Gimli: Helms Deep
I am looking for Legolas.
Damn his elusive elvish hide. Does he not know I am worried for him?
Helms Deep is awash with death and loss and he is somewhere amongst it. I have not seen him for hours, not since we were thrust away from each other by that surge of relief, of new men and the wizard, come to save us at the end of the battle.
He was alive then and so logic tells me he must be alive now. He is not on the battlefield. No one has seen him. He must be within the keep itself, but for the life of me I cannot find him.
Aragorn is just as hard to find. At first they tell me he is closeted with the King of this place, and Gandalf, in a meeting but when I go there I find he is, in fact, with the Healers and they are in chaos. There are bodies everywhere, men moaning and cries of pain. I am beyond uncomfortable every single minute I am there searching for him. The relief when I find him is immense.
"Aragorn!" I call across the room and he raises his head. "Have you seen the elf?" He shrugs, but that is not a good enough answer for me and so I push through the crowds towards him.
"Have you seen the elf?" I repeat my question in his ear when I am near.
"No." He answers me with a frown. "He has not been here."
"I have not laid eyes on him since the end of the battle and he is nowhere I can think of to look for him." I sound anxious, I know it, but that is because I am.
"Was he well when you saw him?" He asks with some concern.
"As far I could tell. We were separated near the end."
"And he is not on the battlefield, you have looked?" My anxiety is catching it seems.
"I have scoured it. He is not there. Not where we were fighting."
And Aragorn visibly relaxes.
"Then wherever he is, he is most likely well for he is not here...amongst this..." He waves his hand hopelessly towards the chaos of broken men. "And no one has mentioned him so he has not been here either. He sticks out like a sore thumb Gimli. Surely you can find him. Your room?"
I roll my eyes at him. I know he is tired but that is just ridiculous. Of course I have looked there.
"The stables? The kitchens?"
I shake my head at all his suggestions for they are obvious and have already proved futile.
"He has likely gone to seek some quiet then. Try the high places."
"The high places?"
"Where else would you find a Woodelf?" He smiles, and turns back to his patient, rubbing his hand over his eyes. He really should get some sleep.
And so I find myself trudging up endless stairs, in the dreary dawn light, looking for an elf who obviously does not want to be found. I never imagined this place would have so many stairs but I do know I have had enough. My legs are tired—in fact all of me is tired—and I want some sleep.
In the end, when I find him, I almost miss him. He is sitting against the wall in the dark shadow where the light does not reach and I notice him only because he glows. So strange are these elves, with their internal lights.
"Legolas!" Now I have stumbled upon him my tension turns to anger—for why has he let my spend my time on this wild goose chase? "What are you doing here?"
"So you have found me." He replies and he sounds as tired as I feel. There is something in his voice, an edge, a catch, a feeling, which makes me stop and look again.
He is pale, but he is always pale, and he smiles up at me but it is not his usual smile. There is no life to it. The battle has drained him. My anger disappears as soon as it arrived and instead of more shouting I sit myself beside him.
I repeat myself but my voice is softer this time.
"Why are you here?"
"There are too many Men down there Gimli. They are so loud, and they smell." He wrinkles his nose in disgust and I have to agree with him on that one. The men do smell and it is not pleasant.
"So you hide yourself away in the dark and expect me to climb all over this forsaken place looking for you?"
I give him a nudge then, with my shoulder against his to let him know I am not best pleased with him. At least I was not, for now I have found him I am actually very pleased indeed.
He cannot hide the hiss of pain that follows.
"You are hurt!" I turn on him with accusation and reach for his arm for now I can feel the soft, sticky wetness of blood seeping though my tunic where it rests against his. But he flinches away from me.
"Somewhat." He says, and now that I am looking I see, in the slowly brightening light, his whole side is blood.
"What are you doing you fool!" I leap to my feet. "Why are you sitting up here? You should be with the healers."
"It seems I am stuck." The look he gives me then is a rueful one.
"Stuck? Now is not the time for riddles, Legolas." He is beyond frustrating, this elf of mine.
He sighs then, long and deeply and I realise, now I am finally paying attention, I can hear his breathing and that is not good. Legolas is graceful and elegant. He moves without a sound and I can sit next to him and hear not so much as a whisper of air from his lungs. Not now though. Now his breathing is—by his standards—noisy. I curse my inattention. How could I have not noticed this?
"I thought this was less than it is. There is poison here and it has taken me unawares. It bleeds too much Gimli... I find I cannot get down."
To say I am alarmed is an understatement.
