"Of Chilly Dwarves and an Angry Elf"

Written By: Flinn

Chapters | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |

Chapter 7

Gimli stood just outside the ornate doorway that led into Legolas’ chamber, battling with himself. He grumbled and muttered, took one step forward, hesitated, and then took one step back. It had been days since he had last seen his friend, and he wondered if he should disturb the Elf or leave him be.

Several hours after the salt incident, the Dwarf (despite his words) had slipped away from the feast and down the many passages to Legolas’s room in order to confirm that the Elf had made it there. Having seen no sign of his friend out and about, Gimli had decided that it was his duty to peer into the chamber and verify the Elf’s presence within. So, with a quick dolen the Dwarf watched as the door slid open, revealing his companion sitting with knees drawn up to his chest, his head resting on them wearily but comfortably in sleep.

To Gimli, Legolas had looked so strange in that moment, as if in slumber all of the frets and years had fallen away from his countenance. The Dwarf had always seen his friend as fair, for so his people were, but now as he slept, Gimli realized just how young the Elf was. True, the princling was considered fully matured in mind and body as far as the ways of Elves went, but he still had not lived long compared to others of his race such as the Lady Galadriel, Lord Elrond, Lady Arwen, or even Haldir for that matter. For some reason, Gimli had never really thought of his Elven companion in that light before. Names such as ‘laddie’ he had simply tagged onto Legolas in friendly teasing, and although at least a millennium older than the Dwarf, the Elf was still considered by his own to be just leaving his ‘tweens’, as the Hobbits would call it. An interesting observation, Gimli had thought to himself. But youthfulness would only keep a fool from underestimating him. Or a Dwarf. Chuckling a little villainously to himself at some past encounter, Gimli had stealthily slipped back out and into the hallway. Soon he had returned to the feasting, satisfied that the Elf would be himself by the following morning.

But after nearly a week of patient waiting (which makes any Dwarf look the part of a suffering saint), Gimli had decided that it was time for the Elf to return to the world of the living once more. The Dwarf had generously offered the service of himself—and his fists—to Legolas if ever he had need of them. Now, Gimli surmised, was as good a time as any to see to that promise.

Why he stood in front of the Elf’s wooden door hesitating the day away he wasn’t sure, but Gimli was not one to back down—even from himself. The stubborn side within him stated that Legolas would get up when he wanted to, and it was not up to the Dwarf to decide when that was. Along with that, rather unpleasant news was Gimli’s to relay, and it might be best just to let the Elf sleep to his heart’s content. But the friend side nudged in the opposite direction: Legolas needed to find out sooner or later. He had been lost to slumber quite long enough.

This is my fault, Gimli admonished himself. This whole thing could have been avoided. But you had to go and get yourself mixed up with a Ring and a Council and a Quest and a blasted Elf…

He decided upon sooner.

Clearing his throat so as to will away any final apprehension, Gimli uttered the word dolen and the door opened as commanded. Then, without another pause The Dwarf strode into the room and--after taking a deep breath--was just about to give the Elf a wake-up call to remember when he noticed that his companion was already up.

Legolas sat on the edge of his pallet, his hair not quite as neat as when the Dwarf had last seen it, yawning quietly to himself. He looked up with eyes a bit unfocused, as is want to happen after a long slumber, and offered his Dwarven friend a contented smile. All the air that Gimli had gathered hissed out of his lungs in an exasperated sigh.

“Good morning, Gimli,” said Legolas, as if not a day had passed.

“Good morning, he says,” Gimli replied to no one in particular. “Good morning?!”

“Well, it is a ‘good’ morning, is it not?” Legolas replied. “I certainly feel it is. Or, will be.”

“More like ‘was’,” the Dwarf countered.

“Was?” Legolas inquired, giving his host an apprehensive glance. “Have I slept late?”

“Late, he says,” Gimli replied. “Late?!”

“Must we keep repeating one another?” Legolas remarked.

“I should say you’ve slept late,” Gimli stated. “Have a guess as to how long?”

