For a moment, the elfs legs threatened to buckle beneath
March Warden! shouted Gimli, helpingwith
one strong armto keep his friend upright.
But Legolas was already recovering. They did not take
her past Haldir, he said, his voice suddenly calm and
determined. And they could not have got her up the stairs
without us seeing them, so they cannot have gone back the way
we came. There must be some other way out of this chamber! Come,
Gimli! He plunged into the darkness, his hands feeling
the wall for an opening; Gimli followed, trying to light his
We shall have to abandon the search for the knight,
said Haldir, coming swiftly to join them.
Why did she not put up a fight? asked Gimli. Or
cry out? They must have taken her by surprise.
They hit her, said Legolas, darkly. Then he added,
very quietly. But they will not kill hernot yet.
So we have time.
We must look again, said Legolas, when they had
searched all four walls of the chamber but found no door. The
way is concealed.
This time, they worked more slowly and, starting with the relief
that Eowyn had been inspecting when last they saw her, felt
every carved figure for a hidden lever and examined every moulding
for a tell-tale crack.
On the third scene, Gimli found that one of the ships of the
Great Armament was loose; he pulled, and part of drowning Númenor
Haldir went back up the staircase and found a piece of wood,
broken from one of the beams lining the tunnel, and they laid
it across the threshold to wedge the door open. Then the three
friends stepped cautiously into the passage. It was low-ceilinged,
narrow, and roughly cut. Behind them, the door tried to swing
shut, but the beam kept it ajar.
This, said Gimli, is goblin work. And we
must be careful, he added, for goblins are known
for their machines. In the harsh light of the torch, his
expression was grim. Follow me.
The going was slow.
Whenever Gimli detected the slightest change in the angle of
the walls, or the slope of the floor, he stopped and tested
the tunnel with his axe, or with a long stave of wood hewn from
one of the beams. Several times his vigilance saved his friends
from triggering a hail of arrows, or from falling into a pit
of stakes, but the delay was making Legolas more and more impatient.
They had come about quarter of a mile, and seemed to be approaching
a faint light, when