MOON LETTERS : CREATIVE WRITING
Gimli Finds Pippin - by Sarah Jumel
The battle was long over, but Gimli was still swinging his axe. Dwarf honor required shortening the pain of all on the field, even the thrice despised Orcs. It was foul work, wading through the blood and ordure of the minions of Sauron, curses and inarticulate sounds floating over the miasma of death.
Gimli began alone, but he did not continue that way. Men of Gondor and Rohan who were not needed to tend the wounded assisted him. All had expected a grim fight to the last man, and the sudden collapse of the enemy was a shock. It was a relief to busy the body while chewing on the strange sweet taste of a future without Sauron.
The wheeling forms of the eagles returning with Gandalf had not excited him, but when he saw the small forms held tenderly in their hooked talons he felt as if his body would burst. Frodo and Sam-alive! He saw the healers place them on pallets and knew they lived. It was a joy he would feel forever, that they had survived. He tried not to think about the absence of Pippin, and what it meant-he had been in too many battles not to know. All that remained was surety, to find the body, but he would not think on that.
The scholars within the Lonely Mountain would pester him with questions for their interminable books; as the sole representative at the Fall of Mordor he was invaluable. He could hear the graybeards now-
“Did you see any dwarvish workmanship on the weapons?”
“How long does a troll move after decapitation?”
“Did the Fell Beasts breath fire or smoke, or show other signs of dragonkind?”
Such they would ask, when he went home. None would show interest in Galadriel, he knew. Few would listen when he extolled her beauty. He was glad she could not see the horror of this battle; even though it was victorious still vile. She probably knew of it, though; there was little she did not know.
The sounds of the dying were slowly fading and the raucous carnival of the carrion fowl was taking over. It was fortunate where the battle had taken place; a few careful rock falls from the cliffs guarding the Black Land would provide burial. It was for things like this one brought a Dwarf along, a master of stone.
In any case, the tents of the healers were far enough into Ithilien to be safe from the contaignation of the battlefield. Looking up, he realized he was alone; the last cries faded. There were no more stricken lives to end. Gimli had circled the field and was back where he had begun, close to where Gandalf had stood. That Guard of the Citadel who had saved Faramir had been found here, concussed but alive. The troll still lay there.
Gimli stopped to look at a detail on the metal decorations pierced through his hide, but on closer examination they were revealed to be standard Orc graffiti with only a chance resemblance to Dwarf script. Gimli sighed, and straightening up realized stopping was a mistake. His knees and shoulders and back were now screaming for a rest; reaching around to rub a particularly painful spot he dropped his axe. He quickly looked around-no one saw, thank goodness-and he bent to pick it up from the bloody stones.
There. What was that? He was tired that was all, seeing things-what was it?
He turned to see nothing; but he had been closer to the ground before. He’d have to bend over and look again. His muscles cried out at this indignity but he did it anyway. There, under the overhanging troll’s leathers-there. A foot. Where had he seen one of those before?
Before his mind spelled out H O B B I T he was yelling and shoving and lifting. He wanted the body; he wanted to give it a decent stone tomb, to give the youngest of the hobbits a warrior’s burial with his weapons about him. The corpse of the troll held the small form in a fold of its abdomen-how had Pippin gotten there? - And Gimli had to pull the Western blade free from the guts of the monster before he could separate the two. Now he had Pippin. He could carry him back and lie him down, as they had laid Boromir, with his weapons and those of his foes. The heavy armament of the troll would wait for later, though.
Turning over the body, he caught the helm of the Tower of Guard as it fell from the young hobbit’s head. Blackish blood covered the smooth face and Gimli reached for his water bottle, the one Legolas had filled at the streams of Ithilian that morning. His mouth was dry, but he poured the coolness over Pippin’s features.
He was thinking of the thirst Frodo and Sam must have endured when the burden in his arms sneezed all over him.
The little truant hobbit was alive! Alive! Unconscious, but alive.
All of his plans for a small but noble cenotaph fled as he ran, almost as fast as Legolas for once, to the tents of the healers. Another hobbit required their attention.