by Earonn & Bladorthin
A birthday-fic for Círdan, and I'm incredibly glad that I can give it to you personally!
This is not a new story, originally it was a round robin between a good friend and me in the German LotR-forum. Thank you, Bladorthin!
My apologies, Vorondis and Nemis, I borrowed from you...
My thankies to Ute for accepting the challenge of beta-reading this. Have a nice orc-cookie, delivered by a recently non-single (and more recently-overworked) of your own choosing… ;)
A merry night in the 'Gondolin Guinness', the finest Irish Pub in the hidden city of Gondolin:
King Turgon is happily slurping the draught that gave his favourite whereabouts its name. From time to time he sing-howls elvish drinking songs and practises dart-throwing together with Eöl.
"P-pray tell Eölll, w-hay dojuu alwaysh pinn a picshure off my shishta onne tagett? Hicks!"
Maeglin and Ecthelion are standing at the bar with their arms linked, half-empty glasses of Cider before them, and sing quite Noldor-atypically off-key, but the more enthusiastically (it's a wicked rumour that Maeglin had betrayed the way into Gondolin to Morgoth. This wasn't at all necessary, their whining could be heard all the way to Aman!) "Under seven Gates you have to go".(1)
All the while Idril the stroppy barmaid, her delicate brow angrily furrowed, cleans the regular's table of the House of the Mole from the leftovers of their last weekly meeting - they just can't get their moles house-trained...
She on the other hand is thoroughly goggled at by Tuor. He takes a fancy to call himself "Messenger of Ulmo" and "Noble Edain", whereas his friends...well, more precisely: his acquaintances share the opinion that his closest relation towards the Lord of Waters goes over his beer-consumption and "straggly Edain" or "sicko Secondborn" would be more fitting descriptions.
Hobby-landlord Glorfindel stands behind the bar. He is somewhat euphemistically called "Lord of the House of the Golden Flower", though everyone knows his beer is adulterated and that he never has poured a glass of beer with a decent flower(2) in his whole life!
While dawn slowly creeps into the valley of Tumladen Glorfindel's merry-Noldo-pub is lightened by fëanorian energy saving lamps and a friendly fire. Maeglin gloomily sits in a corner as usual, in front of him the eighth or ninth bottle of Miruvor Glenfiddich, grimly staring at Tuor. Huor's questionably-heroic son unscrupulously snogs the shrill giggling(3) Idril – had he done that before the ten Aman Lager, he would drool less on her now.
Glorfindel staggers with glassy eyes over to the bar and loudly blabbers "Lll...lll..lloog, allloffyou, I gannod fall, thassiss ber...ber...berfegged balansse! There gould come everee sisssie iddjod ofa ball..balla..younow, theeese batty bats...wingmonstas...no shance foa idd, nodd the leasst – hicks!" – and tumbles under the bar.
Having been awoken by Glorfindel's rattling impact Turgon raises his aching head from a pile of beer mats and tries to find out where he is. Ten seconds later he comes to the conclusion that he doesn't give an orc-ass and roars "Ecthethethelion, old buffoon, your king is dry! No waife, no fidding heir, juss this giggling sludd and da live and soul of a party, my neffjew – whadd hav I donn do deseäve thatt, eh? And whadd does Ulmo send mee, aafta I have leffd my beshd arrrou..arma...weappons in Nefrasd? Any mighdy prinsh witha terrifig aamy to give stale Morgodd a Valarian sh-sh-spanking? Thadds whadd u think! Onlly an Edain-loosa, well, adleashd it's house-trainnd, but if I had wandded a pedd I could have gedd catched mee suchn Ungolianthbrat fromme Ered Gorgorodd! Oh, hoo cares, I donnd mynd add all!(4) Shall the snotty-nosed brats offn Fëanoä see to how they gan mannage..."
And he lets his head sink back into the re-filled glass.
Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, Master of Shadow and Fire, third-and-a-half of Morgoth's captains (he still struggles with Ungolianth for position three) enters the bar with a shy clearing of his throat. Each more or less glassy gaze turns to him.
Out of sheer embarrassment he begins to glow – he may be one of Morgoth's mightiest warriors but in situations like this when he has to make an announcement his speech defect always causes him much trouble.
After taking a deep breath he lisps with his squeaky voice "Ecsuse me, iss here ssomeone called.." he furtively glances on a small, scorched note, "...erm, 'Maeglin'?"
The previously questioning gazes wander towards the son of Eöl who just swallowed his Glenfiddich the wrong way and spits the tasty Single Malt Miruvor over the table.
Since nobody answers and, moreover, so many people stare at him Gothmog awkwardly scrapes with one of his giant claws. At this moment a wet cloth, suspiciously smelling of diverse spirituous beverages and mole-pipi(5), slaps right into his face...the snout...Eru-knows-what.
