Just why did Legolas scale that mumāk?
"Legolas!" Aragorn cries. I look more closely at the Southron-captain towering over us. I recognise the markings on his face and chest, remembering the long nights with Aragorn on our travels together.
I often sat with him through his watch, and we traded stories to pass the quiet hours. I told him of orcs and spiders and darker creatures I had hunted, and he spoke of his travels through far-away deserts I had never seen. He described gruesome punishments for crimes we would deem trivial, and sacrifices to the Dark made on their altars, and other tales that made my spirit burn.
"Are men so easily corrupted?" I had asked him. He looked at me pointedly and replied with a single word: "Yrch." More than ruined men served Mordor.
Now one of those accursed folk is before me. Servants of the Dark, child-killers, priests of the Night that would banish all light. And they would sully these western lands with their filth? Not while I yet draw breath.
I grab the coarse rope and kick myself away from the mumāk's leg, thick as a tree trunk. If this is my last climb, so be it.