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legolas and eowyn
 

 

Part 13

Looking down from the Ambenn Rocks into the Hollen Valley, Legolas and Eowyn could see the mine—a great, gaping wound in the foot of Amon Hill—and, clustered around it, a jumble of tumbled-down stone buildings and newer wooden sheds. To the east, a stream had been dammed and its waters diverted into a series of massive, square-cut ponds. To the west, fires burned beneath gigantic vats, and smoke poured from noxious substances, filling the air with an acrid, choking stench.

But that was not the worst of it.

The worst—the most unnatural—thing about the Hollen Valley was that everything was blue.

The stone walls were blue, the slate roofs were blue, the wooden sheds were blue, the bare, worn earth was blue, the cart that must have brought Arador there was blue—even the hapless men and women, slaving at the water tanks and over the fires, were blue.

“What is it?” whispered Eowyn. Then, pulling herself together, she added, “Can you see any sign of Arador, Lassui?”

“No,” said Legolas, “but I can see his father and the Watch.” He pointed to the south, where a line through the trees showed the path of the forest road, but Eowyn’s human eyes could see no sign of the men. “We must get down there, Mel—”

Young Belecthor caught his arm. “These people are not friendly, my Lord,” he said, and he looked sideways at Eowyn.

Legolas smiled. “Neither is my wife, mellon nín.”

...

Legolas had a plan, of sorts, though he would have been happier had Gimli or Haldir been on hand to back him up.

“You and Belecthor will go down first,” he told Eowyn, “and I will cover you. You must make as much noise and draw as much attention to yourselves as possible, and demand to be taken to their leader so that you can warn him that the Reeve is on his way with an army of men.”

“But that will only be a diversion,” said Eowyn.

Legolas nodded. “Once I am sure that they do not intend to harm you, Melmenya, I will search for Arador. By the time the Reeve arrives, I should have his son safe, and we should be able to avert a massacre.”

“You think that that is the Reeve’s intention?”

“I am sure of it, Melmenya; I saw it written on his face. There is a blood feud between these two, and I fear that Arador may be the next casualty.”

...

It was not difficult for Eowyn to make a commotion scrambling down the rocks.

By the time she and Belecthor reached the valley floor, most of the workforce had turned to stare at them, and several men—armed guards, she realised—were coming towards them.

Eowyn approached the first, a heavy, thickset man with a surprisingly homely face and, drawing herself up to her full height and mimicking her brother, Eomer, at his most kingly, she said, “I am Eowyn of Rohan, co-ruler of Eryn Carantaur.” She pulled out the signet ring she wore about her neck and, keeping her other hand on her sword, she showed it to him. “I demand to speak with your leader.”

“What’s she saying?” asked a voice, and the first man turned to reveal a second, who was obviously his twin brother.

“She says she wants to talk to Ma,” he replied.

 

 
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