Note: This is a crossover fic between ElfQuest and Lord of the Rings – only, it's a crossover between alternate versions of both.
In this version of ElfQuest, Aroree never stole baby Windkin, and therefore Winnowill still rules Blue Mountain, and the Wolfriders have let her be.
In this version of Lord of the Rings, Eowyn died after killing the Witch-King of Angmar. Before dying, she took the ring from his finger… and therefore her ghost is trapped on Arda, and subservient to the One Ring. Her ghost has the semblance of a young man of Rohan – in this universe, Eowyn is not only a crossdresser but a true transvestite. Her soul was always male.
If you want to read more about this version of Eowyn, read my fanfic 'No Living Man', under my old username Arwen Imladviel.
Dernhelm meets a Lord
When the One Ring was destroyed, the tortured wraith doing battle with the eight other wraiths, the soul that had once been Eowyn of Rohan, was released from its bondage. Being a mortal soul, it did not go to Mandos. It should have gone on to the end of time, to the Last Song.
Instead, it met a being on its heavenward journey. She had yellow eyes, like the eyes of a snake. She was in fact an aspect of Desire of the Endless, but that is another story entirely. What matters is she cupped Eowyn's soul in the palm of her hand, and spoke to her:
"Dernhelm… you belong to me. I have spoken with your creator. He agrees you were taken too soon from life, and deserve a second chance, on a kinder world. You will not be born again. You will be sent back, like Glorfindel was sent back, like Luthien was sent back… but this time… you will serve a different Lord. I think you shall like it."
Dernhelm looked at her, with steel-blue eyes. "But what other world? Surely the world is one?"
The yellow-eyed one smiled, and kissed Dernhelm's soul. "You will discover the truth, soon enough. And remember, Death shall not touch you until you Desire death to take you. I have made a pact with Death. Death is patient, Death is kind. Death will wait for you when you desire her embrace."
And Dernhelm's soul turned into a little star, and soared through the skies, into the void. She passed Morgoth in his imprisonment, and he tried to snatch at her, but she was too fast, always too fast for the boys to catch was our Dernhelm. As a meteor she descended to a planet with two moons, a round planet – it made her wonder if her Arda was round too, and it occurred to her she hadn't bothered to look back when she'd left it. That is our Dernhelm, never looking back.
Just when she thought she was going to hit the ground, all sense of speed and fire left her. Instead, she found herself inside a small space, in darkness. She felt around with her arms and found herself encased in an egg-shaped cave, or possibly an egg. She hammered her fists on the wall of her prison and felt it give way. She hammered harder, until the wall broke. It shattered just like an eggshell when the hatchling breaks it. She looked out. Around her was a forest, and in the forest, she could see shapes of people watching her.
Dernhelm looked down on her body. It was a woman's body, which she found slightly disappointing, but it was a living body, and this, at least, was a definite improvement from wraith-flesh. It was also quite embarrassingly naked.
Eowyn, discarding the name Dernhelm since she had no disguise to match it, broke two large pieces out of the eggshell and covered her body with them. She walked out from the shards and approached the people in the shadows. They stepped back deferentially, and she could see they were human, but not like the people of Rohan and Gondor. They wore simple leather clothes, decorations made of bone and stone, and most of their weapons were spears and bows, with stone spearpoints and arrowheads – although a few spears glinted like metal, and were held as if they were precious treasures.
All these people were men, about twelve of them, ranging in age from a teenage boy to a white-bearded old man. He seemed as old as Theoden, but not ill – no more ill than Theoden had been after Gandalf healed him. And like Theoden, it seemed this old man was the ruler of these men.
Eowyn waited for him to speak.
After a while she realized he was waiting for her to speak. Not knowing if he'd understand her words, she said, in her native tongue:
"I am Eowyn Eomund's daughter. I come in peace."
As she spoke she realized the words had a strange shape in her mouth and a strange sound to her ears – it seemed her native speech was not that of Rohan anymore.
All the men, even the old man, bowed to her. They knelt on the ground in supplication.
"Please rise. I have been sent here to serve the Lord of this land."
The men stood up, nodding to each other. It seemed all was as they had expected.
"That would be Lord Winnowill who Dwells on High, as you must know, Most Holy Eowyn Eomund's Daughter." The old man pronounced her father's name as if it were the name of a God.
Eowyn realized her appearance must seem at least as bizarre to these men as it did to herself. She'd come in a big egg falling from the sky. Of course the primitive folk would think her some kind of Goddess. Humans didn't hatch from eggs.
