Welcome back! I had so much fun doing this fic, I had to come back for a little more.
This time The Silmarillion has fallen into the deadliest hands of all.
Here is the bonus chapter, in which we discover the Elf-lord's prayer, an exceedingly evil fanfic author, and whatever happened to Turgon?
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Bonus Chapter: An Elf-lord's Prayer
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"…and so, thoroughly exhausted and well-sated, the three princes curled up in each others' embrace to sleep the sleep of the blissfully satisfied. The end," she said aloud as she typed the words. There. Finished.
She carefully proofread her fic twice after checking the spelling and made a few minor corrections before uploading it onto FF.net. Taking The Silmarillion under her arm, she went down to the kitchen to gather enough snacks to last the rest of the afternoon, since she'd be glued to her computer checking her e-mail every five minutes to see if anyone had reviewed.
Her mother was just taking cookies out of the oven when the Slasher padded into the kitchen. "Hey, mom," she greeted the woman.
"Hello, dear. Would you please tell your sister that cookies are ready?"
The Slasher leaned over the railing of the stairs and hollered up to Mary Sue, "COOKIES!"
Mother winced a little, but said, "Thank you, dear."
Little Mary Sue came bouncing into the kitchen and gathered several cookies up in a napkin to take back upstairs. At a raised eyebrow from her mother, she reported, "I am working on a new fic!" and sashayed back upstairs.
Both the Slasher and her mother flinched visibly at this announcement.
While the Slasher gathered up her own cookies, Mother's eye happened to fall on the book which her daughter had laid on the counter. "The Silmarillion," she read. "I haven't seen this in years!" she exclaimed, picking it up reverently.
Slasher shrugged. "You can borrow it, if you like. I got it from Mary Sue. She hated it."
Mother frowned a little at this. "Yes, I suppose she would, wouldn't she? Well, I wouldn't mind flipping through it again."
Shrugging again, the Slasher took her pile of cookies and headed back to her room, calling out, "I've got to get back to my computer. I've just published a new fic and the reviews could start any minute!"
Nodding in understanding, Mother laid The Silmarillion safely aside and transferred the cooling cookies onto a plate. Only after selecting a few choice ones for herself did she take up a comfortable seat in the living room with The Silmarillion in hand. Flipping it open to the point where the story got good, she began to read…
Meanwhile, in an alternate reality…
It was a gratefully drunken High King who slouched home on his brother's arm while Ithil rode high overhead. The lurid glow of the unnaturally red sky had begun to dissipate, but traces of the slasher's spell still hung in the air. Fingolfin, who wasn't nearly as intoxicated as his brother, decided that at last enough time had passed (and Finarfin was sufficiently inebriated) to brave the palace and see what damage had been done.
Finarfin's off-key warbling was the only sound in the darkened palace as Fingolfin assisted him to Finrod's rooms, guided by instinct or scent to the scene of the incident, who could tell? They were still on the first floor of the palace when they encountered company.
"Who goes there?" Fingolfin demanded of the shadowy figures.
The darkness drew back to reveal a grinning Glorfindel, a smirking Ecthelion, and a staggering Turgon.
"It is we, my lord, assisting your son to his chambers," the dark-haired Elf said respectfully, regardless of his smirk.
"What happened to him?" Fingolfin asked suspiciously.
Turgon turned red and carefully studied the floorboards at his feet, and made no answer. The other two lordlings of Gondolin merely exchanged another smirk.
"You're right," Fingolfin said wearily. "I'd rather not know. Put him to bed, gentlemen, and then show yourselves out." He gave them an eye which informed them he'd be checking in later to make sure they had left.
"As you wish, my lord." The two Elves bowed gracefully and each took an arm of the bow-leggedly stumbling Turgon to guide him to his apartments. Fingolfin watched them make their erratic way through the shadows.
Finarfin appeared to find this all very amusing. "What is it with your kids?" he asked in a plainly amazed tone.
Fingolfin gave him an elegantly raised eyebrow that was nearly an open glare. "Hmm. Because you are so proud of your children's choices."
