These Elves clearly care not for Dwarves; a stray memory of the Sackville-Bagginses flashes through my mind. The past animosity between Legolas and Gimli is as nothing compared to what is openly expressed here.
We stand as trespassers or thieves, or worse, upon this flet, as they call it. In truth, Gimli seems the greatest offender by virtue of his Race alone.
The one who introduced himself as Haldir greets Legolas in Elvish. I admittedly do not know enough of the language to follow the conversation properly.
Haldir passes Boromir as though he is not there and greets Aragorn, as one with whom he is already familiar in some way.
Gimli freely expresses his irritation at the dialogue in Elvish, not understood by himself, nor by most of the company. Boromir speaks no Elvish, and though I speak a little, it is rusty, and in truth, extends not much further than greetings. Sam, Merry and Pippin also know it not, but for the odd word here and there. Gimli continues in Dwarvish, which I know not at all. However, I do overhear Aragorn scold him, “That was not so courteous.”
I stand back, a little behind the others, some part of me hoping not to be noticed. Haldir stops, and pins me with his gaze.
“You bring great evil here.”
I know... but how do you?
“You can go no further.”
Sam and Merry turn uncertain eyes toward me, and I cannot help but feel condemned for choosing to bear It.
I’ve entirely lost all track of the time Aragorn spends entreating Haldir to harbour us and then let us pass.
I’m comfortable, and yet not, in my spot on the flet, where I sit with my back leaning against the trunk of the tree. I sense its life run through me and wonder at it, and yet other thoughts drag at me.
I feel Legolas glance at me, and turn my eyes to Sam. He meets my eyes then turns to stare across the vast forest. I allow my eyes to wander to where Merry and Pippin sit together. They too only briefly meet my gaze. Gimli, my brave and honest friend, regards me. I turn away, wishing to hide from the ill treatment reflected in his eyes.
I focus on the space just before my feet. For now, no more distrust or hurt am I able to endure; inflicted if not by my hand, than for my sake.
“Gandalf’s death was not in vain.”
I raise my eyes to search Boromir’s. He glances away only to check the rewrapping of his wounded hand.
“Nor would he have you give up hope.”
I meet his eyes squarely, and feel the tears stinging in my own.
“You carry a heavy burden Frodo.”
I swallow hard, but do not look away.
“Don’t carry the weight of the dead.”
How did he know? I struggle to make sense of it all.
Haldir approaches, and states, “You will follow me.”