Legolas walked dreamily through the forest surrounding Rivendell. His heart was pounding; he didn’t want to walk dreamily through the forest surrounding Rivendell, he wanted to run for his life, preferably all the way back to Mirkwood. This was even scarier than the spiders.

The problem was that he couldn’t do anything but walk dreamily through the forest surrounding Rivendell.

Some power had taken control of him, forcing him to behave, speak, and even think in ways alien and sometimes downright repulsive to him.

Finally it loosed his hold, leaving him to collapse to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut. He lay gasping for a moment, then staggered back to his feet, grabbing a handful of his hair and pulling it to within his view. It had returned to its normal brown colour. Good. That meant the spell was ignoring him for the moment. When he was under its influence his hair went blond, like his father’s, and he didn’t understand why nobody had spotted this and realised that something was wrong.
It had begun with that girl: the one that called herself Deimos, the princess of SilverWood, some lost realm of the Elven people. In his right mind, he knew that there was no such place, and that no true elf-lord would ever abuse his daughter simply for being born a girl, as she claimed her father did. But under the spell he had believed it, and had felt pity for her, and when she had met him just now he had even kissed her…

Pausing at a small stream, he cupped some water in his hands and used it to wash out his mouth. Dimfeníel was going to kill him for that, he’d never be able to explain. Foul sorceress! And she had a wish to join the Ringbearer and his servant on their journey to Mordor. No, he could not allow it. Was there anything he could do to prevent her going with them? It was such a risk, she had this power over others, and he sensed that she was of evil will. If her story was true, then some shadow lay over her homeland and its people. Surely Master Elrond would agree with him and prevent her going? But what if she used her power on him also?

It was worth a try.

As an afterthought, Legolas braided a lock of his hair so that it was within his view at all times. It annoyed him to have it in the corner of his vision, but it would provide warning of the spell’s return. As soon as he saw it paling, he was in trouble. Maybe he’d be able to fight it with enough warning. Then he hurried back towards the house and through the corridors to Elrond’s study. He tapped on the door and pushed it open when Elrond called, “Minno!”

“Master Elrond?”

“Legolas?” Elrond stood up. “Are you well? You look very pale.”

Legolas shook his head. “Master Elrond, I must speak to you before the fit returns. It’s Deimos. I don’t trust her, and I fear that she will try to join Frodo and Samwise.”

Elrond looked very serious as he sat down again. “Why don’t you trust her?”

Legolas hesitated, but then ploughed on. “This will sound insane, Master Elrond. I am under a spell that forces me to act, speak and think things against my will and nature. It began when I first saw her, and makes itself apparent mostly when I am in her presence. I fear that she might be able to use this power on Frodo and Samwise, perhaps to force Frodo to give her the Ring, or prevent him from destroying it.”

“It would indeed sound as though you were losing your reason, Legolas, but for the fact that you are not the only person to have noticed something wrong. Boromir, son of Denethor, has also come to me with his concerns. I also noticed that at the council your hair was blond, not brown as it usually is, and that you did not seem yourself.”

“That happens when I am under the influence of the spell, hence the fact that I have braided my hair thus, so that I might have some warning.” As Legolas spoke, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that the braid was lightening. “Master Elrond…”

“I see.” Elrond stood up again, and moved to place his hand on Legolas’ shoulder. “We will find a way to break the spell, Legolas. Avo ‘osto.”

Legolas closed his eyes tight, trying not to say the words that lay on his tongue like poison. Eventually, however, he could resist no longer and choked out, “Lord Elrond, I want to talk to you about Deimos. I think she would be the best elf to join the fellowship.” Well, that remark was barely comprehensible. What was this fellowship?

“Why’s that, Legolas Greenleaf?” asked Elrond. He looked slightly wild-eyed, Legolas thought. Was the spell affecting him too? His accent had changed. As Legolas spoke again he realised that his had too. At least now he was aware of something wrong. Before, his behaviour had seemed normal until it wore off.

“They say that the elf-women of SilverWood have magic powers and are attuned to the spirits of the forest. She would be of more use to Frodo and Sam than I would.”

“Indeed, but I believe that you should go with her. I see something between you two that may yet flourish and grow.”

Legolas bowed his head. “Very well, Lord Elrond. I too will join the Fellowship of the Ring.”

Then the spell released them. Legolas grabbed the edge of the desk to support himself and Elrond fell back into his chair.

“If I did not believe you before, Legolas, I would now. What is to be done?”

“I know not, Master Elrond. I fought, but I could not resist it. What was that talk of her being ‘attuned to the spirits of the forest’? Did I mean that she spoke with the Onodrim, or… I know not!”

“One thing is clear,” said Elrond, steepling his fingers. “She does indeed intend to accompany Frodo and Samwise to Mount Doom, and she wants you with her.” He frowned and added, half under his breath, “‘Something between you that may yet flourish and grow’? Those words passed my lips?”

“Is there any way that we can stop her?”

Elrond frowned still more. “I cannot see a way. Certainly, just now we could not resist saying what she wanted. I am assuming, of course, that this is her will. She may be just as much of a victim as we are.”

