Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the plotline and my precious, evil mind.
Warnings: BDSM. Be warned--this is a very naughty fic. I am a bad person and I promise I'll be spanked later (and hopefully often).
A/N: This is a continuation of my previous Unspoken story arc (and yes, I know, it is getting entirely out of hand.) Read them in order--Unspoken/Revelations/Changes/One Last Time/Quid Pro Quo--or prepare to be confused and to miss inside jokes.
Part 1 & Part 2
By Rune Dancer
Elrond managed to wriggle out of his bonds and return to his chambers unseen, or at least he hoped so. Wartime stealth training had its uses, especially when one's father-in-law happened to be insane. He had immediately dressed and gone looking for Celeborn, a strange calm filling him. He was not even upset when he was told that Celeborn had already returned to the Golden Wood. He had not ranted, raved or thrown anything--had not even wanted to do so. He simply returned to his room, undressed once more, and lay on his bed, enjoying the feel of the cool breeze from the open window on his bare skin. From where he lay, Elrond could see the evening stars shining brightly over the treetops, and their familiar light was soothing. He was surprised at how serene he felt, as if there was no great decision before him. After a moment's reflection he realised that it was not so much that a decision did not exist as that he had already made it.
Celeborn had to pay. Oh, yes. Of that, there was no longer any doubt. But, more than that, he had to be made to pay elegantly, subtly, and fully. No longer would a simple display of submission be enough, for Celeborn had dared what no one had in 6,000 years, and that sort of humiliation deserved something special in return. There was also Galadriel to consider. The elf queen was just as much to blame, as far as Elrond was concerned, as her dear husband. She had also humiliated him and caused him three days and nights of unspeakable torment, although, in her case, he did accept that there had been some provocation. The same could not be said for Celeborn, who had brought this on both himself and Elrond with seemingly no concern for the consequences. It was also a consideration that, in this, there was the possibility that Elrond would need an ally.
His eyes glowed silver in the night, as he managed to farspeak his mother-in-law. Thoughts were conveyed and images passed, along with that one careless comment of Celeborn's, "Leave my wife to me. I have something special in mind for her." After a time, all alone in his room, Elrond began to smile.
Orophin of Lorien was a stunning elf. Both of Haldir's brothers had the same aristocratic bone structure and exquisite fair colouring characteristic of Silvan elves, but there was an added grace to their movements and a predatory look in their beautiful eyes that reminded Elrohir of great, wild cats on the prowl. Orophin, the tallest and leanest of the three, especially conveyed the impression of a big, sleepy feline, draped bonelessly as he was along a tree limb, his eyes half lidded with ennui--until, that is, they fell on their party. One look at the fair elf at Elrohir's side and Orophin's face lit up as if his birthday had come early. Although they already had a guide, who had met them near Lorien's borders to escort them to the Lord and Lady, Orophin quickly volunteered to join them. Before Elrohir could think of a reason to refuse, he hopped off his perch and dropped gracefully to the ground, retaining his balance although his eyes never left their party. Elrohir hated him on sight.
Glorfindel did not seem to notice the Galadrim's regard, being too busy chatting with Erestor who rode to his left. Elrohir wished, not for the first time, that his lover was a little less flamboyant in appearance. Glorfindel was looking especially edible that morning, attired in a royal blue velvet tunic with deep bell sleeves along which white embroidery carved the outlines of birds and flowers. His silver white leggings hugged his thighs like a second skin, displaying the shift and play of his muscles as he easily guided his large white stallion. It was one of a line of magnificent horses, all descendants of the same sire, and all quite impossible to tame--by anyone but Glorfindel. Honey blond hair spilled down his back in a careless wave, unconfined as he preferred to wear it, and his indigo eyes were lit by amusement at some inanity Erestor had spouted. Orophin's delighted turquoise gaze never left their party and, by the time they reached the outskirts of Caras Galadhon, Elrohir was almost apoplectic. His mood was not helped by the Galadrim's insistence on following them up the stairs, which was, Elrohir was sure, to enable him to watch the way Glorfindel's lean buttocks clenched and relaxed as he climbed them.
