1. Chapter One
The proverbs are from Håvamål, which my forefathers believed Odin himself had spoken.
Nimue: This is all YOUR fault!
Ta, C. ;)
Young and alone on a long road,
Once I lost my way:
Rich I felt when I found another;
Man rejoices in man
Night fell over Lothlórien, veiling the forest in darkness.
The Fellowship was sleeping, their faces pale in the moonlight. They rested uneasily, Legolas imagined. Grief and fear seemed to follow them even into the land of dreams, if they indeed did dream.
They needed their sleep, yet Legolas almost wished he could wake them this first night in Lothlórien.
The night was cold and he felt alone. He did not wish to think, to pause and consider all that he had seen. Yet his mind seemed bent on it.
Gandalf's last cry echoed in his mind still, though he had locked the sound of it away. But at night he could feel the cry even without hearing it – a cold grip on his spine. He had not known terror until that day, and though the Balrog fell, he could still feel the terror in his veins. It flowed with his blood, filling every part of his body.
He should not feel like this. Not in fair Lothlórien, the Golden Wood of his kindred. They were safe here - for a little while before the Quest had to go on.
Into fire and darkness they would walk.
Frodo slept nearby, his face as pale as the moon at dawn. Young was the hobbit, yet his face told of more grief and toil than even an elf should experience in a lifetime. Alas, all hope rested on him and the elf could not foresee anything but hardship for the hobbit. Perhaps the burden should be taken from him. He seemed so small and fragile...
“Nay!” Legolas muttered, realising he had almost thought of that he should not think. The call of the One Ring, foreign yet familiar. He would not listen. He would not.
“I never imagined such beauty in a forest,” a deep voice said behind him, and he turned to see Gimli, awake and slowly approaching. A shadow he seemed, almost merging with the dark.
The dwarf looked different – the bitterness always gleaming in his eyes when the two were in the vicinity of each other was gone. His face was open, eyes filled with quiet wonder.
They regarded each other for a moment, the dwarf and the elf.
It occurred to Legolas he had never truly looked at the dwarf, not through open eyes. Always with distrust he had regarded Gimli, always just one step down from enemy. A dwarf, nothing more, nothing less.
“Lothlórien,” Legolas replied at last. “So near the Shadow, yet as bright as starlight.”
“As is the Lady Galadriel,” Gimli muttered.
They said nothing for a while, as if words would ruin the growing feeling of common ground. The night was quiet, rustling water and a distant bird the only sounds to be heard. It was an odd bird to hear though, Legolas was almost sure it was a raven.
“I would dearly like to see more of this beauty,” Gimli said hesitantly. “If I return to my kindred, I shall tell them a tale of this, so that no dwarf will be ignorant of it ever more. Fiendeskog my people call it. An ill name. I shall rename it in the tales.”
“My heart desires to see more as well. I have heard tales of Lothlórien but no tales do it justice.”
“No tales ever will.”
Legolas shot the dwarf a curious glance, for it did not all sound like Gimli. The dwarf's voice was soft, though dark and rumbling. Some change had come over him – perhaps it had come over them all.
“I have seen beauty in what I feared, and fear in what I imagined beautiful, Legolas. Perhaps then I shall find a friend where I saw an enemy.”
“Perhaps,” Legolas agreed, astonished at the dwarf's trail of thought.
The dwarf regarded him calmly.
“Frodo needs to rest,” Legolas went on. “A few days we must tarry, or the hobbit may be lost to us. I fear for him, Gimli. He bears great evil, and a shadow lingers over him.”
“A shadow,” Gimli repeated slowly. “Since Gandalf fell my heart has grown heavy. I wonder if perhaps the enemy is not out there, but right here – in the Fellowship.”
“An enemy?” Legolas asked, alarmed, and for a moment he thought the dwarf would turn and accuse him.
“Nay, I cannot say. I am tired, and a strange mood passed over me.”
The dwarf hesitated, as if he wanted to say more, but was not quite sure what.
“Speak your mind, Gimli,” Legolas said impatiently, feeling a surge of anger. Here the dwarf had spoken words of friendship, only to begin rambling about enemies!
“I would speak it if I knew it!” Gimli shot back. “My mind is clouded, as by dark magic. I have not felt like myself since I entered this wood.”
“And you blame the elves for this?” Legolas replied angrily
The dwarf took a deep breath, and shook his head.
“I was a fool to think I could speak my mind to an elf,” he muttered.
High above, the raven screeched.
Legolas closed his eyes. “No, I am a fool. You spoke of a worry, and I grew angry at your words though I had no reason to. Forgive me. I... I feel this worry also, and your words troubled me.”
“It is the call of the Ring,” Gimli said quietly. “Fouler it seems here in the fair wood of the Golden Lady. We may all be fools to be on this Quest, and little may come of it but death.”
“Perhaps so. But you shall see Lothlórien,” Legolas replied, feeling a strange determination coming over him. “If you so desire, we shall see it together.”
“Yes,” the dwarf said, and without another word, he went back to the rest of the Fellowship. Throwing a look behind him, he saw the elf regard him, as light as a star against the darkness of the night.
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.