Try again, melmenya, said Legolas, calmly. He knew
that, in the Great Cavern, the goblins were beginning to recover;
in a few moments they would be pouring through the tunnel mouth...
Eowyn rubbed again, her muddy fingers slipping on the brass.
Still nothing happened.
Might the Goblin King have released him, melmenya, and
forced him to take refuge elsewhere? Legolas nocked an
arrow; beside him, Haldir did the same.
I do not think so, Lassui; I am sure that he would have
come to me.
Legolas glanced over his shoulder.
Behind him, Gimli was battle-readyfeet spread wide, axe
in both hands. To Gimils right, Eowyn was crouching over
the lamp, trying to wipe her fingers clean on her muddy shift.
Beside Eowyn, the knight was tending to his daughter and, although
the girl did not appear to have been burned, it was clear that
she would not be able to run.
A few yards farther on, the tunnel shrank to nothing but a
spur of rock that, jutting out over a great, fathomless precipice,
connected with a series of narrow wooden walkways suspended
on ropes and chains, like the treacherous bridge that he, Gimli
and Haldir had fallen from.
And beyond that...
Beyond that lurked the mysterious creature that had stopped
the goblins using this part of the minethe creature that
was making the hairs on the back of Legolas own neck bristle.
They were trapped.
The first wave of goblins was small in number, but they came
swiftly, in an arrow-shaped formation, streaming towards the
Legolas and Haldir shot tactically, picking off the most able-bodied;
those who managed to pass the elves were felled by Gimlis
axe, or sliced by the knights blade, whichglowing
ice-blue as it flashed through the airfound its mark with
Kneeling beside Gudyth, ready to defend her if need be, Eowyn
fought her longing to draw her sword and join the battle and,
instead, concentrated on the lamp.
She was sure that the problem lay in the mud, which was preventing
her fingers from making sufficient contact, but the more she
tried to clean her hands, the muddier they grew.
She looked about in frustration and, for the first time, noticed
something falling down the cavern wall, bouncing from rock to
rock, and running in rivulets...
Her heart pounding, for she had no head for heights, Eowyn
crawled to the edge of the rocky platform and swung a leg over,
feeling with her toes for a foothold, reasoning that, if only
she could summon the djinn, he would rescue her from
whatever impossible situation she might get herself into.
She scrambled sideways, passing beneath the fight, and plunged
her hands into the stream of ice-cold water, holding them there
until they were clean. Then she shook them dry and, taking hold
of the lamp, which was hanging from her sword belt, she rubbed