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Crossovers100 Story 2, parts 2 & 3

June 15th, 2006 (03:03 pm)

Written for the crossovers100 challenge.

Title: Exploring South Ithilien
Part: 2/3
Regular Fandom/Pairing: The Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Eowyn
Crossover Fandom/Character(s): King Kong/Kong
Prompt: 071 Broken
Word Count: 1990
Rating: R
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the creation of JRR Tolkien, Edgar Wallace, and Peter Jackson and have been used, without permission, for no financial gain.
Warnings: British spellings!
Summary: Exploring their new land, Legolas and Eowyn find an ancient world inhabited by strange creatures. Will Kong fare any better at the hands of the elves? (Set after The Return of the King).
Also posted: at www.eryn-carantaur.com and www.scribeoz.com
Author’s Notes: Part of a Legolas/Eowyn ‘soap’ that can be read here.



They ran for the wall, Haldir bearing the woman over his shoulder.

“Get her out,” cried Legolas, pulling his bow from its strap. “Quickly!”

One of the elves, standing atop the masonry, threw down a rope. Haldir caught it, wrapped it under the woman’s arms, and tied it securely. “Pull her up,” he shouted. But the terrified creature had begun to struggle, and Haldir was forced to grab her, and hold her steady. “Shhh, shhh,” he murmured. “You will hurt yourself…”

Legolas, meanwhile, was turning back, nocking an arrow and raising his bow; and his hands froze—for just a moment—as his eyes travelled upwards, and he tried to comprehend the sheer size of the animal standing before him.

Valar, he thought, it was an eye.

The beast—manlike, though covered in thick, black fur and standing on all fours—was familiar, for he had seen one, caged, at the Circus in Far Harad—but that pitiful creature had been only a little taller than himself. This—this monster might easily scoop him up and crush him in its fist.

If it charges, he thought, a bow and knives will be useless. Unless…

Behind him, Haldir was still struggling with the wailing woman. And the creature appeared to be watching them, its massive head tilted, as if in curiosity.

Legolas waited, hoping that his plan would not be necessary—

Then the creature bounded forward.

Legolas lowered his bow and ran, quickly building speed and momentum, judging where the animal’s right fist would next come to rest—and was there when it touched down. He leaped, grabbed the thick fur, and climbed—up the curve of the forearm, past the elbow, over the taut biceps and the great triangular deltoid—onto the shoulder, where he scanned the creature’s face and throat, searching for some vulnerability, somewhere he could sink an arrow and inflict pain without causing unnecessary damage.

If I can scare it, he thought, planting his feet and raising his bow, if I can make it run—

The creature slapped its neck, like a man crushing a mosquito.



Responding to the men’s war cry, the elves, moving as one, fell back to the centre, forming a protective cordon around Eowyn.



Driven down to the roots of the thick fur, Legolas struggled to catch his breath—and felt the creature grasp him between finger and thumb and, with surprising gentleness, tease him out of the tangled hairs.

It lifted him to its face and peered at him. And the elf caught a glimpse of something heartbreaking in those terrible eyes: as though the spirit of a man had somehow been trapped inside them—

Then the creature turned him upside down, and shook him hard, and brushed his hair back and forth against its cheek…

Until its hand suddenly tightened and—“A-choo!”—it sneezed.

And Legolas clung to its fingers, riding out the storm.



“Do not kill them!” cried Eowyn, still determined to follow Legolas’ orders and preserve this strange, unnatural world. “Frighten them; drive them back; but do not harm them!”



The creature peered at Legolas again, creasing its brows in something like a frown. Then its expression changed to one of mild curiosity, and it brought him up to its mouth.

“NO! NO!” The elf struggled, beating with his fists, kicking with his feet. But he felt its warm breath, like a damp mist on his face and hair, saw its pointed yellow teeth and wet, purplish tongue, and heard his own voice echoing round its cavernous mouth—

Through the fog of horror, he heard Haldir’s voice cry, “Shoot!”

