"Of Chilly Dwarves and an Angry Elf"

Written By: Flinn

Chapters | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |

Chapter 3

A Bereth thar Ennui Aeair!
A Galad ven I reniar
hί’aladhremmin ennorath.
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
i chin a thûl lîn i gelair…

An Elven voice lifted in song carried out into the darkness of the night, along with the steady pound of hooves on grassy turf. The heavens were bright with stars, and their pure light bathed the earth below, giving the endless sea of waving grass an otherworldly glow.

It had been several weeks since Legolas had left the wooded refuge of Ithilien and begun his journey to Aglarond. The storms had come and gone intermittently as the days had progressed, and eventually had ceased altogether. But on the morning after the last bought of foul weather, Legolas had awoken to find that the previously sodden ground had transformed into a thick carpet of ice. Winter was coming soon, and time was running short.

In his invitation, Gimli had warned Legolas that as soon as the first snow fell, both the Hornburg entrance and the back entrance leading into Aglarond would be closed to block out the fierce snow storms that sometimes swept over the face of Ered Nimrais. He also stressed the fact that once closed, the barricades would not open again until the thaw in the coming spring. Legolas did not want to have come all the way from the far side of Gondor only to be met by a large stone door when he finally reached the Dwarven settlement. So for the past several days he had travelled nearly non-stop, only pausing for a quick meal at midday, and for a few hours’ rest at dusk.

But tonight, Legolas rode on. Dusk had come and gone several hours ago, and the Elf had not halted. To his left, a long mountain range snaked along, looking like the back of a huge slumbering dragon lying in the middle of Rohan. To his right, endless rising and falling grassland. Behind him lay the West Fold, and before him, a large hill. The scenery was becoming increasingly familiar, even in the dark, so Legolas nudged Arod into a canter. The horse eagerly responded, and shortly both steed and rider neared the top without difficulty.

Cresting the hill, Legolas reined Arod in and took the surrounding area. His skilled eyes swept the land before him, following the line where stone met earth. The mountain before him seemed to curve just slightly to the right, forming a sort of elbow of land. And within the crook of that elbow, a large stone fortification was built.

Helm’s Deep. They had finally made it.

Legolas recalled the words of Gimli’s letter: ‘
Best to keep your hood up, lad. That is, until I make you known. Trust me when I say it would be for your safety. Oh, and I believe you know what a warm reception you’d get if you gave your name. Your father’s not too loved here in Aglarond….

Tossing up his hood, Legolas nudged Arod forward, and the two were off, flying towards their final destination.


A lone Dwarf sentry stood at the Hornburg entrance and sighed to himself. Every night it was the same: grass, grass, and more grass. Nothing ever changed, and the creature was beginning to get bored with his duty. Of course, there was the occasional bird that flew by or horde of pesky gnats that seemed to be drawn to the light of the torch hanging on the wall behind him. But this could hardly be considered excitement.

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, the sentry deeply inhaled the night air and let it out slowly, watching the cloud of mist his breath created. He turned his dark eyes skyward, trying to decipher when the next watch would start and he would be relieved. By the position of the stars, he still had a whole hour ahead of him. Muttering noisily, he turned his face towards the stone wall and to the light and warmth of the torch. It wasn’t much in the way of heat, but it would have to do. He was just rubbing his hands above the small flame when his ears caught an unfamiliar sound.

The sentry slowly turned and faced the dark once more, leaning out with a scowl that spoke of deep concentration. There it was again. A soft clopping sound. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the gate, and it was growing steadily louder. Grabbing up his axe, the stocky creature moved slowly towards the steps that lead away from the main keep. Someone or something was coming closer, and was now rounding the corner of stonework below where the Dwarf stood. The torch on the far wall was not bright enough to cast light on the figure approaching.

“HALT!” bellowed the gruff voice of the sentry.

The clopping stopped abruptly. The figure was unmistakable to the Dwarf, even in the dark. A horse and mounted rider stood at the foot of the stairway, and it was obvious that the stranger was heavily armed. The being atop his steed made no move or sound, but sat motionless. The Dwarf waited, expecting some kind of response, but he got none. The figure remained still and silent. A cloak covered the form and face, and all the stories of the former servants of the Dark Lord, the Nazgul, crowded into the sentry’s mind. Tendrils of fear began creeping up his spine, but he fought to shake them off. 
After all, he thought to himself, the fell creatures were all destroyed with their master. No need to fear them any longer. Still, apprehension was gaining the upper hand, and if he did not do something quickly, he knew he would act foolishly.

“Give me your name!” the sentry called out. The stern tone that managed to slip into his voice pleasantly surprised the Dwarf.

The hooded figure’s horse appeared impatient, for he pawed the cobblestones forcefully and shook his mane, snorting great clouds of steam as he did so. The cloaked being leaned forward, whispering something in a tongue the Dwarf had never heard before, then turned his hidden face back to the stocky creature above. The sentry found himself shivering.

“I was summoned by the master of this place,” came the reply. Thankfully to the Dwarf, it was definitely not the voice of one of the cursed Nine. The sound of it was soft on the ears, but maintained a powerful edge that demanded the attention of the listener.

“I didn’t ask why you were here,” replied the sentry, his response loosing some of the confidence that had been previously displayed. “I asked your name.”

