7. Wandering In Different Directions
Gimli and Galin walked together back toward the entrance to the mountain. Draugalu walked at Gimli's side, and he laid a hand upon her back. She was in this with them. He smiled. Whoever would have thought he would ever like a warg? The memory of the night he had found her in his bed during his visit to Legolas's home, made him laugh aloud.
Galin looked at him suspiciously. "What's so funny?"
"I was just remembering finding this creature in my bed when I was visiting Legolas. The things that happened while I was there…" He shook his head. "You know, it reminds me that I owe the elf some retribution of my own." And he proceeded to tell Galin the details he had left out of that story before. Her laughter joined his in the night aird. Before they had traveled very far they began to discuss the plans Legolas had made. This would not be easy, but it would be worth it if it worked.
As the neared the mountain they threw each other one last smile before assuming faces of gloom. Both walked heads hanging, and tears began to run down Galin's cheeks, soaking into her beard. The frown and despair on Gimli's face made him appear as if he had lost his closest friend. Both stumbled into the mountain, and Astil found them and herded them to the family's quarters.
The four troublemakers were being held under house arrest until Legolas could come and decide their fate. All four looked up as their siblings entered with their mother. Glóin glared at the four from across the room.
Grayn felt his heart drop at the look on his oldest brother's face. He had not been involved with this latest escapade, having had enough of being in trouble. His involvement in the previous ones, however, did not exempt him from being kept under his father's watchful eyes.
"What happened, Gimli? Could you not find him?" Grayn was truly worried for his brother. He might not have liked elves or the changes in his brother when he first returned, but he had begun to see that those changes had been the result of the War, not from friendship with an elf. In the short time the elf had been here, Grayn had begun to feel drawn to the magnificent creature himself. Not something he would tell his brothers, but Galin knew.
Gimli's face paled and his voice broke as he spoke. "Yes, we found him. He has gone home…" Gimli's eyes dropped and could not continue.
"It's all your fault, you idiots!" Galin took over, anger replacing the tears on her cheeks. "I hope you are happy! Legolas will not come back to see you get what you deserve. He has renounced his friendship with Gimli! So you've won! You've managed to ruin their friendship completely! We will be lucky if he doesn't seek retribution from his father!"
Grayn felt his stomach drop. Glóin gasped, and Astil went to him. "Come, we will discuss our options. Let Galin deal with others." She dragged Glóin from the room, and for a second, Grayn thought his mother hid a secret, knowing smile, but he decided it was just a grimace of anger.
Gimli lifted pained eyes to them. It seemed his heart would break. Now they could see just how much the elf had meant to him. They might have broken the friendship, but their brother still cared deeply for the elf.
"What can we do to help fix this, Gimli?" Grayn finally found the courage to speak.
"FIX THIS?" Three other voices bellowed in disbelief.
"YES!" he growled back. "This is our fault! We should not have done those things. YOU should not have tried to get the elf in trouble with the women! I told you not to do that! If we had given Legolas a chance, maybe we would have liked him! He doesn't seem so bad, in fact, I thought he was very nice." Grayn's voice had risen in volume as he spoke and he noted a glimmer of pride burned in Galin's eyes.
"Yes," she said, "he's very nice. But a person can only take so much. You have caused Legolas to doubt Gimli's friendship. He has begun to suspect Gimli set him up and their whole friendship was a farce. You must fix this!"
Three sets of eyes glared at her, but after a few minutes, Goran nodded. "I don't like him, and I don't think he's worth the trouble, but I won't see Gimli moping around for his 'friend'." The word 'friend' was spoken with disgust.
Gimli's eyes blazed. "You will find that you will wish you had never been born if you do not do your part in fixing this rift between us! You will accompany me to the Elvenking's halls and apologize and tell the elf I had nothing to do with this nonsense!" Gimli's demands were not to be denied. "We leave at first light!"
Four of the brothers set out at first light. Grayn was kept home by Astil. Being the youngest, and due to his lack of participation in the last prank, Gimli had agreed his little brother would not share in the torture to come. The rest of them traveled throughout the day, and by afternoon were on the edge of the forest. Goran and the others were hesitant to enter the forest, for they had heard tales of the spiders and wargs and other dark things that inhabited Mirkwood.
"The darkness is gone, you cowards. Spiders are rare, wargs even rarer, with the exception of Draugalu. King Thranduil and the elves wiped out most of the dark creatures before we returned from the War." Gimli's voice was filled with confidence. "Besides, darkness or not, you are going in, and you will make this right!"
The brothers continued on in silence. After a time, Goran looked back and noticed Arden was missing. They began to call out for him, wandering in different directions.
One by one, the brothers disappeared into the wood, each alone, calling for the others.
To Be Continued…
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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.