15. Golden Locks of a Warrior
"He is not nice to my masters." Gwibess said with a hiss of dislike. "He is always yelling at them. He doesn't like them to give me presents. He likes to keep all the pretty things for himself."
"What have you done about him?"
"Done? What do you mean?" The rather innocent Gwibess asked.
"If you don't like him, why don't you do something to show him how you feel?"
"Let Go Lass is his ion! He wouldn't like that!"
"Ion? What is that?" Remmith asked.
"Someone he can do mean things to, just for fun." Gwibess hissed seriously.
"He is not nice." Cablas said, his eyes flashing. "We should do something. If he is not nice to the masters then we should protect them." He waved his long front legs about menacingly, his pincers flashing.
Gwibess looked worried and wondered if she had made a mistake in bringing them here.
"No.no."She began, her crimson eyes glowing. "They would not like that. He is their Aran."
"What is that?" Remmith asked, eyeing her sparkly necklace and wondering when he would get one himself.
"He is the one who yells the loudest, so he is their leader."
Cablas glanced at Hiwdil and grinned. Hiwdil winked four of his eyes.
"Don't worry, Gwibess. We will take care of him" The two spiders disappeared down the tunnel, hissing quietly at one another.
Gwibess watched them go with a feeling of dread apprehension.
"Where are they going?" She hissed at Remmith.
Remmith shrugged, reaching out to fondle the sparkling stones at Gwibess' throat.
"So, Gwibess. Where are my new masters?"
Brethil and Tavor had been at their homes when Thranduil had roared for his son, but word of it soon reached them. They met at a tall beech tree where the three had once built their own tree house. They stared at one another in silence for a moment. Finally Brethil spoke.
"What has he done do you suppose?" His eyes were wide. "We didn't have anything to do with it. Did we?"
"Of course not." Tavor retorted, though he found himself going over everything that had happened that day. But he could think of nothing that should call the king's wrath down on them. Again. "Of course not." He repeated. "He has done this by himself." He snorted. "I wonder what outfit he will have to wear this time."
Brethil was feeling rather sorry for his friend and frowned.
"We had better go see what happened." He said, turning toward the palace. "He may need our help. Or at least some moral support."
Tavor hesitated, his brows knitting.
"Um.perhaps we should wait a few moments. Let things die down a bit."
"Tavor! He may need our help." Brethil repeated his eyes narrowed in unaccustomed anger. "He needs us!" He turned abruptly and walked away.
Tavor stared after him in amazement, then shrugged.
"I will be so glad when those Dwarves leave. There has been nothing but trouble since they arrived." He muttered and moved reluctantly after Brethil.
Gloin felt rather hopeful after hearing the name Bilbo spoken by the Elves outside his cell. Was Bilbo here as well then? Was he a prisoner, too? That would not be so good, but the Hobbit had proved to be quite resourceful in the past and the Dwarf knew he would probably be able to do something about their predicament. Gloin had picked up some Elvish, not much, but more than he thought he would ever learn.
: Perhaps: he thought with a happy sigh. :If I learned enough Elvish I could compose a song for the maiden:
It would, after all, give him something to do during his captivity. He wondered how the others were faring and he wondered about Thorin. He hoped their leader was here and not still wandering about the woods, starved and lost. Or inside a spider's belly. He shuddered. No, best not to think that at all.
He sat humming in the darkness. It was a song that he had heard Elves singing as they passed by his cell on their way to another part of the palace. It had a rather jolly tune and though he didn't understand the words much he could mimic them rather nicely.
"Roll - roll - roll - roll roll-roll-rolling down the hole! Heave ho! Splash plump! Down they go, down they bump!"
He sang it a little louder, liking the feel of the strange words on his tongue.
The two Elves outside the cells looked up startled.
"What is that one singing?" Calenthar said, turning to Cuil.
The older Elf smiled.
"The barrel song!" he exclaimed. "Where did he learn that?"
Calenthar laughed merrily.
"This has been one rather strange night, has it not?"
"And will get stranger still."
They both turned to see Tanglinna coming down the torch lit hall toward them. The tall silver haired archer was grinning like a cat that had eaten all the cream, and Cuil and Calenthar wondered what this boded. A couple seconds later Prince Legolas came tripping lightly to join them.
"Greetings, Cuil! Greetings, Calenthar! Oops!" He slipped on the end of the long robe - Thranduil was slightly taller than his son - and grinned, sweeping a graceful bow at them. The ornate circlet slid on his locks and he grabbed at it, giggling. "Oopsies!"