And, suddenly, he was falling…



The men, unhindered by the elves, had disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

It is as though, thought Eowyn, unconsciously touching the short tuft of hair beside her face, the only thing they wanted was that lock of hair. She shook her head. “Is there any sign of them?” she called.

“No, my Lady,” replied Rumil. “Nothing. They move like shadows. If they stayed on the forest floor, they have left no footprints; if they climbed into the trees, they have not disturbed the branches. It is as though they never existed.” He came up beside her.

“And the child?”

“Gone, my Lady,” said Rumil. “With my apple.”

Eowyn smiled, despite her growing feeling of unease—of concern for Legolas. “Might they still be close?”

“Undoubtedly.”

“Then we will pull back to the cliff and form up in a horseshoe,” said Eowyn, decisively. “We do not know where Legolas will emerge. I want us ready to provide covering volleys in any direction, should he need them.”



Still grasping his bow, Legolas twisted in the air, raising his arms to slow his descent, and preparing his legs…

He landed on his feet, already running towards the wall—“Shoot!” cried Haldir—and Legolas ducked as a second rain of arrows whistled over his head.

From the corner of his eye he saw the beast rear up on its hind legs, and beat its chest, roaring.

But he had already reached the rope, and—pausing only to slip his precious bow back in its strap—he climbed rapidly to the top.

“What now?” asked Haldir, helping him over the parapet.

“Back to the camp and away from this place,” said Legolas. “I want to get Eowyn home as quickly as possible.”



A month later

Smiling, Legolas fondled the short tuft of hair.

“Lassui!” Eowyn batted his hand away.

He knew that she was self-conscious about it, that she had asked the healer—unsuccessfully—whether anything might be done to make it grow more quickly. “It is a war wound, melmenya,” he said. “A badge of honour.”

“I did nothing to deserve a badge of honour.” She tried to pull away.

Legolas kissed the top of her head before letting her go. “You followed your orders and you kept the way clear for our retreat. You were my lieutenant. Not every battle ends in a decisive victory, Eowyn nín.”

They were strolling along one of the colony’s aerial walkways, taking a few moments for themselves at the end of a busy day. “Do you think that it would have eaten Tinnu?” Eowyn asked, referring to the woman they had rescued, whom the elves had named ‘Twilight’, because of her dark colouring.

“Well—it tried to taste me,” said Legolas. “Have you asked her?”

The woman had begged (though that, of course, had not been necessary) to be allowed to stay in the colony. Now she worked in the gardens, where she seemed to have a natural gift, and was learning Westron from Eowyn and Lord Fingolfin.

“She will not speak of it. I have asked, but if I push too hard she breaks down and cries. I do not want to frighten her, Lassui—”

“But you think that she may know why the men took your hair.”

“Lord Fingolfin says that it has probably been made into a royal fly whisk by now,” said Eowyn.

Legolas smiled.

“He says,” she added, “that those people may never have seen a blonde woman before.”

Legolas wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Thank the Valar I got you safely home, he thought.



Eowyn smiled contentedly.

Legolas had carried her to their garden flet, and laid her on their canopied bed (with the covering rolled back so that she could see the stars), and made love to her with such sweet urgency…

She stretched luxuriously. He had left her now—he often did, in the dead of night, when his elven body needed no rest and there was work to be done—but she knew that he would return before daybreak.

She knew that she would wake in his arms.

***

Three, four—perhaps five—ghostly figures ran silently through the Forest, pausing briefly now and then to listen, and to sniff the air.

They slipped past the elven guards and, ignoring the staircases that spiralled up the carantaurs, climbed effortlessly up the tree trunks and dropped onto the main walkway, where they crouched in the shadows, waiting for a patrol to pass.

When the way was clear they ran west along the wooden street and, using some uncanny sixth sense—or perhaps following the guidance of some primitive deity—they climbed, without hesitation, up one of the smaller staircases leading to a platform higher in the trees.

The yellow-haired woman was alone.

Sleeping.

