13. Dwarven Love Poems and Pipeweed
Cuil and Calenthar, who had the duty of checking on the Dwarves this day, stood outside Gloin’s cell snickering helplessly. They had heard him reciting what sounded vaguely like poetry and had crept nearer to listen. But now they were having trouble keeping their mirth within.
“Fairest Elven princess, what could I give thee to be worthy of beholding thy beauty? The stars themselves do not compare to you, O fair one of Mirkwood.”
Finally the two Elves moved away and collapsed into giggling heaps on the stone floor.
“Fairest Elven princess!” Cuil gasped. “’The stars themselves do not compare to you!’”
Calenthar sat up, his eyes sparkling brightly.
“’A Rose among thorns is she.’ I don’t think “her” father would like to hear himself compared to a thorn, regardless that it is quite apropos at times.”
“I think he would be quite, uh…prickly if he heard it!” Cuil laughed. “Perhaps we should send her highness down here to speak to the poor love smitten thing.”
“In her pink tunic!”
The two were still laughing when there were quiet footsteps in the hall behind them.
“What is going on here?”
The two turned to see Tanglinna approaching. They stood hastily, straightening their tunics.
“We…um…we were just listening to some Dwarven love poetry.” Cuil managed, with a quick grin at Calenthar.
“Dwarven love poetry?”
Tanglinna narrowed his eyes and moved silently to stand outside Gloin’s cell.
The Dwarf sat in a shaft of light that fell from the torches in the corridor. Dangling from his fingers was a slim braid of golden hair.
“You are the fairest creature that walks the earth and none dare gainsay me, my lovely one.”
Tanglinna moved from the cell door, his eyes filled with glee.
“Mayhap we should send Prince Legolas down to serenade him.” He said quietly.
“Princess Legolas.” Calenthar choked. “The poor Dwarf would probably die in raptures of joy!”
“Where did he get the hair?” Tanglinna queried.
Cuil and Calenthar both shrugged and the Master Archer’s eyes suddenly lit with wicked delight.
“I feel rather sorry for this poor deluded Dwarf. Perhaps a present would cheer him. Where exactly does Prince Legolas keep his hair brush?”
Calenthar laughed loudly, startling the Dwarves, and ran down the corridor toward the prince’s room.
Bilbo, who was picking Elvish up rather quickly as he heard it everyday, had come up with a plan. He knew he could wander tunnels, corridors, rooms and dead ends forever and still not free the Dwarves. As for finding a way out of Mirkwood Forest he now knew that was quite hopeless. He had become lost once – he was no fool – when he had become separated from the hunting party that he was following. So when the plan presented itself so nicely he began to act upon it.
Bilbo spent many a day and night silently trailing the youngest prince, playing any number of tricks on him: taking food from his plate; moving objects from one place to another in his room. He had found the Magic Bubble Pipe that someone named Mithrandir had given to Legolas when he was a child to protect him from the White Mist Spirit. The pipe was really rather clever looking: the stem was long and curved, not unlike Bilbo’s own pipe; the bowl was carved to resemble a Dragon’s head, the hole where the bubbles erupted was its open mouth. Great slanted eyes were painted blue, spiraled horns twined up the stem. The rest of the bowl was tinged a paler blue.
: Perhaps this is what old Smaug looks like. : he thought. : I have never seen a dragon before. I wonder how big he is. :
Bilbo blew on the pipe and watched as the bubbles floated about the room, He flicked one with his finger and was amazed as it popped into many tiny bubbles with a musical chime and flew about the room quickly, bouncing off the walls and ceiling.
: This is rather nice. :
He blew more bubbles, popping them and making a grand concert in the process.
: I wonder who this Mithrandir is. He and old Gandalf should get together and sees who’s cleverer. :
“Amlug o i Angol Osp Echor.” Bilbo whispered, holding the delicate thing in his hands. “Dragon of the Magic Smoke Rings.” He crossed the room and pushed aside the gauzy hanging that fell over the window. It was pale green decorated with leaves: darker green ferns, copper oak, and golden beech. It seemed the prince preferred a room with an escape route. It was a pleasant and airy room and Bilbo quite liked it. He was immensely pleased to see an autumn mist beginning to drift over the River of Night. Good. This would be the night to put his plan into action. He dropped the hanging and tucked the pipe into to his waistcoat, fingers plucking at the missing button, then crossed the room and climbed into a chair that was tucked into a dark corner.
