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legolas and gimli


Part 12

For a moment, the elf’s legs threatened to buckle beneath him.

“March Warden!” shouted Gimli, helping—with one strong arm—to keep his friend upright.

But Legolas was already recovering. “They did not take her past Haldir,” he said, his voice suddenly calm and determined. “And they could not have got her up the stairs without us seeing them, so they cannot have gone back the way we came. There must be some other way out of this chamber! Come, Gimli!” He plunged into the darkness, his hands feeling the wall for an opening; Gimli followed, trying to light his way.

“We shall have to abandon the search for the knight,” said Haldir, coming swiftly to join them.

“Why did she not put up a fight?” asked Gimli. “Or cry out? They must have taken her by surprise.”

“They hit her,” said Legolas, darkly. Then he added, very quietly. “But they will not kill her—not yet. So we have time.”


“We must look again,” said Legolas, when they had searched all four walls of the chamber but found no door. “The way is concealed.”

This time, they worked more slowly and, starting with the relief that Eowyn had been inspecting when last they saw her, felt every carved figure for a hidden lever and examined every moulding for a tell-tale crack.

On the third scene, Gimli found that one of the ships of the Great Armament was loose; he pulled, and part of drowning Númenor swung open.

Haldir went back up the staircase and found a piece of wood, broken from one of the beams lining the tunnel, and they laid it across the threshold to wedge the door open. Then the three friends stepped cautiously into the passage. It was low-ceilinged, narrow, and roughly cut. Behind them, the door tried to swing shut, but the beam kept it ajar.

“This,” said Gimli, “is goblin work. And we must be careful,” he added, “for goblins are known for their machines.” In the harsh light of the torch, his expression was grim. “Follow me.”


The going was slow.

Whenever Gimli detected the slightest change in the angle of the walls, or the slope of the floor, he stopped and tested the tunnel with his axe, or with a long stave of wood hewn from one of the beams. Several times his vigilance saved his friends from triggering a hail of arrows, or from falling into a pit of stakes, but the delay was making Legolas more and more impatient.

They had come about quarter of a mile, and seemed to be approaching a faint light, when—