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A/N: Usual disclaimer applies.
Some words of caution for this chapter: because of Gimli's use of an axe, the battle scenes might be a smidge gorier than I'd usually write, though I don't go into great detail. Also, injury descriptions from here on out are not for the squeamish. I have always found reading about a fight and the injuries caused by it to be less problematic for me than watching the described actions happen on screen. That said, I've tried to be realistic and descriptive, but not excessive. While this chapter constitutes a strong T, I did not feel it warranted an M.
Legolas had drifted off again. One moment, Gimli had thought he was about to learn the mystery of Aragorn's connection with Lothlórien, and the next there had been no reply. It had already been rather disconcerting how one comment might be in Westron and the next Sindarin, not to mention a bit difficult for Gimli to keep up. What concerned Gimli even more was that, despite his previous fluency with Westron, the elf seemed to struggle to understand. In the darkness it was becoming harder for him to tell if the elf was trying to process his words, or if he had lost consciousness.
"How's that bandaging coming along," Gimli tried again, hoping the elf might rouse at the sound of his voice, now that it had become clear he wasn't going to answer.
He hadn't protested the Legolas' decision to change his own bandages because he didn't imagine the elf would trust him to do it, and he hadn't planned on forcing the issue, but now the elf had lapsed into another of his strange silences. Finally giving up on the elf answering him, he scooted nearer in the darkness until he could see the outline of the elf's form. Glassy eyes reflected in the starlight, startling him a bit, but in the silence, he could still hear the elf's breathing.
"Stupid elves and their sleeping habits," he grumbled, as his heart rate slowed. At least this time he hadn't thought the elf was dead—he'd about had a heart attack when he'd returned from finding this shelter and had found him staring sightlessly, slumped at the base of the tree.
Gimli was no healer like Aragorn, but neither was he unfamiliar with wounds. Feeling almost like he was abusing a trust, he stretched his hand up toward the elf's shoulder. His hand hovered an inch away, wavering. He'd never touched an elf before tonight—even fully armored with gloves, and here he was clad only in his spare cloak and his smalls, with his armor and clothes all drying on the floor. Shoving back the feeling of vulnerability, he tentatively placed a hand on the elf's shoulder. He expecting Legolas to flinch and jolt immediately back to alertness, but the skin underneath his hand was still.
"You're burning up," he murmured.
A breeze blew through the shelter then, and the elf shuddered in his damp leggings. "Best get on with it then," the dwarf told himself.
Legolas didn't move as Gimli ran his hand carefully along the elf's side until his fingertips met the sodden bandages. He shook his head-the elf hadn't even managed to get the soiled bandages all the way off. His fingers ghosted over the wound, and he frowned. His heart sped up, and he felt around more carefully for a second time. The shaft was missing. He had to swallow against the bile that suddenly rose in his throat at this discovery.
The elf didn't make a sound as Gimli unwound the last of the soiled bandages from around his waist and inspected the wound as best he could in the dark. The shaft was definitely missing. Feeling around for the roll of fresh bandages, he grabbed it and began wrapping it around the elf's torso, taking care that it wasn't too lose or too tight. Finished, he eased him to the dirt floor and straightened his legs. That Legolas didn't stir worried him. In the darkness, he fumbled around until he found his pack, and he emptied it out until he found a blanket at the bottom. He returned and draped it over the elf, and then he sat for a long time next to him in the darkness, lost in thought.
Gimli could spare no fire, which was what Legolas really needed to drive away the chill of wearing still damp leggings, but orcs were notorious about doubling back, and they were not out of danger. He suspected they would eventually track them here.
A fingernail moon eventually rose overhead and cast a scant amount of light into the shelter, so that Gimli could see more than just shadows. His muscles protested as he rose, stiffened already in the short time he'd been sitting. Helping the elf to the shelter had been no easy feat, weighed down as he had been by wet armor and an insensate elf, not that he'd ever admit it to a soul. His soaked armor had been so heavy his legs had been about to buckle—and that was just with him keeping himself on his feet.
Locating their damp things, he was pleased to find his own clothes mostly dry, except for his boots. That was hardly surprising. They were good boots, but hadn't been built for standing under waterfalls. It was with relief that he donned his clothes again, and then fastened his armor over them—all but the boots and his leather pauldrons. Those had taken the brunt of the waterfall, and he'd been lucky if they were dry by spring. Leather took forever to dry out.
