1. That Thrice-Cursed Dwarf
“A letter, my Lord. The courier said it was most urgent.”
Curiously, for the seal was unfamiliar, Thranduil opened the message and read it swiftly. Then he read it again, more slowly, and looked at the messenger in silence for a moment before responding.
“Where is the courier?”
The messenger bowed. “He has been taken in, to be refreshed after a hard ride, my lord.”
Thranduil’s brow furrowed and he dismissed the messenger curtly. He paced his study, then abruptly sat down and read the letter again.
My Lord Thranduil,
I desire to come home and bring to Ithilien of my kinsmen, that I may fulfill my vow to King Elessar to make his city of Minas Tirith fair and bright once more, with trees and birds and many fair things.*
With me rides Gimli son of Glóin, for we will also ride to the Lonely Mountain to fetch such of his kinsmen as will return with us.
I know of your feelings towards Glóin, and indeed Dwarves in general, Ada, but I beg of you to consider this. A Dwarf Gimli may be, but he is wise and honorable, and courageous. He has saved my life many times, and rode in the Company.
I await your reply,
Thranduil began to pace again.
Why was Legolas asking this? He knew of Thranduil’s feelings-- he’d admitted that much! A Dwarf was bad enough…but Glóin’s son? That thrice-cursed Dwarf that had so insolently invaded his home…
A gentle tap came at the door.
“Come!” Thranduil said curtly, but as the Elf entered his brow relaxed and he smiled. “Lòtë, love, is it late already?”
The Lady of Lasgalen smiled and took his hand. “Not so late, but there has been a courier, and poor Aranarth* left here like all the forces of Morgoth were on his tail. What is it?”
Thranduil scowled. “Legolas wishes to come home.”
“Why, there is no cause for you to be angry with that,” Lòtë protested.
“He wishes to bring the Dwarf with him, and he comes only to bring others back with him,” Thranduil told her.
Lòtë smiled wryly. “And so you have a black scowl and there is a thundercloud hanging above your study. Is this not foolishness, my husband?”
“I thought you would understand, Lòtë!” Thranduil protested, beginning to pace again. “I cannot receive him!”
“You married me,” Lòtë said simply, “though it was commonly known that my father had betrayed a company of Elves to Him in the battle of Dagorlad.”*
“That is different,” Thranduil said curtly. “You were a child, and anyway it was your father and not you.”
“How is this different?” Lòtë asked gently. “Must the son be blamed for the father’s faults? For if you will blame Gimli for what Glóin has done, will not Legolas be blamed for any grudges the Dwarves hold against you?”
Thranduil was staring out a window. Lòtë waited a moment, then said “Think on it, my husband,” and glided out the door.
A se’night later, a messenger arrived in Ithilien and handed Legolas a letter, sealed with Thranduil’s signet. It bore one word.
*Aranarth is actually the name of the first Chieftain of the Dunédain, I freely admit to flipping through my Appendixes and seizing the first likely name I saw.
*As to Legolas’s vow, I refer to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Chapter IX, The Last Debate:
Together the Elf and the Dwarf entered Minas Tirith, and folk that saw them pass marvelled to see such companions; for Legolas was fair of face beyond the measure of Men, and he sang an elven-song in a clear voice as he walked in the morning; but Gimli stalked beside him, stroking his beard and staring about him.
“There is some good stone-work here,” he said as he looked at the walls; “but also some that is less good, and the streets could be better contrived. When Aragorn comes into his own, I shall offer him the service of stonewrights of the Mountain, and we will make this a town to be proud of.”
“They need more gardens,” said Legolas. “The houses are dead, and there is too little here that grows and is glad. If Aragorn comes into his own, the people of the Wood shall bring him birds that sing and trees that do not die.”
*Referring to what Lòtë says about her father, in Unfinished Tales, Tolkien states that a company of the Elves was ambushed and driven into the Dead Marshes and killed. I took a bit of poetic license here and assumed that they were betrayed.
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