21. Shrieking Spiders
"It is his fault, father." Aralith began. "I know it is. Who else lets spiders into the palace!"
: Spiders? : Legolas thought with confusion. "What spiders?" he asked feeling slight exasperation rise in him. What had he said about spiders lately? He thought he was here because of Bilbo.
"It seems," Thranduil interrupted before Aralith could give vent to his own ire. "That Aralith is being.uh, followed by a spider. Here in the palace. Do you know anything about this, Legolas?"
"Of course not. Gwibess wouldn't follow him around."
Aralith glared at him.
"You are the only one who seems to want them in the palace. How many of them are there?" He asked in an accusing tone. He truly didn't like having his fear ever before him and wanted the stalking to end. He shuddered involuntarily, eyes darting about the room wondering where the spider was right now.
Legolas frowned again. He had no idea how many of them there were or for that matter where they were. He didn't even know where Gwibess was. Then he thought back to his father's face the morning after the "Dread Pipeweed Incident", perfectly made up. The other spiders. He swallowed. Were they still here?
"Are we remembering now, little Greenleaf?" Thranduil asked, a rather too bland expression on his face. He, too, was wondering if Aralith's spider was one of the ones that had decorated his face with berry juice.
The youngest Mirkwood prince grimaced.
"I .I really don't know how many there are. But I didn't let them in! Father, you know I wouldn't do that!"
"Do I?" Thranduil raised one elegant eyebrow. "Well, you are going to let them out. Today! Go find Tavor and Brethil and get them out of here."
Legolas sighed and nodded. At least his father hadn't mentioned Bilbo. Perhaps Thranduil would forget about Bilbo if they could make the spider chase an interesting enough tale.
Aralith scowled at him, folding his arms over his chest.
"And make sure they take them far from here, Father." He said smugly.
"Make sure they take them far from here?" Thranduil said, turning to his middle son. "But you are going with them, Aralith."
A strangled cry emitted from his throat and Aralith turned imploringly to his father.
"But.but you can't send me with them!" he began.
"I can and I am. It is time you faced up to your fears and conquered them. This seems a good place to start. A prince of Mirkwood afraid of spiders indeed." Thranduil looked quite pleased with his solution to the spider problem and watched his sons smugly.
Legolas tried to hide his own satisfied smile as he whispered: "The king is wise and good." But Thranduil noted it and turned to him.
"And little Greenleaf. When the spiders have been taken care of, you are to come find me. And by then you had better have a good answer to this question: Who is Bilbo?"
Stifling a groan Legolas left the room, followed by a muttering Aralith.
"This is all your fault, little brother." Aralith hissed. "We had better find that monster fast!" He shuddered and glanced down the torch lit hall. "I can't take this any more. I hate spiders!"
Legolas shook his head.
"Go get your bow and meet us by our old tree house."
"My bow?!" He gasped. "Alone? You want me to go to my room alone?!"
Mirkwood's youngest prince turned to look at his brother. He could see the dread and fear in the dark blue eyes. He almost felt sorry for him. But not quite enough. How many times had the roles been reversed? How many times had Aralith tormented him about Silivren Hithlain Man? He laughed.
"Yes. Alone. Unless you are afraid the big bad spider it going to get you first. Where is your Magic Spider Spray, big brother?""
Aralith narrowed his eyes.
"Very well, Legolas the Sparkly Green! At least I still have all my hair!" With that he spun away toward his room, ignoring the fear that hammered in his heart.
Legolas' fingers strayed to his hair.
