4. Wide-eyed For The Umpteenth Time
The world began to come back into focus. Gimli noticed two figures kneeling next to him. He blinked his eyes, trying to remember what had happened. Suddenly, it all came back! The dwarf shot up into a sitting position, looking frantically around for the monster that had tried to kill him!
Legolas put a hand on his arm, stilling him. “I’m so sorry Gimli; he does not usually do that. I guess because you are not an elf, he saw you as a threat.” There was no smile on the elf’s face. He was genuinely concerned.
“What happened?” Gimli asked, “Did it sting me?” Gimli mentally ran over every inch of his body, searching for any sign of pain.
A rather strange light entered Legolas’s eyes, and the elf sneaked a quick glance at his granddaughter kneeling on Gimli's other side. “No, my friend. You simply…fainted.”
Gimli blinked and sat there for a moment. He had what? “Legolas, dwarves do not faint!” He glared at the elf.
“Well, I guess you could have hit your head when Amluchen knocked you down, but you’ve always sworn dwarves have thick skulls and are not easily injured.” Gimli glared as the elf's lips twitched in obvious amusement. “I’ve seen you take many harder hits, Gimli. You simply fainted.”
Gimli spluttered in indignation, heat burning his cheeks as Legolas and Lainel helped him to stand. Lainel leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Fear not, Master dwarf, we will tell no one of this incident.” She looked to her coconspirator.
“Promise what you will, child, but I make no such promise!” The elf grinned at Gimli. “I, for one, think Aragorn would love to hear this story!”
Gimli wondered what the penalty was for killing a prince of the Greenwood. Aragorn? Hear of this? “Legolas if you utter one wor...”
“Gimli, I promise he will be much amused. You should be proud! You only fainted. Aragorn lost control of his..um...well, let’s just say he was most uncomfortable walking back to the halls in wet clothing, hm?” Legolas raised an eyebrow, then broke into bright laughter.
Gimli could not help it, that mental image was too much. He began to laugh with the elf. It would be worth admitting he had fainted to see Aragorn’s face when the king found out Gimli knew about the man's inability to control his bodily functions.
Lainel smiled that familiar mischievous smile. “Come you two, dinner will be served and the king will expect us to be there.”
They turned and walked back to the halls. Gimli saw no sign of the spider that had caused so much trouble, for which he felt very thankful.
When they reached the halls, Legolas led the way towards the family’s private dining hall. As they walked, he explained to Gimli the workings of the royal family. Those included at the king’s table were his immediate children and grandchildren and their spouses only. Unless explicitly invited, which he often did with those further down his line, the king’s great grandchildren ate in a separate dining room. Often Legolas or his brother, or one or more of their children, ate with the others, rather than with the king, which was perfectly acceptable. Gimli found elven genealogy confusing.
The discussion of the Elvenking's brood had Gimli wondering just how many grandchildren Legolas had, but he wasn't sure he wanted to know the answer. And did he even want to consider his friend as a great-grandfather? No, no, no...
“Seven.” Legolas said.
“Pardon?” Gimli asked, his eyebrows raised at the out of the blue response.
“I have seven grandchildren. Is that not what you were pondering?” Legolas really needed to stop reading Gimli’s mind. Was it possible he was related to the Lady of the Golden Wood? Legolas raised a brow and Gimli again decided he didn't want to know.
He cleared his throat, answering Legolas's question. “Yes, as a matter of fact I was wondering. Care to elaborate?” Gimli knew he would hear it sooner or later. He opted for sooner.
“My oldest son, Glassion, has two sons, Rochirar and Malthennor. My daughter, Lindaeriel, has three sons, Antion, Sídras, and Galadhon. Tirn, who you have met, has a son, Calanon, and of course, his daughter, Lainel. Lainel is my only granddaughter.” He looked fondly at the lady walking at his side.
Legolas and Lainel then chattered about her cousins, while Gimli admired the workmanship of the halls they walked. The entire palace was underground, beautifully worked in caverns and hallways. As they came to the end of one large hall, Legolas kissed his granddaughter on the cheek and sent her right, while he and Gimli went left.
Gimli looked over his shoulder for a moment in confusion, then turned back around upon remembering why the lady had not joined them. Lainel, one of Thranduil's great-grandchildren, did not sit at the king’s table unless invited, and it seemed she had not been asked to join them this night.
