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Ain Melir Den Urui

After witnessing an unfortunate incident on the slopes of Mount Orodruin, Elrond and Thranduil must escape Mordor disguised as females. And that's only the start of their problems. Elrond; Thranduil; Caleborn; Celebrian; Galadriel. Rated PG-13 for innuendo.

This is a work of transformative fiction based on the world and characters of JRR Tolkien and a screenplay by Billy Wilder and IAL Diamond. This is done purely for my own enjoyment and that of my readers. No money is being made.

Ain Melir Den Urui*

Part One: Fell Deeds Awake

Thranduil loosed his bowstring and let fly, his arrow passing close enough to the head of Gil-galad's herald to ruffle his dark hair. By Elbereth, the slopes of Mount Orodruin were hot, but he was glad to be there. After seven years, the war against Sauron, the last of the great alliances between Elves and Men, was ending this day. And then he would either be dead or he could go home and never have to take orders from another supercilious Golodh ever again.

* * *

Elrond felt the Silvan arrow lift his side-lock, and he knit his dark brows. Thranduil's Laegrim were a difficult, insolent lot, the most difficult and insolent among them being their new King, but their volleys of arrows had all but cleared the field of orcs, leaving the upper slopes of the mountain free for the few hardy warriors who pursued Sauron to the heights, where sight of them had been lost among the shifting smoke and ash.

Elrond turned to give the upstart Greenwood King a glare, but at that moment the entire sky darkened and a hot blast of wind blew down from the upper slopes, blinding them all.

"Huitho!" he heard Thranduil say. "What in the name of Elbereth was that?"

In his awe, Elrond let the vulgarity in such close proximity to the name of the Lady Starkindler pass. "A Maia has just left his bodily form," he replied solemnly.

To Elrond's surprise, Thranduil let out a whoop and took off up the slope. Had he learned nothing from his father's rash decision that led to his demise and that of two-thirds of his troops? Giving a motion to the archers and other troops to hold their position, Elrond ran after him. He was worried about Ereinion.

* * *

Thranduil spared a glance behind him and noticed that the Peredhel was following him. Either he wanted all the glory or he was worried about his cousin. If that was all there was to it. Whenever the name of the High King of the Golodhrim was mentioned in connection with that of his herald, Thranduil's esquire, Galion, would roll his eyes and snicker. Galion's mind tended to the lowest level of interpersonal discourse. Of course, Galion usually was right. Thranduil merely wanted to make sure that if Sauron was dead, the job was done right. He'd had his fill of war.

Up ahead in the maze of sharp rocks and lung-searing fumes he heard voices.


"Oh, don't be such a maiden, Isildur. It just came off a Maia's finger. Of course it's going to be hot."

Thranduil fought to place the second voice, which spoke in the odd lisping accent of the Falathrim.

"Get that thing away from me! Do you want to set my beard on fire? Now stop playing with it and listen carefully. This will be our story: Annatar killed Gil-galad, here, first, and then Elendil. You bravely rushed in, picked up your father's broken sword and finished the Dark Lord off. I counseled you to toss the Ring down the Cracks of Doom, but you refused, insisting on keeping it as a weregild for the death of your beloved father. Can you keep all that straight?"

"I suppose I can," Thranduil heard Isildur mumble. "It doesn't seem right, though."

"Of course it doesn't seem right, us allowing Gil-galad and Elendil to do all the work for us and then turning on them like that. Poor Ereinion looked so surprised when I stabbed him."

"No, I mean, why do I have to be remembered as the greedy prat when all of this was your idea?"

"Would you rather history remembered you as a patricide?" Círdan's tone, for with the mention of the beard, it could be none other, was patient, as if he were talking to a slow child. "But you know they weren't about to listen to reason. Ereinion was insisting that once Sauron was defeated, the One Ring go down the Crack and all his Noldor sail for Aman. I couldn't have that. This way, I still have my Ring of Power in good working order and a guaranteed job building ships for the next three Ages as the Elves trickle out of the Middle Lands. And you get to be King of the Northern Realm while you're still young enough to enjoy it."

"Papa always liked Anarion best," Isildur muttered darkly. "He deserved what he got. He put lifts in his boots, did you know that? Always had to be the tallest . . ."

"Yes," said Círdan soothingly. "What a shame about the sword shattering when you tipped that boulder on him. It was such a lovely blade."

