Of a Frustrated Fanfic Author
Disclaimer: All the characters – except the main heroine – belong to Professor Tolkien. I’m just borrowing them for a while to play.
These independent little chapters have very little to do with my regular stories, except the fact that the Tolkien-characters appearing here will behave the way they do in my other writings. None of this is supposed to be taken seriously. :)
This is a bookverse vignette, which means that Gimli is played by Jeffrey Combs, who would have been my choice for the part. His comments about Legolas being given a bad name in favour for the First Age Elves were inspired by a private discussion with a friend.
Dedication: for Jenn and Levade, who wanted a meeting with our sturdy Dwarf.
TEN: NEW YEAR’S EVE
Having survived the invasion of her relatives around Christmas, our Frustrated Fanfiction Author (still FFA, for lack of any better solution) was preparing herself fro New Year’s Eve. There was nothing worth watching on TV (her idea of “humour” differed greatly from that of those responsible for general entertainment) but she didn’t feel like surfing the ‘Net, either. She had just recently discovered that once again, her hard work was getting overlooked – and on one of her own lists, no less – which made her feeling extremely sorry for herself and eminently bitchy towards everyone else. That was an unhealthy combination that could inspire her to reactions she usually regretted afterwards. Therefore, staying away from the ‘Net seemed a good idea.
Thus she settled for watching some old videos while munching on the traditional boiled sausages with mustard and maybe drinking some alcohol free champagne wih her mother before midnight. It wasn’t much to look forward to, but it was better than any other alternative.
Barely had she made herself comfortable in front of the TV, however, when someone knocked on the balcony door. Which was strange in itself, as the balcony was a closed one. Besides, she lived on the second floor. She blinked a few times, fighting her ever-present fear from burglars, crazed serial killers and other niceties of Real Life™, but when the knocking repeated, she decided to take a look. Whoever it was, he could simply break through the glass door and come in if he wanted anyway.
Before she reached the door, however, the unexpected visitor had apparently found the light switcher, for the balcony became illuminated at once, and her gaze fell upon a man who stood grinning next to her Christmas tree. A short, wiry man with a neatly trimmed and braided, fiery beard, a round face, a slightly upturned nose and two small, round, very dark and very bright eyes.
A man? She took another look, noticing for the first time the white hood tossed back onto a broad back, the old-fashioned tunic and leggings, the heavy boots and the short-handled axe that was tucked into a broad leather belt. No, this wasn’t a man whom she saw. It was a Dwarf. And she knew at once which one (the white hood was a dead give-away, since she started her adventures in the Ardaverse with “The Hobbit”).
“My apologies, Gimli son of Glóin,” she said, opening the door hurriedly and making some feeble attempt to bow; she wasn’t very good at it, truth be told. “I haven’t realized it was you, or else I’d have let you in at once.”
“Dwarves are not afraid of a little cold,” he answered in a deep, rumbling voice that sounded like the surprisingly pleasant echo of some far-away thunderstorm. “But you, Lady, should put on some warm clothes, for despite the roaring fires, the Great Hall of Erebor could be a little chilly at wintertime.”
“And that would matter to me – why exactly?” she asked, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.
“For that is where we are going,” the Dwarf explained, extremely pleased with himself. “You have been invited to the New Year’s Feast by King Dáin Ironfoot himself, and I was sent to fetch you.”
She blinked a few times. “I thought you would celebrate with your own people in Aglarond. Or in Tol Eressëa, with Legolas.”
Gimli made a sour face. “Yea, so did I. But Legolas and that high-nosed father have been invited to some big feast in Valinor itself. Apparently, Thingol finally has been released from the Halls and the Sea-Elves of Alqualondë are having a big party to welcome him back. With singing and dancing under the stars until they fall over. And as Legolas is related to the whole bunch through his great-grandfather or whatnot, he had to go, too.”
“I don’t think that would be such a hardness on him,” she said doubtfully. “No-one has songs like the Teleri, and Legolas thrives on music and song.”
“True enough,” Gimli admitted, “yet things are a little… tense at times. Those Elves from the First Age have heard a few times too often how much better they are than Legolas and his kin from their… how do you Menfolk call them in these days?… from their groupies. They have begun to think that they truly are better, somehow.” He gave a very undignified snort. “You should hear the tone they can say Moriquendi. Never mind that they turned against their backs on the soil of their birth, leaving behind their own kin to Morgoth’s mercy. Never mind that later they rebelled against the Valar themselves, then murdered their own kin and took their ships by force. Nah, they are still ‘better’, for they have seen the Light of the Trees. Ha! Fat good did it do to them! Their minds certainly did not get enlightened by it. They kept slaying other Elves for three pieces of jewellery. And they dare to call us greedy,” he added, fuming. “Felakkundu and Khelebrimbor are the only halfways decent people among them – at least they treat Dwarves with respect, as fellow artisans.”
The typical Dwarvish pronunciation of Finrod and Celebrimbor’s names made her smile. But thinking over what Gimli had just said made her smile fade quickly.
“Are you saying that the other Elves are looking down at Legolas, because of his Silvan heritage?” she asked with a frown.
“Not in Tol Eressëa,” Gimli replied. “In fact, he is a very popular Elf in Queen Meril’s court. But ever since those… those movies, the horrible tales about a whiny, disgusting, unmanned fool who happens to bear his name have overflooded your world, and people began to believe that my poor friend would truly be like that. Even those who have read The Books and should know better. And the Elves of Valinor listen to those scribes who think them being above Legolas. There have been… unpleasant encounters,” he added darkly, stroking the handle of his axe meaningfully.
She smiled again, imagining the loyal Dwarf defending his friend’s honour against some haughty Elves of the First Age. That must have been a performance rarely seen in the Blessed Land.
“So, have you ever regretted following Legolas to the West?” she asked. Gimli thought about it for a moment – then he shook his head.
“Nah, not really. Tol Eressëa is a beautiful place to live, even if I am the only Dwarf there. I have made some friends, aside from Legolas. And I get to visit Mahal’s smithy every time and again. Or Gandalf and the hobbits. Besides, when the nancing of all those Elves becomes too much for me, I can travel through time and visit the realms of my forefathers. ‘Tis only a tale in which we all live, after all,” he added with a shrug and a grin.
She grinned back, finding the Dwarven perspective uniquely refreshing.
“And you are planning to feast in Erebor tonight?” she asked.
Gimli nodded eagerly. “I cannot wait to get there. We never had that many people in Aglarond, nor the proper music. Dwarves need a long time to grow close to a new dwelling place and make music that would suit that place properly, you know. But Erebor’s roots reach deep, ‘til the very heart of the world. You will see it… and feel it… if you manage to get ready in this Age still. Are you willing to go or not?”
“That depends,” she replied smugly. Gimli snorted.
“On the question if there will be sausages, spicy mustard, pumpernickl and enough good dark ale,” she answered with a grin. The Dwarf threw his head back and gave a roaring laughter that vibrated in his broad chest like a minor earthquake.
“Alas that you are not a head shorter,” he said, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. “Every unbound Dwarf would fight for the chance to wed you.”
She fund that very amusing; being a short and rather stocky woman, this was the first time anyone had ever found her too tall. “You think so?”
“Aye, I do,” Gimli nodded with emphasis. “You have a Dwarven heart: full of fire.”
“Maybe,” she smiled, feeling the heat rising into her cheeks; never was she given a better compliment (not that she got many of those, mind you). “But I have no skills whatsoever, unfortunately.”
“I would not say that,” Gimli looked pointedly at the golden and silver stars decorating the windows. Stars that she had folded from paper-thin golden- and silver-coloured foil with hours upon hours of patient labour. “It has not always to be something big, you know. It seems to me that your fingers are skilled enough to create small things of great beauty… what else would you want?”
“Well, if you put it that way,” she shrugged uncertainly.
“Trust me,” Gimli replied, “when it comes to skills and art, I know very well what I am talking about. So, do you have something warm to pull over? And you will need warm boots, too. The stone floor of the Great Hall can be very cold.”
She rummaged a little in her cupboard, until she found a very thick, black-and-white knitted sweater and some really warm black trousers. Her grey winter boots looked a little silly to them, but Gimli took a once-over and declared her suitable for a Dwarven feast. Then he took her hand and said,
“Close your eyes tightly and jump!”
“Jump?” she replied, not understanding it at all. “But we are standing in the middle of my anteroom…”
“Trust me,” Gimli smiled, squeezing her hand gently. “Just shut your eyes and jump.”
She still found it ridiculous, but again, what could happen, standing with both feet firmly set on her anteroom floor? She shut her eyes and did as if she would jump…
To her shocking surprise, the floor vanished from under her feet. Just like in those weird dreams when one steps down from a walkway, not thinking of anything wrong and starts falling down, down, into an abyss and wakes up, coated in cold sweat, before hitting the bottom.
Only this time she didn’t wake up. Nor did she hit anything. She landed gently on her feet, and when she opened her eyes, she found herself in a hall of incredible proportions. The arched stone ceiling was so far above her head that she could barely see it. Fire roared in great hearths along both sides of the hall, and Dwarves of various size, age and gender were sitting along low oak tables that were groaning under the food heaped upon beautifully-crafted golden and silver trays. Music and great laughter filled the hall, mixing with the mouth-watering scent of spicy food. Jugs of dark ale were raised and emptied in one swig.
“Come on,” Gimli nudged her guest, “let us greet the King, then we can mingle with the people. You think Wood-Elves know how to have a good time? You would not even know the meaning of fun ere you have feasted with Dwarves.”
She was dragged before King Dáin Ironfoot, who greeted her with a clap on her back that nearly broke her spine and several ribs, than Gimli guided her to Bombur, who was laying on a couch near the table. The very old and very fat Dwarf greeted her enthusiastically, and so did the others of Thorin’s Company who were still alive. Someone pushed a tankard of dark ale into her hand, another one placed a huge plate of food before her, and when the singing began, she became lost in the strange harmony of deep Dwarven voices and forgot everything else on the world.
~The end – for now~
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Yes, I’m extremely fond of Bombur! So what?