The Goblin King snatched the lamp beyond Eowyns reach.
It was obvious that he did not trust her, but she was sure he
had no idea what she had been planning to do.
Your Majesty, she said, sweeping her outstretched
hand to her breast, and dropping into an elegant curtsey, I
shall be honoured to fight as your champion.
Hmmm... For a long moment, the kings shrewd,
black eyes bored into her. Then he jerked his head, and the
guards shoved Legolas into the pit.
Eowyn waded towards him.
Fight, ordered the king, and his subjects instantly
took up their favourite chant: Fight! Fight! FIIIGHT!
Legolas grasped Eowyns shoulders and pulled her into
a wrestling hold that brought her ear close to his mouth. We
must make this look real, melmenya, he said, and
you must win, for that will surely earn you another chance to
touch the lamp.
Eowyn responded with a curt nod.
Then she followed Legolas leadstruggling to gain
the upper hand as they slipped and slid about togetheruntil,
suddenly, and without any warning, he twisted in her grasp,
and fell, pulling her down on top of him, and she could not
keep an impudent grin from her face as she found herself the
The goblins whose money was riding on her began to cheer, but
the king threw up a hand, cutting off their celebrations. Best
of three, he said, and there was no doubting which wrestler
he had wagered on.
Eowyn scrambled to her feet andmagnanimouslyheld
out her hand to her opponent.
From his vantage point, behind a curtain of shadow, the knight
watched his daughter, Gudyth, crawl out of the pit and, perching
on its edge, huddle herself into a tiny, shivering ball.
His heart broke.
He did not know what foolery the elf thought he was up to,
rolling about in the mud with his so-called wife, but he did
know that he had not come this far to stand by and watch his
beloved girl suffernot for one moment longer.
He drew his sword and held it highits blade glowing ice-blue
in the garish red lightand, with a blood-curdling cry,
Murder! Murder! screamed the goblins, as
the knights sword began cutting down their fellows.
Treachery! shouted the Goblin King. He had
little concern for his subjects welfare, but he was not
going to allow a skinny elf, a Woman and a stunted Man to make
a fool of him. He hauled himself to his feet and, quivering
with rage, pointed at Legolas and Eowyn.