The leader opened the small leather pouch that hung around his neck, tipped a quantity of powder into the palm of his hand and—with a sudden swift and sure movement—clamped his hand over the woman’s nose and mouth.

She opened her pale eyes and stared at up him. But she did not struggle, for the powder was already doing its work; and, a moment later, her eyes closed.

***

Legolas looked up from the document he was laboriously annotating. “Eowyn?

Through their strange mental bond he had felt a sudden jolt of fear and—even as the image of a dark head, staring down at him, and the sensation of deadened limbs were forming in his mind—he was on his feet and crossing the study.

His bow, quiver and knives were locked away in the weapons chest: there was no time to collect them now. “Fetch the March Warden,” he said to the guard at the door, “quickly.”

The sky was overcast and the city was dark. Legolas ran up the stairs to the garden flet, his heart aching with fear.

The bed was empty.

There was no sign of a struggle, no strange footprints, nothing to suggest that Eowyn had not simply got up and gone to the bathing room, except for those brief impressions he had caught—of a face, and of a feeling of helplessness. He ran to the edge of the platform and scanned the Forest beyond. There was no sign of her. He closed his eyes and reached out, trying to touch her mind with his own—

“Legolas?” Haldir came running up beside him.

Nothing. They must have subdued her somehow, he thought. Put her to sleep. He turned to the March Warden. “They have taken her,” he said, calmly. “They are going to feed her to the beast,”—he saw the big elf’s face distort in horror—“but we will stop them, Haldir. Come.”



Some time later

She awoke with a start—fully conscious, mind racing—with no idea of who or where she was, or of what was happening to her. She searched frantically for a memory, desperate to fill the terrifying void inside her head.

Legolas!

In her mind's eye, her beloved elf stepped out of the darkness, and smiled at her.

She sighed; and felt physical pain.

It pulled at her wrists, stretching her arms out of their sockets; it strained her chest and drove sharp blades through her back; if she moved, it filled her head with light, and threatened to empty her stomach. Eowyn forced her eyes to focus—

And a scream bubbled up in her throat.



Leaving the others far behind, Legolas dashed through the forest. Memories of his own helplessness in the creature's hands tormented him—he must reach her in time!

At the edge of the city he nocked an arrow and broke cover, sprinting down the streets, running the gauntlet of the grotesque creatures that leered down at him from the carved walls.

Ahead, the gates were closing.

With a scream of fury, he plunged on, shooting into the milling crowd, clearing himself a path to the rapidly narrowing gap.

Around him, men were already recovering from the surprise of his attack—he heard shouts of anger, and cries of war, and then a thick, stone-tipped spear flew over his shoulder, and another fell at his feet, and a third buried itself in the wood of the gates—

Just as the gates slammed shut.


End of part 2




Title: Exploring South Ithilien
Part: 3/3
Regular Fandom/Pairing: The Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Eowyn
Crossover Fandom/Character(s): King Kong/Kong
Prompt: 021 Friends
Word Count: 2573
Rating: R



Legolas did not falter.

Behind him, elven arrows were singing—his warriors were with him. “Kill if you have to,” he shouted, “but follow me!” And he grasped one of the great metal hinges, and started to climb.



The creature stretched out a finger and, tentatively, prodded her.

Eowyn swung back and forth in her bonds.

Grunting—as though its question had been answered—the creature cupped one hand around her and, supporting her body, pulled on the leather cords until they snapped.

Eowyn’s arms, suddenly released, screamed with pain, and fire pierced her chest—

EOWYN!

Legolas? She twisted in the creature’s fist… Yes! Yes! He was there, standing on top of the gates, looking so small, so brave. Between love and hope, her heart was torn in shreds. She tried to shout, but the pain was too much to bear—so she wagged her fingers in a feeble wave.

Legolas…



The beast reared on its hind legs and, holding Eowyn in one hand, beat its chest with the other—and Legolas’ blood ran cold, for its roar spoke to some primitive part of him, and he recognised it for what it was: a challenge, male against male, with the female as the prize.

Then the thing turned, and bounded into the trees.