As the night wore on, he found himself pacing near the entrance. To keep warm, he told himself, and not because of anything else. Even in the complete darkness, he could see how pale the elf was, and how he trembled, even beneath the blanket. That he should feel this level of panic over an elf was dismaying, but he no longer fought it. When they'd met in Rivendell, he hadn't known what to expect and had made his own assumptions, but even in those early days when they hadn't gotten along at all, he'd been forced to admit to himself that Legolas was very different from his father.
A cry from inside the shelter drew his attention behind him. Legolas was thrashing around beneath his blanket, muttering unintelligibly in elvish. Gimli was at his side in two long strides and knelt down by his head, shaking his shoulders gently. Nothing would rouse the elf, though he did stop thrashing quite so wildly, instead turning his head back and forth as if he were trying to forcibly shake away whatever it was he saw. Gimli settled in next to him, keeping a hand on the elf's arm.
Eventually—to Gimli's alarm—the elf's eyes drifted closed, though the dreams continued on for hours. Occasionally there were names—sometimes whispered, sometimes shouted in bitter grief. Often he heard Mithrandir, and even occasionally Lord Elrond's sons, but eventually it all built into a crescendo of one word. Estel.
Like lightning a piece of memory slid into place and Gimli remembered all the many times the elf had conversed in Sindarin with Aragorn. He wasn't calling out about lost hope, he was dreaming about something that had happened to them—and there were tears and wails and whispers of regret that would no doubt mortify the elf if he were conscious enough to know he had an audience. Nothing Gimli said or did would wake or calm him. He could catch some of it now and then-"Sorry, Estel…sorry we failed."
It was the fourth watch of the night when, at last, Legolas slipped into a deep and peaceful sleep, leaving the dwarf quite shaken. He'd no idea that such raw grief lay beneath the elf's merry disposition. He saw it for what it was now—a mask.
The elf slept peacefully after that, his eyes closed in utter exhaustion while Gimli kept watch. He did not resume his pacing, choosing instead to remain near the elf. As dawn neared, Gimli's ear began to hear ominous sounds. First thuds-like distant footfalls, then the occasional tink of metal on stone. Quietly, Gimli retrieved his axes and strapped his pauldrons back over his shoulders. As sounds of scratching and boots on the ground quickly became unmistakable, he leaned over Legolas and clasped his shoulder urgently, not entirely certain he would even wake.
To his relief, elf's eyes flew open immediately. At first he seemed a bit dazed, but to Gimli's relief, he blinked to alertness and his eyes went wide with alarm. "I hear them. Help me up, they are very close."
"Laddie…are you sure you can?" Gimli asked the question gently, struggling to keep the doubt from his voice. Though he was more relieved than he could say to hear that some strength had returned to the elf's voice, after all he'd witnessed, he didn't see how the elf would be any help at all in the coming fight.
"I must," the elf bit out, trying and failing to rise on his own, "There is every reason to expect they'll find our trail. Now will you help me up, or must I do it myself?"
Gimli held his hands out, as if the placate him, "Aye, I'll help, but laddie, if they find us, you know you can't match them."
Refusing to look him in the eye, the elf actually growled in frustration and spat, "You are not sacrificing yourself for me. I will do what I can and die with my knife in my hand, hopefully taking a few of them with me. You should go, Gimli—slip away while you still can." His last words were clipped and breathless, as if the impassioned words had sapped his energy.
Gimli reared back at the finality in his voice. Legolas was expecting to die anyway. He'd given up. Gimli doubted he would even fight it if he was alone.
"I'm not going to leave you here," he managed to choke out, "Legolas—" His throat was tight with emotion, and the elf interrupted him before he could finish.
"You must Gimli. The galadhrim will never allow you entry when I am gone, but if you go now, you can get away and go back to the Lonely Mountain." There was a pleading and yet hopeful quality to his voice.
"We dwarves are not cowards," Gimli found himself growling in dismay. He'd already known that a dwarf being allowed to pass through a reclusive elven realm might never happen, especially with Gandalf gone.
"Gimli!" Legolas' voice was weakening, though he was still flat on his back, "I don't want your death to be the last thing on my conscience."
"Who said anything about dying," Gimli patted his arm soothingly, "I'll have you know we dwarves know how to fight between rock and stone." He didn't add that a fight alongside an unarmored and injured elf in a space both too wide and too narrow was a bit different.
A ghost of a grin flickered on the elf's face for just a moment before it slipped away, "Gimli—help me up. They are almost upon us."
