Of a Frustrated Fanfic Author
Disclaimer: All the characters – except the main heroine – belong to Professor Tolkien. I’m just borrowing them for a while to play. Lord Fergolad belongs to Cirdan (the writer, not the character, of course).
Rating: teens, for excessive drooling over Elrond. The book-version of him.
These independent little chapters have very little to do with my regular stories, except the fact that the Tolkien-characters appearing here will behave the way they do in my other writings. None of this is supposed to be taken seriously. :)
Dedication: To Gemma, who wanted Lord Elrond.
Life was a constant source of misery for our Frustrated Fanfiction Author (FFA as before). Not enough that she’d lost another friend (for reasons she still failed to understand) and that her work remained as good as unnoticed while others got applauded and awarded and complimented beyond measure in the writing community, oh no! The latter didn’t particularly surprise her, to tell the truth. Her genius was rarely appreciated – most people simply couldn’t recognize it for the rare gem it truly was, others were simply jealous.
Only a handful of her close friends took the occasional effort and tried to open the eyes of the ignorant masses with proper praise and enthusiasm – and little result. The unwashed masses had lower interests, preferring the clichéd “insert Elf A into Elf B and screw plot and characterization” sort of stories. Or rapefics. Or blatant self-inserts. The rest was frightened by her unique talent or envious, so if they reviewed her groundbreaking work at all (which was rare enough), they kept nitpicking; pointing out that single typo in a 37-page-chapter that had somehow escaped both the spellchecker and the beta reader. Or finding nonexistent canon errors.
“Idiots!” she fumed, deleting the anonymous review of the last nitpicker with vengeance – the reviewer was mistaken, of course (she’d done her homework, as always, consulting all volumes of HoME and both Tolkien encyclopaedias, of the weight of eight pound each, not to mention her mailing lists and countless online resource pages), but it irritated her when her review board was littered with stupid mistakes like that. It was aesthetically insulting. “Stupid, petty, nitpicking idiots! They should check their sources before they molest someone who has more talent under the nail of her pinkie finger than they have in their airheads counted together. Why can’t they go and bother someone who really does write crap? Why does it always have to be me?!?”
She felt so sorry for herself (well, nobody else did, so she had to handle the issue on her own). But she had no idea that her trials had only begun. For on the next day she had a computer breakdown. Well, only her viewscreen did actually break, but that was bad enough. No chance to contact her mailing list. No chance to access her database. No chance to work on her unfinished stories. No chance to do anything.
And, of course, all this happened on a Thursday evening. She had to wait until next day to ask for help. Maintenance guy took the viewscreen away on Monday evening (no work on weekends, of course). Now it was Thursday again, and she was near to screaming hysterics. A whole week of her working holiday wasted, and no chance to tell when she’ll be able to go online again. Internet cafés were rare and crowded with pre-teen kids on holidays that spent their whole day to play Tomb Raider or war games. And, of course, her Internet provider (not exactly a cheap one) won’t pay her back the money for the time she hadn’t been able to use her access. Which meant that she’d paid a nice sum of money for nothing.
It was frustrating beyond belief.
“I can’t understand why the Fates hate me so much,” she murmured, switching off her TV as her video recorder refused to swallow the tape of her choice. No escape to the depths of the Trek-universe, either. Another stupid piece of equipment on its way to breakdown. Great. Just great.
“That is a question I often ask myself as well,” a deep, wonderfully musical but unmistakably male voice answered. She jerked her head towards its source – and nearly fell off the couch from sheer surprise.
In the old, over-stuffed armchair before the open window sat the most unique creature she could ever imagine. No, that was wrong. Her imagination never managed to create something like this man. She did have a vivid imagination (what other fun did an underpaid female employee have), but way not enough to create such a marvel.
The man in her grandmother’s armchair was tall and broad-shouldered, with long, slender limbs and ever-so-slightly pointed ears, which clearly indicated that he was actually an Elf – or, at the very least, had some Elven blood in his veins. His pale, oval face was noble and beautiful and ageless, neither old nor young, but despite the youthful smoothness of his elegant features, the memory of many things, both glad and sorrowful, was written among them. Those large eyes were grey as a clear winter evening, shining brighter than any star she’d ever seen, and the elegantly arched eyebrows above them were fine like those of a Chinese silk painting. His heavy mass of hair was dark like the starless light and glossy like the finest silk, flowing down his back like black water and a few fine tresses moving weightlessly in the slight evening breeze, forming almost a halo around his head.
But it was the Ring on one long-fingered hand that finally gave him away. A beautiful Ring with a deep blue stone. Vilya, the greatest of the Three.
“Lord Elrond,” she whispered in utter respect. A friendly banter with Gildor Inglorion was one thing, but this was Elrond. Elrond Half-Elven, hero of the Second Age, greatest lore-master of the Third Age, the most important Elf in the Books – at least in her opinion.
The Master of Imladris tilted his head to the side with a faint smile. “You seem surprised, Lady Scribe.”
“I am,” she admitted. “I started to get used to the visits from Middle-earth, but I never counted on you.”
“Why not?” Elrond asked. “After all, you always treated me with respect.”
She became beet red, coughing a little. “Well, I must admit that I got carried away with the Elrond/Legolas cliché. I’ve tried to eradicate that thread, I honestly have, but it would collapse the whole structure of my Third Age stories, and… Lord Elrond, I am so very sorry!”
“You got under the spell of your own creation, just like that poor, mislead Celebrimbor,” replied Elrond with an elegant shrug. “Things like that happen, and they are extremely difficult to change afterwards… if ever. We, Ring-bearers, should know.”
“So you are not mad at me?” she asked hopefully. Elrond shook his head, tucking a few errant strains of his famous hair back under the delicate mithril circlet he was wearing upon his brow. It looked the movie item surprisingly similar.
“Nay, I rather enjoy the tales you spun around my household. At least you have paid my Lady the attention and respect she so richly deserves, instead of eradicating her from my life. And,” he added with e mischievous twinkle in those long, elegant eyes, “even though I never had any true interest in Legolas – not the sort of interest that would make him end up in my bed anyway – at least you did not make a blonde bimbo out of him.”
“You adapt to the vocabulary of our time quickly, my Lord,” she said in surprise. Elrond shrugged again, grinning.
“I do live in your magic box, after all. I have been confronted with many tales about a balding, foul-tempered person with strange eyebrows who, for some unfathomable reason, wore my name and, even more strangely, was able to make people believe that he was I. Or that his decadent dwelling place was my beloved Imladris,” he shook his head in exasperation. “Do people of your Age not know that I have built Imladris as a fortress? How could anyone ever defend a settlement with houses open to all weathers and all directions? Cannot people make any difference between the elegant and the decadent? We might have been a fading people in the Third Age, but we certainly were not fading in the Second, when Imladris was founded!”
“This is the effect of the movies, my Lord,” she murmured, ashamed by the realization that she, too, had fallen for that dreamland look in her first stories – until she decided to change all the descriptions, which she still had to do. “The more people abandon reading, the more they fall for the visuals prepared for them. And since the Shire had been realized so excellently, even those of us who did know the Books by heart became mislead for a while.”
“No need to apologize,” the Elf-Lord winked generously. “At least you realized your mistake – and you never portrayed me as a depressed old Elf who is losing his hair, hates Men and tries to blackmail his daughter into sailing to the West.” He gave a rather undignified snort. “As if I would try to keep a daughter like that! My beloved Arwen was seriously considering releasing a particularly destructive spell over New Zealand after seeing the second movie, you know. As a female descendant of Lúthien she could have caused serious havoc, and Celebrían needed days to talk her out of it. She was furious.”
“Well, I’m not the only one who won’t accept your movie alter ego… or hers,” FFA pointed out, feeling a little uncomfortable by the grim satisfaction that appeared on Elrond’s face, contemplating all the havoc his only daughter could have caused. “There is that other author who conceived the idea of your wonderful hair… I’m sure that as an Elf you’d appreciate that.”
“Ai, bless me!” Elrond rolled those incredible eyes. “She did not show me as old and ugly, I give her that. But I shall have you to know that I am not some big Elf-stud, as Isabeau, may the Valar bless her, has pointed out. It is not my main concern whom I should drag to my bed for every single night, nor do I hand out tickets to the members of my household, so that the winner – or winners – could be awarded with some thrust-and-grunt. Truly, if you believed those tales about me, you’d wonder how I was able to keep Imladris safe for an Age and a half!”
“I do not believe them,” she assured him; “that’s why I write you differently. Well… I’m trying anyway. Not always successfully, I must admit.”
“Oh, yea,” Elrond laughed quietly, “the thing with Gildor was something of a surprise for me. Though the Gildor you have created is an intriguing person… and I was fairly young back then. I might have fallen for his youthful brashness. The thing with Gildor is, that he is so elusive. The Great Maker told so little of his true tale, that new scribes have a free hand with him.”
“Are you interested in the art of writing, my Lord?” she asked, surprised by the turns of their conversation. Elrond smiled, very nearly causing her to swoon (though she did not belong to the club of pervy Elrond-fanciers), for that smile was like the sunrise after a rainy day.
“I am a lore-master, Lady Scribe,” answered the Lord of Imladris, “ raised by one of the greatest minstrels of my people. Of course I am interested in the art of writing. Alas, that there are so many who abuse the written word, just to share their perverted fantasies with the ones of the same kind.”
She reddened again, remembering her occasional sins in that area. “I guess you are not very happy about what I’ve done with your son,” she murmured ruefully. Elrond raised an elegant eyebrow.
“Nay, I am not,” he replied bluntly. “But it seems Elladan is quite content with the fate you gifted upon him. And contrary to what that… movie says about me, I do not hate Men. My own brother chose to become one, after all, how could I hate or detest his descendants? Elladan could have done a lot worse,” he thought for a moment, then added. “One day you ought to do something for that poor Isildur, Lady Scribe. He has been given such a bad reputation in these new tales, for no or very little reason. By Elbereth, the Man was a hero, and look what those furies have done to him!”
She cringed, seeing the wrath of the Elf-Lord rising. Elrond in rage was not something she really wanted to see, not in her own apartment. The Elf helped to tear down the very walls of Barad-dûr, for God’s sake, what resistance could a 30-year-old concrete building offer?
“I do what I can,” she promised nervously.
“You can do very much,” answered Elrond sternly. “This campaign you have started… to tell the tales of the Dúnedain…”
“The Dúnadan Project?” she injected helpfully, and the Elf-Lord nodded.
“Yea, that thing. It ought to have at least one tale about Isildur and his great deeds. “The Man deserves it – and more – even though he made a grave mistake at the end. He paid for that mistake with his life. ‘Tis time to clean his name.”
“It’s not that easy,” she reminded her noble visitor. “The other… scribes chose the Dúnadan Lords they write about freely. I can’t order them which tale they should write.”
Elrond arched that fine eyebrow again. “Then you have to tell the tale of Isildur yourself,” he riposted mercilessly. “I fear I must insist – should you want that I forgive you for pairing me up with poor Legolas.”
She shot him a baleful look. “You are worse than Gildor.”
“I certainly hope so,” replied Elrond with an expression on that noble face of his that only could be described with the word ‘smug’. “I am older than he, and even though he would not recognize my claim as Gil-galad’s heir, as you wrote, I could beat him any time.”
“You mean out-smart him, don’t you?” she asked. Elrond considered that for a moment.
“I believe I do,” he finally decided, “though ‘beating him’ sounds better. I still cannot believe that you have made us lovers.”
“That was before Celebrían,” she defended herself. “Would you be happier if I went for the Gil-galad thing?”
Elrond shuddered visibly. “Have mercy with me, Lady Scribe. That is almost as bad a cliché as my so-called torrid affair with Legolas… if not worse. Please believe me if I tell you that Ereinion and I were naught else but friends. Good and very close friends, that is true, and I shall always be grateful for that, for I never had a true friend before him. But. We. Were. Not. Lovers. Not willingly, not forced by him, not by seduction, not in any way.” He looked at her accusingly. “I know that you are still toying with the idea. I have read that AU of yours.”
“I can’t help it,” she admitted in shame. “It’s all because of Julian Mc Mahon. Ever since I selected him as my Gil-galad, I find the good King irresistible. Julian would make a fabulous Gil-galad.”
“Nay, he would not,” said Elrond indignantly. “He has a long nose. I would never fall for a long nose.” He blushed slightly, realizing just what he had revealed by that, and added hurriedly. “’Tis a matter of taste, you know.”
She grinned evilly. “So, you did fall of Gil-galad, after all!”
“I had a… slight crush on him,” Elrond turned an interestingly deep shade of magenta, “but I never acted on it! And it was over, long before I fell in love with Celebrían,” he gave her another insulted look. “Why do you scribes have to dig out all our shameful little secrets?”
“Because most readers are such suckers for angsty romance,” she countered with a grin, enjoying thoroughly her minor victory over the intimidating Elf-Lord. “Too bad you dislike Julian’s nose so much. I guess you prefer Lord Fergolad, then.”
“Nay,” replied Elrond in suspicious hurry, “he belongs to my movie alter ego, thank you very much. Our tastes are rather… different.”
“In that case you’ll have to put up with my version of Gil-galad,” she pointed out gleefully. Elrond sighed.
“It seems so, does it not? Well, aside of the nose, he is not that bad. But is it truly necessary for me to become intimate with him? I have been given more bed-mates in these tales than any Easterling chieftain – I am growing tired of the whole thing. I used to be a warrior and have been a healer and a lore master, why are people not interested in my truly important deeds? All they want to know is whom I share my bed with… and to watch,” he added with obvious disgust. She shrugged apologetically.
“Ours is a voyeuristic culture, my Lord. But I’ll try to remain discreet, whatever the outcome of my Gil-galad tale may be.”
“You were not very discreet when it came to the married life of Erestor and Lindir,” said Elrond with a frown. “Therefore, I cannot be sure that you will keep your promise.”
She laughed. “Oh, but giving them those smutty little moments was not my idea!”
“Was it not? Whose idea was it then?”
“Lindir’s,” at Elrond’s unbelieving look, she shrugged and explained. “He came to me and told me that he might be an innocent at heart, but he was also very much in love and could not live on music and gentle words alone. He was fed up with Erestor being so considerate and always afraid of hurting him.” She grinned. “It seems he’s sold that innocent act rather successfully to all of you. But let me tell you: he can be wonderfully nasty if he chooses to.”
“I am beginning to believe it,” Elrond rose from his seat. “Well, Lady Scribe, it has been a delight to talk to you, but I have to take my leave now. My Lady is growing impatient, and it would not be proper to neglect her after we have been apart so long.”
She nodded. “Give my regards to the Lady Celebrían. I always had great respect for her.”
“We know,” Elrond smiled again. “She asked me to tell you that she is enjoying her adventures in Elvenhome greatly; so does the whole family actually. I suppose you intend to reunite us somewhere along the line?”
“Oh, but that would be telling, my Lord,” she smiled back at him in false innocence. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to wait and see it for yourself, just like everyone else.”
“Well, at the very least I shall be able to read the tale before everyone else,” to his credit, Elrond hid his slight disappointment well enough. “Blessings, Lady Scribe. May your plotcritters multiply and remain healthy, and may the Valar guard you on all your paths.”
With that, he drew a strange symbol into the air with the hand that wore Vilya and was gone.
Our FFA sighed, counting the blessings of her computer-deprived time. So far, she had written 9 (nine!) chapters to 7 (seven!) different stories by hand in a mere week, out of sheer frustration, had done a lot of background research, visited a friend on the other end of the city to check her mail on his computer – and received a visit from Lord Elrond, no less. All in all, it could have been a lot worse. She even managed to have the doctor check her eyes, after three years.
Still, the virtual isolation was getting to her. Maybe it was time to go to an Internet café and waste some money, after all.
The end – for now.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I apologize by all people who happen to like the movie characters. No offence was intended – I’m simply exercising my right to dislike them and create my own image of the book characters.
I apologize by all people who happen to like the movie characters. No offence was intended – I’m simply exercising my right to dislike them and create my own image of the book characters.