Thranduil moved forward stealthily and peered round the rock. He took it all in: the two conspirators, the dead Man, the dead Elf and the scorched spot where the erstwhile Dark Lord had stood before being relieved of his digit. It was a blood chilling scene, but an even worse sight was that of Elrond Peredhel standing in the path and gawping.

* * *

Elrond could not believe his ears or his eyes. His King -- his cousin -- lay dead, and so did the King of the Men of the West, not so ridiculously tall now that he was lying flat. Lord Isildur stood tossing a bright gold object from hand to hand as if it were a hot potato, and Círdan conversed with him as matter-of-factly as if he were surveying this morning's catch of mackerel.

And then, something hit him from the side, and he rolled downhill, through dusty ash and over bare rock, until he fetched up behind a tall boulder, with Thranduil's hand over his mouth.

"What was that?"

"I don't know. I thought I heard someone say 'oof'."

"Look here -- there's a footprint in the ash. I'd recognize that hole in the sole anywhere after seeing that footprint outside Gil-galad's tent every morning for the past seven years. Elrond!"

"And here's another -- a light-Elven boot like the Silvans wear. I saw a flash of gold. Only two people in the entire army have hair that color, and Lord Glorfindel's back at Barad-dûr. Thranduil!"

Elrond heard Thranduil's teeth begin to grind. The voices moved past them.

"They saw us! We're lost! I'm putting on my Ring and -- aieee! Ow-ow-ow!"

"Isildur, don't be a lackwit. I'll deal with Elrond and Thranduil." The voices moved on, and when they were completely out of earshot, Thranduil removed his hand from Elrond's mouth.

"Why did you do that?" Elrond gasped, after he had taken his first frantic breath and then finished coughing out the volcanic fume. "I think you may have broken my rib."

"So they wouldn't see you, dolt. Not that it did much good."

"You're overreacting. It must be a misunderstanding. Uncle Círdan wouldn't hurt a fly."

"Is that so? In case you hadn't noticed, that was his fillet knife in your High King's back. Ada always said, 'Never trust a fellow with a beard,' and now I know what he meant."

Elrond thought about it for a while and nodded. "I think you and I are in trouble."

* * *

"We're in big trouble," Thranduil said, as he rejoined Elrond at the edges of the camp. He kept his voice low -- not that they would be heard over the raucous sounds of celebration.

"What makes you say that again?"

"The fact that I found a gaffing hook plunged through the bolster I had left on my bed. I rather think someone thought I was in it at the time. He may be your dear old Uncle Círdan, but he has no reason to show me any mercy. In fact, I may be just a Silvan rustic, but I strongly suggest you do not even return to your tent. I doubt Isildur has any more fondness for you, distant nephew or not."

"What should we do, then?"

"Get out of here as soon as possible. I'll be all right once I get back to Eryn Galen and among my folk, but as I've just seen, there are too many opportunities for 'accidents' on the journey home. That is, if we travel as ourselves."

"You intend to travel incognito? That is easier said than done. Neither of us is exactly hard to recognize. What disguise would you suggest?"

"I don't know," Thranduil said. "I haven't had time to think about that part yet."

Elrond rolled his eyes. May the Rodyn spare him from mad Silvans who made it up as they went. "Never mind. I think I have an idea."

* * *

"You cannot be serious, Elrond," Thranduil said as the two of them gazed upon a large traveling wagon whose banner proclaimed it as 'Mistress Aiwen's All Female Minstrel Troupe' in gilt-edged tengwar, now slightly tarnished from the fumes of Mordor. "You and I dress up as women? It's preposterous."

"That's the beauty of it," Elrond insisted. "Círdan and Isildur would never think to look for us among the camp followers, who will certainly be bringing up the rear of the train while Círdan rides at its head. I happen to know that Mistress Aiwen is currently short two musicians -- her harpist and a flautist. Tathryn ran off with a Dwarf. I suspect they have hidden attributes. I don't know what happened to Mireth."

"You seem to be more than passing familiar with the entertainers," observed Thranduil darkly. Elrond's long unmarried state and his fondness for his cousin had not bespoken much enthusiasm to the fairer sex.

"Oh, I do love the merry tunes," Elrond replied, oblivious. "And the costumes are so pretty."

