2. A Nod Of Approval
As Legolas and Galin walked towards the entrance of the Lonely Mountain, he found himself impressed by the size of the entrance and the beautiful carvings done into the stonework surrounding it. Truly, dwarf-work surpassed that of any other race!
They were met by Gimli as soon as they entered the mountain. He hurried their way but stopped when his eyes landed on Galin. He paused, frowning, then continued forward with a smile. Legolas met it with one of his own before grasping Gimli's forearm in the traditional greeting. Galin laughed when they both began to speak at the same time. And after a moment of complete confusion, followed by dwarven chuckles and elven laughter, Gimli spoke.
"No, No go ahead, elf. What did you say?" Gimli seemed pleased to have Legolas visit his home. That gave him much ease from his prior uncertainty while meeting with his friend's brothers.
"I said: It is good to see you again, Gimli." Legolas spoke with a smile, which turned to a slight frown. "I wish you had warned me about your brothers, though. I am sorry if Draugalu has caused any problems. She tends to wander off from time to time, but I never thought she would have followed you here, or caused trouble for your family."
Gimli frowned, his heavy brows lowering over dark eyes. "What do you mean? How do you know about that?" The dwarf's eyes widened as sudden realization became clear in his face. He turned to his sister, "What did they do? Tell me they did not make fools of themselves!"
Galin snorted. "Oh, but they did, as you well knew they would. I told you, you should have gone to meet Legolas and brought him here with you. Then he would not have had to deal with them alone. If he had not stopped walking—"
"I am sure they meant no harm." Legolas interrupted, not wanting the thrown axe to be brought into the conversation. It would be difficult enough to befriend Gimli's brothers, without causing discord between them and his friend.
"No, I am sure they did!" Galin interjected. "They need to accept that elves are not as bad as they imagine them to be. And if they cannot do that, they simply need to respect your choice of a friend."
"Aye." Gimli added with a solemn nod. "I will speak with them about this. I thought we had settled the matter already, but it seems…" He paused and gave Legolas an apologetic look. "They still think I am under some spell?"
Legolas grimaced, but nodded. "Indeed they do."
"I will deal with it. I will not allow them to show an honored guest such disrespect. We will find a way to change their mind about you, my friend. Before you leave, they will find themselves under the same spell." Gimli laughed at his own joke, and Legolas found himself chuckling along with him.
"See that you do something, Gimli." Galin added, her annoyance with her brothers obvious. "I do not wish to have to spend my time rescuing the elf every time they get an idea in their heads." She smiled and nodded at Legolas. "It was an honor to meet you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have things I need to be doing."
Legolas smiled and bowed his head in return before she spun on her heel and walked away.
As Galin took her leave, Gimli raised an eyebrow at Legolas. "And just why would my sister not wish to keep 'rescuing' you? What aren't you telling me, Legolas?" Gimli's eyes narrowed at him. "What happened to provoke that comment?"
Legolas shrugged, not about to admit he had been saved from disaster by Gimli's sister, or that he had come close to having dwarven steel imbedded in his body.
Sighing, Gimli seemed to accept Legolas wouldn't say anything further on the subject, and he motioned towards a tunnel and started walking. "Come, my friend, let set your things in a guest room, then, we can see my parents. My mother is quite anxious to meet you."
Legolas could only imagine.
What he had not imagined was the long, dark descending tunnels that led to the living quarters of the dwarves. He would have to stay deeply underground? Legolas did not think he could do that for more than a day, yet he would have no choice. He did not wish to disrespect his friend's hospitality. He prayed silently that he would not panic in these dark twisting passages, and reminded himself that his own home was situated under a mountain, of sorts. But somehow the Elvenking's halls never felt quite like this! Erebor far surpassed the hill that housed his father's halls!
Gimli came to a stop in front of a door, opened it and led the way inside. Legolas had to duck slightly to enter the room, but found the ceiling much higher beyond, and he was able to stand in comfort. He took in the room, surprised to find it held a bed large enough for him. There were also several chairs situated next to the room's hearth.
"You do not need to sleep here, Legolas," Gimli explained with a knowing wink. "But it would not be proper if I did not provide you with accommodations. You are free to escape to your precious trees as often as you wish."
The words eased Legolas's discomfiture, and he was grateful to remember that Gimli knew him well, and thankful for his friend's understanding of what Gimli surely saw as peculiarities. Making quick work of emptying his bag, Legolas placed his clothing in a large wardrobe against one wall and set other necessitates on top of it. Then the two friends quit the room and made their way toward the main hall. Legolas found himself quite nervous about his meeting with Glóin. The last they had met, in Elrond's House, Glóin had expressed his continued ire at being imprisoned by Thranduil. Gimli's excitement did not ease him one bit, especially not after seeing how formidable a dwarf-woman could be! If Gimli's mother was anything like Galin…
They entered a large hall bustling with activity. Dwarves were busy placing decorations and arranging tables, while a group of musicians set up in a corner. It seemed preparations for a feast were under way. All activity ceased, however, and all eyes turned to them when Legolas entered the room.
He swallowed and tried not to appear nervous, but having so many eyes on him did not make that easy. And he noticed very few of those eyes seemed friendly, and he didn't miss the four brothers glaring at him from another corner. He glanced at Gimli, but his friend did not seem to be the least bit concerned. He simply scanned the room with his eyes.
A loud voice from behind them caused everyone to jump, and one of the musicians to drop his flute.
"THERE IS NO CAUSE TO STARE AT OUR GUEST. EVERYONE GET BACK TO WORK!"
Gimli smiled and turned, seeming pleased, but Legolas had been shocked by that bellow. He turned more slowly, and found himself looking at another dwarf-woman. It had been she who had spoken so forcefully. He took one look at her and knew immediately who he was seeing. This could be no other than the Lady Astil, Gimli's mother.
She smiled at them both and then looked carefully at Legolas, her eyes taking him in from the top of his head to the tip of his boots. He squirmed a bit under her scrutiny, but she gave him a nod of approval, and introduced herself.
"I am Astil, Gimli's mother. I welcome you to the Lonely Mountain. We are honored you could come."
"Legolas Thranduilion," he quickly added, "at your service, my lady," and remembering his prior experience with Galin bowed instead of kissing the lady's hand. Despite the formidable presence she presented, one look in her eyes and he liked her immediately.
"I'll have none of that 'my lady' business! I am simply Astil. Now come, Glóin wishes to see you." Astil gave Legolas no time to argue. She turned quickly and led the two towards the front of the impressive hall.
Legolas grinned at Gimli's inquiringly raised brow. "I like her," he mouthed before following Astil.
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.