Relieved Legolas was not going to argue further, Gimli quickly complied and stretched out his hand. The elf grasped it strongly as Gimli hauled him into a sitting position. He didn't quite succeed in biting back a cry of pain, but he ground out, "Keep pulling—I'll be no good to you on the floor." He didn't waste time wrestling with Legolas' jerkin, or even his shirt—it was a waste of the elf's energy, but he did stop to retrieve the elf's vambraces and help him get them fastened around his lower arms while the elf got used to being in a sitting position. The dwarf had no intention of letting the elf defend him, and for once, pride had nothing to do with it, the only problem was that it seemed they were both of the same, stubborn mindset.
The hairs on Gimli's neck prickled, and he tugged again, "Up you get." They didn't have much time now. Gimli gave a final tug, and this time the elf clenched his teeth and mercifully managed to get his feet under him. Bracing himself with a hand on the dwarf's shoulder, he hauled himself upright. Gimli grunted and locked his knees against the elf's weight as he leaned heavily against him, trembling—his breath coming in shallow pants.
"I wish I had my bow," Legolas wheezed out when he was finally able to stand under his own power.
Try as he might, Gimli couldn't remember what had happened to it, and realized suddenly that the elf's knife belt was missing as well…though he thought the elf had mentioned having his knife. "You do have a weapon, don't you?"
The fissure was just wide enough for the orcs to press through side by side and Gimli couldn't entirely keep them back. The elf would have to be able to defend himself. He fingered one of his hand axes, and was about to pass it to Legolas when the elf drew his white knife from his boot.
"Took the belt off earlier—kept the knife," Legolas shrugged, pain keeping his explanation brief. The elf had stopped trembling now, though he leaned heavily against the stone wall of the shelter. In the dim light of the approaching dawn, Gimli could see his face was chalk white.
"You know there'll be no winning," the elf broke the silence again. It rattled Gimli that he was so morbid when he had been so merry.
Gimli shrugged, "Too late to flee now," he returned wryly, "You never know—the others may have whittled them down quite a bit if they are returning so late."
"It will not be enough—not in here."
Gimli didn't ask again if he could fight. They both knew the honest answer was no, but if they wanted to survive, they both would have to find the strength.
The orcs approached slowly, scratching and sniffing along, clearly following the trail they'd left the night before, and Gimli wished now that he'd thought to go back out and cover their tracks. The anticipation of battle drove away the all traces of the weariness that had been threatening to creep. Quietly, he slipped his two throwing axes from their place on his belt, their firm handles reassuring in his hands. Any moment now, his senses screamed.
For a moment, everything became quiet. Complete silence held for several seconds, their only warning before an orc burst through the opening in the fissure, his dark form a black shadow against the lightening sky. Seeing its quarry, the orc gave a great cry and lunged straight at them with its crude blade. More poured in immediately behind him.
"Baruk khazâd!" Gimli roared, rushing forward to meet them, blocking Legolas somewhat from their view and giving him room to swing his axes freely without worrying about the injured elf being caught by a friendly blade. He was grateful when Legolas seemed to understand and did not attempt to follow. Digging in his feet and pushing back at them, he hacked viciously with the axes in each hand. At first, he fought with relative success, but sooner than he'd anticipated, the force of their onslaught propelled him backward several feet.
A sword came down toward his head, crashing off his helm with such force his ears rang. His armor would protect him, but if he went down now, he knew he wouldn't get getting back up. He felt himself being pushed even farther backward. They would trample him to get to Legolas. He was losing ground quickly now, though the elf was still behind him. Frantically, he struggled to swing his hatchet as the press of orcs threatened to trap his arms against him. It was all he could do to hold them back.
"Argh!" He grunted, digging his feet in and meeting force with force.
A glint of silver flashed to his left and there was a high pitched scrape of steel and a blade that had been swinging for his neck was parried and lost momentum, glanced harmlessly off of Gimli's armor. The press lightened briefly, but there was no time to thank the elf.
There was very little room to get a good swing of his hatchet, so he resorted to using its razor sharp edge like a knife, slashing instead of hacking. The orc pressing against him went down like a stone and Gimli regained his footing. The press resumed, the frenzied orcs more concerned with getting past Gimli to get to the elf than actually ending the dwarf. They were like wolves drawn to a wounded animal. Gimli heard a groan from Legolas every so often, or a sudden hiss of pain as the elf jabbed at an orc who'd gotten too close, but he couldn't spare too close a look. He didn't know how the elf was even upright, but thank Mahal he was. He hacked and pushed, shoved and kicked-the fight using his entire body until his limbs burned and trembled.
