1. A Night in Emyn Arnen
A Night in Emyn Arnen
First of the "Tales from the Powers-verse" series: vignettes and shorts from the ficverse of my full-length novel Amid the Powers and Chances of the World.
With many thanks to curiouswombat for invaluable beta. This is in particular for her and for rinlossien and DrummerWench, who I suspect will appreciate what was missing from Chapter 47 of Powers and Chances; this interlude takes place immediately after the end of that chapter (Beneath the Sky Will Be Our Bed), and is rated Adult for very explicit sex...
"What do you suppose they are planning?"
Faramir turned to Rowanna, who was gratefully working her way down a large beaker of cool elderflower cordial, and gestured towards his wife and Legolas. The two had wandered away from the low white house in an involved discussion of Emyn Arnen's future gardens, and Éowyn's laughter drifted back through the afternoon heat.
"Knowing Legolas," Rowanna grinned, "if at all possible, even more trees!" She leant back against the trunk of the laurel currently shading her and the Steward and mopped her brow. "Thank goodness we can be out here instead of stuck back in Minas Tirith..."
"As soon as Éowyn agreed to be my wife I began to think of building a home for her away from the White City," Faramir nodded. "In fact, I remember speaking of it to Legolas last year, and he entirely agreed – he came out to Ithilien with me to look at the damage wrought by the Orcs; you must have been on your way to Rohan with the sons of Elrond then, I think."
"I didn't know that," Rowanna said curiously. "Legolas showed me, yesterday – the poisoned ground and the fouled watercourses..."
"Aragorn sent the two of us across the Anduin for a few days," Faramir explained; "I think he could see we were both fretting like caged creatures within the City walls! We camped north of the Crossroads..." He broke off, looking thoughtful, and poured some more of the cordial for Rowanna and then for himself.
"One evening at the camp fire the conversation turned to my betrothal, and to marriage, and I remember Legolas talked of unions of Men and Elves. I thought at the time he was asking obliquely about the King and the Lady Arwen – for Aragorn had told me of their troth, and it did not entirely surprise me that another of the Firstborn might also know of it – but now I wonder if he was really asking my view on something else?" He turned enquiring grey eyes on Rowanna.
"If I understood him aright, it is only to the line of Lúthien that the choice was granted to renounce the immortal life in order to wed a Mortal..."
"Yes. We... we can only be together as long as we both walk in Middle-earth; when I die, or if Legolas were to be slain, or could no longer resist the call of the Sea... we will be parted, forever." For a moment she turned and looked down the garden, to where he had crouched down next to Éowyn and was turning over the soil in his fingers. "And so – we cannot be wed according to any formal vows of First- or Second-born; for we cannot pledge to each other for eternity, nor 'as long as we both shall live'..."
"And yet among the Elves," Faramir said softly, "is it not held that all that is truly required to bind a couple is that they cleave to one another... body and soul?"
I cannot quite believe I am having this conversation with the Steward of Gondor, thought Rowanna, but she found her courage and took a deep breath.
"In that sense, Faramir, Legolas and I are as fully wed as we can be; we.. we are bound together, for whatever time the Powers grant us."
The Steward's brows lifted only a fraction. Diplomatic as ever, noted Rowanna with relief.
"If it is not an impertinent question," he said curiously, "what do the Wood-Elves make of it?"
Rowanna had wondered, as she and Legolas arrived back at the Wood-Elves' camp that morning, how his companions would react; as ever she found Elven faces almost impossible to read, but Taurlaegel, to her surprise, had stepped forward and embraced her.
"He is my oldest friend," Legolas told her later as they rode back southward towards Emyn Arnen, "and though I had not told even him what had happened between us, when I returned to the Greenwood we talked a good deal of all I had seen and done since leaving Imladris, and I think he guessed much. He had seen you himself in the House of Elrond, remember, and he can read a good deal of my heart... and this morning, when he looked into my eyes and then into yours, he knew he was looking at my bondmate. He saw our joy, and he was glad for us."
Faramir nodded thoughtfully as Rowanna summarised this for him.
"I, too, am glad for you both," he said sincerely. "Would you object if I were to explain to Éowyn?..."
As the sun began to sink and the day to grow cooler, Legolas was pressed to stay and dine with the household. This he readily accepted, once he had gone a little distance north into the woodland, laid a hand to the trunk of one of the holm-oaks, and returned assuring his hosts that there was no need to send a messenger north to the Wood-Elves, for they would soon know where he was and that he stayed. Whether he had been within signalling range of one of his company, or whether he really had talked to the tree, Rowanna decided with a smile she did not need to know.
The evening was still warm, and Frideswide the housekeeper had ordered a cold supper on the grounds that the day had been too hot for anyone to want a roast, and followed it with plentiful fruit. The meal done, Éowyn excused herself on the grounds that she was still very tired; her husband and her guests urged her not to stand on ceremony, but to go to bed. As she rose, Éowyn turned to Rowanna.
"I asked Frideswide to move your things into the other bedchamber, straight across from the one she first gave you. It's a good deal larger, and –" she clearly encompassed both Rowanna and Legolas in her gaze – "you'll be more comfortable there."
Rowanna felt sudden warmth spreading through her at this unexpected, but very welcome endorsement of their situation.
"Thank you, Éowyn. That's very kind. I hope you sleep well..."
Legolas rose and bowed, hand on heart, to the White Lady as she made her way from the room.
The three remaining talked on for some time as the candles burnt down; Faramir sent the servants to bed as soon as the dishes were cleared, and they refilled their own wine-goblets, conversing and laughing softly, exchanging news of Minas Tirith, Dol Amroth and the Greenwood.
"And this –" Faramir chuckled as Legolas shifted his chair closer to Rowanna's and she leant in to his shoulder – "has been a well-kept secret, I must say; or have I just been particularly out of touch?"
"Far from it," Rowanna said wryly: "it is a long story, Faramir, but suffice it to say that from last Midsummer till yesterday there was nothing to know; indeed, had you not invited me up to Emyn Arnen – and managed somehow not to mention that Legolas and the Wood-Elves were in Ithilien! – there might never have been any secret to reveal..."
"I thought I did tell you of the Elves' coming!" the Steward protested. "At least – no; I began to, yesterday morning, and then –"
"That equerry came in to tell you the King was waiting, and you never finished what you had begun to say!" Rowanna exclaimed. "Well for me, for I might have turned tail..."
"So at last seeming chance worked in our favour," Legolas smiled. "After a sun-round and more when the Powers seemed to be doing quite the reverse..."
Eventually they all decided the evening had worn on long enough; Faramir gave them one candle, took another for himself, and carefully snuffed those that remained, leaving only the moonlight slanting into the room. Treading softly, they made their way upstairs; at the head of the staircase Faramir turned left, and motioned them to the right.
"Now I must do my best not to wake Éowyn! Goodnight, my friends..."
As they moved quietly along the hallway, Legolas' arm tightened about Rowanna's waist and she felt his fingertips beginning to stroke slow circles on her palm; the wordless message was more than clear. She shivered with delight, and felt his pleasure in response.
No sooner were they through the door to the new bedchamber than Legolas pushed it shut, put the candle in its holder swiftly down on the first surface he found, and tilted Rowanna's face up to his.
"I have been wanting –" he breathed between kisses – "you -" he deftly pulled out the pins sweeping up her dark hair and tumbled it down, running his fingers through it – "for hours..."
Rowanna chuckled as she slid her hands beneath the silk of his shirt across his back and pulled him in close. "I thought Elves did not so measure the passing of time?"
"I'm learning," Legolas said hoarsely.
Backed against the chamber's oak door, the Elf's kisses covering her face and neck, Rowanna suddenly felt unsteady; catching the feeling at once, Legolas wrapped a supporting arm about her and turned her around. Across the room, pillows plumped and covers already turned back, was a generously-sized four-poster bed.
"Does my lady wish to lie down?" He quirked a mischievous eyebrow at her.
"An excellent idea," Rowanna said shakily, drawing Legolas with her so that they dropped together, laughing, into the mountain of goosefeather pillows. As the moonlight from the open window fell across them, the Elf frowned.
"I have to tell you, melethen, that that dress does not become you." He reached around behind her to investigate the lacing at the back of the bodice.
