The dragon snorted and, taking a deep, noisy breath, lifted
its head with a look of surprise.
It had woken up! Eowyn scrambled to her feet.
Y awight? it gurgled.
Yes, she said.
She was very hungry, but she did not want to send it looking
for foodwho knew what it might bring backa sheep?a
And she was also thirsty; she had her waterskinfor, when
the creature had rearranged her clothing, it had left
that hanging at her hipbut she had long since drunk it
I do need some water, she said.
The dragon took another rasping breath. Waer...
Yes. To drink.
The beast hauled itself to its feet, stretched out a foreleg,
picked her up, and threw itself off the rock shelf.
Eowyn, taken completely by surprise, screamed.
No, croaked the dragon, as its body settled
into a graceful glide, no tha noise!
It swooped downwards, through a narrow valley, then up again,
and round, and landed upon another shelf, this one much shallower
than its own, and with flowing waterspilling from a crevice
in the rocks above, and pooling at its centre.
The dragon put Eowyn down, and she ran to the waterfall and,
cupping her hands, she drank and drank. Thank you,
she gasped, wiping her mouth. Then she re-filled her waterskin.
Awight now? asked the dragon.
The beast scooped her up again and, this time, she managed
not to scream when it launched itself into the wind, and flew
her back to its lair.
The dragon curled itself around her and, propping its head
upon its forearm, peered down at her.
Eowyn stood with her head bowed, embarrassed by the beasts
Suddenly, using the very tip of one of its claws, it retrieved
her sword, and pushed it towards her. Sho me.
Eowyn picked the sword up. You mean...
Poke n prod.
Well... She blushed. Yes, all right. These
are the basic guards.
She raised the sword above her head and held it horizontal,
pointing it at an imaginary opponents head. This
is called the Ox. She brought the hilt of the sword
down to her hip, blade pointing upwards. This is the Plough.
She lowered the swords point, inviting her enemy to strike.
The Fool. She raised her hands above her
shoulders, ready to slice downwards. Over the roof.
And, finally... She brought the blade down to her side.
Then she executed the guards a second time, moving gracefully
from one to another; then a third, adding more footwork; and
then a fourth time, moving more fluidly still, dancing around
the space formed by the beasts body...
Hmm, said the dragon. Nice.