“No,” shouted Legolas, “NO! COME BACK!

It was too far to jump. He scrambled part way—aware that every second counted—then, in his anxiety, he half leapt, half fell the rest of the way, landing awkwardly on the stone platform below. He took a moment to catch his breath—telling himself that he must be more careful, that if he were to injure himself Eowyn might be lost forever—then he ran down the broad steps and followed the beast into the forest.

Immediately, he felt… Strange.

The trees did not speak to him, but crowded in as he sprinted between their misshapen trunks, smothering him with the dull green creepers that hung from their twisted boughs like fleece from a thorn.

Legolas had never been so ill at ease, so at odds, with nature.

And, when he paused to track the creature’s spoor, he noticed other disturbing signs—branches snapped like twigs, strips of bark torn by massive claws, footprints as broad and as deep as a boat, mountainous piles of dung…

He ran through a narrow gorge—slowing slightly, and raising his bow, aware that the creature might be waiting in ambush—then emerged into a broad, grassy plain, and came to an abrupt halt.

His quarry was still in view, and still—Thank the Valar!—carrying Eowyn, though already several miles ahead; but between him and them stretched a vast herd of animals.

Legolas growled in frustration. The creatures, twice the size of mûmakil, were nervous—they tamped the ground, and swung their tiny heads from side to side, as though waiting for the sign to take flight.

And then he saw the reason for their fear: a pack of lizards—terrible lizards—running upright, like an elf or a man—streaming from the north. A great trumpet of alarm went up from the herd; some began to flee, blundering past their fellows, spreading panic; and Legolas had just time to see one of the predators leap up, and sink its teeth into a long, arched neck, before he himself was forced to turn and run back through the funnel.

At first he managed to stay ahead of the stampede. But then some of the swifter beasts overtook him, and he ran between their legs, dodging this way and that to avoid their massive feet. And then he sensed something else, something quicker and more agile, coming up behind him, and he heard the snap of a predator’s jaws, leapt forwards, and heard the monster fall, squealing as the herd trampled it underfoot.

“LEGOLAS!”

Haldir and the others! Above him!

Legolas veered left, slipping between a pair of galloping beasts, found the wall, followed it—Sweet Eru!—discovered a shallow chimney, plunged into it, and began to climb.



Lying still, face down on the ground, Eowyn listened intently.

She heard the snap of wood splitting, and then—a muffled crunching, like the sound of a horse chewing grass. She risked raising her head.

The creature was sitting on its haunches, like a child, its back towards her, calmly stripping branches from a nearby bush, eating the leaves and throwing away the wood.

Keeping close to the ground, Eowyn crawled a few feet, stopped, and cautiously looked back.

The animal, reaching for another branch, seemed oblivious.

Eowyn carried on.

Six more tortuous feet brought her to a bend in the trail. She crawled around the corner, dragged herself to her feet and, surprised by her own unsteadiness, staggered towards a gap in the rocks. She had seen the stampede drive Legolas back towards the sun, and she could see the sun now, already approaching the horizon. She would head westwards and find him—or die trying.

Moving more easily now, she jogged out onto the plain—

And yelped as a huge black shape flew down from the rocks and landed in front of her. It whirled around and, standing on all fours, loomed over her, trying to frighten her into submission.

But Eowyn took a deep breath and, praying to the gods, ducked through its legs, and ran.



“Thank you,” said Legolas, as Valandil hauled him up to safety.

The other elf placed his hand upon his heart and bowed his head. Then he asked, gently, “Lady Eowyn?”

“It has her,” replied Legolas. “I do not believe it intends to eat her,” he called to Haldir, “it seems to want her as a trophy. But we must hurry.”

“Perhaps you should see this first,” said Haldir, beckoning him over.

Legolas followed the big elf’s gaze, across the gorge, to the next peak, where a pile of bones, picked clean by scavengers, gleamed white in the sunlight. The skull, with its low forehead, frontal eye sockets, and flat muzzle was unmistakable.

“Its mate,” said Legolas.

