1. Unexpected Visitors
“Aren’t you guys a little old for trick or treat?” I asked the one holding the sword to my nose. He peered at me from under a messy mop of dark hair; he seemed to be looking for something. Out of habit, I fiddled with the silver knot pendant that I always wear.
“There! It is as the Lady said it would be. We have found the right place!” This was all but shouted by one of the blonds, who was peeking over the scruffy one’s left shoulder. He pointed at the pendant.
“What?” I asked and found myself pushed bodily back into the house. “Who do you think you are? You can’t just barge into--”
“Thank the Stars. I’ll kill the next stupid person that demands I sing a song and then stuffs confections into my scabbard.” The slightly less scruffy one elbowed past all of us in the hallway and marched into the living room.
“You’ll have to excuse him,” Scruffy apologized as he sheathed his sword, “he’s been a little testy all evening.” I followed him into my living room.
“Who are you people and what the hell are you doing in my house?” I demanded, surreptitiously reaching for the fireplace poker.
“My apologies, gracious lady,” said Scruffy with a slight bow. “Please permit me to introduce myself and my companions. I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn. This is Boromir, son of Denethor, Legolas Thranduilion of the Silvan Realm, Haldir of Lorien, Gimli, Gloìnson, of Erebor, Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck of the Shire. With each introduction, the one named bowed gracefully, with the exception of the slightly larger of the two blonds, who merely glared at me.
“Right and I’m Boudica, Queen of the Celts.”
“We are pleased to make your acquaintance, Queen Boudica.”
“No, I mean…it’s a figure of speech. I’m not really Boudica….I’m uh…Darragh, Daughter of Seorise and Cáitlín.”
“A charming name for a charming lady.” I now had a firm grasp on the poker and I raised it to what I assumed might be a defensive position. I was greeted by stunned silence and then laughter. The slender blond who had insinuated himself behind the couch next to the drooping ficus had his bow drawn and an arrow nocked. He was smiling in a decidedly feral manner.
“Let us be civilized here!” cried Scruffy or rather Aragorn, as he stepped gallantly between me and the archer in the corner. At the same time, the other blond—Haldir –slipped quietly over and removed the poker from my grasp.
“Civilized?” I managed to snarl. “You call barging into my house unannounced, brandishing lethal-looking weapons, and assaulting my person—“ I paused to draw breath and yank my arm out of Haldir’s grasp. “— civilized?”
“Perhaps I can explain. We were sent here because we were told by the Lady of the Golden Wood that you possessed a magic box which we could use to rectify a problem that has been plaguing us.” Scruffy/Aragorn smiled, as if this explanation would settle everything.
“Been to the pub have we?” I asked peevishly. I didn’t really recognize any of them from our area but there was something eerily familiar about them. After all, they were claiming to be characters out of a work of fiction, my favourite work of fiction at that.
“Just for the interest’s sake, let’s say that I believe you. What makes you think that I can help you?” I asked. Perhaps if I stalled long enough, they would get tired of the game, or I would get the chance to call 9-1-1.
“You wear the pendant. The Lady of the Golden Wood said that the one who would help us, wears the Four Fold Knot of Fellowship.” Aragorn reached out and picked up the pendant that hung on its silver chain about my throat.
“That’s a friendship knot, not a fellowship knot.” I snatched the pendant back from his hand. The one Aragorn had identified as Boromir, made a rude noise and flopped onto the couch.
“Friendship, fellowship, no real difference. Can we just get on with this?” I found myself at a loss for words.
“ Errr…would you care for some tea?” I offered lamely.
“You’ve nothing stronger?” The short hairy one peered up at me. “Tea is for sissy elves and old women.” There was a muttered curse from the slender blond who was still snuggled up to the ficus.
“I’d offer you wine, as that is all I have in the house, but I fear that if my husband returns and finds me drinking wine with a bunch of armed strangers, things could get out of hand.”
