The Eight Companions: A Battle for an Elf's Sanity
Disclaimer: The world and characters are Tolkien’s. I’m just borrowing them.
Chapter One: The Best Laid Plans
“Not one word. Not one simple, Valar-blessed, word.” Legolas said, viciously ripping at the hideous – the only word for it - Tuor thought – the hideous red and violet cloak that hung around his shoulders. However, the fabric was of high quality, and with a muttered curse that Tuor could only guess at, the Prince sliced at it with a slim dagger. While curious, Tour could not help but admire his friend’s skill. After all, it took real talent to decimate a cloak with that many gems sewn into it in a matter of seconds. The Prince flicked the last strand of the offending garment onto the floor and sat down, his eyes still dark with anger.
“My, my, Lord Prince, your flair for the dramatic is improving,” a dark haired Noldo said, glancing up from a nearby table where he and Glorfindel were engaged in a heated chess match. Tuor turned to face the speaker. He was Gelmir, son of Guilin, who had been the first casualty at the Nirnaeth. His time in Mandos had ended a few years before Legolas had arrived in the Blessed Realm.
“Aye, ‘tis a pity, really that Daeron or Maglor, or even that noble Perian, Bilbo, was not present, for a new song would have been born.” Glorfindel added. “Of Legolas and the Fall of the Red Cloak.’ It has a pleasing ring to it, I deem. And my good Lord Gelmir, you are now in check.” This last comment instantly recaptured Gelmir’s attention, causing him to miss the dark glance Legolas shot in his direction.
However, its significance was not lost on Tuor. In the years since Legolas had come to Valinor, Tuor had become very close to the Sindarin prince. For in Legolas, Tuor had found an Elf who not only knew much of the ways of mortals – for both during the War of the Ring and his later years in Ithilien, he had been in close contact with the remnants of the Edain – but welcomed them. Likewise, Legolas too had warmed quickly to Tuor, finding in him one whose personal qualities would at times remind him of Gimli, Aragorn, Frodo, and the other mortals he had befriended and lost.
However, in all the years of their friendship, Tuor had never seen his friend looking quite this angry. The mere fact that Gelmir and Glorfindel had not received any reply to their comments was evidence enough – it was rare for any elf to let such a comment slide, and it was rare indeed that Legolas was unable to come up with a speedy reply. Yes, Tuor decided, Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Eryn Lasgalen and Lord of Elves of Ithilien, and one of the Nine Walkers – titles which really had no meaning in the Lands of Valinor, but which he had not been able to cast aside – was not happy.
“How bad was it this time?” Tuor asked gently. “Shall I send for Lord Elrond?”
“Nay,” Legolas said, shuddering. “I would not expose him once more to such horrors.” Eyes turned grey by anger shifted to Tuor. “They had me being forced to wed! And as if that wasn’t enough, my Father was portrayed as an imbecile, Boromir as a fool, Aragorn’s name had been changed to Aragon, and the lady I was to wed was the youngest daughter of Lord Elrond; for he had inexplicably gained several daughters besides Lady Arwen. And she had violet eyes.” Legolas banged the table, sending chess pieces rattling to the floor. Several elves turned to look at him. Legolas bowed in silent apology, then lowered his voice. “Tuor, in all your years in Gondolin, and amongst the Edain, did you ever see violet eyes among either kindred?”
“Well, truth be told, some of Vanyarin descent do possess eyes near that shade,” Tuor said carefully. ‘But if the Lady was truly as you describe her, then it would be nigh near impossible.” Tuor paused. “How did you manage to escape this time?”
Legolas sighed. “I merely told her…” His voice trailed off. Tuor turned to see Elladan and Elrohir, twin sons of Elrond, coming towards them.
“Legolas! Mithrandir told us of your tale of woe. I thought that Lady VairŽ had helped to take care of that particular problem, of late.” Elrohir said, pulling a chair up to the table. Elladan did likewise, his face full of sympathy.
