1. A Strange Fate
"Aye, that Tolkien gentleman did us fair service, I'd say," Gimli replied.
Aragorn frowned. "Yes, immortality has its pleasures," and his frown faded to a smile as he thought of Arwen, then he shook his head. "Still, it makes one wonder what purpose a man serves, who exists for all time, thus is truly of none."
Legolas pondered that, and said, "The Elves have not found it troublesome."
"Ah, we are timeless," said Boromir, smiling at Aragorn. "Like the Elves. All to the good, to my mind. Though I might wish he hadn't killed me quite so soon. I'd have liked to see things through at least to Minas Tirith. Could I not have died as well in battle beside my brother?"
Gimli clapped a hand on his shoulder affectionately. "I understand, friend," he said, "but what an end you made of it, eh? And the movie! Have you gentleman seen this wonder?"
Both Men grinned. "We do come off well, don't we?" said Aragorn.
"Though fair clean compared to the truth of it," Gimli replied, "for all that some of these 'fans' complain of our hair and our beards."
"I should like to see any of them do better," said Aragorn irritably. "Months spent in the winter wilderness do not make for pretty, powdered ponces. If that is what they expect, let them look to their own."
"Indeed," Boromir replied, nodding. "They have an overly optimistic notion of the joys of river-bathing in February. Though Legolas, at least, seemed shiny as a new coin throughout," and he grinned at the Elf.
Legolas chuckled. "Yes, though the how of it is a mystery to which even the Elves have not an answer."
There was a companionable pause in the conversation then, as the serving maid came by and refilled their cups, and Gimli lit his pipe. Finally, Aragorn said thoughtfully, "They are a marvel, though, these 'modern' people," and he glanced at Boromir. "I would not have believed a mere player could have portrayed your valiance and nobility so thoroughly, son of Gondor."
"Nor your kingliness," Boromir replied, raising his glass. "You were very kind to me when I was lying there like a lady's pincushion."
"No more so than you deserved. You fought bravely."
Boromir nodded thoughtfully. "Yet I failed at the end," he said, beginning to ease towards moroseness.
"So you were fated to do," said Gimli, "as you were fated to try for the Ring. Without you did that, all might indeed have come to ruin."
"How think you so?" Boromir asked, glancing at his stocky companion.
"Ah, 'tis clear to any who look," Gimli answered. "Without you frighten off the Ringbearer, he'd likely have been taken by the Uruk-hai, and who can say whether he'd have escaped with Merry and Pippin? Or, if he had eluded capture, then still Merry and Pippin might have been taken, and what should we have done then? Our paths divided, and our hearts."
"Aye," said Legolas, "and even had none been taken, well, then we'd all have gone to Mordor, and you said it yourself, though I scoffed at the time - 't'was folly to think of it." He smiled, shaking his head. "Nine - well, eight, as Mithrandir might never had found us again - strolling up to the Black Gates? Should we have knocked, then, said, 'please sir, may we borrow your volcano and melt down this trinket?'" The four companions chuckled at the thought of it. "Also," Legolas continued, "you know, you do not always die...," and he winked at Boromir, his eyes sparkling.
Boromir scowled. "Do not remind me, friend," he said. "Mind you, it doesn't trouble me when these 'fans' use our likeness to tell great tales of proud deeds, nor to give us the inner lives which all men have but which our esteemed author thought not to give us. Nor even to bring humor to a grim story - indeed, perhaps those I love the best. But if only they would all make some effort not to twist us into - into -"
"Prancing romantic gits?" offered Legolas.
"Childish idiots who think only of their loins when the fate of the world is on their shoulders?"
"Greedy, argumentative Elf-fanciers?" said Gimli, giving Legolas a wink and a grin.
Boromir laughed. "Can you imagine? Any of us would gut those poor Halflings like fish if we lay with them!"
"And if we'd tried anything with Frodo," said Legolas, barely suppressing his grin, "Sam would have killed us." At that, the four burst into laughter so loud that a man at the next table hissed at them, and they quieted, with apologies. "That Cassandra Claire," said Legolas, wiping tears from his eyes. "She has a gift."
"Aye, but some of these people," and Aragorn's tone was dark. "Truly, have they not heard of friendship? Must all end in lovemaking? Arwen would skewer me - and each of you," he added, looking around the table, "if I'd done a fraction of the things these people claim for me."
