The Coffee Plot
Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to Lord of the Rings.
This story is dedicated to Canon Killer Ellie. She'll know why.
Erestor hated trying to barter with the Haradrim. Sometimes it was necessary to do so, and he had quite a reputation for being diplomatic, but he didn't enjoy the task in the least. The trader he was attempting to deal with was a charming fellow, and probably quite likable, but his cheery smile and carefree ways did not make up for one unfortunate fact.
Erestor and the trader did not understand each other.
Erestor knew three languages. He could speak Sindarin and Westron fluently, and he had practiced his Quenya on and off. The trader seemed to know a few languages as well, but neither could actually communicate. Erestor was sick of making signs and repeating words slowly and clearly, and the trader's smile was beginning to look more and more forced as he used the same tactics.
Then Glorfindel appeared. Erestor heaved a sigh of relief. Glorfindel was Imladris's language expert. He had traveled all over Middle-Earth, and not only that, he remembered the languages he heard.
"Help me," whimpered Erestor. Glorfindel smiled pleasantly.
"Who is this?" he asked.
"A trader from Far Harad. I think he wants to sell us something," explained Erestor.
Glorfindel turned to the trader and proceeded to have a lengthy conversation. Erestor watched with interest as the man produced a small bag and let the yellow-haired Elf peek inside.
"What's happening?" the advisor asked eventually.
"Apparently he has been traveling for a long time. He says that he is an innocent man, and took no part in the war," said Glorfindel. "He has something rare and valuable that he would like to trade with us."
"Really?" Erestor liked rare and valuable things. "What is it?"
"Beans," said Glorfindel. "According to this fine man, they do not drink wine in his part of the country. Instead, they have discovered a special bean that can be brewed into a drink." He turned to the trader, asking a quick question, before finishing, "It's called coffee."
"Let's get some!" said Erestor eagerly. "Ask him how to prepare the drink, and see what he wants in return."
A few minutes later, Glorfindel and Erestor sneaked into the kitchen, holding the small bag of beans. Erestor thought it smelled unpleasant, but he was extremely curious. He wanted to know what 'coffee' tasted like.
Glorfindel told a kitchen maid how to prepare the beans, and then he and Erestor slipped outside again. The trader had been given food for his journey and had gone away.
Imladris was rather busy at this time of year. The War was over, and the Enemy had been destroyed. The Elves knew that they were fading, and more and more mortals wandered into the valley and stayed at the Last Homely House. At the moment, Faramir was visiting. The man had always wanted to see Elves. Thranduil was also there. He and his son, Prince Legolas, were taking a much-needed vacation, with the Crown Prince Dagorer in charge of Eryn Lasgalen. Thranduil had actually managed to be fairly unobtrusive, but he wasn't handling his holiday well. It was making him act a bit strangely. Still in his 'king' mind-set, he kept on commanding people to do things.
The kitchen maid prepared the coffee carefully, straining the crushed beans and using plenty of hot water. When a cup of the stuff had been made, she set it out on the table and hurried off to alert Lord Glorfindel.
Elrond wandered through the kitchens, feeling rather depressed. He missed his daughter, and his sons were currently in Minas Tirith. He had enjoyed talking with Faramir, who was unusually wise for a mortal, but he wished that something exciting would happen.
He saw a cup of something sitting on the table. "Perfect," he thought brightly. "This must be the tea I asked for." Picking up the mug, he swigged the mixture down. It did not taste like tea. It did not taste like anything he'd ever had before.
It tasted unnatural.
"If 'coffee' turns out to taste good, maybe we could grow some of the beans in Imladris," said Erestor. He was already making plans. Life had been so dull before, but now that there was something new in the valley, he was filled with enthusiasm. "Do you want to try it first, or shall I?"
"It might be poisonous," said Glorfindel. "You can try it first."
Erestor entered the kitchen and looked around. He heard giggling.
"Something's wrong," muttered Glorfindel, also halting in the doorway.
"Nothing's wrong!" cried someone happily.
"Lord Elrond!" Erestor's mouth dropped open. He stared at the Elf who lay giggling on the floor.
"He drank the coffee," said Glorfindel, seeing the cup that Elrond still held. "It's made him go insane!"
Erestor and Glorfindel watched as Elrond flopped around on the kitchen floor, giggling pathetically. "It's a conspiracy," said Erestor finally. "The Haradrim have sent coffee to Imladris to destroy us."
"We can't let anyone know what's happened," said Glorfindel. "The other Elves might panic."
Erestor was already panicking. The Haradrim must have done this. They would probably sneak back in the middle of the night and kill everyone in their beds. "What will we do?" he asked, trying to sound calm.
