"Some say that the Houseless (elvish spirits) desire bodies…the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes." - J.R.R. Tolkien, writing about Elvish ghosts in Middle-Earth
Returning to their homes after the War of the Ring, the great company of elves and other folk camped at Helm's Deep for two days. The first night, Legolas watched Galadriel and Elrond, their robes trailing, lifting lanterns and walking the boundaries of their camp. Their soft, rhythmic voices came to him from afar. His keen eyes saw strange shimmerings clustered in the air around them. Curious, Legolas left his companions and went to speak to Elladan, the nearest person who might know what was happening.
"What do the Wise do about the edges of the camp?" Legolas asked. "Do they speak to the tree-spirits of Fangorn?"
"No. They cast wards against the Houseless Ones, wandering elf-spirits. Mortals would say they were ghosts of the elvish dead." Elladan spoke to him quietly, in a voice for only elfin ears to hear. "The Housless Ones have powers and desires of their own. Now that the Elven-Rings are powerless, the Elves have lost some warding against them, and they are drawn to our living minds. Have you not felt the spirits?"
Legolas smiled lightly. "I know of the Houseless, but I am no loremaster like you, to remember all the tales and names of old. Nor have I felt their touch. Should I try and sense these spirits?" he asked.
"No!" said Elladan. "And be wary if they come to you. Some of them are fair, and bring only visions from their memories. But others are cruel. They spurn the Halls of Mandos because they fear their fate; kinslayers, elves drawn into evil and worse. Such there have been in our past. Fair and fearsome alike miss the bodies that once housed them, and crave the sensations they once knew."
The pair watched as the two Wise stopped in their walking. Each lifted their lantern high, and Legolas heard them cry out a word of command: Ega! Then they returned to the camp without looking back. Legolas saw a few shimmerings near where the Wise had stood; then the ghost-lights were gone.
"Perhaps others are troubled. For myself, after the Stone of Erech, I do not fear the Dead," said Legolas.
Elladan's look was deep. "Maybe you should, Legolas. Maybe you should."
Legolas did not remember this conversation until more than two months had passed, on the last day of October. He had finally parted from Gimli on the dwarf-road near Mirkwood. Unwilling to leave his friend, he had journeyed further than he needed to, almost to the edge of Mirkwood's marshes. Faring back towards his home, he followed one of the streams east into the woods. It was his first time alone in months, and it struck him deeply. His path seemed wild and weary as evening fell. The sunset had the melancholy of the last moments of autumn, coming back to seduce with a warm day before winter set in.
Legolas walked on beside the stream until the full moon had risen. Where the stream plunged down to form a small pool, he paused to rest a while, perched on a great curved rock of black siltstone that loomed above the pool. He watched the falling water, where fish gleamed and leaped at the evening's insects. Legolas stripped and dove gracefully into the pool's deeps. After a few turns in the water, he caught a fish and killed it, swift and kind. Water ran off him like quicksilver as he climbed back up to the great rock. It was pleasant to sit there; the stone trapped the heat of the day, it seemed. There, he ate the fish after the fashion of the simplest wood-elves, slicing it finely, eating the melting slivers of its clean flesh raw. If Gimli had been there, his friend would have teased him for it. Legolas smiled at the thought, missing their banter.
He still wondered at it that he and Gimli were become such fast friends. And it seemed even stranger that there were few such friendships between Elves and Dwarves. The elder kindreds of the world were more akin than they knew. What had it been like in the ages of the past, before the Sindar Elves and the Dwarves fought and gained their grudge? Perhaps the elven-smiths of legend had visited the great dwarf-cities of Nogrod and Belegost, named by the dwarves Tumunzahar and Gabilgathol. He was surprised at his memory, for he did not remember learning those names.
