4. Breakfast With The King
Chapter Three: Breakfast With The King
When Gimli woke the next morning, he felt a burden had been lifted during the night and wondered at the feeling until he remembered waking and finding Legolas on the balcony. That conversation had been one of their more difficult ones, yet in that short time, much had changed. Gimli was still concerned for his friend, but he knew Legolas would not accept pity for his condition. He would have to make sure the elf stayed busy. Perhaps focusing on these new caverns Aragorn had told him about would help Legolas, as well as ease the pain he himself felt for his friend's suffering.
The newly discovered caverns leading into Mount Mindolluin excited Gimli. Being a dwarf, he loved the opportunity to explore new areas under the ground. Convincing Legolas to accompany him, however, would not be easy. Yet, Aragorn had said they would both be interested in what was found.
After peeking in and finding the elf was already up and gone, Gimli dressed quickly and headed towards the King's rooms. He had been invited to join Aragorn there for breakfast. The guard standing outside the King's chambers greeted him politely and opened the door for him. As he entered, he heard musical laughter coming from the open balcony door, and his heart rejoiced to hear Legolas laugh again. It had been too long since he had heard that sound.
Gimli was looking forward to the opportunity to banter with his friend again. He walked as quietly as he could across the room, noticing that the large balcony held a small table with enough room to seat 4 people. Aragorn and Arwen frequently took their breakfast here, rather than in the formal dining room, but today the table was set for three. Arwen must have already eaten and be attending other duties.
Stopping just inside the doorway, Gimli paused and listened to what was so humorous. Aragorn's voice was resonating through the open air, filled with amusement. The King was telling Legolas the same story he had conveyed to Gimli when he had first arrived. He smiled to himself, for it was quite a funny story at Faramir's expense. He waited for Aragorn to finish the tale before announcing his presence.
"Faramir just looked at Eowyn with his mouth hanging wide open. I have never seen him look like that before. She simply walked over and closed it for him, kissed him on the cheek and walked away!"
More bright laughter came from the balcony followed by a cheerful elven voice "Come and join us Gimli; do not linger at the door!"
Gimli walked out on the balcony, grumbling under his breath about never managing to sneak up on the elf. "You enjoy telling that tale too much, Aragorn," he said, smiling slightly at the two friends standing at the railing. "Especially, since Faramir is not here to defend himself!"
Aragorn grinned. "It is his own fault for letting his wife catch him so off guard and in the midst of a banquet, no less!" He laughed. "Come, our meal arrived only minutes ago. Let us sit and eat while we speak!"
The friends sat quickly and dove into the wonderful smelling food. Gimli helped himself to the eggs and sausage, adding bread to his plate as well. He smiled when he noticed the elf take mostly fruit, some cheese and a slice of the fresh bread. In some things, few though they were, the elf was predictable. Adding some preserves to his own bread, Gimli waited for the others to begin the conversation.
It was not long after they sat down to eat that elven curiosity got the better of Legolas. "What are these caverns you spoke of in your letter, Aragorn?" he asked. "I have not heard of any caverns in Minas Tirith, other than those that serve as the prison." Legolas paused between bites, looking expectantly towards the King.
"They were found not far from the dungeons," Aragorn explained. "Some of the city engineers were looking into possibilities for converting a few old storage rooms which were no longer in use. It turned out that one of those rooms concealed an entrance to previously unknown tunnels and caverns. They seem to go far into the mountain and it looks as if they are natural, not man-made. I was hoping for Gimli's input given that he is obviously more experienced in these matters than our engineers." Aragorn looked to the dwarf, who smiled and nodded for him to continue as his mouth was full at the moment.
"Some of the caverns have strange carvings along the walls. They are quite interesting, Legolas. I think they would be worth you venturing down there to see. And there are other unusual things of which the builders have spoken, though I have not had a chance to look much farther than the first couple of rooms. It will be interesting to find what history has been hidden down there for so long, for to my knowledge, there is no record of these caverns." Aragorn finished, turning back to his breakfast.
Legolas sat in thought for a few minutes. Indeed, this was interesting news, and he found himself curious to see what had been hidden for so long. But to venture into caves? He asked himself. Legolas despised being trapped beneath the earth, surrounded only by rock and dank air with no hint of growing things. Still, it would not do for the dwarf to have ammunition to use against him, and if he refused, Gimli would taunt him relentlessly. Better to suppress his fears—and shock the dwarf. Legolas smiled as he turned to Aragorn and began to speak in a tone that showed excitement he did not necessarily feel.
"What an unusual thing to stumble across! I look forward to seeing these things with my own eyes, for this tale has intrigued me greatly." Turning his attention to Gimli, Legolas added, "How soon do you think we can start, Gimli?" He noticed the look of shock on Gimli's face and suppressed a grin. He was sure Aragorn could see the amusement in his eyes, but the dwarf was absolutely flustered.
"Since when do you get excited about going underground, elf?" The dwarf finally managed to ask. "True, I have longed to see these things, ever since Aragorn wrote of them to me, but I did not expect you to join in so willingly!" Gimli looked gleeful, and for a moment Legolas wondered if his enthusiasm would be the death of him.
"I say we start first thing tomorrow," Gimli continued, "and perhaps, we should plan to stay there as we explore these findings. What do you think? An underground camping expedition?"
So, he will torture me regardless! Legolas thought. He could not think which was worse, showing his hesitation and being teased about it, or putting on an air of excitement and being dragged underground for days at a time! Teasing was no longer such an unpleasant option.
"I think not, Master Dwarf. While I look forward to seeing these things of which Aragorn speaks, I have no desire to spend days at a time underground. Besides, I came to visit the King as well as you, and somehow I do not think Aragorn will be able to spend much time there with us. I suggest we meet with the engineers and get more information to plan our exploring before we head out. We could start the morning after next and return to the palace for dinner each evening. Would that suit you, my friend?"
The dwarf looked at him smugly before replying. "Fine, Legolas, we will cater to your fear of dark enclosed spaces. I agree we should get more information before heading into the caves." To Legolas's chagrin, the dwarf turned quickly to Aragorn before he could respond. "Do you think we could meet with the engineers today or tomorrow, Aragorn? Then we would be ready to explore the following day."
Aragorn nodded, "I'm sure that can be arranged."
Much to Legolas's relief, the conversation turned to other topics as the friends finished their breakfast. At least, he would have a couple of days before venturing underground, and it would give him time to get even with the dwarf for his reference to his fear of dark enclosed spaces. And perhaps give him time to plot some revenge…
To Be Continued…
A/N: For the full story about Faramir and Eowyn, please see the story Catching a Steward Off His Guard.
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.