There was a sudden squeal of alarm and, to Gimli's surprise, it seemed as if the orcs in the rear were turning to defend themselves, halting their forward press, while the orcs nearest him had worked themselves into a panic in a way only doomed and dying creatures can. The others must have found them! Beside him, Legolas was slowing, his wounded side was guarded far from the blade and against the wall, but his movements were sluggish and jerky, and the orc he feebly fought was determined to take an elf prize with him before its last breath. Kicking the orcs in front of him away to buy himself some time, Gimli reached across and hurled the axe in his left hand at the orc's chest.
To his dismay, the orc barely slowed. Gimli nearly fell over with relief when the glint of Legolas' knife came again and sloppily parried the blade Gimli had been unable to block.
The orcs on his right pressed in again, though there seemed to be less of them now. If Aragorn had joined the fight, Gimli had yet to hear the singing of his sword. To his left, there was grunt of paint and the grinding of steel as Legolas was forced to block another blow. This time the force of the orc blade wrenched the knife from the elf's grip and it clattered uselessly to the ground. The orc Gimli had tried and failed to kill jeered in victory and raised his sword.
Pinned down as he was, Gimli wasn't going to be able to get there in time. Frantically, he slashed at the orcs on his right and desperately dove in front of Legolas, throwing his left hand out to slow the blade crashing toward the elf. He bit back a cry of pain as the sharp edge cut through the leather palm of his glove and into his skin before the sword finally lost momentum and grazed down in the armored inside of his arm. Reflexively his fingers closed, and he clutched his injured hand to his chest while he swung the axe in his other hand viciously at the orc's neck. He heaved a great sigh of relief as the orc, at last, fell headlong to the ground.
Not pausing to feel pain, he turned, ready to fend off a blade that would surely be coming from his right, but found himself swinging at empty air. Wheeling his right arm a bit to recover from the uncountered forward momentum, he found himself starting at the pile of orcs lying dead at his feet, arrows in their backs. Breathing heavily, he could only blink at them, his exhausted brain unable to process anything beyond the fact that the battle was over.
"Gimli!" Legolas gasped out, and Gimli whirled around and took a good look at the elf. Wide, glassy eyes locked onto his out of a pale and clammy face, "Why did you…" The elf's knees buckled then, and he sank toward the floor, his hand flailing unsuccessfully for a hold in Gimli's armor. Gimli rushed underneath his arm, bracing the elf just enough to slow his decent.
"You should have just let it happen," the elf murmured, dazed, as his knees collided with the ground.
Gimli ignored the biting throb of his hand, deciding it couldn't be too awful if he'd been able to close it. The elf leaned into him, breaths rapid and shallow, deep furrows of pain lining his face. Struggling to keep the note of panic from his voice, Gimli found himself pleading, "Stay awake just a little while longer, laddie. You can rest in just a bit."
The elf wasn't looking at him. Instead, he gazed toward the entrance uneasily. Gimli couldn't recall a time he'd ever seen quite this expression on the elf's face—a strange combination of relief and concern, perhaps even fear. He placed a shaky hand on Gimli's shoulder and struggled to rise, but Gimli pushed him back down, following his gaze and starting with surprise. It hadn't been Aragorn and their Company who had come to their rescue.
Five elves, clad in cloaks of gray, slowly approached him. Gimli's heart sped up as he thought of the picture he and Legolas made. He turned and raised his hands, willing Legolas not to face plant into the dirt without his support, and dropped the axe he still gripped in his right hand. The last thing he needed was for the situation to be misconstrued and to turnaround to an arrow through the forehead.
"Need to…" Legolas bit out, gritting his teeth and pulling on Gimli's shoulder for leverage as he struggled desperately to his feet.
The elf swayed, leaning against the shelter wall. When he'd regained his equilibrium, he began to tug the dwarf behind him, though too feebly to have any success. Ignoring the unfolding situation, Gimli wedged himself once more against the elf's right side and steadied him. Legolas kept opening his mouth in a frantic sort of frustration, but no words would come. Gimli could feel the tremors wracking the elf's form as he took more and more of the Legolas' weight.
Try as he might, the elf couldn't speak. From the sheen of sweat on his face, and the way his eyes kept unfocusing, Gimli suspected he was using every ounce of his considerable willpower not to succumb to the pain. Surely he wasn't that worried about Gimli's safety?
