When Elf-Lords Attack: Elrond’s Revenge by Olostawen|
Rating: K+ (just to be safe)
Summary: An emotionally stressed Lord Elrond drags Legolas into his unusual plot for revenge against an imaginary enemy.
Timeline: Pre-LOTR. Aragorn is in his early twenties.
Disclaimer: The setting and characters are Tolkien’s; the warped idea for the story is mine. Any resemblance to any other work of fiction is merely coincidental.
Author’s notes: In several places throughout the story, I use italics to indicate a character’s thoughts as opposed to actual speech. Also, I have bent the rules of grammar just bit in several places for effect (e.g. the intentional use of sentence fragments).
Ants. Such vile little beasts. I think I would rather be faced with a pack of wargs . . . Lord Elrond ruminated on the morning’s events now that he found himself in the relative peace and quiet of the Hall of Fire. How he loved this ‘Room, especially at this time of day when the sun was just beginning to make its transition from directly overhead to its westerly position. Bright white rays of sunshine gleamed through the room’s expansive windows creating an even greater sensation of warmth than usual. The cozy feeling was enhanced by the glass of miruvor Lord Elrond was sipping. The Elf Lord allowed the sweet, velvety thickness to linger a moment on his tongue before allowing the liquid to pass into his throat and on into his belly. He had not set out to have miruvor at this time of day, but the annoyance of the morning had created the desire. It was not just the ants that disturbed Elrond. One of the horses, his favorite, in fact, had recently gone lame, and renowned healer though he was, the Lord knew that only time would tell whether the sturdy chestnut mare would mend well. Poor girl. We have seen many a fine day together. Elrond ‘Rolled his eyes, annoyed at his own thoughts and believing that only an elfling should allow himself such juvenile attachment to an animal. I should have outgrown such sentiments long ago.
In addition to his annoyance over the mare, there had been a report of increased orc activity not far beyond the borders of Imladris several days ago. Lord Elrond had sent his three sons, along with Glorfindel and some of his warriors, out to address the situation. As expected, the visiting Prince of Mirkwood had also insisted in going along. His sons and the Prince had returned just yesterday, matters more or less in hand. Remarkably, all four of them were relatively injured, nursing only some bumps and bruises. Glorfindel had remained behind with some of his warriors to handle one final skirmish, but had been expected to follow Elrond’s sons and Legolas within the hour. A day later, however, Glorfindel was still not back in Imladris, and though Elrond trusted Glorfindel’s abilities as a warrior beyond question, he would feel better once his old friend returned.
The events of the past few days had caused the Lord to sleep poorly, and earlier in the day as he had finished reading the documents stacked in his study, the combination of stress and fatigue had begun to bring on a nasty headache. He had wanted nothing more than to sit down with one of his favorite berry pastries and a nice, hot cup of tea. With his head pounding, he had made his way to the kitchen—no need to disturb any of the servants and, besides, he had really wanted to be by himself at that moment anyway—and his sensitive elven nose picked up the pleasing aroma of the fresh tarts even before he had reached the doorway. He had lingered a moment in the entry, smiling with anticipation of the buttery sweetness and oozing berries, as he had briefly looked about the deserted kitchen. The bakers and cooks had finished preparations for the morning and midday meals, and the day’s baking was complete. They would not return for another two or three hours to begin preparation for the evening meal. Thus it was that Lord Elrond had found himself blissfully alone. Or so he had thought. Then, crossing the kitchen to fetch his pastry, Elrond had seen that his tarts appeared to be moving. Looking more closely, he had suddenly realized that ants were busily feasting on his pastries. After an involuntary snort of disgust had escaped forcefully through his nose, the Lord had experienced the sudden urge to burst into tears, to hurl the plate of tarts across the kitchen, to pound his fists against the wall—to do anything save remain calm. Closing his eyes and forcing himself to take several slow, deep breaths, Elrond had managed, just barely, to maintain his composure. He simply could not cope with the situation at that moment, and had decided that the best course of action would be to leave the exasperating scene as quickly as possible. At that, Elrond had forsaken his cup of tea and headed to the Hall of Fire for a glass of miruvor.
And so it was that Elrond found himself now seated in his favorite chair reflecting on the earlier events that had led him to this spot by the fire. Gradually, he became aware that the sunlight was losing its brilliance as it took on a dreary grayish tinge. Ai! It is going to rain. Poor Glorfindel—I hope he and his warriors have some shelter. Hopefully it will be a mere shower. . . . His thoughts trailed off as the sky, as if able to read the Elf Lord’s mind, responded with a threatening rumble of thunder. The thunder was followed closely by the crash of the front door being slammed shut. The suddenness of the noise caused Lord Elrond to jump a bit, and a bit of miruvor splashed onto his tunic. Ai! Thank the Valar that miruvor is colorless! Elrond’s twin sons soon appeared in the Hall, quickly realizing from the look of consternation of their father’s face and the fact that he was drinking miruvor in the afternoon—for Lord Elrond never drank any type of alcoholic beverage before the evening meal—that he was not happy.
