"Of Chilly Dwarves and an Angry Elf"

Written By: Flinn

Chapters | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |

Chapter 5

“So, where exactly are you—AI!”

“Ooh! …Sorry laddie. Forgot about that step, there.”


After several hours of talk (and a helping of bread and cheese) both the Elf and Dwarf had decided to retire in order to catch any small amount of sleep they could before dawn. For a reason only known by him, Gimli had insisted that his friend be blindfolded. Legolas had instantly refused the request, but after a bit of coaxing he relented. Now, as he stumbled along unseeing, he was beginning to regret that decision.

“There are three steps in front of you,” Legolas heard Gimli say. “They’re not too big. Shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Easy for one who has eyes in order to seethem,” the Elf countered, the irritation evident in his voice. “There is a good reason for all this I’m certain.”

“You’d be correct in that assumption,” Gimli said. Then, with a harrumph he continued. “Oh, and complaining isn’t going to get you anywhere. Moving might be a start.”

“I would be happy to,” Legolas retorted, “if my guide would be so kind as to warn me 
before an obstacle appears.”

“Agh, for goodness sake, shut your mouth and move your feet!”

“As you wish,” Legolas replied, sharply. Thus far, he had nearly run into a wall, tripped over two ‘somethings’, and rammed his foot hard against a stone step. Gimli was many things, but he was definitely lacking when it came to navigating the blind.

Tentatively, Legolas lifted his foot and slowly let it down again, testing the step first before ascending. He could hear the Dwarf growling impatiently behind him as he repeated this movement twice more for the remaining steps, but the Elf ignored the noise. It was 
his dignity, after all, that was being risked---not Gimli’s.

“The going is straight forward the rest of the way,” Gimli said as he came up the steps.

The smell in this new passage was different than the others Legolas had gone down. The Elf breathed deeply. The mildewed, almost metallic odor of the stone walls was still present, along with the oily, ashy smell of torches that looked like glowing orange smudges beneath the woven fabric of his blindfold. Another scent, one of hewn wood, took prominence in his mind. Suddenly he felt Gimli’s thick hand at his back, pushing him forward.

“It’s not far,” said the Dwarf. The pair walked forward for what Legolas counted to be fifteen paces. The orange hazes went by one by one, until there were none. As the Elf passed out of their light, the smell of wood grew stronger. The flat hand at his back quickly grabbed at the fabric of his tunic.

“Stop! Far enough.” Legolas immediately halted. The hand released his clothing and several heavy steps echoed in the Elf’s ears as Gimli moved in front of him. “Now...take off your blindfold.”

Legolas’ slender fingers made quick work of the knot of fabric hindering his sight. He cast the blindfold upon the stone floor, and his blue eyes locked onto the object he had been forbidden to see. A large wooden door stood before him, adorned in designs of silver that laced and traced all across it. Legolas instantly recognized the foremost symbol: a leaf. It was veined in silver, and green crystals of some kind finished the crafted bit of foliage. Above it and near the top of the door was his name, once more in silver, but written with Elven runes. Many other delicate pieces were etched along the wooden frame. Legolas could feel his friend’s eyes watching his every motion expectantly. It was indeed, a beautiful door.

“Gimli, did you—”

“Hold that thought,” Gimli interrupted, holding up a hand. Then he paused, looking at the door, and then back at the Elf. “Seems as if there’s…something missing.”

Legolas took the hint and turned his gaze towards the door once more. He glanced up and down it, silently taking in every detail. Then he stated:

“There’s no handle. No knob.”

“You would be correct,” Gimli replied, the anticipation obvious in his voice. “So how do you suppose one is to enter?”

Legolas looked down at the Dwarf, attempting to understand where his friend was leading the conversation. In his mind, the Elf tried to decide whether this truly was a legitimate door, or if this was the beginning of an elaborate hoax. But trust won the day.

Slowly, he reached out a hand and placed it against the leaf shape, gradually applying pressure. There was no sound, shift, or jolt. Nothing. He took a step back and gazed the length of the door once more, searching for some means of entrance. Finally, he raised his hands in submission.

“I know not. How does one enter?”

Gimli grinned once more, and then began stroking his beard in mock thoughtfulness. “Legolas,” he began, taking his time, “I was wondering…what is the Elvish word for 

Legolas’s brows furrowed. This was a puzzling turn of conversation. He couldn’t think of the last time Gimli had actually 
requested to hear some of the fair tongue. More often than not, the Dwarf growled for him to ‘speak plainly’. What little Elvish Gimli knew he had heard in Rivendell, Lothlόrien, or from Legolas himself. Now the Dwarf was suddenly ‘wondering’ about the language of the Eldar. Legolas was curious, but he would not let his friend see that. Instead, he cast a hard glance at the stunted being before him warningly.

