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by A. Tye
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JRR Tolkien. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: A conversation in LothLóien
“You sit alone.”
Gimli looked up from where he was sitting against a tree trunk and saw Legolas standing beside him.
“I wished for somewhere quiet,” Gimli paused slightly to study Legolas’s face, “But I would not object to company if you are looking for the same thing.”
Legolas inclined his head to the dwarf and settled on the grass a few feet away looking out over the forest as Gimli was. After some time Legolas spoke, “You have spent much time alone since our arrival here.”
Gimli turned to look at him. Legolas could not easily read his gaze but he felt the dwarf was assessing him for something. After a moment something changed slightly in Gimli’s expression. He turned away and spoke while looking out into the woods.
“I have seen the great halls of my people fallen and defiled. The bodies of those who went to reclaim them lay unburied among the orcs. Balin was not the only among them who was dear kin to me. We have lost Gandalf to an evil which is has haunted my kind for countless years. I have much to grieve for.”
Legolas carefully did not look at him. “But you do not go to your companions for comfort in your grief.” The elf was surprised to hear a quiet chuckle. Turning, he saw Gimli looking at him with a slight smile.
“I appreciate your concern, Master Elf, and your intentions are good, but I am a dwarf.”
Legolas’s confusion must have been apparent because Gimli shifted to face him and seemed to be searching for an explanation.
“Dwarven grief is different than that of man. If I were to cut this tree it would eventually heal and become whole again, but if I cut this rock, it would not grow back to its original shape. That is the difference between the grief of men and dwarfs. The tree heals, and while it may bear a scar as a reminder, the hurt will fade away. The hurt given the rock will remain always, but it will not destroy the rock, and soon stone will forget that it ever had a different shape. We do not need help to heal, simply time to become accustomed to the hurt. It is the same with our loves. Our grieves and joys remain always, and we would not wish for them to fade as men’s do, for they are what shape us.”
Legolas studied the dwarf intently. “But too strong a blow may crush a rock.”
“Just as too strong a blow may kill a tree. But, do not trouble yourself. If a dwarf is to die of grief they will do it quickly or not at all. I am not rubble yet, nor will I be.”
Legolas quirked a smile at this and his expression relaxed slightly. “Then I am glad. A crumbling dwarf would be quite unpleasant.”
“Aye, I imagine it might be.” Gimli was again looking at the elf with an oddly inscrutable expression. “And I do appreciate your efforts to prevent it. So much so that I feel honor bound to return the favor.”
Legolas tensed slightly and his face became expressionless. “And how would you propose to do that.”
Gimli sighed and brought out his pipe, busing himself with cleaning the bowl. “I do not claim to know your ways, or the ways of your kind, but you have not been grieving among your kin nor the fellowship, and I fear that something other than simple grief troubles you.”
Legolas’s eyes flashed, “The grief over the loss of one such as Gandalf can not be considered simple. But perhaps one such as you could not understand that.” He said coldly
Gimli’s face grew angry for a moment, but he quickly controlled, although his eyes still glittered. “One such as I may understand more than that. You must speak of your troubles to someone or you will endanger yourself and by turn the fellowship.”
Legolas glared at Gimli, “I would never endanger the fellowship!”
Gimli returned his gaze with one equally hard “I do not think you knowingly would. Neither do I think you a fool. Thus I ask, what troubles you?”
Legolas looked away, but did not get up to leave. They both sat in silence for some time, but the dwarf was stubborn in his attention, and the elf strangely loath to go. Eventually Legolas spoke, so quietly that Gimli almost didn’t catch it. “I dropped my bow.”
Understanding softened his features. “There was no shame in it.”
Legolas turned to face him, livid, “No shame in it? I let fear overcome me and I did nothing to stop the balrog from taking Gandalf.”
Gimli’s face in turn grew dark. “So you blame yourself for Gandalf’s fall, because you did not shoot arrows at it? Is it my fault as well because I did not charge the balrog with my axe? Are Aragorn and Boromir to be blamed for failing to slay it with their swords? Will you blame the hobbits for not throwing stones at the creature? You had no more ability to fight the thing than any of us, and to fault yourself is to fault us all. Such arrogance does not behoove you.”
“I was afraid.”
“Only a great fool wouldn’t have been.”
“Aragorn and Boromir were prepared to stand against it.”
“And what good would that have done?” Gimli shook his head, “They are men Legolas; they saw only a terrible beast. We saw a terror that has haunted the nightmares of both our people for countless years. I was faced with the beast that drove my people from our great halls, a terrible evil that came with no warning slaughtering all before it. Less than a third of my people escaped alive. I will not be called a coward for fearing it.”
Legolas still would not look at him, but he drew up his knees and leaned forward upon them.
After a moment Gimli hesitantly put his hand on Legolas’s shoulder. Startled, the elf finally turned a met his gaze. “You may not have been able to save one member of the fellowship, but you did save at least one other. While the life of one dwarf is a small thing in the face of the loss of Gandalf, I am grateful for it. Take comfort in the lives you did save.”
“Not so small a thing. Truly that is a comfort.” His eyes turned amused. “Who would have though I would be given the thanks of a dwarf? I would have thought dwarven gratitude to be a heavier thing.”
Gimli snorted, “Heavy enough. We shall see how you bear up under it. You elves have a rather insubstantial look about you.”
Legolas laughed. “I feel lighter now than I did before you gave it too me. I thank you for your comfort Gimli.”
“You were welcome to it. I would not see one of my fellows fall, even to his own foolishness.”
“Would you sit with me a while master dwarf? Now that I am in a better state for company, I find myself desiring it.”
“As I was here first, I believe that you shall be sitting with me. However ether way I am not opposed to it.”
The elf and the dwarf sat among the trees and grasses of Lothlorien, and quietly enjoyed the peace together.
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Issue No.: 2.6
Site Last Updated: 11 May 2003