Gloin was out with ten other dwarves on a hunting party. He was, quite frankly, grumpy. They had had no success, and that was a first for Gloin.
It was long past midnight-nearly five hours past, and they were headed back towards the Mountain when Gloin heard something. It sounded familiar. He paused and held up a gloved hand to halt the rest of the party. The noise came again, a clear, ringing, horn-call. It came for the third time, but them the sound was cut off sharply. Then he realized what it was.
“Dori! That is Gimli’s horn or I’m an Elf,” Gloin cried. “He is in need! Come!” They began to run, small figures racing across the plain, Gloin always in the lead.
Twenty-six elves and one dwarf were fighting desperately against near-impossible odds. The few elven arrows they had were spent. The flimsy barricade had been broken, so they were fighting with their backs to a stone wall for protection.
The Wargs were snarling just outside the ring of firelight, eyes glowing red in the dark. Every few moments, several of them would lunge through and attack, and it was all that the defenders could do to repel the.
Gimli swung his axe and another dead body fell to the ground.
“Ai! Legolas, I have had enough of just standing here waiting! Come on!” The Dwarf charged forward out into the darkness, Legolas just behind. The Wargs fled from them, the few slow ones meeting instant death. The elf and dwarf stood back-to-back, wielding their blades furiously.
“Keep them away from me a moment, Legolas,” Gimli asked. Legolas nodded and shifted to stand in front of his friend.
Gimli dropped his axe for a moment as he unslung a horn from his shoulder where it had been hanging. Small, about as long as Legolas’s hand from wrist to fingertip, it was crafted from fine iron. Cleverly wrought with small figures, it was also graven with dwarvish runes.
He picked up his axe and came forwards to stand alongside Legolas once more. Then he took a breath and sounded the horn. Twice he blew it, and waited. Then he wound a third time, but five Wargs attacked at once. Two came at Legolas and the other three sprang at Gimli. The horn was knocked from his lips and trampled to the ground as he fought for his very life.
Gimli yanked his throwing-axe from his belt and hurled it into the throat of one Warg. Turning swiftly, he swung at a crouching shape, but his axe-haft was seized in powerful jaws. He struggled with the Warg for possession of his axe, watching for the third out of the corner of his eye.
Legolas was little more than a moving blur as he spun his deadly white knives. One Warg met its death upon the point of the knives. Then, as he turned to deal with the last Warg, he heard a deep-throated cry. Slicing the throat of the Warg instantly, he twisted about just in time to see Gimli fall to the ground, a giant Warg looming over him. Unbidden, a horrified cry burst from his throat.
“Gimli!!!!” Legolas slashed his way past a Warg and threw himself bodily at the one that stood over Gimli’s body. Stabbing the Warg again and again, ignoring the minor cuts the beast’s claws were inflicting, his mind was panicking.
Gimli-what if Gimli was dead? His dearest friend in the world-
“Argh!” Gimli growled, swearing in Dwarvish furiously. “Cursed stinking creature!” With a heave, the Dwarf shoved the Warg off of him. Gimli tried to prop himself up onto his elbows, but the movement brought a stifled groan that only Legolas sharp ears could hear. Legolas carefully eased the Dwarf up. There was a long bite wound down the Dwarf’s leg, and it was bleeding profusely.
A growl from behind him made the elf start. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the huge Warg rise and approach. Then the thing jerked and fell. It shuddered once, and then went limp. Behind it stood Maedhros. He ran over to Legolas and helped him lift Gimli.
“Let go of me!” Gimli roared, halfheartedly struggling. The loss of blood was beginning to take its toll. Legolas and Maedhros quickly carried Gimli back towards the cave. There was a snarl from behind them and two Elves ran past Legolas, fending off the attack.
One came back.
Finally they reached the cave, and Legolas helped the dwarf inside.
They had only been running for ten minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. It was near dawn now, and the night was steadily transforming into false dawn. Suddenly Gloin stopped.
“Dori!” he called. The dwarf hurried over to him.
“What?” Dori asked, then broke off. He followed Gloin’s pointing hand to a soft glow, about a quarter mile away. There were tall shadows silhouetted against it, and Dori could faintly hear Wargs growling and battle cries.
A few moments later, Gloin nearly halted again. A clear voice lifted up above the distant sound of battle in a heart-rending cry that echoed back to the running dwarves. It was a desperate voice, and it was calling the name of his only son. He shivered involuntarily as he picked up his pace.