To Overcome the Shadow - Chapter one: Of Eggs, Elves, and Overgrown Trolls
I hope everyone has as much fun reading this story as we have had writing it! At the moment, the story and title probably don't seem to fit well together. Bear with us! Perhaps this lightheartedness will make the shadow seem even darker. All characters as of now (except Ninque and Tanie) are Tolkien's. My friend Erutanie_Litsos helped write this, so at least half of any praise belongs to her, if not more ! Please comment! Its our very first story!
Of Eggs, Elves, and Overgrown Trolls
The stillness of the forest was broken by the furious giggling of two elf-maidens sitting up in a tree, holding a large basket between them. They were both straddling a large branch about ten feet off the ground, one leaning back against the trunk, with the other facing her. Their mirth was suddenly cut short when they both heard the sound of voices.
"Shhh!" Ninquetolliel whispered. "Here they come!"
Erutánië slapped her free hand across her mouth, desperate to keep her giggles from betraying their location. From around the corner two male elves sauntered into view. Their path was leading them directly under the branch occupied by the she-elves. One was slightly taller than the other, with a stern face hardened from many battles, while the other still had a twinkle in his eye. Besides that, there was no difference between them, being twins. They were just passing under the tree when Elladan, the shorter brother, suddenly fell down with a shout, covering his head with his arms as white missiles pelted him from above. Elrohir, the other brother, jumped in surprise and whipped out his sword.
Ninque and Tanie both burst out laughing at the comical faces of both brothers, one of sick disgust at being found covered with raw eggs, and the other's shock at being taken unawares.
"My, my," choked out Ninque between bursts of laughter, "Elrohir is quite jumpy today, isn't he?"
"Yes," gasped Tanie, "looking for Orcs behind every tree! Ninque, don't you think Elladan looks quite handsome in yellow?"
The two burst into hysteric fits of laughter, but stopped short at the dark, menacing looks they received from the twins. As the brothers stalked purposefully towards the tree, Ninque looked at Tanie with a completely straight face and said, "Tanie, I think it's time to leave."
"Quite so, Ninque, quite so," said Tanie glancing ruefully at the basket, still half full of eggs. "I don't suppose we could take the basket with us? It is an awfully nice basket after all."
"Tanie, `he who cannot cast away a treasure in need is in fetters', which is mild compared to what we'll be in if they catch us," reasoned Ninque.
Tanie shrugged and dropped the basket, which spun several times in the air before landing with a splat on Elrohir's head. Both girls' mouths dropped when they saw where the basket had landed. The looks of surprise soon changed to looks of horror as the basket was lifted to reveal a very angry, and very yellow, Elrohir.
Ninque turned and took off with Tanie close behind out on a limb on the opposite side of the tree. They jumped down and hit the ground running. The girls raced through the forest as fast as they could, but the footsteps of the two enraged brothers continued to gain on them. The roar of the river reached Tanie's ears.
"Ninque!" she yelled, panting. "We are going to need a bridge!"
"Already working on it!" Ninque yelled back. She had removed an arrow from her belt and was trying to tie a slender rope on the end and run at the same time. The girls burst from the trees into a clearing right by the river. Ninque screeched to a halt, took careful aim with her bow, and shot the arrow across the river to lodge in a tree on the other bank. Meanwhile, Tanie had grabbed the free end of the rope and was preparing to tighten it around a tree. Suddenly, strong arms encircled her from behind, pinning her arms to her side and making her drop the rope.
"Why do you need a bridge!" murmured a soft voice dripping with sweetness into her ear. "I hear the water is lovely this time of year."
Tanie made a point of sniffing, then made a wry face. "Ah. But it is not I who needs a swim, Lord Eggrohir." Despite her response, Tanie felt herself being slowly pushed closer and closer the edge of the river.
Ninque had not fared much better. Turning to see if Tanie had secured the rope, Ninque gasped as something collided with her, sending her crashing to the ground with an "Oomph!" Before she could react, she was flat on her back with her arms pinned over her head.
"You great oaf! How dare you tackle a lady!" yelled Ninque.
"I would hardly call your behavior lady-like, my dear." Elladan smiled sweetly and shooked his hair, sending drops of egg flying all over Ninque. "That was low, even for you, Ninque. Pelting unsuspecting elves with raw eggs!" He snorted in disgust as he hauled her to her feet and slung her over his shoulder.
"Not as low as chopping off two feet of Tanie's hair while she was sleeping!" Ninque retorted angrily. Tanie had almost cried when she had woken one morning to find her hair as short as a male elf's. "Put me down you overgrown troll!"
"Ah! Praising my strength again, are you? I've always known I was as strong as a troll."
"At the most you're as dimwitted as one," muttered Ninque sulkily, not at all happy about her eminent dunking.
Elladan laughed and continued to carry her towards the river. He grabbed Ninque's legs with a hard jerk, intending to sling her into the river. But the she-elf grabbed him around the waist, sending them both tumbling into the river. Ninque surfaced quickly and heard a splash several yards away where Elrohir had thrown Tanie in. Elladan came up yelping with surprise from hitting the cold water. Tanie surfaced also and started wading towards Elrohir standing smugly on the bank.
"Don't think you'll get away with being the only dry one!" Tanie said menacingly. Tanie's gaze glanced to the forest behind Elrohir. She suddenly froze, her eyes widening, then dived underwater and took off downstream. Elrohir spun around to see his father, Lord Elrond, and his advisiors Glorfindel and Erestor, along with the mortal Estel making their way towards him. They apparently hadn't seen him yet, as they were all rather occupied with a large and familiar basket Estel was carrying. Elrohir lost no time in turning and diving into the river himself. Ninque in the meantime, had grabbed Elladan by the shoulders and pushed him underwater, out of sight.
The group of elf lords stopped at the edge of the clearing and surveyed the damage. Ninque's bow and Elrohir's sword were both lying on the ground, and the arrow with the rope was still laying across the river, the end loosely tied to a tree.
"It seems, Lord Elrond," spoke Glorfindel with a smile, "that we have found the culprits of the fabled egg-stealing."
Elrond nodded and sighed. "I am becoming very weary of punishing those four pranksters for their constant jokes on one another."
"But," Estel interjected. "There is only evidence of two vagabonds, I wonder where the other two were during all this?"
Elrond chuckled. "Where there is evidence of two vagabonds, the other two are not far away!"
After collecting the various scattered evidences of the battle, the company turned to head back to the house. Estel, however, handed the basket to Erestor. "I will be along in a minute."
He turned and started walking rapidly downstream along the bank. He rounded a bend just in time to see four very wet elves climb out of the river.
Tanie pulled herself out of the river and found herself looking at a pair of muddy black boots. "My fellow comrades," said Tanie, glancing up sheepishly at Estel who was trying very hard to contain his laughter. "I believe we have been found out."
Estel laughed. "You don't need any help from me to do that! Your weapons strewn all over the place left evidence enough of your foul-play! Even a dimwit mortal Ranger can read those signs!"
Ninque's eyes narrowed evilly. "I think this stripling is trying to get uppity-up on us wise, mature elves." she suggested. By this time all four elves had climbed out of the river and formed a semi-circle around Estel.
Elladan caught on to Ninque's thought. "Yes. I think we need to teach this youngster not to entangle himself in our affairs!"
Estel started to back away with his hands raised in warning.
"Now, hang on! You're in enough trouble already! Don't compound your danger!"
The four elves started to advance, a fell light in their eyes.
"You touch me," Estel threatened, "and I'll make sure Lord Elrond knows of your water escapade."
Elrohir glanced at the other three. "He does have a point you know."
Ninque paused and seemed lost in thought for a moment.
"Yet," she countered. "Seeing as we are busted already for stealing the eggs, I do not think it could get much worse. What say you, fellow comrades?"
Estel, seeing that for him things were quickly turning ill, turned and tried to run for the woods, but was taken down by Elrohir and Elladan before he had taken three steps. Fortunately, Estel was not wearing his sword, which made it a lot easier to drag the yelping mortal to the river and toss him in. Estel struggled to the surface and came up spluttering, thinking of some colorful names for the vagabond sons of Elrond.
He dragged himself onto the bank, and glared up at the twins looking innocently back down at him. Their looks were so amusing that Estel gave up reproving the sons and started to chuckle. Soon, all four elves had joined in.
"Ai!!" Ninque gasped. "Stop! All of you! I can't stand it any more. My stomach hurts!"
This only sent the group into new peals of laughter.
"This was quite a welcome for a Ranger returning from the wild." Estel chortled. "Tackled and thrown in the river..."
"And what of your adventures in the Wild?" Elladan asked excitedly. "What news have you gathered?"
The five started their long walk home. Tanie and Ninque wandered a little ahead and Estel related some of his experiences to Elladan and Elrohir.
The twins seem somewhat distracted, thought Estel.
Even though they had seemed anxious to hear of his adventures, Estel noticed Elladan kept staring at Ninque, while Elrohir walked with his eyes to the ground, deep in thought. "Then," continued the man, "I was captured by fifty Orcs. They tortured me, cut my tongue out, then chopped my head off."
"That's excellent news, Estel," commented Elrohir distractedly.
Elladan, on the other hand, was not listening at all. "By the Valar," he murmured softly to himself, "she's beautiful, even when wet!"
Estel stopped, spun the two elves around to face him and chuckled, "All right. What's going on here?"