“Aye, she has woven all my titles into my tale, which requires anyone who tries to summon me to know every last one of them.” Tuor nodded. VairŽ had been most understanding, having already had similar problems arise with Maedhros, Finrod, and the like. None of the Valar were quite sure why the Elves could be pulled from Valinor. Many theories had been tossed about; the most popular favoring the strange disappearances and subsequent tales of woe as the last attempts of the remnants of Morgoth’s followers on Middle-Earth to return their Lord to power. Naturally, Morgoth had denied this, and while many had ignored his denials, the Valar would say nothing, adding that Eru had said only that all would be revealed, ere the End.
Luckily, it had been discovered that such disappearances were preventable, if enough minute details about one’s life were woven into VairŽ’s great tapestries. Tuor had not felt the need to edit his own life; the few times he had been summoned, he had merely relived bits of the lesser-known parts of his life. However, many of the sons of FŽanor, and Finrod, Fingon, Maeglin, Eol, Elrond, Thranduil and others had returned from such journeys furious, amused, or shaken, depending on their different natures.
However, none had suffered quite so much as the former prince of Greenwood the Great. Tuor wondered what particular quality Legolas possessed, which made him such a common target. He looked at his friend, objectively assessing his features. He was comely enough, his features no less pleasing that that of any other of Sindarin descent. He was slender, as were many of the Teleri; his eyes a strange mixture of grey and green that reminded Tuor of woodlands and swift rivers. His most distinctive feature was his hair. It constantly seemed to shift from the pale silver hue of some of the Teleri, to the golden shades of the Vanyar, to the dark hair of the Noldor. Perhaps that was the answer, Tuor decided. Maybe…
“Tuor!” Startled, Tuor looked up. “By the Valar, Son of the Edain, we thought you had fallen asleep!” Elladan said. “Tis a wonder that you escaped Gondolin at all, if this is to be taken as a demonstration of your attention span.”
“Aye, I believe my respect and awe for Lady Idril has just risen even higher, if this is who she had to work with,” Elrohir agreed.
“I remind you, good Elladan and Elrohir, that I am your great-grandfather, and the same blood runs in our veins.” The twins grinned, conceding the point. “I apologize for not responding, I was merely contemplating Legolas’s hair. Mayhap, Legolas, if you asked Lady VairŽ to specify a color for your locks in her weavings, you may halt some of your disappearances.”
“A reasonable assumption,” Legolas said “I shall see to that directly.”
“I still say that you should merely have the Lady weave Liriel’s….” Elladan began
“Nay!” Legolas said. ‘She lies in Mandos still, and we are not yet wed, though we shall when the time comes and she returns. I will not have her character maligned or, worse still, her time in Mandos corrupted by those foul….experiences. Better I bear this burden alone.”
“It was merely a suggestion, as it appears that the Elves most targeted seem to be unmarried and male, and perhaps proving the existence of your betrothed would end such things,” Elladan said. “But I digress. You have yet to tell us how you escaped this time.”
Legolas stiffened, his face reddening slightly. “I would rather not say,”
“Come now,” Elrohir coaxed. “It can’t be any worse than Glorfindel’s note to that one maiden, stating that his battle with the Balrog was merely a lover’s quarrel gone wrong, and that the destruction of his one true love had put him off romantic relations forever more.”
“I was quite proud of that tale,” Glorfindel called. “And there is a certain dark beauty in a creature with whips of flame…”
Gelmir looked at Glorfindel, his expression a mixture of horror and awe. “I had never really given credence to the tales that claimed you were released from the Halls too soon, ere you just spoke.”
Legolas laughed. “No, not that wild, though a tad embarrassing,” he admitted.
“Speak, son of Thranduil!” Elrohir demanded. “Or I will be forced to tell a tale I heard from Faramir ere we departed, about a certain Elf’s encounter with Dwarven mead…”
Elrohir grinned as four pairs of eyes fixed on him expectantly.
“I surrender,” Legolas said, grinning. “I told her that I had loved Elladan.” Legolas smirked at the nauseated look that passed over the dark haired elf’s face. “Aye, that was her reaction as well, Then I told her that when you had rejected my love, my heart had turned to Sauron, and my presence on the quest had merely been a desperate attempt to go to Mordor and declare my love.”
“Anything else?” Tuor asked, wondering what more could have been said.