Elrohir could feel a tiny pulse throbbing at the base of his throat, and his left eye was twitching slightly, perhaps explaining the odd look his grandmother threw him when they reached the council hall. His reply to her greeting was smooth, however, and he returned her questioning look with an innocent smile. He was fully aware that she had always had trouble reading his thoughts, and he tried now to make his mind as blank as possible. He did not even glance at Orophin, although he was aware that the haughty Galadrim had not left the chamber despite the fact that there was not the slightest reason for him to remain.
The interview was brief, as it was merely designed to welcome Elrohir and his party to the Golden Wood and assign them to their rooms. To Elrohir's annoyance, he discovered that he and Glorfindel had not been given a single chamber, but rather suites on opposite sides of the royal talan. Not that it mattered, of course, he would sleep where he liked, but it concerned him that perhaps it indicated disapproval of the relationship by his grandparents. He sighed. They were both so perfect all the time--no doubt they expected him to make a loveless but politically correct union as his mother had done. Well, too bad. He was not giving up Glorfindel, no matter the coercion that might be used, so they had best just forget it. He had spent his whole life being the good son, and the good grandson, but on this he was immovable.
Elrohir wanted to protest when his grandparents invited Glorfindel to remain for a political discussion. He was about to point out that the whole party was tired and needed rest after their journey--intending to grab a quick session with his lover before dinner--but Erestor chimed in with a request for a tour of the city. After that, he could hardly claim to be tired if an old elf like Erestor was still bouncing with energy. Indeed, Erestor had seemed unusually vivacious ever since they left Imladris, although why remained a mystery. Elrohir could not even fathom why he had come along. This was supposed to be his and Glorfindel's journey, but somehow they had acquired quite an entourage. Two Noldorian servants of his grandmother had accompanied them--although why they had not returned with her after her recent visit had never been explained--and Haldir and Gildor had also ridden along. At least the latter was understandable as the Marchwarden had already spent a good deal of time at Imladris for no particular reason that Elrohir could see. Normally, couriers delivered their messages and went home, but Haldir had stuck around for several weeks, apparently doing nothing more than seducing Elrond and then Gildor. Elrohir was beginning to dislike his entire family.
His indignation increased as Orophin was delegated by Lord Celeborn to show them about Imladris. On the one hand, it did keep him away from Glorfindel, but, on the other, it meant that Elrohir had to endure his presence all afternoon. He was effrontery personified, and apparently as depraved as his brother, for he never missed an opportunity to brush up against him or hold his arm as they made their way along Lorien's many swaying rope bridges. Honestly, one would think he was an invalid in need of aid! Just to prove a point, Elrohir took a short cut as they neared the hot springs, sliding several stories down a rope support that slanted towards the ground while the others descended by way of the more traditional ladder.
"You would make a good border guard, young one," Orophin told him once they had caught up. "Let us know if you ever tire of the decadent life of a princeling and want something useful to do!" He moved ahead before Elrohir could think of a suitably cutting reply.
Erestor declared that he had to have a bath in the springs, and Elrohir reluctantly agreed to accompany him. He was surprised to note, as they settled into the steamy water in one of the inner caves, that Erestor was not as pudgy in the flesh as the rather old fashioned robes he favoured usually made him appear. Indeed, a nearby young elf was eyeing him with what looked like distinct interest. Elrohir tried momentarily to see him objectively, but it didn't work. He supposed the black drape of his hair--such an unusual colour for elves, which matched his obsidian eyes--was pleasing, and his body, despite being that of a very old elf indeed, looked quite youthful. But, to Elrohir, he was just Erestor--his tutor, mother substitute and, occasionally, friend--he simply couldn't see him any other way.
