|Young Lords I: Pass the Dorwinion
Author: Sanaryelle PM
What happens when you mix a young Elrond, Thranduil, Glorfindel, Erestor, Galdor, and a bottle of the finest Dorwinion? Read to find out! First in a trilogy.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Elrond & Glorfindel - Words: 7,399 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 51 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 12-10-05 - Published: 12-09-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2695038
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This was written on a whim; I'm no expert on Tolkien's world, Elvish history or language, so this story may be AU without my knowing it. Still, I think it's possible that this could have happened sometime between Sauron being driven from Eriador and the formation of the Last Alliance. If there are any incorrect facts in this, please let me know – I'll try to fix them. And I know words like "Cool", "Hey", "Fantastic", and "Brilliant" don't sound very Elvish, but they fit in with the context of the story. Besides, whatever they say is my English translation, right?
Just a reminder: Galdor was the elf sent by Cirdan from the Grey Havens to be present at the Council of Elrond. He struck me as a fellow who liked to ask a lot of questions!
If you're only here for a laugh, the fun really begins after the second row of X's. Feel free to scroll down if you wish!
Pass the Dorwinion
High King Gil-Galad had called, and therefore the Elf Lords had answered, some willingly, and others grudgingly. Young Lord Elrond had suffered resignedly through weeks of dinners, meetings, conferences, and negotiations, all the while trying to maintain a brave façade. However, the endless exertion was beginning to get on his nerves; in truth, he would have liked nothing better than to tell the Elf Lords to go to Angband for all he cared, and settle down with a book. Unfortunately for Elrond, the High King would have skinned him alive for such blatant impropriety, and the young Herald seethed beneath his calm, tranquil exterior. So, when Gil-Galad summoned Elrond to see him on this particular night, the young elf felt the beginnings of annoyance mounting within him – what could the King possibly want with him now?
Gil-Galad looked up at his Herald's entrance and rose to greet the half-elven messenger. Elrond pasted a gracious smile on his face and gave a deep bow. "My Lord?"
"Elrond", the King smiled thinly, forgoing titles. "I have noticed your diminishing enthusiasm concerning our political meetings."
The younger elf winced inwardly; had he really been showing it all these days? Wonderful, now he was going to get a lecture on the proper conduct of an elf of high standing… "Not at all, my Lord", he hurried to say. He knew that lying to the King was not the wisest thing he had done, and Gil-Galad's smirk widened in a knowing way – his Herald could keep very little from him.
"I just thought I would assign a task of quite a different nature to you tonight." The King spoke off-handedly, but Elrond's curiosity was roused – against his will. Any change to the endless tedium of attending his Lord during mind-numbing discussions was welcome. He waited respectfully for the older elf to continue. "Lord Oropher arrived earlier this morning", Gil-Galad said in an offhand way that didn't fool Elrond in the slightest, and straightened the papers on his massive desk. "I sense that he and I will have a long and – ah – private conversation."
"I see", Elrond said neutrally, although he had yet to discover his own part in this affair. He felt his interest in what was to come growing by the second.
"His only son has come with him", the High King finally explained, "An elf of about your own age. I thought you could perhaps entertain him this evening while your elders discuss dreary political matters."
Elrond blinked in surprise at the unusual request. He had not expected this! "Entertain him?" he repeated foolishly, then almost hit himself for how idiotic he sounded.
Gil-Galad's mouth twitched at the younger elf's consternation. "Of course!" he answered. "He is our guest, after all. Possibly one of Cirdan's young attendants would like to take part as well. You need only converse with them, walk with them, I daresay drink with them – whatever it is you youngsters do these days."
Elrond hid a smile at the expression. A youngster, was he? "I see", he said, his expression carefully composed once more. "When do I begin?"
The King nodded his approval. "I will summon you when you are needed", he said crisply, back to business. "Oropher's sense of timing is notoriously bad… Perhaps you should bring one of your own friends to make the Prince's acquaintance, as well. The more the merrier, would you not agree?"
"Of course, my Lord." Elrond bowed swiftly to hide his grin. This was the most peculiar assignment he had ever been given! Babysitting a Prince!
Elrond made his way to Gil-Galad's study later that evening. He had dressed carefully, in simple yet elegant robes of deep blue. Along the way, he was joined by Erestor, and they continued through the vast halls of the palace together. The young elf had been a councillor to the High King, and had taken up a position in Imladris when it was founded. The thoughtful, watchful elf had consequently become one of Elrond's closest friends, and the half-elf felt that if anyone could help him through the night, it would be Erestor. Certainly not Glorfindel! That elf was a menace wherever he went.
They eventually came to the High King's study, where four elves were awaiting them. Gil-Galad arose from his chair with a reserved smile. "Lord Oropher", he said, without more ado, "May I introduce my Herald, Lord Elrond of Imladris, and his councillor Lord Erestor." The elves bowed, and Elrond scrutinized Oropher, a powerfully-built ruler who would have looked more at home on a battlefield than in this room surrounded by books and tomes.
