4. Chapter Four
A wayfarer should not walk unarmed,
But have his weapons to hand:
He knows not when he may need a spear,
Or what menace meet on the road.
Dull was the day, dull and grey and so much like the day before Gimli wondered if a day had passed after all. Perhaps he had fallen asleep in the boat and dreamt it, though he did not feel rested. The mists on the river seemed to have entered his mind, for clear thought was impossible.
'Think nothing of it.'
He had said it, and meant it, yet Gimli could not help but hear the words echoed in his mind again and again. The harsh words of the elf, as harsh as they had been they turned equally soft. It astonished the dwarf how quickly elves could change their way, how quickly the anger would fade in their deep eyes. Or perhaps it was the dwarves that were slow, and felt everything more deeply.
'What would you know of the grief we sing about?'
Perhaps the grief was different for his kindred, but it was not less. It was not. It was just more silent, for dwarves sung rarely compared to the elves.
Legolas was tense, his keen eyes taking in the banks and trees. If the elf saw anything, he made no sign of it. It seemed oddly silent, no birds, no animals, only the sound of runing water.
A few drops of water had fallen into Legolas's hair, reminding the dwarf of pearls in gold. No, not pearls – topaz. Misty blue topaz, the colour of Lady Galadriel's eyes – and Legolas's.
Where did that thought come from?
'I do not need your reassurances.'
Then why did he feel compelled to give them?
Everything was misty. Where was the shining star to give direction?
He looked down at his pouch, fighting a desire to take out the treasure within. The strands of hair given to him by the Lady of Lothlórien, a sign of a new understanding. Dwarves would not fear her kind anymore, not if he could help it. She would be a star to them, fairer than all others.
He looked up at Legolas again without thinking, taking in the tense back, the flowing hair, the pale skin and the tall frame. The elf did not need the sun on him to shine, though the sun should. Elves were creatures of sunlight and starlight, and like gems they needed the light. They were beautiful without light, but the light reflected in them and thus made both them and the light seem more magnificent.
Lady Galadriel was a crystal, bright and fair and most beautiful when filled with light. And Legolas...
The dwarf shivered. He should not be thinking this, yet the image of a gem matching Legolas had already entered his mind and he could not shake it.
Opal. Black as the night sky it could be, or as blue as a clear mountain lake. A rock, but fragile and breakable. A gem of light, though beautiful even in the dark.
He shook his head, trying to shake the thought as well. It was a not an easy task in this pocket of silence. It was almost as if the world slept while they moved on. As if the landscape rolled by and did not see them.
What would then happen when the world awakened? Would the ravens come, singing of death as they always did? 'The heralds of death', his father had once called them, for they had come with orcs.
It would almost be better to face orcs than this grey dullness, this feeling of something coming closer, yet no signs of it. A storm with no clouds. Legolas could feel it, the dwarf knew by the tension in the elf's back. Even the hobbits seem to feel it, for they were quiet. They all waited.
The waiting was always the worst part of a battle. Even after a hundred battles and a river of blood the waiting was the worst. For none was a more cruel predictor than your own mind.
He closed his eyes, the cold wind sweeping through his clothes and into his heart. What much good could one confused dwarf do? Frodo bore the burden, Aragorn led them, Legolas scouted for them, the hobbits were their spirit and Boromir a support for Aragorn. What then could Gimli, son of Glóin do?
“Gimli,” Legolas said softly, and the dwarf looked up. “You told me to have hope, yet you look as if all grief in the world has befallen you.”
“Dwarves are poor at offering advice,” Gimli replied, wondering if the elf was still angry.
“No. You are right. If the wise one sees hope, so must us fools.”
“Fools who think we can change the world.”
A brief smile touched Legolas's lips, lighting up his whole face. An opal with an inner light he was, though with a golden frame.
“Perhaps we can, Master Dwarf. If an elf and a dwarf can share a boat without pushing each other in the water, a small hobbit can bring the fall of Sauron.”
Gimli returned the smile, as they both looked over to the boats ahead. Hobbits might be small, but they were quick to win deep affection. Not for their naivety, for that had long since died. No, for their brightness of spirit even in the darkest places. They were the most unprepared for this travel, yet they had shown courage to shame even the greatest warrior.
“Curious beings,” Legolas said, shaking his head slightly, causing the drops of water to fall from his hair. Startled, the dwarf felt a drop of water meet his skin and slowly run down his cheek. He caught it with his hand, staring at the bright speck of blue.
It was only water, yet... It felt warm against his skin, as if it had been near a flame.
The boats floated on, the water swirling around them. And clutching his axe, Gimli thought he heard a distant raven singing its song of death.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.