Gimli nodded to himself. Perhaps there would be enough people at the table; he could use with less confusion. Really, elves lived far to long to keep track of who had beget who!
A beautifully carved door came into view and Legolas paused outside it. “Gimli, I do not know how to prepare you for this." The elf took a breath. "The king...well, he will accept you without a thought. Despite what you may have been told, he put that incident with Thorin and the dwarves behind him years ago. My brother also has nothing against dwarves, but he is very quiet and serious since the Shadow fell on the wood. As I have been away for so long, I do not know what to expect from the two of them.” Legolas chewed at his lip, looking a bit uncertain.
“I’m sure it will be fine, elf." Gimli reassured his friend with a pat on the back. "I will make sure I do nothing to provoke anyone." Indeed, he was hungry and dinner was about food, not talk.
“Just be yourself, Gimli. I will introduce everyone that is here, once you have been presented to the king.”
With that, Legolas opened the door and led the way into a large room with a huge table in the center, many elves seated around it. Gimli recognized Princess Cellinn and Prince Tirn among the others, and at the head of the table sat an elf who had to be King Thranduil. Legolas looked much like his father, except Thranduil had striking green eyes.
The king stood and everyone else followed suit. Legolas made his way to his father, Gimli on his heels, and they stopped a few feet in front of him as the king turned to acknowledge his son.
Legolas bowed his head and Gimli bowed low. “Greetings, my lord.” Legolas looked up into Thranduil’s eyes. “It is good for my heart to see you again, Adar.”
Thranduil drew his son into a tight embrace, his affection obvious and a bit surprising to Gimli who had heard tales of the formidable Elvenking. “Legolas, I am so pleased you are home once again. We feared for you.” Thranduil stepped back and glanced at Gimli.
“May I present Gimli, son of Gloin, one of the Nine Walkers, and he who has become very dear to my heart.” Legolas spoke proudly with a smile, but Gimli still felt his heart clench in apprehension. The last time one of his kin had stepped into these halls… Gimli tried to remind himself of Legolas's words before they entered as he bowed low once more.
“At your service and your family's, King Thranduil.” When Gimli straightened, he found himself under the Elvenking's unnerving scrutiny. Then Thranduil raised a brow at Legolas.
“Legolas, I love you, son, but we have spoken of this before. You may not have any more pets!” Thranduil spoke firmly.
Legolas face turned pale as Gimli’s heated with anger.
“PET! You brought me here to make me a PET!” Turning on the blasted elf, livid beyond recall since battling the enemy, Gimli would have had many more things to say if the king’s laughter had not filled the room.
Legolas now cast a frown at his father. “Ada! I promised I would bring nothing else home when you let me keep the warg pup!” Gimli looked at his friend, wide-eyed for the umpteenth time that day. “I did not bring him here to keep him; he is my friend. I have named him elvellon.”
The king laughed harder before again eyeing Gimli, though this time his eyes twinkled with mirth. “Forgive me, Master dwarf. I did not think you or Legolas would take me so seriously. Indeed he has been gone long from my halls to forget how much I enjoy a joke. I’m afraid my son’s mischievous side comes from me!” He smiled at his son who had by now turned a few shades of red. “By the way,” the king continued. “Draugalu missed you greatly. She has taken to sleeping on my bed in your absence.”
Gimli calmed himself as he realized it was all a joke. He even managed to smile, which was more than Legolas was doing. “And who is Draugalu?” Gimli asked his friend.
Smiling, Legolas turned. “She is my warg. That was not a joke.”
Gimli’s smile faded a tad. “Pet warg?" He raised a brow, not falling for it this time. "Just do not tell me you have a pet orc, Legolas. I could handle all but...” The elf’s face had gone pale again, and he was swallowing hard.
Legolas frowned and swallowed again. “You don’t want to meet Runkr?” The elf asked in almost a whisper.
Gimli froze. Surely...no, did he? Gimli's head felt like it would explode! An orc? “You don’t!” Gimli gasped.
Legolas broke out into merry laughter and pounded his friend on the back. “No,” the elf grinned back. “But the expression on your face just now, was priceless!”
Gimli glared at his friend, plotting ways to get him back. This was a side of Legolas he had not seen since Caradhras. Glancing at the laughing elves in the room, he wondered if he would ever get to eat. And sleeping arrangements? He dreaded to know what would come next.
To Be Continued…
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.