Alien Creatures: Part II
by Honesty aka Morrighan
Durin's beard! He is watching me *again*! Will that infernal Elf
never leave me be?
I *know* that he finds the very sight of me offensive, for he makes
that abundantly clear - but still he will not look away. Illogical
creature! Does it give him satisfaction to irritate himself thus?
Does he think I'd want an *Elf* watching me all the time?
You would think he could take himself off somewhere else, if he found
my presence so offensive - or at least find some other object to
stare at - but no! He has to sit there watching me, as though I
constitute some kind of personal affront to his dignity.
Elves and their dignities! If I knew what to make of them I'd be a
considerably wiser Dwarf than I am. They seem to be little more than
a pack of contradiction, fickle as weathervanes. They plunge like
lunatics between flippancy and gravity, joy and grief, wisdom, folly
and madness, as if stability of any kind is beyond their grasp - or
perhaps to prove to us that they are answerable only to their own
whims, and have no need of our approval, or even our comprehension.
No; they will do as they will do - capricious and fickle as they are -
and if any has the gall to look askance at them, they raise their
perfect eyebrows at our presumption and become dignified and
inscrutable once more.
Enough! Will you *now* stop watching me? I look no different to how
I did thirty seconds ago. I am still a Dwarf! We were never made to
be comely, and we are certainly not here to be *looked* at.
That's right, you turn away. You do not *have* to watch me - and you
certainly do not have to grimace so, to make it obvious that I am
repulsive to you. There are fairer sights to rest your eyes on here -
but then you probably do not even find the great halls of my people
to your liking, do you?
You see them now dark and lonely; but you should have seen them when
they were filled with lamps and fires. They would not have been dark
then! No, nor cold either, but warm and bright and filled with life
and sound. They would have been glorious then!
But he has an Elf's eyes. He should be able to see for himself the
fine lines of the walls and roofs, the perfection of the arches and
vaulted roofs, the way the carven walls have been worked true to the
strengths of the rock. He should not need *light* to be shown the
glories of these halls, or the care and patience that went into their
But why should I care? He *is* only an Elf, after all. Why *should*
I find his disdain hurtful?
Probably because I am meant to, damn him. The problem with the
Elves - the main problem, I mean, for there are many - is their own
infuriating sense of their own superiority. We are insignificant
beside them, so secure are they in their own exalted status as the
first-born among the races - the most perfect, the most lovely, the
most graceful, the most wise. And we, of course - their lesser
brethren - are supposed only to look on them and worship, and feel
our own unworthiness in the face of their blinding perfection.
It shames me to utter it even in thought, but I know I feel it. I
come from a craftsman's line, and I cannot help but recognise beauty -
even the elusive, intangible beauty that *he* possesses. We are
*meant* to see them as wonderful, so I suppose I have little choice
in the matter. He is - oh, there are no words for it ... but I look
at him and - I cannot help it.
But that does not mean I have to like it.
After all, what *is* beauty? If they had faces like ours, how much
more harshly we would judge them! We would never *then* stand for
their arrogance or their aloofness, the way they spurn us as
thoughtlessly as they captivate us. No; we would judge them on their
deeds, unswayed by fair faces or sweet words. But they, of course,
being *perfect*, are quite free to disdain us as unworthy.
They say it was not always so; but from all I have ever heard, the
alliances we have had with them have been infrequent and uneasy,
marred by distrust and misunderstanding, and the ever-present sting
of their perceived superiority. Seldom, if ever, has true regard
existed between the peoples.
They say that such was the regard between Khazad-Dum and Hollin, I
suppose, but that was a very different matter. The elves of Hollin
were smiths themselves, not well-dressed wastrels or fickle,
unproductive dreamers. In fact -
In fact, there are songs still sung in Erebor of Narvi and
Celebrimbor, of their deeds and the great works they wrought
together. Close as brothers, the songs say, though of course the
songs tell more of the works than their makers. But there are
whispered tales that say they were closer still. Narvi was of the
stone-wrights of Khazad-dum - one of the greatest ever in all that
great land, so they tell, and Celebrimbor was said to be highest
among the Elven-smiths. And if the whispers are true, they loved as
Dwarf and Elf never did before nor will since.
Those Doors! They must have understood each other truly to create
such beauty between them. Never had I thought to look on any of
their works before we reached the walls of Khazad-Dum! I could
marvel for a lifetime over the grain of the rock that Narvi chose,
over their fit and mechanism. And the signs! They would have been
engraved first by Narvi, and then the ithildin worked by Celebrimbor -
but if the emblems speak true both had a hand in their designing.
Never had I thought to see such workmanship!
Never had I thought I would be the last of Durin's folk to look upon
Great and true must have been the unity between them, to make such
works! None could gainsay a friendship that brought forth such great
None among the Dwarves, of that I am sure! Though since Celebrimbor
is renowned among the Elves chiefly for his ill choice of friends,
and the peril it brought on his people I doubt that they share our
views. *He* would never countenance such folly, would he?
But I am wasting my time on him. We have far to travel tomorrow, and
I should be sleeping, rather than wasting my thoughts on him again.
There is no understanding the Elves, and I do not propose even to
attempt it. They are unaccountable, capricious, *alien* creatures,
and if I am not careful he will drag me into insanity with him.
I shall sleep now, and leave it be - and let him stare at whom he
will. *I* will not stare back.
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