Dwarves and Elves
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When You Are With Me: 2. Sanctuary
bow lying upon the ground beside him and his arms wrapped tightly about
"Legolas!" Gimli cried, and rushed to his companion's side, his heart in
his throat. He knelt beside him, putting strong hands upon the elf's
"Legolas! Ai, Legolas! Are you wounded?"
Legolas did not answer. He remained kneeling, his head down, his silver
helm lying beside his feet and his black hair spilling over his face.
Gimli looked for help, but there was none to be had. Those men who could
had fled to the caves or up the broad stairway to the Hornburg. The dwarf
bent and forced one of the elf's arms around his neck and lifted him. His
mind was a tangle of despair and confusion, but he knew this place was not
safe. Arrows skittered over the wall and clattered upon the rock, and
Gimli cast fearful eyes towards the skies, waiting for another blast of
wizard sorcery, or worse. He clumsily helped the elf down from the
heights. Legolas was struggling to walk but could not, and Gimli was all
but carrying his much taller companion through the now abandoned ground
behind the Deeping Wall. The elf had not spoken; his breathing was ragged
and harsh in Gimli's ear against the silence of the aftermath of the
No good, Gimli thought. They could not make it as far as the caves or gain
the stairs. It was too far, and there was no help to be found. Only the
dead or dying were there now. He looked desperately about the Deep for
His eyes lit upon a series of abandoned guard houses on the far side of the
battlements. Most were still intact, and they were away from the culvert,
shadowed in a corner of the west wall and a small blocked stairwell. Gimli
tightened his grip upon Legolas and led him toward the buildings, hoping
against hope that no more enemies lurked nearby, praying they could reach
them without having to fight.
It was slow going, but nothing hindered their flight. The battle seemed to
have moved away from the culvert and to the Gate where the wall had been
breached. Explosions sounded from far off, but nothing stirred amongst the
wreckage littered about them. Gimli reached the guard house that was
furthest in and the less exposed and helped Legolas inside.
He swept the door shut behind them. The small house was confined and dim,
but there was a low pallet on the floor and a store of water. A thick
layer of dust lay over everything from the blasts and chaos that had
surrounded it, but it would serve.
Gimli supported his comrade-in-arms who hung weakly about his neck, on the
verge of collapse. The elf's bow clattered to the floor, and the dwarf
gently eased Legolas onto the pallet. There was little light in the room,
but there was enough from the cracks in the door and a small window near
the roof that he could see the elf's face in the new moonlight, ashen pale.
Gimli barred the door with a few pieces of wood and a sturdy looking
storage chest, then propped his axe in a corner nearby should he need it in
a hurry. He fetched water in a cup from the keg upon a small table and
carried it to the stricken elf.
He trickled some into his mouth. Legolas stirred and choked but managed to
swallow a little. His breathing was rapid and laboured. A spasm of pain
tore through him and wrenched a groan from deep within him that disturbed
the dwarf. There was no mark upon his friend, no physical wound that he
could find, yet the elf was clearly in agony. At a loss, Gimli cast aside
the cup and sat worriedly next to him, placing a weathered hand
comfortingly upon his arm.
Legolas moaned, then his eyes flickered open and his body tensed. He
focused upon the dwarf's face hovering next to him and relaxed a little.
"Gimli..." he rasped. "Are you hurt?" His strange, elegant eyes were
shadowy and vague, and he looked with confusion about him, trying to
comprehend where he was.
Gimli grimly shook his head. "Nay, I am uninjured, Legolas. We are safe
here for the moment I think. You took a bolt of that hell-fire born of
Orthanc, my friend. I thought I had lost you," he said quietly. He
cleared his throat. "A fine mess we are in! I only hope this place proves
to be secure. Lucky for you that you had a stout son of Durin there to
pull you from danger!"
Legolas smiled lightly and closed his eyes. "Luckily for you... I was
struck down," he murmured. "Two more... and I would have soundly beat your
score, Master Dwarf." He placed an unsteady hand upon his breast and
sighed. "What of Aragorn?"
"He managed to retreat, I believe. They will marshal their strength within
the Citadel and move at dawn, if the orcs do not manage to break through
the inner defenses."
The elf nodded and made to reply, but another wave of pain tore through him
and he convulsed, his head lifting from the pallet. He choked back a cry
and grasped Gimli's arm desperately, clinging to the dwarf as the spasm
shook him, seeking solace from his companion's presence.
After an interminable moment he limply sank down, his body trembling
violently. Gimli's heart surged with compassion and he let the elf rest
against him, lending him what strength he could, unable to think of
anything to help but to hold him. He felt wretchedly helpless. "Legolas,"
he said gruffly, his voice thick with emotion, "what it is that ails you?
Where are you hurt?"
Legolas gave a shuddering sigh and quieted, cradled in Gimli's arms. "I am
sorry, Gimli...." he breathed finally. "The pain is... so strong. I did
not mean to be a burden...." He pulled away from the dwarf and sank back
to the pallet.
Gimli hesitated, then reached out and gently brushed away the unsettling
tears of exhaustion that trickled from the elf's eyes. Legolas looked up
wearily and met his gaze. "It feels... like searing ice slicing into me,
numbing me, Gimli... it takes my breath from me and pierces me through. A
trifle of Saruman's black corruption, I should guess." The elf swallowed
and smiled wryly. "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, we've been
told..." The elf broke off the jest with a gasp.
"I know not what to do, Legolas!" Gimli tugged at his beard in frustration.
"Foul sorcery, and wizard tricks! A sword thrust, broken bones... such
injuries I understand, but I cannot ease you when I know not what has been
done to you." He took up the elf's hands in his rough ones and bent his
head before him, anger welling up within him and mingling with the fear.
"Cursed coward! Holed up in that tower, too afraid to come down and
fight! I swear, I will...." He choked with fury on the words.
The hurt had become too much for the elf and Legolas had slipped away into
blessed unconsciousness, his breathing shallow. Gimli looked at him and
shook with suppressed emotion. His heart burned with rage at seeing his
companion laid low, this fair child of the forest struck down by the foul
hand of a sneaking traitor casting spells from afar. He wasn't going to
die. Gimli would not allow it. Not in the middle of this foul, filthy
battle, here in this dark fortress the elf hated, not after all they had
gone through. It wasn't right. He clenched his teeth and swallowed the
urge to march out and bury his axe up to the hilt in Saruman's miserable
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