“Nay,” Legolas said. “It was at that point the maiden screamed…I cannot remember what she called me, but it had something to do with me being very happy.” The other Elves nodded; their own brief experiences in that strange alternate reality had shown them that the ways of human maidens working under the influence of Morgoth were very strange indeed.
“And so you returned, mostly intact, save that truly horrible cloak,” Tuor said, suppressing a shudder.
“Sadly, she escaped ere I could throw that foul creation over her head,” Legolas commented. .”At least I had the satisfaction of destroying it.” He sighed. “I would have rather not had to have to deal with it at all. Tuor, there must be a way of escaping them, of adding something to my life that is not common knowledge on Middle-Earth.”
“Checkmate, Lord Glorfindel,“ Gelmir said, standing. Glorfindel swore and stood also. The two carried chars over to where Legolas and the others were sitting. “You should have lived in the Years of the Trees,” Gelmir commented. “I have never been summoned, and my wife is not mentioned in any of the common histories that I remember.”
“Indeed,” Glorfindel agreed. “Although,” he sent a sly glance at Gelmir. “Most of the Elves of Nargothrond have escaped, save Lord Finrod. Perhaps your realm was not exciting enough to attract such attention?”
“What was not exciting enough?” The assembled elves turned to greet the newcomer, a Noldo with facial features similar to Gelmir’s
“Greetings, Gwindor,” Tuor said, turning to the newly re-embodied Elf Lord. “Glorfindel was merely commenting on life in Nargothrond.”
“Better a dull life than declaring love to a Balrog. After all, Glorfindel is not wedded yet…” Gwindor said, slyly.
Glorfindel glared as the other five laughed. ‘If we may return to Legolas’s question,” he said, a tad stiffly. “Surely there is a way for him to add something to his life. I would suggest perhaps some time spent in Doriath…”
“Too predictable,” Legolas said, shaking his head. “Through Oropher my father’s father, I can claim kinship with both Elu Thingol and Celeborn. Besides, it is well known as a Sindarin kingdom.”
“I would suggest Nargothrond, were it not certain that you would soon be er…involved with Finrod or Orodreth, or possibly the Sons of FŽanor,” Gwindor said. ‘I mean no offense Legolas, but you do tend to be called on to do the strangest things…”
“Or worse still, he would have been involved with me,” a feminine voice said. Gwindor stood, wrapping his arms around the newest arrival. Finduilas smiled, standing on tiptoe and placing a light kiss on his cheek. Gelmir brought yet another chair over, and she sat down, murmuring her thanks. “You are a wonderful elf, Legolas, but my heart being turned against my will to Tķrin was quite enough.”
“Well, that eliminates Doriath and Nargothrond,” Glorfindel said. “And I daresay Imladris and Lorien are too obvious. Perhaps the Realm of the Falathrim...”
Tuor listened quietly, considering each option. He agreed with Gelmir’s assessment that a First Age persona would definitely benefit Legolas. The Falas certainly sounded promising, yet something did not seem quite right. For Legolas, while he could trace his family line to the host of the Teleri, was a wood-elf in spirit, no matter how strongly the sea-longing had awakened in his heart. Besides, the Falas were nearly as well-known as a Sindarin haven as Doriath...
Suddenly, it came to him. “Gondolin,” Tuor said quietly. Elladan, who had been speaking, stopped and turned to him. “Legolas should consider Gondolin.” Tuor spoke quickly, the ideas falling into place. “It’s the last place one would think to look for him. And Gondolin would not reject another warrior.”
Glorfindel nodded. “Aye. It is ideal. Legolas, you could not be a Lord…”
“I do not wish to be,” Legolas said quickly.
“That is good,” Glorfindel said. “Tuor, what say you to Legolas being a soldier that escaped with you and Idril? We can leave the tale of how he came to be Thranduil’s son a complete mystery.”
“Aye,” Tuor said. “Tis sad that Galdor was ever in the vanguard when we escaped, with many others who were loyal to him. And I am sure he would not mind….”
“It’s settled then,” Glorfindel said. “I introduce you all to Legolas Greenleaf, a night-sighted elf in the service of Galdor of the Tree, a Lord of Gondolin.”
Glorfindel shrugged. “It sounds like a useful trait.”