“Ada, are you in an unfavorable mood today?” inquired Elladan, foolishly.
“I am always in a favorable mood, Elladan,” huffed Lord Elrond.
“Yes, you most definitely are.” Elladan’s tone revealed a hint of sarcasm that Elrond chose to ignore.
“My sons, I need you to go find some tanacas plants,” Lord Elrond barked, painfully aware that he sounded more like he was shouting out commands to battalion of warriors than making a request of his sons.
“Why? Has someone gone mad?” Elladan inquired, knowing that one of the many medicinal uses of the tanacas plant was its soothing effect on patients experiencing hysteria. The question had been meant in jest, but Elrond was in no mood for humor at the moment.
“No, no, Elladan,” the Elf Lord replied, showing mild irritation. It was not that he was upset with his son; he was just upset in general. It was Elladan’s misfortune to be present at the wrong place at the wrong time. “We need it to repel the cursed army of ants I found in my berry tarts,” for in addition to its medicinal uses, the plant also made an excellent insect repellent.
“It should not prove a very difficult mission, Ada,” Elrohir, who had been silent up to this point, interjected. “We saw it growing in plenty last week when we were hunting deer.” This news did not surprise Elrond, for the plant grew profusely in Imladris and its yellow blooms were quite easy to spot, even for non-elven eyes.
The fact that the younger twin had called the task a “mission” was not lost on Lord Elrond. He knew that he sounded as if this were as serious as the orc attack that Glorfindel was still handling, but by the Valar, the way his nerves felt right now, it almost felt as if it were that important. Those wretched beasts had destroyed the one thing he had hoped to enjoy this day—this was war!
The twins had the good sense to leave promptly, both because of their Ada’s mood and the approaching bad weather, and Lord Elrond found himself alone once again. The miruvor had relaxed him somewhat, and he felt his fatigue and headache screaming at him to retire to his chambers for a nap. Yes. A nap would be a fine thing right now, Lord Elrond decided.
Elrond trudged wearily up the stairs, passing Legolas and Aragorn on the way without even so much as a nod of acknowledgement.
Aragorn exchanged a quizzical look with the Prince. “Ada?” Aragorn asked with concern in his voice.
“I am going to take a nap,” the Lord answered gruffly. “Do not disturb me,” he added as he passed into his chambers, pausing only long enough to remove his boots and long outer ‘Robe before climbing onto his bed. He did not take time to turn down the covers, but instead pulled the blanket folded at the foot of the bed over himself. As he began to drift off to sleep, wild thoughts banged around inside his aching head: orcs . . . Glorfindel . . . an army of ants . . . war.
Restless thoughts gave way to disturbing dreams about some vague enemy army preparing to attack Imladris. Not long after his dream had begun, Elrond’s eyes flew wide open, and he bolted upright in bed. Initially, anyone watching would have thought that he had awoken with a start. Upon closer inspection, however, it was clear that the Lord’s eyes retained the same glaze that had been present when they were still half-lidded in sleep. Elrond remained, in fact, firmly locked in his nightmare. Although it had been several years since he had experienced sleep walking, the stress, fatigue, and alcohol had produced the proper conditions for the unusual condition to resurface. Believing his home in ‘Danger, Lord Elrond leapt from bed and made his way in an atypical clumsy fashion, weaving unsteadily and bumping lightly into the walls, to the location that his irrational mind told him was the point of attack: the kitchen.
“Nay, cursed enemy! You shall not defeat the realm of Imladris! Back, back, I say!” Elrond screamed with no small amount of drama at the horde of ants still busily scuttling about with oversized crumbs of pastry on their tiny backs, forming a vertical trail running from the tray of tarts to the base of the counter before disappearing into a tiny crevice in the floor.
As he continued his senseless ranting, Legolas and Aragorn, who had gone out to the stables to see how the lame mare was faring, returned to the Homely House. They were quickly alarmed by the agitation they heard in Elrond’s voice and immediately followed the sound of the shouts to their source.
