1. Of Old It Was Not Darksome
It was not pleasant, nor quick, but it was a necessary task, carried out with reverence and many cries of sorrow. Each fallen dwarf was identified by garb and weapon, each name was written down, for it would comfort each family to know that their son or husband or father had been honoured for their sacrifice. Later, these names would be carved into marble pillars, one for each settlement of Durin's Folk, so they would not be forgotten.
Gimli could not help but remember the last time he had seen these hallowed walls – there they had rested and eaten after a long day's march; there Merry and Pippin had wandered off down a side-corridor and had nearly been lost; there he had sat and listened to Aragorn talking with Gandalf after they thought the rest of the party was asleep.
The halls echoed with footsteps and low, mournful song as the bodies were brought the chamber where Balin lay. It was not large enough to hold all those who had died, so nearby rooms were prepared to serve as additional tombs. Each body was laid out with greatest care; whispered words of blessing were spoken over all.
As he worked, side by side with friends and strangers, Gimli wondered if Dwarrowdelf would ever be restored to even a part of its former glory. It must have been a wondrous city at its peak, filled with light and laughter, song and the soothing ring of hammer on metal, chisel on stone. Now it was an ominous place that bespoke death and loss most clearly; dust-choked rooms and abandoned mines gave only the barest hint of how powerful and wealthy the city had once been.
A young dwarf approached Gimli, an uncertain expression on his face. "This was found in Balin's tomb." He held out what looked like a bundle of cloth.
At first Gimli did not know what it was, nor why the young dwarf was giving it to him. But he took it, shook it open to its full length, and gave a shocked cry.
A cloak; fur-lined, of heavy damask wool, made to fit a noble Man both tall and broad. A cloak which Gimli knew had been woven by those who loved him best, to keep him warm on his long journey. The silver clasp was tarnished, but the White Tree was still visible on its surface.
Gimli ran his hand over the musty fabric, for a moment lost in memories of the Man who had worn it. Then, after carefully stowing it with his belongings, he returned to the makeshift tombs, for there was still much work to be done. The work must be finished, and all those who had fallen be paid the proper respect before grieving could begin.
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.