Disclaimer: Sadly, regretfully and unfortunately, I do not own Lord of the Rings. It is all the wonderful work of Tolkien.
Additional disclaimer: Some lines are taken almost exactly from the film "Return of the King". Those lines (marked by 1, 2, 3) are Newline's and Peter Jackson & co's, not mine. No disrespect is intended by their use.
Summary: Sequel to "Of Men, Elves and Snowballs." After the quest, a certain elf decides that it is time to seek retribution over the matter of a few snowballs.
I never originally intended for there to be a sequel to "Of Men, Elves and Snowballs, but thanks to the suggestion of one of you wonderful reviewers (thank you Lynx Yamato) here it is! Enjoy!
----------------The Snowball Effect
It was a cloud-covered sky which rested over the chief city of the kingdom of Gondor. The white tower of Ecthelion rose high, seeming to blend into the iron-grey mists as icy winds raced through each level of the city, biting and snatching at those citizens who dared venture out into the winter cold.
In the topmost courtyard of the stone citadel, three figures walked amid the heavily layered snow. Two were rugged up against the bitter cold, clad in thick fur-lined coats, warm scarves and heavy boots. The third figure on the other hand, who walked a few yards ahead of his companions, wore only a thin tunic and leggings. A light cloak flowed from underneath the long blonde hair partly restrained against the furious winds by a series of fine braids.
A plaintive voice echoed over the courtyard, in the centre of which stood a white tree in full bloom despite the chill of the winter months. "May I ask again why you felt the need to drag the two of us out of my nice, warm palace?" grumbled the king of the combined kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.
A mischievous laugh which rang merrily on the flurries of wind that darted furiously about the courtyard was the only answer.
"Let the crazy elf have his way," muttered the man's companion, a dwarf with a flaming red beard who walked beside the king, hands folded into his armpits as he stomped through the thick snow. "You know as well as I do that he'll never let us rest until he gets what he wants."
"Aye, I know," the man replied. "But I fail to see what point there is to dragging us out into the freezing cold when we could still be in our warm, comfortable beds!" The man's tone was heated as he answered his short companion. Indeed, he thought with annoyance, his tone seemed to be the only thing that was warm.
The dwarf chuckled deep in his chest as he navigated around a particularly deep pile of snow. "And I suppose it would not hurt matters if that warm, comfortable bed contained a certain elf queen?" he enquired.
Aragorn grinned at his friend through his full beard. "Nay, it would not. Indeed, I have reason to believe that it would improve them significantly."
By this time, the lithe figure ahead of them was waiting impatiently for his companions to catch up. "Come!" called a melodious voice, and its owner ran lightly over the snow towards the two friends. Upon reaching them he tugged vigorously on the man's heavy velvet sleeve. "You must see this!"
Aragorn and Gimli looked at each other in exasperation, but nevertheless continued to follow the prince of Mirkwood as he moved light-footed over the snow towards the edge of the high-walled precipice which overlooked the city of Minas Tirith.
"I still do not think it is fair that elves can walk on snow," muttered Aragorn as he tramped heavily through the deep substance which lay inches thick over the stone terrace. He watched the elf ahead of him step lightly over an exceptionally thick snowdrift which had built up due to the furious winds, but was then forced to plough through it himself, half-staggering as he valiantly attempted to keep his footing. The dwarf behind him fared little better, his shorter legs making it even harder for him to traverse the snowy field. Aragorn was certain that he could see a smile tugging at the elf's fair face as he turned to watch his companions struggle onwards through the snow. "Nay," the man growled under his breath. "It is definitely not fair."
Finally, the three companions reached the apex of the courtyard and Aragorn stopped short, stunned at the sight before his eyes. The kingdom of Gondor lay below him, cloaked in white against a steel-grey sky. The Fields of Pelennor, the site of the great battle of the War of the Ring, stretched far into the distance, the smooth white plain broken only by a single streak of silver which marked the river Anduin. The city of Osgiliath floated on the crystal-like substance, its stone walls, which seemed to have grown out of the deep snow, covered in a white blanket. Beyond the plains rested the mountains which bordered the realm of Mordor. However, the shadowed cloud which had smothered the land as the power of Sauron had spread, had been replaced by a stretch of blue sky as the clouds separated to reveal a weak winter sun. Wisps of white mist lit by a pearly golden border hovered gently over the distant peaks as Aragorn took a deep breath of the clean, crisp air, drinking in the fresh winter morning as best he could.