"Ey lissn you cur, make one scratch into this floor that I have troublesomely scrubbed for two hours and I will clip your silly wing-lobes and send you wrapped in them to where the shadows are, is that clear?!"
Idril has freed herself from Tuor's hardly secure and co-ordinated grip and angrily stomps with one delicate foot. This brings a mug of pewter to its inevitable end. Running around barefoot in a city of stone makes you tough!
"Sh...shweedhardd, blease be nyss with ouä wisidor...eh...whads youä name, heh?"
The fact that this mumbling voice comes from beneath the table which only minutes before housed the king and his full glass tells that against overwhelming odds Turgon is quite awake. Before Gothmog can answer, the king's pale, beer-wet hand raises and lamely points towards Maeglin. "Thadd issa Mag...Mael..ohhh Eru, why hassend the old sludd givn the lad a pro... pro...propa name? Thadd ish my neffjew."
"Because it wasn't me, you sot," Aredhel's shrill voice sounds from a corner where she is together with some ladies and a frightened looking Voronwë absorbed in a game of strip-canasta. "It was this idiotic bloke who considers himself my husband. *I* called him Lómion! Why, men don't have the faintest clue!"
Silly giggling of her women's team accompanies Aredhel's remark and Gothmog muses how he might have offended Morgoth to be sent to this place.
"The boy looks more like the postman anyway!" Tuor shouts, as usual not knowing at all what's the matter, and promptly receives a glass of eggnogg – across several meters!
Eöl hectically draws thick black circles over the Aredhel-pin-up from the last PlayElf.
At least the Lord of Balrogs knows his contact now and he tries to approach him as unobtrusive and naturally as possible. As unobtrusive and naturally as a three meter tall fire-demon in an overcrowded bar can be, that is.
"Hey, watch out where you put your whip!"
"Oh, ecssusse me."
"Would you kindly take your wings out of my Balar-Ale?!"
"You silly fool, he has no wings at all!"
"Of course he has, look!"
"That are shadows, not wings!"
"You have no clue, look here," - rummaging sounds - "here, on page 234 it's written: 'They came over the encircling mountains...'. How should they have done that without wings, eh?!"
"Concorde," Gothmog absently murmurs. "The touchdown was lousy."
In the meantime Maeglin has peered to the left and right for an exit. Unfortunately in vain. He takes a deep sip directly from the bottle and Idril, who didn't misses a thing, makes two thick strokes on his beer-mat with a firm gesture.
"And don't come with 'dear cousin' and 'darling', fatso, you pay like everyone else!"
"I am not fat. I just have heavy bones," Maeglin automatically replies, then he turns towards Gothmog.
"It wasn't me?" he says cautiously.
The Lord of Balrogs rummages under his smoky wing – or the wing-shaped smoke – and produces a bouquet of Elanor.
"Wanna have a bunch nisse flowerss for the beautiful misss?" he tries to purr. Extra incomes are necessary, Morgoth pays preciously little.
"Erm, no!" Maeglin tried the trick with the flowers at Idril just the day before yesterday. And it had been damned difficult to get the sweet scent from his galvorn-armour, after Tuor, Turgon and Ecthelion had rubbed him off with the flowers! Not to mention Idril's reaction! *That* was not the way he wanted to become close to her!
"Or perhapss 'Orc from Mork', the sstreet magassine of non-ssettled Balrogss and homeless werewolvess?" Gothmog is versatile, that's why he is the boss.
"Aaah, no. I have one already."
"Oh, good. Then I have thiss agreement for ssigning, consserning handing over Gondolin in ecschange of-"
"You have quite a speech defect, haven't you? HICKS!"
Gothmog goggles at Maeglin as if the Elf suddenly had turned into a pretty gigantic bat. Or a horribly nasty swan-maiden. Maeglin displays his most brightly toothpaste-advertisement-smile that has financed his studies in Belegost.
"I could help you with that. Come on, I know a fantastical speech therapist. HICKS! As you know, only with linguistic elegance one gets on in his - HICKS! - job."
Tuor daftly-triumphantly laughs as once more he has managed to smuggle some cucumber-juice into Maeglin's Glenfiddich. His opponent usually reacts with astounding hiccups for several hours. Or days.
Ecthelion takes his chance on Idril but is jostled by Gothmog and together with his Newcastle-Elven-Ale lands in her neckline. The wise daughter of Turgon doesn't like such advances at all, the less when her best white elvenprincess-dress gets stained.
"Watch your steps you idiotic fountainlord!"
"Sorry Idrily, but-"
"No 'Idrily', that's out! And we'll soon talk about your last fountain! Another of these perverse advances in front of my bedroom-window and I forget that I am a gentle daughter of a venerable elvenking!"
Ecthelion had hoped for a more...positive reaction on his last creation and glares at the Balrog who is firmly dragged away by Maeglin.