Thought drew him in again. Nogrod, now; what would Nogrod have been like? It seemed to rise clear in his mind, as if he had walked there with fond eyes. He pictured great hallways flagged with stone of red and dark yellow in intricate patterns; copper lanterns on the walls; soaring arches more graceful than those of Khazad-Dum hewn from the red sandstone of the Nogrod caves. A vision came to him of a great hall with a hundred forges and a sizzling crucible at its centre, with a chiming din of smith-work, dwarf-lads pumping bellows, and the folk of the Stone-Masters singing deep as they forged and carved.
A fish leapt and slapped into the water below, and Legolas started at the sound. These were not the paths his mind usually took. Might these new thoughts be visions from houseless elvish spirits? Kind and sad spirits, he thought, for the visions were fair, not fearful or cruel. Unlike before, there were no shimmerings in the trees. The stream seemed to be running quiet and no night-birds called. "Fair spirits, are you there?" he whispered, feeling a touch foolish.
One is, came a foreign voice, speaking to his mind. And thou hast courage to speak me.
Legolas shivered deliciously at this new adventure. "I do not fear the Dead! What is your name, spirit? From where do you spring?"
My mother named me Lómion, and I walked Beleriand.
"Did you place the fair vision of Nogrod in me?" he asked.
Yes. I walked there, and my memory I gave thee. I worked much with the Dwarves in my youth, learning smith-craft of them. The Elves had little grudge against them then.
Legolas peered into the darkness, striving to sense Lómion. The spirit was both present and remote, as if it held back much. "Did you know of halflings then, too?"
Not wanting the spirit to withdraw, Legolas hastened to explain. "Periannath. Another mortal people?"
The spirit was cool and dismissive. All mortals are less than we of the Eldar. Perhaps I knew them and did not have that name. Why care you for the Dwarves? Few Elves do.
"The finest friend of my life is a Dwarf. It is a curious tale."
Share it with me.
Entranced by the way thought flew between himself and the unseen presence, Legolas spoke as if to a present companion. He told the story of his friendship with Gimli, up to their game that had lightened the dread battle of Helm's Deep.
Such fierce games I had as well, in my day. Legolas sensed Lómion opening up further, sharing emotions: glimmers of defiance, passion, a lust for battle.
Legolas ventured another question. "Who were your kin, Lómion?"
I was noble among the Sindar, like you, was Lómion's reply.
"It is strange how alike we are," Legolas marvelled.
That is why I revealed myself to thee. I might show thee many more memories of old. Splendid cities and daring loves.
"Show me!" Legolas demanded.
Images whirled through his mind, brighter and clearer than before. As if the memories were his own, he saw the massive upthrust mountain of Nogrod; then a glorious white city set amidst the green sward of summer. He saw a tall gate of steel, with a long metal fence, and heard how it had rung to the touch like a great harp. Then the spirit's memory slid into his body, recalling of the eager, leaping heat of a boy's first seduction, then a tender hour consoling a heartbroken warrior.
"I liked the last one best," Legolas murmured. "That is a moving vision."
I will share it with thee more fully.
The spirit shared the hour of passion in more detail, darkly sensuous and yet merciful for the riven soldier who had wept in Lómion's arms. Legolas was roused at the tale. Lómion had done as he would have pleased to, domineering the elf-man and taking him even as he consoled. "Warriors then were like warriors now, it seems!" he said, amused.
A stroke of chill ran down Legolas' spine, and a breeze touched his hair. Fair elf-man, mithril-silver one. A shame we did not walk together. Fair sport we might have had. Console me. Let me feel with thee; have pity for the Houseless. The sensuous breeze brushed low and warm. A fiery vision of lust touched Legolas for a moment, showing that the spirit could feel his desire if he, clad in a body, pleased himself
Did he feel the barest hint of a kiss on his mouth, or was it only his vision-intoxicated mind? Seduced by the strangeness of it, he murmured, "All right, spirit."
Legolas stretched his long body to lay over the curving black rock. The high moon silvered his skin and hair, even as it made the water in the plunging stream glitter like glass. He ran his two hands over his chest, stroking and flicking his nipples. The spirit hovered, yearning.
You must call me to your flesh; that is the law.
"Then come to me, Lómion."
