Lying on his back, Legolas stared up into the darkness. Elvellon?
Still in one piece, growled the dwarf, though his
tone implied that, as a dwarf, he did not feel he deserved to
Safe and sound...
Legolas got to his feet and, feeling with his hands, examined
The friends seemed to have fallen into one of the goblins
pits, and it appeared to be deepthough, without Gimlis
torch, which had either gone out or been lostthe elf could
not be sure. He inched his way to his right, searching as high
as his arms could reach. The rock wall was vertical, but it
was not smooth.
With luck, he thought, it should be possible to climb
to the top...
From somewhere behind him, Legolas heard a quiet scraping,
thenafter a few more momentsthe sound of a metal
box being opened, and the clash of flint on irononce,
twiceand Gimlis torch burst into flame.
Thank you, Elvellon.
Can you see a way up? asked the dwarf, scrambling
to his feet and holding the flame aloft.
Legolas scanned the wall, quickly tracing a route from hand
hold to hand hold. Yes...
You go ahead, then, said Gimli. The March
Warden and I will follow.
Legolas squeezed the dwarfs shoulderhis simple
gesture hardly conveying the extent of his gratitude for Gimlis
friendshipand began to climb.
And, Elf, the dwarf warned, be careful.
The pit was spanned by a bridge of wooden slatslashed
with ropes and hung on metal chainscunningly designed
to tip suddenly at the slightest imbalance and cast the unwary
into the pit below.
You will not get me a second time, thought Legolas.
He clamped one hand on a chain, and signalled to the others
that he had reached the top.
I will throw you the torch, called Gimli.
No, Elevellon, said Legolas. You need it
more than I do, and it might give me away.
He bade his companions a temporaryhe hopedfarewell
and, relying only on his sharp Elven senses, set off in the
direction of the faint glow they had been chasing before, moving
cautiously, still looking for hand- and footholds and, where
necessary, using them to avoid the tunnel floor.
He had almost reached the light when he noticed something part-hidden
behind pillar of rock glintingand he reached down,
and touched it.
It was cold and hard, with a smooth, polished surface...
The knights armour, he thought, smiling grimly.
He knows the clanking would give him away.
The man is unstoppable, he murmured to himself.
Perhaps Eowyn nín is right: he is here to
rescue his lady.
Moments later, he was creeping into a vast cavern.
This is the goblins own Great Hall, he thought,
scanning the crowd and quickly estimating its numbers at close
to five hundred, noting that everyonewithout exceptionwas
looking in the same direction.
Silently, he crept nearer, hoping to discover what was holding
their attention, and what he saw made his blood boil: in a large,
shallow pit, Eowyn and another woman were
Keep out of sight, you young fool! hissed
a voice, and a big, square hand seized his arm in a vice-like