Cuil's eyes widened in rather horrified surprise at the sight.
The Master Archer gazed at him, eyes bright.
"He has come to serenade the Dwarves."
Cuil's brows rose.
"Is that wise?"
"The king is wise and good." Legolas sang. "Or is it good and wise? Where are they? My admirers." He moved passed the two guards and peered into Gloin's cell. "Oh! It is you!" he gasped in Westron. " 'Fair as a rose in May'."
Gloin looked up and stared in amazement at the vision outside his cell. He had not been the one to liken the fair Elf maiden to a rose in May - that had been Balin. But he cared not. She was here talking to him.
"Greetings, Master Dwarf."
The voice was deeper than Gloin had expected and for a moment doubt assailed him. He had imagined Elf maidens as having fair high voices. But perhaps he was wrong. It was a very pleasant voice, fair in its own way. What cared he if it wasn't exactly what he had expected. Dwarf maidens had rather gruff voices after all.
:Nay: he thought. :They were mistaken. This is a maiden:
"I have come to sing to you." Legolas continued, smiling sweetly. "Oh! And this!" He blew a few bubbles into the cell. "Aren't they very nice?"
Gloin watched with growing puzzlement at the shining orbs of soap. One popped on his nose and a small chime sounded. His eyes widened and he reached a stubby, calloused finger to pop another. He smiled and Legolas laughed with delight. Gloin turned to him and tugged off his rather forlorn white hood. His heart was playing a merry tune in his chest and he felt so happy and honored that he smiled widely.
"You came to sing to me?"
"How are you faring, Master Dwarf?" Blue eyes sparkled and shone in the dim light, showing concern for the prisoner held so cruelly by his father.
It touched Gloin's heart as not much else had - or would - in his life.
"Your father has been very gracious, my lady.' He answered, bowing, his hood in his hands.
"My lady!" Legolas snorted and fell to giggling once more.
Gloin was enchanted with the fair laughter. She was smiling at him - at him a Dwarf! - eyes lovely and bright. He bowed once more.
"Gloin at your service."
"Legolas the Sparkly Green at yours." He bowed, banging his head on the cell door. "Ouch!" He pushed the wayward circlet back into place.
Calenthar and Cuil exchanged worried glances.
"Tanglinna - " Cuil began.
"Let him get it out of his system, Cuil." The Master Archer grinned, leaning negligently against the wall, arms crossed over his chest. "I'll put him to bed in a bit."
Calenthar glanced nervously at his companion.
"Where is the king?" he whispered.
Cuil shrugged and wondered the same thing remembering the muffled echoes of a shout heard earlier.
"I know not, but as long as he is not where we are we will be fine."
"Legolas." Gloin breathed. "The Sparkly Green." Elves did have rather strange names. "I am pleased to meet you, Princess Legolas."
"Princess Legolas!" the "princess" snorted with delight and turned to look at Tanglinna. "He called me "princess"." He broke into a fit of laughter, dropping to the floor in a green heap, his heavy circlet askew once more, the emeralds tinkling against one another musically.
Bilbo crept into this hall clinging to the shadows. He noted the doors of the cells and felt a moment's elation. He wondered how many of the Dwarves were here. The corridor continued down into darkness, a place the Hobbit had not explored before. He moved quietly to the darkest corner and sat down to wait. He had learned patience if nothing else here.
: Poor Prince Legolas! : he thought, shaking his head. : If I had known pipeweed would do this to him I would never have offered it! Wood Elves are very strange indeed. :
His eyes went to Tanglinna, who seemed more amused than he should be.
"You had better sing to the Dwarves, nin caun. [my prince] It grows late."
Legolas pushed himself up and straightened his green robes, then smiled beatifically.
"Of course." He turned to Gloin once more. "Do you have any requests?"
"Anything that comes from your silver throat will be glorious to my ears."
Legolas stared at him in wonder.
"Isn't that just the sweetest thing he could say? You have a golden tongue yourself, Master Gloin."
Gloin flushed with pleasure and lowered his eyes, smiling.
: She said my name. : he thought with deepest wonder and honor.
"Do you know a song we could sing together perchance?" Legolas asked. "Let him out!" He told Calenthar and Cuil. "Now." He glared imperiously at them when they hesitated.