So caught up was Elrohir in trying to decipher the mystery of his old tutor's appeal, that it took him a moment to realise that Orophin had also disrobed and joined the small party of elves in the pool. Elrohir moved another few feet away, ostensibly to give him more room, but Orophin followed him. With almost unbelievable impudence, he caught up a strand of Elrohir's chestnut hair and ran it through his fingers. "So remarkable," he murmured, "like the bark of a young oak when the sun shines upon it." Elrohir regarded him with disdain, but the presence of others kept him from expressing his annoyance in clear terms. Instead, he simply moved farther away, settling near Erestor who was sprawled out in apparently blissful abandon at the deeper end of the water. His head thrown back, his eyes closed, his full, red lips open, he soaked up the steam as if he had been starved for it. Which was silly, Elrohir thought, as they had a perfectly good steam bath at Imladris. It was obvious, however, that Erestor was not going to be much good as a diversion, a fact that was especially irritating when Orophin swam over to join them.
Crowded into a small niche at the deep end of the pool, Elrohir balanced on the narrow rocky ledge running along the wall three feet or so below the water line. When he tried to shy away from Orophin's presence once again, however, he lost his footing and plunged under the hot water. He was a perfectly good swimmer, for Elrond had insisted that all three of his children be taught at an early age, but before he had a chance to kick off from the bottom, he was caught in strong arms and pulled back to the surface. He emerged from the water to find himself clasped to Orophin's chest, while their legs intertwined. "What . . . what do you think you're doing?," he sputtered, when he'd drawn in enough air to be able to speak.
"Rescuing you. Lord Celeborn made me responsible for your party, after all." The mocking expression on Orophin's face would have been enough to enrage Elrohir, but the fact that he suddenly felt a strong hand caressing his buttocks was enough to make him forget about propriety in front of the other elves. He sucked in enough air to allow him to hold forth at length on the subject of Orophin's many failings, while at the same time kicked at him to remove the unwanted embrace. Orophin thwarted both intentions by simply dropping off the ledge and dragging Elrohir with him, back under the steamy water. The annoying creature then took advantage of his disorientation to slip a practised tongue between his lips. Under the circumstances, Elrohir thought he could be forgiven for biting it . . . so he did, hard.
Orophin released him and Elrohir quickly returned to the surface, amazed to find that everyone else was still in the languid positions in which he'd last seen them. How could they possibly be so blind? At that instant, Orophin's wild eyed countenance broke the surface and sent a wave splashing over Erestor, who sputtered and made enough of a fuss that Elrohir was able to escape. Looking back as he hauled himself out of the pool, he saw Orophin's eyes on him, and they glittered in a way Elrohir didn't like at all. It could be, he thought, as the Galadrim's gaze slid down his water slicked skin and a tiny smile appeared on his lips, that he had been wrong about the object of his interest.
"You are playing with fire, brother--don't blame me if you end up burned." Haldir was, in truth, not very interested in the discussion into which Orophin had drawn him. His usually level-headed brother had not been able to talk of anything but Elrond's youngest son since the elfling arrived, and after three days the topic was beginning to bore Haldir. Especially as Orophin had managed to trade shifts with a fellow guard and gain himself a period of leave in the city, which meant that Haldir's plans to have the talan all to himself were ruined. It would serve Orophin right if Glorfindel . . . well, maybe not. Haldir didn't think Elrond's counselor would seriously harm his poor, deluded brother, but then, where the Balrog slayer was concerned he would rather not take chances. He turned a serious eye on Orophin. "You are insane. Elrohir belongs to Glorfindel--an orc would have enough sense to leave him be!"
"There is no union between them," Orophin replied sulkily. "They have not bonded, so how do you know my attentions will be unwelcome?"
Haldir humphed, and turned back to the mirror to inspect his latest acquisition. It was truly appalling, but Gildor had liked it . . . he personally did not think red was his colour, but it was almost impossible to refuse his lover anything. All Gildor had to do was look at him with those huge brown eyes of his, and Haldir melted. This time, that meant that he was doomed to appear at the festivities that evening in a blindingly crimson tunic. Still, he thought, cheering up, he was certain Gildor would make his sacrifice worth while . . . Haldir would see that he did.