Elrond was now standing on top of the counter running along the kitchen’s southern wall, perpendicular to the counter that formed the ants’ stronghold, waving a wooden spoon about as if it were a sword. Aragorn and Legolas froze in unison, completely taken aback by the Lord’s uncharacteristic behavior. When Lord Elrond turned to see the pair frozen in the entry way, their eyes wide and jaws dropped in confusion, he began to yell commands to them. Or more specifically, to Legolas.
“You there!” Elrond shouted while he pointed his spoon-sword toward the Prince.
A bewildered Legolas, too speechless to form a reply, merely pointed weakly toward himself in question.
“Arm yourself!” The Lord tossed Legolas a “sword,” and Legolas’ reflexes automatically took over as he deftly caught the spoon.
By now, Aragorn’s initial shock was wearing off, and he began to snicker in amusement. “Ada! What are you doing?” As yet, he had no idea what would cause his Ada to act so strangely, but whatever the cause, it was certainly funny.
Legolas still stood in shock, holding the spoon limply by his right side.
“Fight, young warrior, fight!” Elrond’s voice increased another decibel or two as he shouted over the howling wind, pelting rain of the storm that was now fully underway. The din was further amplified by frequent crashes of booming thunder.
Aragorn, still laughing, looked into his father’s eyes and saw not only genuine agitation rather than mirth, but also no recognition of who he was. “Ada?” Aragorn inquired somewhat weakly. His smile faded as concern for his Ada set in. The inviting smell of bread and pastries clashed with the uneasy feeling growing in his belly. Clearly, something was wrong. Very, very wrong. Suddenly, the clues began to add up: the blank expression, the odd behavior, the early rising from his nap. Aragorn had seen this before, and with a flash of insight realized that his Ada was sleep walking. He started to turn toward Legolas to inform him of exactly what was transpiring, but the sight of his fair friend standing there in confusion with a spoon in his hand caused Aragorn to pause, his mouth half-open in preparation to form the words that he was rapidly deciding not to utter. With a twinkle in his eye, Aragorn concluded that he would play dumb and not let Legolas know what was happening. When the Prince turned to eye Aragorn in question, the human had trouble keeping a smile from his face. He managed to look concerned, however, and merely shrugged has shoulders in feigned ignorance.
“Fortunately, we have the mountains to our back,” Elrond yelled to Legolas, apparently referring to the wall behind them. Legolas glanced back and nodded, unsure of any other way to respond. He was greatly concerned that he might say something to further upset the clearly irrational Lord.
“I have an idea. From our position on this hill, we shall hurl these boulders down upon the intruders,” Elrond continued. Aragorn recognized this as a tactic his Ada had actually told him he had used in one of the battles he had fought. It soon became clear that by boulders, Lord Elrond actually meant the freshly baked ‘Rolls gathered nearby in a woven wicker basket on the counter. “Up here, brave warrior!” He commanded Legolas. To Aragorn’s great amusement, his friend actually complied not only by leaping onto the counter, but also by “arming” himself with several of the ‘Rolls. Elrond hurled his boulders in the general direction of the ants, his aim off because of his condition. Prince Legolas, always the warrior, and a competitive one at that, began to hurl his ‘Rolls with great care and precision at the swirling mound of ants. Aragorn had to turn his back for a moment and cover his mouth with his hand to keep from laughing, for Legolas was actually knitting his brows and sticking the tip of his tongue out the side of his mouth in serious concentration; however, the ‘Rolls’ light, fluffy consistency caused the weapons to bounce off the mound of pastries and onto the kitchen floor without achieving the desired result.
“It is not working—we must proceed with stronger tactics!” the Lord yelled loudly, although Legolas stood only inches away from him. “Behold! How the Valar have poured their favor upon us, for it is none other than magic battle dust,” Elrond exclaimed, while digging his hand into a nearby container of flour that had inadvertently been left out following the morning’s baking. Leaping down from the counter, Elrond began to hurl the flour at the ants with one hand, while motioning Legolas down with the other. “Quick! Arm yourself with the powder!” Legolas quietly complied. “Advance,” Elrond commanded the Prince, while turning back to grab another handful of flour. Aragorn, meantime, took the opportunity afforded him by his position as a mere onlooker to reach into the cupboard on which he leaned, retrieve a drinking glass, and pour himself a glass of water from the pitcher standing atop the counter. He was avidly quenching his thirst when Elrond threw a handful of the flour, missed his intended target, and instead hit the Prince in the right side of his face. The flour let out a dull “poof” as it made contact with the Prince, and a faint cloud of the finely milled flour formed about his head. Aragorn, unable to contain his laugher long enough to swallow his mouthful of water, spewed the liquid out forcefully, which would not have been so bad if Legolas had not chosen that moment to move directly into Aragorn’s path. The water shot into his face, causing the flour on his face and hair to cake. Aragorn froze for a moment, expecting to receive one of Legolas’ characteristic caustic glares, but was quickly overcome by the sight of his typically immaculate friend —“His ‘Royal Prissiness” was what came to his mind at the moment--coated in a paste of flour and water as if someone were trying to bake him into a giant pie. Aragorn crumpled to the kitchen floor in laughter, tears spilling from his eyes and ‘Rolling down his cheeks. A stunned Legolas merely stood still, comforted only by the thought that the situation could not possibly get any more bizarre, when suddenly Lord Elrond ran for a broom that had been left standing, unnoticed until that moment, in the corner of the kitchen. Valar! Not another “sword,” Legolas thought, helplessly.