“What is this Gimli?” he asked, his voice matching his gaze.

“I simply would like to hear your word for 
secret. Is that a crime?” The innocence in Gimli’s voice and demeanor was not lost to the Elf, and unknowingly his eyes began to allow his curiosity to seep through. For a long moment the two stood silently. Legolas attempted to gage Gimli for motives, either foul or friendly, but found nothing but expectancy in the Dwarf’s dark orbs. With one last confused glance, Legolas replied.


There was a dull 
clank, and a long split appeared suddenly down the center of the wood. A bluish light poured in between the one door now turned into two. Legolas was surprised, but his face never showed any hint of it. Save, perhaps, his eyes that had suddenly lit up with intense curiosity.

“Well?” nudged Gimli. “Are you going to just stand there gawking or do you want to see what there is to see?”

Legolas ignored the comment and reached out, sliding four slender fingers into the newly opened space. Slowly, he pulled the door open and slipped inside.

The room was illumined in a gentle blue glow that seemed to come from some unknown part of the ceiling. But it lent in an inviting aura to the chamber that reminded the Elf of starlight. The floor was carpeted with leaves; so many that the stone beneath could not be seen. In the far left corner, a natural spring trickled gurgling water down the stone wall and into a pool of clear water. It steamed as the chilled snowmelt brook met with the warmth of the sandy bottom. To the right was a cot, laden with throws of greens, blues, and silvers. A wooden chest sat at its foot, ready to receive his belongings and clothing. Ivy shoots were just beginning to grow along the left wall, and pegs in the shape of branches sprouted next to the door: a place to hang the treasured Bow of the Galadhrim.

Legolas stood still, his eyes casting this way and that in silent awe. A sense of relief washed over him, followed soon by gratefulness. Gimli had known (for Legolas had made it clear on several occasions) that the Elf had no love of deep caves or enclosed spaces above or beneath the earth, and so he had gone to great lengths to ensure his Elven friend’s happiness. Legolas turned and found Gimli standing beside him. The grin on the Dwarf’s face could have bested a Hobbit’s smile upon discovering a hidden horde of mushrooms.

“Like it?” he asked, the eager tone readily apparent in his voice.

Legolas grinned slightly, both at his friend’s anticipation, and at the thoughtfulness behind the surprise. Then, with a true smile that reached all the way to his eyes, he replied.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, I do.”


After showing Legolas the ins and outs of his private chamber, Gimli had left him be and the two had engaged in as much sleep as they could in the few hours before dawn. But as the sun rose in the sky, so did the Dwarves of Aglarond, and soon the whole place bustled with activity, for this was to be a day of great festivities.

The First Year celebration was a tradition begun by Gimli and was anticipated greatly by all the inhabitants of Aglarond. It was a day of revelry and jubilation, and the Dwarven community delighted in the opportunity to feast free of duties---and to partake in the copious amounts of beer that was readily served. This day commemorated the first year of toil and hard work that had resulted in the thriving settlement of Aglarond and was a date all the Dwarven folk marked with great expectancy.

Gimli, being the Master of Aglarond, had the job of seeing to all the preparations for the feast, and so after a quick breakfast with Legolas, saw little of his Elven companion for much of the day. Legolas took this opportunity to explore the depths of the Glittering Caves in solitude.

At sundown, all gathered in the great Dining Hall for the monstrous feast to be had there. Legolas slipped in quietly just as Gimli was finishing a speech. He had learned much from the experience of the previous night, and so in the interest of avoiding further animosity, he decided to stand silently by the door until invited to do otherwise.

“But enough of me,” bellowed Gimli from the far side of the room. He stood upon a large table in front of a great fire that lit the room in shades of red and orange. “There’s drink to be had!” He clapped his hands and laughed uproariously. “Well, lads, what are you waiting for? BEGIN!”

There was a great chorus of cheers and hearty laughter, followed by the almost overwhelming sounds of clattering plates, clacking tankards, and Dwarven voices all talking at once. The room smelled strongly of smoke from dozens of pipes, and serving platters were brought forth filled to overflowing with meats and breads and cheeses. Huge barrels of beer lined one wall, and lines had already started in front of each. Legolas stood watching, observing, and waiting for Gimli to call him over. Several of the Dwarves had noticed his presence by this time, but had chosen to ignore it. Others cast suspicious looks and hateful glares his way. But the Elf leveled his gaze on the dancing flames on the far side of the room and said nothing. Presently, his patience was rewarded.