Completing his inspection of his toilette, Haldir resumed his attempts to save Orophin's life, or at least his dignity. "From what you told me about this afternoon, I do not think it sounds as if Elrohir was particularly impressed." The young Peredhil had demonstrated his delight in Orophin's interest by overturning a hot bowl of hot broth into his lap at lunch. He had apologised prettily for his clumsiness, but Haldir had heard from a few elves who witnessed the incident that it had looked almost deliberate. What Orophin had done to deserve the attack Haldir didn't know, but he strongly suspected it had been his brother's idea to rearrange the seating so that he occupied the chair beside Elrohir. "In any case, no elf in his right mind would purposely challenge Lord Glorfindel. You ARE mad. Go find another dalliance--this one is too much for you, brother."
Haldir could see that his words had no effect at all, except possibly to make Orophin more determined. "We'll see," he replied, checking on his own reflection with a determined look in his eyes. Haldir gave a shrug; he had tried. He just hoped he wasn't going to be picking a quiver full of arrows out of his brother's stubborn carcass anytime soon. It was fortunate that he had noticed the problem early on, and taken preventative measures . . .
Elladan stood at the window to his rooms and read again the curious letter Haldir of Lorien had written him. It was absurd--he barely knew the elf--so why would he make such a request of him? Everyone knew his preferences--he had never tried to hide them--so why would Haldir even think of him for such an errand? Of course, he reflected, he and Elrohir did look remarkably alike, and so a substitution might actually be possible, especially since Elrohir and Haldir's brother had just met. Haldir assured him that he would keep them apart as much as possible until Elladan could arrive, but the feasibility of the plan did not mean that he considered it an attractive proposition. On the other hand, Imladris was very dull at the moment, and Lorien contained a large assortment of beautiful Silvan maidens just waiting to be introduced to some of the more interesting bits of knowledge he'd picked up through the years. And if some of them weren't exactly maidens, well, so much the better. Elladan smiled as a gentle wind ruffled his hair. Oh yes, a trip to Lorien sounded like just what he needed.
Haldir was having trouble containing himself. Gildor had insisted on dressing in a matching tunic and the red that so washed out Haldir's fair complexion added a golden glow to his companion's honey coloured skin and brought out auburn highlights in his long, dark hair. It also molded to his beautiful behind like a second skin, as the only tunic the stall keeper had had that matched Haldir's was a little too tight on Gildor's muscular form. Haldir swallowed and tried to remember that they had at least another hour of this endless party to get through, but it was no use. All he could think about was pressing himself against that slim, hard body, and caressing those smooth, firm cheeks . . . He looked about a little frantically for somewhere, anywhere, they could be alone, but the cursed talan was crowded with guests and Celeborn stood near the doorway, certain to intercept anyone who tried to leave early and thereby insult his guest of honour.
Haldir accepted the inevitable and ran a hand through his hair, trying to distract himself by concentrating on cataloguing the many different costumes worn by partygoers that evening. The delegation from Mirkwood was especially well dressed, as they always were when visiting the Golden Wood--almost as if Thranduil was making some kind of a statement. The king himself, on a rare diplomatic visit, was especially stunning, attired in a deep green satin robe over a golden tunic. Emeralds shone at his fingers and a huge, carved example of the gem decorated the ostentatious but beautifully made choker he wore. Dwarvin make most likely, Haldir mused; you had to give the annoying creatures credit, they did do stunning work. Of course, it seemed only fitting that they should have SOME use . . .
He was brought out of his reverie by a surreptitious stroke down his back that stopped tantalisingly just before the swell of his hips. Gildor looked innocent, but a mischievous light danced in his brown eyes as he slowly drew Haldir back towards the wall. He found a position in which they were protected from prying eyes on one side by a support beam of the talan and from behind by one of its interior walls. It wasn't much as privacy went, however, for in front of them the party guests passed by in chattering profusion, but it would have to do.
Elrohir was in hell. He had too much to watch and none of it was good. That cursed brother of Haldir's wouldn't leave him alone, causing him to have to keep moving just to avoid his roving hands. What he couldn't stop was the way Orophin's his eyes roamed over his form as if he was a starving man and Elrohir was a banquet. Even from across the room, it was making Elrohir decidedly uncomfortable. But Orophin was a minor inconvenience when compared to the real, show stopping, evening ruining, desperate threat that was the King of Mirkwood.