Elrond wondered why Gil-Galad seemed to be in such of a hurry to get the introductions done. He turned to the two other elves who had not yet risen. Gil-Galad cleared his throat, then said formally, "May I present Galdor of the Havens" – a bright-eyed young elf dressed all in grey leapt to his feet and bowed – "and Crown Prince Thranduil of the Greenwood." Elrond's bow was returned by only a slight inclination of the head. The prince lounged gracefully in his chair, one foot propped up on his knee in a most insolent manner. Unlike every other elf in the room he did not wear ceremonial robes, but rather green and brown forest garb; the only mark of his rank was a silver circlet in his hair. Elrond immediately felt apprehension concerning the coming evening. How in Middle Earth was he supposed to pass the time with this insufferable young elf who did not even have the good grace to bow when introduced? The Prince was obviously irritating Gil-Galad, and Elrond suddenly understood his King's eagerness to send him away.
The younger elves were all dismissed, and Elrond led them to a nearby courtyard he had reserved. A handsome oak-tree stood in one corner, and tall windows lined the walls surrounding them. Galdor readily sat at the small stone table with Elrond and Erestor, but Prince Thranduil leaned against a carved pillar, as if enjoying the advantage that the extra height gave him. Elrond's grey eyes met the Prince's green ones, and there was a hint of a challenge shining in them. No, this night was certainly not going to be painless.
"Lord Elrond?" Galdor burst out as soon as he touched his seat, his bright eyes inquisitive. "Not Lord Elrond Half-Elven who founded Imladris?" The dark-haired elf nodded, rather stunned at the youngster's enthusiasm. "But I thought you would be older!" Galdor exclaimed, eliciting an involuntary snort of laughter from Erestor. Elrond shot his friend a stern glare, before turning to the thrilled adolescent.
This Galdor would keep asking him questions until the sun came up, and Elrond decided that offence was his best defence. "You seem to know much about me", he acknowledged, "But what of you? The High King said you were from the Havens?"
Galdor nodded his fair head, successfully distracted. "Yes, I came with Lord Cirdan", he gushed. "He's a strange one, but mighty. Sometimes he's even friendly – he himself taught me how to build ships!"
"Really?" Thranduil spoke up without warning. His drawling accent made Elrond grit his teeth. "I can't imagine Cirdan teaching anything."
Galdor paused, uncertain whether he should take offence or not.
"Indeed", Erestor put in, prompt as ever, "Elves of his age and wisdom seem beyond such tasks."
Elrond mentally thanked his friend for smoothing everything over, and found himself cursing Thranduil for his lack of tact. The Prince seemed to be intent on making his duties this evening very difficult. At this point, Elrond would have almost welcomed the political meetings. But Thranduil had now turned from the conversation, languidly drawing one of the white knives he wore at his side. If Elrond didn't know better, he would have thought that the Wood Elf was admiring his own reflection in the blade. The young herald had to stop himself from throwing something at Thranduil, and turned back to the conversation. Fortunately, Galdor had enough energy to more than make up for the Prince's lack of participation.
"I don't suppose you have anything to drink around here?" Thranduil asked impudently a few minutes later, interrupting Erestor in mid-sentence.
Elrond forced a polite smile, all the while imagining something large and heavy falling on the Wood-Elf's blond head. "If you so wish, Your Highness", he replied. The Prince looked up sharply, suspicious that the half-elf was mocking him, but Elrond forestalled any quarrel by sending for some wine without delay. He poured four cups, and raised his own in salute. The other elves copied his gesture and drank.
Elrond watched the Prince out of the corner of his eye. At the first taste, Thranduil started, and then took another experimental sip. "Dorwinion", he noted. "Good vintage."
"Does the Prince know of wines?" Erestor asked in a more courteous tone than Elrond could have managed at that moment.
Thranduil inclined his head, a rare show of politeness. "A little." He took another sip, rolling it around his mouth. "Twenty-one, ninety… four?"
"Ninety-six, actually", Elrond answered, surprised. There was obviously more to Prince Thranduil than met the eye – he would have to be careful in the future.
Galdor had already finished his wine, and Elrond solicitously topped up his cup. "We do not have such luxuries in the Havens", a bashful Galdor confessed. "Ever since I arrived here, it has been a series of wonders."
Elrond couldn't stop himself from smiling at the young elf's naivety. "The Havens have their own beauties", he observed, attempting rather pathetically to keep the conversation going.
Thranduil looked at him closely, as if examining a pinned butterfly. "Have you been there, Lord Elrond?" he asked. The Herald wasn't given the chance to answer.
"Why?' Galdor cried, "You have not, Prince Thranduil? But you must come! The Havens are beautiful, and the Sea!" Elrond almost groaned aloud – that had definitely been the wrong thing to say.