It was many minutes before he turned from the sight, and when he reluctantly did so, it was to find his two closest friends smiling at him, amused at the king's reaction, yet also sharing his joy in the renewal of the realm of Man. Aragorn moved forward to clasp a hand on Legolas' slender shoulder as he had done once before as the newly crowned king of Gondor. "Hannon le, mellon nin," he said quietly, and the elf nodded, a gentle smile lighting his fair face.
Feeling the cold begin to creep through his many layers of clothing, Aragorn turned to his companions. "Come, my friends, it is time we returned to the warmth," he said, and began to walk towards the buildings at the opposite end of the courtyard, eagerly anticipating the thought of a warm fire and an even warmer bed.
Aragorn stopped in his tracks and reached up a gloved hand to the back of his head where it came into contact with something cold. He brought his hand down before his face and stared at the snow which coated his fingers.
Slowly, the ex-ranger turned around and carefully examined each of people who stood in the courtyard with him, searching for the perpetrator of the terrible crime. Four Guards of the Citadel stood at attention around the White Tree which stood at the heart of the courtyard, tall helmets crowned with the white feathers of sea birds glinting in the pale sunlight. Looking closely, he thought he saw the barest hint of a smile flicker across the face of the one nearest him. However, the guards would surely not dare to snowball their king.
Gimli stood to his left, legs hidden from view by the deep snow which reached halfway up his calves, yet Aragorn doubted that he was responsible. The dwarf was chuckling at him, yes, but the projectile had come from behind him, not from his left. Thus, if neither Gimli nor the Guards were responsible, that left only one person, or rather, one elf.
Aragorn whipped round to face the happily smiling prince of Mirkwood who was standing only a few feet behind him, tossing his latest ball of snow back and forth between nimble hands. Aragorn growled low in his throat. The Valar-forsaken elf was not even trying to hide it!
However, he managed to remain calm as he spoke to the being who claimed to be his friend. "Can you stop that please?" he asked evenly, quite proud of the way he managed to keep his voice low and his words polite.
"Stop what, mellon nin?" the prince of Mirkwood replied innocently.
"You know of what I speak." To Aragorn's irritation, his voice had been slightly louder that time.
The elf's fair face broke into a broad grin. "Is this what you are referring to?"
Gimli's chuckle turned into full-fledged laughter as the king of Gondor strode angrily towards his elven friend, his richly embroidered garments covered in the freezing white powder. Yet the lithe elf danced effortlessly out of reach, each light footstep he made seeming to mock the heavier man who sunk deeply into the snow at every stride. Seeing that his friend was clearly quite prepared to lead him on a merry chase about the courtyard, Aragorn halted where he stood and glared at the elf silently.
"By the Valar, Legolas!" the man exploded, "If you do not stop that-"
"I will stop when you admit it," the elf interrupted.
"It has been almost three years!"
"And your point is?"
Aragorn stared dumbfounded at his best friend. "My point is that it has been almost three years!"
Legolas merely looked back at the ex-ranger, a determined glint in his steely blue eyes which Aragorn recognised only too well.
"Very well," he muttered reluctantly, knowing that the elf would not rest until he had achieved his aim. He turned to the dwarf, who had been watching the events unfolding above the city of Minas Tirith with a broad grin on his face, half-hidden beneath his beard. "Gimli, there is something which Imust tell you. It was not Legolas who threw that snowball at you whilst we climbed Caradhras."
Gimli's mouth opened slightly as he stared at the king of Gondor. "It was not the Elf?" he questioned, unsure that he had heard the man correctly.
"Nay," confirmed Aragorn. "It was Sam."
"Aragorn!" A clump of snow fell from the branches of the White Tree as the elf's frustrated shout echoed loudly over the courtyard. The prince of Mirkwood strode quickly over the snow until he reached the esteemed king of Gondor. He extended one elegant finger and prodded the man in the chest with each word he uttered, pushing the man back a little with every jab.
"What was me, mellon nin?"
The elf whirled around and stomped away towards the Citadel, that is, as much as an elf could stomp whilst moving lightly over the gathered snow.
Aragorn just stood there with a decidedly evil smirk building upon his face as he watched his friend make his way angrily towards the stone building. However, the expression soon sobered as he became aware of the short, blocky figure who had moved to confront him.
"What exactly did he mean 'It was you?'" a gruff voice demanded.
"Hmmm? Oh, it meant nothing."
"It sounded as though the Elf thinks that you threw that snowball at me on Caradhras."
"As you said yourself at the time, what reason would I have to do that?"
Bushy eyebrows lowered as Gimli eyed the man beside him suspiciously.
"So, the Elf was just being his usual flighty self then, was he?"