Elrohir had thought he would faint when his grandfather had introduced him to Thranduil, who had glanced at him, smiled slightly, and then turned the power of his considerable magnetism full on Glorfindel, where it had stayed ever since. Thranduil was . . . amazing. Even catching only the slightest edges of his personality, as he obviously did not consider Elrohir to be worth bothering to charm, was like being nearby when a flash of lightening hit a tree. Elrohir could feel a frisson humming along his skin from just being near him.
Elrohir had hated Orophin when he thought he might be competition for Glorfindel's affections, but he didn't feel that way about Thranduil. No, this was more like full-blown terror. Observing them now, Elrohir could not deny how well they looked together. They were standing along the edge of the talan, yet somehow, wherever Thranduil was seemed to be the centre of attention. He almost glowed, his silver hair radiant as a star under the light of a nearby lantern. His jade eyes flashed as brightly as the emeralds he wore, and his every gesture, look, and breath was an invitation, but one designed to appeal to one elf alone, the beautiful creature who stood at his side. Elrohir choked on his wine and tried to look away, but it was impossible.
Glorfindel was like the sun to Thranduil's star. His robes of pale green silk perfectly complimented those of Celeborn's guest, his honey coloured hair was a nimbus about his face as his bright blue eyes laughed at something the king had said. Glorfindel's eyes only took on that particular shade when he was genuinely amused, which he had no right to be by that . . . that . . . creature from Mirkwood! And Thranduil kept TOUCHING him, resting a hand on his arm to illustrate a point, leaning just closer than necessary to whisper a comment in his ear, bantering with him as if they'd known each other their whole lives. Which they most certainly had not! Had Thranduil EVER visited Imladris? No, and even his visits to Lorien had been few and far between. So what right did he have, laughing so easily and joking so intimately, with an elf he barely even knew? And Elrohir's elf at that. Glorfindel was HIS, and . . .
A sudden burst of pain caused Elrohir to look down and see that his wine glass had shattered. Cursed things, he thought, picking shards out of his palm, they made them better at Imladris. Of course, everything was better at Imladris, where, for instance, you didn't have gorgeous elf kings trying to steal your lover from you right in front of your very nose . . . Elrohir glared at Orophin, who had sidled up alongside him to proffer a handkerchief, and stalked off in the direction of his wayward lover. Thranduil had better watch out, or he might accidentally slip off the talan and plummet head first to the hard forest floor below. Yes, that would just be a shame.
Haldir, who had been positioned facing the crowd by his naughty companion, could not see what Gildor was up to behind him. He was not sure what to expect, as his lover usually let him take the initiative, and the fact that Gildor had suddenly chosen to do so, and in such an open location, was enough to cause a warm wave of desire to flood Haldir's entire body. He felt Gildor's hands slide beneath his robe, a cherry coloured affair to match his tunic, and pull up the hem from the back so that Haldir continued to look respectable from the front. Haldir had to maintain a placid countenance while warm hands explored his back and cupped him lightly before reaching lower to tug up the hem of his tunic. He could not repress a shiver of delight as those so talented hands slid up his inner thighs, but he did swiftly close the front of his robe so that, hopefully, he would not have to explain to Celeborn on the morrow why he had spent most of Thranduil's welcoming party being felt up.
Haldir's thoughts soon grew too chaotic for such concerns, however, as Gildor continued his public seduction. The air was suffused with his scent--honey sweet and spicy; it was, Haldir fervently believed, the most intoxicating aroma he knew. His vision began to blur as Gildor paused his exploration of his lower back to feel for the indentations and stroke them lightly. A warm finger then quested beneath his loincloth to slide teasingly along his cheeks and caress the cleft between them. Haldir could not suppress the silly smile he knew had taken over his face. He should tell Gildor to stop, that he couldn't control himself much longer, but then that lovely finger slid easily inside him and he lost his train of thought completely. His flesh grabbed greedily at the intruding digits--when had there become two?--and a low purr of deep, relaxed ecstasy escaped him. Several nearby guests glanced at him strangely, then turned away, not quite hiding amused grins. Elbereth! There simply HAD to be somewhere they could go . . .
Inspiration struck and Haldir towed an unprotesting Gildor behind the curtain draping a small niche nearby. It was usually used for showing off a large carved urn, but a recent storm had toppled it from its platform and it was currently undergoing repairs. No one else was there--not surprisingly as it was barely large enough to accommodate the two of them--and Haldir immediately claimed Gildor's lips. His companion's mouth was as soft and delicious as always, and his silken hair draped over Haldir's hands as he backed him into the wall, pressing his body against him hungrily. He could feel Gildor's arousal twitch against his leg as the beautiful creature in his arms uttered a low moan into his mouth; Haldir almost came just from that sound alone.
Haldir shivered, both from the sensations flooding through him and from the chill of the evening air that hit his skin when Gildor reached down to pull up his tunic once more, then dropped to his knees to take him in his mouth. The swirling of his tongue, from root to tip, over and over again; the pressure as he swallowed, sucking him greedily deep into his throat; and the soft noises he made combined to take Haldir over the edge, biting down on his lip hard to keep from screaming Gildor's name loud enough to be heard along the Northern Fences.
"Haldir, I . . . oh. Sorry."
Haldir turned dazed eyes on the form that stood awkwardly behind him, as Gildor made a choking noise and clutched at the curtain to draw it closed again, withdrawing himself as he did so from his previous occupation. Haldir felt the loss of his warmth immediately, and turned to glare at his brother, while re-arranging his robes as well as he could. "Don't you have somewhere you need to be, Orophin?," he asked through gritted teeth.
Gildor was sitting on the floor, convulsed with laughter. "I think we severely shocked a few people," he said, when he could speak.
Orophin just continued to stand there, and Haldir, who usually loved his brothers dearly, seriously considered choking him. "What. Do. You. Want?"
"I, er, was hoping you could help me. I haven't been able to get Elrohir alone all evening and . . . "
"But, if you could just . . . "
"Out!" Orophin took one look at his brother's purple countenance, and fled, mercifully letting the curtain fall closed behind him. Haldir looked down on Gildor, who was laughing so hard that tears were coursing down his face. He smiled as he ran a hand over his lover's shining head. "Now, where were we?"
Elrohir watched the elaborate preparations being made in the small glade with considerable interest. He had seen Erestor leaving the royal talan that morning, looking quite furtive, and decided to follow him. He had little else to do. Glorfindel was stuck in political meetings all day as he had been since their arrival in Lorien, although he gave only vague answers to queries as to what was going on. Frustration and worry over the fact that Thranduil was also in these meetings had been enough to make Elrohir very edgy. Discovering whatever Erestor was up to, then, would provide a welcome diversion.
Elrohir followed his old tutor to a glade quite distant from the city, and became steadily more mystified by his elaborate efforts to avoid being seen. Erestor was dressed unusually in a plain, grey-green ensemble that blended in perfectly with the deeper foliage; whenever he stood still for a moment, Elrohir had great difficulty seeing him. He almost lost him twice, and had to close the distance between them or he would certainly have done so. It was rather amusing to be tailing Erestor, who had been one of his teachers in the art of concealment and stealth. Strangely, Elrohir had never before wondered why Erestor had taught those lessons, rather than Glorfindel who had instructed him in most of the other arts of war. Now, however, as he found himself having to use all his talents plus a good bit of luck to follow the dark shadow through the forest, it made sense. It also caused him to wonder what, exactly, Erestor had done in the days of the First Alliance. Now that he thought about it, he could not recall a single story having to do with Erestor's role, yet he was certainly old enough to have participated. And, as Elrond had not founded Imladris until the war was well along, he couldn't very well have been his housekeeper then!
Erestor finally made his way to a small glade. Elrohir, skulking behind a tree, peered out onto a strange scene. About twenty elves, Noldor by the look of them, were milling about the open space. Elrohir only recognised two of them, those supercilious blonds Elros and Camthalion, who were standing over to one side, arms crossed, surveying the others with their usual icy expressions. But they looked up as Erestor approached and, to Elrohir's surprise, broke into twin smiles of welcome. Elrohir could not remember ever seeing those two evidence any emotion, much less a friendly one. He found it a little creepy and unconsciously drew back a bit further into the shadows.