While he waited he hummed to himself, looking once more at the dragonhead pipe.
: I wonder if it is only good for bubbles. :
He blew it experimentally watching the beautiful iridescent bubbles issue from the dragon’s mouth. He shrugged, tucked the pipe away once more and took out his own pipe.
Later that night as the mist pooled outside Gladaran Thamas, the door opened and Legolas entered. He closed the door quietly and moved to look out his window. He hastily dropped the hanging and moved across the room to fetch his pipe.
: I am glad that no one can see me. : he thought with a wry smile. But then he realized the pipe was not where he had left it the night before. He frantically glanced about the room, then moved to light a candle and hunt in the dark corners. He dropped to his knees by the bed, lifting the soft covers and peering beneath it. He threw open his clothes chest and drawers; then moved to look beneath the wall hangings and the chair Bilbo was seated in, his feet tucked carefully under him.
Bilbo watched with amusement and a slight twinge of regret when worry creased the young Elf’s face. But the Dwarves needed him so he drew deeply on his pipe, watching the bowl flare red, then blew a thin stream of smoke into the air.
Legolas smelled the smoke before he saw it. He turned, brows furrowed, frowning. Then he saw a thin white wreath of smoke issue out of thin air from the chair in the corner. He stared at it in disbelief. Then he glanced uneasily at the window.
“Who is there?” he called, wishing he had his weapons.
More smoke curled toward the ceiling and Legolas swallowed nervously.
“Who are you?”
“I am Silivren Hithlain Man.” Bilbo said in a high-pitched squeaky voice. “I have come for you, o youngest royal child.”
The Elf started and staggered a few steps back.
“You…you are nothing but a child’s story. You are not real!”
More fragrant smoke filled the air followed by a high laugh.
“I have come for you, Prince Legolas Greenleaf.”
Bilbo watched as Legolas stared through him and he nearly laughed with delight at his trick.
: If only he could see the expression on his face! : he thought with a silent chuckle. But this was his undoing. He had been hiding his pipe behind his arm and when he had laughed his arm had slipped and the pipe became visible for just a second. But Legolas had seen it.
“You are the last Dwarf!” He exclaimed. “The fourteenth! The furry footed one! What Dwarf magic is this?” He advanced on the chair, his blue eyes flashing fiercely.
“Wait! Wait!” Bilbo cried, hopping up, his pipe now clearly visible as he tried to evade the Elf. “Please, just wait, Prince Legolas! Please! I will tell you everything. One moment! Ouch!”
Legolas had managed to grab Bilbo’s arm, the one with the pipe clenched in its fist.
“Who are you? And what are you doing in my room?”
Bilbo was caught and he knew it, so he carefully slipped his magic ring from his finger into the pocket of his waistcoat.
“Oh, bother. Very well then.”
Legolas started again at his sudden appearance, but did not loosen his grip. He studied the short curly haired being he held.
“You are not a Dwarf.” he said astutely. “What are you? And why are you with those Dwarves? Why are you here in Mirkwood?”
“Good heavens!” Bilbo said with a smile. “You sounded very like your father just then. Very impressive, I must say.”
Legolas frowned slightly and shook his head.
“Who are you?” he repeated. “How do you know what my father sounds like anyway?”
“I guess you won’t believe me if I said I was Silivren Hithlain Man.” Bilbo asked, blue eyes twinkling. “I didn’t think so.”
Legolas’ frown deepened.
“How do you know about Silivren Hithlain Man?”
“My, but you ask a lot of questions! I always thought that you Wood Elves were a rather reserved, quiet lot.”
Legolas sighed, his patience such as it was, was wearing away.
“Who are you?” he asked, returning to the original question.
Bilbo smiled once more.
“If you will release my arm this would be so much easier to explain. I do believe you are cutting off my circulation.”
The grip on his arm loosened, but he was not released entirely.