The Prince's green eyes hardened with scorn. "You may not know, Galdor", he said with cold politeness, "But in my blood, once we set our eyes on the Sea our longing grows so that we can scarcely bear it."
The elves lapsed into an awkward silence. Elrond resisted the urge to roll his eyes, and took a steadying gulp of wine – oh yes, this was going to be a long evening.
Awkward silences had become something of a common occurrence as the evening darkened to night. During their seventeenth such awkward silence, Elrond was fervently wishing that he was somewhere else. It was abruptly shattered when a golden-haired elf burst into the courtyard, banging the doors wide open. "Elrond!" he called, striding over. "You did not tell me that you had company!" Judging by the stunned expressions on the faces of Galdor and Thranduil, the herald thought that had been a wise decision.
"Glorfindel", he said with only the tiniest hint of a sigh, "May I introduce Prince Thranduil of the Greenwood, and Galdor of the Havens." The night had already gone so terribly, that it could not possibly get any worse. He did not know then how wrong he was…
"Glorfindel?" Galdor repeated, slack-jawed and wide-eyed. "Glorfindel the Balrog-Slayer?"
"Is that what they call me?" the blond elf mused, and he swaggered over to the table, helping himself to some of Erestor's wine. The councillor sent an icy glare his way that would have chilled Sauron himself, but Glorfindel had experienced so many icy glares that he seemed to have become immune to them.
Prince Thranduil peered at the blond warrior, obviously curious. The other elves he could blatantly treat with disdain, but this was a legendary warrior. "You serve Gil-Galad?" he questioned, exerting a small effort to sound polite.
"I serve Lord Elrond", the fair elf answered, generously refilling everyone's cups without their request. "I have pledged myself to protect him and his family – when he ever decides to get one – to his eternal shame."
"How unfortunate", the Prince noted dryly, and Erestor coughed to hide a laugh. Elrond, however, saw nothing funny in mocking Glorfindel. Indeed, it had probably been the last thing a certain Balrog had ever done.
Glorfindel narrowed his eyes, which now held a definitely wicked sparkle. This did not bode well. "Prince of the Wood-Elves, hmm?" he asked, studying the Prince like a fox studies a tasty chicken. Thranduil's shoulders unconsciously straightened as if preparing for battle, and Elrond resisted a powerful urge to bury his face in his hands. Glorfindel was going to do something stupid, he just knew it. "I hear that Wood-Elves are renowned for handling their drink", the golden-haired warrior said, a definite note of challenge in his voice.
The gauntlet had been thrown. Elrond stifled a groan, Erestor heaved a weary sigh, and Galdor gazed wide-eyed between Thranduil and Glorfindel, amazed at the sudden turn of events. Elrond had thought that awkward silences were excruciating, but having to deal with a drinking contest between these two elves would be nothing short of excessive torture.
The Prince wore an expression of utmost disdain. "I could drink you under the table", he said in a deadly voice.
"Gentlemen, please", Elrond cried, trying to make his voice sound reasonable and not exasperated. It would not do to have both of the turn on him at once; there would be nothing left of him in the morning. "This is Dorwinion vintage", he said, trying to appeal to their good sense – if they had any, "It is only to be taken in small helpings and enjoyed, not used for sport!" Predictably, the two combatants ignored him.
"Let me try, my Lord", Erestor whispered, and Elrond nodded his consent. Anything to keep this from getting out of hand. "Prince Thranduil!" Erestor said a voice that never failed to make Elrond feel like a child. "Your father would not be pleased with your conduct. And Glorfindel! What would Gil-Galad say if he found you stone drunk?"
"This is none of your concern", the Prince replied, aloof as ever.
"I won't get drunk!" protested Glorfindel. "This Wood-Elf will have passed out long before then!"
"That certainly did not help", Elrond noted as the two opponents seated themselves across from one another, faces determined. What would he do now?
Erestor sighed in defeat. "I'm afraid not, my Lord. However, give them four cups and they will be fast asleep. Perhaps then we could take them quietly back to their chambers." Elrond shrugged in silent agreement; it seemed as good a plan as any.
Glorfindel locked eyes with Thranduil, jaw set stubbornly, and said those immortal words: "Pass the Dorwinion."
Six flagons later, the Prince and Glorfindel were still downing the wine, without showing any sign of drunkenness, let alone unconsciousness. "Is this really Dorwinion?" Elrond wondered aloud, taking a tentative mouthful, and then another, and then another. "I could have sworn…"
He was interrupted by two loud thumps. Turning, the King's Herald saw both of the golden-haired elves sprawled on the table, surrounded by empty cups.
"I suppose it really is", Erestor smiled. "We shall take them to their rooms, then. Galdor? Could you help us with…?" His voice trailed off.
Galdor was staring up at the starry sky, giggling.
"How much did he have?" Elrond asked, quite alarmed by the younger elf's behaviour.
"I do not know", Erestor admitted. "I suppose now that's three elves who–" He blinked rapidly, and his legs crumpled beneath him.
