Scrambling at the lip of the well with her bare hands, Coralie desperately tried to find some hand-hold as the Orc tumbled over the top of her. His black hands grabbed at her backpack as he fell, dragging his unwilling victim with him. It had happened too fast for her to cry out. Her hands, in their desperate scrabble to halt her fall, had miraculously wrapped themselves around a large iron spike, that protruded from the well’s wall some five feet down inside. They came to a jarring halt as gravity conceded its loss to her fortunate grip.
Her assailant had wrapped himself around her lower body, as they swung in the black void together. She was facing the wall, feet flailing as she tried to find some foothold. The loathsome creature dug a claw like hand into the waistband of her jeans and began to climb up. Coralie realised the awful truth, that in a matter of moments he would be able to climb out of the well using her body as a ladder and then most likely dispose of her before any help could come to her aid. Groaning with the strain, Coralie gripped the spike tightly with both hands and twisted around to face her foe.
He was almost level with her now as he grasped her shoulder in a vice like grip still wearing the ring around his neck. She wasn’t going down without a fight. Grabbing the laser light, she shone it into the Orc’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Her left hand shot out and yanked at the chain snapping it off the furious Orc who roared his foul breath in her face. Jamming the ring and chain into her mouth she smashed a left hook into his gruesome jaw. Suddenly, he slipped down her body, almost as surprised as she was by the force of the blow. He screamed with rage and pulled a short dagger out of his belt, plunging it into her left arm near her shoulder, as she fought to dislodge him .
Desperately she hung on with her one right hand as the pain shot through her arm. She longed to scream both her agony and defiance at her attacker, but could not do so with the ring still between her teeth.
Again she shone the laser light into the loathsome creature’s eyes. Clenching her jaw with one final effort she kicked out at him and pushed with her left arm. He started to fall backwards groping in the air for some hand-hold. Grabbing at her left arm in a frenzy of panic he found her wrist. His full weight fell upon it. She felt a sudden pull in her shoulder as the humerus dislocated from its socket. In agony she brought her left heel down on the Orc’s outstretched forearm with all her strength as he swung from her wrist. Howling in pain, the Orc was forced to release his grip and disappeared into the black depths below her.
Coralie renewed her right hand grip on the spike. Her left arm hung useless at her side. She whimpered in agony listening to the sounds of the battle above. Lights danced behind her eyes in rhythm with the searing pain that coursed its way through her broken shoulder. Her mother’s words came to her through a grim veil.
“You can be so stubborn at times Coralie!”
Stubborn! Now her very stubbornness hung with her in the void. There was nothing to be done, but hang on for grim death, and hope that someone discovered her soon. Tears stung at her eyes. The effort to hold on was overwhelming.
Suddenly from above there came a great crash. Tremors from the troll’s fall cracked through the rock of the well. The sounds of the battle died away and still she hung on, unable to call out for the burden between her teeth. Her final predicament crushed in upon her as her eyes desperately sought for aid from above through the blur of tears.
Aragorn and the company ran to Frodo’s side where he lay face down in the dirt with the troll’s great spear beneath him.
“No!” uttered Aragorn as he turned him over with dread. To his amazement, and the others of the Company, Frodo opened his eyes and gasped.
“He’s alive!” cried Sam with tears of relief.
“I’m alright! I’m not hurt,” Frodo answered weakly.
“You should be dead! That spear would have skewered a wild boar!” exclaimed Aragorn, his eyes unable to comprehend what they were seeing.
Gandalf labored over Frodo, leaning on his staff.
“I think there is more to this hobbit than meets the eye!”
Frodo reached up and opened his shirt. They gazed in wonder at the beautiful mail as it glittered in the soft grey light that fell into the chamber.
“Mithril!” exclaimed Gimli. “Master Baggins you are full of surprises.”
Frodo suddenly clutched at the empty space at his throat.
“Where’s the ring? What has become of it?” They looked around in panic.
“Where’s Coralie?” asked the Hobbits together. She was nowhere to be seen.
Coralie longed to cry out to them and tell them where she was as their panicked voices fell down the well. All she could do was moan and clench her teeth.
