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arthur & bors


Part 8

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 advancing—and could not help noticing that the elf was lying directly in its path...

Bors crouched down beside him. “What is it, sire?”

“I have no idea. Some effect of the dragon’s breath, perhaps.”

“It is not flame, my Lord,” said the knight.

“Are you sure?”

The other man nodded. “It has no heat—though it does consume like fire...”

Arthur’s 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, and—throwing down his helmet and gauntlets—he darted back to the elf, grasped it beneath the arms, and began dragging it back to safety—until Bors grabbed its feet and, together, they were able to carry it.

“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, the—er—the 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 Arthur.

“And Bors is right,” Arthur murmured. “It is cold—COME 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 captor—a 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 man’s companion.

“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!”