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Part 12

“You know a lot about dragons,” said Legolas.

“Yes—dragons are a passion of mine,” said Bors, smiling.

They had been pushing the horses hard for almost an hour, and had slowed to a walk to allow the animals a few minutes’ rest.

“It was my older brother who was destined for knighthood,” Bors continued. “I was never much good with a sword or a mace, but I can read, and reckon, and I have a good memory for facts. Had my brother not died of the pestilence, and my family not needed a representative at Uther’s court—”


“King Uther Pendragon, my Lord,”said Bors—for he had begun to treat Legolas with the respect due to one of superior standing—“Prince Arthur’s father.”

“Your Lord is a prince?”

“Indeed, my Lord.”

“That explains it,” said Legolas. He smiled. “You were saying?”

“Well, being at court has its benefits,” said Bors. “As I said, I can read. And I have read treatises on alchemy, astronomy, philosophy, and, of course, I have read bestiaries—many bestiaries.”

“Then you will know the story of how Túrin Turambar killed the dragon Glaurung,” said Legolas.

“Er... Glaurung? No, my Lord. No. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a dragon called Glaurung.”

“Well,” said Legolas, “this story may be of use to us.

“One night, as the dragon was sleeping beside a deep gorge—called Cabed-en-Aras, the Deer’s Leap, because it was so narrow—Túrin Turambar climbed down into the ravine, planning to climb up the other side, and take the beast by surprise.

“But the dragon awoke. And, as it stretched its forequarters over the gorge, and slowly hauled the rest of its bulk across, Turambar—though he was still far below—he saw his chance. He climbed like a man possessed and, the moment he was close enough, thrust his enchanted sword into the creature’s belly with all his strength.”

“And did the dragon die?”

“Eventually,” said Legolas, since—under the circumstances—the rest of Turin’s story was of little comfort.

“Do you plan to use the same tactic, my Lord?”

“I think it is certainly worth considering,” replied Legolas.

“And do you actually have an enchanted sword, my Lord?” asked Bors.

Legolas laughed. “I suspect that Prince Arthur greatly underestimates your value, mellon nín,” he said. “Come, let us ride on!”