Home || Fanfiction Menu

Title: Sharp Edges.
Author: Meg Thornton
Rating: Australian G
ObDisclaimer: The races, people and places don't belong to me, they belong to Tolkien.
Age: Third Age, after the loss of Moria, prior to the reclamation of Erebor.
Author's Note: This is another of my "ordinary folk" fics. One of my favourite parts of Tolkien's world of Middle Earth is his creation of whole cultures, whole mythologies, whole races and peoples. There's so much context to work with. It's a gift to a writer, and it seems only fitting that I should share such a rich gift with others. I was asked for a story of an elf and a dwarf interacting, who weren't Legolas and Gimli.

Sharp Edges.

Sharp edges. That was what the Dwarves had always reminded her of. Flint, stone, steel - sharp, hard, unforgiving. Sharp edges, hard angles, breaking and cutting and hacking.

She sometimes wondered what the lord of Imladris had been thinking when he first allowed the Dwarves refuge. The antipathy between their peoples was too old, too deep-seated to be erased. Yet she was content not to question the whims of the lord of the valley. Let him learn from his mistakes; he was yet young by the ways of her people. She was one of the few who remained in this land who could remember the crafting of the Silmarils, one of the few who could remember the time of the Two Trees.

This Third Age had been a time of change, of decline. Many old friends had taken ship to the West, others had perished on the fields of battles, or in chance encounters with Orcs. Her own children were among those who had departed, drawn by the sea, the prospect of seeing Valinor, or simply by boredom. She remained. How could she not remain, when trees she could remember planting yet remained?

No Ents, though. No Ents for such a long time. Did they still live? Were Yavanna's guardians of the forest yet living? Or had the sharp edges and hard angles of the Dwarves and Orcs and Men finally removed them from the world? She wasn't sure she wanted to live in a world without Ents. She could still remember the sensation of a tree waking under her touch, learning to speak, learning to be. She hadn't felt that in such a long time.

Sharp edges. That's what it was.

The Elves always seemed soft, fluid. Water on stone, she thought. Yes, water on stone was the best way of describing Elves - for like water on a stone, they were capable of wearing you down, taking away that which created you, and like water on stone they would not regret this or even stop to think on it. The river does not ask the land whether or not it should flood.

It was their lifespan, she decided, that made them so indifferent to others. What was it to them if one hundred years went by? What was it to them if a thousand years passed? Her people were long-lived (certainly by the spans of Men - she had been surprised how fast the sons of Men aged and died) but not immortal. Her people had to care about those who would come after them. Her people could not hold a grudge, cuddle it to their bosom, embrace it and care for it like a sickly child - no, it was the elves who did that. Thousands of years they had resented and disliked the dwarves, for events she had not even heard of. Yet to the elves, this was as fresh as the dawn.

It must be terrible to live that way.

"Halt! Who goes?" The sentry looks at the squat, solid figure before her, raises one brow, yet lowers her bow.

"My pardon." The words are halting, stumbling. The language is one the guest is striving to learn, and it shows. "I not know this place - "

" - forbidden?" The sentry looks at the Dwarf with scorn. "It is not. But such as yourself would not be welcome."

The Dwarf's brow knots in concentration as she tries to puzzle out the meaning of the words. As meaning filters through, becomes clear, her face hardens. "I not mean offence," the Dwarf says in hesitant Sindarin. She turns to go, muttering to herself in her own language as she does. "How is one supposed to know what will offend such a people? All I wished to do was sit in the shade of a tree, yet this is forbidden to such as me."

"Wait." The word is in heavily-accented Khuzdûl. The Dwarf turns to face the Elf, startled that such a one might know her language.

"You speak my tongue?" The startlement in the Dwarf's voice brings a smile to the face of the Elf.

"Aye. I had to learn when I lived in Hollin. You wish to sit under the trees?"

The gaze Dwarf turns on Elf is suspicious. 'What will you do with such knowledge?' the gaze seems to ask. 'Can I trust you?' Suspicion turns to appraisal, appraisal to wary trust. "I do."

"Why?" This time it is the Dwarf who smiles, at the curiosity and bewilderment in the tone. It is like being questioned by one of the children of Men, or one of the halfling folk in the West.

"Why not?"

"I..." A pause, a search for a way to phrase a ticklish question to give minimal offence. "I had not thought your folk fond of such things."

A grin from the Dwarf. "I had not thought your folk willing to learn my speech. It seems we were both mistaken."

The Elf cocks her head to one side, bird-like. "Follow me," she says, gesturing.

Sharp edges. Yes, sharp edges were what the Dwarves were. Yet a sharp edge is so useful on a knife, or an arrowhead. She looks at the simple gift the Dwarf gave her in exchange for so little - directions to a small grove of light and shadow, help with Sindarin vocabulary. A stone, smoothed by water into a simple loop. It hangs on a leather thong around her neck now, a memory of a sharp-edged friendship.

Home || Fanfiction Menu