“You must give me your word that you won’t try to escape or I will take you to my father.”
“Oh, very well.” The Hobbit sighed. “You have my word that I won’t try to escape. But you must promise me that you won’t take me to your father. He rather scares me, you know.”
Legolas actually smiled.
“He rather scares me at times, too. Very well.” He released his hold on Bilbo’s arm and backed away a couple of steps. “Now, who are you?”
Bilbo rubbed his arm slightly.
“You don’t have anything to eat, do you?” he asked with a smile. “I am rather hungry!”
Some time later, a plate lay on the table with only a few crumbs attesting to the food once piled on it. Bilbo had taken up his pipe once more and was smoking contentedly in the chair. Legolas was seated on the floor cross -legged, staring up at him.
“The Shire sounds like a wondrous place.” He said. “I should like to visit it one day.”
“I would love to have you anytime. It is a rather nice place and I do miss it. This adventure has been something else altogether. I never thought I would leave the Shire myself, but when old Gandalf came along -”
“Gandalf? Then you know Mithrandir!”
“Well, no. Can’t say that I do. I know that he made this little bubble pipe of yours – oh yes! Here. I forgot I had it. Rather an interesting little thing really. Quite fun. So I guess it works? The Silivren Hithlain Man has never crept into your room?”
Legolas laughed, taking his pipe.
“Not yet. Mithrandir used Magic Smoke Rings, but mine only makes bubbles. Mithrandir is Gandalf.”
“Really? I never would have known. Fancy that! Well, well. He does get around. Wonder why he didn’t come with us through your forest then.” He shrugged. “He does make marvelous smoke rings. I can make some rather nice ones myself.” He puffed his pipe then blew a nice large undulating ring.
“That is very nice. I wish I could do that, but –“ Legolas smiled wryly, blowing a bubble out of the dragon’s mouth and popping it.
“Here.” Bilbo held out his pipe. “Give it a try on mine.”
“I…I don’t know…”
“Come on. It is really quite fun. Very relaxing.”
“Perhaps father should have one then.” He took the pipe, studying its smooth surface then put it to his lips.
But it was too late, the smoke burned down the Elf prince’s throat causing him to cough loudly.
“Oh, bother. Don’t try to swallow it. Just- just blow it back out.”
After the coughing fit had passed, Legolas eyed the Hobbit suspiciously, then carefully took another puff.
“Blow it out. That is right.” Bilbo instructed.
After a few more tries, Legolas seemed to have gotten the hang of it, though he didn’t understand why the Hobbit – and Mithrandir – found this so enjoyable.
“Try a smoke ring.” Bilbo suggested, not seeing the slightly dazed expression on the Elf’s face, nor how dilated his pupil’s had become, the eyes now more black than blue. “Well, that was almost right. Just a bit…um…lopsided.”
Legolas tried again, concentrating all his effort into the shape of the ring.
“Oh! Look! I did it! I did it!” He took a deep pull on the pipe, and in his enthusiasm gulped it down his throat.
Another coughing fit ensued, Bilbo thumping him heartily on the back. Between the choking coughs the Hobbit could discern gasps of laughter. He shook his head wondering how the Elf could find this amusing.
“Are you alright, Prince Legolas?” he asked as the Elf righted himself, his fair face red, but split with a wide grin.
“Yes. Thank you for your concern, Mr. Baggins.” He bowed, as gracefully as he could from a sitting position, then giggled again.
Bilbo felt a twinge of unease. The Elf seemed to be acting strangely – or was this how Elves acted when they loosened up somewhat.
Legolas was puffing out another smoke ring and admired it as it drifted away.
: He does look a bit odd. : Bilbo thought. : I wonder why. :
He couldn’t help but smile as Legolas blew more and more rings into the air.
“Silivren Hithlain Man wouldn’t dare to come into your room now.” He commented. “It is quite full of smoke.”
Legolas wriggled happily.
“I think I do this as well as Mithrandir himself.” He giggled. “Legolas’ Magic Smoke Rings! Maybe I should have kept my sparkly green outfit. Then I could be the…um… Legolas the Sparkly Green Wizard!” He threw his arms up, scattering ash on the floor.
“Oh! Do be careful, Legolas the Sparkly Green.” Bilbo cautioned, stamping on the ashes that landed on the thick green rug nearby. “Um, here. Let me take that.” He snagged the pipe just as the Elf flopped back onto the floor, an inane grin on his face.
“I think you had better stop for a time. My goodness! I have never seen anyone affected by pipeweed in quite this manner.”
There was a discreet knock at the door. Bilbo gulped and slipped on his ring, diving with the pipe under the bed.
“Come in, come in.” Mirkwood’s prince sang, waving his fingers in the air.
Calenthar peered around the door.
“Oh! Prince Legolas. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Greetings, Calenthar. Aren’t my smoke rings wondrous to behold?”
Calenthar’s eyes widened as he caught sight of the prince sprawled happily on the cool stone floor staring up at the ceiling.
“Um, Prince Legolas? What is that smell? You didn’t steal Aralith’s Spider Spray, did you?”
“Of course not. I am not afraid of spiders. They are my Magic Smoke Rings. Mithrandir couldn’t do them better. Legolas the Sparkly Green Wizard and his Magic Smoke Rings.”
Calenthar stared at him in amazement.
“I thought your pipe only blew bubbles, my prince.” He said after a moment.
“What? Oh! This!” He picked up the dragon pipe. He maneuvered himself to a sitting position and blew into it. Several colorful bubbles erupted from the dragon’s mouth. “Oh! They are so pretty! Look at all the colors!”
He popped one, watching it burst into smaller bubbles that shot about like shooting stars. He giggled and clapped his hands in delight, dropping the pipe to the floor.
“Look at them! Look at them! This is so fun!” He fumbled for the pipe and blew several more bubbles. “Look! Bilbo, look!”
“Who is Bilbo, my prince?”
“The Dwarf with furry feet. Only he is not really a Dwarf, he is only disguised as one. He must be a Wizard as well. He makes marvelous smoke rings, too. Though not nearly as good as mine. But –“ Legolas the Sparkly Green Wizard collapsed to the floor in a giggling fit.
“Dwarf?” Calenthar frowned. “Aren’t they all in their cells? You have not let them out, have you?”
“Poor Dwarves. They must be very sad, all locked up in the dark like that…I know! I shall visit them and blow some smoke rings…and bubbles!” He brandished his pipe. “They would like that, wouldn’t they, Calenthar?” The son of Thranduil climbed awkwardly to his feet and stood swaying, one hand grasping Calenthar’s shoulder. “Legolas the Sparkly Green Wizard.” He staggered through the door humming, his bubble pipe in one hand.
Calenthar wasn’t certain how alarmed he should be.
“What have you been drinking, my prince?”
“Nothing. Nothing. Aralith was supposed to drink the Morn Nen water, but I think we sent it to Elrond instead. I would love to have seen his face…”
Calenthar shook his head as Legolas stared back at him with a beautiful smile on his face.
“I am sure he looked very funny. Father would just love that!”
“Oh, Calenthar! This clothes will never do!” His face fell. “It’s not sparkly at all. And Gwibess has my pretty ones.” He frowned, but then a sly smile touched his lips. “I’ll just borrow some of father’s. He has more sparkly clothes than anyone I know.”
Now Calenthar did become alarmed.
“No! That…that would not be a good idea, Prince Legolas. You know how your father feels about his clothes –“
Legolas waved a negligent hand.
“He won’t mind. He likes to dress us in fancy clothes. He’ll be very happy! And to know I have entertained his guests as well – looking beautiful of course –“ He smiled. “He will be quite pleased.”
Calenthar wasn’t so certain.
“My prince, I don’t think –“
“It is best if you let me do the thinking.” Legolas moved down the hall, humming and blowing bubbles.
Bilbo crept from under the bed and carefully placed his pipe in a corner on the stone floor – after puffing on it a couple times.
“Well, at least I shall find the Dwarves, much more easily than I thought.” He whispered. :Well. Thank Elbereth for pipeweed! : He thought gleefully, skipping down the hall after the two Elves.
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.