“There!” cried Legolas springing forward as he heard her faint groan with keen ears. He reached the edge of the well as the others raced behind him.
“Lady!” he cried, looking down in sudden horror. Coralie looked up at him with tear stained cheeks as the other faces of the Company suddenly appeared above.
“Coralie!” cried the Hobbits at once.
“Look she has the ring!” cried Pippin.
“Give me your hand!” cried Legolas reaching down to her, expecting her to respond in kind. She shook her head weakly. Legolas read the agony and desperation in her eyes, unable to comprehend why she did not reach for his hand. Aragorn stood to Legolas’ right.
“Her left arm is useless, look!” he pointed. The others looked down and saw her bloodied arm hanging at an awkward angle.
“We must find a way to get her out!” cried Gandalf. “Hold on Coralie! We’re here to help you!”
Aragorn and Legolas both reached for her good hand still gripping the spike, but their reach fell short. She felt her fingers loosening and knew that fatigue was taking its deadly toll. She could not hang on much longer. She looked up at them, eyes wild with urgent fear!
“Hang on Coralie! Help is at hand!” cried Legolas locking his eyes with her own. Boromir and Gimli broke away from the well and found the troll’s chain. The dwarf smashed at the chain with his ax. Sparks flew and one of the links snapped open. Wrapping one end around his waist, Boromir flung the other end towards Legolas.
“Quick! She can’t hold on much longer!”
Aragorn, Gandalf and Gimli lent their support to Boromir gripping the chain as one.
Legolas flung himself over the edge as Coralie’s iron like grip unwillingly loosened. A strong arm reached for her waist and held her securely in his safe embrace. She moaned as new agony flashed through her dislocated shoulder as Legolas took her weight.
“I have you now,” he said as he began to climb out of the well. Every step he advanced only served to send jarring bolts of fresh pain through her empty socket. The muscles across her shoulder, spasmed in protest at the unnatural alignment of her arm. With a final heave, Legolas had reached the top with his precious cargo. He gently laid her on the floor. Coralie could finally cry out, no longer having to hold the ring between her teeth. Frodo rushed to her side and slipped it into his pocket as he peered down anxiously at her, desperate to be of some aid. He clasped her right hand in his.
“Coralie! Dear Coralie! What can I do?” he cried, longing to ease her suffering.
She tried to smile up at him through her tears.
“Just keep rubbing my hand Frodo!” she gasped, exhausted with the effort to speak.
The other hobbits gathered around anxiously, trying to offer some comfort.
“You won’t laugh at my chin-ups anymore now, will you boys,” she said weakly, trying to smile through the agony as Aragorn examined the wound left by the Orc’s knife on her left shoulder. A small, dark pool of blood had gathered on the stony floor as it dripped relentlessly down her arm.
“I can’t really do anything about this until we mend her shoulder,” he nodded at Legolas who had positioned himself behind her. “I’m sorry Lady, this is going to be very painful, but it must be done.”
Without warning, Legolas lifted Coralie up to a sitting position as Aragorn raised her arm to a right angle and slid the offending joint back into its socket. Red fire exploded through her brain, then a merciful release from immediate pain fell on her.
She lay there for a moment as they all looked down anxiously at her.
“Agh! Thanks. That’s better,” she gasped as she looked up at the sea of faces that hung overhead. “Well, don’t just stand there looking at me like stunned mullets! Help a lady up why don’t you?”
All hands reached down towards her. Batting them away, she reached for Gandalf’s as Legolas and Aragorn helped to support her weight. Catching her breath, she leaned against Gandalf’s chest as he put a comforting arm around her.
“It’s moments like these I could really use a Mintie!” she said weakly.
“We better take a look at that arm of yours as well,” said Aragorn.
Suddenly, there came a loud tumult of harsh cries and horns. “Doom! Doom! Doom!” The walls trembled with the rolling drums. They all looked up alarmed as they realised their foes were gathering to attack them again.
“Now for the last race! If the sun is shining outside we may still escape! Come now! We must run! Can you manage?” Coralie nodded. “To the Bridge of Khazad-Dum!” called Gandalf over his shoulder as he sped away.
“My arm can wait!” cried Coralie to Aragorn as she chased after Gandalf with the others.