Times of Trial

by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to Lord of the Rings. This story was written for entertainment purposes only, so I'm not being paid for it.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to my crazy, wonderful siblings, MithrilSide and White Hawk.

All mortals (or all the mortals I know, at least) think, at some point or other, about how wonderful it would be to dwell with the Elves in Imladris. They never see the downside of associating with immortals. They never imagine, even in their wildest nightmares, how terrible it is to become sick while surrounded by healthy, slightly confused Elves.

Lindir, at this moment, is more than slightly confused.

"Your face is all red," he comments. "Your eyes are glazed. You look hot and sticky."

I want to say something clever and cutting, but my throat hurts, and I can't think clearly. Erestor will tell you that I can't say anything clever and cutting even on days when I'm feeling well. So I don't stand a chance today, because today I'm sick. The Elves can hardly wait to drag me to the infirmary and experiment on me. Lord Elrond discovered a strange herb a few days ago, and he wants to see what it does.

I groan.

Lindir pokes me with a sharp finger. "Estel? Estel, are you all right?"

Moan. No, I'm not all right, you idiot. Go jump over a waterfall.

I don't say this out loud, of course. I make do by glaring at the Elf. He looks at me anxiously.

Glorfindel wanders over. He regards me with interest. I moan at him. That's about all I'm capable of right now.

"What's wrong with him?" asks Lindir in a piercing whisper. My head hurts.

Glorfindel thinks. Then he says, happily, "It seems that Estel is S-I-C-K."

"I can spell," I mumble. "I'm not five anymore."

Glorfindel says something about time flying and how fast mortals grow up, and then he leaves to get Lord Elrond.

A few minutes later, I'm lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. I have an interesting ceiling. There's a very long crack along it that looks like a river, and there's a spot where some paint fell off that could be mountains. I like imagining that I'm exploring the river on a little boat. The best thing about this game is that there are no Orcs lurking anywhere. They have no bushes to hide behind.

The door to my room flies open. It ricochets off the wall and slams back into place. I hear someone squeak in surprise. Then the door opens, this time a lot slower. A blonde head emerges.

I would know that hair anywhere.

"Legolas," I croak.

Legolas's head swivels around. He looks at me worriedly.

"Why did you open the door like that?" I snarl.

Legolas grins proudly. "It's my Orc-remover move," he explains. "It's a precautionary method against Orcs hiding behind the door. If they're trying to kill me, they get squished instead."

"Oh. I see," I say cleverly. Legolas is surprisingly good at improvising quickly.

"I'm here to cheer you up," says Legolas. "Lord Elrond told me you were -what was the word again?- sick. He told me to be quiet and considerate."

"Ah, you've been taking his advice then," I say, ladling as much sarcasm as possible into the words.

"I shall entertain you!" cries Legolas excitedly. I don't remember him being this crazy on our adventures. What have the Imladris Elves done to him?

Legolas stands in front of my bed and begins to sing a song. Soon it becomes apparent that he's making it up as he goes along. I cringe against my pillows, wishing for an end to my afflictions.

Poor sick Estel, lying in a bed,

How pale he is,

He looks as though he's dead.

"I wish I was," I interject. Legolas smiles innocently and continues.

However, fortunately, his friend,

The fair Legolas,

Has come to help him mend.

"Mend what?"

And though he growls like a grumpy warg,

Legolas sings on sweetly,

And- and - and

'Fair Legolas' pauses. "What rhymes with warg?"

"Morgue," I say helpfully. Then I sneeze. "Why don't you just leave? Stop annoying me!"

Legolas appears momentarily crestfallen. Then he proclaims ecstatically. "I know! I'll make you a surprise!"

Legolas skips merrily out of the room. I glare balefully after him, worrying about his surprise. The last time Legolas surprised me, he almost got a sword run through him. I thought he'd learned his lesson.

I doze off for a while. I wake up to the smell of smoke and the sound of screaming. Elves are running around. Lindir dashes by with a bucket of water. Glorfindel sprints past my door in the opposite direction, looking scared out of his mind. After a few minutes, the commotion dies down. I can hear Erestor saying, "I didn't know celery was flammable. Fancy that."

