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muddy eowyn


Part 18

“I have a plan,” said Legolas, dropping lightly to the ground, and crouching beside the knight. “You stay here and, whatever happens, do not move unless I give you the signal—”

Wait,” the man growled, grasping the elf’s arm and holding him back. “That’s not enough! Tell me your plan!”

Legolas sighed; he was reluctant, now, to waste time: “Do you see the lamp,” he said, “in the Goblin King’s hand? It contains...” He realised it would take far too long to describe the djinn and convince the knight of its powers. “Please, trust me—if Eowyn—my wife—can reach it, we will have a weapon equal to an entire army of men; if I fail, you must distract the Goblin King, and give her another chance.”

The man regarded him, dubiously. Then, “Very well, Elf,” he said, and his expression warned Legolas that he was unlikely to stick to the plan for long. “You go. I shall wait...”

Legolas squeezed his arm and, rising to his feet, walked out into the Great Cavern.


The goblins were so busy watching the fight, none of them noticed an elf moving silently amongst them until he reached the edge of the pit—then, suddenly, and with cries of surprise, several of them drew their bent swords, and surrounded him.

Down in the pit, the two women stopped wrestling.

Eowyn’s eyes, unnaturally pale behind a mask of mud, briefly met her husband’s, and he knew that she understood.

“Seize that thing!” roared the Goblin King, pointing at Legolas with the djinn’s lamp.

The elf raised his hands. “Mighty King,” he cried, “I surrender!” From the corner of his eye, he could see that Eowyn had already disentangled herself from her opponent, and was inching closer to the throne. Two of the goblins, meanwhile, having volunteered themselves as guards, had started jabbing at him with the blunt tips of their swords, herding him towards their ruler.

“Your Mightiness,” said the elf, ignoring the prodding and bowing deeply, “I bring greetings from the Elven colony of Eryn Carantaur,”—it was the first thing that had entered his head, and he had no idea what he was going to say next—“and I beg you to honour my Elven-lord by hearing his humble petition.”

He dropped to his knees, hoping to draw everyone's attention away from Eowyn. “My Elven-lord begs,” he continued, “an alliance, against our common foe.”

For a moment, the Goblin King regarded him thoughtfully, his little black eyes almost disappearing amidst his fleshy frown, then he leaned back in his stone chair and, letting his hands—one still holding the lamp—droop over the carved armrests, he asked, “What foe?”

Men,” said Legolas, triumphantly.

The Goblin King raised an eyebrow. “Go on...”

Legolas began spouting something incoherent about Men destroying the forests and overworking the mines—

“You are a feeble thing,” the Goblin King interrupted. “If you want me to listen to your drivel, you must earn it. You will fight my pretty new pet.” He swung his massive head towards the mud pit.

Eowyn, caught reaching for the djinn’s lamp, froze.