"Erestor?" Elrond called, making his way to his friend. The world suddenly decided to twist under his feet, and he grabbed for the table. How much have I had to drink? he wondered, eying the empty cups and flagons scattered over the tabletop. Dorwinion was a wine that at first hid its potency, then hit you all at once. Apparently, it was hitting them all right now. This night was just getting better and better, wasn't it? He shook his head in a vain attempt to clear it, then spoke up, "I suppose we had better take Thranduil and Glorfindel…" Where had they been taking them?
"I agree!" Erestor declared cooperatively from the ground.
Elrond lurched over to where Glorfindel was sprawled on the table, and grabbed his arm in order to take him… wherever it was. At the touch, the golden-haired elf's head shot up, eyes surprisingly clear and alert. "What are you doing?" the warrior bellowed. Elrond jumped with surprise and collapsed onto a nearby chair.
"You're awake", he said, then nearly hit himself for stating the obvious. Really, he should have more self-control that that!
"Of course I am awake!" Glorfindel grinned rakishly, a sparkle in his eyes that, to Elrond, looked decidedly insane. "In fact, I've never been better!" Glorfindel glanced at the slumbering Prince, and his grin suddenly widened. Elrond bit his lip – this could not be good. And he was right: "Let's cut his hair", Glorfindel said in a loud stage-whisper.
Galdor bounded over, stargazing done. "Whose hair is getting cut?" he asked gaily. "Who's doing it? Can I help?"
Glorfindel pushed himself to his feet, and wobbled towards Prince Thranduil, leaning on the table for support. Overcome with alarm, Elrond got up and reached Glorfindel's intended victim first. He shook the Prince's shoulder urgently. "Thranduil", he hissed, "Wake up! Wake up, you dim-witted Sindar!"
"He's out", Erestor helpfully supplied. He was still sitting on the ground.
"Who's out?" Galdor asked, gazing around in an anxious manner, looking for someone. "Where did they go? What are we doing?"
"Looking for a knife", Glorfindel answered, his hands were fumbling around his belt. He seemed confused by the absence of his weapons.
Elrond felt an immense feeling of relief. "Nobody goes armed here", he explained. Thank Eru! What would he say to the High King if he let Glorfindel cut Thranduil's hair?
The fair elf's blue eyes suddenly sharpened: he was staring at the Prince. Galdor understood before Elrond did. "Oh, don't do that!" the young elf squeaked. "Won't he be really angry when he wakes up? Won't you get in trouble?"
Elrond abruptly realized that the blond warrior intended to use one of Thranduil's own knives to do the job. "Glorfindel, no!" he commanded, horrified, but the warrior stubbornly reached out for the weapon. As soon as his fingers brushed the hilt, Thranduil's eyes flew open and he leapt to his feet, upsetting the table onto Elrond's foot. "Ai! Eru!" the young Herald yelped, wrenching his foot out from under the stone table. He hopped three times before the dizziness overpowered him, and curled up on the ground nursing his throbbing foot.
Beside him, Erestor watched curiously, "Oh, you can't walk too?"
Prince Thranduil was glaring at Glorfindel, who looked profoundly surprised at the Wood-Elf's swift recovery. "Don't you touch my knives", the Prince shouted. "You do not know how to use such weapons!"
"Yes, I do", the golden-haired elf protested, looking rather offended.
"No, you do not" Thranduil declared, drawing his knives from their sheaths with a flourish. "Here, let me show you." Elrond groaned, and not just with pain – how much worse could this situation possibly get? Wine and weapons never went well together, in his experience.
But he watched, dumbfounded, as Thranduil expertly juggled the two blades with nimble hands. It was a testament to the Prince's great skill that he was stone drunk and yet did not even scratch himself. Galdor squealed with delight at the exhibit, and clapped exuberantly.
"Cool!" Glorfindel enthused, enmity instantly forgotten. "May I try?"
"Of course", the Prince said with a generous smile, apparently not recalling his vow to not let the other elf touch his knives. He passed over the weapons with a ready grin.
Even Elrond's wine-saturated mind sensed that something bad would come of this. Wine, weapons, and Glorfindel spelled disaster. "Wait", he said urgently, "Maybe you shouldn't –"
Too late. The golden-haired elf had thrown the knives wildly up into the air. Galdor shrieked and covered his head. Elrond watched, spellbound, as one of the knives twirled across the courtyard to land in the oak tree's dense foliage. The other arced gracefully through the air and crashed through a window. The glass tinkled to the ground.
"Oh no!" Galdor gasped, dancing a little jig on the spot. "What'll we do? Oh my goodness! We're going to get in trouble! What shall we say? Oh –"
"Be quiet!" the four other elves shouted. Galdor fell silent.
Erestor was the first to speak into the hushed night. "We must get them back", he pronounced dramatically, trying and failing to stand up.