Legolas snorted. “I doubt that. She seems to be enjoying this situation far too much. Also, her story, her origins, do not ring true.”

“I have been looking at all the maps that I can find. There is no realm, Elven or mortal, named SilverWood or any variant on such a foolish and strange name. There never has been.”

“Then she is lying to us, as I suspected.”

“Indeed.” Elrond tugged on a bell-pull and after a moment a servant arrived, coming in and bowing. “Could you go and see if Boromir of Gondor is still awake? If so, I would like to see him.”

“Very well, my lord.” The servant left again.

“Boromir?” asked Legolas, “From what I remember from the council, he was an oaf. What could he bring to this conversation?”

Elrond smiled, his eyes twinkling with mirth for a moment. “I’m sure that he felt you were a lovelorn fool, the way that you were behaving at the council.”
Legolas shrugged, then looked round as there was a knock on the door.

“Minno!” Elrond called. The servant entered and announced that Boromir was here, then left. A tall, dark-haired man entered the room. He looked weary, but his eyes were alert. He glanced at Legolas, then focused his attention on Elrond.

“You sent for me, Master Elrond?”

“I did. I’d like to introduce you to Legolas Thranduion. Legolas, this is Boromir of Gondor. After a fashion, you met at the Council.”

Boromir stared at Legolas, who stared back, taking in a considerably more Númenórean-looking mortal than he had seen earlier. Gone was the red-blond hair and permanently malevolent expression, to be replaced with neat black locks and a look of curiosity and surprise; Boromir evidently thought the same about him.

“Deimos?” he asked. He did not need to elaborate.

Legolas nodded. “You too?”

“Indeed. If you are Legolas, then I would like to apologise for what I said at the Council.”

“Ú-moe edaved. I behaved like a fool.”

Elrond smiled again. “As you have discovered, you have a problem in common. As you are the only people to have complained, though I do not believe that you were the only ones affected, I thought that it would be beneficial for you to form some sort of alliance.”

Legolas and Boromir considered one another in silence.

“I suppose that we will at least discuss it,” said Boromir. He laughed a little. “It seems that in this case I am like my people, though on a smaller scale: though I do not ask for aid, I need it.”

The two fellow-sufferers walked side-by-side away from Elrond’s office, each wondering how to strike up a discussion. Legolas agreed that it was true that they needed to at least be allies against this threat, even if not friends.

“She intends to accompany the Ringbearer to Mordor,” he said softly.

Boromir blinked. “I do not like that. That woman is evil, I feel it in my very bones.”

“I know. But she forced me to beg Master Elrond to allow her to do so. I think that she also wants me to be with her.”

“You?” Boromir stared at him. “I noticed that she seemed to have a great interest in you at the council. I do not mean offence, but I cannot imagine why.”

“Nor can I. Clearly my true form does not please her, but when I am under her spell I am fairer, but so dim-witted that I am ashamed to remember it. And you? What interest does she have in making you behave so foully?”

“I know not.” Boromir shook his head. “I have never felt that women were unworthy of respect, and have certainly never entertained such thoughts as she placed in my head as I looked at her.”

Legolas looked curiously at him, trying very hard not to ask the question. It wasn’t necessary. Boromir kept talking under his breath.

“I would never dream of forcing myself on a woman, and to think that of all the women in the world I would choose her…”

Legolas decided that this would be a good moment to interrupt. “She forces me to court her as a lover.” He laughed a little. “I cannot imagine how I will explain to my wife when I return home.”

“Does she know that you’re married?”

“No! I try to tell her, but you know how it is…”

“I do indeed, unfortunately.”

“She made me kiss her.”

“She is not even pretty, when you look at her with clear ey-” Boromir suddenly fell silent. His eyes glazed over. His hair was lightening and he was becoming shorter even as Legolas watched. Realising what was happening, he glanced at his braid, and gasped as he saw that his brown hair was becoming blond.

“Oh no,” he breathed. “Boromir… Boromir!”

Boromir was already too far gone. Suddenly he whirled round and grabbed Legolas by the front of his tunic, slamming him against the wall.

“That she-elf is mine, understand?” he hissed, spittle flying from his lips. “Mine!”

“Never, foul mortal!” Legolas, despite himself, spat out the word. “You will never have her. I love her and will defend her!”

“Really?” Another bruising blow for Legolas’ back against the wall. “You can’t fight me any more than that little rat of a woman can.”

“Don’t speak of her like that!”

“Why not? They are all the same. Temptresses. Good for nothing except what’s between their legs.”

“How dare you?” yelled Legolas. His fist slammed into Boromir’s gut, doubling the man over. In response, Boromir punched him across the face. He slumped, dazed, to the floor, but managed to knock Boromir down as well by kicking his legs out from under him.

Boromir picked himself up and gave Legolas a kick. “You wait, elf. You both wait. I’ll have her one day, and nothing you can do will stop me.” Then he turned and walked away, leaving Legolas gasping for breath, his mind fogged with pain.

