A Prank on Glorfindel
This is a not for profit work of fan fiction based on the characters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter 1 – Uruin
The Lord of Imladris gazed across the table at his young sons, holding up a crystal decanter with a clear liquid in it.
"I want your full attention for a moment…Elrohir?"
The dark-haired elfling kept stirring the herbs in his silver bowl with a look of deepest concentration written on his face.
"Elladan, I would like you to put your spoon down," the Elf Lord entreated.
A shove from his twin made the 12-year-old elfling look up. He had been totally engrossed in his work, proud as he was to be helping his father to make remedies and potions for use in the healing rooms.
Elrond briefly raised his eyebrows at his inattentive son before he placed the decanter on the table.
"This decanter contains Uruin extract," he explained, giving both of his sons an encouraging nod. "After you have strained the contents of your bowls, you will add ten drops of Uruin extract to each vial before you fill them with your potion. You will securely close the lids and slowly turn each vial upside down a few times. This will allow the Uruin to mix with the rest of the herbs."
Two identical heads nodded in unison.
"Uruin is a herb which, when properly used, will ease the pain of burns and strong itches," Elrond instructed.
Elladan was reaching for the decanter, but a sidelong glance from his father stopped him.
"…your mother has asked me to impress on you that a single drop of Uruin is enough to leave lasting stains on your clothing. Therefore you will put on old tunics before you continue."
Elladan sighed and made a face, but he obediently jumped off his stool and walked to the door where two old tunics were lying on a chair. He scowled indignantly as his small, nimble fingers undid the laces on his dark blue sleeves. Elrohir, however, stared thoughtfully at the decanter.
"Ada…how can a clear liquid leave stains? It looks like water."
Elrond smiled. His observant elfling already had a mind that could rapidly spot things that others didn't.
"Uruin, Elrohir, has no colour of its own as long as it is kept in a glass container. However, if it is poured onto elvish cloth or fabric, it will turn blood red."
Elladan's face appeared above the neck of his old tunic, awe and enthusiasm gleaming in his eyes. He tossed the other tunic to his brother and hurried to tie his laces, eager to finish the potion so he could witness the miracle of Uruin for himself.
When the potions were strained and the vials ready to be filled, Elrond took two small pipets and filled each of them with Uruin from the decanter. The Elf Lord couldn't help but chuckle as he saw the curious, expectant looks on his sons' bright faces. Smiling indulgently, he pulled out a strip of white cloth and demonstrated the 'Uruin-effect'.
The twins' eyes opened wide when they saw the colourless liquid transform into a bright, bloody red as soon as it touched the fabric.
"It looks so real!" Elladan gasped.
"Like real blood!" Elrohir goggled.
Both elflings suddenly clenched their fists under the table, resisting the urge to exchange exhilerated glances. They knew better than to look at each other with their Ada around, lest they should give themselves away. But a pair of delighted, mischievous minds already worked out worlds of wonderful pranks that could be played with the help of Uruin.
"Make sure not to spill it," Elrond cautioned. "For even if the Uruin dries up before you touch it, it still causes stains, and…"
With a bang the door to the apothecary flew open and Glorfindel burst in, holding an unconscious, bleeding warrior in his arms.
"Elrond, quick! He was caught in a rockslide."
The Lord of Rivendell immediately rose to his feet and hurried after the Balrog Slayer into the healing rooms, calling rapid orders to the healers and apprentices that were rushing to his aid. At the door he rounded on his two elflings and raised his eyebrows. "Stay here. Do not touch anything. Wait until I come back."
The door closed with a soft thud and the twins were left alone in the silence of the apothecary.
Elladan glanced at the two pipets that lay brotherly on the table. Elrohir's keen gaze went out of the window to check if any Elf in the yard would be able to see them in here. Elladan quickly walked to the door and looked into the hallway. "No-one," he whispered, quietly closing the door again. He rushed back to the table and looked around for the strip of cloth his father had demonstrated the Uruin on.
The brothers' eyes sparkled with excitement as Elrohir carefully picked up one of the pipets and dripped some Uruin onto the cloth that Elladan held out to him. A new bright red stain appeared on the white fabric.
"Wonderful!" beamed Elladan. He took the stained cloth and pressed it against his arm.
Suddenly a pained expression clouded his face. "Ouch! Oh, Elrohir! Fetch Ada! Quick!" he wailed. "I have been stabbed! I'm bleeding!" The dark-haired elfling giggled as he doubled over in 'pain', demonstrating just how badly he had been hurt.
"Give it to me!" Elrohir urged. He took the cloth from his brother and added a few more drops of Uruin. Then he pressed the cloth firmly against his forehead, making sure the bloody stains were clearly visible to Elladan.
"Brilliant!" gasped his twin. "It looks just like you have a real head wound! Even Ada will not see the difference at first glance! You have to moan a little bit, El. Otherwise no-one is going to believe you are hurt."
Elrohir let out a pityful moan and pretended to stagger. "Perfect!" giggled Elladan. "They will believe that the blow to your head has given you a concussion as well!"
Elladan reached for the second pipet and was about to drip some of it onto his arm, when his brother's hand stopped him.
"What?" he asked impatiently.
"What if it won't come off?" Elrohir hinted with a knowing frown. "Your arm will be red a long time. Naneth won't like it."
Elladan shrugged. "If I put it on my body it will look far more real than on a cloth. I want to see!" He pulled his hand free from his brother's grasp and dripped some Uruin on the bare skin of his arm.
"It doesn't turn red!" Elladan looked puzzled. "Look, El, it's still clear!"
"I can see that!" bristled Elrohir. "I am not blind!" He rubbed his forehead. Valar! Elladan thought him so stupid sometimes!
"Why do you think it doesn't turn red?" Elladan demanded, feeling frustrated. He wanted to have a real-looking wound! Not just a bloodstained cloth that would reveal healthy skin when removed. He dripped a little more Uruin on his arm.
"Come one! Bleed!" he urged.
Suddenly he became aware that his arm was itching unbearably. He used his sleeve to wipe off the residue of Uruin and scratched his skin with his nails, but it only got worse. Then he glanced at Elrohir, who was fervently scratching his forehead.
"El? Wasn't Uruin supposed to stop the itching?" he asked uncertainly.
"Maybe Ada was mistaken," Elrohir gasped, desperately raking his fingers across his brow. "Oh El! The itching gets worse! It burns!"
But Elrohir did not need to tell Elladan that the itching was rapidly turning to burning. The two sons of Elrond ran to the jugs of water by the sink, alternately helping each other to pour water over Elrohir's forehead and Elladan's arm.
When the alarmed Elf Lord entered his apothecary only five minutes later, Elrohir's hair and tunic were soaking wet, the floor was awash and both his elflings were howling in pain.
"Stop it, Ada! Stop it!" they pleaded. "Make the pain go away!"
One glance at his sons' pitiful state and the way they groped at their skin – not to mention the near-empty pipets on the table – told Elrond what had happened. He rushed to his cabinet and crushed some pain-relieving herbs into two cups. With one hand he poured hot water on the herbs to make a tea they could drink, with the other he pulled a small jar with cream from a drawer.
"Where does it hurt?" he asked Elladan, kneeling down beside his sons. Elladan weakly pointed at his arm, whimpering as he lay doubled up on the ground in pain. Elrond smeared the cream onto the now badly scratched, raw skin on the elfling's arm.
"Let me look, Elrohir," Elrond urged, gently prying his son's desperate hands away from his forehead. "Show me where it hurts, ion nín." He applied the salve to Elrohir's forehead and briefly placed a soothing hand on each of his children's cheeks. Then he quickly walked back to his cabinet to fetch the tea cups.
"Drink this, my sons," he coaxed. "It will relieve the pain a little."
The Lord of Imladris had never seen his elflings drink such a bitter tea so fast. He scooped them up in his arms, ignoring the wetness seeping into his robes from Elrohir's tunic, and carried his children into the healing room.
"Aelin, would you please summon their mother?" he asked one of the young healers quietly. The young Sinda nodded and left at once.
Elrond sat on a bed with his crying sons on his lap, waiting for the light footfall of his beloved.
"Your naneth will be here soon, little ones," he crooned, planting a kiss on the top of Elladan's head. His oldest was clinging to him as though his life depended on it, sobbing desperately in his Ada's shoulder. Elrohir sat with his back against his father's chest, struggling against the firm grip that Elrond had on his hands.
"It hurts, Ada! It hurts!" Elrohir bawled.
"I know, Elrohir," Elrond soothed, tightening his grip on the tiny wrists. "I will hold you, ion nín. You must not scratch yourself. Rubbing and scratching will make the pain worse."
A streak of silver hair shot into the healing room and in a flash Celebrían was pulling her children into an embrace. Elrond still held Elrohir's hands, but when the blubbering elfling frantically tried to rub his forehead on his brother's shoulder, the Elf Lord lovingly pulled his youngest back into his lap.
"Why doesn't it stop, Ada?" Elladan wailed.
Celebrían's worried eyes found Elrond's.
"What…?" her eyebrows asked.
"Uruin," Elrond mouthed softly. He nodded towards the curtain that shielded the unconscious warrior from view. "When Haldan was brought in, I left them on their own."
Celebrían understood at once. She knew her husband well enough to know he would have forbidden their sons to touch the Uruin. However, she also knew her sons. They were old enough to obey their father and to be trusted with some responsibility. But the mischievous, impish streak they had so obviously inherited from their mother – and their grandfather, she thought with a wry smile – was proving far too strong for her little ones to resist at times.
"When will the pain go away, Ada?" Elrohir sobbed.
Elrond closed his eyes, steeling himself for what he would have to say.
"It will last a few hours, my sons," he admitted with regret in his voice.
A small wail escaped from Elladan's throat. Elrohir dug his fingernails into his father's robes, tossing his head backwards in an attempt to shake the pain from his searing brow.
"Alas, ion nín, there is no remedy against the burning of Uruin," Elrond apologized. "The extract of Uruin is able to heal burns and to soothe many itches. But on healthy skin it burns like fire."
Elladan's pleading eyes met his father's. "Is there nothing you can do, Ada?" he begged.
"The tea I gave you should ease your pain a little, Elladan," Elrond promised. "As should the cream. But I regret to say that the burning will still be far from gone, tithen pen. You have no other choice but to wait a few hours until the Uruin's poison wears off."
"And we will be right here with you while you do," Celebrían reassured her sons. "We will not leave you."
From a distance, Aelin watched as the Lord and Lady of Rivendell softly sang songs for their crying children, holding them and comforting them through their pain. He knew how much the Uruin hurt – having accidentally spilled some on his hands a few hundred years earlier. He grimaced. It had been sheer agony.
However, he also knew that within three or four hours the pain would begin to wear off. The sons of Elrond might be tired from their painful experience by then. But Aelin was sure that before the day would end, the Last Homely House would be filled with the cheerful banter of two happy, mischievous young elflings again…
ada – dad(dy)
naneth – mother
ion nín – 'my son', or 'my sons'
tithen pen – little one
AN: 'Uruin' is a non-existing plant that I made up. I created the name by putting the Sindarin words 'Ûr' (fire, heat, to be hot) and 'Ruin' ('red flame' or 'fiery red') together.
So in my modest attempt at Sindarin, 'Ûr-Ruin' made 'Uruin' (Red Fire).
Poor little elflings… I do feel terribly sorry for putting them through this ordeal. They will suffer no more from the burning of Uruin, I promise! However, despite a painful introduction to its properties, this plant has far from lost its attraction for the twins. No, they will not be sadistic. But there is a certain golden-haired warrior that they would love to play a good prank on. And Uruin turns out to offer more opportunities than they thought…