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Tales from VairŽ's Loom  by Fiondil

The Case of the Balrog-slayerís Second Best Sword

Summary: When Glorfindelís second-best sword goes missing, Legolas gets blamed. Inspired by the Teitho prompt ĎWhodunití. This incident is referred to obliquely in chapter 19 of Elf Academy.

Note: This story takes place shortly after the events described in my Tapestry story ĎNOTHING: Itís Just a Scratchí. It is not necessary to have read that story to enjoy this one. You only have to know that Legolas and Thranduil are visiting Imladris for a time and that Legolas is recovering from severe injuries gotten in a fight against orcs.


Imladris, T.A. 2484:

Glorfindel stormed through the halls of Imladris looking to kill something... or someone. Those who encountered the Captain of Lord Elrondís elite Guards took one look at his expression and nimbly stepped out of his way, thanking Elbereth and all the Belain that they were not the object of this oneís ire when he sailed past them without a second glance. He made his way down the central stairway and turned left to enter the library where he knew Elrond was entertaining Thranduil and Mithrandir. Without even knocking, he flung open the door.

"Where are they?" he roared, the light of the Trees and something else, something dangerous, glowing from his eyes.

Elrond looked up, raising a delicate eyebrow at the fuming captain in mild reproof for the interruption. Thranduil merely gawked while Mithrandir rolled his eyes, a half-smile hidden behind his beard.

"To whom are you referring, Lord Glorfindel?" Elrond asked, stressing the ellonís title just slightly.

Glorfindel either didnít hear or refused to acknowledge the implied reprimand, only snarling more. "Those sorry excuses for your sons, who else?"

Elrond sighed. "What have they done now?"

"Stolen my second-best sword," Glorfindel exclaimed, "and when I get my hands on them, theyíre going to wish Lord NŠmo was handling their case instead of me."

"And how do you know that Elladan and Elrohir are the guilty parties, Glorfindel?" Mithrandir asked, trying not to laugh. Glorfindel was still being Glorfindel even after all the millennia since being reborn.

The Balrog-slayer glared at the Wizard. "Who else would be so stupid?"

Thranduil cleared his throat, looking slightly abashed. "Thereís always Legolas," he said softly.

Glorfindel looked at the Elvenking in surprise, his ire lessening. "Thranduil, your son is many things, impulsive being one of them, but a thief? No, he is too honorable to stoop so low."

"And are you implying that my sons are not?" Elrond asked, his voice still mild.

Now Glorfindel paled slightly as he realized that he may have insulted his lord in the course of placating Thranduil. "You know how they are, Elrond. This wouldnít be the first time...."

"Yet, what motive would they have?" Mithrandir interjected. "Other than to watch you huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the house down if they didnít give you back your sword, that is."

"I am not huffing," Glorfindel retorted, sounding affronted, though there was a glint of humor in his eyes. "Besides," he continued in a more conciliatory tone, "who else could it be?"

"Are you sure itís been stolen and not just misplaced?" Elrond asked.

Glorfindel shook his head, now looking aggrieved. "You know me better than that, Elrond. I would never leave any weapon just lying around. I always put my toys away like a good little elfling."

That evoked startled laughs from the other three and the tension in the room lessened notably.

"Perhaps we should call for the three most likely suspects and ascertain the truth of the matter," Elrond said once they were calmer. He beckoned with a hand to someone standing behind Glorfindel. The captain turned in surprise and chagrin, only then realizing they had an audience, for Erestor was standing at the doorway looking amused.

"Lord Erestor," Elrond commanded, "please find my sonsó"

"And mine," interjected Thranduil.

Elrond nodded. "And have them brought here."

Erestor bowed. "I believe they are presently on the archery field, Elrond. I will fetch them at once." He gave Glorfindel a smile as he left, closing the door behind him.

"Well, while we are waiting, Iíll have some more wine, Master Elrond," Mithrandir said, raising his goblet and Elrond chuckled as he lifted the decanter of Dorwinion and poured some for the Wizard.

"An excellent idea," Thranduil said as he allowed Elrond to fill his goblet as well. "Why donít you have some yourself, Glorfindel? Itíll calm your nerves."

"My nerves are calm, Thranduil," Glorfindel replied, glowering at them all, refusing to budge.

"Then it will calm mine," the Elvenking retorted. "Come. Sit. You are accomplishing nothing by standing there."

Glorfindel relented with a sigh, knowing that Thranduil was correct. Elrond smiled and gestured for him to get a goblet from the sideboard before joining them. When he was seated and sipping on the wine, Thranduil nodded. "Much better."

