Bilbo had the uncomfortable feeling that the voices he had heard indistinctly before were now talking about him. He opened his eyes and saw two slightly blurry Elves above him. When the Hobbit lifted his hands to rub his eyes, he found they were tied together. Rubbing his face, he missed the smooth feel of the ring on his right hand's first finger and yanked his hands away, opening his eyes quickly. As he feared, the ring was not on his finger. He looked up at the Elves, anger and fear at war.
The dark-haired, grey-eyed Elf of before was there, and it was he who held up the golden ring on a thin and lovely silver chain. "You have a ... an interesting way of being unseen," he remarked coolly. "I have not heard of such a way before."
The other Elf was also dark haired, but had dark blue eyes instead of grey. "Who are you, hob-bit? What is this ring?"
Bilbo almost told them who he was, but when the Elf asked what the ring was, he snapped his mouth shut. It was his ring, but that wasn't the kind of explanation that would satisfy them.
"Ah! stubborn. Like a Dwarf," muttered the blue-eyed Elf. The latter phrase he spoke like an insult.
"I am no Dwarf," objected Bilbo. "My friends may be, but as for me -- " He suddenly realized that he might have just sent himself to jail and shut his mouth again.
"Ah!" said Blue-eyes again. "You have Dwarves for friends, then?" The expression in Bilbo's eyes was as much answer as he needed. "This changes some things, does it not, brother?" he remarked to the Elf who found Bilbo.
"Ta thenin, gwador-nin," the first Elf replied, nodding. "No more are they thirteen, if this hob-bit is a member of their party."
Bilbo watched in silence as they conversed quietly for a minute in Sindarin. They seemed to reach a decision and grasped forearms, murmuring words of parting. The one with blue eyes left, piercing Bilbo with a glance just before the door shut. The first Elf turned back to Bilbo and mock-bowed.
"Legolas Thranduilion, hob-bit, Prince of Mirkwood."
Bilbo winced. The son of the King of Mirkwood held his ring in his hand.
"What is your name, hob-bit?"
"Stop saying it like that!" Bilbo grumbled. "It's not hob-bit, it's Hobbit!"
"What is your name?" repeated Legolas sternly.
"Bilbo Baggins," said Bilbo, a little sullenly.
"Bil-bo Bag-gins." Legolas said the name carefully, with the air of a connoisseur. "Strange name. Where are you from, Bil-bo?"
"It's one word," muttered Bilbo. "No dash."
"Where -- are -- you -- from?"
"The Shire, if you must know. I am a friend of Gandalf the Grey."
Bilbo thought it was an ejaculation until he remembered Gandalf being addressed by that name (or something like it) in Rivendell. He nodded a little.
"You know Mithrandir?" Legolas looked very surprised a moment, before obviously recovering himself. "Yes, ah ... where is the -- Shire, you said?"
"Yes, the Shire."
Bilbo gestured vaguely. "West, past Rivendell."
Legolas paused to think. "Friend of Mithrandir," he said musingly. "Friend. Where were you headed?" he asked abruptly.
"For -- " Bilbo almost said it. It was on the tip of his tongue. Fortunately, he remembered in time that the Dwarves had not told either and that they must have had a reason for telling. Again, he snapped his mouth shut.
"For?" prodded Legolas.
Bilbo said nothing.
Legolas sighed. "You are a curious person, Bilbo Baggins. Since you will not tell us where you and your Dwarf friends were going, I must tell you that none of your party will be arriving there anytime soon."
Bilbo swallowed. If he didn't tell, they would all be locked away in the King's dungeons, perhaps for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, if he did tell, who knew what would happen?
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.