Omey screamed as a goblin grabbed her from behind and gasped as her head collided with a rock. She felt conciseness fading slowly and she tried to cling to it desperately, knowing that she would not be missed until they got outside if she did not follow them. It was completely useless. Whether she willed it or no her awareness faded and she knew no more.
She knew no more that is, until she woke to find herself in a dark, damp, cold, lightless room fastened to a stone wall by one ankle. She shivered and sat up slowly, trying to see in the gloom. Omey sighed and leaned back, even her keen elven eyes could not pierce this pitch darkness. She lay back and drew her shackled ankle up onto her opposite knee and fiddled with the lock.
The shackle fell off of her ankle and lay on her knee. Omey blinked and lifted the shakle and turned it in her hands. She was curious, but not inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth at present. She rubbed her ankle for a moment and then stood up to have a look at the door.
It was a heavy solid stone door with no window of any kind. Omey sighed and laid her head against it in dispair. The door swung open as she leaned her weight on it and the startled elf
tumbled out into the unguarded passage.
The goblins plainly had not discovered her identity, or else they probably would have posted a guard. She got up and pulled her cloak tightly around her shoulders and pulled up her hood. She was still puzzled as to how she had escaped, but she could think it over later, when she had recovered her pack and her sword.
Omey closed her eyes for a moment and wished that her Uncle Peter were with her. He would have been able to help, for she was utterly lost. The only thing she still had was the diamond bottle that she kept inside her cloak and her ring that was still around her finger. She promised herself that she would not leave these tunnels until she had found the horn and the sword.
As she wandered down the passage, it had several cells most identical to the one she had just escaped from. She passed about ten of them when she came to one who’s door was slightly different. It was made from wood rather than stone, like the others and seemed lighter. There was something written on it in the goblins’ ugly scrawl.
She looked up at it and the oddest thing happened. Though the writing changed not at all Omey’s view of them seemed to change. Though it was still ugly it was no longer illegible. It said simply “weaponry”. She rubbed her eyes for a moment and then shrugged and proceeded to try to open the door. It was locked, or at least it seemed as though it was locked at first. As she started to twist the lock the door opened up and a astonished elf fell into the goblin weaponry.
She lay on the floor gasping for a moment, unable to believe her incredible luck. How the shakle, the cell door, and the weapon room door had all been left unlocked by chance was too much for even the most gullible person to believe, even goblins weren’t that careless. She shook herself and began to feel along to wall for some kind of torch. She found one fairly soon and pulled out a match book she kept in a pocket close to her skin and pulled out a match and lit the torch.
She saw a long table full to overflowing with ugly, crude orc scimitars and their four cornered black shields. In this motley array a silver broad sword would be easy to spot. She turned and began to move the orc swords, daggers and shields around.
She must have searched for half an hour when she had found both the horn and the sword. She slung her mother’s horn over her shoulder and buckled her sword around her waist. She quenched the torch and strode out of the weapon room and prayed that she would be able to find her way out of this thick leaden darkness.
Three hours later she heard a terrible howling and cursing in the hall behind her.
“Curse the Baggins! We hates it! We hates it! We hates it forever!”
“Gollum.” She shuddered and ran on, not caring to meet that slimy, dark creature. Though, if he was still screaming at Bilbo it could mean that she was nearly out. If she remembered correctly, he had come near to the front door because he thought that was where the hobbit had gone and
had inadvertently lead him out of the gloomy dark.
She loosened her sword in its sheath as she ran down the dark passage way. She could just see torch light coming through a door a little way ahead. She moved more slowly now, creeping towards the door inch by slow inch and crouched in a corner near to it where she could hear all
that was said.
“You let it get away,” said a hoarse goblin voice.
“You go and chase after that thing in broad sunlight then. I ain’t goin’ after it now. That was one of that group of stinkin’ dwarves that was brought down here. We’ll go after `em tonight, they won’t get far.”
“The boys said that was an elf with them. Pretty little thing. We’ll have some fun later.” Omey shuddered.
“I still think we should have posted a guard, we don’t want her escapin’.”
“How could she escape? She ain’t strong enough to pull that chain out o’ the wall. She can’t bust down the door. She ain’t goin’ nowhere, not yet anyhow.”
At this point in the conversation Omey heard footsteps behind and decided that if she was going to make a dash for it, it was now or never. She carefully drew her sword and rose silently. She had one thing in her favor, the unfair advantage of the element of surprise and she intended to use
it to its fullest.
She inhaled and gathered her courage and strength and dashed into the room with a wild cry. The orcs looked up, there was at least a score of them in the cavern. Omey behead the three nearest to her trying not to think too much about it. The others yelled back and forth at one another.
“How’d she get out?”
“I told ye we should have posted a guard!”
“Where’d she get that sword?”
One of them had enough of his wits left throw a spear at her. It got her through the side, piercing the flesh of her right side and sticking there. She set her teeth and pulled it out then turned and behead one, stabbed one more through the heart and sliced another in half and ran with all the speed she could manage towards the door.
It stood open by about a foot, just enough for her to squeeze through, if she could get there. Another orc raised an ugly black dagger and got her in the shoulder. She gasped and swapped his head off with one clean stroke and tried to run for the door, her side burned and her shoulder was throbbing but she pushed herself on mercilessly. She had to get to that door.
She was just a few yards from the door now and four goblins were trying to close it. She pushed harder, she would be as good as dead if they closed it before she could get to it. She reached it and with a final effort she slew the last four orcs that stood between her and freedom and squeezed her burning, throbbing, aching body though the narrow opening.
She heard them shouting behind her and gave one terrific squirm and stumbled into the open sunlight and staggered down the steps as quickly as she could. They opened the door and ran after her. In a burst of strength born of pure panic, Omedeaous flew down the steps and ran into the woods before they could recapture her.
Omey didn’t stop running even after the sounds of pursuit died behind her. She flew through the woods and over the grass as only a terrified elf could run. She ran mindlessly and probably would have run herself to death if the intensity of the bleeding in her shoulder and side hadn’t forced her to drop to the ground.
She came to her senses somewhat. If she had been truly in her right mind she would have simply used her Aunt Lucy’s cordial and would have been herself in five minute flat, but as it was she simply relized that she was bleeding to death.
She ripped the sleeve off of her tunic and tied it around her waist. She was still bleeding a little and it was probably infected but she could worry about that later. Then she tore the hem off of her cloak and tied that as best as she could around her shoulder.
That done she got up and went one at a slower pace, hoping to find the dwarves before hunger, thirst or her wounds got the best of her. She managed to go on for about an hour like that when, completely overcome by blood loss, hunger, thirst and fatigue she dropped to the ground in a faint.
She might have died there too, elf or not, if it hadn’t been for an old man in weather-stained brown robes, a kindly face and a long gray beard wandering through the woods enjoying the cool evening air and watching the sunset filtering through the leaves. He nearly tripped over Omey’s prostrate form.
He stared down at her for a moment in utter astonishment then dropped to his knees and turned her over. Her head lolled and he started again when he caught sight of her delicately pointed ears. He laid a gentle finger on her throat and felt a warm pulse. He sighed with relief and lifted her
carefully and walked to his house in the glen.