“Will Turgon agree to the addition?” Legolas asked. ”I am sure Lady VairŽ would not mind altering my story – indeed, I oft wonder at how much she truly knows, for Mandos knows much of what has passed and what will come to be, and it is natural he would share such information with his spouse. However she would not consent to alter such things, even with Mandos’s approval without the consent of my would-be Lord. She is far too diplomatic to do otherwise.”
“I fear it is more that just Turgon’s opinion you need,” Gwindor said, Finduilas nodding in agreement. “For Turgon is the son of Fingolfin, and so his approval too is needed. Naturally Legolas will ask his father, and I deem it prudent to ask also Lord Finarfin, for Fingolfin will be swayed by his brother’s approval.
“My father will agree,” Legolas said. “If only to protect himself. Oft as not, he is summoned with me. And I daresay Lord Finarfin will listen to his granddaughter.”
Finduilas nodded. “I shall take the proper documents to him, ere all is decided.”
“I am sure Turgon would listen to Idril, as would Fingolfin,” Tuor said thoughtfully. ”She would not mind enquiring, I know.”
“Then it’s settled,” Elrohir said.
“Nay, “ Gwindor said softly. ”There is more. For Fingolfin followed the host of FŽanor….”
Tuor had not known it was possible for a group of elves to fall silent so quickly. He looked around with growing dismay. He had never met FŽanor; on the contrary, on his few visits to Mandos, he had gone out of his way to avoid a possible encounter with the Spirit of Fire. However, the expressions on his friends’ faces did not seem hopeful.
“He will never agree to something that Fingolfin and Finarfin support,’ Gelmir exclaimed. “And even if he would – for FŽanor’s hatred of Morgoth runs deeper than it does with any other – his sons would certainly convince him otherwise.”
“Nor will they support anything suggested by my father,” Legolas said quietly. “For Elu Thingol is my kin, and the Sons of FŽanor did not have good dealings with his realm.”
“And Celegorm and Curufin and Maedhros still hold a grudge against those who dwelt in Nargothrond,” Glorfindel added. “Why, not with the power of a Vala and 10,000 men could we do this.”
“Perhaps we do not need a Vala,” Finduilas said slowly. “There are other things that affect one’s judgment.” She paused. “Liquor, for example.”
“Are you suggesting that we incapacitate FŽanor through drink?” Elrohir asked skeptically.
“I believe the females in the service of Morgoth refer to it as getting one drank,” Legolas said. “Or is it getting one drunk? I fear I do not remember…”
“One does not simply walk into Mandos,” Glorfindel objected. “There are powers there that do not sleep. And the great Vala NŠmo is ever watchful.”
“Under normal circumstances, that is indeed the case.” She raised an eyebrow, a slow smile moving over her face. “Today, however, is not a normal day. “
“The Millennium Ball is tonight,” Tuor said, realization dawning on him. “Finduilas, it’s perfect. All those whose approval we need will be there, save perhaps Thranduil. And ManwŽ grants the residents of the Halls a physical form for the night, if I am not mistaken.”
“He does,” Glorfindel said. “Why the uncertainty? Did you not attend the last one?”
“Nay,” Tuor said, his tone more bitter than he would have liked. “I am counted among the Eldar only by the grace of the Valar and the One, after all. I was told that FŽanor merely forgot to add my name to the list in all the excitement, and not to take it as a personal slight that Idril was invited and I was not.”
“I remember that,” Finduilas said. “FŽanor also neglected to invite Lord ElwŽ, and OlwŽ and an entire host of the Teleri refused to come. As I recall, there was talk of an alternate ball being held on the shores of AlqualondŽ. I was in the Halls at the time, so I do not know for certain. Nevertheless, this time is to be different. It appears that someone convinced the FŽanorians that excluding several great lords was not prudent, and we are all invited this year.”
“My family and I as well?” Legolas asked.
“Naturally, for who would stand in the way of one of the Nine Walkers and his kin?” she replied.
“It is settled then,” Elladan said, an evil grin crossing his face. “We shall be the Eight Companions, set against the Eight of the House of FŽanor. We shall not rest, ere Legolas is granted permission to gain a First Age persona and is freed from the remnants of Morgoth’s power!”