Finarfin had the wisdom to shut his mouth.
The silent chamber of Prince Finrod appeared empty at first glance. But the moonlight entering the room was broken by the silhouette of a dark, humped shape on the balcony. Steeling himself, Fingolfin guided his brother to the open doorway.
Only the raven head lifted at the sound of the Elf-lords' approach. Fingon graced them with a lazy smile from where he was still firmly sandwiched between his cousins. The Fëanorian snored away in blissful oblivion, and a flattened Finrod looked mostly unconscious.
Good for him, thought Finarfin sourly. It might have been that the slasher's influence lingered in the air, but Fingon looked just a little too unrepentant for his liking. Good old Fingon. Valiant, reliable Fingon. Fingon who, at the moment, looked like the proverbial cat who shagged the canary.
Fingolfin was opening his mouth in preparation to sternly upbraid the three younger Elves when the wind picked up again. He cast a suspicious eye at the sky, and stifled an un-lordly groan of dismay when the black of night began to take on a distinctly greenish shade.
Finrod and Maedhros were finally stirring, their sleep disturbed by the gathering of energies. The larger Elf rolled stiffly off of Fingon, who as yet had made neither move nor sound. Finrod groaned and shoved weakly at the weight still crushing him to the now-sagging floorboards, and Fingon finally gave way. He shifted off the golden-haired elf and sat – gingerly – next to Maedhros who was now clutching his pounding head in his hands. Slash spells always left him with a headache, once his post-coital buzz dissipated.
Finarfin searched for words and came up empty-handed. Finrod pushed himself up in to something resembling a sitting position and hung his head, unable to meet his father's eyes.
Fingon finally broke the silence. "It appears we have company coming," he said smoothly, nodding at the greening sky.
Finrod felt like weeping, and buried his head in his arms.
"Any ideas what kind it is?" asked Maedhros softly.
The dark-haired prince shrugged his shoulders. "Looks like it could be another self-insert. Or maybe a hybrid."
The three princes were tugging on their clothes, covering passion marks and attempting to straighten their hair. Finarfin wisely decided to leave his questions about what happened during the slash episode for another time, and address the matter at hand. From the looks of things, Finrod wouldn't be walking straight for a week, and there would be time enough to discuss the matter later.
"A hybrid," said Maedhros sullenly. "Lovely."
Finrod finally found his voice. "What do we do?" he asked plaintively, distress apparent on his fair face.
"Pray," was Maedhros' curt reply. Without preamble, the red-headed Elf clasped his hands together before him and bowed his head, murmuring, "Hail, Varda, full of grace -"
"-save us from this Sue's embrace…" Fingon and Finrod fervently joined in.
Ignoring the prayers of his son and nephews, Fingolfin studied the sky, attempting to descry what manner of foe they now faced. It was obvious that The Silmarillion had fallen into yet another so-called author's hands…
In the Real World…
Heaving a breathy sigh of nostalgia, Mother paused in her reading long enough to remove herself to her computer. Fanfiction was a guilty passion of hers, and The Silmarillion was a fount of inspiration. Balancing the book reverently on her knees, she began to craft her tale. A story of brave deeds, of courageous princes…of true love…
Tirion upon Túna…
"Well, that's done it," said Fingolfin, a note of grim finality in his voice. "Whatever she is, she's crossed over."
Fingon was still murmuring his prayers to the Valar, knowing it would more than like be in vain. However, as he had not been whisked away to strange dimensions, he nursed a growing hope that the new fanfic would not affect him. Beside him, Finrod's hands were tightly clasped in a white-knuckled grip, his lips moving in ardent supplication.
The raven-haired elf sighed heavily and turned to Maedhros.
The Fëanorian had vanished.
"I see," said Fingolfin in a detached-sounding voice. "It's a Torture-ficcer."
"And a self-insert?" said Fingon in amazement. "He'll never survive!"
Brushing past his father and the High King, Fingon began to pack a small satchel and lay out his riding clothes.
"You're going after them?" asked Finarfin.