"You will pay for that, even if it costs my life, bat-wing!" he hisses.
"He has no wings!" it sounds from the bar.
"He has, wanna bet?!" comes the answer at once.
Eöl decides to side with his son. He gropes his way along the walls and present Elves (especially the females) to the door. "Sh...shiddy fëahnorienn lambbs, muchdoo brighd," he murmurs, eyes closely shut. He doesn't like the works of the "widely overestimated babble-head who still plays with marbles" as he usually describes the son of Finwë. With unsteady steps but nonetheless displaying the proud bearing of a noble Sindarin lord (or of someone who has difficulties to retain his several Old Smokerts- oh, pardon, Old Wingerts) he follows Maeglin and Gothmog.
Shortly after the situation in the Gondolin Guinness comes to a head. Crashing sounds of a proper inn-brawl are to be heard, disrupted only by either shattering noises when another Elf breaks through one of the windows of Valinorean gem-glass, or gory battle-cries like "HE HAS WINGS!" and "PAH! AND HALDIR IS GAY, EH?!"
Whistling and pretending innocence Gothmog and Maeglin stroll in the direction of the Northern Crissaegrim. Here and there the Balrog stops to check the thickness of a wall with a folding rule he found in his pockets 'by ssseer chansse'. Maeglin mutters with lowered head "Don't look up, there are the men of the tower-guard – HICKS! – changing is always at the eighth and sixteenth hour – HICKS! – and there is the lever of the second gate...poor craftsmanship, a better cat-flap if you ask me!..."
"WHAD DOYOU SHNEAAGG AROUND WITHIS BAAL...BAHL...BARLL...*BELCH*" it suddenly sounds directly into Maeglin's sensitive elven ear. Turgon and his boozers have reeled behind them. From Turgon's mouth closely pressed to Maeglin's head comes a reek of the bottle that makes the son of Eöl turn green and sink to his knees.
"Oh, dhadds how we like it – firshd ruin all the funn in the tavern and then break down where nowone cann shee id! A fine neffjew I haff!"
Sad and with glassy eyes Turgon shakes his noble head. Then he turns his gaze to the extremely nervous Gothmog.
"And whadaboutyou, grangy bat-man? Doyou take a sibb or are you a boring baby like Maey..Myua...M...oh, my shishta realllllly is one beer short of a sixpack to gall the nitwit like thish, 'Teleporno' would havbnn bedda, I bedd! Hicks!"
Gothmog desperately tries to hide the folding rule, the notebook of polished granite and the "Handbook for the young Balrog-boy-scout" beneath his of their own existence still undecided wings. The elven guards around him suspiciously look at the three meter tall creature of shadow, flame and smoke and in several brains that are not completely fuddled by Angbrandy slowly creeps the thought that perhaps this is possibly not a Noldo – and also Sindar doesn't seem to have played a part in the begetting of this fellow.
"Ooohhhh, how cuuuute, hihihihihihihihihihi! Look, Tuor, doesn't it have funny hooves?" Idril giggles and absentmindedly chews one strain of her golden... yellow... ochre-coloured hair (hey, what Tolkien wrote was...have you never heard of 'poetic exaggeration'?!) while Tuor, whose hands thoroughly feel Idril's dress – from the inside – stands there gaping and faintly drooling. Finally, after a small belch, he pokes Ecthelion beside him into the ribs.
"Hey, loog man, ishnt thadd the baarogg-toad who-where-whad hash pushed your goooood friend Gloafindl fromme bahr?"
At this very moment Turgon realises something. His hand heavily falls on Gothmog's shoulder. With a strong and imperious voice the Lord of Gondolin says:
"Thadd's right, good Lassie...Flipper...Tuorr or whad! Yo, man, if youare really a ballrol, then....thenju have a lonng way 'ome! And we inn Godolo...dondothro...oh shidde, have forgoddn what's the name off my own glorrius shity, hehe, ishnt thadd funny? Annieway, wi in Tummalad are FAMOUS for our hossi...hospal..hopisa...you know whadd I mean. The daddy offe Edainkretin over thea has allso spent one nighd heeä annd Maedshli...ohyouknowwhadd, my sistassonn we puddup, too – we treaad our guests goody-good....and you shuddup, Eöl! Iffju have to bring half of your amoory you musnt wonda if the smithy-guild giggs up a stink! Budd you, lil Melkobarker, you are righd! Annd as kingg of Gondothingumajig I orda thadd my anyway only strolling neffjew gives you a taysssty dog-biscuit and shows yuä the way 'ome. And youll be sorrrrie iff there are any complains frommë lord...whad wasn you name aggain? Oh, whocares.., do you undershtandd, Megl...neffjew? Oh Erudamned, where ish Glamdring again? Hee, you troll over there, have you seen my shwoord?