“Glorfindel, Glorfindel! Thank the Valar you’ve come! This battle has nearly been lost without you.” Aragorn thought he might wet his leggings right there in the kitchen, so hard did he laugh. Then, in what Elrond meant to be a mere whisper, but was nonetheless easily heard not only by Legolas’ sensitive ears, but by Aragorn’s less sensitive ones as well, the Lord muttered, “that young warrior is really quite useless.” Elrond gave a slight nod in Legolas direction. Legolas’ flour-caked face showed genuine indignation at the insult, causing Aragorn’s laughter to grow so hard that the Ranger lay writhing on the floor unable to catch a breath. Elrond propped “Glorfindel” against the wall, and took up his spoon-sword once again. He approached the ants, spoon in hand, but suddenly whirled about to look behind him and to his left where the broom had crashed noisily to the floor. On its descent, the broom’s handle had clipped a jar of honey that had been left precariously close to the edge of the counter, taking the gooey substance down with it. Horrified, Lord Elrond ran toward the broom, knelt on the floor and scooped the now sticky “Glorfindel” into his arms. “Ai . . . brave warrior, see how you bleed!” he cried, as his hands fell into the honey that coated a portion of the broom handle, and his eyes lighted on the oozing puddle of honey growing like a pool of blood on the floor. “Loyal friend! Mighty balrog-slayer! You are once again fallen. . .” Then looking back toward an ever-speechless Legolas, he beckoned, “You, young warrior! Come pay your respects to the fallen hero.” Legolas approached with hesitation, coming to a stop beside the kneeling figure of Elrond, who quickly patted the floor in evident request that Legolas kneel beside him. “Will you not say a few words to honor our comrade?” Elrond implored the Prince.
Must I really eulogize a broom? Legolas cried out in his mind, yet his confusion over the situation and concern for Lord Elrond’s mental state caused him to keep his protestations to himself. Instead, he found himself saying, “Glorfindel . . . he was a mighty broom, I mean warrior . . .” he quickly corrected himself. “May he be at peace in the Halls of Mandos,” he finished quietly. Elrond turned to look at him, said nothing for a moment, causing Legolas to fear that the Lord expected him to say more, then put his flour and honey-coated right hand on Legolas’ left shoulder and gave a simple nod of thanks. “Well said, young warrior.”
The twins entered at that moment, thoroughly soaked from the storm, to the sight of Elrond, broom in lap, and the flour-coated Legolas kneeling on the floor. They immediately turned to Aragorn, who was also seated on the floor some distance away, with identical bewildered expressions covering their faces. “Sleep walking,” Aragorn mouthed, still not willing to let Legolas in on the secret. He quickly climbed to his feet and approached the soggy twins, whispering first in Elladan’s ear, then Elrohir’s, “Legolas has no idea.” The water-logged twins paused a moment to think the matter through, then turned in unison to look back at Legolas and their Ada. Smiles began to spread across their faces as they realized that their Mirkwood friend must have been absolutely dumb-founded. Sensing their thoughts, Aragorn stated, “just wait until I tell you,” and a wicked grin began to form on his face.
“I hate to spoil the fun, but we really need to get Ada back to bed,” Elladan concluded as wiped water from his face.
“Yes, but how?” Elrohir inquired, knowing that Elrond would only respond to things that seem to fit in with his current distorted perception of reality.
Each of them thought for a moment, and soon, Aragorn had an idea. He quickly plucked the feathery leaves from several of the tanacas plants that the twins had retrieved and asked the twins to begin steeping some of them in hot water. After quickly disposing of the tray of pastries, Aragorn obstructed the ants’ procession by placing a handful of tanacas leaves at the head of their line. He would continue to push the barrier back further and further until the ants were driven down into the crevice in floor through which they had entered. A line of tanacas would be left in place for several weeks to prevent the ants’ return.
While Aragorn formed the tanacas barrier, the twins prepared an herbal tea from the leaves. Soon a fresh aroma, not at all unlike camphor, began to mingle with the scent of berries, vanilla, and flour. Slowly, Legolas began to get his wits about him, and glancing first at Aragorn, then at Elladan and Elrohir, the shaken Prince climbed slowly to his feet. He was still too stunned to speak, and the three brothers merely eyed him with amusement. As Elrohir wrung water from his long, dark hair, he could not help but think that Legolas had the air of an innocent elfling caught in a matter too complex for his mind to comprehend.
Aragorn, noticing that the ants had begun to draw back from the tanacas, padded across to his kneeling father and said calmly, “look—the enemy retreats.” He nodded his head to Elladan, indicating that he was ready to try to get Lord Elrond to sip a cup of the tanacas tea. “Here, brave commander, let us drink to the defeat of the enemy forces,” Aragorn urged as soon as ‘Dan placed the hot cup in his hands.
“Yes,” answered the Lord emphatically. “We shall all drink a toast to our success.” It would cause the brothers and Legolas no harm to drink a cup of the tea along with Elrond, so Elrohir filled four additional cups. When everyone had a cup in hand, including Legolas, who still stood in numbed silence, Elrond raised his cup in a toast: “To the Valar, for their mercies . . . and in remembrance of those who fought and died.”
For a few moments, the four elves and one human sipped their tea in silence, until Elladan, confident that the tanacas had begun to soothe his Ada’s hysteria, began to coax his father soothingly: “Now, brave commander, you must take your ease so that you might be prepared to fight again, if necessary. Battle is hard work, and a smart warrior will take care to rest his body properly.”
“Yes, yes. You are in the right,” Elrond concurred, allowing ‘Dan to take his arm gently and lead him out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and into his chambers.
Legolas’dark eyelashes fluttered rapidly as he began to gather his senses. He opened his mouth to speak, paused, and then closed his mouth again to swallow. Trying again, the Prince inquired weakly, “could someone please tell me what just happened?”
Elrohir snorted as he tried to fight back laughter, and Aragorn coughed and cleared his throat noisily trying to choke back laughter of his own. Aragorn took a step toward his friend, touched him lightly on the arm, and then confessed: “Legolas . . . Ada was sleep walking.”
“Sleep walking?” Legolas inquired in a weak voice that one might have expected from a confused elfling.
“Yes, Legolas, sleep walking. He was really asleep, but . . .” Aragorn was interrupted by Legolas’ sudden outburst.
“Yes, Aragorn, I know what sleep walking is! It would have been nice if someone would have told me!” With that, Legolas cast Aragorn the scathing glare that the Ranger had been expecting all along.
The rain had ebbed to a steady drizzle, the sun had begun to filter through the gray clouds, and the clash of thunder had diminished to an intermittent low rumble when Lord Elrond reappeared in the kitchen about an hour later. He had awoken from his nap feeling strangely unfreshed and inexplicably confused. I feel as though I’ve fought a battle, not taken a nap, he had thought wearily. Yet tired as he was, he had been unable to fall back asleep, and decided to go see if his sons had returned with the tanacas plant.
Elrond wandered into the kitchen silently, in typical elven fashion, and looked about the normally spotless room in horror. There was flour everywhere, especially on Prince Legolas, who crouched next to Aragorn trying with great effort and little success to wipe up the honey and flour mixture with a wet rag. Shards of the broken honey pot remained nearby, although the larger sections had been disposed of, and the twins attacked a pile of flour that was heaped on the counter near where the tarts had been stacked earlier. Elrond noted that the pastries had been discarded, and he was relieved to see that an ample amount of tanacas had been scattered, driving the ants into submission. His pleasure that the ants had been dealt with was overridden, however, by his annoyance with the mess in his kitchen. What have these young ones been up to this time? he wondered silently as he shook his head in annoyance. He could not imagine what would cause the Prince, normally so concerned with his appearance, to allow himself to be seen in such a messy state.
Lord Elrond’s thoughts were interrupted by the clip-clopping of horse’s hooves upon the stone of the courtyard, and five heads popped up in unison to peer out the large window on the far side of the kitchen. Although the view from the kitchen was somewhat obstructed, the four elves and one human were able to glimpse a drenched, windblown Glorfindel as he hopped nimbly down from his mount and waited patiently for one of the stable hands to care for his steed. All were relieved to see the warrior home and evidently unharmed.
“Hm!” Elrond snorted with amusement. “You know, in his disheveled state, our Glorfindel’s tresses appear less like a head of hair and more like . . .” Like what? Elrond pondered. Ahh, yes, that’s it . . . “more like the bristles of a broom.”