No sooner had they reached the cave than Gimli collapsed. He was stalwart and uncomplaining, but his wound was bleeding badly and he had no strength left.
Legolas half-carried and half-dragged Gimli over to lean against a pack, leaving Maedhros to guard the cave mouth. Hurriedly he dug through his small pack and produced a long strip of cloth and a flask of water. Kneeling next to Gimli, he gently pulled away the ripped leather and began to clean the wound, wincing at each hiss of pain from the dwarf. When he had finished he began to bind the leg. The bleeding had finally slowed and was now only a sluggish trickle of red.
Suddenly a clamor ensued outside the cave and he heard gruff cries in a strange tongue. The whimpers and growls from the Warg grew and suddenly stopped.
Glóin thundered down a small rise and nearly collided with a large furry body. He heard a growl and plunged his axe into the Warg’s belly. Whirling, he beheaded another, crying “Baruk khazad! To me! To me!”
The Dwarves fearlessly plunged into the Wargs’ ranks from behind. Glóin glimpsed a tall white shape locked in combat with one of the creatures briefly, but paid it no heed in the heat of battle.
Glóin swung his axe and took out the fifth Warg that was foolish enough to stand in his way, the keen steel biting deep into its neck. He turned to deal with another, only to find that there was no other Wargs left. The plateau was strewn with the Warg corpses. He counted nearly threescore and ten of the foul things.
He swept the scene before him with his eyes, looking for his son, but to no avail. In the faint light from the ashes of the fire and the growing dawn, he saw many Elves standing above Warg-bodies, shoulders slumped wearily. Another knelt by the limp and torn body of an Elf, singing a slow lament.
One of the Elves came towards him. His face looked vaguely familiar, but Glóin couldn’t remember where he had seen the elf before. He dismissed it as unimportant and stepped forwards, still clutching his axe.
“Who are you that wander in out lands and where is my son Gimli?” Glóin demanded. The Elf bowed slightly.
“I am Maedhros. Your son was wounded and is within the cave yonder. My brother is tending him.” Glóin brushed past him and hurried into the cave. There was his son, lying propped against a pack, and an Elf was kneeling next to him. With some resentment, he recognized the elf as the son of the Elven-King of Mirkwood. Apparently the elf-Legolas, he recalled from some hidden memory- had just finished binding Gimli’s leg.
Legolas wrapped the bandage around Gimli’s leg for the last time. He was tying it off when he heard unmistakably heavy steps. Glancing up, he saw a Dwarf framed against the growing dawn. He immediately recognized him. Last time he had seen Glóin son of Gróin, he had been standing as a prisoner before Legolas’s father.
Glóin hurried forwards.
“Gimli! What are you doing here? How badly are you hurt?” Gimli attempted to rise, but Legolas pushed him back down.
“Gimli, DON’T MOVE. I will sit on you if I have to. That wound must heal, and it won’t if you keep trying to rise.” He turned to Gloin.
“I am afraid he is badly wounded. We need to get him somewhere warmer and better situated to tend him.” Gimli glared at Legolas.
“Nonsense! I am perfectly capable of moving! Don’t be ridiculous.” Legolas shook his head in exasperation at his friend.
“I am not the one being ridiculous, you are! That wound is large, and too deep for my liking. We need to take you somewhere where you can rest and heal. Now stop arguing.” He turned his attention to Glóin, who was trying hard to keep from laughing at the way Legolas subdued his notoriously stubborn son. This was a strange pair before him.
“The Mountain is less than a half a day’s march from here,” Glóin replied.
“We might reach there by noon,” Legolas mused, “after the other wounded are tended as best we may. Though Gimli must be carried.” Gimli began to protest angrily, but was cut off by a sharp glare from Legolas. Muttering something under his breath that did not sound like a compliment by any stretch of the imagination, he grudgingly subsided.