After a few moments' conversation that Elrohir was too far away to hear, Erestor turned to face the throng of elves and clapped his hands imperiously. "All right," he said, raising his voice and drawing something out of the wide sleeve of his tunic. "Over here, gather round everyone." He surveyed the elves who arranged themselves into two lines in almost military formation before him, "Let us be perfectly clear. I am here as a favour to the Lady Galadriel who expressed an interest recently to Lord Elrond about having some of her servants trained in certain matters. What I am going to teach you has already been learned, in part, by two of your number," and he indicated Camthalion and Elros with a flourish of his riding crop. Elrohir paused to wonder what he was doing with a crop with no horse in evidence, but Erestor was continuing on and he concentrated on trying not to miss anything.
"The skills I am about to teach you may shortly be needed in an important mission. However, we have much work to do, as you are all presently the strictest of novices," and here he punctuated his words by thwapping his crop on the thigh of a nearby Noldor. The proud elf said nothing, but shot him a glare from angry blue eyes. Camthalion and Elros seemed to find something amusing, for they exchanged arch looks behind Erestor's back. Erestor also smiled, a little strangely Elrohir thought, and ran his hand gently along the elf's sleek head. "You don't like it when I do that?," he inquired softly, his tone almost too low for Elrohir to hear. He chuckled, then suddenly grabbed a handful of blond hair and jerked the elf's head toward him while forcing him to his knees. "I think we've just found our first volunteer." He released him to allow Elros and Camthalion to each grab an arm and tow the struggling elf off into the woods. Erestor watched them for a moment before turning back to the assembled elves. "Lesson one--you do what you are told, how you are told and when you are told. There is only one master here, and that is me."
The elves looked at each other but there were no arguments. "Good." Erestor rocked back on his heels, apparently pleased. "Then strip."
"Er, sir?" One of the Noldor spoke up, looking a bit confused. Erestor smiled more broadly and walked slowly over to him.
"You have a question?"
The elf looked a little unsure, but persisted nonetheless. "Yes, sir. Er, we were told that we are here to be trained in interrogation techniques."
"Yes, that is one of my specialties."
"Well, in that case, why do you want us to . . . disrobe?"
Erestor glanced up as Camthalion reappeared at the edge of the forest. "We have volunteer number two, Cam," he commented briefly, and the elf in front of him looked about fearfully as Camthalion moved quickly towards him.
"Any other questions?," Erestor asked the assembled elves. They looked at each other for a second, then, as their fellow elf was dragged protesting into the undergrowth, quickly began stripping off their clothing. Erestor smiled at them and caressed his crop with a loving motion. "I do so love my work," Elrohir heard him mutter.
Celeborn knew, of course, that Elrond would try something, but he had expected it and made certain preparations, so the thought did not initially concern him. His first clue that something more ominous than he'd anticipated was possibly occurring was the silence. He began to worry when days passed and he heard nothing from Imladris, as, by now, Elrond must have discovered his little deception. Celeborn had been extremely pleased to hear that Deya and her band of gypsies were in the area of the Last Homely House, as their magic combined with his own had virtually insured Elrond's subjugation. Fortunately, she happened to owe him a favour. Of course, being Deya, she had turned the tables on him rather neatly, practically insuring that Elrond would eventually discern what had happened by dressing the last dancers almost identically to the two of them. Celeborn sighed. It was so hard to get good help these days.
In any case, it was foolish of Elrond to believe that Celeborn would ever drop his guard where he was concerned; his son-in-law could plot all he wanted, but he would never have the opportunity to put any of his plans into action. It would be a relief, however, whenever Elrond got around to trying something, as this eerie silence was beginning to grate on Celeborn's nerves. He hoped Elrond wouldn't do anything too extreme and cause him to have to retaliate. Now that it was all in the past, he almost felt as if he owed Imladris' master a favour--he'd felt more alive in the past few weeks than he had in centuries, and still had the pleasure of dealing with Galadriel to anticipate. Despite everything, that little trip to Imladris had been an excellent notion.