"Ai, Valar." He moaned. "When will all this end? Why did we ever think taming Gwibess was a good thing! Wild spiders loose in the palace! Taking father's jewelry and robes. And then I will have to make up something about Bilbo." He shook his head. "I wish those Dwarves had never come to Mirkwood. I wonder why they did. And to think Bombur doesn't want to leave." His eyes widened. What could that mean? He frowned trying to remember exactly what he and Bilbo had been discussing. It had been about the Dwarves. Bombur didn't want to leave, and Gloin was thrilled with the Warrior braid that resided by his heart. And the song they had sung: the barrel song. "I hate that song." He whispered, walking down the hallway toward the magic doors. And then they had spoken of the empty barrels floating down the river. And the water-gate. Bilbo had seemed to be particularly interested in that part of the conversation. And then the island of the Men. And the Dragon in Erebor. Piece by slow piece the puzzle fell into place in his mind. "Oh, no!" he groaned. "Bilbo is going to free the Dwarves! Oh, no. And I know about it! Ai, Valar! I know about it!! I don't want to know. I don't want to know.I don't want to know! No! That can't be it! That can't! It.It is something else! Yes. He isn't going to free the Dwarves.he really isn't.he really." he groaned. "He really is. He is.and Father is going to ask me all about it.Elbereth help me! I can't afford another attack of Brethilitis!" Then slowly a twisted grin crossed his face. "Maybe a spider will get me first. Yes. That would solve everything. A spider bite! Yes! I will have to get one of them to bite me. Yes! That is the solution!"
Several Elves glanced in concern at their prince as he passed out the magic doors, muttering to himself about spider bites.
Remmith, Hiwdil, and Cablas had found an unused storage room that they had made their own. Since Remmith had acquired Aralith as a Master, the other two felt they didn't need one, since this one gave them anything they asked for. Many sparkling things adorned their room and several soft, glowing robes adorned their large bloated bodies.
"Who needs Masters?" They creaked happily, fondling their treasures.
"I think Gwibess is foolish to have Masters." Hiwdil said, stroking his long violet robe, his many eyes riveted on the silver, gold, and green stitching on the hem and the sleeves. "I look very nice. Perhaps I should be the Aran. [king] I wonder how loud I can be."
Cablas and Remmith exchanged skeptical glances.
"Why would you want to be the Aran of the shining ones?" Cablas asked, holding up a mithril chain with a smooth white stone dangling from it.
"THEN I COULD HAVE ALL THE SPARKLY THINGS AND SOFT ROBES FOR MYSELF! How was that?" He looked at his two fellow arachnids, grinning, fangs flashing.
They winced at the unexpected shriek and stopped their ears with their front legs.
"You have a lot now." Cablas said. "Remmith's new Master brings us everything we want. And I don't think the shining ones would like one of us as their Aran. They hate us!"
"And besides that," Remmith commented, lowering his legs. "You weren't nearly as loud as Thrumb Dumb."
"I wasn't?" He cleared his throat. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I WASN'T AS LOUD AS THRUMB DUMB!!?? Was that better?" He smiled hopefully.
Remmith shook his furry head and put on an emerald necklace.
"Not nearly as loud."
"HOW ABOUT NOW!!!"
"Not yet." Cablas commented dryly wondering how long they would have to listen to Hiwdil trying to out-shriek Mirkwood's Aran.
"What is that?" Tavor asked, hearing a rather high pitched sound bounce down the corridor they were walking in as they hunted for the wayward spiders.
"Spiders!" Aralith shrieked and jumped forward to grab Tavor's arm, his dark blue eyes wide with terror.
Tavor grimaced and shook his hand off.
"Really, Prince Aralith." He said, shaking his head with disbelief. "You should learn to control yourself. Honestly."
"Just as you controlled yourself when you called my father immature and a spoiled child? Or when you tamed a spider? A spider?!" Aralith shot back.
Tavor turned to stare at him.
"How do you know what I said?" He asked, his face reddening.
"I know a lot of things. The three of you never control yourselves! You always do things without thinking. That is why we are here hunting spiders! In the palace!"
Brethil stared at him and shook his head.
"We are really sorry about that spider, Prince Aralith. Honestly, we don't know where it came from. Gwibess is a harmless spider. She would never hurt anyone. She is really rather sweet for a spider. And she looks so cute in Legolas sparkly green robes from the feasts. And when she puts on the jewelry we gave her - well, your father doesn't look as pretty as she does! And well, it is true that we were going to use her to scare you, but-"
"Shut up, Brethil!" Tavor and Aralith hissed.
Only Legolas remained silent. He was still wondering how he could manage to get a spider to bite him.
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.