One after another, they climbed the rope until they reached
the arrow, which was lodged above a shallow ledge scarcely broad
enough for the three climbers to rest upon.
Bors hauled himself onto the rock, shuffled to one side, and
sat with his head in his hands, breathing heavily. Arthur, sitting
beside him, watched Legolas pull the arrow from its cleftas
easily as if the stone had been butter.
All right, said Arthur, now that has
to be sorcery.
Legolas shook his head, smiling. Elves have command of
their weapons in ways that humans do not, your Highness, but
it is not sorcery. He nocked the arrow again and, bracing
his legs, raised the bow above his head, parallel to the cliff
face, drew, and loosed.
The arrow streaked upwards, carrying the elven rope another
two hundred yards closer to the dragons lair.
They had been climbing for hours, zig-zagging from one perilous,
crumbling ledge to another perilous, crumbling ledge, but the
elfArthur noticedwas showing no signs of the fatigueOr,
he thought, lets face it, the fearthat was
wearing down him and Bors.
He came to the end of the rope and, clinging to it with one
clammy hand and two tired legs, he reached for the safety of
the rockmissed itswung forward, and banged his head
on the ledge.
The cliff and the night sky suddenly changed places as his
feet lost their grip and his head rolled back, and only his
left hand, locked in a death grip around the flimsy rope, stopped
him from falling thousands of feet to his death.
For hours (it seemed), he swung in the breeze like a pair of
Then a strong elven hand closed around his wrist, and he felt
himself being lifted bodily until his knees crashed onto the
rocky shelf, and Sir Bors threw his arms around him, and pulled
him to safety.
Thank you, he gasped, crawling forwards, with his
rump in the air. And thank you, Sir Elf. I believe,he
let out a huge breaththat that more than
makes us even.