3. Chapter 3
Close to the largest breach in the defences, a stout figure was at work, attended by a tall stonemason from the City who was listening and watching intently.
Now Gimli walked around the block of stone twice, before looking up at the man beside him. “Hammer and chisel,” he said. The man nodded, and pulling the tools from the pocket of his leather apron handed them to Gimli.
The dwarf took them, weighing them in his hands, and examined the stone one more time, before placing the chisel carefully on one edge of the block. He struck one firm blow with the hammer, and a chip flew off. Gimli ran his hand over the stone, and took another chip off the opposite side.
“Now,” he said, “it’s smooth.” He handed the hammer and chisel back to his companion. “Make them all like that. Think like a Dwarf. Look at your stone from all angles before you replace it in the wall. Do that, and they will fit together like a dream.”
The mason nodded. Gimli grinned at him, and picked up his axe where it lay by his side. “Now, I must leave you. Send word should you need me again.”
He made his way along the wall of the City, speaking briefly to some of the men at work repairing the stone. From time to time, he shook his head as he came upon a part of the wall which was particularly badly damaged. The air was full of the dust from the work, men doing what they could with the stone at hand. Gimli made a mental note to arrange transport of new stone from Mindolluin, and went through the Gate, nodding at the Guards on duty.
Climbing the City streets, the dwarf was pleased to notice the increase of activity. He paused to watch a painter at work on the outside of a house before continuing upwards towards the Tower.
As he passed an open gate in the third circle, voices drifted out.
“A beech tree would be ideal here,” someone said, their tone clear. “And some flowers around the base.”
“Elanor, maybe?” another voice suggested. “I will ask for some more seedlings to be sent from Lórien.”
Gimli patted a stray braid down and went through the gate.
Three figures were standing around an empty pool in the centre of a garden. The grass was green but otherwise the space was bare. A Man was bent over a sheet of parchment, drawing, and nodding eagerly as the others spoke. But the taller of the two turned as Gimli crossed the lawn, and a wide smile lit up his face.
“Gimli! You are just in time to advise us on the matter of trees for this garden.”
“You know full well I know naught of such things,” Gimli returned, “but I was looking for you, my friend.”
Legolas laughed. “I see dust on your beard, my good Dwarf.”
“I imagine he has been aiding the masons again,” the third person said. Gimli bowed low.
“My Lady is correct,” he replied. “Though my expertise pales into nothing next to your knowledge of plants.”
“I am looking after the flowers alone,” Galadriel said, the ring on her finger catching the light from the Sun high above. “Legolas is advising Estel on trees. So, a beech?” She turned to Legolas, who nodded.
“We have not planned many beeches as yet, and they would grow wonderfully well here.”
The man drew a rough circle, and labelled it “beech” in laborious script. “And elanor around its base, my lady?” he asked, looking up.
“I think so,” Galadriel said, peering down at the drawing. “Yes, that will do very well indeed. Some lilies in the pool also, and seats, and the people of this neighbourhood will have a lovely space to rest.”
Legolas turned to Gimli. “We have done all the lower levels of the City now,” he told his friend. “It only remains for the planting to be done, and then for the folk of the City to nurture their gardens.”
“Well, I hope they do so,” Gimli said gruffly. “Or you will both have gone to much effort for naught.”
“I think they will,” Galadriel replied. “For love of their City, and their king.”
“How is Aragorn?” asked Gimli, as they turned to leave the garden and continue upwards. “I have not seen him yet today.”
“Nor have I,” Legolas said. “I imagine he is busy.”
“Busy with his duties,” Galadriel put in, folding her hands in front of her. “I saw my grandchildren heading out on to the Pelennor before I joined you, Legolas.”
“He should be able to enjoy this new peace like the rest of us,” Gimli said, running a finger along the edge of his axe. “It does not seem fair.”
“He knows that fairness does not enter into it,” said Galadriel, glancing down at the Dwarf. “As does Arwen.”
Gimli grunted. “That does not change the fact that it certainly is not fair!” he said.
They fell silent as they climbed the streets. Gimli noticed that the folk about their business fell silent as the two Elves passed, and some bowed their heads. Neither Legolas nor Galadriel appeared aware of the behaviour, but the dwarf was certain that both had remarked the attitude of the people towards them.
“Are you coming to eat in the Tower tonight, my friend?” Legolas asked Gimli. “I believe we will all be there, all of our company.”
Gimli nodded. “You mean that Frodo is coming too?” he said. “He’s been strangely absent recently.”
“Sam was under orders to make sure he came,” Legolas agreed. “And of course we can trust to Merry and Pippin to be there.”
“You must not put too much pressure on Frodo,” Galadriel reminded them both gently. “He has suffered more than any of you except Sam know. And even Sam perhaps does not realise how deep the hurt goes.”
“Poor Frodo,” Gimli mused. “We’d all have carried the Ring for him, if he had asked us.”
“That was not your task, Gimli,” said Galadriel.
Gimli met her eyes, and bowed his head.
At the entrance to the Tower Galadriel took her leave of her companions, and disappeared inside silently. Gimli watched her go with a sigh.
“Come, my good dwarf,” Legolas said, “let us sit on the walls awhile. I have not seen enough of you lately.”
“Those walls have had to be rebuilt, Master Greenleaf,” Gimli said, as they found a spot looking over the Pelennor. “I have been busy.”
“I know,” his friend replied. “And you have done good work, Gimli. As, I think, have we. Still this stone chokes me.”
“Looking to return home?” Gimli asked.
“Home, or to wander in woodland,” Legolas said. “And then mayhap you will come with me?”
Gimli rested his hands on his axe and watched the fields far below. “Maybe I will, Legolas. When the others leave, I will leave.”
“That will not be until they take Théoden to his resting place,” the Elf said. “But that would be a suitable time.”
“Then we will go together?” Gimli said.
“Then we will go together.” They exchanged smiles and fell to silent contemplation of the City.
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.