Tuor smiled. The eight companions, indeed. He caught Legolas’s eyes and grinned. By the Valar, this was going to be fun.
Meanwhile, while the eight Elves planned strategy and filled out the necessary paperwork, while Idril laughed at the group and agreed to talk to her father, while Legolas debated potential hair colors with Elladan and Elrohir (the twins favored silver, while Legolas preferred dark hair), while Finduilas went to talk to Finarfin, while Glorfindel, Gelmir, Gwindor and Tuor debated which forms of liquor would be the most potent and placed bets as to which son of FŽanor would be most susceptible, the Halls of Mandos also buzzed with activity..
“Remind me once more why I agree to this?” Mandos asked, as he helped VairŽ roll one of her great tapestries.
“I am not sure, dear one,” she replied. “I suppose to comply with the wishes of ManwŽ, Varda, and Eru….” Her voice trailed off, as she noticed the direction of Mandos’s gaze. She sighed. “NŠmo, there is naught you can do about it. It will be gone from the Halls tomorrow.”
“VairŽ, it’s horrible. I had thought that perhaps this time would be better. For at least the sons of FŽanor, and FŽanor himself, had agreed to invite all the Lords this year. And while this increases the number of potential conflicts, at least it’s only one such gathering we have to worry about. But this…” Mandos gestured helplessly at the impossibly large gem that dangled from the center of the white ceiling, its multifaceted sides casting orange and blue lights all around the Hall.
VairŽ silently admitted he had a point. There was no doubting that the giant gem was masterfully crafted. FŽanor had obtained permission from Varda to capture the light of Luinil, a star that gave off blue light. Likewise, he had gathered the fiery orange light of Anar as Arien steered her chariot through the sky, and collected the while light of Isil. He had obtained crystals from AulŽ, and carefully imbued each crystal with the glow gathered from the heavens, Finally, he had fitted them together, creating a ball that spun gently, casting blue and orange light all around the Halls. She wondered what had possessed FŽanor to choose blue, orange and white . The One worked in mysterious ways…
“At least we need not worry about anyone not being able to see,” VairŽ said.
“Aye,” Mandos groused. “They’re all likely to go blind the moment they view that.”
“Cheer up,” VairŽ said. “Remember what you spoke of earlier? I daresay FŽanor will be hearing about his gem soon enough.”
“The Eight Companions,” Mandos agreed, sounding slightly happier. “I know that we are to remain impartial, but I cannot but wish for their success.”
“So you do not know of what will come to pass?” VairŽ asked, surprised.
“Aye, the outcome lies with Ilķvatar himself,” he stated somberly. “But come, my Lady, it is time we depart. The guests will be arriving soon.”
VairŽ smiled. “Yes, it is time to be off,” she agreed. She glanced once more at FŽanor’s spinning ball. There was something familiar about it – a description she had heard somewhere? She shook her head, She was almost certain that Legolas had said something after one of his disappearances, or perhaps one of the sons of Elrond. As she and Mandos flew from the Halls, she remained silent, lost in thought, trying to remember.
It was only later in the evening, long after the party was well under sway, that she remembered the term. “A Disco Ball.” she murmured.
“What was that, my Lady?” Mandos asked.
“Nothing, my Lord,” she said smiling, hearing the unmistakable sounds of elven music, laughter, and the faint clash of swords drifting from the home she shared with Mandos. “Nothing at all.”
A/N: This fic draws on references from the Unfinished Tales, the Silmarillion, essays and chapters from the History of Middle Earth books (though since I’ve only read bits and pieces of certain volumes, mostly on the internet, I cannot provide specific references) and (of course) Lord of the Rings. Liriel (Legolas’s betrothed) is my own creation, and is in essence my stab in the dark as to why he never has a spouse mentioned in LotR. DO NOT TAKE HER EXISTENCE AS PART OF CANON. Gelmir’s wife is also my own creation – there is no evidence as to whether he was married or not. The same goes for Elladan and Elrohir’s presence in Valinor; it is never stated what kindred they chose to be counted among.
This fic is inspired by discussions at the Silmfics list on what would happen if the Elves held a Great Party during the first age. This, in essence, is my response. A great deal of credit (blame?) goes to Adrian for firmly planting this idea in my head last night. ^_^