Eowyn opened her eyes, and realised that her teeth were chattering.
She sat up, and tried to rub some life back into her bare arms.
She looked down at herself, and yelpedsomeone had taken
a knife to her riding gown and leggings! Some manshe
presumedhad cut away the lovely jewelled sleeves and most
of the bodice, and had left just a tiny strip of velvet covering
her breasts; he had hacked away her skirts, leaving her modesty
barely covered; and he had ripped off her leggings, and exposed
At least, she thought, rubbing her thighs, he has
left me my riding boots
She raised her head, looking for the culprit, and saw instead
that she was no longer down on the plain, but somewhere high
up in the hills of Emyn Arnen.
With the dragon, she thought, watching the beast, cautiously,
andher hand brushed her hipwith no sword.
But before she had time to decide on a course of action, the
dragon thrust its muzzle at her, and made a strange noise: Wha
It peered, cross-eyed, into the space between them, as if trying
to see what had gone wrong with its words, then it tried again:
Whatz za maddar?
It sighed, turned its head, and coughed up a big glob of sooty
phlegm. Whats the matter? it asked, triumphantly,
at the third attempt.
Well, for a start, Im cold! yelled
Eowyn, not bothering to hide her anger, since the dragonon
closer acquaintancedid not seem particularly fierce, and
added, as the truth dawned on her, Because someone
has seen fit to undress me.
said the dragon.
It was silent for a few morefreezingmoments,
then it said, Wai eer.
It sucked in a huge breath and, fearing more mucus, Eowyn held
up her hands, and shouted, I understand!
The dragon hopped off the rocky ledge, and disappeared.
Then, from far below, she heard a sudden woosh of flame,
accompanied by a bright glow, and the dragon returned with a
rock in its mouth, which it set down, very carefully, beside
Eowyn moved a little closer. The rock was radiating a delicious
warmth, which quickly thawed her limbs. Better,
she said. Yes.
The dragon grunted with something like satisfaction and, curling
around her (and the rock), it settled down to sleep.
Well, this is strange, thought Eowyn. She closed her
eyes and thought of Legolas, trying to reach him through their
mental bond, butthough she tried and triedher husbands
spirit seemed strangely absent.