11. The Brilliance of Legolas
But… Lo and behold! No mark of injury stained the stone-like Dwarf sprawled against the bole of the sturdy oak tree. There were no traces of blood to be found, and perhaps, even more curiously, was the fact that he continued to breathe. What strange twist of Fate was this?
Legolas prodded the unconscious Dwarf with the tip of his bow. He had never seen a Dwarf faint before, and found the experience quite hilarious, to say the least. He supposed, given the shock were great enough, even the most powerful of folk would not be immune. Why, one such as Elrond or maybe even Mithrandir would undoubtedly have fainted had Legolas pulled such a stunt on either of them. Still, the fainting of a Dwarf—this one in particular—was so much sweeter. Stifling a snicker, the Elf quickly went to work.
His slender hands efficiently removed the helm Gimli wore about his head. Just as he suspected, the inlaid metal work had prevented Legolas’s arrow shaft (the Elf had removed the arrowhead and blunted the tip to ensure the arrow would not pierce anything) from causing even a minute scratch. Legolas pushed down the thought of regret that rose in the back of his mind. Yes, it was a pity the Dwarf came away completely unscathed, but it would probably turn out to his advantage in the long run.
Discarding the helm, Legolas walked swiftly to the riverbank and began scooping up wet sand. Inspiration struck, and the Elf retrieved the helm, dumping a generous amount of sand into it. The hat could carry much more than his hands were able to. He carried the sand-filled helm back to the unconscious Dwarf and began dumping the wet dirt onto Gimli’s arms and legs. After several trips to the riverbank, Legolas decided he had a sufficient amount.
“And now, my diminutive adversary, you are in need of a slight head wound.” Grinning, the Elf pulled out his canteen of berry juice and poured the red liquid down the front of Gimli’s face.
He reached into the small pouch around his waist and fished about for the bread roll he had deposited there earlier. Once he found the roll, he tore it up a bit and dumped the remaining contents of berry juice on it. He then stuck the saturated bread to Gimli’s forehead.
Sitting patiently upon the ground, Legolas drew one knee up to his chest and wrapped his arms around the leg. The Elf waited gleefully for the Dwarf to revive himself.
‘I have not had this much amusement since I switched the blades on my brothers’ spears,’ he thought merrily. Legolas had replaced them with off-balanced blades, and his brothers had been at a complete loss as to explain their terrible aim. He sobered a bit when he recalled he had only been about 40 years old at the time.
* * *
Gimli felt his eyelids fluttering open. ‘Has Mahal taken me?’ he wondered.
He blinked several times as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight. A shadow fell across his face, and the Dwarf was horrified to discover that not only was he still living, but that the Elf intent on killing him was waiting until he was awake to finish the job.
“Soon you shall go back to the earth from whence you came, stunted one.” The flinty edge to the Elf’s voice caused Gimli to jump. “You have bled much.”
Gimli frantically tried to strike his foe, but found he could not. He had already lost too much blood, and his body felt as though a great weight had been placed upon it. His arms and legs were useless. He had not the strength to lift them.
“You murderous beast,” he cried in a raspy voice. Blood was streaming down his forehead. Gimli knew his time was growing shorter. Funny, he never realized just how sweet and berrylike his blood tasted.
He watched as the Elf grinned maliciously. The fair face hovered directly in front of his; bright eyes mocking and thin aristocratic lips arched in a delicate sneer. What did the monster have in store for him?
Gimli blanched as the Elf slowly reached towards his forehead. “What do you want?” he whispered hoarsely.
Cruel laughter sprang from Legolas’ lips, like ice cracking across a pond. “Why, Master Stub, I intend to follow old Elvish custom. The only delight greater than killing an enemy is consuming him.”
So great was his abhorrence that Gimli could not even cry out as the Elf carefully plucked something from his forehead and brought it to his mouth. Gimli’s eyes widened in disbelief: he was not witnessing, in his dying moments, an Elf consuming the inner contents of his skull. The Morquendi were said to be dangerous, but this… this was unthinkable.
Legolas fought to keep a straight face as he took a large bite of bread. Setting his mouth into what he hoped resembled a snarl (instead of a huge grin), he made sure to let the crimson berry juice stream down his chin. Baring his teeth, the archer reached for another piece.
Dwarves have never been counted among the screaming folk, but then again, Elves have never been counted among the cannibals. Before passing out a second time, Gimli screamed loud enough to make even the most skeptical banshee proud.
* * *
Legolas fled to the shadowed green safety of the forest as fast as his legs would carry him. Unfortunately, the feat proved to be most difficult, as he could not seem to stop laughing. Staggering crazily, he collapsed in a fit of helpless mirth.
‘He screamed! The Dwarf actually screamed! Ai, I shall remember that for all eternity.’
Biting the sleeve of his tunic to prevent himself from laughing too loudly, Legolas was assailed by visions of Gimli’s panic-stricken face and wide eyes. He was overcome by another fit of snickering.
* * *
Glorfindel and Glóin charged through the trees, weapons drawn and ready to hew down whatever foe stood in their way. Glorfindel, being of a swifter nature, was the first to reach the fallen Gimli. He quickly surveyed the scene.
The Dwarf lay against the base of an oaken tree trunk. His legs and arms appeared to be packed down by a good amount of wet sand, blood had flowed down his face—and what in the name of Elbereth was that substance sticking to his forehead?
The Elf lord approached cautiously and sheathed his sword when he sensed no imminent danger. Glóin, puffing from the unexpected exertion, let out a cry of grief when he saw it was his son who lay still and silent. “Alas! My only son has fallen,” he sobbed in anguish.
Glorfindel furrowed his brow and knelt down to the unconscious Dwarf. “Nay, he still lives,” assured the Elf. “How curious, I do not think this is blood.” Reaching out to Gimli’s forehead, he pulled away the substance stuck to the Dwarf and gave it an experimental sniff.
“What is it?” asked Glóin, settling down as he noticing his son was still breathing.
Glorfindel blinked and rolled the bread between his fingers. “Bread, I think. And berry juice.” He gave himself an experimental taste just to be certain.
Unfortunately, Gimli chose to regain consciousness at that exact moment, and was treated to the sight of Glorfindel repeating Legolas’ cannibalistic actions. It was all too much to handle. A strangled sob escaped his throat and the poor Dwarf’s mind left him for the unheard of third time that day.
Glóin had no idea what to make of the whole matter. Turning to Glorfindel he opened his mouth several times, but could not seem to find his tongue.
By this time, the Elves Orimhedil, Rithol, and Fanlin, along with the third member of the Dwarven party Barin had all sprinted to the vicinity.
“What has happened?” cried Rithol in alarm, her pretty Elven face wrought with worry.
“Gimli!” shouted Barin as he rushed to his fallen comrade.
Glorfindel took immediate control. “There has been a strange mishap, but all is well. Rithol, please help Barin and Glóin carry Gimli back to camp. Fanlin and Orimhedil, return to your posts.”
Orimhedil turned to the golden-haired Elf lord. Glorfindel was struck with the realization that Legolas was nowhere to be found. “Where is Legolas?” both Elves asked one another in unison.
“Orimhedil, I left him under your watch to ensure…” Glorfindel trailed off. He had told Orimhedil to watch Legolas to ensure that the young Elf would not attempt to carry out any sort of revenge.
His suspicions were further confirmed when he tripped over a discarded helm lying on the ground. Glorfindel reached down to pick it up. Clearly, the helm belonged to Gimli. His grey eyes narrowed. A green-fletched arrow shaft stuck accusingly from the helm’s rim. Only Legolas’ arrows were marked with green.
Orimhedil watched woefully as Glorfindel swore and marched off into the forest. “Let us hope the young Prince fares better than the Balrog,” he said softly to no one in particular. The trees rustled in agreement.
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.