The four sat in silence as they waited for Erestor to return with Elrondís sons and Legolas. It was about fifteen minutes before they arrived. The three younger ellyn looked confused as they entered the library and gave them their obeisance. Legolasí bow was stiff and awkward, for he was still recovering from wounds gotten when he was ambushed by orcs in the Misty Mountains.

"Is something wrong, Ada?" Elladan asked. "Erestor only said you wanted to see the three of us."

"Come in and sit," Elrond commanded, gesturing towards a settee. "Erestor, see that we are not disturbed."

"It will be as you say, Elrond," Erestor said with a bow before exiting, closing the door.

"Whatís wrong?" Elladan asked again as he and his brother took their seats. Legolas chose a chair close to his adar, carefully sitting with his recently mended leg stretched out.

"Lord Glorfindelís second-best sword is missing," Elrond explained. "Perhaps you would like to enlighten us?"

The Twins gave one another significant looks. "It wasnít us, Ada," Elrohir protested. "Legolas must have...."

"Hey!" protested the son of Thranduil. "Why would you....?"

"Are you accusing my son of being a thief, Elrondion?" Thranduil demanded, his voice low and threatening.

Instead of answering, Elrohir turned to his brother. "Do you remember the last time we entered Glorfindelís room without permission?"

Elladan nodded, shuddering slightly and looking suddenly grim. "We never made that mistake again," he answered and gave Glorfindel a glare which the captain returned with a knowing smirk.

"So you are saying that you would never have taken Glorfindelís sword under any circumstances?" Elrond asked.

Both Twins nodded. "Weíre not that suicidal," Elladan answered.

"Well neither am I," Legolas declared angrily. "How dare you accuse me of such perfidy."

Elrohir gave the ellon a cool stare. "We saw you admiring Glorfindelís sword the other day," he said.

"Of course I admired it," Legolas admitted, "but that doesnít mean I stole it. Why would I? Iím a Wood-Elf, for Arawís sake! What would I need a sword, any sword, for?"

"He has a point," Thranduil averred mildly.

"But the fact remains that my second-best sword is not where it should be," Glorfindel stated. "Someone took it. I want to know who, and whoever it is will wish they had never been born when I get through with them." He gave the Twins a meaningful glare.

"Threatening us wonít work," Elrohir said with a slight sneer. "This time, weíre innocent."

"As am I," Legolas said, looking hurt. "I thought we were friends," he said to Elrondís sons, and he sounded very much the elfling everyone accused him of being, for all that he was well over five hundred years old.

The Twins had identical looks of chagrin on their faces. "Goheno ven, gwador," Elladan said contritely. "Iím afraid past experience..."

"Is not necessarily a guide to present circumstances," Mithrandir intervened smoothly. "I find it interesting that you were as quick to accuse Legolas as Glorfindel was to accuse you two." He gave them and Glorfindel a meaningful look.

The three ellyn appeared suitably embarrassed by the Wizardís condemnation, however mildly given. In the uneasy silence that followed, Legolas cleared his throat and all eyes fell on him.

"You have something to say, Thranduilion?" Elrond asked, his expression neutral.

Legolas blushed. "I... I was just wondering why... well, why does Lord Glorfindel always refer to his sword as his second-best one? As far as I know, itís his only sword."

Several eyebrows went up at that and Glorfindel gave them a snort of amusement, his anger dissipating like mist before the heat of the day. "Because it is my second-best sword," he replied. "I left my best sword behind in Aman before I came here as a token that I would someday return. It was given to me by King OlwŽ himself."

Even Elrond looked surprised at that revelation, though Mithrandir did not, taking a sip of his wine as he eyed everyone under his shaggy brows with interest.

"So, King OlwŽ has it in safe keeping?" Thranduil asked.

Glorfindel shook his head, his eyes glinting with mirth. "No. My sword is in the safe keeping of Lord NŠmo. He promised to return it to me if I behaved myself. Otherwise he would skewer me with it and stick my sorry fae on a post outside the doors of Mandos as a warning to others if I were ever so stupid as to show up on his doorstep... again."

There was a shocked silence as the others tried to grapple with the image of the dread Lord of Mandos skewering Glorfindel with his own sword and then Elrond actually snickered. "And by all accounts, he would do just that," he said and everyone started laughing, albeit somewhat nervously on the part of the two Sindar and the three Peredhil. Mithrandir merely exchanged an amused look with Glorfindel.

When they were calmer, Glorfindel spoke. "Well my second-best sword is still missing and weíre no closer to the truth of the matter than before."

"But at least you know that neither Elrohir nor I took it," Elladan said.

"Nor I," Legolas chimed in.

