13. Fantasy Novel
Was this really real?
Lawrence – no, Legolas – laughed, a melodic, inhuman – yes, inhuman was the word for it – sound full of the joy of nature and life. "Indeed! So you are familiar with that trilogy?"
"'Familiar, no … I read the books when I was in college," Allen reflected dazedly. This really was too weird. This was going beyond weird, into the bizarre. This belonged on Ripley's Believe it or Not.
I saw men dissolve into nothing before my eyes. This can't be more unbelievable than that. But somehow it was. The Lord of the Rings was a fantasy novel. Allen had spent his entire life believing it was nothing more and nothing less than a good yarn, and now he was talking to a guy claiming to be Legolas Green-something-or-other (Greenleaf. Yes, that's it), the Elven part of the Fellowship. Elves were immortal, weren't they? That part of the book was fuzzy. He did remember Aragorn, though. And Frodo, the Hobbit, and his friend Sam, and Gandalf … and the name Elrond was vaguely familiar, too ...
Oh, right, and he couldn't forget that supposedly he was the descendant of Aragorn … the guy who became the King …
Lawrence had sobered for the most part and had sat back down in his chair, but his bright eyes still danced with amusement. "Mr. Tolkien was impressively accurate with his recording. One can only assume that he did indeed find the Red Book … or perhaps it was given to him. In any case, he was a master translator of not only Elvish, but Westron, and The Lord of the Rings is clearly drawn mainly from Samwise Gamgee's account. He was such a cheerful fellow – a lot more bright than anyone gave him credit for."
Allen listened in silent amazement. Either this man – if man he was! – was pulling a horrible prank on him (not likely, since those men in black had definitely been shot and had definitely disappeared before Allen's eyes), was crazy and believed he was Legolas Greenleaf, or … he really was Legolas Greenleaf. Allen thought back to reading the book and tried to remember what he'd thought Legolas would look like. Tall and thin. Probably laughing a lot because nothing ever seemed to bother him too much. Pointy ears because Elves had to have pointy ears, they were Elves—
Oh my god what the hell is that? Allen jumped as his eyes came to settle unconsciously on Lawrence's ear … which looked almost exactly like a normal human ear, except the gentle slope at the top of the ear came to a very distinct point. He hadn't noticed before because it was so natural-looking on Lawrence, and so … well, subtle. And Lawrence's ears weren't very noticeable against his blond hair. "You … you have …" Allen began, trying to articulate himself like the professor he was. Saying 'pointy ears' just didn't seem dignified … and he wasn't sure if it would be insulting. Were they real?
"Pointy ears?" Okay, so it wasn't insulting. Lawrence laughed again, but it was more subdued – almost a chuckle. "I can see you don't quite believe your eyes, Mr. Evanston. Would you like to touch them to tell if they're real?"
Allen stared at him. "You're really an Elf?" He couldn't keep the incredulous tone from his voice.
Lawrence arched an eyebrow at him, meeting his gaze evenly. "You tell me."
There was a moment of silence as they gazed at one another, and Allen was the first to look away, eyes wide with amazement. "You must be," he said with open wonder. "You must …"
Because no human being has eyes quite like that.
Legolas – yes, definitely Legolas – now seemed concerned. "It may take you a while to digest things. I understand, but it is still absolutely necessary we move you quickly to Lord Elrond's home."
'A while' wasn't a sufficient statement for how long this was going to take to sink in. Allen felt as if he could wait several lifetimes before he fully believed that he was talking to a living, breathing Elf who had walked with fictional characters (non-fictional characters?) 14,000 years ago on a trip he had read about in a fantasy book.
Of course, if Legolas had already lived for 14,000 years, then 'a while' could very well be several human lifetimes to him. "This is just a little … well, really overwhelming," Allen said after a bit. "Fourteen thousand years … that's a lot of time …"
"Yes, it is," Legolas said patiently.
"That makes you unbelievably old …" Allen rubbed his temple. An Elf! Really! "You're telling me that The Lord of the Rings really took place 14,000 years ago?"
"Yes, I am," Legolas acknowledged that same patience.
"And I'm the descendant of Aragorn … Strider. The guy who became the King of Gondel …"
"Gondor," Legolas corrected Allen, his accent rolling the entire word in a completely different manner than Allen's American tongue did. "And yes."
Allen blinked, trying to recall more of the books. "You made friends with the Dwarf. Gimli."