"Noooo. Only mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, if it don't look like mutton again tomorrer!"(6)
"Oggay oggay! Comm, boys, do we haff another dringg or whadd?! And you Mach...Maik...SHIIIIIDD, whata name, okay, you neff?"
"Take gare offe smashing ball-hicks-rog! Be a nissse boy. You wandedd the pet, now feed it! Understood?"
"HICKS! Jawoll, my king!"
"Boah, allways so snabby! Comm, welleaf! Idil-"
"MY NAME IS IDRIL, DADDY!", squeaks the lovely princess indignantly. Tuor pours some Johnny Nine Walkers over her to have a quick one more or less slowly slurped from her navel.
"Who caresss, I wandded to give you another name annyway....Go-Go-Goldilock or sommthing like thadd...there are no groovy names today, really..."
Sniffling Turgon lays an arm around Ecthelion's shoulder and snorts into the lord's tunic. Ecthelion throws one or two nasty looks over his shoulder at Gothmog who tries to adopt an innocent look and whistles "I am wailing", the last hit in Angband (and a perfect example of their favourite music style, the maimstream).
The merry hobby-bilks sway back to the Gondolin Guinness. In doing so their steps are so shaky, that it would be impossible to mark each one's exact position and therefore we should better speak of their 'probable location'.
Gothmog and Maeglin are left behind. At the view of Idril's swinging backside the Elf's hiccup yields to pensive drooling.
Arriving in the Gondolin Guinness Turgon ends the punch-up with some firm orders
("Shut up! More beer!") and by pushing Eöl right into the worst turmoil (Eöl is notorious for scratching and biting, to kick into unfair parts of the body and always carrying one or two poisoned darts with him).
Meanwhile Gothmog strolls with his disgruntled companion through the alleys. After a few minutes they bump into a dishevelled, somewhat exhausted Elf. He looks at Gothmog with astonishment and then turns to Maeglin who finally has managed to stop drooling and murmuring "Idril!".
"Did you see Voronwë?"
"Don't care," Maeglin grumbles.
At this moment Turgon finds a note in the right pocket of his tunic. It's crumpled and emanates a distinct scent of guano.
"Sh-shtupid eagle-posd, idd's not what it was in the last...heh?...zeroth age??...Grmpf..."
He fingers the slip of paper out of the pocket, but miserably fails in unfolding it. Glorfindel has to give a (scarcely less shaking) helping hand.
Unfortunately that doesn't help as Turgon cannot decide which of the two letters he is to read. With a resigned sigh Aredhel interrupts her canasta-match that has lost some attraction since Voronwë wears nothing more but a beer-mat and displays a facial expression of pitiful helplessness while murmuring something about "...the good old days at sea...".
"Dear uncle Turgon," Aredhel reads aloud. All gather around her.
"Here at Balar everything goes it's usual way. I am homesick. Yesterday I had to eat seaweed. Swimming is stupid, Ossë ducks me all the time! I am frightened of fishes, too. Can't you talk to Daddy, dear uncle?
Greetings to aunt Aredhel, cousin Idril and cousin...sorry, but I couldn't read his name in the last letter you sent twenty years ago. Makewing? Maggotling? Maegpie? And what kind of a creature is that odd Secondborn who has moved in with you? Are they house-trained?
Last week we had a visit from uncle Orodreth. He was very nice to me and we had a lot of fun, because I take much more after him than after Daddy. Círdan seemed to find that funny, too. He made many jokes I did not understand and then uncle Orodreth looked at him very oddly. BTW, uncle Orodreth always calls me 'Arto' or 'Finellach', I don't know why.
Last week I burned my thumb at the fire in the chimney. Ouch, Melkordamned, that hurt, I can tell you! I will never again approach something that is hot, ey, I swear!
Now I have to go and practise with my long and mighty spear. I hate my spear, I use it as seldom as possible and in this wet air it always goes mouldy at its point. The others call it 'Aeglos' because of that but I don't care.
Greetings and keep hidden,
your nephew Ereinion.
P.S. thanks for the food parcel. The choco-elfies were very tasty!
End Chapter One
You didn't expect a proper plot, did you?! ;D
(1) "Under seven Gates you have to go": there's a popular German song called "Über sieben Brücken must du geh'n" = "Over seven bridges you have to go"
(2) beers and 'flower': in Germany the froth on a beer is called "flower".
(3) giggling: Hey, Círdan: "Don't make me giggle!" :))))
(4) "I don't mind at all": who feels reminded of the popular song by Bob Geldorf – perfectly right! Turgon's "I don't mind at all"-attitude towards the rest of Beleriand originally was the trigger for the whole story
(5) pipi: according to the wonderful internet-dictionary leo (www.leo.org) ‚pipi' is also the name of the New Zealand cockle....
(6) mutton yesterday…: grouching troll appearance by courtesy of J.R.R.