Serious Angst

The Uneasy Sleeper
by Dinledhwen

*A young Gimli stood in the sand before the Black Gate with his axe held at the ready. Swirling all around him were desperate men and scowling orcs locked in the grim slow motion fight to the death yet he remained alone and unchallenged. Then to his left the combatants slowly parted to form a clear path down which he could see to his horror an unarmed Legolas surrounded by seven menacing Uruk-hai. Now Gimli could immediately tell that the elf was close to exhaustion for his movements to avoid the wicked black blades that were swung at him from all directions were no longer graceful and fluid. Soon several bleeding cuts began to appear on the elf’s arms and legs while the Uruk-hai laughed in evil glee at the “fun” they were having.

Now a very angry Gimli had seen enough. But when he tried to charge to the aid of his friend he discovered that he couldn’t move! It was as if his boots had taken root to that patch of sand while he had been watching the Uruk-hai’s cruel game and no matter how hard and frantically he tried to pull free he just couldn’t budge!

Then the dwarf looked up just in time to see Legolas stumble backwards in a desperate attempt to back away from one Uruk-hai sword blade that was swung at his chest only to be stabbed deep in his right side by another. Now this brought a look of sheer agony to his fair face while Gimli’s heart pounded as his emotions became a mixture of fear and frustration at not being able to help.

“Oh Laddie no!” Gimli groaned as grief suddenly flooded his heart as he watched Legolas’s knees give way when the laughing Uruk-hai withdrew his sword. Then while the elf knelt in the sand with one hand on his wounded side the seven Uruk-hai moved in closer around him with their swords raised high obviously ready to deliver the killing blows…*

“NO!” a now very old and grey haired Gimli shouted in a hoarse voice as he sat up in bed while reaching for his axe that he kept out of habit by his bedside. For several minutes he sat there holding it ready in both hands and gasping for breath as he looked wildly about his moon lit room for the Uruk-hai that had murdered his friend.

Immediately the door swung opened and a soft candle light spilled in while Legolas quickly entered the room. Obviously the elf was unscathed and very much alive with not a single trace of times passage on him.

“Easy my friend,” he said soothingly as he gently took the axe away from Gimli and placed a reassuring hand on the dwarf’s right shoulder. “You were only having that dream again.”

“Aye Laddie I was,” Gimli said with a sigh of exasperation. “After all these long years I don’t understand why it is that I should be having such a dream now. Nor does it make any sense! You were never in danger at the Black Gate.”

“I wish I had an answer for you to its meaning but I don’t,” Legolas replied sadly. Then he brightened and added with a smile “But soon you will no longer be bothered with it. We will sail into the west in the morning. In the meantime do you wish to spend the remainder of this night by the fire in the sitting room?”

“I might as well since I can find no peace here in bed,” the old dwarf croaked.

So Legolas helped his slow and unsteady friend to walk out into the sitting room of the small cottage they had been sharing while Legolas had been building his boat and over to a large chair beside the fireplace that was cushioned with many soft pillows. Once there Gimli sank down into it with a sigh of contentment while Legolas covered the dwarf’s arthritic knees with a light blanket. Then as the elf was rekindling fire he suddenly heard his friend ask softly in a sleepy voice “You won’t forget to take me with you when you sail tomorrow will you Laddie?”

Suddenly Legolas now knew why Gimli was having this dream! It was born out of the dwarf’s unspoken and unfounded fear that he would somehow be left behind and thus all alone. And since his sailing into the west as a way to leave Middle-earth was still a foreign idea to Gimli the dwarf’s mind had instead turned it into something he could understand which was death in battle.

Now Legolas was about to tell Gimli this but when he turned around and discovered that his friend had dozed off he only smiled instead and watched over his old friend for the remainder of the night and all of their days together on the white shores.