As they galloped south, following the course of
the river, Gimli could see lightsa crown of flaming torchesflickering
in the distance. Clinging to Legolas back, he shouted, Is
that the cavalcade?
I thought the planwas to camp in the Forest?
It was, cried Legolas. But something must have
gone wrong. The elf leaned over Arods neck, silently
begging the horse to hurry, and the gallant steed responded.
Along the bank they flew, leaping over bush and briar, splashing
through mud and mire, swiftly eating up the miles, until
Legolas brought Arod to a sudden halt.
What? Gimli peered into the woods, his hand automatically
reaching for his axe. What is it? The elf seemed unusually
Shapes, said Legolas. Dark shapes, lurking
amongst the boughs.
No. He slid from Arods back.
Then whatwait, hissed the dwarf, Legolas,
where are you going? What about Eowyn? Wait!
But the elf, holding a hand before his eyes as though shielding
them from a bright light, did not waitand, a moment later,
he had vanished into the trees.
Avo visto, Arod, muttered Gimli, jumping down to
the ground. Be ready to come and rescue your crazy master
if I whistle.
Caution did not come naturally to Gimli son of Gloin but nothing
about his present situation was natural: one moment Legolas
had been galloping through the night, risking both their necks,
convinced that Eowyn was in imminent danger, the next he was chasing
shadows, apparently having forgotten that his wife existed.
What can be wrong with him? Gimli drew his axe andmouthing
a silent apology to The Ladys trees for his threatening
behaviourcrept into the Forest. Hssst! Hssst! Legolas!
He found himself following a narrow, well-worn path that twisted
back and forth between the massive trunks, quickly leading him
into the dark heart of the Forest, and leaving him completely
disoriented. But someone is close by, he thought, and
it is no elf, for an elfs feet do not wear away the earth,
and nor does an elfand this Gimli knew for certaincause
this prickling feeling on the back of the neck.
He stopped walking and, narrowing his eyes, listened hard.
His pursuer was making no sound. He knows that I know that
he is following me
The dwarf frowned. Silence?
What has happened to all the little night creatures? Even
Mirkwood in the days of Sauron was never completely silent
And, at that moment, Gimli knew two thingsfirst, that whatever
had been following him was profoundly unnatural and, secondly,
that (unfortunately) it was standing right behind him.
Awwwww! he roared, spinning round to face the abomination,
his axe held high.
And a vast, dark shape fell upon him.
Pain shooting through his chest at every breath; pain burning
its way up his arms and into his shoulders; pain exploding in
Silently calling out to Aulë for strength, Gimli met the
agony head on, and sent it scurrying away.
He opened his eyes. Earth. Good, clean earth. The Ladys own
He was lying face downno longer on the winding path (in
fact, his instincts told him that he was in a different part of
the Forest altogether), but there was surely no harm in trying.
The dwarf pursed his lips, whistled long and low, and waited for
a blow from his captor.
Cautiously, he whistled againand, this time, he thought
he heard Arod, somewhere in the distance, neighing in reply. Good
horse, he thought, come, find your master
Slowly, he raised his head.
He was definitely in another part of the Forestthe dwarfs
sharp eyes spotted the remains of a Galadhrim staircase, winding
up one of the trees a few yards off to the right. Gingerly, he
turned to face the left.
Something was happening, just a few paces away.
Gimli craned his neck.
The dwarf frowned. Legolas was kneeling on the ground, his hands
tied behind his back, his head bowed. And something was wrongvery
wrongfor all the spirit, that infuriating, elven jauntiness,
had gone out of himhe looked as though he had been enchanted,
or perhaps brained with the flat of an axe.
Gimli strained to raise his head higher.
Six figures were standing over the elf. Five of them were men,
dressed in wolf skinsthe wolf heads worn as hoods, the wolf
legs, ending in claws, hanging down by their sides. But the sixth
The sixth figure was taller than the rest, and broader, with
powerful, heavily muscled limbs covered in shaggy, dark hair that
spread up his back, thickened as it reached his long neck, and
turned to fur over his wolven head.
Gimli gasped. The elfs vision!
And, as the dwarf watched, struggling to break free of his bonds,
the werewolf reached down, and stroked Legolas cheek.
he growled, forming the word
in a series of soft barks. He fondled the elfs hair, lifting
the pale strands, and letting them fall. Beau-ti-ful.
Then, roughly, he grasped Legolas by the scruff of the neck and
forced him down on all fours. And, signalling two of his men to
hold the elf still, he knelt down behind him