This story is dedicated to Little My. Thank you for editing my writing and all the
encouragement !!!

I planned not to start posting until I had written a few chapters… but I quickly noticed
I got so used to all the begging and the threats that I can hardly work without them
anymore… :-). So I decided to post this little epilogue and wait for the reviews … :-)

___

Gimli son of Gloin was a very content dwarf as he moved through the woods, on his
way to Minas Tirith once more. It was hard to divide his time between the building of
a dwarven realm in the Glittering Caves and overseeing the work his folk did for
Elessar, King of Gondor in the reconstruction of the walls and streets of the White
City. But the progress he could see in both places filled him with pride and
satisfaction.

He himself had only two days ago laid the last touches to a room of his very own
design in the Glittering Caves, and the result was all he had expected it to be. He
could not help but grin at the thought of for whom this special room had been
created.

The beautiful caves that had captured this dwarf's heart on first sight had not been
touched, either with hammer or chisel. But they had found enough natural caverns
and rooms to offer a place for living without compromising the natural beauty of the
place.

But now his presence was needed in Minas Tirith. One task he had taken on was to
forge new gates, and for this he returned to the city of Gondor. Long months had
passed since he had seen any of his friends, and he wondered if Legolas had moved
to Ithilien yet. If this were the case, maybe he would find the time to see his friend
again. A smile graced the dwarf's face at that thought. He had come to be quite fond
of the elf and missed him more than he wished to admit.

Steadily he marched on, and he would have presented the perfect picture of a
common dwarf had there been not a horse trotting behind him. It was smaller than
average, but there was no doubt that it was of Rohirrim breed and it followed its
master without the need of being lead. As dwarves were usually not fond of horses,
this was a most unusual sight.

Knowing that a small village was close where he could spend the night and get a
hearty meal and a pint of ale, Gimli lengthened his strides, his stomach growling in
anticipation.

@@@

The tavern was full and loud, and with his stomach filled and his pipe lit, Gimli soon
found himself ready to retire, knowing it would be another day's traveling until he
reached Minas Tirith. As he climbed up the stairs leading to the guestrooms, he did
not notice the pair of eyes watching him intently.

@@@

Dawn had just come when the dwarf left the village again, eager to arrive at his
destination as soon as possible.

The attack came out of nowhere, for Gimli had never noticed he was being followed.
So he was not prepared for the man that came to stand before him, sword in hand
and a dangerous gleam in his eyes. It was the warrior in Gimli that reacted to the
sudden danger, and with much more speed than anyone would have excepted from
him, he had his axe ready.

His vicious attack clearly took the man by surprise, and the blade of his axe would
surely have found its mark had not a knife hit the dwarf from behind, sinking deep
into the flesh of his right forearm where no mail protected him. Something hard was
smashed against his head, and he had not even the time to curse himself for not
wearing his helmet ere everything went dark.

@@@

Pain filled his awareness, and as he tried to move it only worsened, a tight feeling of
sickness forming in his stomach. He decided to keep still, trying to discern why he
hurt and where he was. Memory did not surface through the thick fog of pain and
when darkness came again he did not fight it, glad for the oblivion it brought.

When he woke again, his head still throbbed but his mind had cleared a bit. He
opened his eyes, but the light caused a blinding pain to shoot through him and he
quickly closed them again. Lifting his right arm proved to be a terrible mistake and
with a small groan of anguish, the wounded limb fell back again. It took some time
until he found the courage and strength to try another movement, and with great
relief he found his left arm obeyed him without protest. Shaking fingers came up to
touch his head, finding dried blood and a very sore spot on his temple.

After taking a few deep breaths and not finding anything else that hurt, Gimli finally
dared to move himself into a sitting position. As a wave of dizziness passed over him,
he instantly regretted making the effort but ere he could slump back, sickness
overcame him. He barely had time to lean sideways before he lost the contents of his
stomach. As heaves shook his frame and intensified the sharp pain in his head, he
still found time to hope that no one was around to see him in his misery.

His stomach seemed to settle again and once more he tried to open his eyes, feeling
deeply uncomfortable at not being able to see his surroundings. He used his left
hand to shield himself from the too bright light, and through slitted eyes he
recognized the place as the one where he had been attacked. They had left him
here, but a careful look around showed that they had taken all his belongings. With
sudden urgency he searched his pockets, his left hand first reaching for the one right
above his heart. It was empty, and a deep feeling of loss filled his heart.

The blow to his pride that he had been waylaid and robbed was nothing to the one to
his heart to find his most precious belongings taken from him.

Pain turned to rage and rage gave him the strength to get to his feet, ignoring the
darkness hovering at the edge of his vision. His horse was gone along with his
belongings, but bitter determination filled him as he turned once more towards Minas
Tirith. He had no food or water and would need to wait until he came across a brook
or river to clean the wound on his arm. It had stopped bleeding but it was deep, and
caused him much discomfort as he moved on slightly unsteady feet. Gone was the
sure and strong stride as nausea and pain hindered him, but with the stubbornness
of a dwarf, Gimli kept going.