22. To Bite or Not to Bite
"That was quite good." He heard Bombur say. "Very light and fluffy. And very sweet!"
Bilbo could hear smacking noises as the Dwarf licked his fingers in delight.
"And what is that?" He exclaimed as his guards presented him with another dainty.
Bilbo shook his head in dismay.
: He will never want to leave! : He thought in despair and moved quietly on his way. What were they to do if the Dwarves refused to go? He knew that Thorin was chomping at the bit as it were and they couldn't leave fast enough! But Bombur and possibly Gloin were going to be problems. :Oh, bother those Dwarves! :
Parts of the hallway were not lit and the Hobbit had to feel his way along the wall with his hand. He could tell he was traveling downward, the floor sloping slightly beneath his feet. Presently he heard voices and soon entered a large cave like room where the ceiling had been cut away and covered with huge oaken trapdoors. Many, many barrels stood in this room and he crept to hide behind a rather large one. Several Elves were there talking and laughing together. It seemed that Legolas the Sparkly Green was still worthy of tales as they were discussing the youngest prince. Bilbo shook his head, feeling rather guilty about that night. But soon the talk turned to the party of the night before and the great fun they all had.
"Lots of empty barrels will be floating out today." One of them commented. "The men of Lake-town will know that we have had a party!"
The others laughed with him.
"Do you remember the time that the Tricksy Trio decided to float one of the barrel rafts to Lake-town themselves?" A tall Elf asked the others, his eyes alight with humor.
"Yea! And their poles got stuck in the river's bottom and Brethil wouldn't let go of his and he was stuck in the middle of the river clinging to his pole as the raft bearing Prince Legolas and Tavor floated away!"
Bilbo smiled as the Elves laughed at the exploits of the Tricksy Trio. Truly, they seemed a fun bunch. So perhaps things like this happened all the time here in Gladaran Thamas. He felt a little better. Then as he watched quietly, the Elves pushed several barrels into the water and opened the water-gate. Slowly they drifted out and were caught by the current and bobbed away.
: I wonder: he mused as he watched this operation for several moments. Then they came for his barrel and he slipped silently away. : Perhaps Mr. Invisible Baggins has an idea after all! :
Another shriek split the air as the Tricksy Trio and Aralith neared an area reserved for storage.
"They are in there!" Aralith gasped, clutching his bow.
"Obviously." Tavor commented dryly. "What are they doing do you suppose?" He asked Legolas. "Are we going to shoot them?" He glanced at Aralith whom he didn't trust not to shoot one of them in his current state of fear.
"Shoot them?" Legolas looked at him. He hadn't thought about how they would get the spiders out of the palace in his own current state of worry about the Question. "No. We cannot shoot them. I need them to bite me." He added to himself.
Another loud shriek shook the hall. Followed by what had to be spider laughter.
"What are they doing?" Brethil asked, with a smile on his face. He grabbed a torch from the lily shaped iron sconce on the wall. "They sound rather like the king in one of his moods."
"Don't let him hear you say that!" Legolas gulped. "We are in enough trouble. You.you don't suppose one would bite me, do you?" He asked hopefully, blue eyes wide with scant hope.
Tavor and Brethil turned to stare at him.
"Why are you worrying about that? You haven't been bitten in years." Tavor said, his eyes watching his friend with suspicious concern.
"He is just being silly and trying to help Aralith to get over his fear." Brethil said, smiling at Legolas for his supposed kindness to his brother. "You are so nice, Legolas."
Legolas frowned over at him, his dark brows knit in consternation. : No: he thought. :I really want one to bite me! :
Tavor moved forward, took the torch from Brethil, and pushed the door open. He wondering how many were in the room. He hoped it wasn't too many. That could get rather awkward, not to mention that it would draw entirely too much attention to them. And he was getting very tired of all the attention that had been lavished on them of late.
When the spiders saw the Elves they glanced at one another then they all shrieked as loudly as they could. They had talked themselves into believing that if they impressed any Elves with their loud shrieks then just perhaps one of them could be the Aran. Hiwdil was no longer the only one wishing to rule over the shining ones. They turned bright expectant eyes to the Elves, who were staring at them in astonishment.
"Who was louder, Shining Ones?" Remmith hissed, moving toward them. "It was I, wasn't it?" Then he caught sight of his own master. "Oh, Master! Did you hear me? I was as loud as your Adar. I just know that I was!" He leapt toward Aralith in excitement, crimson eyes alit with great pleasure.