"It will be fine," Gimli whispered, trying to sound optimistic, and might actually have succeeded, had Legolas' sheer panic at the situation not sent cold fear racing through his veins. Surely they wouldn't believe he had done this—that a dwarf was in league with orcs? But this was not Mirkwood, and if he'd never heard of Lothlórien, chances are, they'd never heard of him.
In place of words, there was only the sound of Legolas' harsh breathing as fought to speak through the agony. Gimli tried and failed to read the intentions in the grim faces of the elves as they neared. They stopped in front of them and Gimli tensed, expecting to be thrown aside.
Legolas tried again to step in front of him. "No you don't," Gimli growled and held him back awkwardly with his mangled hand. He wasn't strong enough to do much else, but he wasn't letting the elf try to defend him in this state. It would kill him.
For a few moments, the two parties just stared at each other, and for a moment Gimli's own vision tilted. Blood loss, he supposed, absently observing the blood running steadily back down the hand he held at his chest and dripping off his elbow. Legolas was seconds away from collapse, and the eyes of these elves seemed to take it all in. The dwarf expected them at any moment to demand an explanation at the state Legolas was in, and perhaps to manhandle or restrain him. Instead, not taking his eyes from Legolas, the elf greeted him a bit uncertainly in Sindarin-as if he did not expect Gimli to understand. "Master dwarf, would you please allow my kin the honor of tending your hand while I see to Thranduillion? My brothers and I mean you no harm."
Gimli's eyes widened. Honor? At almost the same moment his relieved mind comprehended his good fortune, Legolas wilted with relief. Another elf shouldered into his place, catching Legolas before he could pitch forward. He embraced the elf, speaking soothingly in a dialect Gimli had heard in Mirkwood, but did not understand. He was no longer needed.
The gray-clad elves surrounded him then, and Gimli allowed one of them to pull him away. He couldn't help but feel gratified that Legolas had not worried about keeping the strange elves safe from him. He might not have realized Gimli had understood the greeting, but the dwarf knew enough about Legolas to know that he would have never given in to the pain if he'd thought Gimli would harm his kinsmen. The ground lurched violently he moved, but he managed to keep his feet as he was gently ushered out into the open.
The sky was a pale pink and the muted pre-dawn colors silhouetted the trees. Gimli stopped for a moment and took it all in. When the orcs had found them, he hadn't been certain he'd ever see another sunrise. He followed the elf, who leapt lightly over the rocky terrain, slowing occasionally to wait for Gimli. After a night of darkness, the world was so green. Legolas would be comforted by it, he thought.
Feeling unsteady, he paused again, his vision threatening to go black and his ears buzzing strangely. When his hearing cleared, Gimli blinked and realized the elf had been speaking. He was looking at Gimli with no small amount of concern. Predictably, a tree had been selected and he was indicating that Gimli should sit at its base.
Once seated, he clamped his good hand around his palm, his thumb pressing hard against the gash, but the pain of his own injury was forgotten when they brought Legolas out. He was ashen and gray, draped limply upright between two of them. The fresh bandages Gimli had applied were saturated again, red and glistening in the morning sunlight, all the way down to the elf's knee. Two more elves trailed behind, and Gimli saw they'd retrieved most of his and Legolas' belongings.
They laid Legolas down carefully on the ground beside him. A great mossy boulder sheltered the elf from the wind, and Gimli felt a bit of relief when they dug out medicines of their own. It seemed they'd forgotten about their offer to tend his hand, but he didn't begrudge the elf the care. The galadhrim unwound the bandages and probed at the wound, frowning. As they washed away the old blood, Gimli could only look with dismay. It was puckered and quite swollen, sluggishly oozing blood and foul fluid.
He had to practice several times in his head before he managed the words, interrupting their whispers with his halting and childlike attempts at speaking elvish for the first time in his life, "Non pilin yrch.*" Their heads snapped up at his explanation, and he added, "Gîr.*"
Had it really only been a day? Less than, since Gandalf fell. The scene of the wizard and the Balrog flashed through his mind once more, and he scrubbed his good hand wearily over his face before he remembered he was supposed to be holding pressure on his other hand. It was the longest day he'd ever had the displeasure of living through, but he was grateful to have made it to the other side.
"Aragorn removed it?" The sharp elven voice cut through his thoughts, the words both surprising and intriguing him. He raised an eyebrow, wondering how they knew Aragorn traveled with them. Wearily, he shook his head, and then leaned back against the tree, too exhausted to come up with a better explanation.
