34. Nine Is the Number of Your Counting...
There is no Python without Monty.
While Monday morning had been a morning of anticipation and an attempt to stampede – an exciting day, Tuesday seemed – well, less exciting.
There was a sort of gloom resignation filling the lecture theatre. Even Arien and Celebrian, who would like nothing more than to spend an hour ogling Elrond looked slightly downcast.
The book list for this subject was as long as a bad year, and it didn't seem like Numerology was about counting at all (which all were fairly confident they could have handled). That, and the fact that Elrond could teach Sauron a thing or two about being mean in class (and dramatic speech), resulted in very few actually looking forward to it.
Only Lina seemed to be in a reasonable good mood, sporting a brand new hickey which she hadn't even bothered trying to hide. Monday night had been a very good night, even if the fricking table had collapsed.
Elrond marched in, flanked by Meridoc and Pereguin, who seemed to like following him around (even when they weren't invited). The mini-Balrogs were unusually cheerful for mini-Balrogs, which supported Lina's theory that they actually took on some traits from their (near) namesakes. Like Saoron, who had a tendency to follow Lyle around, or Grimli and Legoals, who were inseparable. Most interesting, it was.
“Greetings again, students.” Elrond rubbed his hands. “This is Numerology 101, where we look at the importance of numbers. To start, can anyone tell me how many rings there were and who they were for?”
“The One for Sauron!” Gami quickly replied.
“Three for the elves!” Celebrían smirked, having beaten Arien to it.
“Seven for the dwarves,” Lina shot in.
“Nine for Men,” Magnoliadoc said, then looked thoughtful. “Shouldn't there have been five for the hobbits?”
“No,” Elrond replied. “One, three, seven and five – I mean nine, makes twenty. Twenty rings. That was all. You hear me? That was all the Rings of Power. There was no undiscovered 21st ring – EVER!”
“No buts. As miss Holling will know, the only until recently undiscovered ring was a toe ring, which has a very limited, although evil, power. It is no Ring of Power, and besides, it seems to have taken a vacation.”
A few of the students grimaced, having felt the scope of Toey's power. Lina smiled, thinking about how big RollFeet had grown. She was beginning to worry though, it seemed impossible to get comma rules right when RollFeet was around.
“Twenty rings. Write it down and live by it, or I shall happily show you what just one of the Twenty can do. Now, the nine rings for men. As you know – hopefully – the nine men became the Ringwraiths, the Nine riders that were evil. What does this have to do with the Fellowship?”
“Umm.. they tried attacking the Fellowship?” Mor'loki suggested.
“No.” Elrond sounded annoyed. “They attacked before and after the Fellowship-stage. During the actual Fellowship-era the Nazgûls were drying up. There were NINE Nazgûls, and there were nine….”
“Fellowship-members?” Nikki said hesitantly.
“Yes! Thank you, was about time. Nine walkers set up against the Nine riders. Balance, you see.”
“But weren't there ten…?” a girl said in a low voice. “Wasn't there a girl also?”
The mini-Balrogs took cover, which is always a very, very bad sign.
Elrond smiled, a smile that said 'I-am-smiling-so-my-face-won't-explode-and-give-away-that-I'm-angry-and-might-kill-you'.
“What did you say?” he said sweetly, voice so dripping with sugar it could nearly cause a sugar high for anyone listening.
“Umm.. Wasn't there a… umm… 10th member?”
There was a long, long silence. Even the mini-Balrogs held their breath, and you could actually hear an angry bellow (sounded like Sauron shouting 'I have to take anger therapy with HIM?') all the way from the staff section.
“NO!” Elrond finally exploded, his voice as sharp as Legolas's arrows. “10th member? Do you know nothing of the importance of numbers? NINE! NINE MEMBERS! There never was, never will be a 10th member! Balance! With nine you have balance, and it's three times three, and three is a very important number!”
“What about Bill then?” Diane asked, her fondness for horses (and ponies) well-known.
“Nine members and a beast of burden.”
“So, if you were a unicorn, would that count as…” one girl began.
Elrond sent the girl a hard stare.
“No, no and no. Say it with me now, the Fellowship Mantra: 'You shall count to nine, nine is the number of your counting. You shall not count to ten, nor to eleven. Nine is the number of the Fellowship.'”
“You shall count to nine…” the class began, and the mini-Balrogs reappeared. The birds began singing again. The storm had passed. For now.
Of course, mere moments later another storm passed by, this time being Sauron stalking by in the hallway, thunderclouds above his head.
“I, the Dark Lord, have to take anger therapy!”
“Shut up. This is more embarrassing for me, you know,” Morgoth said, a few feet behind. “I have to take it with *you*!”
“No, *I* have to take it with *you*!”
“No, no. I clearly need it most, I am more angry…”
Their voices disappeared down the hallway.
“One Dark Lord balances another out. If they actually paired up they could do great evil, but they are two busy fighting each other,” Elrond said. “See? Balance!”
Miss Cam poked her head in. “Let me guess, someone suggested 10th member of the Fellowship? I heard shouting and sugar-dripping.”
“It is all in hand,” Elrond said calmly. “Repeat the Fellowship Mantra now, students.”
“You shall count to nine, nine is the number of your counting. You shall not count to ten, nor to eleven. Nine is the number of the Fellowship…”
“My Nine beat yours,” Sauron said, poking his head in as well.
“HahaHAH!” Elrond countered
“Haha – OW! Morgoth, you little…”
“See? Balance.” Elrond smiled. “One for One, Nine for Nine. And ten chapters of homework for the idiotic suggestion of ten fellowship-members.”
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.