"Aye, it is nothing to concern yourself over."
"Ah." The dwarf nodded, apparently satisfied, and Aragorn allowed a soft sigh of relief to escape him. The two companions began to make their way after the lithe figure nearing the citadel.
Just before he reached the opposite end of the terrace however, Legolas found himself knocked off his feet as a couple of small figures, only half the size of normal men, barrelled into him, tackling him to the ground.
"Hello, Legolas!" a cheerful voice greeted him.
Pushing himself up onto his elbows, Legolas stared in surprise at the two curly heads attached to the bodies currently residing heavily on his stomach.
"Why, it's the wee hobbits!" Gimli exclaimed loudly and hurried as best he could through the snow to the group who had converged upon the unfortunate prince of Mirkwood, now trapped securely beneath four small bodies.
Striding over, Aragorn reached out a strong arm and pulled Legolas to his feet, shedding hobbits left and right. "It is good to see you, my friends," he said with a broad smile.
"Strider!" four voices cried happily. Like Legolas, the man was promptly bowled over by the hobbit cousins, Merry and Pippin.
"What are you lads doing here?" questioned Gimli, beaming as he clapped a large hand on Sam's back, causing the gardener to stumble forward slightly with the enthusiasm behind the gesture.
There was a slight pause as the four hobbits looked at each other.
"Well," began Merry finally, climbing off of Aragorn, "We were in the neighbourhood you see…"
"So we thought we'd just pop in for a visit!" continued Pippin, breaking into his cousin's rather hesitant explanation.
"I see," said Aragorn disbelievingly as he brushed down his tunic, having regained his feet with the help of Legolas.
"What?" demanded Merry at the man's unconvinced tone. "Don't you believe us?"
Legolas looked at Aragorn, then back at the hobbits. "Your pardon, master periannath," he said. "But I am afraid to say that we do not."
"Why?" asked Pippin indignantly.
"It is a great thing to travel all the way from the Shire to Minas Tirith in the heart of winter, Pippin," said Aragorn with a smile. "Even for those bound together by fellowship as we are."
"I thought it was rather a good excuse if you ask me," Pippin muttered under his breath. Merry nudged him hard and the young hobbit reddened. "I mean, but it's the truth! Isn't it, Frodo?"
A smile lit the delicate face of the dark-haired hobbit. "I think that we have been caught out," he said regretfully and he turned to Aragorn. "The truth is, Strider, that Arwen and Faramir thought that you had been working too hard, so they asked us to come out here to cheer you up."
"Yes," said Merry. "But when we finally arrive, we find you having a good old snowball fight with Legolas here!"
"It was not a snowball fight," stated Aragorn. "It was an unprovoked attack-" Legolas uttered a most un-elf like snort- "on the sovereign of Gondor and thus deserves due punishment!" He looked to Frodo and Sam gravely. "Gentlemen, if you would be so kind as to assist me in this task…"
The ex-ranger suddenly bent down and, scooping up a handful of snow, pelted it at the unprepared elf before ducking behind a handy snowdrift. Quickly guessing the man's intentions, Frodo and Sam hastened to follow him, and within seconds a barrage of snowballs was sailing out from behind the white wall, each of them intended for the prince of Mirkwood. Yet Legolas swiftly dived out of the line of fire, seeking shelter behind another snowdrift just over a dozen feet from the first. As chance would have it, a number of the missiles found their targets in a couple of innocent hobbit bystanders. Merry and Pippin looked at each other, and without a word, simultaneously scurried behind Legolas' shelter and began to return fire.
Gimli, who had managed to remain untouched by snowballs from either side, looked from one group to the other before trudging over to Aragorn, Frodo and Sam.
"Gimli!" Legolas' face appeared above the wall of snow looking somewhat betrayed.
"Sorry, lad," Gimli shouted through cupped hands. "But he is the king!" Finding that the hobbits and Aragorn were of far better aim than he, the dwarf quickly busied himself in reinforcing his team's snowdrift.
"Never trust a dwarf," Legolas muttered to himself as he bent back down behind his temporary stronghold. His next few snowballs impacted solidly with the back of the traitorous being, who let out a muffled bellow each time one struck him with more force than was probably necessary for a friendly snowball fight.
For some minutes the only sound to be heard was that of snowballs whizzing through the air, interspersed with numerous grunts and thuds as the missiles connected with their targets. However, the quiet was soon broken by a high hobbit voice.
"Pippin!" A head of dark curls appeared over the top of the wall of snow. "I thought you were in the service of Gondor?" called Frodo.
"I am!" the younger hobbit shouted back. "Or at least, I was."
Aragorn's slightly muffled voice sounded from behind his fortress. "Then as your king and liege, I order you to join us or risk being arrested for treason!"
With an apologetic look at Legolas, Pippin took a deep breath, and, taking advantage of a lull in the fighting, darted out from behind his wall, scurrying quickly through the snow until he had reached Aragorn, Gimli, Frodo and Sam.
Battle resumed, and, despite being greatly out-numbered, Legolas and Merry gave as well as they received. That was, until Pippin's head popped up.
"Here, Merry!" he shouted. "Isn't Rohan an ally of Gondor?"
"Yes!" the hobbit replied.
"Then as a Knight of the Riddermark, shouldn't you be on our side?"
The snowballs halted briefly and Merry's head appeared, realisation dawning on his features. "You're right, Pip!" he shouted, and proceeded to duck out from the side of the fortress of snow to hurriedly make his way over to opposing side.
Left alone behind his snowdrift, Legolas rose to his feet in fury. "That's not fair!" he called out angrily, glaring at the top of Aragorn's head which could just be seen above the snowdrift.
The prince of Mirkwood hurriedly crouched behind his makeshift shelter again, muttering to himself about the traitorous nature of everyone who was not an elf.
"Begging your pardon, Legolas?" the quiet voice of Sam called. "But aren't both Ithilien and the forests of your father allied to Gondor?"
"An excellent point, Sam," agreed Aragorn. "So, Elf, unless you want to be tried for treason, I would surrender now!"
"Eryn Lasgalen will never surrender to the likes of you, nor will Ithilien!" the elf declared resolutely. "No matter how many snowballs you throw against them!"
Behind the fortress Sam began to chuckle helplessly, the very absurdity of the situation suddenly striking him. Frodo looked at his friend who had followed him to Mordor and back, and he too began to laugh, quickly joined by Merry and Pippin. Aragorn and Gimli on the other hand, continued to rain snowballs at the solitary elf.
"Come, my friends," the ex-ranger urged. "We cannot give up now. Victory is at hand!"
"Us hobbits don't give up, Strider" said Merry, looking offended at the very thought.
The king of Gondor nodded. "I do not doubt that, Merry," he replied. "For the proof is here before my eyes. However," he continued, and the ranger's voice, which had sobered momentarily, lightened once more. "I have been trying to best this elf for a good part of my life and I will not let an opportunity such as this escape me."
"And what exactly do you prepose we do?" questioned Gimli. "The Elf is not one to accept defeat easily." His brow furrowed. "Though he ought to be used to it by now," he muttered under his breath.
"What's that supposed to mean?" inquired Pippin, his sharp ears having caught the dwarf's last words. "He beat you at Pelennor Fields, didn't he."
"No he didn't! The blasted Elf-"
"Yes, he did," interrupted Merry. "He brought down an Oliphaunt, didn't he?"
"Well, yes, but it only counted as one," the dwarf argued, but Sam was shaking his head.
"Now that just doesn't seem right," he said. "Oliphaunts are a lot bigger than your common orc."
"How do you know?" asked Pippin.
"We saw one! Me and Mr. Frodo here, I mean. Didn't we, Frodo?"
The dark-haired hobbit nodded.
"You never told us!" Pippin protested indignantly.
"Yes, he did," argued Merry. "That night in the Green Dragon. You remember!" he urged, when Pippin stared blankly at him.
The dark-haired hobbit nodded.
"See! He did tell us!"
"Gentlemen-" Aragorn interjected, but the hobbits ignored him.
"Anyway, my point is, Pippin, that bringing down an Oliphaunt surely counts for more than killing an orc."
"Now just a minute here, lads!" Gimli blustered. "The Elf may have brought down an Oliphant, but I single-handedly defended the gates of the Hornburg!"
"Single-handedly?" Aragorn echoed, but his companions ignored him.
"But we're talking about Pelennor, Gimli," argued Pippin. "Not Helm's Deep. Right, Frodo?"
The dark-haired hobbit nodded.
"It's the same war!" blustered Gimli.
"As much as I appreciate your defence of my victory," interrupted an amused voice, "I believe we were in the middle of a snowball fight?"
The group looked up to see the prince of Mirkwood standing over them, holding a snowball firmly in each hand. Within an instant they were subject to an onslaught of the freezing missiles, the elf apparently having used their debate as an opportunity to build up a sizable store of them.
"Get him!" ordered Aragorn, and four hobbits descended upon the hapless prince of Mirkwood, yelling as they knocked the elf's feet out from under him and proceeded to snowball him mercilessly.
Eventually, Legolas managed to extract himself from the pile of tangled limbs and hairy feet, and he leapt to his feet and up on top of the nearby snowdrift.
"Master hobbits!" he cried, and his voice rang out clearly in the crystal-cold air. "Why do you continue to suffer such subjugation under the rule of King Elessar?"
"What do you mean subjugation?" said Aragorn defensively. "The Shire is freely governed by the hobbits themselves! It is only in name that it is part of Gondor!"
"Yet they fight on your order?" exclaimed the elf. "To me that does not sound like freedom!" He looked down at the four hobbits, who were staring up at him somewhat dubiously. "Come, master periannath; do not let this chance to fight for your freedom pass you by!"
Gimli grunted. "The Elf is even crazier than I thought," he commented to Aragorn and the man snorted in laughter.
"See how he mocks your attempt to escape the shackles of enslavement!" Legolas cried, gesturing at Aragorn, who immediately tried to stifle his mirth. "My friends, we must fight!"
"But he has an army, Legolas!" Pippin protested. "You saw it!"
"He was in it," remarked Aragorn to Gimli.
"A day may come when the courage of Hobbits fails," proclaimed the elf. "When you forsake your friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day." (1)
Aragorn looked disbelievingly at the elf prince who stood upon the high snowdrift, cloak streaming behind him in the strong wind, hair gleaming in the pale winter sun.
"An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Hobbits comes crashing down," the elf continued. "But it is not this day!" (2)
"I do not believe this," muttered Aragorn, shaking his head.
"This day we fight!" cried Legolas. "By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, hobbits of the Shire!" (3)
The four hobbits exchanged glances.
"For the Shire!" Merry yelled, and as one the small creatures turned and attacked the ex-ranger who was quickly buried underneath a pile of snow. Legolas took a seat cross-legged on the fortress-turned-podium of snow and proceeded to watch with unconcealed amusement as the king of Gondor suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of four small hobbits. After some minutes, Gimli trudged over to where the elf sat and leant back against the snowdrift. When the one-sided battle showed no sign of abating anytime soon, he drew out a long-stemmed pipe, but hurriedly stowed it within his heavy coat once more at a sharp look from the elf.
Finally the attack ceased and four hobbits and an ex-ranger collapsed on the snowy ground, panting.
"You know," Pippin puffed, "This reminds me of that time on Caradhras, when Strider kept throwing snowballs at Legolas."
The king of Gondor froze where he lay, and his eyes shifted nervously between Legolas and Gimli, the latter of whom had a strange expression on his face.
"I remember that!" said Merry. "Then he threw one at Gimli and pretended that Legolas had done it!"
"What!" Gimli pushed himself upright with a roar and advanced on Aragorn furiously, sending scuffs of snow flying up from the ground with every step. "You mean it was you all along?"
"Peace, Gimli," Aragorn entreated, hands raised in supplication, "No harm came of it!"
"But Gimli and Legolas came to blows, didn't they?" asked Sam, chewing his lip. "If you ask me, that sounds like harm."
Pippin, Merry and Frodo nodded their agreement.
The dwarf continued to rant at the nervous-looking king of Gondor. "And then today! Today you denied it! When I asked you to your face, you denied ever having snowballed me!"
"To be fair, Gimli," the man interrupted. "You never actually asked me whether I had done it, you just said that it sounded as though Legolas thought I did."
The dwarf stared at him. "Why you…!" he blustered. "You…Arghhh!"
"What is it you are trying to say, Gimli?" Aragorn asked in curious innocence, but Legolas, who was watching from his seat on the snowdrift, noticed that the man had started to edge away cautiously.
"Never trust a Man!" Gimli bellowed.
The king of Gondor turned tail and ran for the Citadel, calling to his guards to defend him. Yet the tall figures surrounding the White Tree seemed to take the small matter of their king being chased by an angry dwarf and a group of chuckling hobbits as a matter of course, and did not stir from their assigned positions.
Unhurriedly, the prince of Mirkwood rose from his seat and followed behind the rest of the fellowship, a pleased smile gracing his fair features as he walked over the snow.
Silence reigned on the uppermost tier of Minas Tirith, a sharp contrast to the earlier clamour. Four Guards of the Citadel stood at attention around the White Tree of Gondor. A smile appeared on the face of one. He bent down swiftly and scooped up a handful of snow before glancing at the man to his left.
hannon le- thank you
mellon nin- my friend
That's all from me for now folks, I really hope you enjoyed it! Please review if you can, I'd love to hear whether people liked it! Thanks for reading!