Gimli insisted on stopping by Durin's Stone to look upon the waters of the Mirrormere, deep Kheled-zaram.
"There lies the crown of Durin till he wakes," said Gimli. "Farewell!" He bowed and returned to the road.
Their path took them south, and downhill. Frodo and Sam struggled to keep pace with their companions, but the wounds they had suffered in Moria proved too much for them. Soon they fell behind.
Aragorn called for a halt so he could tend to their wounds. Frodo was reluctant to open up his jacket. Aragorn insisted, saying that it was a marvel that the orc-captain's spear thrust didn't Kill Frodo.
He laughed, though, when he saw what Frodo was hiding beneath his jacket--Bilbo's mithril mail shirt.
"Look my friends!" he called, after gently removing the shining mail and holding it up. "Here's a pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in! If it were known that hobbits had such hides, all the hunters of Middle-Earth would be riding to the Shire."
"A mithril coat!" exclaimed Gimli. "I have never seen or heard tell of one so fair."
Under the shirt Frodo had a blackened bruise where the rings of the mail-shirt had been driven into his flesh. Aragorn bathed his and Sam's wounds with warm water in which athelas, a healing herb, had been steeped.
After urging Frodo to put his chain mail back on, Aragorn led the company onward. He wanted to put several more miles between them and the entrance to Moria before resting for the night.
Finally the company came to a halt, deep beneath the eaves of Lothlorien, the Golden Wood. Legolas sang them a song of Nimrodel, an elf-maiden of ancient days. They decided to take refuge in the branches of the trees, to avoid detection by orc scouts. When Legolas started to climb one of the Mallorns, though, he was halted by a voice in an odd language from the leaves above.
"They are Elves," said Legolas, "and they say that they have heard our voices and we have nothing to fear. They want me and Frodo to climb up to them, to decide what to do."
A silvery-grey rope was lowered, and Frodo and Sam followed Legolas into the branches above.
At the top of the rope, Frodo found himself on a platform built in the branches of the tree. Three other elves sat there with Legolas. They greeted Frodo and introduced themselves as Haldir, Rumil, and Orophin. They were scouts guarding the northern border of Lorien.
They agreed that the hobbits should spend the night in this tree with them, while Legolas, Gimli, and the two Men should sleep on a platform in the next tree.
In the night, frodo was wakened by the sound of a company of orcs passing along the road they had traveled earlier.
Their tramping feet faded into the distance, but Frodo heard something else, a sound of sniffing at the base of the tree. Looking down, he saw a shadowy figure climbing up the tree.
The figure disappeared when Haldir returned. The orcs had passed, and Orophin had gone to the dwellings of the Elves to raise a force to oppose them.
In the morning, though, the Company of the Ring would travel south to the heart of the forest of Lorien.
The morning was still young when the Company set out again, led by Haldir and Rumil along side the River Celebrant. Soon, though, Haldir turned aside to the bank of the rushing river. "We have no bridges across the water, but there is one of my people on the far side.
He gave a call like a bird and another Elf stepped out of a thicket on the other side of the stream. Haldir cast him a rope and they made it fast on either side. "This is how we cross," said Haldir. "Follow me!" He ran lightly along the rope, over the river and back again, as if he were on a road.
"I can walk this path," said Legolas, "but the others have not this skill. Must they swim?"
The Elves set two more ropes, so the company could cross the makeshift bridge, holding a rope on either side.
The company made their way over the river, some more easily than others.
Sam shuffled along, clutching hard, and looking down into the pale eddying water as if it was a chasm in the mountains. He breathed a sigh of relief when he was on land again. "Live and learn! as my gaffer used to say. Not even my uncle Andy ever did a trick like that."
"Now, friends," said Haldir, "you have entered the Naith of Lorien. As was agreed, I shall blindfold the eyes of Gimli the Dwarf. We have not let Dwarves set foot in our land since the shadow fell on Moria."
This was not at all to the liking of Gimli. "The agreement was made without my consent. I will not walk blindfold, like a prisoner." He laid his hand upon the haft of his axe.
"Come!" said Aragorn. "If I am still to lead this Company, you must do as I bid. We will all be blindfold, even Legolas, so as to not single out one unfairly."
And so the Company traveled, in single file, led by Haldir, until word came from the Lord and Lady of the Wood that they could travel with uncovered eyes. Haldir begged pardon from Gimli for the inconvenience, and they found themselves in the midst of the beautiful woodlands of Lorien, a living reminder of the eldar days.
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