MOON LETTERS : CREATIVE WRITING
While Frodo Lay Dreaming, Part One - by Ladykmr and Jonnoj
In the sacred halls of the Last Homely House our story begins. The ornate hallway is filled with tapestries and paintings of fair-skinned Elvish maidens and Wood Elves hunting game. There are Oak wood floors that are not rough, but smooth and polished and do not creak when one walks on them. To the left and right there are many windows and various rooms, some with open doors and others that are shut. Through an open door on the left side we can see two young hobbits playing a game involving dice and little wooden figurines. An open door on the right side of the hall reveals one of the many kitchens at the Last Homely House. A heavenly aroma smelling of roasted meat floats through the halls. There are a number of Elves baking bread and making cakes, and there are a few Elves tending the meat that is slowly being roasted on the spits over an open fire. A song can be heard faintly in the distance. It is a melancholy tune that drifts softly through the night air and dances upon the sills of the windows. Many of the occupants of Rivendell have gone to rest in their feather-stuffed beds, but Elrond, and several other elderly Dwarves and Elves, talk long into the night, depicting tales of bloody battles of years long past, whilst they smoke their pipes and eat Elvish cakes. The whole house is still and quiet except for the elders talking while the fireplace casts a warm, orange glow about the room. Suddenly, from outside the windows, they can see the shadowy figure of a man riding on horseback in the moonlight, and he is racing towards the direction of the House. As the figure draws closer, there is a chorus of alarming shouts emanating from the crowded room: 'Who is that man?', 'Is he friend or foe?', 'Why is he out riding so late?' No more had they risen out of their chairs, then there was a loud knock coming from the main gate. Elrond rose silently from his seat and walked over to the door and opened it. The dim light of the fire glowed on the man's face and everyone could see that the mysterious rider was none other than Legolas Greenleaf, and he had a very alarming look on his face....
"What brings you to this House in such a state, O Thranduil's son?" Elrond's voice sounded calm on the surface, but those in the hall who knew him well detected an undercurrent of extreme worry.
"I have ridden many days and nights, through rain, sleet, wind, and cold to bring you these woeful tidings, my lord. The creature Gollum has escaped the confines of my people and absconded with aid from an unknown, but much suspected source." Legolas paused here to survey the looks on the faces around him.
Elrond was stricken with an unknown emotion. It was akin to sadness, but more near an un-counerable acceptance that that thing he had long dreaded had at last come to pass. The elf Glorfindel, recently returned from a scouting mission, put his head in his hands. Two Dwarves felt for their axes and muttered about how they should have imprisoned Gollum in a Dwarfish prison, where things were done right. The dwarf Gloin snapped his head up at the word Thranduil, and stood as Legolas spoke.
"The Elf-king of Mirkwood's security has obviously fallen off in recent years then, eh pretty boy? For I myself and at least one other in this room can vouch for the unbreachability of Thranduil's prison while we were there, can't we now Bilbo?" Here a small shadow formerly unnoticed stepped forward but was silent. "But then, maybe this fellow's decent dungeon cells are so stuffed with Dwarves that they can't squeeze in one measly spy of Sauron's! And what is your name anyway, Elf?"
"My name is Legolas Greenleaf, son of Thranduil, King of all Mirkwood." Legolas did not quite know what to make of Gloin. He seemed harmless, but Legolas did not like the way he had called him 'pretty boy.' He then remembered the hatred that exists between Elves and Dwarves and he made a mental note to himself reminding him to keep his distance from people that could not be trusted.
"I have long dreaded the day when Gollum should escape from your father's prison. No one can accurately say which direction Gollum will go, but he knows that Mr. Baggins has the Ring, and will most likely try to get it back," Elrond said.
"How many people are tracking him? Mirkwood's King would not sit idle whilst one of his prisoners roams the countryside and destroys the local citizenry," Glorfindel uttered.
"My father has scattered threescore of our finest Elven trackers amongst the forests of Mirkwood to look for him. When I left, there were no reports of the trackers finding him. One man found footprints that resembled Gollum's, and he followed them, but they went nowhere and eventually disappeared. Alas, it has been many days since Gollum escaped, and we are at a loss of what to do." There was a trace of fear in Legolas's voice as he uttered these words.
"My friends, the night grows darker and we are all very exhausted.
It would be better if we thought of a plan tomorrow when all of us are rested and can think better. Legolas you are welcome to stay in one of the fine guestrooms of my House. To bed, everyone, and tomorrow we shall arise and have a council and decide on a course of action. Rest well, my friends."