Then booted feet hurried back to his side. Boromir sounded panicked. “Legolas? Valar, Legolas, forgive me! Can you hear me?”

“Aye… I can hear you.” Legolas lay still. “I am dazed, that is all. Did I hurt you?”

“No. Well, I’ll feel it in the morning, but it’s not too bad. How’s your back?”

“Bruised, but I’ll live.” Legolas was now able to open his eyes. “Can you help me to sit up?”

Boromir propped him up, leaning against the wall. Legolas grinned wanly.

“Now, what were you saying?”
Boromir smiled back, looking nervous. “That she’s not even pretty, if you look at her with clear eyes.”

“Indeed not.” Legolas closed his eyes as another spell of dizziness came and went. “Ai, Filegion should have come instead of me. He was always the stronger.”


“My brother. We were jointly in charge of guarding Gollum. I came instead of him to break the news of the creature’s escape.”

Boromir smiled a little. “I know how you feel. Perhaps my brother, Faramir, would also have fared better than I.”

Legolas laughed, wincing as it made his head throb. “Well, as Legolas and Boromir are here instead of Filegion and Faramir, they must make the best of it! Come, help me up.”

Boromir got Legolas’ arm around his shoulder and began to help him to stand. Suddenly, however, he hesitated.
“You are going blond.”

Legolas’ vision was darkening. “I… I think I am… losing… consciousness…” he murmured, his words becoming more disjointed as he spoke. He had barely finished when his senses deserted him and he went limp in Boromir’s arms.


He regained consciousness slowly to find himself on the ground. He wondered muzzily where Boromir was.

‘Oh no!’ he thought. ‘Deimos! I hope that he has not gone to her, she cannot fight him, he will kill her!’ The little part of him that was yet free thought, ‘Here goes.’

He opened his eyes to find the corridor empty. He picked himself up and moaned in a heartfelt manner, then went down again.

“Legolas!” cried a shrill, female voice. Deimos. She lifted him up and cradled his head on her knees.

“Deimos, my beloved,” he croaked. “You must leave Rivendell at once.” Rivendell? Why was he using the mortal name for Imladris?

“But why? Leggy, who has done this to you?”

When he broke the spell, he was going to shake her until she called him by his name.

“Boromir,” he whispered. “Deimos, he said that he would rape you. I could not fight him…”

“Don’t worry, my darling Leggy. I can fight him. I am even better at karate than you are, after all.”

He made a mental note to ask what ‘karate’ was.

“Yes, my dearest. I know.”

She called out for help and several servants came running. They lifted Legolas onto a litter and took him to the healing wing, where Elrond waited to treat his bruises. All the while, Deimos was beside him, simpering and expressing false sympathy. Inside, Legolas was seething. She had forced Boromir to do this, after all. How dare she offer such censure of his actions?

“Will he be all right, Elrond?” she asked.

Elrond nodded. “He’ll be fine. I’ll give him some of my famous sleep tea and he will be right as rain come morning. I suggest that you go and rest. This has been a shock for you. I will send some guards to keep watch outside your room. That filthy mortal will not touch you.”

“Thank you, Elrond,” she said, “But I can defend myself, should Boromir try to attack me.”

She leaned over Legolas and kissed him, then seemed about to depart, but hovered at the door until Elrond had given him a drink from a goblet. It didn’t taste of very much. Then she was gone. Legolas saw out of the corner of his eye that his braid had gone dark again.

Elrond smiled a little. “How do you feel, Legolas? Was it truly Boromir?”

“It was,” said Boromir, stepping out of the shadows behind Elrond. “Could none of you see me?”

“No,” said Legolas, sitting up. “I wondered where you had gone.”

“I was beside you all the time. You were unconscious for about an hour. I tried to raise the alarm, or move you, at least to get you out of the corridor, but nobody could hear me and when I tried to touch you my hands melted through you as if I were a wraith.”

“She wanted to find him,” muttered Elrond.

“Master Elrond?” Legolas toyed with a corner of blanket. “I have two small questions: first: what was that that you gave me?”

“Water with a herb to dull your pain.” Elrond frowned. “Famous sleep tea indeed,” he scoffed. “I have no such thing.”

“And what is karate?”

They blinked at him.

“Apparently she’s better at it than me and so will be able to fight off Boromir’s unwanted attentions.”

Legolas grinned at Boromir in apology.

“Well, I have never heard of it,” said Elrond, and looked at Boromir.

“I once heard it mentioned in passing.” Boromir frowned. “I think it is an Easterling style of unarmed combat.”

“She is in league with the Morbenath, then?” muttered Legolas. “I wonder what else she has brought from beyond Mordor? Her allegiance, for example?”

Boromir nodded. “I hope that she does not force me to…” Unwilling to say it, he just continued, “Before I have learned to resist her.”

“So do we all.” Legolas shuddered. “I hope that she does not plan any more violent confrontations between you and I – at least until these bruises have healed.” Though the pain was numbed, Legolas’ abused muscles were stiffening. He’d feel it in the morning but hopefully – elves healed fast, after all – it would be better by nightfall.

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