Curse of the Elf and Ranger
Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to The Lord of the Rings. This story was written for entertainment purposes only.
As with all my parodies, I mean no offense to those of you who read and write Aragorn and Legolas adventure fanfics. In this case, I also mean no offense to J.R.R. Tolkien and the purists, because I know the Elves in The Hobbit weren't as bad as I've made them seem. Consider this AU.
The melodious strains of Here Down in the Valley wafted into Elrond's study for the thousandth time, but Elrond did not mind. He sang along as he worked (though he did not really consider what he was doing to be 'work' – it was fun).
"Tra-la-la-lally," sang Elrond. "Ha! ha!"
At that moment, Elrond's beloved foster son poked his head into the room. "Hello, Dad!" exclaimed Aragorn cheerfully.
"Hello, son!" said Elrond.
"I'm going hunting with my new friend, Prince Legolas of Mirkwood!" said Aragorn.
"How jolly!" said Elrond.
Aragorn thanked his beloved foster father for his permission, and departed.
Elrond smiled fondly, glancing out his window. He could see the denizens of his happy realm skipping merrily on the green, tra-la-la-lallying and ha!ha!ing with great delight and gusto. The sight brought an even wider smile to his face.
For the next few days, all was well, as per usual. The elves sang and danced, made daisy-chains, and lived happy, fulfilled lives.
Then something untoward occurred: Aragorn returned from his hunting trip... wounded!
"Your beloved foster son is home, Lord Elrond," said an elf.
"How delicious!" said Elrond. He was busy with his 'work', or else he would have noticed that the elf messenger was not wreathed in smiles.
"No," said the elf. "It is not delicious. Your beloved foster son is bleeding everywhere!"
"Everywhere?" gasped Elrond.
"Yes!" cried the elf. "Even on your new carpet!"
Elrond dashed to where Aragorn lay on the new carpet, bleeding all over it.
"Aragorn!" said Elrond. "Did you have a nice time?"
"Perhaps you should treat his injuries before you ask him questions," suggested the elf messenger. "I'll clean the carpet," he added gloomily.
"Good idea!" said Elrond. "I'll take him to the infirmary. But where is Aragorn's new friend, Prince Legolas of Mirkwood?"
"In the bushes," mumbled Aragorn.
"Ah," said Elrond. "Could you go and retrieve Legolas from the bushes before you clean my new carpet?" he asked the helpful elf.
"Yes, Lord Elrond," said the elf.
Elrond took Aragorn to the infirmary, placed him on an infirmary bed, and looked for his healing equipment. It had not been necessary for Elrond to tend someone's wounds for hundreds of years. Elrond hoped he could remember how to do everything correctly and hygienically.
When Aragorn regained consciousness, he told Elrond that he had had a wonderful time hunting with Legolas.
"How marvelous!" said Elrond.
"At least," said Aragorn reflectively, "I had a wonderful time until all those orcs jumped out and mauled me."
Elrond patted Aragorn's hand. "You'll be fine," he said. "I'm just glad you've finally made a friend!"
Legolas was a charming elf. He was kind and friendly, and told good jokes. He never complained once, not even when Elrond had to splint both his arms and one of his legs.
"I'm afraid I don't remember the technique for splinting your broken ribs," said Elrond, "so this will have to do!"
"Thank you for everything, Lord Elrond," said Legolas, smiling pleasantly.
"Call me El," said Elrond.
Elrond went back to his study. Everything went back to normal.
The melodious strains of Here Down in the Valley wafted into the room for the thousandth and twentieth time.
"Tra-la-la-lally," sang Elrond. "Ha! ha!"
A few days later, Elrond's beloved foster son poked his head into the room. "Hello, Dad!" he exclaimed cheerfully.
"Hello, son!" said Elrond.
"Legolas and I are going to visit a nearby human settlement!" said Aragorn.
"How jolly!" said Elrond. "Don't be gone for long!"
Aragorn and Legolas were gone for two weeks. When they returned, they were wet and bedraggled. They got muddy water all over Elrond's new carpet, and dirty footprints all over his new wooden floor.
"How good it is to see you again!" said Elrond. "Go and wash yourselves before you destroy my house!"
"All right," said Aragorn and Legolas.
When they were clean, Elrond could see that they had many small, interesting wounds.
"How did that happen?" he asked curiously.
"Oh, someone was sticking needles in us," said Aragorn, with a nonchalant wave of his hand.
"He wanted to make us talk, but we never said a word," added Legolas, his eyes gleaming.
"Ah," said Elrond faintly.
He went back to his study. The melodious strains of Here Down in the Valley wafted into the room for the thousandth and seventy-first time. Elrond could hear the denizens of his happy realm singing and dancing together on the green. However, he did not feel like watching.
"Needles," Elrond murmured to himself, finding it hard to concentrate on his work.
A few days later, Aragorn entered Elrond's study. "Legolas is going home to Mirkwood now," said Aragorn, "and I've offered to accompany him."
"How jolly!" said Elrond. "Have a nice trip."
"Thanks!" said Aragorn. "I'm sure we will!"
Aragorn was gone for nearly three weeks.
When Aragorn returned, Legolas was still with him, which seemed, in Elrond's mind, to rather defeat the purpose of the whole journey.
"How was Mirkwood?" asked Elrond suspiciously.
"We didn't make it," said Aragorn. "There was an avalanche."
"And the pass was blocked?" asked Elrond.
Aragorn shook his head. "We got trapped in a cave," he said. "But it wasn't that bad! We sang songs to cheer ourselves up!"
Legolas muttered something.
"What did you say, Legolas?" asked Elrond.
"I said, it's unfortunate that all the singing alerted the evil dwarves to our presence."
"Legolas is still bitter about that," Aragorn told Elrond in a theatrical whisper. "But I think they would have found us anyway."
"If we hadn't been singing, they might not have been so angry!" cried Legolas.
"Here Down in the Valley is a good song!" Aragorn cried back. "I don't think you can blame a song like that for making the dwarves so vicious!"
"Vicious?" asked Elrond.
"I've endured worse," said Legolas stoically.
"Yes, but my beloved foster son has lived a very sheltered life!" exclaimed Elrond. "I don't want you getting him into danger!"
"He was the one singing!" yelled Legolas, pointing at Aragorn, as though Elrond would have difficulty identifying his beloved foster son.
Elrond went back to his study. He shut the door very firmly. The melodious strains of Here Down in the Valley made him think of vicious, angered dwarves. He could not bring himself to sing along, much as he loved Lindir's masterpiece.
The next day, Aragorn poked his head into the room, and said, "Legolas and I are going to try to get to Mirkwood again!"
"How... jolly," said Elrond, for lack of a better word.
"I knew you'd agree!" cried Aragorn.
"Stay away from mountains!" Elrond shouted after him. "And dwarves!"
"Yes, Dad!" said Aragorn.
Three days later, Legolas came riding into Rivendell without Aragorn.
"What have you done to my beloved foster son?" asked Elrond, hardly daring to imagine the possibilities.
"He's been kidnapped!" panted Legolas. "An evil elf kidnapped him to get revenge on you!"
"Oh, no!" said Elrond. He ran to pack his bags.
As he was packing, his advisor entered the room.
"I advise you not to go after Aragorn," said the advisor. "The evil elf wants to catch you on your own so that he can get revenge on you."
This made sense.
"What should I do, then?" asked Elrond.
"Send Elladan and Elrohir instead," advised the advisor.
"Brilliant!" said Elrond.
Elrond sent Elladan and Elrohir with Legolas to save Aragorn and fight the evil elf.
Two months later, Legolas, Aragorn and Elrohir limped back to Rivendell. Elladan was there too, but he could not limp, because he was seriously poisoned, and had two broken legs.
Elrond fired his advisor. Then he got out his healing equipment, and started stitching wounds, salving burns, and unpoisoning his son. He was getting quite adept at dealing with this sort of thing, and had begun to regard such wounds as 'minor emergencies'.
When the four were tucked up in bed, Elrond washed his hands and went back to his study.
The strains of Here Down in the Valley were beginning to sound less and less melodious. Elrond tried to sing along, but could not bring himself to choke out the words 'ha! ha!' so he gave up. He started writing a letter to Thranduil, explaining why Legolas had not yet arrived home.
A week later, Aragorn poked his head into the room. "Legolas and I are going to try to get to Mirkwood again," he said. "We'll deliver your letter to Thranduil, and then we'll go and explore the wilds of Middle-earth together."
"Ah," said Elrond.
"Aren't you going to say 'how jolly'?" asked Aragorn.
"No," said Elrond. "I was going to say 'good luck'."
Aragorn beamed. "Thanks, Dad!" he said.
"You're welcome, Aragorn," said Elrond. "Good luck," he added unconvincingly as he watched his beloved foster son limp down the hall.
Here Down in the Valley had suddenly become a very, very annoying song. Elrond opened his window. "COULD I PLEASE HAVE SOME PEACE AND QUIET?" he roared.
The music screeched to a halt.
"Lord... Elrond?" whispered Lindir, horrified.
"Yes?" snapped Elrond. "What is it?"
"Nothing," whispered Lindir. He crept away.
For the next seven months, everything was very quiet. The terrified denizens of the silent realm sneaked furtively to the daisy patches to make daisy chains, but their hearts were no long in the fulfilling task.
Lindir, with unemployment threatening his future, fled to the hills and became a shepherd. He only dared show his face occasionally in the Hall of Fire.
Legolas and Aragorn returned. Elrond was glad to see that they were missing no limbs. However, Aragorn was depressed.
"Why are you depressed?" asked Elrond, rebandaging several of Legolas's wounds.
"He's depressed because he's not an elf," Legolas explained.
"Oh," said Elrond. "Are you not my beloved foster son, Aragorn?" he asked. "Don't you feel content with your lot in life? It's not like just any human can be the king of Gondor some day."
"I'll never be king," moaned Aragorn. "I'm a failure."
Elrond sighed. Suddenly he felt depressed. He felt like he was being a lousy foster father. "Cheer up, Aragorn," he said. "Tra-la-la-lally, ha! ha!"
Aragorn barely smiled. Feeling even more depressed, Elrond went back to his study.
"This is terrible," he said to himself. "I am a bad father, and I am a bad elf lord, and it's all Legolas and Aragorn's fault!"
When Aragorn poked his head in Elrond's study, he winced at the sight of Elrond's scowl.
"Er... Dad? Legolas and I are going to fight evil and defend the innocent," he said.
"No," said Elrond. "You aren't."
"Really?" asked Aragorn.
"You are going to stay home for a few more weeks," said Elrond, "because you need to recover."
"I have recovered!" said Aragorn.
"No," said Elrond. "You haven't. You are in no condition to tramp around Middle-earth, fighting evil and defending the innocent."
"All right," said Aragorn sadly.
Aragorn and Legolas had fun in Rivendell. They brightened up everything. Their merry laughter rang out morning and evening, and they managed to persuade the wary Lindir to play Here Down in the Valley once more.
Elrond, sitting in his study with his window open, smiled as he worked.
Then Aragorn fell over a waterfall.
The evening was spent dredging pools and poking around in the shallows, looking for bodies. Elrond tramped around with a lantern, got his boots wet, and caught a cold. Being only a half-elf, he was predisposed toward colds.
When they found Aragorn at last, he had a cold too, which was followed by a fever, followed by pneumonia, followed by mumps and measles, followed by headaches and general crankiness. Elrond spent three and half weeks by Aragorn's side, blowing his nose and Aragorn's, and sucking lemon-flavored lozenges.
Aragorn had lots of nightmares, and during these nightmares, Elrond discovered that Aragorn and Legolas had suffered far more than they had let on, and that their adventures had included trials and afflictions that boggled Elrond's mind. Elrond felt traumatized every time Aragorn opened his mouth.
Eventually, Aragorn got better. By then, Elrond was a shadow of his former self. He staggered back to his study.
Lindir, now carelessly confident, was playing Here Down in the Valley with gay abandon. Elrond put an end to this.
"If I hear that song one more time," he cried, "I will personally skin you alive!"
Lindir slunk away.
One bright morning, Aragorn poked his head into Elrond's study. "Hello, Dad!" he said.
"Hello, son," said Elrond.
"Legolas and I are going back to Mirkwood," said Aragorn. "You don't need to worry about us!"
Elrond stood up.
"Dad?" asked Aragorn nervously.
Elrond walked to his main hall, and started rolling up his carpet. Once, it had been new. Once, it had been colorful and lush. Now, it too was a shadow of its former self, bloodied and mud-stained beyond the cleaning efforts of any elf.
"Take this with you," said Elrond. "You can put it in Thranduil's hall, so that you don't get homesick."
"Thanks, Dad!" said Aragorn, no longer nervous, nor, it seemed, susceptible to his beloved foster father's dry sense of humor.
Legolas and Aragorn carted away Elrond's carpet. Elrond knew he would never see it again. He wasn't even sure if he would see Legolas or Aragorn again.
But he always did. They always came back, though the gaps between their visits lengthened, and the extent of their injuries did not diminish. They attempted to gloss over the horrors they had endured, and Elrond never asked very penetrating questions, being content to say, "That's nice" and "how jolly" whenever they made an effort to sound as though they had had a good time.
Life went back to normal, but it was a new normality. No longer did the melodious –and now hated– strains of Here Down in the Valley waft into Elrond's study. No longer was Elrond's work fun, since it seemed that the Enemy was arising again, which was never good news. The denizens of Rivendell, having found a emotional state between happiness and terror, spent their time making weapons for the fight, instead of daisy chains.
No one was quite unhappy, but no one was full of zest and joy, either. Glorfindel made noble efforts to entertain everyone, but they were generally unsuccessful.
Elrond had acquired a new advisor, and the new advisor said, "What you really need to do, Lord Elrond, is get Aragorn away from Legolas."
Elrond considered this.
"Aragorn was a delightful little boy who hardly ever got into trouble," said the new advisor. "Then Legolas came along and they started going on 'adventures' and getting seriously injured."
"Yes..." said Elrond. "But what about the time he fell over the waterfall? Legolas had nothing to do with that, did he?"
"Legolas probably pushed him," said the new advisor darkly.
When Aragorn came home, cradling a broken arm, with Legolas by his side, Elrond announced, "I think you should go to Gondor, Aragorn."
"Gondor?" croaked Aragorn.
"Yes," said Elrond. "You should go to Gondor and get a feel for your kingdom-to-be."
"It's a good idea," said Legolas, "but the people in Gondor don't really like me."
"Oh, too bad," said Elrond. "I guess you'll just have to skip Gondor, then. You could go home, and reintroduce yourself to your father, who has probably forgotten what you look like by now."
Legolas and Aragorn parted ways, while Elrond smiled triumphantly.
"Tra-la-la-lally," he sang as he walked back to his study.
Things were better. Elrond would probably never say the word 'jolly' again, except in moments of great irony, but he felt more cheerful than he had in a long time. He had high hopes that Aragorn would make it to Gondor without getting hurt, and spend his time in Gondor without getting hurt.
Perhaps Elrond was in denial at this point.
A year later, Gandalf visited Rivendell.
Gandalf looked around. He saw no elves singing and dancing on the green. He heard not a strain of Here Down in the Valley. He became worried.
Gandalf found Elrond sitting in his study, frowning sadly at his work.
"What are you doing?" asked Gandalf.
"Work," said Elrond.
"You don't look happy," observed Gandalf.
"I'm not happy," said Elrond. "I can't even remember what happiness feels like."
"That could be a problem," said Gandalf. "Why have you forgotten what happiness feels like?"
"It's hard to be happy when happy songs make me think of needles and vicious dwarves, and when my son and his best friend might show up any moment with serious injuries," said Elrond dejectedly. "You try to be happy when such threats loom on the horizon."
"Well," said Gandalf, "let me tell you about how my life has been going for the past few years."
"All right," said Elrond. "Go ahead."
"I travel a lot," said Gandalf. "On my travels, I generally encounter Legolas and Aragorn at the moment when they need me the most."
"Wow," said Elrond.
"Exactly," said Gandalf. "I have mended their injuries, saved them from forest fires, and fought off evil men who wanted them dead. My friendship with the great eagles has come in very useful as well."
"It was good of you to help them so much," said Elrond.
"I know," said Gandalf. "So, I think you should cheer up. You should focus on your realm, and make your people happy. Everyone around here looks dejected. Aragorn and Legolas don't like to come back to Rivendell when everyone's so depressed! It's no wonder they only come to you when they're wounded!"
Elrond hatched an evil plan.
When Legolas and Aragorn came into the view of the lookouts, all the elves of Rivendell rushed to their stations.
Aragorn and Legolas came to a halt, staring at the tragic scene in shock and horror.
"What's this?" cried Legolas.
The elves of Rivendell were lying around the green, in various grisly attitudes. They did not move. They did not breathe.
"Everyone is dead!" wailed Aragorn. "Some plague known only to the elves has struck this fair realm, sparing no one!"
Legolas started backing away, which really made sense, given the situation.
"Surprise!" yelled Elrond, jumping out of hiding. "We're alive!"
Aragorn and Legolas were startled, but Aragorn saved the situation by thinking fast and yelling, "Surprise!" back at Elrond.
"Why should I be surprised?" asked Elrond.
"Legolas and I are uninjured!" said Aragorn.
Elrond was so surprised, he nearly passed out.
"Were you trying to make a point?" asked Legolas, unamused by the proceedings.
"Yes," said Elrond. "My point was this: while you are away, those of us in Rivendell could be danger. You should visit us more often. Bad things don't just happen to you, you know."
"All right," said Aragorn. "We'll visit more often. However, I think we should work out some things first."
"Like what?" asked Elrond.
"Well," said Aragorn, "when I was young, all the elves of Rivendell acted so euphoric all the time. Everything was 'jolly' or 'delicious', and you kept on singing that terrible song. It was really aggravating. Then suddenly, you were depressed and miserable. Visiting you wasn't fun. It made me sad. I think you should find a happy medium."
"All right," said Elrond. "Good idea."
He turned to the undead denizens of Rivendell. "From now on," he said, "we will be neither too happy, nor too serious. I will no longer threaten to skin alive those of you who sing cheerful songs."
"Hooray!" cried Lindir, waving his shepherd's crook.
"I brought you some souvenirs from Gondor," said Aragorn. He handed his beloved foster father a snow globe that contained a miniature of the White Tree.
"Most astonishing wonderful!" said Elrond.
Aragorn raised his eyebrows.
"I was being sarcastic," said Elrond.
Aragorn raised his eyebrows again.
"What? I'm not allowed to be sarcastic?" asked Elrond.
"Not when I'm spending my hard earned money to buy you souvenirs," said Aragorn.
Elrond flipped the snow globe over. He watched the snow come drifting down. "This is a wonderful souvenir," he said.
"Good," said Aragorn.
"Let's go inside and celebrate our truce in the Hall of Fire," said Elrond.
As they entered the house, the first melodious strains of Here Down in the Valley wafted tentatively after them.