And so Gandalf was gone with Pippin. Elenya knew the time was coming soon when she would ride to Edoras with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Merry. But first they would meet some unexpected guests. Aragorn began to saddle Hasufel. Dawn was approaching fast although Emilie had not received any sleep.
“The king is determined to set out once again,” Aragorn said to Elenya, Legolas, Gimli, and Merry.
“Where shall he go?” Emilie asked. Dumb question.
“I cannot say yet. But for myself and any that accompany me-“
Legolas broke in, “I, for one!” “And Gimli with him,” the dwarf said.
“I will follow you wherever you go, Aragorn,” she told her friend.
“Please don’t leave me behind,” Merry begged. “I have not been of much use yet, but I dont wish to be laid aside like baggage. Though of course, the kind did say that I would sit by him and tell him all about the Shire.”
“Yes, and your road lies with him I think Merry. But do not look for mirth at the ending. It will be long I fear ere Theoden sits at ease again in Meduseld. Many hopes will wither this bitter spring.”
“Is that true, Aragorn?” Elenya asked.
“Aye. It is.”
Soon they were all ready to depart. Elenya was given a proper horse so she wouldn’t have to ride behind Eomer once again. What a nightmare! The steed that bore her was named Alakia a chestnut mare. It wasn’t Celeniol but she did not doubt that soon she would be reunited with her old horse in Edoras. Twenty other horses and riders accomapnied them to Edoras, but as they began their journey, Elenya saw a rider galloping towards them. Elenya rode behind Aragorn who rode yet beside King Theoden. Eomer had also taken his place beside the king, but she never looked at him. She was eagerly waiting what would happen next.
“My lord,” he said to the king. “There are riders behind us. They are overtaking us riding hard.”
The King called a halt at once. Elenya looked behind her and saw many horses approaching. Aragorn unmounted and placed Merry on the ground and drew his sword and stood beside the king.
“Do not fear,” she said to Theoden. “I know them. And there are two riders of my own blood.”
Eomer did not believe her, and once the riders had reached fifty paces of them he cried out, “Halt! Who rides in Rohan?”
A clear voice rang out,” Rohan? Did you say? That is a glad word. We have been seeking this land from afar. I am Halbarad Dunaden Ranger of the North. We seek one Aragorn son of Arathorn.”
“You have found him!” Aragorn stepped forward. “Halbarad of all the joys this is the least expected!”
A short introduction was made, and then Halbarad introduced the two Prince elves of Rivendell Elladan and Elrohir. They rode forward, and Elenya first laid eyes on the two men. They were handsome in features with long flowing golden hair much like Legolas and yet so unlike. Theoden was glad that they had come.
“If these kinsmen are in any way like Aragorn son of Arathorn, then thirty such knights will be a strength that can not be counted by heads.”
Elrohir spoke to Aragorn, “I bring word from my father:
the days are short. If thou art in haste, remember the Paths of the Dead.”
When Emilie looked at Aragorn’s face, it seemed as though he had been struck with a dagger
“Alwayd my days are in haste. But great indeed will be my haste ere I journey on that road.”
Halbarad spoke of the gift which he bore. Emilie couldn’t wait to see it! “It is a gift from the Lady of Rivendell. She wrought it in secret and long was the making. But she also sends word to you: The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!”
And Aragorn said, “I know what you bear. Bear it still for me a while!” Aragorn turned and looked away to the North under the great stars, and then he fell silent and spoke no more while the journey lasted.
Elenya found out from Legolas that while she had slept and ate, Aragorn had done neither. The King was already at the Dike of Helm’s Deep. To think of the long night in which she had witnessed hell. The King called for Merry, and the two elves and dwarf said goodbye to him. Emilie knew what was going on inside the hall of the Burg. Merry was pledging allegiance to Theoden. What a great hobbit! Aragorn soon came out of the Gate along with Eomer. Emilie fixed her eyes on Aragorn. His face was grim, and she could see that he was weary. Aragorn approached Theoden on his horse and said, “I have long been in thought. I am troubled in mind. I have heard strange words and new perils from afar. I fear now that I must change my purpose. How long shall it be until you reach Dunharrow?”
“Three days,” Eomer answered.
“Three days,” Aragorn murmered. “Then by your leave, lord I must take a new road into the Paths of the Dead.”
Theoden exclaimed, “The Paths of the Dead! Why do you speak of them?” Eomer gazed at Aragorn. “Alas my friend,” Eomer said to Aragorn. “I had hoped that we should ride to war together, but if you seek the Paths of the Dead, then our parting has come and it is unlikely that we shall ever meet again under the Sun.”
Emilie didn’t want to hear that. Theoden wished Aragorn farwell seeing how determined he was. Elenya would continue to ride with him and Legolas but highly doubted they would let her accompany them into the Paths. She would beg, hope, and pray still. Merry remained behind with Theoden. As they rode together, Aragorn proclaimed that he had looked into the Palantir. Gimli seemed amazed that he had dared to look into it.
“You forget to whome you speak,” Aragorn said sternly and his eyes glinted. “What did you fear I would say to him? Did I not openly proclaim my title before the doors of Edoras? Nay Gimli,” he said in a softer voice. “Nay my friends. I am the lawful master of the stone. And I had both the right and strength to use it or so I judged. The right can not be doubted. The strength was enough barely.”
“But it was still enough,” Elenya smiled at him.
Aragorn continued to explain the long struggle with the Dark Lord and how he had been in another disguise. But the Sauron feared him still. He finally spoke the words of the Seer and she listened to it intently although she had hear it before.
Over the land lies a long Shadow. Westward it reaches on wings of darkness. The tower trembles to the tomb of kings. Doom approaches! The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the oathbreakers:at the stone of Erech they shall stand again and hear there a horn in the hills ringing. Whose shall the horn be? Who shall call them from the grey twilight the forgotten people? The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the north he shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead! Although she had heard the poem many times, it still sent shivers up her back and a spine tingling feeling gave her shivers. She did not want to pass through the Paths, but she did not want to lose Legolas. This was a dream. It would not necessarily follow the book or the movie? Would he come out alive?
They finally came to Edoras, and Eowyn greeted Elenya once again but in joyful tears.
“I had nearly thought you were dead,” she said to Elenya.
Emilie embraced her as she continued. “What happened at the battle?”
Emilie thought back and said, “I spent one savage, dark, rainy, and cruel night in hell and may it never be that a sight should come to your eyes.”
But on Aragorn, Eowyn’s gaze chiefly rested. She said that she would go and prepare a place for him and the other lords.
“Nay, lady,” he said. “Dont be troubled for us! If we may lie here tonight and break our fast tomorrow, it will be long enough. For I ride on an errand most urgent, and with the first light of morning we must go.”
He tried to explain to her that they would be going through the Paths of the Dead.
“This is madness!” Eowyn answered. “I beg you to remain where you and your men of renown are needed and ride with my brother. For then all hearts will be gladdened and out hope be the brighter.”
“It is not madness. For I go on a path appointed. And those that go with me go of their own free will. I shall take the Paths of the Dead alone if need be.”
After this, Elenya asked to speak privately with Aragorn.
“Aragorn, would you please take me with you?” Elenya asked.
“You have fought in one battle. Are you not tired of war and danger?”
“I am indeed, Aragorn,” Emilie answered. “But with all my heart I do not wish to leave the Prince’s side.”
“I can not allow you this time Elenya. For we may not come out alive, and I can not place you in that danger. And I highly doubt the Prince would either.”
“Then I shall go to him,” Elenya said.
* * *
She walked alone in the night with her Prince in the garden of Edoras. The moon glowed about them and fell upon the white dress that Eowyn had given her to wear. Ever she looked up at Legolas who was ever pacing but ever silent.
“Do you think this is our last night together?” she asked him.
Legolas did not speak.
“Why are you so silent?”
“What is there to say?”
“Legolas, what is wrong?” she asked him.
“How can you ask me that, Elenya? You don’t trust me do you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I have been long in thought of departing to the Paths of the Dead. I will go with Aragorn to wherever he may go, but do you not think that I shall let you come. I shant. I wont allow you to this time. And you must not follow me. But if you love me you must trust me. Whatever it is you are holding onto, let it go. Tell me,” he took her face in his hands and met his eyes with hers. She stared at him long.
“Aragorn said I should. But I can’t. I’m afraid.”
“Of what you might do when you find out.”
“I will not hurt you. I love you.”
“I know you do,” she took his hands in hers. “But this is different. You do not know me.”
“All I know is the reflect of the stars in your eyes,” he spoke slowly. “The way my heart flutters every time you draw near, how my passion is alive with just you, how I wish to spend forever in your eyes.”
“Why did you choose me?”
“I didn’t. My heart chose you. And your heart has chosen me but your mind is holding you back.”
“It is and it still does. I can not tell you.”
He dropped her hands, “I shall not kiss you again until that time comes.”
“Is this blackmail?” she asked.
“No,” he answered. “What is the point of sharing our love if we can not share each other and our secrets. I want to know you, but you dont wish me to. But you shall always be Elenya the Star of my Heart.”
Legolas began to walk away.
“Legolas,” he turned. “Please.”
Her brown hair and dress waved about in the wind. Her face and hands seemed fair and soft as white silk. Her blue eyes were pleading, and he saw a small tear trickle down her cheek. She approached him slowly. Legolas remained still as stone as she took his hand and inched up to his face. She slowly closed her eyes and planted a soft kiss upon his lips. He wanted to kiss her and fill her up with his passion, but didn’t. She slowly stepped away from him and whispered, “I do love you.”
“I love you.”
“Will you not take me with you?” she asked.
“No, I shant, Elenya.”
“But what if-“
He didn’t let her finish, “I do not fear the dead. I shall return.”
“I believe you.”
“Will you not tell me?” he asked brushing a hand across her cheek.
“No not tonight.”
He took her hand and kissed it lightly.
She watched him go, and her heart screamed out to tell him. But a lump the size of Helm’s Deep caught in her throat. She could not speak though she wanted to with all her heart. The thoughts in her mind filled with all the reasons she shouldn’t. But when she looked at him, none of them existed.