"And there we have our first problem," Thranduil said, gesturing down at his gore-splattered armor. "We haven't exactly the wardrobe for the part."

"That's the least of our problems," said Elrond, and indeed it was. Amidst the victory celebration, unattended female attire was in great supply in the camp that night. Thranduil and Elrond managed to outfit themselves nicely without even having to resort to robbing wash lines.

* * *

"So which of you lovely ladies is the harpist?" Mistress Aiwen enquired brightly.

Elrond blanched behind his bright sapphire hair ribbons that matched his gown. Thranduil had been very proud of himself for the Silvan stealth that had allowed him to snatch the outfit practically out from under the noses of a sporting couple the night before, and Elrond had proclaimed the ribbons just the perfect touch. Thranduil felt that he himself must look absolutely ridiculous in his green high-necked woolen dress with the tight bodice and the flounced skirt, although Elrond had opined that he looked quite fetching. This only made Thranduil more uncomfortable.

Amid all the talk of wardrobe, they had neglected to discuss the particulars of their hoped for jobs as minstrels. Elrond did not even know if Thranduil could play a musical instrument at all.

"I play the harp, Mistress," Thranduil put in quickly, remembering to keep his voice high.

"Very good, ah, what did you say your name was?"

"Randiriel, Mistress," said Thranduil.

"That must mean you're the flautist," she said, turning to Elrond, who nodded.

"Ronneth is renowned for her technique with the flute. She has a very tight embouchure," Thranduil said sweetly, earning himself a glare from the Peredhel.

Mistress Aiwen turned her gaze to him and raised an eyebrow as well. It took Thranduil a while to understand what she found amiss, and then he quickly uncrossed his legs from their wide ankle over knee stance and put his feet primly together, smoothing his skirts with what he hoped was a maidenly smile.

"Let me hear your singing voices."

Elrond went first, producing a breathtakingly lovely falsetto version of A Elbereth Gilthoniel that brought tears to Mistress Aiwen's eyes. Impressed, Thranduil thought to himself that Elrond should really get up an act and take it on the road, before realizing that, indeed, he just had.

"Your turn, Randiriel."

Thranduil cleared his throat and pitched his voice as high as Elvenly possible. "When Summer warms the hanging fruit and burns the berry brown; When straw is gold, and ear is white --"

"Enough!" cried Mistress Aiwen, whose visage had turned rather white too. "I think we'll have to reserve your voice for the low parts. Do you have any other talents?"

"Why . . . I can do this," said Thranduil. He picked up three stones from the dirt beside the wagon and began to juggle. He was rather good at it, although he was more used to nuts, nuts being plentiful at home in Eryn Galen. In his concentration, he failed to notice that the action of his elbows set the two potatoes he had nicked from outside a Númenorean mess-tent and stuffed down the front of his bodice to jiggling.

"A very interesting talent indeed," Mistress Aiwen said, her eyes wide. "Oh, well, beggars can't be choosers. You both are hired. I doubt we'll be doing many shows in the next month or so -- just enough to earn our keep in the caravan home."

As they all rose, she stopped them. "One more thing. I don't care what you two ladies do elsewhere, but I have a strict rule -- no men in the sleeping wagon. I'll not have any tales told of deeds of lust among Mistress Aiwen's All Female Minstrels."

Elrond and Thranduil exchanged a look. "Seldom?"

"Not seldom -- never. If I find that rule being broken, the consequences will be severe, I assure you."

Thranduil gulped. "Yes, Mistress Aiwen," he and Elrond said in unison.

* * *

Author's Notes:

*Ain Melir Den Urui : Sindarin which translates roughly to 'some like it hot' according to the incomparable Darth Fingon. Darth warns me against using it, as "it's pretty bad" but since so is this story, it seems entirely appropriate.

"When Summer warms the hanging fruit and burns the berry brown; When straw is gold, and ear is white -- From the Song of the Ent and the Entwife, JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers

Other Translations:
Golodh : Noldo
Golodhrim: Sindarin for the Noldor
Laegrim : Green-elves, Nandor
Rodyn: the Valar and Maiar inclusive
Huitho: the Sindarin F-word
Ada : Dad

Continued in Chapter Two: Girls Will Be Girls


Nov. 22nd, 2011 07:39 am (UTC)
This is still funny on 2nd read too :-)
Nov. 22nd, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for all the encouragement along the way!