A thin curl of smoke rose from the lamps elegant spout;
Eowyn thanked the gods.
The smoke swirled, coalescinga little too slowly for
Eowyn's likinginto a massive being, with a handsome if
somewhat dissolute face, large, powerful arms, and a broad,
muscular torso quickly tapering into a strange, wispy tail.
He hovered beside her as she clung to the rock face. Pretty
little mistress, he boomed, your wish is
Remembering how important it was to give him clea instructions,
Eowyn rapidly devised a plan: Carry me to that bridge,
she said, and risked pointing to the closest of the wooden walkways.
The djinn scooped her up in his arms and, with only the slightest
flourish, set her down upon the planking. Now, she
said grasping the wood, without dropping me, tear the
bridge from its supports, and carry it over there, to Legolas.
A split-second later, to the astonishment of both the knight
and his daughter, Eowyn was calling to them from her makeshift
vehicle: Quickly, she said, stretching out a hand,
Go on, lad, said Gimli, dispatching another goblin.
I will hold them back.
Sheathing his sword, the knight quickly bundled his daughter
onto the wooden platform. Then Gimli turned and, taking a tiny
run, jumped the gap. Haldir loosed his arrow and followed, immediately
dropping into a crouch and nocking another. Finallyto
Eowyns reliefLegolas joined them, landing lightly
beside his wife.
Take us to the surface! she cried.
The tunnel mouth was choked with goblins. The djinn swung round
and, heading away from the Great Cavern, followed the twisting
passages until, suddenly gathering speed, he punched his way
through the last few feet of rock and soared high into the air.
Then he brought his charges back to earth, gently depositing
them on the plateau, in glorious daylight.
Gudyth grabbed Eowyns arm. The others, she
gasped. You have to go back for the others!
Eowyn turned to Legolas. She is right, Lassui. There
is a cage full of women down there, forced to fight for the
goblins amusementand who knows what will happen
to them now that we have made the Goblin King angry? There are
men, too, in the lower levels, working the mine.
Legolas nodded. March Warden, he said, give
me your arrows. And, as he was fitting them in his quiver,
he added: Find shelter, Haldir, somewhere dry, where we
can light a fire and keep everybody comfortable until we have
decided how to get them home.
Rescuing the women was comparatively easythe djinns
mighty fist took care of the metal bars, and his body held back
the goblins whilst Legolas and Eowyn entered the cell, persuaded
the prisoners to come out, and helped them climb onto the wooden
It took several sallies, however, to penetrate every level
of the mine, deal with the guards, release the men from their
chains, and bring them to the surfaceand even then, though
none of the prisoners knew of any that were missing, Eowyn could
not shake a niggling doubt, and prayed to the Valar that no
poor soul had been left behind.
Back on the plateau, Haldir, Gimli and the knight had discovered
a building that was still partially roofed, hacked away the
brambles and lit fires.
The friends watched as men and women, family and friends, separated
for years, found each other again.
And all was going well, until the knight recognised one of