"Of course we must!" Thranduil snapped. "They're my knives, aren't they? Oh, adar is going to kill me…"
Elrond pulled himself to his feet with difficulty. It was clear what they had to do. Now that they had a mission, everything was finally falling into place. "Let's try the tree first", he said, limping across the courtyard. The other elves followed him, Glorfindel supporting Erestor, whose legs had long since ceased to function properly.
"Can anyone see it?" Galdor asked fretfully, dancing around the foot of the tree, head craned upwards. The elves vainly struggled to clear their blurred vision.
"What about that?" Glorfindel pointed.
"No, that's a star", Elrond said irritably.
Glorfindel's face fell. "Oh."
Silence. Elrond listened to an owl hoot in the distance.
"What about that?" Thranduil said.
Elrond squinted up. "No, that's a soup tureen."
"Oh." The Prince looked at him strangely. "What is a soup tureen doing in a tree?"
The half-elf sighed, "It's a long story…"
Silence. Elrond listened to some crickets chirping. What were crickets doing in the courtyard?
"Hey, what about that?" Galdor cried, pointing emphatically.
"No, that's –" Elrond began automatically, then blinked. "Wait. That is the knife!"
"Ooh, do I get a prize?"
"Sit down before you hurt yourself, Galdor", Glorfindel snapped. He was obviously put out that the younger elf had spotted the weapon instead of him. It's got to be quite a blow to the pride if you're a famed Balrog-slayer and one of your young admirers from way out in the Havens beats you at something. Galdor complied and sat, smiling happily. Glorfindel, however, absent-mindedly let Erestor drop onto the hard ground, and began to roll up the sleeves of his robe in a business-like way. "I threw the knife", he declared, "So I will fetch it back."
"Oh, no", Thranduil protested loudly, and Elrond agreed. A drunken Glorfindel up in a tree? That could not end well. "It's my knife, so I will get it. Besides, I'm the best climber, what with all of you running around wearing dresses."
"He's right", Elrond put in to stave off any argument, although he did feel indignant; he did not wear dresses! "Besides," he continued, because Glorfindel was looking belligerent, "Nobody can beat a Wood-Elf in a wood-tree." He frowned. Something about that phrase did not sound right. "Wood-Elf in a wood-tree", he mumbled, "Wood-Elf in a wood-tree, Wood-Elf in a wood-tree, Wood-Elf in a wood-tree …"
Prince Thranduil scaled the trunk, and had soon reached the branches. After bumping his head on the first branch and cursing fluently, he rapidly disappeared into the dense foliage. Elrond and Glorfindel hovered around the base of the tree, trying to watch his progress.
Without warning, a soup tureen came sailing down and crashed onto Glorfindel's head.
"Ai!" the warrior cried out, stumbling to the ground.
"Heads up!" the Prince called out cheerfully above them.
Glorfindel's blue eyes darkened to grey as he sprang to his feet. "If you were going to throw that down, why did you not say so first?" he roared, moving towards the trunk with presumably the sole purpose of throttling the Crown Prince.
Elrond lunged forward and managed to seize Glorfindel's arm. "You're staying here!" he ordered. Suddenly, a knife came slicing through the air, narrowly missing the two of them, and buried itself deep in the ground up to the hilt. Elrond's heart skipped a beat.
"Oh – heads up!" Prince Thranduil's jolly voice came floating down.
"I'll kill him!" Glorfindel bellowed, struggling to free himself from Elrond's grasp. The Herald was tempted to let his friend loose, but even in his inebriated state he knew it would not be wise.
"Kill who?" Galdor piped from where he sat on the ground. He had retrieved the soup tureen and now wore it on his head, rather like an oversized helmet. "Kill the Balrog?' Where is he? Can I help?"
"Glorfindel, I will not let you kill him!" Elrond shouted. The warrior glowered rebelliously, and kept trying to wrench himself free. "That's an order", the Herald added for good measure, digging in his heels.
Glorfindel froze and his blue eyes widened. He would never disobey an order. "Please, Elrond?" he pleaded, tugging at the half-elf's sleeve. "Just this one time? I will not kill him after tonight, I swear."
"Kill who?" Thranduil asked brightly, hopping out of the tree. Elrond noticed that he had leaves in his hair. Apparently the Prince's climbing skills had been affected by the wine.
"You", the Herald answered bluntly, too annoyed to use euphemisms.
"Oh, alright then." The Wood-Elf bent to pull his knife from the ground and polished it on his tunic, humming placidly.
Elrond turned back to Glorfindel. "I cannot let you kill him", he said, only mildly aware of how ridiculous this whole argument was. "He is a guest here, and it would not be courteous." The golden-haired warrior looked so disappointed that Elrond patted him on the arm. "Another time, perhaps", he said consolingly.
"What's happening? What's going on? What will we do?" Galdor bounced up, soup tureen helmet perched at a jaunty angle.