"Of course. I have to," he replied, carefully ignoring the disapproval in his lord's voice. "I'll return when I can!" Fingon called out over his shoulder as he left the room in a rush, leaving the two elder Elf-lords looking at each other.
"Off he goes to be heroic," Finarfin said lightly. At least it wasn't another slasher. That squiky thought reminded him that he wanted to question his son, and he turned to the prince to inquire what had befallen him.
Finrod was gone.
"Finrod? Finrod!" The High King's gaze swept the shadows, desperately hoping to espy his son, but the younger Elf had definitely vanished. Turning to his brother, he asked desperately, "You don't think they're together, do you?"
Fingolfin frowned. "No, self-inserts usually hate slash. She must have some other purpose in mind." Laying a hand on his brother's shoulder, he said, "Don't worry. Whatever is happening, I'm sure Fingon will find his way to them."
Much later, elsewhere in an alternate reality…
Finrod peered into the darkness. He could see the glinting eyes of the wolf, watching him. He didn't know how long he'd been in torment, but he doubted he had strength enough left to fight this one off, especially with his hands in bonds. One moment he'd been relatively safe in his own chambers and wondering what had become of Maedhros, and the next he was neck-deep in a torture fic.
"Hail Varda…"he murmured desperately. Hopefully, any moment now one of his cousins would come barging through the door to rescue him. He dared to glance at the wolf again. It looked hungry, but he wasn't sure if it was hungry. It did not bear contemplating.
Suddenly, the door did burst open. Framed in glorious silhouette, smelling vaguely of floral perfume and dressed in the most outlandish-looking armor imaginable was a very mortal and very mature Mary Sue.
"My love, I have found you!" she cried out, and rushed towards him.
Finrod blanched. "Ma'am, I believe you are looking for my brother!" he cried out hopefully.
The wolf sprang from the shadows at this disturbance and Mature Mary Sue waved her sword at it. The hulking beast crumpled in a whimpering heap at her feet. Mature Mary Sue turned back to the agog Elf-lord and gave his forged bonds a casual tug, ripping them easily from the stonework and earning her a very put-out glare which she blissfully ignored. Finrod found himself dragged forward and his head pillowed on her ample breast as she clasped him in an ardent embrace. Her wedding rings, which she had forgotten to remove, tangled in his hair.
"Have they hurt you my love?" she asked in a sickly-sweet voice.
"Er, no…well, actually yes…" Finrod found himself beginning to simper against his will as the author's spell took over. "Quite a bit, really…"
"Oh, my poor, poor Finrod!" she cooed, petting him like a puppy.
Struggling to hold out against the urge to fall madly in love with her, Finrod, by sheer dint of will, dragged himself away. "Shall we depart, madame?" he asked, offering her his arm.
"Yes, we must away! For your cousin is in dire peril, and we must to his aid!"
Finrod staggered towards the open doorway, with Mature Mary Sue bearing a considerable portion of his weight. "Worry not for Maedhros, my lady, for valiant Fingon will surely rescue him," he assured her.
"Nay, he shall not!" she turned to him, gazing earnestly at him with her brilliant emerald eyes which might possibly have been amethyst in another light. "For Fingon has been waylaid, and taken alive! He lies even now in torment next to Maedhros!" She sounded delighted.
"What?" Finrod's soul quailed in terror at the Mature Mary Sue's depravity. She had contrived to have all three of them captured and tortured at the same time? This was the last fuzzy thought he had before Mature Mary Sue's spell overwhelmed him completely.
"You realize, of course, this could only happen to you." Fingon gave his cousin a Look as the cogs on the rack turned impossibly tighter.
Maedhros glared at his cousin from his upside-down position where he dangled by his ankles. "You are in no position to speak, coz."
The raven-haired Elf grimaced as the strain increased on his joins, but managed to choke out, "You know we're only here because of you. Why is it that the torture-ficcers love you so much? What is it about you that makes women need to see you in pain? Why do they desperately want to comfort you?"
The Fëanorian offered no answer as the gibbering orcs surrounding them took up their torment again in earnest.
