadows began to take shape and he could faintly see a figure in the water.

"Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood, Chosen One. Your mind is greatly troubled. You wish for my counsel. What is it that plagues your thoughts?" It was the voice of Galadriel.

Legolas looked and could faintly make out her face. "My Lady, I do not understand my full purpose. Why was I chosen for this fate?"

"You have been chosen because of your admiration of all races. You have an integrity the Valar have not seen in many millennia. You have always put others before yourself. You proved that when you did not heed my warning about the cry of the gulls and opened yourself up to the agony of the sea longing. But this is not what bothers you is it?"

"No." he said, still looking into the Mirror. "I am torn over my decision to leave Eowyn and sail into the West. My soul wants nothing more than to be with her until her dying day but my heart belongs to the sea. And yet, I feel myself fading everyday. I know I am dying and nothing can change that. But I want so much to stay with Eowyn, to see my child grow before I die. Yet, something tells me this is not the right path. I am the chosen one which means I am to sacrifice all that I hold dear for the good of mankind."

Galadriel's smile was very slight in the ripples. "I can not tell you which way to choose. You must decide what is best for all and continue in that direction. As for Eowyn, she has her own choice to make. Faramir will wake up from his dark dreams and realize what has been done. They will need each other to heal. The child will play a substantial part in their reconciliation. She is a healer of hearts, just like her father."

Legolas seemed flustered. "Is this the only reason I was allowed to love her? I have given her a part of me and you say my child was created to allow her and Faramir to heal their differences. Can the Valar be so cruel? It is my life too… what's left of it. I have sacrificed everything; my life, my love and my child."

Galadriel was silent and even seemed to recede. Legolas was afraid he spoke to harshly. Who was he to question the Valar? But they had pushed him to his limits and he did not know how much more he could take. It was part of the reason why he just wanted to sail away and never look back.

Finally, Galadriel came back into view. "You have been put through many trials, Legolas. Of this, no one can deny. The Valar grant you relief from your fading until the celebration of the fifth year of the life of your daughter. Use this time wisely before you make your final decision to either sail and fade or live on until Eowyn's final days. Just know if you decide to stay, it may not be with Eowyn. She has her own decision to make but she cannot do this if you do not let her. Your presence hinders her and she must do this by her own accord. Set her free, Legolas, but do not doubt her love for you. It is strong. But she loves him also. It is a great gift of Men, to be able to love more than one. Her path still lies ahead of her. Faramir has been ever strong in her heart even though that path has been altered many times. She must choose what will be best for the child. That is her main concern now."

Legolas was a little clearer about things now. It seemed nothing had changed from his original decision to build his boat. But there was a war to win before doing so. And there were his final moments with Eowyn. "I think I know what must be done. Thank you Lady of the Light. May the Valar bless you and keep you."

"Likewise my dear Legolas. Go with peace in your mind and in your heart. We will meet again someday, if only briefly." Galadriel's form began to fade away as the water rippled and was once again clear.

Legolas stepped away from the Mirror. His mind was slightly clearer. He knew once the war was over, he would leave to build his ship as he planned in the beginning. He couldn't stay with Eowyn, even though she carried his child. Legolas realized now that this was not just his daughter, but a gift to mankind. He had done his part but her future belonged to the world. There was no doubt in his mind that she would be fine and live a fulfilling life.

Legolas left the glade to find Celeborn talking with Aragorn and Gimli. He looked toward Legolas and smiled. "I hope you found some comfort among the waters."

"I did Lord Celeborn. Now it is time. Aragorn, Gimli, let us be on our way. There is no time to spare."

Aragorn noticed a newfound serenity washed over his elf friend. Gimli knew how he felt, for he had had the same experience when he first met the Lady Galadriel. Smiling he said, "Once she enters your mind, your heart will never be the same. As they say, she will ensnare you but it is a glorious trap, one I have yet to find my way out of, or want to. I hope to meet her again someday."

Legolas smiled and patted the Dwarf on the shoulder. "I'm sure you will, Gimli."

With that said, they thanked Celeborn and Haldir once more before they set out for war. They gathered their weapons and a few comfort items and met with the Lorien Elves that would be going with them. Legolas went to Eowyn once more before he left.

"I will do all I can for Faramir. The healers will be told of the evil device embedded under his skin. It will be dealt with. You are in good hands here in Lorien. Haldir himself offered his services to you. That is not to be taken too lightly. He is stubborn and very set in his ways. I've never known him to be such a willing participant before." Then Legolas laid his hand over Eowyn's womb. She was just starting to show and there was a definite bump there now. He whispered in elvish to the child and then gazed upon Eowyn one last time. He leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips, savoring the moment. "Take care of her. I love you both." he said and Eowyn thought she saw the glimmer of a tear in his eye. Something had changed for Legolas but she did not know what it was.


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.

Story Information

Author: L8Bleumr

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 11/06/10

Original Post: 08/26/10

Go to What Paths We Take overview

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