"Remember to keep your wits about you, lad," reminded Glóin for what Gimli estimated to be the thirtieth time. "Elves are not to be trusted." Gimli nodded as he surreptitiously maneuvered his father around a loose rock on the path to Rivendell.

"Mind you," continued Gloin, "Lord Elrond, isn't half bad, so pay him the proper respect. I don't know what this meetin' is about, but he wouldnae called us here without cause. He is a good sort – though he'll take care of his own before he looks out for us dwarves."

Gimli nodded stonily. His father's voice was calm, but he felt a surge of emotion at the words. He had been raised on story after story of those cowardly elves ignoring the plights of others. In fact, he couldn't see the point of bothering to meet this Lord Elrond, no matter what begrudged compliments his father gave.

They traveled for a few more miles, speaking of other matters. Glóin was still as hale and hearty as a dwarf his age could be, but Gimli resented the mountain for not letting their ponies come over the pass and making his father walk.

"'Course there was another elf, that one poncy feller," his father mumbled into his beard.

"What'd this weed-eater do?" Gimli said grimly, wondering if this was a new tale or an old favorite he'd heard a dozen times before.

Glóin placed his hands across his belly and slowed his pace just a bit, getting himself in story-telling mode. "There was this one elf, when we were trapped in that Wood King's dungeons. He was so fair, you know, for their kind, that I thought he was a lady elf for quite some time, until Balin told me otherwise. I cannae 'member his name – some dainty thing, most like. The Wood King had some pride – he never treated us cruelly – but the fair-haired laddie made sure we had plenty to eat, and even brought us our instruments to keep us occupied. 'Course he had to take them back once we refused to stop playing as obnoxiously as we could." Glóin laughed, and Gimli smiled at the familiar part of the tale, though he often wondered before how they'd gotten their instruments.

"He gave wee Ori a parchment and charcoal – you wouldnae believe how little that lad was back then – got a new ear-horn for yer Uncle Óin, and made sure Bombur had enough to keep him in his cozy shape." Glóin paused his story, and Gimli frowned, wondering what had happened to this particular elf to make him act so madly.

"After our burglar snuck us out, I clear forgot about the laddie. I wonder what sort of trouble he got in – that Wood King probably thought he had some sympathies and helped us escape or somethin.' Mayhap Ori left a thank you for him – lad was always thoughtful like that. Not as like I'd ever see him again – not that I'd want to." He snuck a look to his son, making sure his boy didn't think him going soft. Gimli patted his father's shoulder. "Right then, me fine lad. Remember what I say, and we'll do just fine – don't trust the elves."

"Except one or two."