Dwarves and Elves
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Folk of Different Race: 4. Wiser Halves
Legolas grimaced as the impossibly
loud Dwarf paused, then, grumbling, plunked himself on the ground at a tree a
few feet away. But even sitting, he
could not be silent. It seemed that
every part of him creaked, squeaked or scowled.
The Elf stared into the silvern
darkness that seemed to hover always beneath the canopy of Lórien. The lament continued, well within his hearing
and he believed, well within the Dwarf’s.
He willed it to drown out every other sound and if it could, every thought
in his mind.
Though he knew exactly where he was and exactly how to get
back to the security and comfort of his own kind, he could not presently recall
ever having felt more lost and more isolated.
He had abruptly stopped as if slapped because he felt as
though he had been. It had suddenly and
clearly occurred to him that the Dwarf had meant no offense in his comment and
was, if anything, attempting to start the conversation he himself had truncated
the first time.
He felt his jaw tighten and he exhaled slowly, trying to rid
himself of the feeling of impending failure.
So much for the keen senses of Elves, he thought, for he was unable even
to tell the difference between an insult and a veiled apology. The Dwarf had started it, of course, but even
that excuse felt as hollow as the Mines of Moria, for
an feud cannot exist if only one is fighting. Legolas knew he
should have known better; Gandalf had wished him to know better.
That the Dwarf had tried to start a second conversation
after the first had gone so disastrously awry was surprisingly admirable and Legolas dimly realized that, if he could simply remain calm
for the span of a single discussion, he might actually come to like Gimli.
The elven archer did not doubt his
skills as a fighter, but of the rest of him he was less certain. It was as if, when arguing with the Dwarf,
all reason left his mind. His voice said
harsh, cruel things and somewhere deep inside, the true Legolas
wondered why. And now with the anger
still trembling through his muscles, causing his usually steady hands to quake
slightly, tears of loathing coated his eyes and the true Legolas
This was not who he was.
He was not mean. He was not
uncaring and yet, to the Dwarf he was.
It was no real wonder that Gimli did not like
him. He would not have liked himself
Gimli scowled, listening to the
melodious lament, feeling as though it pierced him to the soul. He idly wished he understood Elvish and could comprehend the mournful words they sang of
the wizard. He knew that a translator
sat only feet from him, but he was determined not to be the first to speak; not
after his attempt at reparation had been purposely misunderstood.
He did not even try to guess why the Elf had suddenly stopped. No doubt the tree had whispered to him,
asking him to please, come and rest a while at its feet. Ridiculous, flighty,
bothersome Elf. If he weren’t so
useful during battle, Gimli would have declared him
worthless to the company and beseeched Aragorn to dump
him immediately, making a strong case against hauling unnecessary baggage.
Yet, his wiser half – the half that seemed to vanish when
the Elf spoke to him – whispered that he might grow to like the son of Thranduil, if he dared; he was clever and the Dwarf liked
cleverness. However, Gimli
steadfastly ignored the voice. It could
not be his own mind, he decided. It had
to be the trees. These were elven trees after all, and no doubt they talked incessantly
as well, giving advice that tired Dwarves didn’t want to hear.
But despite his wish to lay the blame solely on the Elf’s
shoulders, he could not ignore the emptiness of failure hollowing his
insides. This attempt at reconciliation,
he supposed it could be called, had run no differently than any of his other
conversations with Legolas. There had been unpleasant silence, then angry
words and then angry silence. It was a
pattern they knew well.
Gimli dimly realized that what he
liked least about the Elf was his own reaction to him. He felt he became a shadow version of himself
that contained only his spite and his malice – hardly what he considered his
finer qualities. He was not at his best
when arguing with Legolas. It was no real wonder, then, that the Elf did
not like him. He did not entirely like
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