They said their farewells at the foot of the cliff, Eowyn crossing
her heart and hoping to die if she did not return at the appointed
time orat Legolas insistencesoon after,
and the dragon promising to eat nothing but wild beasts whilst
it waited for her.
Then the couple resumed their journey, skirting Emyn Arnen
until they reached the main Caras Arnen road, then following
it northwards, taking Prince Arthurriding Arodand
Sir Borsgently coaxing the highly strung marewith
This is very kind of you, said Arthur to Eowyn,
who was riding beside him. I only hope that your friend
will not mind the intrusion.
Faramir will be delighted to meet men from a hitherto
unknown region, Eowyn replied. He is a scholar,
and a great lover of lore. Then she added, And,
though his library is not so extensive as the Library at Eryn
Carantaur, I am sure there will be something there about
your homeland, and where to find it.
Arthur glanced at Legolas, running effortlessly at his wifes
side. You speak of Prince Faramir warmly, he said
We are old friends, said Eowyn.
They broke their journey at midday, having reached the great
cliffs of Amon aer where, sheltering in the lee of the
hills, they shared a simple meal of lembas bread and melted
I understand from your husband, said Arthur, watching
Legolas water the horses, that you are skilful with a
sword, my Lady. Perhaps, when we reach the City, and you are
sufficiently restedand with Lord Legolas permission,
of courseyou will do me the honour of sparring with mewe
might teach Sir Bors here a thing or two.
I do not need my husbands permission to spar, Prince
Arthur, said Eowyn, rising to her feet and drawing her
sword. And I am ready now.
You have challenged a Shieldmaiden, Prince Arthur,
said Legolas, laughing.
Arthur looked from Eowyn to Legolas and back again. Very
He rose, and drew his own sword.
The pair assumed their guard positions, each watching the other
Then Eowyn struck, and Arthur parried; Eowyn struck again,
and Arthurs parry was less elegant; Eowyn struck a third
time, and Arthur forgot that he was fighting a Lady, and began
sparring in earnest.
Blow followed blow; the pair circled, cutting and thrusting
until, suddenly, their swords locked.
Sir Bors, who had been watching the fight avidly, moved in
closer. He was aware (though, perhaps, his Lord had forgotten)
that the position now favoured Arthur, since Eowyn was physically
smaller, and undoubtedly the weaker of the two
But it was Eowyn who broke the deadlock, swinging her hands
down, and to the left, throwing Arthurs blade aside, and
leaving her own swords point poised at his throat.
Arthur reeled back, startled.
Then a slow smile spread across his face, and he dropped his
sword, and raised his hands in surrender. You are
good, he said, with genuine admiration. I only wish
But the words died in his throat when the red whirlwindabsent
so long that he had almost forgotten its existencerose
up from nowhere and surged towards him, eating a path through
Arthur backed away, looking frantically for a refuge.
Behind him soared the mighty wall of Amon aer.
There was nowhere for him to hide.