I am mildly curious as to what the cause of the disturbance was, but I have a fairly good idea.

Legolas enters my bedroom, holding a frying pan. His clothing is slightly burnt. He is soaking wet. He squelches over to my bed, a beatific smile still plastered on his face. He thrusts the frying pan under my nose. I see charcoal at the bottom of it.

"What is this? Kitchen appliance inspection?"

"No. It's your dinner."

"I'm sorry. My headache must be ruining my hearing. Did you say that this is my dinner?"

"Yes." Legolas nods. "I heard that sick mortals liked to get dinner in bed." He sets the frying pan down and it makes a clunking noise. "Do you want to play a board game?"


"Do you want to knit?"


"Do you want to braid my hair?"


"Do you want me to braid your hair?" Legolas hastily amends.

"No! Keep your filthy Elvish paws away from my hair!" I shriek in horror.

Legolas maintains his goodwill. "It's not like I want to touch your greasy hair anyway," he says. "I was just offering."

"Thanks. Go away."

"Lord Elrond said that you needed a good friend to keep you company," says Legolas. "I thought that since we'd gone on lots of adventures together, you wouldn't mind if I cheered you up."

"Yes, I feel every so cheery," I retort.

"Well, we had fun on our last expedition, right?"

"Which expedition? The one in which you force-fed me that awful tasting leaf to 'save my life'? Or the one in which you suggested that we both ambush the Orcs at the same time and then sat in a tree and sniggered while I rushed in heroically and got injured."

"I told you to wait for the signal!" Legolas protests.

"Listen, Legolas. I associate your face with pain, suffering, and hardship. You're not capable of cheering me up. You just make me feel worse. I keep on waiting for Orcs to jump out of my closet and decapitate me!"

"Is that what sick does to you? Makes you paranoid?" Legolas finds a chair, pulls it up to my bedside, and sits down. He's either very forgiving, or incredibly dense. "What is sick?"

"Sick is. . .umm. . ." And then, suddenly, I am inspired. ". . .I hate to tell you this, Legolas, but sick is when mortals begin to crave Elven ears."

"Really?" Legolas raises his eyebrows, touching one pointed ear absently.

"To eat," I finish. "I've been resisting the temptation for a while now, but I fear that I may succumb very soon."

Legolas's wary expression is a joy to behold, especially since I know he's not about to say 'I think there are Orcs nearby, Aragorn'.

"You want to eat my ears?" he asks.

I nod, licking my lips. Legolas scoots his chair back a little. "Why?"

"Because I'm sick," I say. I cough for a moment, then grin at him. "It won't be too bad." I pounce forward.

I'm too sick to get far, but Legolas's chair shoots backwards and topples over. Legolas stands nervously by the closed door. (How did he get there so fast?) I feel rather sorry for him. He's never heard of 'sick' before, and he half-realizes that I'm teasing him. However, he doesn't trust me enough to be absolutely certain.

I begin laughing, and then begin coughing. I cough for a while, but as I do, Legolas carefully picks up his chair and sits down again. When I stop coughing, I glance up and see him glaring at me.

"Very droll, Estel," he says.

I smirk at him. I feel a lot better.

"I suppose I can leave," says Legolas slowly. He looks sort of sad.

"Yes. Do."

Legolas goes over to the door. He twists the handle. He tugs the handle. "The door won't open!" he cries. "We're trapped! We cannot get out!"

I limp over to the door. "Crazy Elf. The door can be opened this way."

The door resists my efforts. No, this cannot be! Legolas is stuck in my bedroom! I'm not well enough to bear this!

I kick the door, cursing creatively.

"Temper, temper," says Legolas. He grabs me by the arm and hauls me back to bed. "You can't get cold, Estel! That wouldn't do."

Legolas tucks me into bed. Then he stands back. "Are you comfortable?"

I whimper.

"Good. Because I'm going to sing some more. To cheer you up."

Cheerfully, I grab the frying pan and fling it at his head.