Authors Note: In the later part of this chapter there is a Tolkien poem sung by Eliana and Laurwyn. If you want to hear what I based it off go to youtube and type in J.R.R. Tolkien choir music Namarie. It's the version by Martin Romberg. That's what I envisioned it sounding like except as a duet. I tried to temper Beorn a tad, I was going to make him rage more but that would have been too out of character for the book. Thanks for reading and please review!
Chapter 43 – Tea and honey-cakes
He stood there staring eye level at the seat of the chair and wondered how he was going to gracefully sit down for tea. Bilbo checked the chair leg and noticed he might be able to get a toe in a part of the design and push his way up. He grabbed ahold of the arms and pulled himself up using his toes to grip the chair leg and push up. Well that wasn't so bad, he thought as he turned around to sit on the edge of the giant chair. He went to reach for his tea and frowned… he was a good foot and a half from the table with no means of scooting the chair forward. With a frustrated sigh he climbed down and pulled the heavy chair forward before climbing back up. Bilbo reached for his cup of tea… well it was more like a bowl of tea really, the cup was so large that it rivaled one of his serving bowls from back home. He took a small sip before setting the heavy oversized cup down. The tea was very sweet, almost too sweet… in fact it seemed to be more honey that tea Bilbo noted as he gazed down at the golden brown liquid.
"You have your tea… here are the honey-cakes, now tell me how you managed to get captured," Beorn said as he sat the large tray of honey-cakes on the table. The giant grabbed several cakes and started to devour them while giving Gandalf an expectant look.
"Well… I was delayed leaving Rivendell and the dwarves went on ahead and became lost. They sought refuge in a cave… unfortunately that cave turned out to be the entrance cave to Goblin-town," Gandalf said as he sipped his tea. Bilbo found his mouth watering as he gazed on the large golden brown cakes. He went to reach for them but they were too far away, being the willful hobbit that he was, Bilbo climbed up on the chair and attempted to stretch across the table to reach the cakes. Thorin grabbed him roughly by the back of his jacket and pushed him back in the chair. The dwarf king gave him an angry glare and slid the plate of cakes within his reach. Bilbo greedily grabbed two and started to feast on the tasty treats.
"Well that's a bit of dumb luck now isn't it?" Beorn laughed and pointed at Thorin. "I bet you shat yourself when they came out of the crack in the back wall and hauled you down into the tunnels…" the giant said with a roar of laughter. Bilbo watched as Thorin's jaw clenched and he glared down at his tea cup but amazingly held his tongue. The door opened and in walked Oin and Gloin, they stood near the door uncertain of what to do. Beorn watched them for a moment then sighed. "Well… are you going to have tea or not?" he asked in an annoyed voice. The two dwarves quickly crossed the room and hopped up in one of the chairs. "Well keep going wizard… I will get these two some tea," Beorn said as he stood and headed to the kitchen.
"Uh well the goblins snatched up the dwarves and hobbit while they slept and dragged them down to the tunnels and then into the main hall in Goblin-town," Gandalf said, he raised his fingers to his lips and shook his head while he pointed at the two dwarves that had just arrived. They nodded in understanding, Gloin reached over and grabbed them each a cake. "Now mind you this part of the story is not my tale, the dwarf Balin had told me extensively what had occurred when they were captured," Gandalf noted.
"Then have him tell it," the giant said as he sat two cups of tea on the table for the dwarves. When no one immediately spoke up the giant glared at the dwarves. "Well? Did the goblins steal your tongues? Speak!" he glowered.
"Balin is not here yet," Gandalf said quickly. "This is Oin and this is Gloin," he said as he gestured at the dwarves. Beorn glared the wizard, Bilbo started to worry again… the giant seemed to get angry at the drop of a hat.
"You told me a few dwarves… there are three here already!" the giant muttered angrily as he gestured at the dwarves. "How many more?" The door opened and Balin and Dwalin entered.
"Ah! Here is Balin now… shall we continue with the story?" Gandalf asked ignoring the giant's question. Bilbo could tell that the wizard was troubled just by how rigidly the old wizard sat. Beorn's eyes narrowed as he looked at Gandalf then back to the dwarves at the door before he turned and went back into the kitchen for more tea. "Please have a seat Balin and tell Beorn what happened after the goblin's dragged you into the tunnels," Gandalf said encouragingly but his eyes held a fair amount of worry as he pointed to the free chair next to Oin and Gloin. Balin and his brother hopped up into the chair, both gave the wizard an odd look and frowned. Beorn came back and roughly sat the cups down in front of the brothers spilling a bit of tea in the process before retaking his seat with a sour expression on his face.
"Ok… well they dragged us into a large cavern with goblin's lining the walls…" Balin said as he started his tale. Beorn slowly looked less annoyed as the story progressed. The old dwarf was a good storyteller and kept the giant so enthralled in the tale that he did not notice when Dori and Nori arrived and took a seat at the table. When Balin reached the part where Gandalf ran the Goblin King through with his sword Glamdring the giant actually clapped and stomped his feet with glee. He didn't even notice when Bifur and Ori quietly walked in and took a seat near Gandalf.
"Oh that is grand! I would have loved to have been there just to see the look on his face when you stuck him with your blade! I bet he had some stupid look on that big fat face of his," Beorn chuckled as he got up and went into the kitchen… he brought back a tray with four cups of tea on it and gave them to the dwarves who didn't have any before taking his seat again. "Then what happened?" he asked eagerly as he grabbed another honey-cake from the tray. Balin started to tell him of how Azog and the Wargs chased them into the trees. During that part of the story Bombur and Bofur then Fili and Kili managed to sneak in and take a seat at the table. Balin finished up the story telling the giant about the eagles rescuing them and flying them all to Eyrie.
"Wait! I thought you said an elf woman severely injured the pale orc?" Beorn demanded, Bilbo could see the giant's anger starting to rise.
"I did but that is not Balin's tale but Eliana's… Wouldn't you prefer that she told it?" Gandalf asked carefully. Beorn glared at the dwarves at his table.
"Well where is she? All I see are dwarves and far too many to be the few you mentioned. Do wizards not know how to count? A few is hardly any… three to five at the most. I count thirteen dwarves… that is several not a few!" Beorn stood up and glared at Gandalf. "Do you take me for a fool old man? Do you think I do not have eyes or that I am so brainless that I cannot count above the number of fingers I have?" growled the giant. Bilbo was starting to get really worried, the dwarves appeared to share the same concerns as they warily watched the giant.
"Of course not! I did not mean any disrespect… for any you feel you received I am truly sorry. I should have disclosed our number earlier but I did not wish to overwhelm you or your animals by marching thirteen dwarves into your domain," Gandalf said quickly with a slight bow of his head. The wizard's apology only seemed to calm Beorn slightly. The giant started to pace in the area between the kitchen and the table.
"You said there were little elf women…" the great man muttered angrily. "Where are they?!" he asked curtly.
"They should arrive soon," Gandalf said with an even tone. Bilbo didn't know how the wizard managed to stay so collected and calm while he was terrified. At any moment this giant man could turn into an even bigger bear… that was definitely something Bilbo hoped he would never see.
"How soon is soon to a wizard? I am not going to have to wait a week for my song am I?" Beorn asked indignantly as he paced.
"They will be here any moment I assure you," Gandalf said, the concern evident in his voice. Bilbo wanted to get out of his chair but as soon as he started to move Gandalf gave him a warning glare and shook his head. The door creaked open and Laurwyn and Eli quietly stepped in, Bilbo held his breath as the giant raced up to greet them.
"They are very small!" Beorn cried in astonishment as he knelt down in front of them. "Just like little dolls!" He reached out with his big hand and with a finger stroked Eli's hair. "So soft…" the giant murmured as his fingers felt her hair. Eli smacked his hand away and gave him an angry defiant look. Beorn laughed. "And feisty too!" The giant just knelt there staring at them with a wide smile on his face… it was unsettling. Eli looked highly annoyed while Laurwyn looked absolutely terrified. "I can't decide which one I like better," Beorn said as looked them both up and down. Bilbo glanced over and noticed that Bofur and Nori were restraining Fili and Kili, the dwarf princes were not amused by the giant's attention to their wives. When he turned back Beorn was getting to his feet, he looked thoughtfully at the elf women for a moment. "I like this one the best!" He bent over and quickly wrapped his hands around Eli's waist and picked her up. All of the dwarves were quickly on their feet and reaching for their weapons when Gandalf stood and motioned for the others to sit. Dwalin had moved to Fili's side and had a firm grip on his arm.
"Beorn… put the Lady Eliana down! She is not a toy!" Gandalf said sharply earning him a glare from the giant. "Unhand her this instant!" Bilbo was surprised how calm Eli was, she hung there in the giants grasp with her arms folded with a livid expression on her face. Beorn hesitated as he looked between the wizard and the elf woman in his grip. "If you do not put her down or damage her she will not sing for you."
"Sing?" Eli asked in alarm as she glared at the wizard. Beorn slowly and gently sat her back down on the floor. Eli fixed her tunic in a huff and went back to stand by Laurwyn who was still staring at the giant in fear. "You said I would sing?" she asked accusingly at the wizard.
"Yes… Beorn would very much like to hear you sing," Gandalf said pointedly, giving her a hard stare. Eli shook her head.
"I have not sung in centuries Gandalf and I'm not starting today," she said briskly with annoyance in her voice. Beorn folded his arms, he turned towards Gandalf with anger in his eyes.
"You said that she would sing!" he raged as he stomped around the room. "You have been less than forthright wizard!" The dwarves stayed close to the table to avoid the giant. Bilbo saw that the giant's eyes were turning a gold color the angrier he became. "I do not appreciate my hospitality being taken advantage of!"
