Speak Again

fanfiction by Wild Iris


Notwithstanding that its target was a guest of the king, Elf-baiting was a popular after-dinner sport among the knights of Minas Tirith. A deputation would challenge the Elf to arm-wrestle. Then, those not nursing their arms endeavoured to drink him under the table, learning to their mixed chagrin and admiration that the Elf could down a gallon of wine and leave only a flush to show for it. By that point, inhibitions were lowered, and the baiters determined that if they could not match an Elf for drinking, they could at least abrade his delicacy.

"Strange that an Elf should drink the rough wine of Gondor," said one.

"Not at all," replied the Elf. "My father's house has long traded with Men for our wine."

"Strange that an Elf will sit in a hall filled with the reek of pipes," said another.

"Not at all; the smoke remind me of shooting dragons in the Grey Mountains."

"Master Elf," a third challenged, "you hedge. I put it to you that to endure our company for one night is one matter. But such creatures as ourselves could never be embraced to an Elf's pure bosom. Admit it, sir: as we say in this city, you would not let your sister marry one of us!" There was general laughter.

Legolas looked across the half-deserted hall to Aragorn, who was making a pretence of conversing with his butler. "Not at all," he said, "I observe from a lady of my acquaintance that to lie with a mortal is great delight."