“Tea will do nicely. Perhaps some cakes to go with it?” One of the little ones leapt over and grasped my hand. “Which way to your kitchen?”
“This way…the rest of you…just make your selves comfortable. I’ll be right back.” I lead the little guys through to the kitchen—probably a mistake. The last thing one should do is let a Halfling loose in one’s kitchen—if in fact—the two who had been identified as Meriadoc and Peregrin, actually were Hobbits. I glanced down at their feet. Definitely on the furry side. I rubbed my hands over my face. This has to be a dream I thought. I’ll just play along with it and eventually I’ll wake up—I always do. I busied myself filling the kettle and showing my short companions where the dishes and cutlery were kept. I wasn’t about to let them loose in the pantry. I sent the Halfings back into the living room, bearing a tray with cups, spoons, cream pitcher and honey pot. While I arranged chocolate chip cookies and shortbread on a plate and waited for the tea to steep, I pondered my options. If this were a dream, so far it wasn’t too nightmarish. If it weren’t a dream, perhaps I had finally lost my mind and was hallucinating. The third option was that they really were who they said they were; it was Samhain Night, the time when the veil between the worlds thinned and permitted all manner of strange things to happen. I shrugged. They seemed relatively harmless. I wasn’t the least bit Orcish in my appearance (it was evening, not first thing on Monday morning for heaven’s sake), and up to this point, all of them had behaved themselves. I still had my doubts about the elves, if elves they were. I decided I would let the evening play itself out. It might prove to be very entertaining. I picked up the tray bearing the teapot and plate and headed back into the living room.
They had arranged themselves around the room. Boromir was still slumped unhappily on one end of the couch with the Hobbits occupying the remainder. Aragorn had appropriated my chair, Gimli was seated on the hearth and Haldir had the loveseat to himself. Legolas was still in the corner by the ficusand was now crooning softly to it. The tree had been looking increasingly decrepit over the months approaching winter, but now it appeared to be perking up. I squinted at the tree—was it actually rustling its leaves at him? I placed the tea tray down and began to serve, ably assisted by Peregrin, who passed the cups and biscuits around to my guests. About this time, my two Siamese cats decided to put in an appearance. No doubt their twelve hour nap by the kitchen stove had been disturbed by the sound of strangers in the house. Shima, the female, strolled in and froze when she caught sight of Gimli. Her back went up, her tail fluffed and she spat at him. The dwarf just glared at her and I shooed her over in the direction of Haldir. Perhaps elves were more to her taste. She turned her sapphire eyes on him and fell instantly in love. Her purr, which was infrequent at best, rumbled up to full throttle and she leapt up beside the Lorien elf, nuzzling him shamelessly. Her brother, Sakini, gave the dwarf a wide berth, and sniffed disdainfully at Boromir before slithering under the couch and winding himself around Legolas’ ankles, chattering in that uniquely Siamese manner. The elf looked confused and left off his murmuring to the tree to turn his attention to the cat.
“Now then, if we are all comfortable, perhaps you can clarify your quest for me?” I looked expectantly around the room. “You said something about a ‘magic box’?”
“Yes,” Haldir answered, stroking the cat, which was now rubbing her dainty wedge-shaped head under his chin.
“My Lady told us that the one with the Pendant also had in her possession a magic box that would allow us to solve the …er…problem…that we face.” I looked at him blankly. Magic box? I knew of no such thing.
“Well, I’m not sure what she means by a magic box. Could you describe it to me?”
They exchanged looks and Haldir and Legolas spoke rapidly in what I assumed to be Sindarin.
“It’s square.” Legolas said so softly that I could barely hear him. He was now holding Sakini in his arms, stroking the lithe Siamese under the chin. Both elf and cat were purring. In harmony.
“Well, isn’t that an absolutely brilliant description!” Boromir muttered into his teacup.
“Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Haldir snapped at him, shifting the Siamese away from his face and back down onto his lap.
“Aren’t you?” Pippin asked innocently, and received a poke from his cousin for his trouble.
