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Appearing here tonight for a sneak preview and in the rest of my customary haunts tomorrow, is my annual Halloween related story for my best buddy and beta reader. Enjoy, Bro!

As usual, I don't own this. JRR Tolkien owns the characters. I'm borrowing them for a little fun, and no profit. No warnings to give you this time.

Elflings: The New Millennium


"For tonight is Halloween, and the Faerie doth ride . . ."
Tam Lin





"I dunno, Randy, I think this might not be such a great idea."

"What's the matter, Glenn? You chicken or something?"

"Yeah, kind of," the shorter, dark-haired boy replied. "I've heard some scary shit about this place."

Fog drifted in wisps across the two-lane road as the two walked along in semi darkness lit by the occasional mailbox or gate light. The area had managed to retain its quiet, rural feel despite the march of progress elsewhere.

"Haven't I been right so far?" said Randy. He paused to flick a moist strand of light hair that had escaped his pirate's bandanna.. " The rich folks give out the best treats, and this next place is where the richest guy of them all lives. My dad works at the County Treasurer's office and he says the lot is huge - a whole bunch of acres - and he doesn't understand how anyone can manage the property taxes."

"I'm sure he's rich," Glenn replied, "but Chris and Kayden told me they went over the wall last summer, and they never saw a house, but then they got lost and heard stuff in the woods that scared them, and you know Kayden doesn't scare easy. They finally got caught by this security guard who scared them even worse, and when they made a joke about his hair he gave them a look that scared them even worser. He let them out the gate and told them not to come back because next time they might not be so lucky. No one I know has ever tried trick or treating there."

"Until now," said Randy, as if that settled it.

The two of them rounded a gentle bend in the road and Glenn let out a derisive snort. "You dragged me all the way out here for this? That house is hardly bigger than mine!"

"That's the gatehouse, you moron. Old man Rivers is so rich he has to have a special house just for his security goons to live in. But don't worry, I can handle them."

"I can hardly wait to see that," Glenn muttered under his breath. Wisely.

Randy pushed a button beside the big iron gate, and after a long pause, a monitor flickered on with a silver-haired man in mid screen. "Can I do anything for you two . . . ah . . . young gentlemen?"

"Indeed you can, my good man," said Randy

"Sorry, none of the above." The guard paused for the two young twerps to get the joke, and when they didn't, he went on. "Okay. I'll bite. State your business and you might just get somewhere."

***



Thranduil Oropherion, now known by that name only to his family and the Faithful, and to the rest of the world by his current alias of Aaron Rivers, was in the process of streaming the night's movie selection when the house phone rang. He frowned. The entertainment for this very special time of the year, the Dead Days, had been reached after much discussion of what might be appropriate. His father, down from Wisconsin for the holidays, had voted for the color version of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, while Thranduil thought that the only movie that ever really gave him a shiver was the original black and white version of that classic film. His son had favored something much less frightening altogether, and had only relented when Thranduil had offered to let Galen spend the night in his own bed if the child required comfort. Everyone concerned left it unspoken that Grandma and Grandpa found that more of a treat than a concession, including the object of concern, who presently flitted about the room in his Ronan the Accuser costume, stopping occasionally for a treat or a sip of sparkling cider.

Thranduil picked up the phone. "What?"

Hal's voice came over the line. "Hello yourself, Boss. There are two kids out at the gate who say they're trick-or-treating."

"You have to be joking with me. That hasn't happened in . . . I forget."

"I swear upon my immortal life. They're outside the gate right now, and they aren't leaving."

"So give them something and send them on their way."

"It isn't that simple," said Hal in a voice that just might have suggested the Boss was being a bit simple himself. "All we have on hand is Fritos and beer."

"I thought Jane fed you guys better than that."

"She usually does, but remember, Jane is out of town this weekend for the state teacher's convention. What's more, one of them, a pushy little snot by the name of Randy, says he won't leave until he meets Mr. Aaron Rivers himself. I have a feeling he means it."

Thranduil laughed. "You had me at 'Randy'. Now I want to meet this youngster myself."

"Shall I send the two of them up to the house?"

"Any other time of year. I don't want anyone alone in these woods during the Dead Days."

Hal sighed. "Shall I escort them, then? And can I use blindfolds? Please, please with nuts on top?"

"That would be fun, but . . ." Thranduil paused and pondered how best to deal with intruders in his little realm. He had gotten out of practice. A slow grin crept over his face. "No, Hal, I want you to take the gator up here. Leave our two young guests to be entertained by Rudy and Orville. Glenn, you're in charge of the wardrobe part."

Galion responded by making a sour face and downing his glass of wine in one long pull. The others in the room took curious notice.

Thranduil beamed at his miniature court. "We're going to give them the trick-or-treat of a lifetime."

* * *


"I think they're bullshitting us, Randy. Old Man Rivers is never coming out, and if I have to see one more lame card trick, I'll die of boredom."

"Keep your pants on, Dweeb," replied Randy. "If this goes on long enough, Rudy here will have to offer us some of his beer to keep us waiting, won't you, Rudy? Give it a few more minutes."

"You won't need more time," said poor Rumil, who had almost run out of every modern means of entertainment he knew. "I can hear them coming."

"I don't hear anything," muttered Glenn, who lacked his buddy's single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal.

"Hang on . . . I think . . ." whispered Randy, and sure enough, within a few seconds came the sound of muffled hoofbeats on the drive.

The mists parted to reveal a tall figure on a bay horse.

"Holy shit!" said Glennn, "that guy has that Elvenking from the movie down perfect!"

"Nah, he has the crown all wrong, and his clothes and hair are the wrong color, but otherwise -- damn!"

'Rudy' merely snickered, as other riders came into view beside the Elvenking. First, there came a pale-haired man on a silvery-grey horse and a child who looked to be no more than four or five years old on a palomino Shetland pony. They were soon joined by two dark-haired women, a man with flaxen hair who looked like he could have been the first pale-haired rider's brother, and a woman with the same bright gold hair as the Elvenking himself. Last in the group were a man and a woman on brown horses, Hal himself on a black horse, and a few others in green and brown livery bringing up the rear. All were in the same Elvish attire as the Elven king, and most had their ears showing, fully pointed.

"Who dares to trouble me in my realm, stirring up the spiders and whatnot else?" said the Elvenking in a voice that had been known to make little mortal boys spoil their pants. "You look like Dwarves to me, although in disguise."

"Come now, Beloved, You're too old to be frightening little boys," said the beautiful woman beside him.

"Yes, Adar", said the pale-haired one on the grey, "and you know you like some Dwarves once you get to know them."

"Tolerate and appreciate, not exactly like," mumbled the King.

The man on the brown horse sidled up even with the King. "Come off it, Sire. I can see you're scaring the one in the zombie costume."

"What is this night for if not frightening young Mortals? State your business, lads."

Randy finally found his voice. "Um . . . trick or treat?"

"What is this Mortal custom called Trick or Treat'?" the Elvenking demanded with a haughty sniff.

"Um, your Royalness?" young Glenn ventured, "It's like what we do on Halloween. We dress up and go around to houses and people give us, like, candy and stuff."

"'Like, candy and stuff'?" said the King, looking puzzled. "I haven't any candy. Are you truly sure about the candy? You Mortals' teeth don't grow back like ours do." He reached inside his cloak and produced a leather sack. "However, I might have some 'stuff' that will make your trip out here worthwhile. Rudy, open the gate so I can give a gift to these young fellows."

Tentatively, the two boys stepped forward toward the King's outstretched hand.

"Holy sh --- cow, Mr. Rivers!" said young Randy. "These are gold! But we can't spend them."

"No, you cannot, but you could sell them to purchase all the entertainment and goods that delight young people nowadays, whatever they may be. Video Games, perhaps? I hear good things about Quest for the Lonely Mountain, or that newer one about that silly Ring. There are several coin shops in Lake Forest, but I'd go to Raleigh Schmidt. He won't scr --, er he's honest, and he'll recognize the value of a Liberty Head Half Eagle. Here's a little hint -- it's worth more than five dollars. They all are slightly used, for which I apologize, but I can assure you they are genuine. There you go, two apiece."

"Gee, thank you Your Royalness, er, Mr. Rivers," said Glenn.

"Yeah, thanks," chimed in Randy.

"Don't thank me quite yet," replied the Elvenking. "You boys don't know the old tales about faerie gifts. They have a way of fading away in the cold light of day unless they are put to good use. That's why I gave you two coins each. How either of you uses the second is your choice, of course, but there are quite a few local charities that might appreciate the donation of one of those coins." He winked. "Just saying."

"We better get going now, Randy," Glenn whispered, "before he changes his mind.

A small voice piped from the ranks of the riders. "May I go with them, Daddy? I've never trick-or-treated before, and it sounds like fun. Please? You owe me a favor for making me change out of my Ronan costume. It was way cooler."

The man on the grey horse laughed. "I suppose you may, Galen, as long as I come with you."

"But I can ride on my own. I'm old enough."

"I felt the same way when I was your age, son, but that's not the point. How are you going to fit all three of you on your pony? We need one more horse so each of these two nice boys can ride double behind us."

Randy, who had been eying the big grey horse covetously hastened to agree. "Dibs on the older guy."

While Randy was hoisted up behind 'Daddy', Glenn used Galen's stirrup to mount the little palomino.

"This is awful high up," Randy said. "Now that I'm up here."

"Don't worry, kid, I have a lost of practice riding with someone your size behind me. Now, hang on tight. We're going to canter!"

"That boy behind Leif bears some watching, Galion," Thranduil said as he watched wistfully after the disappearing riders. "Did you see the eyes? He has the Dunedain strain for sure. But the hair and the attitude! If I didn't know better, I'd wonder if some of my relatives had gotten up to dickens some time back in the past."

"Don't look at me," said Oropher. "Your mother and I thought one of you was enough."

"I wish I didn't have my billionaire tycoon dignity to maintain. Riding around in the dark and making people wonder if they should check themselves into rehab would be fun. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? Wait for me, you guys!"

He galloped off with Oropher hot on his heels, yelling, "Count me in too. Charge!"

"I had better go and make sure they don't have any more wine this evening than they've already had," sighed Galion. He cantered off in pursuit.

"And that, ladies," said Felice to the other wives, "is how to stay young after more than a few long Ages. There's only one way to make sure they don't get into too much trouble. Last one to the Neidermeyers' driveway is a rotten orc!"

Hal flew past on his black horse just as Rudy was about to go back inside. "I'm pulling body-guard duty tonight. It's my job. Don't bother to wait up. We can all let ourselves back in."

"Okay, but it's my turn next year," Rumil said as he went back into the warmth of the gate house.
And so it was. Throughout the next decade, and even after that, when the two coincidentally named mortal boys had first been told that Galen had gone off to boarding school, and they themselves had gone off to college, the rumors of the Elven riders who appeared on Hallowen night and gave gifts to those lucky enough to see them, became a local legend akin to that of Lizard Man in South Carolina or
Saquatch in the Pacific Northwest. On the rare night at the end of October, some claim to see them still. And then they check into rehab.


Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
lexin
Oct. 31st, 2015 11:59 am (UTC)
Oh, that's lovely!

randy_o
Oct. 31st, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I celebrate Samhain myself, and I light a candle in the window so all my lost loved ones can find rheir way home.
drummerwench
Oct. 31st, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
This is great, Randy! I especially like our familiar heroes on the "Wild Hunt" ride!
ignoblebard
Oct. 31st, 2015 05:00 pm (UTC)
This is so awesome, and it really satisfies my craving for a modern Elves story. I can't thank you enough for writing it, and I can't get enough of Aaron Rivers and his bunch.