The rider hesitated.


The Dwarf’s brows furrowed, and he adjusted his hands so as to have a firmer grip on the handle of his axe.

“Greenleaf? What kind of a name is that?”

“My own,” the figure replied.

The sentry took a step forward. “I was not informed that any ‘Greenleaf’ was to be expected here. And especially not at this hour!”

Again there was silence. Then,

“I have with me an invitation from your lord, and will readily produce it if this will-”

“I must ask you to leave, 
Master ‘Greenleaf’,” growled the Dwarf, “or whoever you are. No strangers are to be allowed inside after nightfall!”

“I tell you, I have a valid invitation on my person, signed by the Lord of the Glittering Caves himself.”

“I don’t care if Aulё himself signed it! NO strangers after nightfall!”

The figure reached into his cloak, pulled forth a sealed document and held it aloft.

“This is his seal, is it not?”

“GOODNIGHT!” bellowed the Dwarf. The sentry whirled around and began making his way back to the torch. He hadn’t taken three steps when he stopped and listened for the sound of clopping hooves fading into the night. He heard nothing.

Growling, he stalked back to the top of the stairs and looked down. The horse and rider stood exactly where he had left them, and looked to be making no effort to leave. The Dwarf was not a patient creature and what little he had was running low. Brandishing his axe, he shouted:


There was a moment of silence. A night bird called out.

“My good Dwarf,” began the hooded being after a time, “I tell you. I am expected here. I will not ‘be off’ until I see the Master of Aglarond, and if you insist upon it, I shall not move from this spot. But I will not leave.”

The sentry cursed passionately in Dwarvish and came storming down the stairs, axe whirling. The sudden rush seemed to frighten the horse, for it reared up on its hind legs, shook its head, and called out in alarm. The sound was deafening and caused the Dwarf to hesitate for a moment. Just long enough to discover the identity of the mysterious figure.

The abrupt movement from his steed had caused the hood of the rider to fall back. The moonlight made the being’s long, light hair appear to be almost glowing, and even with the strong movements of his frightened mount, he kept his seat with ease. Both of these facts, along with the words uttered hastily in a foreign tongue, could have told the Dwarf what the being before him was. But these things were not even noticed by the stocky creature. What the sentry noticed were two very slender, very pointed ears.

“An ELF!” he bellowed. The Dwarf stalked towards the intruders, his weapon raised menacingly. The horse dropped back to the ground and snorted angrily, its ears flattened against its skull. The animal took several quick steps backwards, swinging its head threateningly from side to side. The Elf cursed beneath his breath.

“Dismount,” hissed the Dwarf, his formerly authoritative voice returning. This was nothing near a wraith. The Children of Aulё had long felt a strong disgust for the race of the creature that stood before him. He held his axe forward in a ready stance. The Elf’s features hardened and he slid silently off his mount. The sentry attempted to gauge the stranger’s thoughts, but aside from firmly knitted brows, his expression told him nothing.

“Remove your weapons,” commanded the Dwarf. The intruder began to reach towards a clasp which held a leather strap in place across his chest, but suddenly hesitated. He looked to the Dwarf, then behind him towards whatever was slung across his back, then to the Dwarf again, obviously pondering something. But whatever thought had crossed his mind was suddenly displaced, for he undid the clasp and slung a quiver full of arrows, along with twin sheathes carrying twin blades, at the feet of the Dwarf.

“Your bow, Elf,” growled the Dwarf. “It’s obvious you’ve got one, so hand it here.” Thunderclouds raced across the Elf’s visage for a moment, but after taking in a deep breath, he removed the bow from his shoulder and placed it down with the rest of his weapons. Although his demands had been met, the sentry couldn’t help but notice how clenched his captive’s jaw had become. The Dwarf chuckled to himself.

The sentry kicked the pile of weapons to the side and ordered the Elf forward, being sure to keep the blade of his axe at the back of the stranger as firmly as possible without breaking skin.

“Well, Elf,” taunted the Dwarf, “it seems you’ll get your wish after all. But I can assure you that Master Gimli can get rather fierce when awakened in the dead of night.”

“I know,” said the Elf, his voice low. The sentry growled and started up the stairs with his detainee when he heard a loud snort from behind. Keeping his axe to the back of the Elf, the Dwarf turned just in time to get a blast of hot breath in his face. 
Apparently the brute’s a might protective of his master, thought the Dwarf with a scowl as he met the horse’s gaze.

“GET ON! GET!” hollered the Dwarf. The horse shook his head angrily from side to side once more. The sentry raised a fist and cuffed the beast in the jaw with surprising force. Staggering backward, the horse’s eyes seemed to get foggy for a moment.

“Arod! Ego!” the Elf ordered his steed. The Dwarf harrumphed loudly at the interruption, but after a moment of hesitation, the horse turned and slowly cantered out of the causeway. The pounding of hooves on pavement slowly died away and the creature abandoned the two figures.

The Dwarf turned back to the Elf and nudged him forcefully into action.

“Get moving, Elf,” he snapped. “I almost feel sorry for you, having to wake Master Gimli at this hour for such a disruption.” To his annoyance, he heard the Elf suppress quiet laughter.

Chapters | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |