24. Epilogue: Aglarond
He dimly overheard a slight commotion a few tunnels away but tuned it out, focusing his attention on the delicate rock in front of him. Ever so delicately, the Dwarf aligned his chisel. He held his breath and gently tapped it with the small hammer he held. Yes, perfect! Gimli exclaimed to himself with a proud grin.
“I see that you are as incomprehensible as ever, Master Dwarf,” a light, musical voice said from behind him, causing the Dwarf to jump. He spun around and glared at Legolas.
“And just what are you doing here, Elf?” he asked with a dark frown.
Legolas looked up innocently from where he was sitting cross-legged on the smooth floor of the cave. “I had need to see Éomer, and thought perhaps to look in upon you while I was in Rohan,” he replied calmly, mirth twinkling in his bright eyes over Gimli’s surprise.
The Dwarf’s frown deepened. “I meant, what are you doing in this cave? Someone would have fetched me—”
“And drag you away from your work?” Legolas shook his head. “I did not mean to intrude, Gimli. Simply to visit.”
Gimli quickly started gathering his tools. “Then we shall visit outside,” he said firmly, then muttered under his breath, “fool Elf, ought to know better.”
“I am afraid that I do not understand,” Legolas said coolly, not moving from his seated position.
Gimli glowered down at his friend. “You, Master Elf, are not supposed to be in any more caves,” he informed his friend firmly. “I thought that I had made that clear.”
Legolas’s eyebrows shot up. “And so I am no longer to visit you in Aglarond?”
“Nay,” he said sharply, “you are to visit me outside of Aglarond. What would ever possess you to enter a cave, you fool Elf?”
Legolas looked at him with incomprehension. “Elvellon,” he said simply, “you are in the cave.”
Gimli opened and shut his mouth a few times.
Legolas smirked. “You look like Peregrin Took when you do that,” he informed his friend smugly.
“But—but,” the Dwarf stammered, “your fear…”
Legolas shook his head. “Not of Aglarond, at least not here. There is much light and enough space that I am not unreasonably discomfitured.” Then he smiled softly. “Here the small, dark spaces may be passed quickly, and I know that you will be there to lead the way.”
Gimli swallowed hard and put a hand on the Elf’s shoulder. He blinked away a sparkling of tears that formed in his eyes. “My friend—” he began, then fell silent, unable to continue. They smiled at each other; there was no need for words between them. They understood. The Dwarf smiled.
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