Haldir nodded. “I believe so. And, I think,”—he pointed to a cluster of smaller bones, cradled in the mother’s long arms—“its child.”



Eowyn ran as she had never run before, doubling back into the rocks, and—knowing, now, that she had no chance out on the open plain—heading northwards, towards the forest. The going was hard but she pushed herself, blundering through gaps, jumping over fissures, falling and scrambling back to her feet, scraping her arms and her legs, cutting her hands and her knees…

She came to the end of a rock shelf and jumped, and her tired legs suddenly gave way, and for a few long moments, she sprawled upon the stones, panting.

Then something beside her moved, and she turned her head and watched, fascinated, as a piece of rock opened like an eyelid, and revealed—

Oh gods, an eye!

She watched the head—a dragon’s head—lift and turn, and the mouth, crammed with blade-like teeth, open—and she leapt to her feet, and ran again, pushing herself even harder than before. But the monster was already following, gaining upon her—

She had to get to the trees; surely she would be safe in the trees?

Then her legs gave way again and she stumbled and fell, rolling down and down, landing, winded, on her back. And she looked up and, powerless to do anything more, watched the monster lower its massive head and open its dripping jaws—

Raaaaagh!” With a furious roar, the creature—her creature—sprang from nowhere, wrestling the dragon off its feet and holding it, writhing and kicking, in a ferocious headlock. It dragged the monster down to the plain and threw it onto its back.

The dragon made one last frantic attempt to break free, but the creature, grasping its jaws, ripped them apart; and Eowyn heard the terrible sound of flesh tearing and joints bursting.

Then the struggling stopped.

The creature threw the carcase away, beating its chest in victory. Then it dropped to all fours and, almost diffidently, laid its hand, palm up, on the ground.

Eowyn could not run any further—could not, she knew, survive in this place alone—not without armour, boots, or a sword. She looked up, for the first time, into the creature’s face and saw something—someone—that had protected her. Someone she might be able to trust.

She crawled into the creature’s hand and let him carry her—up the rocky slope, up the vertical cliff, higher and higher, until they reached the summit, a flat tabletop that overlooked the plain and the forest beyond, and then—so far away that, to Eowyn's human eyes, they seemed no more than a pale, pinkish haze—the trees of Eryn Carantaur.

He set her down upon the ground, and sat beside her. And, together, they watched the sun sink slowly towards the horizon, leaving the sky a blaze of red and gold.

Eowyn smiled. “Is this your home?” she asked. “It is beautiful.”



“Is it wise?” asked Haldir, handing Legolas an extra sheath of arrows.

They had tracked the creature to within a few hundred yards of its lair. “Yes.” The smaller elf shrugged the bag over his shoulder. “By myself I can slip past without disturbing it. And when I have her… You must be waiting here, in case it follows.”

Haldir squeezed his arm. “Bring her back.”

Legolas gave him a faint smile. “I shall.” Then he set off, running silently, up through the rocks.



She looked so peaceful, lying in its hand, asleep.

Legolas ignored an unexpected pang of jealousy—the beast was sleeping too: this was his chance.

He crept closer. “Eowyn…

She raised her head and stared—confused at first, for it was almost dark—but then she smiled—a breathtaking, radiant smile—and Legolas, smiling back, held out his hands. Slowly, she climbed out of the beast’s huge fist, pausing when the creature stirred—and Legolas reached for his bow—but it did not wake and, after a moment, she dropped safely to the ground.

Legolas grasped her hand, drawing her towards the trail. “Can you walk, melmenya,” he whispered, “or must I carry you?”

“I can walk, Lassui.” But she squeezed his fingers, stopping him in his tracks.

“What?” he mouthed.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “For coming for me.”

“Oh, melmenya…”

“I love you.”

“Le annon veleth nín,” muttered Legolas. ”But you must come now, Eowyn nín.”



