Nine Is As Nine Does
(Aka Elrond Rants About Symmetry, An OFUM Class)
by Camilla Sandman
Author's Note: Based on the original idea from The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth (http://www.lotrfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?sid=463), we present a unique look into OFUM's classes...
The door slammed open, making all students jump in their seats, wondering if a stray Mūmakil was on the loose again. If only they had been so lucky.
"Children," Lord Elrond said icily, slamming down a ton of books on his desk. The desk groaned fearfully, perhaps remembering what had happened the last time. The student might have found it painful to do nine times nine sit-ups with a desk wobbling on her knees, but a desk had feelings and aching wood too.
"Today, children, we shall talk about numbers," Lord Elrond went on.
"Don't we always?" one student muttered and hastily looked down when the Elf Lord gave her a cool stare.
"I would talk about it less if you understood it more," Elrond replied. He flipped open a book. "Now, count for me again. One..."
"Strider, aka Aragorn, Elessar the King of Gondor, Estel, faithful-to-Arwen-non-Legolas-shagger," the class intoned dully.
"Gimli, not 'Ew, the Walking Beard'."
"Legolas, not Orlando Bloom."
"Gandalf - Maia, Maia, Maia, not Man."
"Very good class," Elrond said, clapping his hands together. "And who is not ten?"
"Arwen's sister, girl from our world, vampire chick, Legolas's sister, Harry Potter, Buffy, Stupid!Name from Invented!Land, Aragorn's sister, Will Turner, Sauron's daughter, evil-assassin-until-Legolas's-love-redeems-her, Elf Maiden of Kick-Ass, …owyn's sister, hobbit lass, Boromir's sister," the class rambled off. Elrond beamed.
"Good, good. You are listening. Now why is it not ten?"
The class fell silent, some students exchanging looks. Finally one dared raise her hand.
"Because since they have Bill the addition would make it eleven?" she ventured.
"No!" Elrond leaned forward, looking like he might start tossing iron-cast nines again. A few students ducked hastily. "Bill was a pony! It is not ten because it is nine! Nine! As it is said in 'Lord Elrond Speaks: Listen Or Be Hung By Your Ears': You shall count to nine, nine is the number of your counting. You shall not count to ten, nor to eleven. Nine is the number of the Fellowship."
He paused, smacking away a hand that attempted to grope a feel as he walked past. "I have written it on all your foreheads after every class. Why are you not grasping this? Nine Walkers. Nine Ringwraiths. N-I-N-E. And nine and nine means..."
"Eighteen?" a student suggested.
The Elf Lord rolled his eyes. "Good. You know math. Then you know nine and nine are the same number. There is balance, symmetry, symbolism. Sadly, Gandalf ruined that by inconveniently falling down an abyss, but the fact remains - Nine. Nine set out from my very nice Rivendell, which by the way is not a kingdom."
Several students sighed loudly, mostly Elf Maiden who had enrolled as "UnlikelyElvenName, Princess of Riverdale". Sadly, Riverdale was not a mini who liked to have Princesses, but did like to make Royal drapes out of them.
"Now that we have covered the Nine Walkers for the nine hundred and ninety-ninth time," Elrond went on. "Rings! Seven Rings for..."
"The not-hot Dwarves," the class muttered. A few moments later quite a few of them groaned as hard axes made contact with softer bums. Dwarves might not look it, but they heard well and threw fast.
"Men that became Nine Ringwraiths, nine, nine, nine," the class said, slightly more enthusiastic. Men were hotter, after all.
"Sauron, Dark Lord, Shape of Eye, not literal Eyeball."
"Good, good! And three for..."
"Elves!" squee'ed half the students.
"And the Three were carried by three, and three times three is nine and with that happy, happy thought, you can all leave and start your essays on 'Basic Math: One Ring Means One Only'. I expect at least a thousand words and not the same one over and over again."
The students filed out, some complaining about the essays, while some lost in Elven fantasies already. Elrond watched them all leave, then sat down and leaned back. He was slightly pleased. Progress was progress. At least this time they hadn't tried to convince him to hold a raffle for that Tenth Elusive Spot. As if! He snorted lightly.
After all, they all knew who the real Not-Tenth member of the Fellowship was.
He got up. It was time for tea in the staff room and he had a few ideas to exchange with Lord Denethor, who was due to have a class on 'Royal Is as Stewards Isn't'. A pair of eyes watched him leaving, sighing softly.
"Not mentioned today either, Precioussss..."
So little love for the Non-Tenth.