"We'll carry Elrond to his bedroom, and lock him in. Then we will go on with our business and try to act normal. Maybe no one will worry."
"That sounds way too optimistic," growled Erestor.
Legolas was practicing his archery when he saw Erestor poke his head around the doorway to the garden. "Hello, Lord Erestor!" said the Elf-Prince. He shot another arrow. He was bored since Gimli wasn't there to make his life more entertaining.
Erestor jumped guiltily. "Hello, Legolas," he said carefully. "Do you mind if you close your eyes for a moment?"
Legolas beamed at the serious Elf. "Not at all," he said, shutting his eyes obligingly.
Legolas listened with interest to sounds of something heavy being dragged through the garden to the small door on the other side. He heard Erestor say, "All right. You can open your eyes now" and then he heard the door shut.
The prince opened his eyes, blinking in the sunlight. Something weird was going on. What in the world was Erestor doing?
"I don't think he saw us," said Glorfindel. "Unless he was peeking."
"He wouldn't peek," said Erestor. "He's very honorable."
Elrond giggled distantly from where he lay on the ground. He still hadn't let go of his coffee cup. Both advisors sighed in unison. "I'll take his feet this time," said Glorfindel. "You can take his arms."
Erestor grabbed Elrond's arms, Glorfindel took his feet, and they dragged their lord away. He kept on giggling, totally oblivious to what was going on.
"I hope no one sees this," said Erestor to himself.
Legolas scrambled up the wall. He was good at climbing things. He was putting his experience to good use. He was going to see what Erestor had been dragging around.
He had not expected to see the advisor hauling Lord Elrond through the shrubbery. And Glorfindel was helping him! This was definitely wrong.
Legolas frowned thoughtfully. It was murder! They were going to kill the Elf-Lord! Or else Elrond had hurt himself. But why were they being so secretive about it all? He decided to follow them.
Legolas was absolutely silent. He sneaked behind the two Elves, and soon learned that Elrond was still alive. The half-Elf was giggling. Yes, something was wrong.
Legolas followed the Elves to Elrond's bedroom, and watched them put him on his bed. He watched them lock the door carefully behind them. This situation was getting curiouser and curiouser.
Elrond wondered why he was lying in his bedroom. He did not want to lie down. He wanted to run around getting into trouble. Was this how his sons felt?
Elrond carefully got out of bed. He tripped once or twice, tore down a wall- hanging or two, but he survived the hazardous trip across his room. He giggled. What fun this was! He tried to open the door. It wouldn't work. HE WAS LOCKED IN!!!
Giggling hysterically, Elrond dashed over to his window and scrambled out of it.
Legolas, standing outside the door with his ear pressed to it, heard lots of thumps and thuds. Elrond was obviously trying to escape! Legolas found the key to the door and opened it, peering into the room.
It was empty.
Legolas hurried over to the window and gazed down. He could just see Elrond making for the trees as fast as he could go.
"I wonder why things like this happen to me?" wondered Legolas. He climbed out the window and sprinted after the Elf-Lord. The best explanation for the situation was insanity. Elrond had gone crazy.
"Ooh, look at the pretty trees," giggled Elrond. He smiled cheerily at the trees. "How are you today? I feel fine. I feel mischievous. I feel like getting into trouble." He paused, frowning thoughtfully. "I feel like dying Faramir's hair GREEN."
Elrond hurried off to get his dyes.
"Glorfindel," said Erestor, "I'm worried. Do you think Elrond could have escaped?"
"No. It would be impossible," said Glorfindel calmly. The Elf was reading book after book, looking for references to coffee. Thus far, he had found none.
Erestor opened another book. He had found as many books as he could that might possibly mention coffee beans: Herbs, Plants and Other Things That Grow, Beans of Various Varieties, Strange, Uncommon, and Deadly Drinks, Gorelen and the Beanstalk, and many more. He flipped a page listlessly.
Glorfindel glanced out the window in time to see Elrond running past. A few moments later, Legolas also ran by. Glorfindel blinked. He was about to tell Erestor that Elrond was loose, when Erestor jabbed his finger down on the page in front of him.
"There it is!" crowed Erestor triumphantly. "'Coffee was invented by the Haradrim. It is a strong, bitter drink, and can cause Elves to temporarily go insane,'" he read. "'While under the influence of coffee, Elves have been known to set things on fire, draw pictures on walls, dye things unusual colors, sing off-key for long periods of time, and get married.'" The raven-haired advisor shut the book firmly. "We're going to die."
"Maybe," Glorfindel agreed hesitantly. He glanced furtively out the window. "Erestor. . ." he began.
"What?" snapped Erestor, made irritable by his thoughts of impending doom.
"Elrond is loose."
Faramir was reading a book. He loved staying in Imladris. It was so peaceful. And so beautiful! Faramir's little heart was filled with joy. He turned the page of his book and thanked Eru he knew how to read Sindarin. It was so rewarding.
Faramir saw Elrond waving to him from the gardens. Elrond had made his stay so pleasant. Already they had engaged in several stimulating debates. The man closed his book and stood up to join the Elf in the garden.
He glanced around and saw an Elf on a distant balcony. The Elf was hopping around and yelling something. Unfortunately, it was too far away to tell what he was saying. Faramir shrugged and began to descend the stairs to where Elrond waited below.
Elrond tried to stay serious, but this was so much fun! He smiled at Faramir authoritatively. "I want to try out my new herbal mixture," he lied. "Would you be so kind as to be the victim. . .er. . .tester?"
Faramir nodded eagerly. "I would love to," he said happily. He let Elrond slather the strange mixture on his hair. Elrond rubbed it in quickly and then grinned mischievously at the man.
"What's your mixture for?" asked Faramir, touching his damp hair gingerly.
"It's dye," giggled Elrond. "I dyed your hair GREEN!"
Faramir gaped at him. Was this the Elrond he knew? Would Elrond really dye his hair green? Faramir stumbled off to find a mirror.
"Oh no!" wailed Erestor, standing on his balcony and watching the scene with wide eyes. "He's dyed Faramir's hair green! The steward of Gondor will never be the same again! This might mean war!"
Glorfindel sighed. "Erestor, pull yourself together," he ordered.
Erestor was hyperventilating. "What will we do?" he kept on asking.
Glorfindel thumped his friend on the back. "Don't worry. Everything will be all right."
Thranduil was walking the garden, trying not to be stressed out. Imladris was so peaceful it was making him jumpy. He kept on expecting a spider or something to leap on top of him.
Then something did leap on top of him.
It was his son.
"Legolas, what are you doing?" asked Thranduil, glad that he had not had a heart attack. "You startled me."
"Lord Elrond has gone crazy!" gasped Legolas. "He's dying people's hair weird colors!"
Before Thranduil could reply, Elrond himself burst into the garden. He looked disheveled. He smiled brightly at the Elvenking. "My dear Thranduil," he said sweetly, "would you like me to rub my special herbal mixture in your hair?"
"Don't go near him!" yelled Legolas, scrambling up a tree.
Faramir was next to dash into the clearing. His hair really was green. It would probably glow in the dark. Thranduil gulped nervously, staring at the man's head.
"Is it green?" asked Faramir. "Is it really green?"
Thranduil nodded slowly.
"No!" shrieked Faramir desperately. "It can't be green! My wife will laugh her head off! I'll never be able to appear in public again!"
Erestor and Glorfindel galloped into the scene. Erestor was babbling stuff about coffee plots. Glorfindel was telling him to calm down.
"It's green!" gasped Erestor, forgetting the Haradrim conspiracy. "What have you done, Lord Elrond?"
"How do we fix him?" asked Glorfindel. "He drank something called coffee and he's never been the same."
"I think we should send him over the sea to Valinor," said Thranduil seriously.
"That seems a bit abrupt," said Glorfindel.
"I think we should make him go to sleep," said Erestor. "Use a sleeping potion on him."
Faramir kept on touching his hair nervously. Every time his hands came in contact with it, he would yank them back as if they had been burned. His eyes were huge. "Not green hair," he whispered. "Anything but that."
Elrond beamed at everyone. "Isn't it wonderful?" he asked conversationally. "I feel so happy."
They all stared at him. He didn't just look happy, he looked insane.
"Life is not boring anymore," said Glorfindel finally.
"It just goes to prove that anything can happen," said Erestor.
"My hair is green," said Faramir.
"I think the coffee's effect is wearing off," said Legolas.
"His eyes aren't so glazed anymore," said Thranduil.
Elrond blinked. He swayed. He looked around. "What are you all staring at?" he asked.
No one replied. They were all either angry, or nervous wrecks.
"Are there any coffee beans left?" asked Erestor finally.
"Good," growled the advisor. "I am going to make a cup of coffee. I am going to drink every single drop. Then I am going to push Lord Elrond over a waterfall."
"Why exactly are you planning on committing murder?" asked Legolas, wide- eyed.
Erestor was already trudging towards Imladris. He shouted back at the Elf prince."Temporary insanity."
"Well," said Glorfindel, "I think this day will go down in Elven history. I don't think any of us will forget the Cunning Coffee Plot."
"So why is Faramir's hair green?" asked Elrond.