8. Threats and a Balrog
"Are you well, Thranduilion?" Apparently Celeborn's concern had beaten Elrond's to the chase.
"I...I had a brief encounter with two sons of Fëanor."
There was a collective "Ah!" in response. Apparently that explanation served as perfect justification to those present. Legolas shuddered at the memory, and drained another cup.
"Then perhaps now is not a good time..." started Elrond.
Legolas quickly interceded. "No, I am recovered. Is there something you wished to speak of?" He wanted to get this over as soon as possible. And he was beginning to lose hold of his plans with the constant and disturbing attacks. He began to reach for another glass in preparation for the lords' bilateral onslaught.
"So, Legolas, what is this we hear about a tree stump?" Then, with a pointed and blatantly obvious look to Legolas' glass, Elrond added, "Ah! That reminds me of an incident in Imladris some time ago. As I recall, a young squirrel with a taste for wine found its way into my personal storeroom and emptied the last bottle of my favourite vintage, a bottle that had been lain down at the celebration of the establishment of Imladris. Do I have the story a'right?"
"That is odd," said Celeborn to Elrond, while his eyes remained unnervingly fixed on Legolas. "A like-minded squirrel found its way through two bottles of Dorwinion in Lórien. The result, as I recall, was the contamination of my Lady's precious mirror with purple bubbles." Celeborn looked to Elrond, saying "I was not aware that squirrels trafficked overmuch between our realms. Odd indeed!"
Simultaneously, the Lords of Imladris and Lórien glared at Legolas, who delicately placed his glass back onto the table. Clearing his throat and hoping his ears would regain their natural colour when all was said and done, he straightened his shoulders and said, in a rather high-pitched voice "'Tis an odd coincidence indeed, m'lords. But I am sure the offending creature was most remorseful and that the mornings after these incidents served as just punishment." Seeing a potential escape over Elrond's shoulder, Legolas cried out "Haldir!" and then, as though remembering to whom he had been speaking, he said "if you will excuse me, m'lords."
With that, he briskly sidestepped the two and strode over to Lórien's march-warden.
"You have to give him credit."
"Ay, I should have expected that from him. Did I ever tell you of the time he escaped Glorfindel after putting glue on Asfaloth's saddle?"
"No, do tell," said a third voice over Celeborn's shoulder. Glorfindel looked fit to slay a Balrog.
From the Black Barrows in the South East corner of the Hall, a voice of fire and shadow muttered "Oh, not again! Every bloomin' time he loses his temper..."
Meanwhile, having caught up to Haldir, Legolas sighed with relief. "Oh, Haldir. Thank you, my friend. You don't know what you have just saved me from."
With a pointed glance at Elrond and Celeborn, Haldir replied "Oh, I can guess." He had recognised the gleam in Elrond's eye when the two lords started walking towards Legolas at the table. He knew to be wary, for he had been the unfortunate subject of that look before. An incident involving Haldir's brothers, a well placed bucket of yellow paint, and a rather unamused (but very yellow) Lord of Lórien caused him to shudder. In a way, he had almost pitied Legolas. Almost.
"So, what's this I hear about a tree stump?"
"Oh, not you too!?!" begged Legolas in an exasperation-ladden voice.
"Come on. I'm your friend. Did you honestly think I wouldn't try?"
"No, I suppose not. So what are you going to threaten me with, beg or offer me?"
"Aragorn, Éomer, Imrahil, Faramir, my grandfather, Olwë, and Elwë all offered me favours of a sort. Théodred begged me to tell him as a favour, Arwen and Lúthien offered...well, they offered me much" Legolas stated, the red of his ears glowing again. "Maglor, well Maglor didn't get a chance to offer me a song because Maedhros" Legolas shuddered at the memory, "and Elrond, Celeborn and my father threatened me with recollection of past transgressions and obligations to kin. With whom would you fall in?"
"My good friend, as that is what you are," Haldir's tone was sickeningly chummy, "let me assure you that I would neither bribe nor harass you." Legolas did not like where this was going. "I would merely ask you to remember our friendship. That, and the fact that I kept certain embarrassing facts from reaching your father. Facts, for instance, like how Mirkwood's prince was caught off-guard by a mere march-warden of Lórien."
Did Legolas just growl? He actually growled! thought Haldir, as Legolas glared darkly at him.
"Indeed, friend" the Prince ground out, "perhaps one should be reminded that the 'good' lord Celeborn remains unaware as to just who ordered two bottles of water from the Morn Nen for one fine New Year's Eve celebration."
"You wouldn't d....Wait. How did you know about that?"
With a satisfied smirk, Legolas turned away towards the South West, calling over his shoulder, "I didn't. Take care, friend!"
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