gimli and legolas

Legolas … gave a sudden cry.

‘There are eyes!’ he said. ‘Eyes looking out from the shadows of the boughs! I never saw such eyes before.’

The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter 8, The Road to Isengard


As they galloped south, following the course of the river, Gimli could see lights—a crown of flaming torches—flickering in the distance. Clinging to Legolas’ back, he shouted, “Is that the cavalcade?”

“Yes, elvellon.”

“I thought the plan—was to camp in the Forest?”

“It was,” cried Legolas. “But something must have gone wrong.” The elf leaned over Arod’s neck, silently begging the horse to hurry, and the gallant steed responded.

Along the bank they flew, leaping over bush and briar, splashing through mud and mire, swiftly eating up the miles, until—

Legolas brought Arod to a sudden halt.

“What?” Gimli peered into the woods, his hand automatically reaching for his axe. “What is it?” The elf seemed unusually nervous.

“Shapes,” said Legolas. “Dark shapes, lurking amongst the boughs.”


“No.” He slid from Arod’s back.

“Then what—wait,” hissed the dwarf, “Legolas, where are you going? What about Eowyn? Wait!

But the elf, holding a hand before his eyes as though shielding them from a bright light, did not wait—and, a moment later, he had vanished into the trees.

“Avo visto, Arod,” muttered Gimli, jumping down to the ground. “Be ready to come and rescue your crazy master if I whistle.”

Caution did not come naturally to Gimli son of Gloin but nothing about his present situation was natural: one moment Legolas had been galloping through the night, risking both their necks, convinced that Eowyn was in imminent danger, the next he was chasing shadows, apparently having forgotten that his wife existed.

What can be wrong with him? Gimli drew his axe and—mouthing a silent apology to The Lady’s trees for his threatening behaviour—crept into the Forest. “Hssst! Hssst! Legolas!

He found himself following a narrow, well-worn path that twisted back and forth between the massive trunks, quickly leading him into the dark heart of the Forest, and leaving him completely disoriented. But someone is close by, he thought, and it is no elf, for an elf’s feet do not wear away the earth, and nor does an elf—and this Gimli knew for certain—cause this prickling feeling on the back of the neck.

He stopped walking and, narrowing his eyes, listened hard.


His pursuer was making no sound. He knows that I know that he is following me—

The dwarf frowned. Silence?

What has happened to all the little night creatures? Even Mirkwood in the days of Sauron was never completely silent…

And, at that moment, Gimli knew two things—first, that whatever had been following him was profoundly unnatural and, secondly, that (unfortunately) it was standing right behind him.

“Awwwww!” he roared, spinning round to face the abomination, his axe held high.

And a vast, dark shape fell upon him.


Pain shooting through his chest at every breath; pain burning its way up his arms and into his shoulders; pain exploding in his head…

Silently calling out to Aulë for strength, Gimli met the agony head on, and sent it scurrying away.

He opened his eyes. Earth. Good, clean earth. The Lady’s own soil!

He was lying face down—no longer on the winding path (in fact, his instincts told him that he was in a different part of the Forest altogether), but there was surely no harm in trying. The dwarf pursed his lips, whistled long and low, and waited for a blow from his captor.

Nothing happened.

Cautiously, he whistled again—and, this time, he thought he heard Arod, somewhere in the distance, neighing in reply. Good horse, he thought, come, find your master…

Slowly, he raised his head.

He was definitely in another part of the Forest—the dwarf’s sharp eyes spotted the remains of a Galadhrim staircase, winding up one of the trees a few yards off to the right. Gingerly, he turned to face the left.

Something was happening, just a few paces away.

Gimli craned his neck.


The dwarf frowned. Legolas was kneeling on the ground, his hands tied behind his back, his head bowed. And something was wrong—very wrong—for all the spirit, that infuriating, elven jauntiness, had gone out of him—he looked as though he had been enchanted, or perhaps brained with the flat of an axe.

Gimli strained to raise his head higher.

Six figures were standing over the elf. Five of them were men, dressed in wolf skins—the wolf heads worn as hoods, the wolf legs, ending in claws, hanging down by their sides. But the sixth was not.

The sixth figure was taller than the rest, and broader, with powerful, heavily muscled limbs covered in shaggy, dark hair that spread up his back, thickened as it reached his long neck, and turned to fur over his wolven head.

Gimli gasped. The elf’s vision!

And, as the dwarf watched, struggling to break free of his bonds, the werewolf reached down, and stroked Legolas’ cheek.

Beau-ti-ful…” he growled, forming the word in a series of soft barks. He fondled the elf’s hair, lifting the pale strands, and letting them fall. “Beau-ti-ful.”

Then, roughly, he grasped Legolas by the scruff of the neck and forced him down on all fours. And, signalling two of his men to hold the elf still, he knelt down behind him…



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