No Living Man

The Witch King of Angmar hefted his mace, its spiked head describing lazy circles, as he relished the prospect of the puny figure before him. Secure in his invulnerability, he laughed. "Fool! No living man may hinder me!"

The warrior removed his helm, and golden hair spilled out, framing a feminine face. "No living man am I," she declared. "You look upon a woman."

Behind him a high voice piped up. "And I'm certainly not a man either! I'm a Hobbit."

The lord of the Nazgul paused. Hmm, the prophecy had specified "man," hadn't it?

From across the field a clear voice rang out. "Lady Eowyn! Merry! Are you in need of assistance?"

The golden haired woman smiled at the tall, graceful warrior who hurried up. "Well, Legolas, my foe here feels he is in no danger, as he believes he cannot be harmed by any living man."

"Well, in that case, perhaps he will not be so confident to face me, since I am no man either, but an Elf."

Beside him, a short, stocky figure brandished an axe. "Nor am I a man. Lady Eowyn, I am at your service." He turned to the Witch King. "Do you fear to face the wrath of a Dwarf?"

Faltering before their steady gazes, the Witch King stepped back. Somehow he had never considered how many among his enemies fell outside the description "man." Then he rallied his courage. Was he not mighty among the forces of Mordor? His powers were still far greater than this pitiful assembly could match.

A shadowy grey form drifted up to join the group arrayed against him. The Elf glanced at it. "Ah, Gimli, it seems one of our allies from the battle against the Corsairs has not yet wearied of fighting, and has joined us."

The Dwarf chuckled grimly. "Aye, one of the Dead."

The Witch King began to sweat. No "living" man...

A pair of tall, dark haired warriors galloped up and swung down off their horses. "Well met, Elladan, Elrohir," said the Dwarf.

The Witch King felt confident again. "They are men!"

The Elf shook his head. "No, they are sons of Elrond Halfelven. Peredhel."

A shimmering silver horse arrived, bearing a rider clad in glowing white carrying a staff. "I have unfinished business with you, servant of Sauron."

"Surely you are a man?" The Witch King was beginning to panic.

"No, actually, though I appear so. Like your dark master, I am one of the Maiar."

Gandalf's horse tossed his head and his hoof pawed the ground suggestively. "And of course Shadowfax here is a lord of horses, one of the Mearas."

The Witch King looked about him wildly. Where were the other Nazgul? He needed reinforcements here! But none of his allies were to be seen. Instead, his eyes met a towering figure striding stiffly across the battlefield.

Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli waved in recognition. "Greetings, Treebeard," called Gandalf. "You are just who we needed. It seems the Lord of the Nazgul fears only those who are not living men."

The creature's slow, rumbling voice spoke. "Then I am glad to join you. I expect he has never before faced an Ent."

A shadow seemed to pass over the Witch King, and he found himself suddenly hemmed in from behind by a dark forest.

"And I have brought with me from Fangorn some of the wild, angry trees of the forest," the Ent continued. "Huorns."

Fear filled the Witch King. Beneath his dark robes he trembled. "But the prophecy," he whispered. "No living man may harm me...." Curse the seer who spoke those words! Had this been the vision he saw?

Around him his enemies chuckled with grim pleasure. The wizard nodded toward the woman. "Lady Eowyn, the foe is yours, if you wish."

She gripped her sword tighter and grinned wickedly. "Oh, I welcome all your aid."

"Then lead us in the attack."

"Gladly!" She charged forward with a wild cry.

As he vainly fended off the raining blows of the whole company, the Witch King searched the sky for any sight of his brethren on their winged steeds. There, were those their shapes, stooping down out of the sky toward the melee with claws outstretched?

Around him the cry went up. "The Eagles! The Eagles are coming!"

The Lord of the Nazgul despaired, and fell beneath the massed assault.

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