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Mark Rylance as Leonardo (Master Eldacar)


Part 2: Some months earlier

When King Elessar tactfully suggested that Minas Tirith’s most celebrated scholar should find somewhere more spacious in which to carry out his latest experiment, Master Eldacar approached Legolas and Eowyn.

The couple perused the man’s notebook with interest. Crammed into its tiny pages, detailed drawings—of plants, birds, and tempests—vied for space with descriptions of natural phenomena, with calculations of weight and force, and with diagrams of fantastical inventions.

“Using this,” said Eldacar, pointing to one of his strange machines, “an army of men might approach a coastal town unseen, walking across the seabed.”

Legolas frowned.

“This part is made of cork, my Lord,” the man assured him, “and so floats above the surface of the water,”—he illustrated the explanation with his hands—“allowing nothing but pure air to enter the bore; at the same time, an upward force draws the pipe taut, and keeps it open. A man using my apparatus may breathe under water as easily as he would breathe on land.”

Legolas and Eowyn exchanged intrigued looks.

“But what are you hoping to do here, Master Eldacar?” asked Eowyn. “What is it that needs so much space?”

“Well—if I may, my Lady...” With a diffident smile, the scholar took up his notebook, turned a few leaves, and handed it back to her.

This, my Lady,” he said, proudly.