"Glorfindel won't kill the Prince tonight", Elrond explained, feeling somewhat perplexed as to why he should be explaining this.
Thranduil looked up and beamed. "Really? Fantastic! Er – what were we going to do before?"
"Retrieve your other knife", Erestor said gloomily.
"Oh, yes!" the Prince exclaimed, back on track. He pointed at Glorfindel with his thumb, "He threw it through a window, you know." The golden-haired warrior scowled, hands twitching.
Elrond decided to cut in before the two elves decided to murder each other. "But which window is it?" he asked, spinning in a circle to survey the perimeter of the courtyard. Soon he had forgotten about looking at windows, and concentrated more on spinning. He rather liked the way his blue robes flared out around him. Really, he should spin more often.
Erestor pointed. "It's the broken one."
"Oh, but how will we get up there?" Galdor gasped, his eyes huge. "It's so high – so high – so high!"
"And no trees to climb nearby", Thranduil noted grimly.
Elrond grinned at the unintentional rhyme. "It's so high, so high, so high", he sang under his breath as he twirled around, "And no trees to climb nearby..."
"Those two funny elves have a point", Glorfindel agreed, ignoring the evil look that the Prince shot his way. "I suppose I could stand on Elrond's shoulders, and Galdor could stand on my shoulders, and the Prince could stand on his shoulders, and Erestor–"
"I won't be doing any standing", Erestor noted glumly. He was still flopped on the ground, his legs completely useless. "Besides", he muttered, "Why don't we just go inside the palace and find the room?"
The other elves stared at him, amazed by this stroke of genius. Elrond even stopped spinning. "Why, that's brilliant!" he exclaimed, reaching out a hand to steady himself against the wall. "Why did we not think of that? Well done, Erestor!"
The dark-haired elf gave a modest smile, "Well, I do try…"
"I made him my councillor, you know", Elrond told the Prince proudly.
Galdor gave an adventurous grin that Elrond swore he had just picked up from Glorfindel. "What are we waiting for?" he exclaimed. "Let's go!"
The five intoxicated elves somehow managed to find their way out of the courtyard. They reeled through the palace halls, navigating their way unsteadily around pillars, tables, and large expensive ornaments. Glorfindel led the small party, followed by Elrond and Thranduil, who were supporting Erestor between them. Galdor seemed to be everywhere at once, skipping ahead with Glorfindel or offering to carry Erestor, the tarnished silver tureen clashing horribly with his white-blond hair. "A! Elbereth Gilthoniel", he sang, tripping over the hem of his grey robes.
Elrond had soon had enough. His foot ached from having a table dropped on it, and it made him extremely short-tempered. "Quiet", he hissed, "Do you want the whole palace to hear us?" The young elf clapped his hands over his mouth and vehemently shook his head.
They walked on stealthily.
After a few minutes, Erestor revived long enough to ask, "Where are you leading us, Glorfindel?"
The warrior shrugged indifferently, "No idea!"
Elrond was so infuriated, that he flung Erestor's arm from his shoulder and marched forward, managing to move mostly in a straight line. "Do you mean that we are lost?" he demanded angrily, poking the fair-haired warrior in the chest. Glorfindel only managed a very silly grin in return, and Elrond had to struggle not to smack the other elf. "All right, everybody!" he snapped. "Think! The window was on the second floor, so that means we need to… um… ah…"
"Find some stairs?" Erestor suggested.
"That's it!" Elrond turned to Prince Thranduil. "I made him my councillor, you know."
Galdor pranced up to join the conversation, straightening his tureen helmet. "Didn't we just pass some stairs?" he piped, unusually helpful. They turned, and soon found themselves faced with an enormous marble staircase.
"Now we're getting somewhere!" Glorfindel beamed, rubbing his hands together with glee.
"No thanks to you, brainless Noldo", Prince Thranduil muttered.
Elrond looked quickly at Glorfindel to see if the elf had heard, but miraculously he hadn't. Or perhaps he had heard the insult, but just failed to understand it. At any rate, the warrior was too preoccupied with striking a gallant pose. With a debonair grin that Glorfindel usually only reserved for very pretty elf-maidens, he threw back his golden mane of hair and announced, "Up the stairs!" After such an impressive display, Elrond expected his friend to take off at full speed, but this was apparently beyond Glorfindel. He merely tottered doggedly from step to step, leaning heavily on the banister.
Elrond and Thranduil followed, dragging Erestor between them. The councillor's legs had ceased to be of any help whatsoever, and he was now mostly dead weight.
Galdor brought up the rear. He seemed to have taken Elrond's warning to heart, and edged up the steps, pressed flat against the wall. He often held his finger to his lips, winking in a secretive manner.
Somehow they all made it up to the second floor without incident, unless you counted the frequent tripping and loud cursing.
"Right", Prince Thranduil panted, gazing about in a mystified fashion, "What do we do now?" A baffled Glorfindel stared from side to side, mouth opening and shutting wordlessly, looking very much like a fish. Elrond felt his own brow wrinkling in confusion – why were they here?