"Indeed, I did not know. I know nothing of this land. I come from very far away." She admitted. Eowyn, as a member of the noble class, was used to getting respect, but she would never pretend to be a divine being. Her body felt definitely human, and hungry.
"Welcome, Most Holy Skyborn One. We had prophecies of your coming. The Bird Spirits have been expecting you. And even without their foreknowledge, we'd have known a woman hatching from an egg has been sent to Lord Winnowill who Dwells on High." He pointed at a nearby mountain. "There lies Blue Mountain, and inside it, Lord Winnowill will be awaiting you."
Eowyn suddenly shivered, as if someone had walked over her grave. Perhaps someone had, on Middle-Earth. "If I am to meet a lord, I think I should get some clothes first." She suggested.
A young man stepped forward: "You can get some from my wife. She is about your size, Most Holy One." From him the title didn't seem to mean much, no more than 'milady' from a knight of Rohan. Eowyn guessed he was not religious, or at least not convinced she was that different from his wife.
The men walked with her to a small village, where everything looked like stories she'd heard of the poorer parts of Harad – very primitive. The people lived in huts, there were a lot of children, and there was not much metal to be seen, or any sign of a smithy. The children laughed at the naked woman walking into the village, but the men scorned them, telling them she was a Holy One.
"Let them laugh," Eowyn said, "I laughed at naked people when I was little, too."
The young man brought a woman to Eowyn. The woman was rather dark-skinned, like all the people here, she had luxuriant brown hair, and gentle eyes. She seemed a bit shy. She was of Eowyn's height and size, and rather beautiful in an exotic way.
"Hello. I'm Eowyn. Your husband says I could borrow some of your clothes. As you can see, I need some."
The woman smiled. "I'm Nita, Honoured One. I will give you my best dress. It is a gift. Please accept it."
Eowyn had never bought a dress in her lifetime. Other people had always given her everything she needed. She was a princess. But not one without manners. "Thank you very much, Nita. I will mention your kindness to Lord Winnowill, when I meet him."
Nita gave a startled little giggle. "Lord Winnowill is a she, Honoured One. A female. The Bird Spirits are not like us."
Eowyn gasped. "Thank you for telling me this, Nita."
While the woman went to get the dress, Eowyn stood alone and pondered. What was a Bird Spirit? Some kind of tribal god? Some weird bird-creature? A wraith or ghost? She would have to wait and see. At least they had females… a definite improvement from the Ringwraiths, that.
Nita came back and led Eowyn to one of the little huts. She helped Eowyn dress in a beautiful leather dress with a long skirt, but no sleeves. Eowyn hoped the hair in her armpits would not show – she hadn't worn a sleeveless dress in public since she was a little girl. In Rohan and Gondor, dresses had sleeves, and that was that. Eowyn was ready to go, but Nita held her back, and together with two other women, they spent a good while decorating Eowyn's hair with feathers and her arms with bracelets and armbands made of the teeth of animals and some beautiful but rough blue-green stones. Eowyn touched her hair and realized she wore a braided hairdo of a Rohan woman, and had had it already when she arrived. Her hair was long again, as if she'd never been Dernhelm. She did not know what to think of this.
"Shouldn't we get going? I was told the Lord is waiting." Eowyn asked impatiently. She'd never liked it when women fussed on her appearance, since she'd never bothered to fuss on it herself.
"All in good time, Honoured One. There must be the appropriate ceremonies. The drums must sound, the moons must rise… only then will the Bird Spirits allow you to enter their Mountain." One of the women told her.
Eowyn frowned. "I see. What is it like, inside the Mountain?" She asked, thinking of Aglarond, of Gimli's tales of Khazad-Dûm. On her world, only dwarves lived in mountains. And Balrogs and orcs… reminded a small voice inside her that she wished she hadn't heard. It sounded like the voice of the Hobbit, Meriadoc Brandybuck.
"You will be among the few fortunate enough to find out, Honoured One." Another woman said.
This, to Eowyn, sounded ominous. "Hasn't anyone come back to tell you about it?" She asked.
"It is a glittering world, full of light. It is your fondest wishes granted. It is everything you could ever want." One of the women said in a singsong voice.
"Calm, be calm… you will be our gift… beautiful sacrifice…" Another chanted.
Eowyn tore herself free from the women's clutches and ran out. But they had not included a weapon in her new clothes, and two men waited outside, big strong men who caught her by the arms, and forced her back in. "A sacrifice should not be unwilling. But this time, the Bird Spirits say it matters not if you come willingly or not, you must enter Blue Mountain." A voice told her, a new voice, she wasn't sure if it was male or female. It sounded very old and sharp, like the stab of an elven blade.