The frightened prince gave a strangled cry and fled down the hall, his bow clattering on the floor.
"Ai, Valar." Tavor muttered. "Come on, spiders. Let's go." He motioned with his hand and turned to lead them from the room, fully expecting them to obey him instantly.
But the spiders didn't follow. Remmith was staring sadly down the hall after his master. He had come to like the cowardly prince during their time together and was rather distressed that the Elf ran every time he came into sight. Or shrieked himself, with fright. Hiwdil and Cablas were watching the other three, hoping that they would drop to their knees before the spider that had shrieked the loudest and name him their leader. Two of the Elves had turned to stare at the departing form of Remmith's master, then turned and spoke to one another in low musical voices, exchanging pitying yet irritated glances. But the other one was staring at the spiders with such a strange expression on his face that the spiders quaked slightly with apprehension. What was wrong with him?
Legolas took several deep breaths and edged closer to the arachnids.
"Please." He whispered in a fevered voice. "Bite me."
Cablas and Hiwdil shot confused glances at one another. Surely they had misunderstood what he had said.
"Please! Bite me! I need you to bite me!"
"What is he saying?" Cablas whispered hastily to his comrade.
"He.he wants us to bite him." Hiwdil whispered back, torn between wanting to flee the obviously insane Elf and oblige him. He had never bitten an Elf in his short life and he sincerely wanted to. But he knew that his shriek had been the loudest and he feared that biting this one might damage his chances of becoming the Aran. But the slim Elf did look tasty! He inched forward, wondering which desire was stronger.
But suddenly Brethil stepped forward and whapped the indecisive spider on the head with Aralith's discarded bow.
"None of that now. Come along. King Thranduil wants you to leave today and we are here to escort you out. Uh.may they take their.their sparkly things?" he asked quietly.
Tavor frowned, staring at the many jewels that flickered in the light of the torch. He looked to Legolas, uncertain as to what they should do. It would probably be easier to let the spiders take their loot and go than try to get them to leave without it. But the look of desperation on the other's face gave him pause.
"Legolas? What is it? Do we let them take the jewels or not? Does your father know how many they have.uh.accumulated? What did he tell you about it? What did your father say?"
Legolas moaned. "He said that I had better have an answer for the Question.and I don't! Please bite me!" He held his arm out to Hiwdil.
"Legolas what are you doing?" Brethil asked. "Why do you want that spider to bite you?"
"I told you! I don't have an answer to the Question!"
"What question?" Brethil asked, truly curious.
"The Question! Ai, Valar! The Question! Just bite me!"
Cablas stared at him in horror. There were many stories that the spiders told one another about the Shining Ones that hunted them so ruthlessly. For the first time fear shot through the young spider as he stared at the one standing before him, the white teeth bared, blues eyes flashing and one arm outstretched.
"They are mad!" he hissed. "Mad!" He shrieked in fear and leapt over the Elves, skittering across the ceiling to the door and fled down the hall, some of his jewels slipping to the floor in his haste.
Brethil and Tavor shot panicked looks at one another.
"It's getting away!" Brethil stated, watching it clamber over the stone ceiling, moving much faster than should have been possible.
"I see that, Brethil!" Tavor snorted in disgust. "Go after it!"
"Oh! Yes." And Brethil ran lightly down the hall.
Remmith watched his fleeing companion disappear into the darkness followed by the Elf who was calling after it. He turned to look at the two remaining Shining Ones and Hiwdil. Hiwdil was staring fixedly at the one that was Remmith's master's gwador. [brother] The two were bound by blood to suffer under the Aran who was their Adar as well. He knew the look in his fellow spider's eyes only too well. He was going to bite someone!
"Elbereth help us!" He creaked and leapt from the room, hurrying down the hallway after Brethil and Cablas as fast as his long, slender legs could carry him.
Tavor gasped and turned to stare after the spider.
"What did it just say?" he said to no one in particular. "Did he just say 'Elbereth help us'? Did a spider just call on Elbereth?!"
But Legolas was not listening to him and neither was the spider whose red gaze was fixed on Mirkwood's prince.
"He wants me to bite him!" he hissed. "He wants me to bite him!!" He bared his fangs and darted forward.
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.