“ That was only in the film.” I put in helpfully.
“I am soooo confused.” The poor little hobbit moaned and took another chocolate chip cookie to settle his nerves.
“Look, this isn’t getting us anywhere.” Gimli finally interrupted the glaring contest that had begun between Boromir and the elves. He stood up and crossed over to where I was seated on the step down into the room.
“Do you or do you not possess a… ,” he paused and glanced at Legolas who had finally slipped away from the ficusand was perched on the arm of the loveseat next to Haldir. “…square magic box?”
“I’m not sure what you mean. Maybe if you tell me the nature of this problem, things will be clearer.” There was an uncomfortable silence as they all exchanged looks with one another. Aragorn finally cleared his throat, determined to resume his role as spokesperson for the group.
“You see, there have been these…uhm…rumours…concerning…”
“You must understand they are only rumours!” Merry added hastily. I nodded reassurance at him.
“Yes?” I encouraged Aragorn to continue. Was he blushing?
“Concerning certain members of the Fellowship and…well…”
Boromir groaned and leapt to his feet.
“Stop beating about the shrubbery, Aragorn!” He turned to face me and drew himself up to his full height. He managed to look quite regal.
“Some of us are right…offended…at the rumours being spread about that we prefer the…companionship… of men, instead of members of the fair sex. I, for one, do not, nor have I ever, molested my younger brother. By the way, he sends his regards.”
“You see, these rumours have gotten back to the Lady Galadriel and she was more than a little miffed when she heard that I might be betraying her granddaughter with him and his brother.” Aragorn continued.
“At the sametime?” Pippin squeaked.
“Shut up, half wit.” Merry poked him again. “You aren’t helping matters at all.”
“I might add that my father-in-law wasn’t exactly thrilled either.” Aragorn continued grimly.
“Not only has it been put about that I am lusting after any number of men and elves, but apparently, Lord Elrond has been linked to both of his senior counsellors and to Legolas here. That in itself is causing extreme conflict between Eryn Lasgalen and Imladris. King Thranduil has threatened to string him up by his…. Let me just say that Lord Elrond is outraged. I believe his exact words were ‘I’m sure Legolas is great fun between the sheets, but frankly, he’s just not my type.’ There actually is quite a list of grievances…” he paused to root about in a pouch on his belt. Eventually he retrieved a piece of parchment that had seen better times. It was passed across to me. Gingerly, I unfolded it and attempted to read what was written on it. I couldn’t make any sense out of the flowing script.
“Sorry lads,” I apologized. “I’m afraid I don’t read this language—English, French and what I remember of my public school Gaelic, but that’s it.” With a long suffering sigh, Haldir held out his hand for the parchment. I handed it to him and both he and Legolas peered at it.
“Lord Elrond must indeed be distressed. His handwriting is atrocious.” Haldir peered at the paper, trying to decipher what was written there. “Not to mention his spelling—he spelt Aragorn wrong. Twice. Both times differently.” Aragorn cleared his throat.
“I wrote that. There was such a long list I thought it prudent to write it down.” The elves both raised their eyes from the parchment and looked at him with amusement.
“Really?” asked Legolas, barely able to control the giggle that was threatening to erupt from his lovely lips. “Who in the name of Eru is Ariththrog?”
“Or Arathang?” added Haldir, pointing at something on the leaf. Boromir snickered and suddenly found the ceiling very interesting when Aragorn turn baleful eyes on him.
“Fine! So my spelling isn’t the greatest! There were five of them all snarling complaints at me and I was writing as fast as I could.”
“Perhaps more time with a tutor and less time traipsing all over Ennor might have…”
“Listen, we’re here to sort another matter out—not critique my scholastic abilities. Some of us don’t have the advantage of centuries spent wandering about with one’s nose in a book.” He looked pointedly at Legolas, who simply shrugged.