“I haven’t the slightest,” Legolas replied, “I slept quite soundly, but I do remember getting up and moving to the pallet---”

“5 nights and 4 days,” announced the Dwarf.

“By the Valar,” Legolas hissed as if it pained him to hear it. Hastily he stood to his feet and moved past Gimli to a pack full of his belongings. A comb and a new set of clothes were produced from its folds and placed upon the Elf’s pallet, ready. After this, Legolas quickly made his way to the pool and began washing up, splashing the melted snow water on his face and neck.

“Legolas…” Gimli began.

“I have never slept this late in all my long years,” the Elf admonished himself.

“Laddie,” Gimli started to speak but was once again cut off.

“Ai…you shall have to forgive me, Gimli, but I must prepare to leave---”

“Laddie,” Gimli repeated, growing louder.

“I know…I am truly sorry,” Legolas continued, wringing some stray water out of his hair. “But it is imperative that I return to Ithilien before—”

“Legolas!” Gimli had to nearly shout to get the Elf’s attention. Legolas turned, his eyes locked on the Dwarf. A look of puzzlement settled on his features at the sudden outburst.

Gimli began shifting his weight from one foot to the other. This was it. He had news to deliver, and he wouldn’t leave this spot without sharing it. But the reaction that would follow…now that was a thing to be nervous about. Gimli cleared his throat, his eyes scanning the leafy floor as he began.

“It’s like this, lad. After Kori’s little prank, I came and made certain that you”—here Legolas frowned---“made it back alright. Go ahead! Call me Mother Hen. But if you had seen your face on me you would have done it too.”

“That is quite an unsettling thought,” Legolas replied.

“Oh, keep quiet,” Gimli growled. “Blasted Elf. At any rate, I thought it best to let you rest. So I did. Morning of the next day came and went, followed by the next and the next until I was beginning to wonder if you had decided to die in here.”

“Ah, the ever amusing Dwarf,” Legolas countered.

“So, I decided that when the next day came, I was going to see to it that you were roused. But when I awoke this morning, word got to me that we had received an…unexpected gift.”

Legolas’s features slowly melted from perplexed to the closest thing to horror that Gimli had ever seen cross the Elf’s face.

“It seems that during the night, the Valar decided to grace us with snow.”

Gimli braced himself for…he wasn’t sure what. An outburst, a protest, anything. But to his relief and confusion, Legolas simply sat in silence.

“I see,” he replied.

It was quiet for a long time, the silence thick on the air as it waited for voices to dismiss it.

“The Elves of Ithilien will be expecting my return, and in the absence of this, some word of why I tarry,” Legolas remarked, falling into his emotionless mask. He searched Gimli’s gaze with his own. “Is there...no way to at least send some sort of message?”

“I’m afraid not,” Gimli replied. “Once the doors close, they remain closed until—”

“The thaw,” Legolas finished. Gimli nodded.

“Best get used to caves, lad,” the Dwarf said with an apologetic air. He searched for something that might lighten the news of the Elf’s entrapment. “They’re not all bad, you know. In fact, I find caves to be quite beautiful, especially here in Aglarond. I shall have to show you some of the deeper corners of our settlement here. After excavation, we’ve found that some of our caves are simply glowing with jewels! It’s quite a sight. Oh--and you can’t forget our fine Dwarven cookery! That is a thing that no stomach should ever have the misfortune to go without! Let’s see…”

Gimli’s words trailed off as he saw the despondent expression that his friend was trying desperately to hide. Then Legolas stood, and beneath his masked face several emotions battled for mastery over his features: wrath, sadness, confusion…and fear.

“Thank you, Gimli,” Legolas said, his voice devoid of any one sentiment.

“Yes, well,” Gimli replied, a little defeatedly. He turned to leave but then seemed to remember something and stopped. “Luncheon is in a half-an-hour.”

“Do not expect me,” Legolas replied with a nod. Gimli paused and contemplated the virtues of scolding the Elf for his lack of appetite.