“Legolas!” called Gimli from the main table. The Dwarf had climbed down from his position atop the round wooden board and now sat with four rather important looking Dwarves. He took a leg of some sort from the large platter before him and raised his hand. “Come and finally taste the hearty cuisine of the Dwarves!”

Legolas made his way past two tables, slipped between several chairs, and stepped over and around an endless sea of bones that already littered the floor. 
Such are the eating habits of feasting Dwarves,he thought to himself as he dodged a piece of meat that had been thrown from a nearby table. How appetizing.

“Have a seat, laddie!” Gimli motioned towards a chair on his left. Legolas quickly ducked a flying roll, and after shooting an annoyed glare in the direction of its previous owner, sat. The other occupants of the table sat in glowering silence, their eyes glued to their food and drink. Gimli looked at the sour faces around the table and cleared his throat loudly. Four pairs of dark eyes glanced up simultaneously. They stared at their lord with expressions of annoyed indifference. Gimli’s brows lowered warningly.

“I don’t believe you’ve properly introduced yourselves,” he said, the underlying hint evident in his tone. A black bearded Dwarf sitting across from Legolas pushed back his chair from the table and bowed low.

“Overseer Kori, at your service,” he announced. His dark eyes locked with Gimli’s for a moment as he straightened.

“I have no need of your service,” Legolas replied genuinely, “but the pleasure is mine all the same.” Gimli kicked the Elf sharply under the table. Legolas jumped slightly and glared questioningly at his Dwarven comrade.

“The reply would be a simple ‘thank you’ laddie,” he whispered, loud enough for the others to hear. Understanding crept into the Elf’s mind and he turned his attention back on the still standing Dwarf. The others snickered or pretended to choke as they chuckled behind their hands. Indignation and the tiniest hint of embarrassment washed over Legolas’s otherwise expressionless mask, but centuries of experience aided him in keeping it down.

“My apologies, good Kori,” he replied. “I meant no offense. I am not learned in the customs of your people. Thank you for your courtesy, and forgive me for my lack thereof.” Kori bowed once more.

“You’re quite forgiven, Master Legolas,” replied the Dwarf, taking his seat. “No harm done.” The other three Dwarves stood and bowed in turn.

“Bombel, at your service.”

“Derin, at your service.”

“Orni, at your service.”

“Thank you, Master Bombel, Master Derin, and Master Orni,” Legolas replied with a slight smile.

“Have a drumstick,” Gimli offered, pointing a greasy finger in the direction of the platter. Legolas hesitated. There was a pewter plate and a mug set before him, but there were no utensils to be had. He also noticed with dismay that there was nothing resembling a napkin on his or any other table around him. 
Face first eating. Delightful.

Forcing these negative thoughts aside, Legolas reached out and chose a particularly small drumstick from the massive pile. He set the morsel on his plate and looked down at it, unsure as to the best way to eat it without completely soiling his hands and face. To the mind of his Dwarven companion who sat eying the Elf with scrutiny, Legolas was the perfect image of a dog whose master had just thrown him an eaten corncob instead of the cat that he had wanted.

Not wanting to embarrass himself or Gimli further, Legolas swallowed the pride that was welling inside him and picked up the drumstick. Without hesitation of any kind he took a good-sized bite of the meat. He chewed it once, twice, three times and then swallowed. The Elf could feel the curiosity that Gimli was attempting to hide.

“Well lad?” Gimli asked. “What do you think?”

“It is…” Legolas drew out the word and added to his friend’s anticipation.

“Yes?” Gimli replied hastily. “What? Too salty? In need of a little more garlic?”


Gimli laughed aloud. “Haha! I knew you’d see my way once you had actually tried it.”

“Master Gimli!” called a rather irritated voice from behind. Legolas turned and saw a particularly round Dwarf waddling up to the table. He wore a rather soiled apron, his beard was grey, and he was balding rather drastically on the crown of his head. His huffing and puffing, not to mention the red complexion of his cheeks, told all who saw him that he was a most displeased Dwarf.

“Master Gimli! A word with you if you please!”

“What is it, Master Barn?” Gimli inquired a little less than enthusiastically.

“It’s my kitchen staff sir,” Barn replied. “They all gone and gotten themselves drunk, and now they refuse to work! There’s already been calls for seconds, and I’ve got no hands to help me!”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Gimli said. He cast an apologetic look to those around the table and rose. “If you’ll excuse me, masters.”

“Of course,” replied the one called Derin. Gimli heaved a sigh and stalked after the ruffled Barn, grumbling something incoherent as he left.

“Master Legolas,” Kori said suddenly. Legolas looked up, eyes measuring.

“Yes, Master Kori?” the Elf replied.

“It is truly an honor to have you as our guest.”

Orni spluttered and coughed abruptly. Legolas was taken back by this change of opinion. If his memory served him, he thought he had remembered seeing Kori among the riotous bunch of the night before. The Elf made a mental note to be wary but ready to go on the defensive should something unsavory result from whatever this Dwarf was getting at.

“Thank you,” Legolas replied with as much sincerity as he could muster. “It is an honor to be here.”

“I must beg your forgiveness for what happened last night,” Kori went on, equally sincere. “It was late, and having been friends with Master Gimli for as long as you have, you must know what a terrible mistake it is to wake a Dwarf in the dead of night,” he finished with a chuckle.

“Yes,” Legolas replied, outwardly amused. “I had observed as much.”

“Let us make amends, shall we?” Kori said. “I propose a toast!” The Dwarf pushed back his chair and stood to his feet once more. The other three wore the same bewildered expression, and it was very obvious that they thought their companion had gone quite mad. But not wishing to provoke the wrath of the overseer or their lord, they stood and held their mugs aloft. Kori scooped his tankard up with a flourish and held it high. Legolas, unsure whether or not this was all some sort of grand jest at his expense, tentatively stood to his feet as well. He lifted his mug and glanced at the contents out of the corner of his eye. Water. 
No beer this time, Legolas thought to himself. Odd. But within he wondered hopefully if Gimli was finally at an end of his constant nagging over why the Elf should have stronger drink.

“To Aglarond, its glorious Halls, and to our honored guest!” Kori proclaimed. “May his stay with us be long remembered!” Then the four Dwarves lifted their drinks to their lips and without pause, downed the entirety of the brew.

An interesting toast, Legolas thought as he too brought his mug up for a drink. He tilted his head back and took a large, deep drink…

The tankard fell from his hands, splashing its contents across the table.

Not water.


Salt water.

Legolas blanched miserably as the brackish taste filled his mouth. It shocked his senses and instantly he could not only taste it, but also smell it, hear it, feel it. The call. 
Her call.

The call of the Sea.

No. He could not let it happen here. Not now. 
Her song had already begun to play in his heart, plucking at his longing like a stringed instrument. His vision grew cloudy—misty—and the noise of the room was drowned out and replaced by the sound of waves lapping at a distant shoreline. A sudden, cold sweat took hold of him, but to the dimming mind of the Elf it felt more like a gentle salt spray than perspiration. From some far corner of his mind Legolas could hear Kori asking him if he was well, and this awoke within him a sudden, desperate urge to flee. He could not let them see what she could do to him…they could not see…he could not let them…

FLY! The small voice of awareness screamed in his mind. He found himself staggering away from the table, felt himself back awkwardly into his chair, knocking it to the ground.

“Master Legolas!” Kori cried. “What is it? Are you unwell?”

“I..forgive me…I must go…”

“Go?” Kori came forward and grabbed his arm in a gesture of concern. “What is the matter, Elf? Do you need aid?”

Desperation threatened to overwhelm Legolas as his mind continued to be drawn into the droning of the sea. He would not allow himself to appear weakened or helpless in front of these Dwarves---in front of anyone. His bleary eyes locked with Kori’s for just a moment, and it was in that second that he realized what had happened. For beneath Kori’s attempt at genuine concerned eyes, a gleeful malice lurked that laughed at the Elf’s faltering pretense of infallibility. Somehow, someway the Dwarf must have known about Elven sea longing. Perhaps Gimli had explained it, but somehow he had learned. Kori truly had been angry when Legolas had first arrived, the act of friendship he had just displayed was a farce, and now the Dwarf was detaining him to exploit in front of all of Aglarond the most vulnerable place in Legolas’ heart.

He would not let it happen.

“Release me!” he growled as he jerked his arm free. Kori feigned hurt and attempted to come forward, once more hindering the Elf from escape. Legolas turned and stumbled as fast as he could, shoving past tables, chairs, and Dwarven bodies. He knocked into some and tripped up over others in his flight, but he had to get to his chamber, had to be free from prying eyes. They could not see!

Legolas heard his name being shouted behind him and knew the voice to be Gimli’s. But time was slipping away and he was nearing the end of the Hall. Frantically he flung back the large wooden doors and reeled into the passageway beyond. The call fairly roared in his heart by now, to the point where it caused literal pain. He staggered to a stop in the middle of the shadowed hallway. It was becoming hard to breathe: he couldn’t breathe. He was drowning…being pulled into 
her dark, comforting caress. He heard heavy footsteps behind him and turned just in time to see Kori round the corner and stalk in his direction. He pointed a trembling finger in the wicked Dwarf’s direction and gasped out one word.

“YOU,” he said, storm clouds racing across his visage.

Then all fell into darkness.

Chapters | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |