Notes: We are going decidedly Silmarillion-y with this chapter. Enter Ecthelion's POV. And there's a new pairing mentioned at the very end of the chapter, but I won't spoil it :P
Also, there is a reason for Ecthelion's obvious grudge against Thingol. Both Ecthelion and Glorfindel were once seeking entrance into Doriath but were denied. And on top of that, I needed some sort of a villain for a future plot line, and Thingol is simply the prime candidate.
And my reasons for making Turgon High King are simple, I love him. Always have. And I can't wait for him to decide to rebuild Gondolin for that will be fabulous. On that note, since Valinor is now on a different plane of existence than Arda, the Valar are able to, shall we say, expand the continent as they see fit. So they would have granted all of our lovely Beleriand elves a carbon copy of their old realms. Or rather, they gave them places where they could rebuild their old realms... And the same is true for the dwarves and hobbits. So there is a new Erebor but also a site that could be Moria again (without the balrog)...
Translation of Elvish: Mellonen - my friend
Chapter 6 - Of Elven Mischief-makers
Now (3021 T.A.)
"So, at the moment there's only the two of you, Thorin...who I have yet to meet I might add...Balin, Ori and Master Óin? But he is away at the mountain and couldn't be at the harbour because of that. And of course there is Dáin..." Kíli nodded like a proud teacher. And in a very warped way he was. The mere thought gave his brother nightmares. Balin was bad enough, but Kíli?! "And then there's your grandfather and great-grandfather...and quite a few dwarves that perished when Smaug attacked and those that died in the Battle of Erebor..." Kíli nodded again, still with that expression and Fíli had to turn away before he did some permanent damage to his beloved brother...beyond the damage Kíli had obviously already suffered. Though at times Fíli wondered if it had been enough...
So he huffed and stalked away, as far away as he was able. Kíli and Frodo exchanged confused glances before going back to their little lesson in dwarven culture that had turned into a listing of the dwarves of Valinor. Fíli still didn't quite understand how it all had happened, he only knew that it should be him and not Kíli who instructed the young hobbit. He was the older of the two dwarves, wiser, more mature... And obviously utterly and totally gullible. The bet had sounded like a good idea at the time. After four days, there simply was no way that Thorin and Bilbo were still... He felt sick to the stomach. There were things that a nephew should never see his uncle do, and that was most definitely one of them!
"I'm going to take care of all your chores for a whole month if you do it, brother," Kíli had said. "And you can talk with Frodo as much as you like and teach him more of dwarvish ways and the Company and all that... All you have to do is take a peek into Thorin's window for more than, oh I don't know, a minute?" 'Thel and Fin had chuckled, and now Fíli knew that should have been enough to not make him agree. But foolish as he was, agree he did. And it was early in the morning, the sun had barely risen so chances were, if anything, the two occupants of the cottage would still be fast asleep. Famous last words... They weren't. They were very much awake...too awake! He was going to kill his brother and the two elves!
Eventually Kíli had admitted that the two elf lords had pulled the exact same prank on him the previous morning, getting themselves out of playing messenger between Lord Elrond and High King Turgon. That explained why Kíli was nowhere to be found the previous day. But that didn't mean he had to do the same to his brother, and for a whole month at that! Just you wait... Oh yes, he would braid Kíli's hair again...for a start, nice ribbons like the hobbit lasses wore them...
"Um, Fíli?" That was Frodo. "Kíli says you know much more about the history of Durin's House than he does as he always dozed off during your classes..." Fíli blinked. The dozing off part was true, but why was Kíli...? His brother caught his eyes from across the room, mouthing the word "Sorry" before looking down again, apparently once more reading his book. "And he also has some stuff to do, or so he says. So would you mind..." Fíli nodded absentmindedly before excusing himself for a minute or three.
"Brother?" he asked when he was standing over Kíli.
The dark-haired dwarf just shrugged, "I realised it's not much fun if you're the victim of a prank, so... I'm sorry. And you're better at all this..." he gestured in the general direction of the old tomes that were lying on the nearby table. That was true, to an extend. Yes, Fíli was more knowledgeable when it came to dwarven history and customs, but Kíli knew so much more about the other races and their enemies. "I just...I just wanted to see if I could..." Brown eyes met blue, sadness swirling in them. "I really like Frodo..."
"And you are a great teacher to him, Kíli." The moment the words escaped, Fíli knew them to be true. Yes, Kíli was the happy go lucky dwarf everyone perceived him as. Yes, he loved causing havoc and being a mischief maker. But there was more to his brother, more than met the eye. And even Fíli forgot at times like this. "I'm sorry as well...I'm just still somewhat shaken up what with...you know..." Kíli nodded. "I think it's high time for us to somehow get back at our dearest elven friends..." His brother smiled at that. "But I think first, we should go and continue Frodo's lesson. Together."
"Fin? I think we may have outdone ourselves with this one... And not in a good way." Ecthelion was pacing in circles around the bench his friend and fellow mischief maker was sitting upon. "They are my friends, Fin, and I think seeing Thorin like that... It may have scared them both for life. Not to mention that we got Kíli to trick his brother..." He ran elegant fingers through his long, jet black hair. "I think we should go and explain. And apologise." Yes, Ecthelion had to admit that it had been kind of fun to see the young dwarves' faces, but now he realised just how hurt especially Fíli must have been when his own brother...
Glorfindel nodded slowly, "Maybe you are right... It was more than braiding golden flowers into your hair and tying it all off with colourful ribbons. And even more than turning my hair purple for a whole week..." Ecthelion had to stifle a chuckle. That had indeed been a sight to behold, Glorfindel of the Golden Flower...or rather, of the Purple Flower... "It was not funny, mellonen. But I guess neither was our little stunt for the dwarves..." The golden haired elf sighed, "I suppose we better do it sooner rather than later. Judging by your tales, they might already be plotting their revenge, and that would be beyond counterproductive considering..." Considering the two elves were hoping to recruit Fíli and Kíli into the ranks of the Terrors of Valinor, and that little prank had been some sort of induction. Only it had backfired, and badly.
So a few hours later they found themselves in Balin's cottage...Ecthelion could not wait until the dwarves were finally back in their mountain halls...gazing upon two somewhat fuming dwarves. Both elves bowed and Ecthelion spoke, "Fíli and Kíli of Erebor...we...we would like to apologise. We did not mean to hurt you, we just..." He gazed at the blond Eldar next to him. "Amongst our kin, love is celebrated wherever and whenever it appears, even if it is amongst our close family and friends. It seems we have underestimated the cultural differences between our two races... That is...I would not exactly be too happy seeing Glorfindel and Erestor...but I guess I could see the funny side in a prank."
"And Fíli," Glorfindel continued, "we are sorry that we got your brother to lure you into this as well. We just...we thought it would be a good way to introduce you to...well...our way of causing mischief. Only you two seem to be quite mad at us right now..."
Finally, after exchanging glances with his brother, Fíli spoke up. "So you didn't do this out of malice, out of a wish to see us squirm?" Both Ecthelion and Glorfindel shook their heads. "And you didn't know that we might be slightly shocked by what you two knew we would see?"
Ecthelion gave the two dwarves a sheepish look. "I thought you might be pleased actually. You were both so eager for Thorin to be happy again, and for Master Baggins to finally arrive..."
"'Thel," Kíli all but whined, "I think you scared us both for the rest of eternity! Yes, we are beyond happy that Bilbo is here, that our Bilbo is here, but...while we are aware that he's not just playing cards with Thorin, we don't really need to see it. Just thinking about it makes my stomach go all queasy..." And sure enough, the dark-haired dwarf looked decidedly unwell. "But...if you truly didn't mean to... I guess we can forgive you, right Fíli?" His brother nodded. And Ecthelion released the breath he had not even been aware of holding.
"Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I am loathe to lose the best friends I have known these past eighty years. Oh do not look at me like that, Fin!" Glorfindel had turned to him with a beaten puppy look on his face. "It did not work back in Gondolin, it did not work in the Halls... What makes you think it will work now?" The Lord of the Golden Flower just shrugged and murmured something that sounded like "Worth a try." Ecthelion just shook his head in resignation. "Besides, King Turgon might be less than happy if our actions severed the ties we have been building with the Dwarves of New Erebor. As I do not believe your uncle would readily forgive us hurting his heirs..."
Fíli and Kíli grinned at that. "Do you really think we'd have told him?" Fíli asked. "We may be a lot of things, but suicidal isn't one of them. Thorin would have our hides if he found out that we saw...that. Us dwarves can be quite possessive when it comes to the ones we love, and don't forget, we are talking about Thorin Oakenshield here..."
"Yes, our uncle wouldn't care if you made us do it or not, he would simply...try and find a way of killing us...slowly and painfully." Kíli shuddered. "Not that he would do it of course. Mother would skin him alive if he did...as would Bilbo I guess. He always liked us. Though, if he knew what we saw...he might help Thorin instead... Considering how flustered he would get during those nights we spent in Mirkwood, and Thorin would drape his furs over his shoulders and hold him close." Kíli chuckled at the memories. "Yes, I think he would definitely side with Thorin. At any rate, there's no way we'd ever have told anyone about... you know. We were just planning how to get back at you." And then he poked out his tongue at them, and how very mature was that?
"So," Glorfindel enquired, "no grudges?" More head-shaking. "Right, that is very well as you two are now officially inducted into a most secretive society. So far it only has four members, but I am sure once Elladan and Elrohir come to Valinor, they will be eager to join as well." He glanced at Ecthelion and winked, "I have trained them well, mellonen, too well if you listen to Elrond or Erestor. Especially Erestor. Really, at times I do not understand how I could have fallen for someone so..." He caught himself then, apparently realising what he was saying, "Eh, yes, be that as it may... Welcome, Fíli and Kíli to the Terrors of Valinor. We will teach dwarves, elves and hobbits that just because they are in the Undying Lands, things can still go somewhat wrong..."
"And above and beyond that," Ecthelion was going to have words with his golden friend, "we would offer you both our everlasting friendship, you and your people. I have never met two dwarves who were so willing to befriend an elf, and for that I will forever be grateful. Even though I did not want to go to the Halls to greet you..." The dwarves just grinned and bowed, chanting their usual "At your service" and invited the two elves to join them for dinner.
Then (2941 T.A.)
It was not fair, not fair at all. So maybe the last prank had been a bit... But Turgon had been a most delightful sight with his hair resembling a bird's nest. Sugar water instead of soap had been his most brilliant hair related idea yet. And that was counting Glorfindel's purple hair. It had taken Turgon four hours to wash all the stickiness out of his hair, helped by a most definitely not chuckling Queen Elenwë. And afterwards he had shouted for someone to bring him the head of the Lord of the bloody Fountain, attached to his body or not. And Ecthelion had known he was in trouble. Turgon did not swear, ever! Only this time he had.
Whether it was because of the prank itself or the fact that even his wife had laughed at the proud Ñoldo, it did not matter. Turgon had murder in his eyes, akin to every time someone mentioned the name of the traitor, Maeglin. Oh yes, Ecthelion was in dangerous waters this time.
But he and his prank had most definitely not been the reason King Thrór had stormed out of his meeting with the High King, muttering about idiotic elves. No, that had been Turgon himself. Or rather, it had been Turgon, but indirectly. The problem was really...and big surprise there...Thingol, king of all things shiny. King of 'no, you cannot enter my realm, have fun in the mountains'. King of 'Valinor belongs to the First-born and not those pesky dwarves'.
Little did it matter to Thingol that said pesky dwarves were assisting Finrod and his queen Amarië in rebuilding Finrod's old stronghold in Beleriand, Nargothrond. The dwarves were too close to the new Realm of Doriath, and that was that. And instead of speaking of his...issues with Finrod, Thingol had turned to the one elf he had something of a decent relationship with... Turgon, his High King; though under normal circumstances, Thingol did not care a whit about Turgon's rank, would even openly question Turgon's right to rule and claim that he himself had as much right to be High King of the Elves of Valinor.
And thus, Turgon in turn had had the pleasure of telling King Thrór to maybe meet with Finrod in Tirion instead. And that had ended with a rather fuming Thrór and a High King with a massive headache. He even overheard Turgon wondering out loud if the dwarves might be willing to help him find a secret valley in the mountains so he could have his Hidden Kingdom back and could give that stupid title of High King back to either his predecessor or his successor, though Ecthelion doubted that either Fingon or Gil-galad would be particularly interested in that honour again. Anything to get away from that elf! Ecthelion did agree with that part. He was most definitely no friend of Thingol's, still remembering the doors of Menegroth remaining shut to him and his companions...
And then the news had reached them that more heirs of Durin would reach the Undying Lands soon, and would probably chose Valinor over the Halls. And obviously there would have to be an envoy of the High King to greet them and make them feel welcome. And clearly Turgon had neither forgotten Ecthelion's last prank nor the fact that the Lord of the Fountain hated being part of such envoys. Which was precisely why he was ordered to head this one. He would have rather fought Gothmog again, drowning and all. But all his excuses did not help, all his most brilliant reasons why this elf or that should go in his stead.
But when he met the two young dwarves, their eyes sparkling with mischief, he had know that this must have been preordained...probably by Varda. The Lady of the Stars seemed to approve of Ecthelion's ideas of a good time, or why else would she have basically ordered Námo to finally allow Ecthelion to be reborn as well? Fíli and Kíli were mischief makers just like him, or he was not one of the Eldar. Yes, Turgon had suggested as much...'You, you son of a goat...', but the High King had been upset and...and would regret sending Ecthelion on this little errand.
Before long they had struck up a friendship, and he had met their uncle, who seemed to harbour a weird aversion towards the First-born. But Ecthelion was sure he would be able to help with that. After all, he had been appointed their elven liaison by Turgon. Though he and Thorin Oakenshield would have to have a word about Orcrist. Why was a dwarf running around with his sword?!
And then one day Fíli and Kíli let something about a certain halfling slip, and soon the three of them were busy making plans for Bilbo's arrival. Some of the blueprints for this little project of the dwarves would have to be altered, and obviously there would have to be a hobbit settlement as well, right outside the great gates of New Erebor. "A bit like Dale really, just without men and with more hobbits," Kíli had said. "Oh and 'Thel? Do you think some elves would like to settle near the mountain as well?" He nodded, knowing at least a handful of his kin who would love to learn from the dwarves where metalwork and gem crafting were concerned.
Years later, Ecthelion would think back to that fateful moment, that day when he first met two dwarves of the line of Durin. And if Turgon had voiced complaints about his own decision...due to certain things that had happened in Tirion as if by chance...it only made Ecthelion even more gleeful. There was only one thing missing now...Glorfindel. And if he voiced this once or twice a day to Ereinion, his lover did not seem to mind too much, though for some reason he began to always secure the lead of long excursions...something that he had avoided at any cost before... Oh well, former High Kings that had died at the hands of Sauron himself were weird, or at least his very own one was...