"Eliana… one song is hardly too much to ask," Gandalf chastized. "I would not ask if there was another way." Bilbo noticed that Eli seemed upset and angry to be asked to sing, now that Bilbo thought about it he had never heard her sing the whole time she was in the Shire. "Please?" the wizard asked as his eyes turned towards the angry giant. Bilbo didn't understand why she would hesitate, it was just singing.
"Eliana for Durin's sake just sing before he changes," Thorin pleaded as he backed away from the increasingly irritated giant. Bilbo had his hand in his pocket waiting for the right time to slip the ring on his finger and disappear… he didn't want to be anywhere near this place if Beorn turned into a bear.
"Eli please… I will sing with you," Laurwyn said urgently as she grabbed her hand. Eli sighed and nodded reluctantly.
"Ok… do you know Namárië?" she asked quietly and Laurwyn nodded. Bilbo worked his way closer to the door just in case. Beorn stood there glaring at Eli with his arms folded.
"So are you going to sing?" he asked harshly. Eli gave Gandalf an irritated stare.
"I will sing skin-changer if you promise not to harm any of us while we are in your domain," she said boldly. Beorn's eyes narrowed as he stared at her for a moment then he nodded.
"Alright… this had better be good," the giant warned. Bilbo had just reached the door and was about to lift the latch and sneak out when the singing started...
"Ai!... Ai!..." the two elf woman harmonized perfectly together. Eli had her eyes closed when she started to sing, Laurwyn softer voice could be heard in the background.
"Laurië lantar lassi súrinen," Eli sang in elvish, her voice was beautiful and melodious, it made him stop instantly and step away from the door. He glanced around the room and saw that Beorn had taken a seat in one of the chairs, the anger was draining from his face. Every dwarf stared at the singing elf women, both Fili and Kili made their way forward and knelt on the floor in front of their wives. "Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!" Bilbo felt a curious calmness over take him, he pulled his hand from his pocket abandoning the ring… leaving was no longer on his mind. "Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier," Eli's voice rose above Laurwyn's, Bilbo was sure it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard. "Mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva." He looked around the room again and found that the giant had a very peaceful expression on his face as he listened to Eli sing. His eyes met Gandalf's and the old wizard had a smug smile on his face, he winked at the hobbit.
"Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar." Eli and Laurwyn sang together in perfect harmony again… it was as if they had sung this song a million times before. "Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!" Bilbo found himself sinking to the floor to sit and watch his friend sing… he didn't understand why he felt so peaceful… so content.
"Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar," she continued to sing. He had noticed that as she sang her eyes always met Fili's. Bilbo watched as she took a step forward and lovingly cupped Fili's cheek as she sang… her simple display of affection for her husband filled his own light heart with joy. "Nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni, ómaryo airetári-lírinen." The more she sang the more Bilbo longed to hear, he realized then that he was not moving until this song was done. If Eli had walked out of the house singing he was sure that he would follow her wherever she went.
"Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?" the elf women sang together. Bilbo's eyes shifted around the room and found that everyone was now either sitting in chairs or on the floor, many including Beorn had their eyes closed as they listened to the song.
"An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo," Eli sang loudly and full of emotion. Even though Bilbo did not know what the elven words meant he was enthralled and found himself emotional as well. "Ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë." They sang the chorus again and Bilbo finally closed his eyes, tuning out everything but the sound of her voice. "Ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë; ar sindanóriello caita mornië." He was completely lost in the song and the spell it had woven around him, his heart felt exceptionally light and free. "I falmalinnar imbë met, ar hísië untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë. Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!" Their voices grew softer, he knew that the song was close to ending and his heart wept. "Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar. Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!" Eli' and Laurwyn's voices faded off into a whisper, the whole room was silent. Bilbo slowly opened his eyes and peered around at the others, everyone was just sitting quietly as if in a trance. Eli looked around the room and frowned, she did not seem pleased at how her song had affected everyone. Bilbo quietly made his way to Gandalf's side.
"What just happened?" he whispered to the wizard. Gandalf smirked as he watched the others slowly come out of their stupors.
"Remember what I told you after we left the shire about Eliana's light?" the wizard said softly. Bilbo nodded, he remembered it quite well… Eli overused her light to protect them and collapsed. "Well this is another gift bestowed upon her from the line of Fëanor… her singing can calm and sooth even the most unsettled of hearts." Bilbo watched as Fili and Kili pulled their wives away from the others and embraced them almost protectively from everyone.
"Well wizard… you have surprised me," Beorn said, his voice uncharacteristically calm. "That was much more than I expected." The giant glanced over at the elf women with their husbands and his eyebrow shot up. "Well that is an odd sight to behold… elves and dwarves? How did that happen?"
"Another story you need to hear…" Gandalf said as he sipped his tea. Beorn snorted.
"You still owe me the one about the pale orc too," the giant noted. "Well you definitely have earned a supper and a nights lodgings for the tales and that song." Beorn stood up, he clapped his hands together and whistled. "Come, let us eat!"