They looked to Tanglinna who shrugged. What could one Dwarf do after all.
Cuil shook his head and pulled out the keys, unlocking Gloin's cell.
The Dwarf couldn't believe this was happening and stepped shyly into the hall to stand gazing up at his maiden. Her eyes were so bright, unnaturally bright he thought. But her beauty was overwhelming to him. He flushed again and dropped his eyes to the grey stone of the floor, wringing his hood in his hands.
"Are there any of our songs that you know, Master Gloin?"
"There .there is only one." He stammered. "Though I know not exactly what it might mean."
"What is it?" Legolas blew more bubbles, popping them and filling the air with music.
Gloin cleared his throat and sang the first part of the one song he knew from Mirkwood.
"The barrel song!" Legolas exclaimed. "I like that one! Let's sing it."
Two rather diverse voices filled the air beneath Gladaran Thamas: one deep and gruff; one fair and clear.
"Roll - roll - roll - roll - roll - roll - rolling down the hole! Heave ho! Splash plump! Down they go, down they bump!"
Tanglinna laughed soundlessly as he watched the impromptu duet. Even Calenthar and Cuil were trying not to burst into helpless mirth. Bilbo sat in his corner and clamped one hand over his own mouth, his eyes twinkling with amusement. This was something he would never forget!
At the end of the , which they sang many times, Legolas turned glowing eyes to the Dwarf.
"That was wonderful."
The applause of the watching Elves and the listening Dwarves who were still trying to figure out what was going on, filled the hallway and echoed off the stone ceiling.
Legolas made a graceful bow. Gloin turned red and managed to bend at his waist.
"Thank you." The Elf prince said. "Thank you." He turned to the Dwarf. "You have a very nice voice, rather like stone singing. If stone sings. Does it?"
Gloin stared up at him in some confusion. What was she speaking of? Stone singing.
But then Legolas bent and threw his arms about the stunned Dwarf.
"You are rather a sweet thing." He said straightening. "Is there anything that I can do for you, Master Gloin?"
The Dwarf was still reeling from the embrace. She did smell good, though both Balin and Nori were wrong. It wasn't roses or honeysuckle as they supposed. It was something more elusive than that. More like lilacs. Being emboldened by her graciousness, he bowed, and dared to kiss her slim pale hand.
"Nothing, my lady, unless it might be - unless it is permitted to ask, nay to name a single lock of your fair hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine."
Bilbo started suddenly.
: Oh, poor Gloin! : he thought. : He will never learn. :
Legolas stared at the Dwarf.
"Have you ever heard anything asked so beautifully?" he said, drawing a slender ornamental dagger from the belt at his waist. It was encrusted with small white stones and the end set with a single emerald.
"Prince Legolas! What are you doing?" Cuil said, standing straight, his eyes worried.
"He asked a lock of my hair which surpasses the gold of the earth. Isn't that so lovely?" He grasped the warrior braid dangling at his left ear.
"No! Prince Legolas not that!"
"Why not it is my hair!"
"My prince." Tanglinna finally stepped forward, one hand raised to stop him. It was then that Thranduil entered, his face still full of anger. He halted abruptly, his eyes taking in the scene before him: Cuil and Calenthar looking stricken; Tanglinna moving toward Legolas, who stood with one braid clasped in slender fingers, a dagger held to slice it off; and a Dwarf looking positively love sick!
"What is this!?" He demanded. "Someone had better -!"
Just then Brethil and Tavor came round the corner at a dead run and Brethil bumped into the king sending him flying forward. Tanglinna gasped and moved to break his fall, bumping Legolas' arm.
Thranduil grunted as Tanglinna caught him, and prevented a rather embarrassing spill to the floor. He stood, eyes blazing as he turned to look at Brethil and Tavor.
Tavor knew he was dying this time. His heart had stopped.
Brethil just stood staring at Thranduil his mouth hanging open.
"I am so sorry." He began to stammer when they heard Legolas say:
"Here is your lock of hair, Master Gloin. With my compliments." And he handed the dazed Dwarf his warrior braid.
The Barrel Song is in the Hobbit and is sung by the Wood Elves of Mirkwood. I thought it a rather silly song for Thranduil's Elves to sing, but since Master Tolkien himself said they did, then they did!
When Gloin asks for a lock of Legolas' hair this is almost a direct quote from FOTR. I think you know when!! Gimli's skilled tongue had to come from somewhere!
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.