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Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001 at 5:45 PM
"'As was agreed, I shall here blindfold the eyes of Gimli the Dwarf. The others may walk free for a while, until we come nearer to our dwellings...'
This was not at all to the liking of Gimli. 'The agreement was made without my consent,' he said. 'I will not walk blindfold, like a beggar or a prisoner. And I am no spy. My folk have never had dealings wtih any of the servants of the Enemy. Neither have we done harm to the Elves. I am no more likely to betray you than Legolas, or any other of my companions.'
'I do not doubt you,' said Haldir. 'Yet this is our law. I am not the master of the law, and cannot set it aside....'
Gimli was obstinate. He planted his feet firmly apart, and laid his hand upon the haft of his axe. 'I will go forward free,' he said, 'or I will go back and seek my own land, where I am known to be true of word, though I perish alone in the wilderness.'
'You cannot go back,' said Haldir sternly. 'Now you have come thus far, you must be brought before the Lord and the Lady. They shall judge you, to hold you or to give you leave, as they will. You cannot cross the rivers again, and behind you there are now secret sentinels that you cannot pass. You would be slain before you saw them.'
Gimli drew his axe from his belt. Haldir and his companions bent their bows. 'A plague on Dwarves and their stiff necks!' said Legolas.
'Come!' said Aragorn. 'If I am still to lead this Company, you must do as I bid. It is hard upon the Dwarf to be thus singled out. We will all be blindfold, even Legolas. That will be best, though it will make the journey slow and dull.'
Gimli laughed suddenly. 'A merry troop of fools we shall look! Will Haldir lead us all on a string, like many blind beggars with one dog? But I will be content, if only Legloas here shares my blindness.'
'I am an Elf and a kinsman here,' said Legolas, becoming angry in his turn.
'Now let us cry: "a plague on the stiff necks of Elves!"' said Aragorn. 'But the Company shall all fare alike. Come, blind our eyes, Haldir!'
'I shall claim full amends for every fall and stubbed toe, if you do not lead us well,' said Gimli as they bound cloth about his eyes.
'You will have no claim,' said Haldir. 'I shall lead you well, and the paths are smooth and straight.'
'Alas for the folly of these days!' said Legolas. 'Here all are enemies of the one Enemy, and yet I must walk blind, while the sun is merry in the woodland under leaves of gold!'
'Folly it may seem,' said Haldir. 'Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him. Yet so little faith and trust do we find now in the world beyond Lothlorien...that we dare not by our own trust endanger our land. We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp.'
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