They rejoined the others without incident, and carried on down the hillside, and Legolas began to think that they might even cross the plain, and reach the gates, before the creature awoke and found Eowyn missing. But she will slow us down, he thought, watching her struggle bravely to keep pace with him. “Melmenya,” he said, firmly, “I must carry you now.” And, before she could begin to protest, he lifted her into his arms.

They descended onto the plain, and Legolas broke into a run, with Haldir and Valandil flanking him right and left, and the others bringing up the rear, all with arrows nocked and ready. The herd had returned to its territory, and was grazing peacefully along the northern margin—A good sign, thought Legolas. They will alert us should the predators

His elven senses warned him a split-second before he heard the roar, and he dropped to his knees, and shielded Eowyn with his body as the furious animal tumbled over his head and landed in front of him, pounding its chest.

In perfect formation, his warriors raised their bows.

"No!" cried Eowyn, scrambling to her feet. “No! Do not hurt him. Please!” She threw herself between the elves and the creature, protecting it with outstretched arms. “He saved me,” she said, “he risked his life for me. Let him go.”

The creature snarled at the elves and, dropping down on all fours, caged Eowyn in its forelegs.

Legolas approached, cautiously. “It will not go, melmenya… Not without you. Come away.” He slowly reached out to her. “Come to me—”

The creature roared, and swung its arm, threatening to bat the elf away; Legolas dodged; the elven warriors drew their bows; and Eowyn ran to Legolas, throwing her arms around him. “No!” she cried, “No! No!”

The creature watched her intently.

“You cannot kill him Lassui,” said Eowyn. “It was you who said that we should leave this world as we found it. Make them lower their bows, Lassui, please.”

Legolas looked from Eowyn to the beast and back again. “Can you make it go back, melmenya? Can you convince it to let you go free?”

“I can try. Give me a chance.”

Legolas signalled the elves to lower their bows. “Go on, then,” he said, gently, trying not to think of what he would have to do—or of how they would live with the consequences—if she were to fail. Then, “Wait,” he cried, suddenly. “Let me come with you.”



Hand-in-hand, they approached the creature.

The animal backed away, growling, but Legolas, remembering his encounter with its smaller cousin in Far Harad, spoke quietly. “Heniach nin?”

The creature looked sadly at Eowyn.

“Eowyn i eneth dîn—” said Legolas. “Man eneth lín?”

The creature grunted a reply.

“He says that men call him ‘Kong’,” said Legolas. “Say his name, melmenya.”

Smiling nervously, Eowyn said, “Kong.”

The creature frowned in surprise.

Legolas continued, in Elvish, “She cares for you; a moment ago she saved your life—”

Kong growled, shaking his head from side to side.

“You know that we are not like the men of the city—you know that, even with these small weapons,” he swept his hand to indicate the elven warriors standing behind him, “we will find a way to hurt you if we have to.”

“Legolas?” Eowyn understood enough of Elvish to recognise the threat.

“We are two princes, Eowyn nín, negotiating terms.” He continued, “We do not want to harm you; it is not our way.” He glanced at Eowyn. “She does not want us to harm you. But I cannot let you—”

“No,” said Eowyn, catching Legolas’ arm, “stop.” She gave him a reassuring squeeze. Then she walked up to Kong’s right hand and waited. It took the creature a moment to understand; but then he turned his hand over, and unclenched his fist, and Eowyn climbed onto his palm.

He lifted her up to his face.

“He is only threatening you to protect me,” she said, “because I am his wife and he loves me. Will you let me go with him?” She could not tell whether he understood her human speech, but she persisted. “Will you let me go, Kong?”

For a few long moments the creature was silent. Then he spoke; and, to Eowyn’s astonishment, though her ears heard nothing but grunts, her mind—or, perhaps, her spirit—instantly knew his meaning.

“Yes,” she said, “I do. With all my heart. For ever.”

Slowly, Kong lowered his hand and set her down beside Legolas.



When they reached the western edge of the plain, just before they entered the narrow pass that would take them, through the rocks, to the forest and thence to the great wall of the city, Eowyn looked back and, for a few moments, watched the small, solitary figure crossing the empty grassland, making his way home.