For the most part, they ignored Gimli after that, hovering around Legolas, talking grimly in their dialect, applying poultices, and pouring strange draughts down the elf's throat. He never roused, and Gimli refused to think about what this might mean. He hoped the elf had merely been drugged into a pain free slumber. He didn't notice right away when their conversation died down and one peeled away from the close-knit group around Legolas to re-enter the shelter. He emerged and approached Gimli uncertainly, one of Gimli's throwing axes in each hand. His sure feet ambled over the rough terrain toward Gimli and, after a moment, he bowed slightly and extended them to him, handles first.
Gimli could only stare in openmouthed amazement. It took a moment to find his voice before he offered gruffly, "Hannon le.*" Another moment passed before he realized he still hadn't taken the elf's offering. He tentatively reached up and grasped the axes one at a time with his good hand and slid them carefully into place on his belt. He couldn't help but wrinkle his nose at the grime of two battles worth of orc scum caked on the blades.
Gimli expected the elf to turn and leave, but when, after a few moments, he made no move, Gimli looked up again and found himself being watched. The glittering humor in those eyes told him that the elf had all but read his mind, and the sight so strongly reminded him of Legolas that he had to swallow hard at the emotion welling up in his chest. The elf's merriment disappeared, and he glanced at Legolas for a moment before turning back to Gimli.
"I am Orophin," he said at last in the Grey Tongue, with a slight dip of his golden head. "I bring news of your companions—they are both safe and well." At this Gimli sagged with relief, and almost didn't notice that the elf was still speaking, "I am sorry we have left your injury for so long. I'm afraid my brothers were quite overwrought at the state of our kinsman, but if you would allow me, I will tend your hand now, elvellon."
Gimli blinked at the term. He knew he should respond appropriately at the bestowal, but it seemed words had left him. He looked over to where Legolas lay, then he looked back hesitantly at the elf in front of him, and then he looked down at the appendage he still had tightly fisted against his stomach. This was not at all how he was used to his interactions with elves going. Slowly, he relinquished his hand to the elf's care.
"Gimli, son of Glóin, at your service," he managed belatedly, not even bothering with Sindarin. Why did his head feel like it was stuffed full of cotton?
The elf gave a nod of acknowledgement, and then got down to business. "I've sent Foendil and Tûron back with a report. If Aragorn is not already on his way, they will make sure he is coming to intercept us." He paused, before acknowledging, "Thranduillion's injury is beyond our skill."
Orophin carefully worked off Gimli's glove, and as he did so, a burning pain lanced across his palm and blood flow that had been slowly ebbing began to pour more quickly. Forcing himself to look down, Gimli at last took in the damage. As the elf gently pried his fingers open, Gimli could see a deep cut that ran across his palm from his thumb where it was bleeding steadily, to his little finger, where it grew more shallow.
"I'm afraid this will be quite painful, but it's bleeding too heavily to leave it untended," the elf offered apologetically before pouring water over it to clean it. Gimli could briefly glimpse pale sinew before blood welled up again and wiggled his fingers experimentally, biting his lip at the cry of pain that threatened to escape. Orophin looked like he wanted to scold him, but held his peace. For his part, Gimli was pleased to find that everything still worked, and that would just have to be good enough-at least he'd still be able to hold his axe when it healed.
The elf bound the hand tightly with fresh bandages, wrapping them around and around until the hand was fairly engulfed in white linen. "When we are able to stop, I can stitch it for you," then he gave a little bow and returned to Legolas' side, giving orders and organizing their departure for Lórien.
*Non pilin yrch=It was an orc arrow.
*Hannon le=thank you (Movie verse Sindarin for thank you.)
End notes—You can see here that this chapter introduces quite the deviation from canon. In the movie, Gimli's arrival in the Golden Wood is met with veiled death threats ("the dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark"). I always loved Legolas' movie response, but in the book, Legolas and Gimli were not yet close and Gimli was singled out with extreme prejudice, yet for reason we are never told, he and Legolas become close friends while in Lórien. My story explores all the ramifications of Legolas being injured. Some of the changes are minor, but for Gimli, his treatment by the galadhrim will be completely different—and perhaps he will still be distrustful because he feels they've only changed their minds because he's saved one of their own.
A few further notes: In the books, Gimli is only mentioned as having an axe, so this could be a bit of movie verse, but honestly one large axe isn't practical for close quarter battle. I think that Gimli probably did have more than one axe on him. Also, if you're more of a movie verse fan, I should note that in the book, Legolas didn't have twin knives.
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