About twenty paces to the south, Arthur spotted a small section
of stone wall, badly decayed but still, in some places, standing
to the height of a man.
Come on, Bors, he shouted, as he ran for cover,
this way! Hurry!
From behind the flimsy shelter, he watched the fire advancingand
could not help noticing that the elf was lying directly in its
Bors crouched down beside him. What is it, sire?
I have no idea. Some effect of the dragons breath,
It is not flame, my Lord, said the knight.
Are you sure?
The other man nodded. It has no heatthough it does
consume like fire...
Arthurs gaze went back to the elf. The creature was a
remnant of the old ways, a reminder of a time when sorcery had
been permitted to run amok; it was an abomination, and he
was doing the world a favour by leaving it to die.
He felt perfectly justified...
Oh, hang it! he cried, andthrowing down his
helmet and gauntletshe darted back to the elf, grasped
it beneath the arms, and began dragging it back to safetyuntil
Bors grabbed its feet and, together, they were able to carry
Secure its hands, said Arthur. Use your belt.
Leaving Bors to his task, he looked over the wall.
The whirlwind was swirling closer and closer and, at first,
he assumed that it was travelling in a straight line. But he
quickly discovered that, at the slightest movement from him,
it changed direction.
Bors, he said, go over there. He pointed
to another short stretch of wall, about ten paces to the east.
But Sire, theerthe thing...
Run, said Arthur.
The knight ran, leaping over loose stones and scurrying past
patches of bramble; the whirlwind ignored him, continuing instead
to batter itself against the mossy stones that divided it from
And Bors is right, Arthur murmured. It is
coldCOME BACK, he shouted.
A few minutes later
You are awake, Master Elf.
Legolas tried to sit up, but his hands were tied behind him.
Tell, me, continued the voice, what, exactly,
is this Ear Win you were talking about in your swoon?
Legolas forced himself to stay calm, for he could sense no
immediate danger to his wife; he rolled himself onto his side
so that he could look up at his captora young man, clad
in armour. One of the men who fell from the dragon, he
realised, and a stranger to these parts, which is why he
does not recognise me...
My travelling companion and I, he said, cautiously,
were separated when the dragon appeared. I believe it
may be pursuing her. Behind his back, his long fingers
worked at the leather strap binding his wrists. Release
me, sir, and let me go to her.
A Lady in distress, my Lord, said the young mans
A she-elf, said the youth.
The Lady is human, said Legolas. She is a
warrior of great renown, beloved of her people, and the sister
of a King.
A King, said the youth. And what King
would that be?
The King of Rohan, said Legolas.
Oh, of Rohan. The young man sighed. Then,
You lie, Master Elf, he cried, drawing his
broadsword. For there is no such kingdom as Rohan!