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Part 9

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.

Bare arms?

She looked down at herself, and yelped—someone had taken a knife to her riding gown and leggings! Some man—she presumed—had 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 her legs—

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, and—her hand brushed her hip—with 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’ za ma’ar?

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. “What’s the matter?” it asked, triumphantly, at the third attempt.

“Well, for a start, I’m cold!” yelled Eowyn, not bothering to hide her anger, since the dragon—on closer acquaintance—did not seem particularly fierce, and added, as the truth dawned on her, “Because someone has seen fit to undress me.”

Hmm…” said the dragon.

It was silent for a few more—freezing—moments, 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.

Eowyn waited.

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 her.


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, but—though she tried and tried—her husband’s spirit seemed strangely absent.