All they could do now was pray…
Manwë looked up from his desk and sighed. Yes, he knew that The Silmarillion had once again fallen into the wrong hands and a very potent Sue had crossed over. But what did anyone expect him to do about it?
"I'm sorry, my wife, but there is nothing I can do. The princes of the house of Finwë have already fallen into her hands. Soon the spell will run its course and they will be free. Just be patient," he said to Varda, who was hovering over his shoulder.
The Star-Kindler chewed her lip. A policy of inaction did not sit well with her, and she wanted desperately to answer the Elf-lords' prayers. "Fine," she said at last. "If you wish to do nothing, then go ahead. I will take this straight to Eru."
"What!?" Manwë jumped up. He started to try to talk her out of it, but changed his mind. There was no talking Varda out of something when her mind was made up, and she was wearing her My-mind-is-made-up-look. But darn if he didn't hate it when his wife went over his head!
Varda spun on her heel and gracefully exited the room, leaving Manwë to squint at his papers in the diminished light. He turned back to his project at hand, a letter-writing campaign lobbying to get Celegorm and Curufin re-embodied as women. He quickly put the matter of the Sue out of his mind.
Shortly thereafter, in the Real World…
"'Yes, my love, the only way to free your cousins is to prove our love by lying together,' she told him in her musical voice…" Mother whispered to herself as she typed the words. She was just getting to the juiciest part when suddenly, the computer screen went blank.
"What? Oh, no!" All the power on the street had gone out, and her precious, unsaved story was lost. "Oh, well," she said mournfully. "Perhaps it wasn't meant to be."
Getting up from her computer desk, mother took the thick volume over to the bookshelf, sliding it reverently between two other dusty volumes, where it then passed out of all knowledge and lay safe, quiet and sleeping for many years…
Tirion upon Túna…
"My lords, they're back!"
The servant's voice joyfully informed the High King and his brother as they paced restlessly in the throne room. The two Elf-lords rushed to greet the three cousins as they staggered wearily into the court, leaning heavily on one another. They had just reappeared only moments ago, just as the greenish sky cleared with the dawn.
"And then, she just vanished! And the next thing I knew, I was back here," Finrod was telling the other two. He shuddered at the recollection of how close he'd come to losing his virtue to Mature Mary Sue.
"Hmm," was Maedhros' response. He was unimaginably grateful that he had been tortured rather than Sued, but the whole episode was something he'd still rather put out of his mind.
The two elder Elves hustled the younger three off to get cleaned up and fed, exchanging happy smiles that neither of them would have to deal with unexpected grandchildren, at least that day.
"A Elbereth! Gilthoniel! Varda be praised!"
It was a very satisfied-looking Queen of the Stars who returned to Manwë's study after dawn. He was still hunched over his letters, and glanced at the smug sound of her footsteps. She said nothing, and in the end he was unable to wait her out.
"Well, congratulations," he said at last. "You managed to save them before there were children involved."
Varda smiled beatifically at her husband. "Yes, Eru is merciful, His will be done," she replied, cleverly shifting credit away from herself to mollify her irked husband.
"Hmm," was his only reply. Manwë considered making an issue of it for a few moments, then decided to let the matter go. "Here, have a look at this…" He gestured for her to take a look at his current project. "I can't decide if it would be more amusing if Celegormë had tiny breasts or enormous ones…"
The Elf-Lord's Prayer
Hail, Varda, full of grace,
Spare us from this Sue's embrace.
To our characters let us be true,
And lead us not unto Mary Sue
But deliver us from fate so cruel.
Please make me a hero, or at least very cool.
But if disaster thou cannot avert,
Please save me from a self-insert
For angst or slash I'd much prefer –
Anything! Anything but her!
(for real this time!)
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For those of you who've asked about more Owner's Manuals for Sil characters, I've started guides for MAEDHROS, FINGON, FINROD, THINGOL, and LÚTHIEN units, undertaken with Theresa Green's blessings. Coming soon!
Chapter 3 of CATOE goes up Friday!