“At least I can spell. By the way, there is no ‘y’ in Imladris”
“Let’s see,” Haldir studied the paper, muttering in Elvish under his breath as he read.
“Glorgingal—I am assuming you meant Glorfindel—said ‘just because he never chose to wed, does not mean that Erestor causes his toes to curl in ecstacy.’ Probably right there—Erestor is far too bookish for Glorfindel. And the twins voice the same complaint as Boromir—no twincest please, we’re elves.”
“And just what do they mean by that?” Boromir bristled.
“I am assuming they meant that they, like you, prefer female company to that of each other. At least where matters conjugal are concerned.” Haldir said sweetly.
“What else is there?” Gimli interrupted gruffly.
“The Lady Celebrian sends word from Valinor that ‘her husband is indeed manly in the extreme and does not need to get his jollies by frolicking with Glorfindel and Erestor. And to presume that he ever had the remotest urge to snog young Legolas is nothing short of preposterous.’ Did she actually use the words ‘get his jollies’? I cannot picture so refined a lady saying any such thing.” Haldir stared at Aragorn.
“Words to that effect. I paraphrased, alright?”
Haldir continued reading. His eyes suddenly widened in shock and he pointed shakily at the parchment. Legolas peered over to see what had upset the other elf; whatever was on that sheet caused him to cringe.
“I don’t think I should read that bit out, do you?” Haldir whispered to him. Legolas glanced at me, and then at the hobbits.
“Certainly not in mixed company. Who would have guessed that she could use such language?” Legolas shuddered slightly. “She was always so polite to me. She thinks I should do what? Is such a thing even physically possible?”
“If you are speaking about my wife’s comments, then the answer is yes. Those were her exact words. She was….er..incensed when she heard some of the tales of my supposed dalliances. I never thought she could swear like a an orc with a stick up his …. uh…apparently, she has educated herself in a number of rather choice phrases since these tales began to spread.”
Both elves were staring at Aragorn.
“She has told me to sleep in the stables.” He dropped his chin into his hand morosely.
“There, there Strider, I’m sure we can work this all out. Don’t you worry.” Merry went over and patted him on the shoulder. Haldir shook his head sadly and checked the other side of the parchment.
“That’s more or less all that is on this leaf, unless one cares to decipher these various blots and stains…”
“Good. Then it’s our turn.” Merry piped up and stood, drawing himself up to his full height. He could have stared my eight-year old son in the eye.
“Frodo and Sam wish it known that they have never been romantically involved with each other and Rosie is ready to take on who ever started that rumour. Believe me, you don’t want to get on her bad side. She has a right fist that could…” He broke off, realizing he was beginning to ramble. “And the very idea that Frodo would get all snuggly with Gollum is just…well…err….” He trailed off, at a loss for words.
“Icky?” Pippin suggested through a mouthful of shortbread.
“Yeah. It’s..uhmm…‘icky’. Then there’s me and Pip; we’re cousins, and great friends but that’s all. I’ve actually had my eye on a couple of lovely lasses back home in the shire, isn’t that right, Pippin.” Pippin nodded enthusiastically and winked. Gimli cleared his throat loudly.
“I’d like to say my piece now.” He hooked his thumbs through his belt and drew a deep breath. “I’d just like to make it known that I have no interest in that elf over there.” He nodded towards Legolas, who rolled his eyes and whispered something to Haldir. Both elves looked back at Gimli and snickered. “I mean, just look at him!” I stole a glance at the slender elf draped casually on the arm of the loveseat, an enraptured Siamese in his arms. My heart gave a little lurch and I sighed.
“Can you picture me with him? Dwarven women are somewhat more substantial that that. He looks like a good stiff breeze would knock him on his arse.”
Boromir and Aragorn burst out laughing. Legolas glared first at Gimli, then at the two men.
“Need I remind you, Gimli Elf friend, that we elves are a lot stronger than we appear, and that with the exception perhaps of the youngest elfling, most could bend you backwards like a bow and draw your guts out through your ears.” Legolas threatened.
“Eeeuwww.” Said both hobbits together. Unperturbed by the outburst, Gimli continued.
“Just look at him! Except for his flowing locks, he’s as smooth as a baby. I like ‘em somewhat more …hirsute!”
“EEEUWWW!!” chorused the hobbits again and tucked their hairy feet out of sight. Boromir was wiping tears from his eyes. Aragorn had been reduced to helpless giggles. Legolas looked indignant. Sensing that things were about to get really nasty, I leapt to my feet.
“Do you have anything you wish to add?” I asked Haldir.
“Yes, I do.” Haldir rose to his feet, still holding Shima. He stared pointedly at Gimli who eventually took the hint and re-seated himself on the hearth. “I seem to be the victim of persistent rumours that I only favour the company of my fellow warriors…” He paused looking uncomfortably at his feet.
“Or my brothers. They were ready to beat me senseless when that story was put around Caras Galadon. It caused a major set back in their relationships with a number of very comely she-elves. As for me, the women all look at me and giggle. I just don’t understand. What did I ever do to deserve this?” He looked forlornly at Legolas. “ All of these tales seem to concern the same thing…”
“Maybe the rumours are based on the ancient Greek belief that love between two men was the highest form of love. The warriors of Sparta hoped that they would be in the same regiment as their male lovers because it was believed that the lovers would fight harder for one another. They were pretty invincible.” I paused; Aragorn was looking speculatively at Boromir.
“Don’t get any ideas, my friend. I’m actually dead, remember? They’ll have necrophilia added to your list of frolics next.” Boromir grasped the hilt of his sword.
“There was the one about the errant barmaid.” Legolas added to Haldir.
“True…I suppose that was somewhat refreshing. But for the most part, I’m always…oh never mind. The damage has probably already been done.”
“Well, look on the bright side. You’ve never been molested by orcs, ravished by Gimli, Aragorn, Boromir, Gandalf, Glorfindel, Elrond and the twins. Not to mention an Ent! Can you imagine how uncomfortable that would be?” Legolas cried.
“EEUWWW!!!” this time there was a general chorus of disgust from everyone.
“I’d really like to get my hands on the people responsible for this.” Legolas continued. “Surely somewhere in all of Ennor, there is a female elf for me?” He looked plaintively around the room.
“I’m sure there are plenty…” I ventured but was cut off.
“Didn’t I warn you this would happen?” Haldir pointed out. “When you first brought the dwarf to Lorien, I told you people would talk, but you didn’t believe me.”
“I was a lot younger then, and in my naiveté, believed that two beings from different races could actually be friends without people turning it into something other than simple friendship.” Legolas looked over at Gimli. “At least they could give me some credit for taste!” Gimli was beginning to growl.
“There’s always that Merrysoo being that keeps cropping up.” Haldir suggested.
“Oh no, not her. I’d sooner kiss a Balrog’s backside than end up in her clutches. I’d even take Gimli over her.”
“Now hold on a minute, Elf Boy!” Gimli jumped up and took a step towards Legolas. Shima and Sakini both hissed and went all ‘pointy side up’ as the dwarf attempted to approach their elves. Gimli stepped back.
“Wait!” I cried. “I get it now! It makes sense!”
“It does?” asked Aragorn. “What does?"
“This.” I said, gesturing around the room. “Your problem. The magic box isn’t the answer. The magic box is the problem.”
“What?” All of them stared at me as if I had suddenly sprouted wings.
“Your so-called magic box isn’t a box at all—it’s a computer.”
“A com…pooter? Is it a weapon?” Boromir asked.
“In the wrong hands, yes.” I smiled. “Follow me.” I rose and lead them through to my home office. The PC sat benignly on my desk, screensaver glowing softly in the dim light.
“Behold, the ‘magic box.’” I gestured theatrically at my desk.
“It looks harmless enough.” Boromir said as he prowled around the desk and reached out tentatively to touch the screen.
“As I recall, you said the same thing about the ring.” Aragorn said and eased his long frame down into the desk chair. “You were wrong then, too.”
“So what now? How do we solve our little problem?” Legolas asked, staring at the coloured designs that swirled and shifted before him.
“I say we destroy this thing. Problem solved.” Gimli pulled his axe from his belt and prepared to swing it at the desk.
“NO!” Several of us shrieked at once. I foolishly threw myself at the PC and Haldir dropped Shima, to pin Gimli’s arms to his sides.
“What is it with you and that bloody great axe, anyway?” Legolas shouted. “That trick didn’t work with the ring, either. You can’t just go around smashing things. It’s uncouth.” Gimli glowered at the elf and shrugged Haldir off.
“So this little box is to blame for the mess back in Middle Earth?” Aragorn asked.
“Not exactly.” I answered slowly. “You see, people use the ‘magic box’ to distribute their stories and fantasies across the world and also it seems, between the worlds.”
“You are responsible for those rumours?” Legolas was aghast.
“NO! Absolutely not! There is more than one magic box.”
“Wonderful.” Boromir grunted.
“It can be used for your purposes as well.” I said, the germ of an idea beginning to form.
“How?” asked Pippin, squirming between Aragorn and the desk to stare in fascination at the screen.
“I can tell your story and that way people will know how you feel.”
“Let us confer.” Aragorn indicated that I should leave them alone, so I slipped out of the office and closed the door behind me. I wasn’t sure it was the wisest thing to do, leaving the seven of them alone with the computer. I listened outside the door, but they had lapsed into their own tongue and I was at a loss. Eventually the door opened, and a slender elven handed beckoned me inside again.
“We are agreed.” Aragorn said. “We want you to write a letter stating how we feel. We will leave the content up to you.”
“I should warn you that if you don’t fulfill this request, we will return. If we fail, there is a good chance that Elrond and Celeborn will be your next visitors—you don’t want to deal with those two when they are upset.”
“Noted.” I said with a small humble bow.
“The hour grows late, Elessar.” Legolas said softly. “We must go back.” Reluctantly he handed Sakini to me and headed for the door. The others followed him. I ushered them all to the front door. Aragorn turned at the last minute and gallantly kissed my hand.
"Remember my warning and …thank you, gracious lady.”
“No, thank you. This has been a most memorable evening.” I smiled and watched as they walked down the stairs and off in the darkness. I had just got the tea things put away when the family car pulled down the drive. My little ‘Legolas’ and ‘Arwen’ came pelting up the walk full of tales about wondrous fireworks and how big the bonfire was.
“Off you go and get ready for bed. You’ve had a very exciting night.” I shooed them upstairs and thought to myself that it wasn’t nearly as exciting as mine had been.
“Who were those fellows I saw walking down the lane?” My husband inquired as he flopped into the spot that had recently been vacated by Boromir.
Oh. Just some local lads. They were heading for a party and had the address wrong. I gave them directions.”
“Hmm. Great costumes from what I could see.”
“To be sure.” I said with I smile. “Simply the best.”
I picked up my book from where I had left it and settled back in the chair that had so recently been occupied by Aragorn and smiled to myself. Lifemate wandered off upstairs to put the children to bed and I stole a glance at the door to my office. I toyed briefly with the idea of putting off my task; I was rather hoping they would send Celeborn and Elrond to hold me to my promise. I’d rather like to meet those two gentlemen. But I had given my word and one’s word is one’s honour. With a sigh I put the book aside again and walked resolutely into the office. I sat down in front of the PC, opened a blank Word document and began to write. Lifemate appeared in the doorway a short time later.
“What are you doing?” He asked, leaning on the doorframe.
“Just writing to an old friend.” I murmured. “Go up to bed, I’ll be there soon. He bent and scooped up Sakini who had prowled past and headed off with Shima trailing in his wake. I bent my head to my task and kept my word.
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.