He wasn't sure why it caught him off-guard, on reflection, but he was surprised to see Legolas' eyes become distant and sad. "Yes, I did. He was a good friend. I nearly followed him into death from the grief of his passing."
"And what about Aragorn?" Allen couldn't help asking when Legolas' pensive features softened a bit.
Legolas' smile was still sad, but there was a touch of amusement there. "He too was a good friend of mine, if not as close as Gimli. But he had a much greater responsibility on his shoulders than either I or the Dwarf, and as such we were not able to strike as tight a bond." The amusement in his smile grew. "His son was a fascinating individual."
If Allen hadn't been convinced before, he was now; Legolas was, after all, definitely an Elf (or something not human, at least), and his recollections were so vivid, and his entire face came to life … it was too good to be faked. Now to try and digest this … "So we're going to see Elrond. Who lives in New York City."
"Yes." Legolas nodded. "I know it seems strange."
Allen's recollections of the character Elrond in The Lord of the Rings was dim. He remembered Elrond being a pretty cheery fellow in The Hobbit, though (something he had read so long ago it didn't bear thinking about). "He's an Elf, right? I've forgotten."
Legolas seemed amused by that, as well. "Forgotten?"
"It's been a long time since I read the books," Allen defended himself. "I'm not a huge fan of fantasy novels. Er … you know what I mean."
The Elf nodded. "Yes, I know," he agreed with a slight quirk of his lips. "Lord Elrond is a half-Elf. He's your many-times-great-granduncle."
Now that was almost as weird as thinking he was related to the (non?)fictional character Aragorn. "You really believe you can trace my bloodlines back to Middle-Earth, don't you?" Allen said, disbelieving.
Legolas shook his head. "Nay, Allen. I am certain I can." His bright eyes harbored no doubts.
Allen then shook his head as well, but the gesture was one of confusion rather than denial. "This is all a little hard to swallow. I mean, I believe you're an … an Elf … but … just give me a little time, all right?"
Again the Elf nodded graciously, patting Allen's hand gently. "I expected nothing else, and I thank you for your patience and confidence in my friends and I."
Allen laughed mirthlessly. "Hey, some really unexplainable things have happened to me. I gotta believe something, right?"
"I suppose," Legolas allowed, "But you could have believed many things instead of what I have told you."
"You're the one that saved me," Allen pointed out, shaking his head and trying to decide if this was still a dream. He'd probably wake up in a few minutes to Lawrence shaking his shoulder and offering a more rational explanation. Rubbing his eyes, he asked, "So, who are your companions?"
Legolas' eyes twinkled. "They are Lord Elrond's sons. Your distant cousins."
Allen boggled a little at the thought. "What do they think of me?"
"They cannot wait to get to know you better," Legolas replied. "But I can see that you have reached your capacity for today. It is best you get some rest, Allen."
Allen wanted to argue, but the truth of the matter was he was already tired again. "Will the world be back to normal when I wake up again?" he asked dryly as he closed his eyes.
Legolas' tone was disappointed and understanding at once. "I'm afraid not. It will probably only be stranger."
"I was afraid you'd say that," Allen muttered just as he slipped back into a light doze.
* * *
It was strange, Elrond Peredhil reflected, that even when the world was approaching the brink of destruction, life continued onwards as usual.
He was wrestling with the tax files on the computer in his study when Celebrían rapped her knuckles on the doorpost and called his name gently. He looked up, and as always she was a vision of beauty. "Yes, Celebrían?"
She smiled and came into the study, walking around him and putting her arms around his shoulders. "I love you," she said, her head against his.
"And I, you," Elrond murmured, turning his head slightly so as to see her face from the corner of his eye. "I fear I will never understand those who claim Galadriel is the most beautiful Elf roaming the Earth, when the child she begat is clearly more lovely."
Celebrían chuckled. "Mm, you're biased, love," she observed, managing at once to agree and disagree with Elrond's assessment. After all, she would never insult her own mother. "What are you working on?"
"Tax forms. Assuring everything is in order for the financial quarter. Damn the IRS to the Void," Elrond grumbled. While it was true that the grunt work was done by Elrond's employees, Elrond took it upon himself to verify the numbers. It never hurt to be thorough.
His wife radiated sympathy, even as she reached out to the keyboard with one hand, pressing the Page Down button and scanning the numbers. "At a glance, all seems well," she observed.