"Ah Legolas," I could shout and yell at him about his foolishness but that will get us nowhere. Instead I smile at him sadly. "A woodelf who cannot climb? That is a tragedy indeed."
I will get him down from here and find him some help, although just now, help seems a long way away.
"I will take you to the healers then." I say as I haul him to his feet. It is a clumsy business and I know I hurt him.
"No!" He pulls himself away from me which is a mistake. He sways upon his feet and has to reach out with his good hand for the wall to steady himself. If the situation was not so dire I would laugh.
"I will not go there Gimli!" he cries as he stands there so patently needing their assistance. "There are so many Men and they are all—" he cuts himself off and I remember the hideousness of it when I went searching for Aragorn. Too many Men indeed for an ailing elf to deal with. Very well I will think of something else.
"Our room then." I say as I lean him against me and we start our slow descent. "Our room, and I will call Aragorn." He does not answer but I will take that as a yes.
We must be a comic sight I think to myself as I carefully manoeuvre him down the stairs. Our difference in heights makes what should be a simple task, extremely difficult. He leans far too much of his weight onto me. Far too much because it makes me aware of just how ill he must be. For he has always been the stronger—until now. I find I do not like being the one he leans on. I do not like it at all. Not because I am not willing to be that support but because he should not be this way. It is not what he is meant to be.
"Did you have to climb quite this high?" I grumble to myself, as we find ourselves at the top of yet another flight of stairs. I know he is in bad shape when he is silent. Legolas never misses a chance to tease.
It is not until I get him back to the room and see him out of the shadows and into the light that I realise exactly how bad it is. Pale does not even begin to describe him and his breathing is now laboured, even for a dwarf, let alone an elf.
"I am going for Aragorn," I say rather more panicked than I would like. "Do not move from here, Legolas!"
And he gives me a weak smile from where he sits upon the bed, his injured arm laying motionless across his lap while the other clutches desperately to the still oozing wound.
"Where would I go, Gimli?" he asks, exhaustion wrought upon his face and I see he is right. He could not walk out of here if he tried.
I am heading for the Healer's when a thought grabs me. I do not even know why I think it—perhaps the elf's mind magic is affecting me? Perhaps Aragorn has seen sense and retired to bed? It is much closer and will be easier to find him there and so that is where I head.
They have given him a much larger, more luxurious room than us and he winced and complained when he saw it. He is not much for airs and graces and I like that about him. The room is warmer too I noticed when we visited. It seems a potential King in waiting deserves more heat than a dwarf and an elf.
Please let him be here, please, I think to myself as I bang on the door in desperation. It will take so much longer to search that horrendous hall of dying men. And my prayers are answered... This time, for he opens the door bewildered and bemused.
"Gimli! What is it you want?" he asks and I hear the hint of annoyance in his voice,
"I have found the elf!" I cry and he smiles then.
"Well I am pleased," he says firmly, "Thank you for telling me. Now tell him to get some sleep." and he begins to shut the door in my face.
"No! Aragorn, you are not understanding me." I wedge my foot in the door. I know he is tired but I will not be dismissed. "He needs you."
"I will see him later then," he murmurs and I realise he is not truly listening, "when I wake... Tell him I will see him then."
"Aragorn! He is hurt. He will not go to the healers. He needs you."
He is suddenly all attention, his tiredness thrown aside.
"Hurt? In what way? Where did you find him?" He turns from the door and rummages in his lack, for healing supplies I imagine.
"He is bleeding..." I say rather lamely as I realise in my hurry I have not assessed his injury at all. "His arm, he says poison.... He looks dreadful. He was, as you said....in the high places."
Aragorn turns to look at me then in shock. "Why was he not here recieving aid?"
"I do not know!" I throw my arms in the air in frustration. "Why do you expect me to understand this elf? He makes no sense to me. There were too many Men, he said... He objected to their smell." and Aragorn sighs and rubs his forehead in tiredness. I do feel rather sorry for him at that moment.
"Very well," he says eventually, obviously satisfied he has everything he will need. "Let us go. If there is poison we likely are running short of time." And he is off, in front of me, his last words ringing like a warning in my ears.
Running out of time? That cannot be good.
I cannot lose my Elf.
A story which is requiring some research! Shock, horror. This is in my non slash universe but I will be rewriting this time period for Legolas/Elrohir as well eventually. If I have to research I am going to use that more than once!
Chapter end notes:
So I have five chapters of this written and will post them quite quickly but then it will be slow going as I am having to actually reread The Two Towers as I go to write this!
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