Legolas waited until the others had left the hall before confronting Gloin. The dwarf was standing in a corner with a younger dwarf who looked quite a lot like him. The two were mumbling to each other in low voices.
"My good Dwarf," Legolas began, "You will pardon my asking, but just what exactly do you have against me? I realize that Dwarves and Elves have never exactly loved each other, but I believe it is safe to say that in recent years the amenity has risen, and the rivalry decreased. Am I wrong?" He stopped speaking and looked down at Gloin.
"Cut the court talk, Greenleaf! I've about had it with you Elves and your 'wherefore's' and 'pardon, but I believes'. And yeah, you are wrong! If you'd said that to me a hundred years ago, I would have agreed with you, and wished you the best, but I have a very large bone to pick with your old man!" Gloin took a step foreword, but stopped, wheezing. The younger Dwarf put a hand on his shoulder and spoke.
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Gimli, son of Gloin, dwarf of the Lonely mountain." Legolas noted that Gimli did not add the customary 'at your service'. But what could one expect from a Dwarf? "Many years ago, my father went on a quest with 13 others to retake the Halls of Thrain from the dragon Smaug. While we journeyed through Mirkwood, they lost their way, and were attacked by giant spiders. Although they escaped, they were soon captured by your people, and when they refused to tell your old dad where they were going, he imprisoned them! It was weeks before Bilbo Baggins could get them out!"
Legolas was startled. So this was one of THOSE Dwarves, eh? He was just about at his wit's end with Gloin. Legolas did not want to cause any trouble, but if Gloin asked for it....
"Listen here, Dwarf! My father must have had a very good reason for imprisoning your little tea party. You did not tell him where you were going or what your business in his realm was, so naturally he did the right thing."
"Your father was an arrogant idiot and trusted no Dwarf! I wonder if his son is the same way. We were on a very dangerous quest to retake that which was rightfully ours and your father almost spoiled the expedition for us." Gloin reached down by his side and reassuringly tapped the top of his axe.
"Thou shalt not disgrace the good name of my father! I shall not allow it, Dwarf! You have spoken one word to many and now you shall pay for your unruly tongue and boisterous manners," Legolas thundered.
"And just what do you think you are capable of doing, pretty boy!?" Gloin chuckled to himself; he was farely confident that no harm would come to him from Legolas's bow. In less than a second, Legolas had grabbed an arrow from his quiver, knocked it, and drew back on the bowstring, pointing it directly at the temple of Gloin's head. The dwarf grew fearful and a small bead of sweat rolled slowly down his face.
"I have heard enough out of you for one day, dwarf! You have slandered my father's good name and insulted the family! I will meet you on the eve of tomorrow, after the meeting council, at sundown. We shall meet at the clearing in the woods that is no more than a few hundred paces south of this House. You shall come alone and we shall settle this then. Thou hast not felt the full fury of my wrath, yet, Dwarf!" On these words, Legolas departed and retired to bed.
Gloin wheezed uncontrollably and trotted off nervously to bed on tense muscles. Gimli followed him.
By unspoken mutual agreement, neither Dwarf nor Elf spoke of their meeting at the next day's Council. When Gimli and Legolas learned that they would be journeying together to Mordor, they were both chagrined, but would not back down from their challenge and have there honor scorned. So at sundown the next day two figures stepped into a secluded clearing South of Rivendell. One was tall and graceful, the other short and bulky but filled with an unmistakable strength and determination.
"Elf!" cried Gimli, "I am here to answer the challenge placed on my father. His health fails him, and he is not able to finish a contest of ability. I shall wield my axe in his place." Here he stepped foreword into the center of the clearing.
"So you shall, Dwarf, and merrily I shall slice your throat in defense of my father's honor." Legolas had no bow with him, only a pair of long white knives that gleamed at his sides. He also strode foreword until he stood a scant three yards from Gimli. But instead of assuming his attack immediately, he hesitated. Doubts raced through his mind: 'Should I really kill this Dwarf? He doesn't know any better, and I'm supposed to be setting a good example as the only Elf in the Fellowship, and now here I am getting ready to beat up a comrade!'
Likewise Gimli paused. 'I should set a good example for those poor Hobbits and just walk away...but no! HE challenged ME! Let him back down first!'
A twig snapped in the forest. Legolas whirled around to face the intruder. Gimli raised his axe in the battle-ready position.
"Well! Leave it to an Elf and a Dwarf to ruin the Fellowship before it's even begun!" The bent figure of an old man hobbled into the clearing, leaning on a cane