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Written for the hobbit_ficathon "Rivendell" challenge. A minstrel of Rivendell acquaints a visitor from Lothlorien with a very special house-guest.
Dorwinion Wine – 12/01/04
Very well, then, I'll admit I had a little more to drink that night than might be deemed proper, especially in the light of the next dawning... O my head!
But the Lord Elrond has decreed that there shall be music at breakfast, and as singing is one of my duties, sing I must.
I sing with what I hope is appropriate style and dignity. My fingers, usually so clever on the strings, go where they oughtn’t—a lapse in concentration, but young Estel smirks at me, nonetheless, for many’s the night I played softly as he wept in the Lord Elrond’s arms, tiny mite, newly bereft of his father and the rest of his kin. He knows this song nearly as well as I!
I close my eyes, the better to lose myself in the soothing music, and when I open them again he is standing before me.
At that moment I have the ill fortune to have a string break, and with this sour note my song is suspended.
No, not Estel, I meant the little fellow… Bilbo, yes, that’s the one, dozing in the corner there. He was much younger then, the first time he came to Imladris. You’ve never met him? Well, of course his wandering feet never bore him to the Golden Wood. Yes, that is he. He’s ancient, by their standards. You’ve never met one of their kind? Well, they don’t travel from their land, as a rule. He’s the first I’ve ever met, as a matter of fact.
But at our first meeting, he was wide awake, eyes bright, cheeks round and red as apples, not wrinkled as you see them now, and a broad grin on his face. Where was I...? O yes, the morning after his arrival, and I have just broken a string...
He bows, and chuckles. ‘That last sound was not quite so fair, Master Elf!’ he cries in delight. These hobbits, they delight in everything, it seems.
Not at all daunted by my frown, either, but then he’s been travelling with Mithrandir. My frowns can’t hold a candle to his!
‘Master Bilbo,’ I say with a bow. It might not have been as graceful as it ought, for my head aches most abominably.
‘You have the advantage of me,’ he says, but before I can introduce myself, he bows and says, ‘At your service!’ and then immediately launches into another topic. Ah, but they are a mortal race, and do not have the luxury we know of contemplating a subject at length.
‘The birds are singing their most cheerful songs,’ he informs me, ‘and here your strumming and crooning is fit to put me to sleep in my breakfast! How about something a bit more lively?’
‘I sing to please the Lord Elrond,’ I say with as much dignity as I can muster.
‘O come now!’ he says, his eyes sparkling. ‘I know for a fact that you know a livelier tune! How about “tra-la-la-lally, down here in the valley!”?’
I might have winced, for he winks and says, ‘Don’t you remember? “Tril-lil-lil-lolly, the valley is jolly!” ...but you’re not looking all that jolly at the moment! I could sing the whole for you, if you like! I’m quick at learning songs, often pick them up at first hearing!’
I curse the Elves of Dorwinion and their wine.
His look grows thoughtful. ‘But perhaps such a song does not fit these august halls,’ he says slowly. ‘It is better suited to perching in a tree, I think.’
At that point Mithrandir calls him back to his breakfast, and I return to my music-making, one string less, but somehow feeling more cheerful than I have felt since the dawning.
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