"We were trying to find your knife", Erestor said in answer to everybody's question. Elrond beamed fondly at the dark-haired elf, and congratulated himself on having hired such a clever councillor.
"And so it must be in one of these rooms?" Thranduil said, glancing down the hallways apprehensively. Elrond could understand his misgivings: doors ran down to the left and to the right. Lots and lots of doors. Elrond grimaced with frustration; it would take an age to search them all.
But apparently Glorfindel had no such qualms. "Let's go left", he confidently announced, turning to the right.
"Hang on!" the Prince called, "That is not left!"
Glorfindel glowered at the Wood-Elf, and for not the first time that night Elrond thanked Eru that the warrior was not armed. "How would you know?" he demanded, upper lip curling into a sneer.
"I am a Prince", Thranduil answered indignantly, jabbing a finger at his crown, which had miraculously stayed on his head. "I'm supposed to know these things."
The familiar wicked smile spread over Glorfindel's features, and Elrond knew that whatever the elf was contemplating, it could not be good. He was right.
With an ear-splitting battle cry, the golden-haired warrior bounded forward. He snatched the silver circlet from the Prince's head and crammed it recklessly onto his own, taking off down the corridor at a staggering run. At once Thranduil dropped Erestor's arm and gave chase. "I'm the Prince now!" Glorfindel cackled as he sprinted away, "So I say that this way is left!"
A very disturbed Elrond turned to Galdor. "Look after Erestor, will you?" he said distractedly, before letting his friend sink onto the carpet. The Herald dashed off, not even noticing the young elf's sharp salute.
He ran down the hallway, trying not to panic. Turning a corner, the Herald stumbled upon an extremely bizarre scene: Glorfindel was balanced on a small wooden table, refusing to relinquish the crown as he fended off an enraged Thranduil. The Prince had seized a vase, and was now threatening the warrior with it. Elrond gasped – Gil-Galad loved that vase! He grabbed the Prince's arm and tried to hold him back, but it was a desperate struggle.
At that very moment a nearby door burst open and, to Elrond's horror, the High King himself stormed out. Gil-Galad was followed by Lord Oropher, Lord Cirdan, and several of their advisors. They all stopped in their tracks, expressions of shock and outrage spreading over their faces.
The three young elves froze.
Elrond was suddenly all-too-aware of the disgraceful scene that they made: Glorfindel was perched on the table wearing Thranduil's crown, the Prince was wielding a priceless vase with leaves stuck in his hair, and he himself was trying desperately to hold Thranduil back.
Gil-Galad's face darkened. "What", he asked in a deadly-quiet voice, "Is going on here?"
Elrond gulped, euphoria caused by the Dorwinion wine rapidly fading. Lord Oropher looked furious, and Elrond could actually feel Thranduil trembling with fright. Lord Cirdan, however, had a most peculiar expression on his face, as if he were trying his utmost not to burst into laughter.
Just when Elrond thought that nothing could get any worse, Galdor hurtled into view, carrying Erestor haphazardly on his back. His blue eyes were wide under the soup tureen. "So", he cried merrily, obviously failing to notice the extreme tension, "What have I missed?"
Elrond relaxed in a chair watching Glorfindel. The blond elf had yet to wake up, although the others had all long risen. The five young elves had been taken forcefully to the infirmary, had scalding potions poured down their throats to make them sleep, and had been bundled into bed – but not before their elders had all shouted themselves hoarse about irresponsible young elves. And the healers had refused to give them anything to relieve their hangovers; Gil-Galad seemed to think that they all deserved every bit of pain they would feel the morning after.
Elrond's head was still pounding, but he knew that the Prince had it much worse off, and so would Glorfindel once he awoke. Speaking of which…
The golden-haired elf's eyelids fluttered, and he let out a very long, very un-elflike groan. Elrond grinned, and said, perhaps a little louder than necessary, "Welcome back, Glorfindel!" The other elf winced as he buried his head in the bedding. Elrond felt no sympathy whatsoever. Glorfindel deserved it. He'd been the one who had started that ridiculous drinking contest, after all. The Herald watched his friend writhe weakly against the pillows, and wondered if it was healthy for him, a healer, to get so much pleasure from watching someone else's pain.
"Don't speak to me", Glorfindel whispered hoarsely once he had recovered sufficiently to speak. "Ai, my head feels as if a pack of Wargs were chewing it up inside…" Elrond helped his friend to sit up, and handed him a glass of water which the other elf sipped gratefully. "Where's everyone else?" he asked, squinting around the infirmary, eyes red and swollen.
"Galdor is hiding in his room", Elrond answered with a furtive smile. "Lord Cirdan was not so angry with him – our young friend just needs to get over the embarrassment of being seen with a soup tureen on his head."
Glorfindel let out an involuntary snort of laughter, which turned into a loud moan as he held his throbbing skull. "And… Ai, Iluvatar... And the others?"
