Summary:  Legolas visits the Lonely Mountain for the first time and is surprised by what he finds.



A Good Thing

by Nieriel Raina



Year 3019, Third Age


"Come! Come, Legolas, you will enjoy this next part."


The dwarf's voice boomed in the stone hallway, causing the elf to flinch as the sound reverberated around him. He doubted very much that he would find anything so exciting as the dwarf made it sound. Not that he did not appreciate the beauty of his friend's home,; the innards of the Lonely Mountain surprised him with their loveliness, and Legolas had listened with interest as Gimli carefully explained how the minerals, carried by dripping water, formed beautiful shapes - large columns formed by stalactites and stalagmites meeting, sheets so delicate and thin they looked like parchment, stone that flowed resembling water...  Shapes and sizes he had seen beyond count as Gimli showed him his home, and while Legolas admired their loveliness,  he longed for fresh air, sunlight and the comforting whispers of nature. The song of stone did little to comfort the heart of a wood-elf.


The 'next part', as Gimli called it, took them upwards, and Legolas felt relief. Perhaps Gimli would soon return them to the light of day.


After about a half an hour of walking, Gimli turned, looking over his shoulder and waving Legolas forward with an excited hand before disappearing into a chamber. Legolas sighed heavily. Would Gimli miss him if he simply disappeared and went in search of the sun? He  frowned and shook his head. He would be lost in minutes. Resolutely, he followed his friend, putting on a contented face and hoping he would truly enjoy what he found.


Stepping into the chamber, the first thing Legolas  noticed was the lighting. There were no torches, lamps or lanterns, yet the chamber glowed with enough light that he could see quite clearly. He glanced around...and froze. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped in amazement. "Gimli?"


He heard a soft chuckle behind him, then his friend appeared at his side. "I knew you'd like this."


Legolas nodded, a smile touching his face. "Aye, it is amazing!" He walked forward, admiring row upon row of growing vegetables, some tiny flowers catching his eye.  "But how is this possible? I know these plants need little in the way of light, most preferring cooler climates and shade, but still, they need sunlight to some extent! How is this possible?" he repeated, drawing a pleased laugh from his friend.


Gimli looked up, pointing to what Legolas had missed. Above them, faint light streamed down from shafts cut into the rock. "We use mirrors to reflect the sunlight down. It is not that far underground, and it works well. At first, when we returned after the Battle of Five Armies, we used it simply as light, but some of the women discovered several kinds of flowers grew well here. The stone containers you see were carved and drilled with holes so the water can drain. Earth was hauled down to fill them and soon, they began experimenting with other kinds of plants. Before too long, we had fresh vegetables. They grow pretty much year round as the temperature in here remains the same, or so I'm told. Makes a nice addition to our suppers. They even grow some herbs in the brighter areas."


Legolas began to laugh, glancing down at the dwarf. "I admit, when you brought me here, the last thing I thought I would find was plants! Beyond some molds and algae that is. I never imagined dwarves as farmers...."


"Now just a minute!" Gimli's cheeks above his beard turned a dark shade of pink. "The women grow the plants! And they are better at cutting stone, so I'll not hear any of this nonsense that we are farmers!"


Deciding to be merciful, knowing full well Gimli could have passed this place and not shared it, Legolas relented, turning to finger one of the tiny, dark green plants bearing bright purple blooms. "As you say, Gimli."


They remained in the cavern for a time, Legolas admiring all and enjoying the whispers he had so craved only an hour past. When a couple of the women entered and saw him, he was treated to them showing off their work, explaining how it all worked, and getting to taste the many vegetables and herbs. He praised them, enjoying the occasional root they dug for him and even a sweet bloom or two. He decided dwarven women were not all that different from females of other races...except for the beards.


At last, Gimli retrieved him, shaking his head in exasperation when the women protested, but Legolas could see the good humor in his friend's eyes. "Thank you for sharing this place, Gimli," he said as they exited the large chamber.


"You're welcome, Elf. Now, let's make our way outside so you can check on that beast of yours." An excuse for Legolas to get out of the mountain and feel the fresh air, and Legolas knew it.


He followed, his heart warmed at the care his friend showed, and reminded again what a good thing it had been to befriend a dwarf.

Make a Free Website with Yola.