"Yes …" Elrond agreed, allowing a soft sigh to escape him. Of course it was not the numbers that were bothering him so much. On the back of his mind was Evanston, and now also the meeting with Galadriel, Celeborn, and …
"Does the thought of seeing Maglor Fëanorion trouble you?" Celebrían asked.
Elrond was torn between the desire to sigh again and laugh; how well Celebrían knew him! "I have long thought him dead," Elrond responded evenly. "Lady Galadriel's news was quite a shock."
Celebrían made a sympathetic noise and squeezed her arms around him gently. "I know, my love, I know. Would that I could take away the pain his memory brings you."
Elrond closed his eyes and basked in his wife's softly radiant presence. He had chosen the fate of the Elves, and thus was granted their eternal memory; he recalled with perfect clarity the bloody day his mother had thrown herself into the Sea, recalled the twisting anguish in his heart. He remembered his brother's arms wrapping around him as they both cried in vain to her, the roars and cries of battle at their backs; the stench of blood was heavy in the air. The ocean crashed mercilessly, and Mother was gone, lost to the twin brothers forever …
A heavy hand fell upon his shoulder. "What, now, is this? The twin sons of the Mariner?" The voice was cold and angry, and Elrond trembled with fear and clutched Elros' clothes. "Where is the Silmaril?"
"Brother, brother! They are but children; they cannot know of what you speak." The second voice was gentler, more kind; it flowed with natural grace as though he sang his words. Elros dared to turn, and Elrond turned with him; the pair of Elves they faced were tall, bloodstained, and fell in grief and anger. One had no right hand, and he drew his sword with his left; he held it high. The other's sword was sheathed; his hands were crossed.
"Certainly they know! They are the sons of the leader of this village! If they will not tell then I will kill them. There will be no sorry goose chase this time, Maglor!"
Elrond caught his cry of fear upon his teeth, and Elros' fists tightened against Elrond's back.
"Look at them and have pity, Maedhros! They are but children. They will tell you nothing if they are afraid," reasoned Maglor.
His calm voice had effect upon his angry brother; Maedhros lowered his voice and his sword. "Very well," he said between clenched teeth. "Then they will come with us. And they will tell us of the Silmaril before the moon's light shines full!"
Elrond dredged himself up from the memories and drew a pained breath. "Ai, Celebrían, that Elves killed Elves for a jewel … but of the seven brothers Fëanorion, Maglor was perhaps the best-hearted. He was no cruel captor; it was he that released my brother and I. And I am told that he alone of all the brothers attempted to renounce their accursed Oath." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Nonetheless, I find it hard at times to forgive him for driving Mother into the Sea."
Celebrían nodded; Elrond felt it rather than saw it. "And yet, my love, she did not die, but passed into the arms of your father, and together they brought down the wrath of the Valar upon fell Morgoth." She kissed her husband's cheek ere she continued. "Had she not brought the Silmaril of the Sky to him, they might still today be wandering the Sea. Ilúvatar's purpose reigns supreme always, dear Elrond. Remember that, and may it help you overcome your grief."
Elrond was first tempted to be in a foul mood; he was surprised at himself, for he did not consider himself one to wallow in self-pity. He fought down the urge, and he knew his wife was right. He smiled slightly. "Ah, Celebrían, you earn the title 'Wise'," he said softly.
Galadriel's daughter hugged him gently again, and she straightened. "Does that help you, Elrond?"
"It does." It was not a magic pill, for Elrond still did not look forward to seeing the ancient, long-lost Elf, but no longer did he dread it as he had. "Thank you for speaking with me."
"I consider it my duty to help keep you in line. Allowing one's husband to be angry with a houseguest throughout his stay can hardly be considered good practice," Celebrían replied with a gracious smile. "I hope you can now concentrate on your tax files. I saw an error in the second row."
"Ai! Thank you," Elrond acknowledged her as he turned back to the computer to fix the mistake.
"It is my pleasure, Lord Elrond," laughed his wife as she left the room.
* * *
Author's Notes: There is an interesting story about Elrond and Elros getting their names from when they were found directly following the captivity with Maglor and Maedhros, but it was an earlier version of their history, when the sack of Sirion took place before the twin brothers' third birthday. In this version I have chosen to set their ages at 6 or so, as in the 'final' version of the battle. But as with many Tolkien dates, this is open to interpretation.
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This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.