Legolas sighed, nodding. "Aye, and my father disown me."
Boromir laughed. "My sympathy, friend Elf - perhaps our fathers have more in common than I'd have supposed. I can only imagine Denethor's outrage were I to seduce the King, as I've been accused of doing more times than I can count."
Aragorn grinned. "Bad enough you didn't kill me when you had the chance, eh, and sieze the throne?" he said, casting Boromir an amused glance. "He'd disown you in a moment, and lop off my head - or one of them at least - were you to share my bed." He turned to Legolas then, and continued, "But I hadn't thought Thranduil so harsh, that he'd do such a thing for naught more than were you to lie with a male."
"Oh no," said Legolas, "that would not trouble him. No, 't'would be my profound idiocy that would cause him distress. How many pouty-lipped Elvish princesses from far-off lands can a son bring home before his father tires of it?"
"Pouty-lipped princesses, and stout Dwarves," said Gimli with a chuckle. "Thranduil might have frowned a bit at that, were any of it true. Dwarves and Elves cavorting beneath the trees - t'would be impolitic, at least."
"Well," said Boromir, dejected, "at least they don't have you raping every Elf you happen across."
There was a startled pause, and then Aragorn leapt to his feet, his hand going to Narsil's hilt. "Boromir! Who has made such an accusation against you? I'll split him from neck to crotch!"
Legolas also rose, looking from one to the other worriedly. "Truly," he said, "these are the vilest of lies! And easily proved untrue, for the lack of Elven corpses littering your path. For do they not know that Elves die when taken against our will? So our esteemed creator made it, and so it is in truth!"
Boromir rose and lay a hand on the King's arm. "Nay, my friends, sit, for you have not heard yet the worst of it, and for that you might wish to temper your vengeance, as have I."
Aragorn scowled, but sat again, uneasily. "How do you know of these things, Boromir? for I have seen no such tales, though in truth, a great many have us making quite free with one another," and he paused, a blush creeping up his cheeks. "Not that you're not all very attractive, of course," and there was a murmer of agreement, "but Arwen, you know," and he shrugged.
"Oh, 't'is only Arwen keeps you from my bed," said Legolas, amusement lighting his eyes. "Or from Boromir's, or Frodo's, or Gimli's.... Well," he said then, raising an eloquent brow, "what is it holds the rest of you at bay? Am I not lovely? Am I not desirable?"
Gimli lobbed a biscuit at the Elf, who chuckled.
"In truth, Boromir," said Aragorn, eyeing Legolas cautiously, "how did you learn of these accusations? Who would think you such a churl and a coward as to force your attentions upon an unwelcoming partner?"
"The Hobbits told me of it," he said. The others looked at him and he shrugged. "They're pervy Man-fanciers, it seems, and their tastes run to a more extreme type of pleasure than one might guess from their childlike appearance. In seeking out this kind of amusement, they found... another. They felt I should know, though I am not yet certain I thank them for it."
"And fear not that Boromir is alone in this fate," said Gimli, fingering his axe thoughtfully. "For of us all, I believe only I have escaped being the perpetrator of such an act at some point."
Boromir chuckled. "Give it time, Master Dwarf, for I am certain your turn will come."
Aragorn's hand still lay on the hilt of his sword, and his look was black. "But come, friend, what can you tell me of these cowards that would stay my vengeance, or that stays yours?"
Boromir sighed, and took another sip of wine. "I fear," he said at last, "my King, that the perpetrators of many of these fictions," and he lowered his voice, "are children."
The others sat back, all eyes on Boromir. "Children?"
The warrior nodded. "Yes, I fear so. Not all, I would imagine, but according to the Halflings, many of these people are schoolchildren."
Aragorn's hand dropped from the sword hilt, and his eyes were wide. "Children," he murmured. "What nightmare world were we created for, that children would know this horror?"
"I do not think these ones do know it," said Gimli, "for did they, they would not take such pleasure in writing it."
"You've read these?" asked Legolas, turning to his friend.
Gimli shrugged. "The Hobbits know I share their taste for the extreme," he replied, "though I admit we were all of us shocked at much that they found. 'Tis one thing to write of rough affections between eager partners, but another entirely to write of... of this."
"And to ascribe it to honorable folk," said Aragorn, still looking stricken. "Valiant warriors."
"And deny the horror of the victims as well," said Boromir, "for I dare say, as many as I'm said to have taken, each of them has found comfort in another's arms before the next waxing of the moon."
There was silence then, each of the four lost in his own thoughts. Finally, though, Legolas spoke. "It does not bear thinking on," he said firmly. "We can do nothing to alter these fictions, and they can do nothing to alter us. We are, as Boromir has said, timeless." He raised his glass. "To the Fellowship."
"The Fellowship," they chorused, and drank.
"You are right," said Boromir. "It does not bear thinking on. And there are, too, many writers who delight in telling tales which would make any warrior proud."
"Indeed," said Aragorn. "Have you read aught by this 'ErinRua'? Anyone would think she had spent a month at Edoras, so deftly does she draw Eomer, and the Riddermark."
"Aye, or 'plasticChevy', an odd name for a writer of some skill and imagination," Legolas added.
"Though I hope to regain my eyesight before the end of the one that features my survival at Amon Hen," said Boromir wryly. "I'll admit I've become quite drawn in by a story of my brother," he went on, gazing thoughtfully into his wine. "'Tis a mad tale of an expedition to Minas Morgul, and though I would hope Faramir never felt such black despair, still, the story is compelling, and," he paused, then shrugged and grinned. "It is my brother."
Legolas chuckled. "I believe I know the one of which you speak," he said. "'Tis by one 'E. M. Theis'?"
"The very one," said Boromir. "Indeed, you play no small part in it yourself, though I fully expect that the King shall win the day before the end." He threw Aragorn a menacing look, and Aragorn laughed.
"I am sure I shall fetch your brother home," he said, "if indeed he does not do so himself first, for he is near as valiant a man as you."
"Moreso, in his own way," Boromir replied, smiling affectionately.
"And do not forget friend Gimli," said Legolas. "Indeed, only this morning I discovered a story of you from one who calls herself 'Nimue'. 'Unravelling The Tale', it is called, and is already a year in the telling. If I am any judge, it shall be well worth it."
Gimli sputtered a little and a blush rose to his swarthy cheeks. "Master Elf, you must be mistaken, for no tale about me could take so long to tell."
"Indeed you are wrong," said Aragorn, "for though I've seen a great many featuring your axe which are as short as you yourself, my friend, there are a great many which span months, even years."
"Of course, in this one I do try to kill you," said Legolas, and winked. "But I was sore provoked."
Gimli laughed. "Well, I do not like to read stories which feature myself too greatly. It feels a bit like looking into a crooked mirror; after a time you can no longer be certain which is the reflection and which is you."
"Indeed," said Boromir. "I find them disconcerting myself. I much prefer the original, for all that I die before the second part of the tale is underway, for at least there it is we who live our lives, not our dopplegangers."
"And have I ever mentioned how annoying it is that I can never arrive in time to aid you?" asked Aragorn, taking another sip of wine. "Truly, it is frustrating."
Boromir laughed. "No moreso for you than me, my friend."
"And why do you suppose so many people write so many further stories, when the originator did such a fine job in the telling of the one?"
There was a pause, as the companions considered. Finally, Legolas spoke. "I have reflected on this before now," he said, "and I believe I know an answer. Why some of them do, at least, though surely not all." The others looked at him expectantly. "I believe it is that very timelessness," he said. "The depth and breadth of our world, which confounds and calls to them, from their cramped offices and their limited lives."
"Are they so limited?" asked Aragorn.
"I'd not have thought so," said Gimli. "They have so much that we never thought of. Why, who among them must slaughter meat for the table, or walk across swamps and deserts to visit a cousin?"
"Or bathe in a river that's almost to freezing from the winter snows?" and they chuckled again at how quickly some would have them plunge into such a stream and enjoy it.
"Aye," said Legolas, still smiling. "But here we have the glory of the Golden Wood, and the vast plains of the Riddermark, and my home in Mirkwood. The mountains and mines of the Dwarven kingdoms, and the beauty of Ithilien. The White Tower, the city of stone, and all the beauty of world laid out at our feet, we lords of men."
"They imagine it beautiful," said Aragorn, "and so it is."
"And they imagine it clean, and so it is," said Gimli with a laugh.
"They imagine us as themselves, or themselves as us," said Legolas.
"Well, that explains the sex," Aragorn muttered.
"'Tis a strange fate," said Boromir, and he grinned, "that we should suffer so much fear and doubt, over, and over, and over...."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.