Oh, dear gods, no
Gripping the edge of the flet, Eowyn looked downunseenfrom
the lofty platform. Two men, grotesquely cloaked in wolf skins,
had shoved Legolas to his knees.
Why does he not resist? She leaned down, peering anxiously
at the elf. His hands were bound behind his back. But why is
he not struggling, she wondered. Gods, what have they done
to him? More wolf-men crowded in on him, blocking her view.
What are they DOING?
She felt a motionno more than a movement of the airbeside
her and, dragging her eyes from Legolas, she turned to find that
one of the warriors Haldir had sent to protect her had leaped
onto the flet, and was crouching beside her.
She looked back at Legolas. I must do something, she thought.
Three up here againsthow many?five on the ground.
What can I do?
The knot of wolf-men suddenly parted to admit a sixth shadowy
figure. Eowyn saw him reach for Legolas faceNo!
she hissedand her hand went for her sword, but the elf beside
her grasped her arm and, reading the warning on his face, she
instantly made a decision. Find Haldir, she whispered.
It was unnecessary to say more. The elf nodded. And, rising gracefully,
he sprang onto to a nearby bough, and disappeared into the foliage.
Eowyn signalled to his human companion. Come,
she gestured. Quickly.
The wordnot spoken, but growledsent a shiver through
Eowyns body and she swallowed hard, trying to control her
trembling limbs. That is no man, she thought.
It is a monster, and Lassui is in its power
Gaur, whispered a voice at her elbow. Eowyns
hand flew to her mouth, suppressing a cry of surpriseshe
had forgotten that she had summoned the second warrior. A
werewolf, my Lady, said the man.
And the others? The creature had pushed Legolas down
on all fours.
But mortal men? Again her hand went to her sword;
she loosened it in its scabbard.
Can you shoot the werewolf from here? Kill it? Forgetting
her fear of heights, she scrambled to her feet.
Yes,Osgar fitted an arrow to his bowbut
a simple arrow cannot kill a demon, my Lady. He took aim.
Down on the ground, the werewolf had dropped to its kneesEowyn
saw it seize Legolas by the waist
SHOOT, she cried, launching herself down the
spiralling stair, shootshootshoot them ALL!
Half running, half tumbling, she plunged downwardsdimly
aware of the arrows whistling past heroblivious to the pain
that jolted her body each time she slipped down the steps and
lurched into the tree trunk.
She heard the werewolf roarsaw it rise up on its knees,
twisting in pain, and rip an arrow from its shoulderheard
it barking orders to its men who, though harried by Osgar, rushed
to the foot of the stairand Eowyn knew that she had little
chance of surviving the next few minutes.
But, in the confusion, Legolas had been forgottenHaldir
will come soon, she thought, and then Lassui will be safeand
that was all that mattered now.
On she went.
Then, from the corner of her eye, she spotted Gimli, trussed
like a rabbit but struggling to free himself and, with renewed
hope, she leapt over the handrail and miraculously hit the ground
running. And, dodging one of the wolf-men (who threw out his arms
to catch her), she drew her sword, and sliced through the dwarfs
bonds, before turning and darting back to face the werewolf.
Behind her, Gimliwith a blood-curdling crybroke free
of the ropes and, armed with nothing but a knotted cord, charged
Get away from Legolas! cried Eowyn. Move!
The creature turned.
Amidst the chaos of shouts and screams, and the falling arrows,
their eyes met; and Eowyn saw something alter in the creatures
gaze; and she felt its desire, like a physical touch, violating
her at her very core, and she heard its seductive whisper: Give
yourself to me and become like mecheat death, and live forever
Cheat death, thought Eowyn, feeling a longing swell within
I AM ALREADY IMMORTAL, she roared, swinging
It was a clumsy stroke, but anger gave her strength, and surprise
was on her side. Her steel sank into flesh and bone.
The werewolf threw back its head and howled.
She struck again, slashing its belly.
The creature dropped to all fours.
Eowyn raised her sword in a high guard, and moved in for the