“Very well,” he said finally, slipping back out into the hall as the door shut behind him.


“Master Gimli.”

Gimli’s glance shifted from the carven walls and settled on the approaching form of Derin behind him. He had not seen the craft-master since the evening of the Feast, for all of the inhabitants kept themselves very busy. The cave echoed with the sounds of picks, hammers, and other assorted tools, not to mention the many voices of the Dwarves that wielded them.

“Ah, Master Derin,” Gimli called. He waved over the other figure. “Come to have a look at the progress?”

“Partially,” replied Derin. His stroked his short chestnut beard as he spoke. His youthful eyes scanned the work in progress. “But I also wished to speak with you.”

“Oh?” Gimli faced the smaller Dwarf. Derin was rather young to have such close standing with Gimli, but the Dwarf had proved himself with hammer and anvil. He had a way with the crafting of metal. His works were bold and sturdy, and his reputation was just as solid.

“Has he been poisoned?” Derin asked bluntly.

“Who? The Elf?” Gimli replied. This was an odd and unexpected topic.

“Yes,” Derin replied frowning. It seemed to Gimli that the young creature was both embarrassed and annoyed at his own question. Derin’s eyes darted away from Gimli’s and settled on the cracks in the floor, and then on the workers nearby.

“Well,” began Gimli, “No. Not really. It isn’t anything deadly; at least, I don’t think so. I suppose you could say he’s been poisoned by the sea. It’s rather confusing to me, lad.”

“Elves are a queer lot,” Derin said, his eyes meeting Gimli’s once more.

“But then, aren’t we all in some way,” Gimli replied. Derin’s bristly brows furrowed deeply.

“What’s changed you, Master Gimli?” he asked. “My father told me before I left for here that he had known you once. He said that he had been good friends with your father, Gloin, and that he thought you were one of the more solid in our ways; at least, from your generation. What made you go off and join the Nine Walkers? Or, at the very least, what drove you to befriend an Elf?”

Gimli stood silently for a moment, his mind running from one memory to another like pages in a book being swiftly flipped through. What had exactly caused this shift in his thinking? He knew the answer to that, of course. The Dwarf lord smiled fondly as he answered.

“Surely you have heard of the Lady Galadriel?” Derin hissed.

“The Elf-witch of Lorien,” he spat. Gimli scowled deeply.

“Nay, she is no witch! But I once thought much as you did. When Aragorn, now Elessar, told me that we were to pass under the leaves of Lorien, I was deeply dissatisfied. I wanted to go nowhere near that place; have nothing to do with whatever secrets lurked within that wood. But it was in Lorien that I began to see things a little differently.”

“How so?” Derin asked.

“After a rather rude introduction into that forest, we were escorted before the Lord and Lady of the wood. It was then, as I stood before Galadriel, that something was awakened inside of me that I had never felt before----and I doubt I shall ever feel again. A witch you call her, but although she possessed strange power she did no evil to me. She spoke words of comfort to my heart, as I was deeply grieved over the loss of those in Moria. Her words were like a gentle, warm breeze on a chilly afternoon. And her beauty…ah…never again shall I call anything fair save the Lady Galadriel. I said it then and I’ll say it now: she is fairer than all the jewels beneath the earth!”

“But she is of the Elves,” Derin stated grimly. “Who is to say that she isn’t a witch—and simply put you under her spell?”

“If I am bewitched, I am glad of it!” Gimli cried. “I would rather be spellbound by that Lady than to be master of my own thoughts. But I am not mad or enchanted. After seeing her, my mind was changed towards the Elven race. Now, true, all Elves are not the same. Some are just as wicked as Orcs and as distorted too. But not all are evil; in fact, many are good people, if their pride will allow others to see it.” Here Gimli chuckled. Derin studied his Lord for a long moment, seemingly debating something within his mind.

“I suppose I shall get to see for myself,” he said at length. “Your Elven friend isn’t going anywhere soon.”

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