The beginning where you set the scene reminds me so much of my rural trick or treating childhood. There was a place in town they called "Snob Hill" that was were the "rich" people lived, rich being a relative term at the time, and we'd go up there with as much trepidation as Glenn, though some had the boldness of Randy.

Cracks me up that the discussion over which movie was a choice of Living Dead in living color or Living Dead in glorious black and white. I also laughed out loud at the Ronan the Accuser costume. And the palomino shetland pony is beyond cute!

I loved "every modern entertainment" Rumil knew. Aaron's blatant plug for his video games and Leif's "I have a lost of practice riding with someone your size behind me" were a hoot. Also, "Last one to the Neidermeyers' driveway is a rotten orc!" Your little in jokes always make these stories for me.

What I wouldn't give to see this group on Halloween night riding through the countryside. That would be the treat of a lifetime.

I hope young Randy of the Dunedain, maybe Elven, line shows up again someday.

This is a great Halloween treat. Thank you so much! I hope you and your little monsters have a fun Halloween.



Edited at 2015-10-31 05:02 pm (UTC)
randy_o
Oct. 31st, 2015 09:57 pm (UTC)
It's always a pleasure to write for you. What's difficult is doing it without you as a beta. I'm glad you liked it. I figured you'd get the Ronan joke.
ignoblebard
Nov. 1st, 2015 02:16 pm (UTC)
And it's always a pleasure to receive the gift of your writing. I can't tell you enough how much I love the modern Elf stories. They are so unique, and your writing is just awesome. I wish you had time to do more of them, and I wish I coukd collect them in a leather bound volume.
pandemonium_213
Oct. 31st, 2015 05:24 pm (UTC)
This is AWESOME, Randy! To echo the birthday boy, I can't get enough of Aaron and crew, and this is a wonderful nod to Tam Lin, the Wild Hunt, etc. Love that Aaron is streaming the movie and that his dad prefers the black and white version, and well, really the entire mix of modern and ancient.


"Nah, he has the crown all wrong, and his clothes and hair are the wrong color, but otherwise -- damn!"


HA!!!

<= using my icon of the gryphon on Saunders' Cambridge home.
randy_o
Oct. 31st, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I did that Wild Hunt thing on horseback in my youth, startling folks who came out of the tavern and did a double-take. It was fun.
elfscribe5
Oct. 31st, 2015 06:50 pm (UTC)
LOL! Loved it! Just what I wanted to read today. What a great sight that would be on Halloween, so good for Randy and Glenn for being brave enough to approach ol man Rivers. Specially loved "All we have on hand is Fritos and beer."
Happy Halloween!
randy_o
Oct. 31st, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's fun turning the Lorien brothers into good ol' boys.
aearwen2
Nov. 3rd, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
What a treat, to have another story in this !verse in my inbox this morning - as much because I love the story as I do seeing that you're still writing. I miss you and the action at LC, my friend.

I swear, the more you write about Randy/Thranduil and crew, the more I fall in love with him and them. You make me believe that they really are still around, and I could find him touring around Chicago somewhere if I were lucky. I wish....

Thank you again for a lovely start to my day.
ignoblebard
Nov. 3rd, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
That's the way I fell about his stories too, Aearwen. The best part of these stories is the feeling that they are really out there somewhere, that there's still real magic in the world.
randy_o
Nov. 5th, 2015 05:46 pm (UTC)
I miss me at LC and everywhere else too. Life kind of landed on me with a vengeance. But I can't miss Halloween.
chaotic_binky
Nov. 5th, 2015 10:37 am (UTC)
A fun story! I really enjoyed it - I like this universe :)
randy_o
Nov. 5th, 2015 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )