The Balrog's Lament
Disclaimers:Middle-earth and its inhabitants are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and his estate. I intend no infringement of copyright and am making no money from this.
Rating:PG-13 for some swearing.
Summary:Even Balrogs can be useful if you've been captured by an insane writer.
I bet you didn't think it, did you? I mean, I bet you didn't think that being a Balrog is a pretty lonely and dull business. The deep places of the earth really aren't all they're cracked up to be. I've got rising damp and rising molten lava and boogly-eyed things for neighbours. And just to make matters worse, there's been absolutely nothing to do since He got himself shut beyond the Walls of the World for failing to pay his parking tickets and trampling all over Yavanna's begonias.
Oh sure, every couple of centuries a party of dwarves comes clodhopping along in their great big hobnailed boots, and I can have a bit of fun watching them run here, there and everywhere tripping over their own beards, before I eat them. But they're such little things that once you've decanted them from that armour, you've barely got a canapé, and their axes get stuck in my teeth. And then it's back to orc for breakfast, lunch and supper for the next seventy years. Have you every eaten orc? It's a bit like pond slime mixed with…
What in the name of crap was that?
This little Man-child, female as far as I can tell, staggers into MY cave dragging two fully-grown elves by their ears. Well, I did tell Him Upstairs that pointed ears would be really easy to grab onto, but did he listen? Did he ever?
The first one looks downright miserable, as if he's been through all this before and isn't looking forward to the end in the slightest. There's something about him which creeps me out, as if I've met him before…
And the second … Ah, crap, he's hurt my eyes! Oh for Manwë's … damn, I'm not allowed to say that any more. For pity's sake, what's going on?
I step forward, using my whip as a convenient, easy-to-hold torch.
"Why are you disturbing me? I was sitting down to a feast of mortal children. Speak, girl, or you will serve for desert!" What do you mean, I lied about the feast? Of course I did, I'm evil.
"I'm Clytemenestra." She pulls herself up to her full height, which isn't very impressive, even in four-inch platform heels, and tugs nervously at the blond's ear. "I am taking these two through the mountains."
Probably through fear that his ear will be tugged off, he bursts out, "She is kidnapping us. This … this … fiend swears that she will press us into nefarious acts for her own amusement."
"She will make me rape Glorfindel. I know not why she wishes to torment us so." The other looks as if he dearly wishes for a sword. I can see what he means. Her voice is grating on my nerves already, though she does look as if she'd be good to eat with nice bottle of that wine they used to serve in Nargothrond…
"But you are evil, can't you tell?" she tells the second elf, in a voice which is just to damn cheery. "I mean, you've got the eyebrows for it and you are going to be really mean to Arwen in a few years. So of course, you're the merciless and cruel king of Rivendell who rapes his advisors and keeps his daughter imprisoned in a tower. Glorfi here will rescue her when you've beaten him senseless for refusing you once more. And then he will let her go because she has to marry Aragorn, and die in your arms of internal haemorraging caused by your foul attentions. Then you'll slash your wrists and throw yourself into the sea with lead weights in your pockets, leaving a tearful note for your sons, who you haven't seen in years, to find."
In her exuberance, the Clytemenestra creature has forgotten to keep hold of the elves, and they scrabble free, brushing dust from the knees of their robes.
"Child, I would remind you that I am married." The darker one looks absolutely furious. Who is it that he reminds me of?
"Yes," she smiles, her whole face lighting up with glee. "You hate your wife so much that you deliberately drove her to leave Middle-earth. In fact, you hired the orcs to attack her. Y'see it's all because of your broken home that you seek to destroy any stable environ…"
"Enough," he cuts her off in a voice as dangerous as… well, me. "My father sailed into the West to bring peace to Middle-earth. My mother threw herself into the sea to keep the Silmaril from the sons of Fëanor. How could I blame them for that? Whatever choices Arwen makes, she will always be my daughter. I have no intention whatsoever of raping Glorfindel, Erestor, Thranduil or his son or anyone else in Middle-earth. And last but not least, Celebrían is my wife and I love her. If you do not understand what it is to let something you cherish above life itself go, because to hold on to it would be both cruel and selfish, you should not speak of such things."
He stands there, his eyes flashing, his brows drawn together like the wings of a demented butterfly … and suddenly I know who he reminds me of. Melian used to use that look a lot to quell that elf-brat of hers, and, before that, on anyone who offended her in the Timeless Halls.
"Are you related to Melian and that Thingol chap?"
"Yes," he says warily, still glaring at the girl. "They are my great-great-grandparents."
"Well then, I'm some sort of uncle of yours. I knew Melian ages ago. I'm … I'm …." Damn it all, I've forgotten my own name.
"Are you the one that stole all her silver cutlery?"
"Uh, yes." I may be evil, but I was never particularly proud of that one. What can I say? I got so drunk on Oromë's brandy that I spent the entire evening calling Mandos Manwë, and it seemed to be a good idea at the time. "I've got it round here somewhere if you want it back."
"No, no, no. Just could you please be of assistance to us?"
Hmmm … well, of course I'm not much fond of elves, even when they are related to my childhood friend, but to tell the truth, this girl's really pissing me off. Lemme see … eenie meenie minie mo …"
Melian's grand-sprog sighs with relief, but the other is just cowering in the corner, his face grey with fear.
"It will be alright. I've decided that it'll be a lot more fun to eat her."
"That will not help. Glorfindel has had some unfortunate encounters with Balrogs."
"What do you mean?" I casually snag the girl, who's been trying to sneak away.
"He was killed by one in Gondolin. It was all rather messy, or so I've heard tell, as you would expect if you fell into a chasm."
"He's the one who killed Big Al?" Oh, that's the best thing I've heard in years. The silly great tosser was always on about how he was bigger and better than the rest of us, and we had a party when we heard he'd been killed. But I never guessed that it was by this little blond scrap of nothing…
"Anyway, off you go. I've got much better things to do than talk to you all day. And the next time you see Melian, just say blueberries and watch her response."
They stumble from the cave, and I'm left alone with my supper.
Now, let's see.
Paprika? Not really in the mood.
Chips? Too greasy.
Pasta? That'd be nice, but I'm all out of cheese to put on top…
Now what's this … perfect.
It's a bit difficult to get Clytemenestra headfirst into a vat of molten chocolate, but after a while she stops struggling, and it's time to dunk her in the hundreds and thousands. I wonder if I've got any of the dwarven jelly babies left to put on top?
Ooh, lovely … thick milk chocolate, with the crunchiness of toppings and the tang of fangirl. What more could a Balrog want?