Dark! Leafy!

(Note from the author: this was originally written in the form of a dramatic play script, but as this site seems to believe that format is equivalent to chat or MST, it has been adapted to a short story form. I do hope you will still enjoy it.)

Act I: The Glittering Caves

Gimli and Legolas entered the Glittering Caves at last, and the heart of the dwarf was filled with delight, especially as his good friend had followed up on his word and come along to see it.

"Well, here they are at last, Legolas my good Elf! The Glittering Caves! Beyond compare! The wonder of the hidden depths unveiled before your senses, a veritable wonderland of stone and gem, eh? What do you think?"

Legolas peered into the gloom. "It's dark."

"Oh," replied Gimli, his heart sinking.

"What's wrong?"

"I just thought you'd be more...well... Here, let me get a better torch." He reached for an unlit, larger variety and soon had the flames leaping from it. "There! The brightness reflects as the many hues of the winter stars themselves, like a stream of diamonds set in precious metals! Now what do you think? Marvels of such rarity you are not likely to ever find anywhere else!" He paused expectantly, waiting for an answer but there was none. "You are stunned speechless by its array of perfected beauty?"

The Elf hesistated. "It's kind of..."

"Yes? Yes?" said Gimli eagerly.

"Drippy."

"...Drippy."

"Um...yes. Drippy. I just got hit by another drop, in fact. Doesn't that bother you?" Legolas looked up at the dim cavern ceiling above them, rubbing at his head.

Gimli offered a long pause but when no other commentary was forthcoming took a breath and tried again. "Okay. Here - drape this cape over your head. I'll even fold the edge back so it doesn't block your view of the stunning natural artistry that surrounds us with its unmatchable grandeur! Hah! What do you say to it now? Dazzling, yes?"

Legolas peered out from under the fabric and clutched it around his face. "It's kind of cold."

"Cold."

"Aren't you cold? It's a bit clammy in here, don't you think?"

"I suppose you'll be wanting some heat," muttered the Dwarf.

"Well, actually... " Legolas trailed off as he examined Gimli's glowering face. "But you did ask me what I thought."

"I did, I did. You want heat? I'll give you heat!" His voice rose up in volume as he stomped over to a nearby niche. "In fact, I'll take every last stick of this emergency firewood over here and set it ALL on fire! There! A roaring bonfire to warm your toes! All the heat you could want! COMFY NOW?!"

The Elf held his delicate hands over his ears. "It echoes too much in here."

"WHAT?!" Gimli roared.

Legolas frowned slightly. "It echoes." He coughed. "And now it's smoky too."

Gimli waved his arms with frustration. "Use your bricken-bracken eyes you leaf-headed Elf! Look around you! What do you SEE?!"

Legolas blinked the smoke out of his eyes and obligingly looked around. "Um... Rocks."

"AAAAARRRGHHHH!"

"And puddles. Are we done yet?"

Gimli began wordlessly beating his head on a stalagmite while pulling at beard.

The Elf waited patiently. "I say - when you're finished, how about we go visit the woods?"

Act II: Fangorn Forest

Legolas breathed deeply of the scented air of the woods. "Ahhhhh! The woods of Fangorn! Woods of such depth and mystery as I have not enjoyed for many a long year. A unique and awe-inspiring community of growing things, so alive, each one with its own intricate pattern to lend to the interwoven tapestry of the forest. What do you think of it, Gimli, my good Dwarf?

Gimli, who had reluctantly followed him into the mossy depths looked around for inspiration as to what to reply. "It's kind of..."

Legolas considered him eagerly. "Yes?"

"Leafy."

Legolas waited for more commentary but it was not forthcoming. "Leafy? This from the Dwarf who spouted sheer poetry about rocks? It's just...leafy?"

Gimli peered around and gave it thoughtful consideration. "Well, yes. Leafy. And green. It's green, too."

After a long silent pause, the Elf rallied himself for a second try. "Green! Yes -you speak truly, my most excellent friend! The many-hued beauty of growing things, every varied shade of green that has ever existed in our world since time began, every muted hue and bright life of springtime, all fading into the softness of rich golds and earthen tones...it is a living, breathing piece of poetry, the song of the forest...Ahhhh! Smell the complexity and depth of it's unmatchable perfume!"

Gimli sniffed the air. "Smells like compost."

Legolas' arms dropped to his sides. "Compost."

His companion obligingly sniffed again. "Yup. Compost."

"I know somewhere down in your dwarvish heart is a true appreciation of beauty, so I forgive your indelicate description. Behold the marvel of the trees - rank upon rank they stand, formidable and lovely, bridging the hearts leap from earth to sky, as if they support the heavens themselves with their mighty canopies!"

Gimli scratched at his beard. "Not quite sure which ones you're referring to. There's an awful lot of trees around here, don't you think?"

Legolas opened his mouth, then shut it. He opened it again, then shut it.

Gimli picked a bit of moss out of his hair and looked at it critically before flicking it away. "Are we done yet?"

Legolas finally drew breath and gestured to the canopy above them with frustration. "Look around you! Open your eyes you mineral-addled dwarf! What do you see?!"

Gimli, who respected his friend and companion, gave it serious consideration. "Um...moss. Lots of moss. And some of those, whatcha-callums...root thingys." He looked up to check on the Elf's reception of this. Seeing Legolas was still not pleased, he tried again. "Pieces of old bark? Pillbugs?"

"ARRRRGHHH!" replied the Elf, gracefully and quickly stuffing moss in Gimli's mouth and beating him on the head with a stick.

"Mmmmmff! Owff!"