The Lay Of The Land by curiouswombat

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Story Notes:

Written for the Petrology Challenges at Tolkien Weekly.


Near their accommodation in Lothlorien stood two marble figures.

Perhaps they inspired Boromir’s song; “I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls…”

Aragorn remembered Gondor’s marble halls. Cold. Warmed only by Ecthelion’s personality; although Boromir was, doubtless, now ‘the hope and the pride’…

Somehow the marble in Imladris had felt warmer.

Boromir’s song brought thoughts to Legolas of his father’s stone halls. He, too, bore a high ancestral name; he hoped he could live up to it.

Gimli considered only the marble. Until he realised what the statues portrayed. Then he worried about keeping young hobbits’ eyes from noticing such… lasciviousness.


Boromir’s song –

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches all too great to count
And a high ancestral name.
From The Bohemian Girl, by Michael William Balfe.



When Gimli learnt of the morgul blade that had so injured Frodo, before they met in Rivendell, it chilled his heart.

He had heard of such blades as if they were but legend. The making of weapons of metal he knew intimately, but morgul blades were shaped from cursed black glass from the heart of Mount Doom. From Sauron’s Chambers of Fire.

When he thought of Frodo experiencing the flake of obsidian making its way to his heart – to his soul – and still offering to carry The Ring, Gimli decided this hobbit was as brave as the greatest dwarven warrior.



As they made their way through the desolation, to the very gates of Mordor, Gimli noted that they were on slate just as Legolas always knew, without thinking, what trees they travelled under or the hobbits would have been aware of edible plants or roots.

They came across a lake; dark, murky, greasy filmed, surrounded by jagged shards of broken stone.

‘Defiled,’ thought the dwarf.

Slate lakes should be still, clear, a mirror of the sky. Slate should be handled gently, worked with careful precision.

Had he not hated the Rakhâs already, Gimli reflected, he would have hated them now.

Rakhâs – Khuzdul for orcs.



This city of men was underpinned with granite. Gandalf and Aragorn thought it something a dwarf may not have considered, when they said the land shaped the people, but Gimli was well aware of how the two became almost as one.

He thought of lessons of childhood; granite is hard, resistant to change. An intrusive rock formed in the fire. He thought of Denethor. Aye – it fitted well.

It may look plain, unspectacular, yet it has strength, depth; and when conditions are right it shines. He thought of Aragorn whose land and city this truly was. Aye – it fitted well.



The chalk had its own character and its own beauty. There was the soft swell of gentle hills, curvaceous valleys between, dipping into deep hollows where moisture gathered.

Gimli had spoken of the way the rock beneath the surface shaped the landscape, but it was Gandalf and Strider who had spoken of the way that the landscape somehow shaped those who lived within it.

Sam looked at that familiar land – a hobbit could live nowhere better.

Then he turned from the window to his most beloved wife asleep beside him – soft swell, curvaceous valleys… truly a daughter of the chalk.

Chapter End Notes:

Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only, and all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkien.

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