"Erestor is drafting written apologies to be distributed to everyone we disturbed last night – which, by the sound of it, is nearly half the palace." Elrond did feel a bit guilty about that. They had received numerous complaints about sounds of breaking glass, singing, and loud swearing. Gil-Galad had not been amused. "And Thranduil is getting ready to depart", Elrond finished.
The blond elf frowned in puzzlement. "But I thought –" he paused and cleared his throat. "I thought that Lord Oropher would not be leaving for another few days."
"Aye", Elrond nodded. "But he's sending the Prince back to the Greenwood. Something about throwing his own knife through a window…"
"But I threw that knife!" Glorfindel protested.
Elrond glanced around the infirmary to make sure that they were not overheard. "Thranduil and I were called to explain everything to Gil-Galad this morning – while you were still asleep", he elucidated, noting how annoyed the fair elf looked at that detail. Smirking, the Herald continued: "Thranduil claimed to have thrown the knife through the window before I could condemn you. He informed me privately afterwards that his father would have been even angrier if he discovered that Thranduil had let another elf touch his weapons. And lucky for us all, nobody was in that room when the knife was thrown!"
Glorfindel gave a low whistle. "Lord Oropher would have been even angrier than yesterday?"
Elrond grinned and nodded. "Hard to imagine", he agreed. "I seem to remember him hauling you and the Prince down the hallway by your ears."
The warrior felt his ear with a grimace, "Yes, well, the High King did the same to you and Galdor. Lucky Erestor, though – Cirdan carried him!"
"Yes", Elrond nodded, "But he couldn't use his legs, remember?"
"Oh. Right." Glorfindel was silent for a minute then sighed. "Nice of the Prince to take the blame", he admitted grudgingly. Elrond had been wondering when he would say it.
"Perhaps", said the dark-haired elf, also grudgingly. "But he did tell Gil-Galad that you goaded him into a drinking contest, so you are not completely forgiven. And the High King would like a word with you about it later this afternoon."
Glorfindel spluttered in protest, and Elrond chose this moment to stand up.
"Where are you going?" the blond elf demanded, clearly still wondering at the nerve of Thranduil.
Elrond raised an eyebrow. "I'm going to see off the Prince", he said, very slowly as if explaining something to a wayward child. "It is my duty, you know, despite what an appalling host I've been."
"I'll come with you", Glorfindel insisted, throwing back the blankets. As if summoned by an invisible alarm, a flock of determined healers swooped towards him, clucking and tutting and pushing the warrior forcefully down onto the goose-feather bed. Elrond felt a twinge of sympathy for his friend, and eventually stepped in. The healers yielded with dark glares that promised swift retribution, and Glorfindel threw on his robes at top speed. He was still fiddling with the sleeves when he and Elrond reached the front courtyard.
Prince Thranduil and two other elves from the Greenwood were readying their horses when they arrived. Thranduil caught sight of them and spoke to one of his companions, before walking over to take his leave. Elrond noted with some amusement that the Prince, although red-eyed and exhausted, was not showing the effects of last night's revelry quite as much as Glorfindel was. Judging by the blond warrior's sulky expression, he had noticed too.
"My Lords", Thranduil said formally, "I thank you for seeing me off."
"It is our pleasure", Elrond replied, then lowered his voice, "I hope all is well between you and your father."
The Prince waved an elegant hand loftily. "Not to worry. I am sure he will come around in due course. And he did not mean it when he threatened to disown me – merely a jest."
"I see", Glorfindel said, blue eyes widening in obvious skepticism. "Er… you've found your other dagger, then."
The Prince nodded, and there was an awkward silence as they all remembered the embarrassing details of last night. Thranduil hesitated, then said, "Listen, no hard feelings, all right?" He clasped first Glorfindel's forearm, then Elrond's, before bowing. "I thank you both for a most – entertaining – evening", he said, very nearly smiling.
Abruptly the elf turned and headed back to his horse, and Elrond and Glorfindel gaped after him in wordless surprise. Only after the three elves had ridden out of sight did Glorfindel turn to his companion. "Did that just happen?" he asked. "Was the Crown Prince actually being friendly?"
Elrond suppressed a smile and nodded gravely. "You know", he said, "I think he was."
Glorfindel shook his head in bewilderment, and immediately winced. "Incredible", he muttered under his breath as he massaged his pounding temples, "I could almost – almost – grow to like him, Sindarin prig that he is."
"Perhaps," Elrond acknowledged, grey eyes twinkling, "Providing, of course, that we keep some wine close at hand."
The golden-haired warrior groaned. "That reminds me", he declared. "Next time I say 'Pass the Dorwinion', ignore me, Elrond. Just ignore me."
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the ride! Please leave a review – it's easy, just press that little blue button on the bottom-left. The next two parts of this crazy trilogy are "Welcome to Imladris" and "The Greenwood Experience."