The sense of the spirit vanished from above Legolas. The change was felt in his body, not his mind. The starting heat of self-passion seemed to double. The feel of his own hands was as exciting as if they were those of a stranger, but the sensations that they brought to him showed that he was the one who knew his body best. He closed his eyes and reached between his legs.
Be slow. I want to feel everything.
For the first, he loosely caged his phallus in his hand. The tight, chilled flesh warmed and slackened. He exhaled deeply. It was a delicious sensation, to feel himself growing hard and sensitive, filling his own hand. The spirit's presence heightened the pleasure of it. It was the best of being watched, and the purest solitude.
What a passion is in thee - you burn like white birch on a forge.
"'Tis been a long time," he gasped. "But you will see how patient I am." Legolas teased himself with the skill he would use to bring a lover to the brink, subtle caresses that drew sensation up and let it subside, to be roused higher again. Sliding his grip down his shaft, he pressed hard, so that he felt each vein pulse. Then he traced upwards and rolled the pad of his thumb across the head, catching the salty beads of fluid to slicken his hand. He felt Lómion's pleasure like a shadow in the back of his mind, compelling him and drawing him down into unrestrained lust.
Legolas did not feel the hard stone beneath him as he writhed, obeying only magnified, aching need. Vaguely, he felt that the spirit was less lost than he. Beyond caring, he arched back with a moan, so lured into his body that he paid no heed anymore to his mind. He worked his cock hard and fast now, breathing harsh. "Can you tell I draw close?" he gasped, and the spirit replied.
Yes. Spend for me, and spend hard. Now!
Arching his back, Legolas came like a gout of fire. Lust still gripped him, and he drew again on his phallus, spilling a touch more seed as he shook. "Spent twice, for both of us," he groaned, and it felt that way, so drained was he. His pulse hammering, he stretched out upon the stone. The lassitude of release took him. He kept his eyes closed as he murmured, luxuriously, "Did my body please you well, Lómion?"
Aye, kindly one. Well enough that I shall keep it for myself.
Hot hooks cut at his mind, a vile sensation, and Legolas shouted in pain. Give me your form - or suffer, the deceitful spirit said.
"NO!" Legolas rocked upright and shook his head to clear it, but the steel in his brain remained. Blazing agony shot down his spine as he resisted. Give over, the spirit whispered.
"Drawn to my body by pleasure," snarled Legolas, "you'll be riven from me by pain!" He reached for his knives. As he did, the spirit's evil power cramped and seared his arms. A lesser elf would have been lost, but Legolas had been one of the Companions of the Ringbearer, and his mind was strong against horrors. Swift in instinct, he flung himself off the rock into the stream's pool below. This was no fine dive. The water smacked him like a wall of stone, then stunned him with knife-like cold - but a clean cold. The spirit fled his mind as he let the freezing pool take him.
A minute later he surfaced, lungs afire, bruised and stung, shocked out of his sensuous trance. What had Elladan said? What had the Wise done? "Ega!" shouted Legolas, not knowing the meaning of the Quenya word of power, but feeling it with all his being; be gone! A livid light flashed in the trees over the pool, a breeze hissed. Then the forest about was still.
Shaking with battle-fury, Legolas stayed braced in the water for several minutes. Finally, he dipped his hands into the water, cleaning himself in thanks. Clean water had many virtues, he remembered. At Rivendell, it had downed the undead Nazgûl. When he staggered out of the pool, he found that the stone on which he had lain was now cold. Perhaps the spirit had dwelt in the black rock, giving it its heat. Legolas dressed quickly, shivering at the memory of how the spirit had tempted him and betrayed him. Had that houseless one been so evil when clad in flesh? What sins had the treacherous spirit hidden behind the name Lómion?
Dressed, he fastened his belt and took up his gear. If he began walking now, he would be at his father's charm-warded gates by noontide the next day. He grasped his bow at the ready. It was useless against a houseless spirit, but he felt stronger with it to hand. Then he set off, planning what of Mirkwood's finest goods he would offer to Rivendell's wise ones, as trade for some books of lore.