"So you say," Glorfindel replied.

"Would you accept Warriorís Oath on it?" Elrohir retorted a little angrily.

For a moment, Glorfindel did not answer. Then, he nodded once. "I will."

The three younger ellyn breathed sighs of relief.

"So, if neither of our sons took Glorfindelís precious toy," Thranduil said with a glint of evil humor in his eyes as Glorfindel stirred in protest, "then it still behooves us to find the culprit and restore the sword."

Elrond nodded. "Yet, who here would do such a thing? There does not seem to be a motive."

"And Iíve trained your household very well, Elrond," Glorfindel said with a smirk.

"My people would have no purpose in taking the sword either," Thranduil said. "As Legolas pointed out, we are Wood-Elves and have no need of swords."

"Well it didnít just get up and walk away on its own," Glorfindel protested. "Who in Imladris would risk my ire by invading my privacy and stealing my sword?"

"Your second-best sword," Elrohir couldnít help saying with a smirk. Glorfindel merely glowered at him.

"I will have Erestor organize a search of the grounds," Elrond said. "Your sword is here somewhere, my friend. Never fear, weíll find it."

Before Glorfindel could reply to that, there was a perfunctory knock on the door, which opened to reveal Lady CelebrŪan standing there. Everyone immediately stood, Thranduil lending his son a steady hand as Legolas struggled to rise. The Lady of Imladris gave them a bright smile.

"So this is where you are all hiding," she said as she entered the room. "Erestor said you did not wish to be disturbed, my husband." She gave Elrond an enquiring look which clearly said, ĎI trust that order did not include your wifeí.

Elrond smiled and held out his hand and she went to him gladly. "We are trying to ascertain the whereabouts of Glorfindelís second-best sword," he explained.

"Hey! Maybe your best sword got lonely and Lord NŠmo took your second-best to keep it company," Elrohir exclaimed, giving Glorfindel a cheeky grin.

Elladan smacked his brother on the back of his head, giving him a disgusted look. Glorfindel smiled. "Thank you," he said to the older twin. "Youíve saved me from doing it myself."

"Sorry," Elrohir muttered, rubbing the back of his head. "Just trying to lighten the mood a bit."

"That sort of levity only gets you killed," Elladan said scathingly, "or consigned to peeling potatoes for the next three months." And from Elrohirís expression it appeared that the latter punishment was obviously more feared than the former.

CelebrŪanís expression became pensive. "Oh dear," she said very softly.

Her husband, wise to her ways and moods, gave her a considering look. "Something tells me, my love, that you know more about this than we do."

Glorfindel gave his lordís lady a surprised look. "CelebrŪan?" he asked.

"It was supposed to be a surprise," she said. "You werenít meant to know the sword was missing."

"Nana?" Elladan said, looking upon her in disbelief. "Are you saying you stole Glorfindelís second-best sword?"

"Borrowed," CelebrŪan said firmly.

"But why?" Elrohir asked.

"Never mind that," Glorfindel said impatiently. "Where is it? What have you done with it?"

CelebrŪan sighed, looking distraught. Elrond shot Glorfindel a dark look, even as he took his wife into his embrace. "What have you done with the sword, my love?" he asked gently.

"It was supposed to be a surprise," CelebrŪan repeated. "If you will wait here, I will get it."

So saying, she slipped out of Elrondís embrace and left the room, closing the door behind her, leaving everyone else standing there staring at one another in confusion and dismay.

"Nanaís a thief?" was all Elrohir could think to say.

"Your naneth is not a thief," Elrond retorted sternly, then he turned to Glorfindel, his expression still hard. "Whatever punishment you were devising you can forget about it."

Glorfindelís eyebrows went up in shock as he stared at the Lord of Imladris. "I have no intention of exacting any sort of punishment, Elrond. I simply want my sword back."

Elrond stared at his friend and after a moment he nodded, satisfied by Glorfindelís answer. Mithrandir chuckled. "The last person anyone would suspect," he said with an amused glint in his eyes. "Let that be a lesson to you all."

Before anyone could respond to that the library door opened again and CelebrŪan entered with Arwen right behind her carrying a bundle wrapped in blue silk tied with a yellow ribbon. From its length, they could tell that it was a sword.

Elrond gave his daughter a considering look. "I take it that you and your naneth are in this together, my child?" he said.

"Yes, Ada," Arwen replied, not looking particularly chagrined.

"So now we know who took the sword," Thranduil said, "but we still donít know why or even how you accomplished it."

"As to the why...." CelebrŪan said, motioning her daughter towards where Glorfindel was standing.

Arwen gave the Balrog-slayer a curtsey as she held out the bundle. "Happy Begetting Day, Glorfindel."

For a moment the ellon just stood there staring at his lordís daughter, who gave him a sly smile. Then he threw back his head and laughed, even as he took the bundle from her. "Why, so it is," he said. "Iíd completely forgotten."

"Itís your Begetting Day?" Legolas asked, looking both surprised and distressed. "Why didnít you tell me?" he demanded of the Twins. "I donít have a gift!"

The others gave him indulgent smiles, for Legolas was still young enough that Begetting Days (and Begetting Day presents!) were still important. Thranduil put an arm around his sonís shoulders and gave him a hug. "I wouldnít worry about it," he said. "It looks as if everyone but CelebrŪan and Arwen has forgotten, including Lord Glorfindel."

"How can you forget your own Begetting Day?" Legolas demanded in disbelief.

Glorfindel laughed. "Because this isnít really my Begetting Day," he answered.

"Now Iím confused," Thranduil retorted with a snort.

Glorfindel smirked and sat down, and everyone else did the same. "Itís very simple. When the Twins were very small they were upset that I didnít celebrate my Begetting Day and no matter how much they begged and wheedled I never told them when it was, so they decided to simply pick a day to be my Begetting Day and that just happens to be today."

"Why wouldnít you tell them when your Begetting Day was?" Legolas asked.

"Because, being a Reborn, I have two Begetting Days," Glorfindel replied with a laugh. "And in truth, it was just another day for me, without any intrinsic meaning. Some things just lose their importance when you die," he added with a shrug. "I donít think weíve celebrated my Begetting Day in centuries, not since Arwen came of age."

"Doesnít mean it shouldnít be celebrated," Arwen said with a sniff. "So are you going to open your gift?"

"Itís a sword," Glorfindel said. "In point of fact, itís my sword which your naneth took without permission."

"Actually, Iím the one who took it," Arwen said, looking very pleased with herself.

"You, my daughter?" Elrond exclaimed, looking suitably shocked.

"How did you manage it?" Elladan asked and he and Elrohir gave her what could only be described as looks of professional interest.

"Yes, how did you manage to sneak into and out of my room without anyone being the wiser?" Glorfindel enquired, giving her a frown.

"You have a lovely chestnut tree growing right outside your window," Arwen replied with a smirk and CelebrŪan hid a smile behind her hand at the nonplused expressions on all the ellynís faces as the implication of her daughterís words sank in. Even Mithrandir looked surprised at that revelation.

"Well, Iíll be...." Glorfindel finally muttered, giving mother and daughter admiring looks.

"So, are you going to open your gift?" Arwen demanded a second time.

Glorfindel nodded and undid the ribbon, shifting the blue silk away to reveal a sword in a beautifully carved leather sheath.

"Hey! This isnít the sheath to my sword," he exclaimed in surprise.

"It is now," CelebrŪan said. "That old sheath was falling apart, so I commissioned someone to make you a new one. Thatís why we borrowed the sword, to make sure it fit. Arwen was supposed to return it to your room all wrapped up before you noticed it was gone. Unfortunately, that didnít happen, and so...." She gave a small shrug.

Glorfindel nodded, still admiring the carvings on the sheath. "Thank you," he said. "Itís the best Begetting Day gift Iíve ever gotten."

"Thatís what you always say," Arwen replied with a sniff.

"And I always mean it," Glorfindel answered with a smile. Then he turned a more grave expression towards the Twins. "My apologies for accusing you of taking my sword."

"Your second-best sword," Elrohir said with an irrepressible grin, implicitly accepting the apology for himself and his twin.

Glorfindel laughed. "Yes, indeed. My second-best sword. And while I treasure it, I treasure you all even more. Your love and friendship is the best Begetting Day present I can ever have because I have it every day."

At that moment, Erestor appeared at the door, looking anxiously at Glorfindel. "So, do you like your gift?"

Glorfindel gave his friend a shrewd look. "You did the carving," he said and Erestor nodded. "Thank you," he said, handing the sword to Thranduil and stepping over to give Erestor a hug. "Itís beautiful," he added with a smile.

Erestor hugged him back. "Happy Begetting Day, gwador," he said.


Words are Sindarin.

Belain: Plural of Balan: Vala.

Ellon: Male Elf. The plural is ellyn.

Ada: Hypocoristic form of Adar: Father.

Araw: OromŽ.

Goheno ven, gwador: ĎForgive us, (sworn) brotherí.

Fae: Soul, spirit. The Quenya form is fŽa.

Peredhil: Plural of Peredhel: Half-Elf.

Nana: Hypocoristic form of Naneth: Mother.

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