"It was the only thing poor Frideswide could find that even came near to fitting me," Rowanna protested. "None of Éowyn's dresses would do; I'm taller than she and broader in the shoulder – well, you know how slender she is! I asked Frideswide for something to wear down to dinner; the shirt and breeches I rode in wearing yesterday were still being laundered, and last night's shirt had grass- and moss-stains all down the back..."
"I can't imagine how that happened," Legolas teased as his nimble fingers finished unlacing her. Slowly, he pushed the plain linen of both dress and shift from her shoulders and began to plant kisses all along her collar-bones. "But I repeat, rohiril –" he gradually slid the fabric lower, following its downward path with his lips – "it in no way becomes you, and therefore I insist..." He circled a nipple with the tip of his tongue and, as Rowanna arched against him, she felt his answering flicker of satisfaction in pleasing her.
"Wine-red velvet," he murmured. "That, beloved, is what you should wear – what you wore the night we met in Imladris' Hall of Fire; do you remember?" He stroked across her other breast with his thumb, and Rowanna wondered how he could possibly expect her to think, let alone speak. "What happened to that dress?"
"Don't – know..." Rowanna got out. "Left it – in Rivendell..."
"Then I shall have to send... to the Greenwood... for another." He was licking around the other nipple now, and her fingers were curled tightly in his hair. "Having, of course, taken the measure of you very precisely..."
"Wait," Rowanna said with a gasp as he paused. Else I shall be lost entirely, when I hope we have barely begun!
She sat up, the dress pooling around her hips, and slowly undid Legolas' shirt, pausing to enjoy the feeling of the silk beneath her fingers, liking the catch in his breath that came as she stroked down his chest and then his stomach before finally pulling the shirt over his head. She revelled in the scent of his skin, forest and leaf, the earth after rain. Gently she pushed him backwards. "Lie down." She pulled off his boots, dropping them on to the rug beside the bed; then slid her fingers beneath the waistband of his leggings, drew them off and let them fall too. "Now – close your eyes."
He looked quizzically at her, and at his expression she nearly laughed out loud.
"Have you not heard about Elves sleeping with their eyes open?"
"Who," Rowanna demanded, kneeling over him and slowly running her fingers up the inside of calves and thighs, "said anything about you sleeping? Close them."
"As my lady wishes..."
She made several long, slow sweeps all the way up from ankle to hip, marvelling at the unblemished pale gold of his skin, always swerving away towards the outside of his thighs as she moved higher. On the final pass, though, she stroked all the way up the inside of his legs to the top, cradling the smooth weight of his sac in her palm and then running her fingertips all the way up his shaft; he was, she noted with satisfaction, very responsive to this.
"I've just realised," she murmured as she circled the tip of his erection with one finger, "I don't actually know what you call this, in the Grey Tongue..."
"Vië," said Legolas with just a hint of a tremor in his voice. "Although..." he broke off as Rowanna bent her head and ran her tongue around the path her finger had just traced, "among the Greenwood archers it is more often known as the bilin..."
"Arrow." Rowanna's laughter began low in her throat at the thought. "Of course..."
My lover, the archer. Suddenly, below her on the bed in the moonlight, he seemed anything but a warrior; unguarded, entirely vulnerable. She bent over him again and began to lick him slowly all the way from the base of his shaft to the tip, working all the way around. She could feel the wave of desire within him, rising and rising, and yet... as she opened her mind to him she could also feel his determined self-restraint; a floodgate held closed against that swelling tide. What are you waiting for? she wondered, and without words the answer came back: You.
The sudden uprush of love for him almost overwhelmed her. Each time, the previous night, he had waited on her pleasure, held back, let every step of the dance be according to her measure. All at once she was determined; whatever it took, that floodgate was coming down. She leant down further, the ends of her hair brushing across his thighs and stomach, and took him all the way into her mouth, slowly rising and falling as she felt his desire's rhythm dictate. Damn your Elven self-control, she told him. Let go. I want you to...
Alternately licking and sucking, she looked up through the curtain of her hair and saw his fingers working convulsively in the sheets; he was beyond coherence now even in thought, and she was not giving up. I love you, Legolas... let go...
Then at last she felt it: the cracking and bursting of the dam in his mind, the surge of sensation overtopping all; his complete surrender to it, body and soul. He shuddered, over and over, and she swallowed salt, her heart singing with delight. Slowly she released him and lay down, kissing him, letting him taste himself on her lips, feeling his heart pounding against hers. Across the room the remains of the candle flared once and melted into a puddle of wax, leaving only the moonlight to bathe them in silver.
"Melethril...im...galu..." he muttered raggedly.
"Shhh." She stroked the hair away from his face. "Lie still."
They lay awhile in the moonlight, his head on her breast, his breathing gradually slowing against her skin. Then she felt the beginnings of desire stirring in him once more, as he pushed the crumpled remains of the linen dress off her and slid one hand down over her flank.
"I clearly have much yet to learn about Mortal women," he murmured, his lips trailing a path down her throat. "So I think, melethen, it is my turn now..."
He dropped the dress on to the floor and reached, instead, for his shirt where she had abandoned it on the pillows. "So coarse, the stuff of that dress, on your skin. Would not this be preferable?..."
He drew the tail of the shirt slowly down her body, over her breasts, down her stomach and then her thighs; the delicious sensation of silk brushing over her brought goosebumps to her skin. Following the fabric with his mouth, he sucked slowly first on one nipple, then the other; trailed his fingertips over her stomach, then further down. "Good?" he asked, very low.
"Yes ..." Rowanna managed.
Gently, he slid a hand between her legs and delicately drew the swollen folds of flesh there apart; then slid one finger, very carefully, inside... and held still. She shifted urgently against his touch, but he reached out with his other hand and stilled her. Wanting so much that it hurt, she gasped out:
"Not yet," he whispered. "Wait."
Just when she thought she could bear the longing no more and would die of it, he began to stroke her; very slowly, tiny movements, then after a while beginning to circle and stretch, sliding easily over the slick surface within. She whimpered... and he slid down towards the foot of the bed and his finger was replaced by the tip of his tongue.
Her hips would have lifted right off the bed, but he was gently holding her down, just enough to keep her in place and heighten the sensation even more – until at last his tongue flicked at exactly the right spot, and a light exploded behind her eyes and she arched upwards and cried out, and felt his inner shout of delight as she fell back into the tangle of the sheets.
She was shivering with the aftermath of it; her teeth began to chatter and Legolas quickly drew the covers up around them both and held her close, bathing her in a wave of tenderness and warmth, stroking her back and murmuring to her in the Grey Tongue. She was too spent to translate, but it mattered not; she needed no words for the love and the reassurance he poured into her.
At last, as her trembling subsided, he drew away just a little, kissed her almost solemnly on the brow – and then, changeable as the clouds shifting across the moon, raised that eyebrow at her again.
"Am I learning?"
"Very rapidly," Rowanna said shakily. "I think... I may need to rest awhile before you practise any more..."
Legolas laughed softly, and gathered her into his arms again. "Sleep, then, melethen; I'll walk with you along the paths of your dreams." Drowsily, Rowanna nuzzled against him; he chuckled.
"What is it?" she murmured.
"That night in the garden of the Houses, at sunset, when we first found that in a kiss we could touch mind to mind and heart to heart... do you remember what you asked me? 'How much closer yet'..."
"Might be made the interweaving?" She shifted a little and kissed the smooth skin in the hollow of his shoulder. "I remember."
And as she drifted into sleep in his arms, they shared the thought joyfully:
Very close indeed.
The conversation which Faramir refers to between himself and Legolas about the Choice of Lúthien took place in Powers and Chances Chapter 40, Of Folk of Men and Elven-kin; while the "night in the garden of the Houses, at sunset" happened in Chapter 33, The Setting Sun, The Rising Sun.
melethen - beloved
rohiril – horse-lady (nickname for Rowanna originally coined by Elrohir in Amid the Powers and Chances of the World, and then taken over as a term of endearment by Legolas)
vië – penis (actually Quenya but as far as I know there is no attested Sindarin word!)
bilin – arrow
melethril – lover
Im – I
galu – good, blessed, fortunate
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.