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the knight and legolas


Part 17

“You are the knight,” Legolas whispered, freeing himself from the other’s grasp.

“And you are an elf,” the man replied, shoving Legolas into the shadows. “Keep low, Elf,” he hissed, “and be quiet!”

Out in the cavern, the goblins had begun chanting, “Fight! Fight! FIIIIIIGHT...” Then a cheer went up.

Eowyn, thought Legolas, must have landed a blow...

He grasped the knight’s shoulders. “Where is the djinn?”

The man looked confused.

“The brass lamp you found on the Plain of Shadows,” the elf insisted. “Where is it?”

“I dumped my pack back in the tunnels. The lamp was in it. Why—?”

Legolas swore. Then, “You are here to rescue your lady—”

“My daughter.”

“Do you have a plan?”

The man looked across the Great Cavern. “That’s my daughter,” he said, “over there, fighting with that other woman—”

“My wife.”

“Your... Good. Then I say we both wait for an opportunity, cut our way to them, and run like wargs.”

Legolas sighed.

He did not sense that Eowyn was in any immediate danger, and he would have preferred to wait until the goblins had scattered and the cavern was quieter before he attempted a rescue, but the knight’s daughter was likely to lose the fight, and he had no idea what the goblins would do to a loser...

“I have two companions,” he told the man, “not far behind me. If we can wait a few moments, they will greatly improve the odds.” Cautiously, he rose to his full height and, keeping to the shadows, scanned the walls of the cavern, looking for alternative routes of escape. “Over there,” he whispered, “near the Goblin King’s throne, there are more women, locked behind bars.”

“We cannot do anything for them,” said the knight. “We’ll be lucky to get away with Gudyth and your wife.”

Another cheer went up from the goblins.

Silently, Legolas hopped onto a boulder.

From there, he could see Eowyn clearly, wrestling with the knight’s daughter. She was stripped down to her shift, and the mud-soaked fabric was clinging to her, moulding itself to the slender curves of her body and the graceful lines of her lightly-muscled limbs... She looked like an elemental being, emerging from deep in the earth and, although—if he had had the arrows—he would have shot every last goblin in the mine for imprisoning her and forcing her to fight, Legolas was so proud of her spirit.

His eye travelled round the crowd, and came to rest on the monstrous figure of the Goblin King. He was leaning forward in his stone chair, urging the two women on with a rhythmic slapping of his great warty hand...

And dangling from his other hand was the djinn’s lamp.