The second hint he had that things might be becoming complicated was Galadriel's decision to make another quick trip to Imladris, ostensibly to visit Arwen. As his lovely granddaughter had just returned home after an extended stay in Lorien, Celeborn found this extremely difficult to believe, not to mention that his wife had not bothered to even try to make her excuse convincing. There was something in her clear blue eyes that worried him. If Galadriel was plotting with Elrond, this whole situation might become considerably less amusing very quickly. There was no way for Celeborn to prevent her journey, however, nor could he follow her as someone had to remain to continue the negotiations with Thranduil. It was going to be difficult enough to explain his wife's sudden absence; obviously both of them could not just disappear.
Celeborn poured himself some more wine and scowled at the pretty green glass bottle that held it. A Mirkwood vintage. The opaque glass rather reminded him of Thranduil's clever green eyes, and he absentmindedly rubbed the bridge of his nose. Thranduil was yet another problem. The king rarely left his realm, and never without good reason. Celeborn had no idea what he was doing here, taking up endless hours in roundabout discussions that, when examined later, were shown to be completely meaningless. Elbereth, but the elf could talk! They had spent almost four hours in consultation the day before, and he still, for the life of him, could not recall a single point of interest. There had certainly been no explanation for the king's visit.
Thranduil wanted something, of course, that was sure, but just what it was Celeborn had no idea. Whatever it might be, though, he apparently had no doubts that he would obtain it. He positively dripped power, and his easy confidence in his own authority vastly annoyed the Lord of Lorien. Thranduil had moved into the royal talan and made himself and his huge entourage as comfortable as if he owned the place, monopolizing the servants who practically fell over themselves to wait on his every need. Celeborn had had to fetch his own wine as all the available help were busy in the king's quarters. He should have known that he couldn't expect to take a few weeks off for a much-deserved break without having to return to a mess, but this was more than he had planned. He sighed and finished his wine. Why did he have a feeling that this was going to be a very long week?
Elrohir was feeling a little dizzy. It was an extraordinary experience to see an old friend and mentor, who you had long believed you knew thoroughly, suddenly transformed into a very different person. The martinet in the glade looked like Erestor, but the resemblance ended there. The dandified little housekeeper who had fed Elrohir treats and indulgently failed to report any of his childhood capers to Elrond, was completely gone. In his place was a tyrant and sadist of unbelievable proportions. Elrohir could hardly believe what he was seeing as the day wore on. And he had thought a few of Erestor's suggestion to him about ways of pleasuring Glorfindel were over the top! He now realised that his old tutor had merely been playing with him. He wasn't playing now--or, if he was, Elrohir REALLY didn't want to be there when he decided to get serious.
For hours, the twenty nude Noldor were put through tortures Elrohir doubted if he would ever have thought up, no matter how many ages he might live. Erestor had early on declared that, before they could interrogate anyone properly, they had to understand the uses of both pain and pleasure, and the best tutor for that was experience. Elrohir wasn't sure about the pleasure part, but the pain was undoubted. He would probably never be able to excise from his brain the image of Erestor, in the dispassionate tone he had always used in the schoolroom, giving an extended lecture of the basics of torture with various "volunteers" as visual aides.
The first two elves actually ended up better off than some of the others. They reappeared as Erestor was holding forth on the merits and disadvantages of using a cat of nine tails over a cane or crop. Unfurling one of the former, he walked casually over to where the two elves had been stripped and tied in different ways. The first was shackled hand and foot and suspended from a thick, overhanging tree limb. Metal bars had been placed between his cuffs to insure that his limbs were spread quite far apart. The other had been affixed to a strange contraption that looked like a large wheel.
"The cane," Erestor lectured, "is usually considered more painful than the crop but considerably less than this," and he fondled the heavy braided leather weapon in his hand with affection. "Usually, it is best to begin subtly and let the individual rest in between sessions, to give them time to think about what might be coming next. Start with the crop or the cane," he advised, "and move on from there as needed." He nodded at Camthalion who proceeded to give the first trussed elf a number of sharp whacks across the buttocks with the long, thin reed in his hand. Elros followed this by applying a riding crop to the thighs and buttocks of the other elf. Erestor had them stop after eight or ten strokes and called the observers over to examine the differences between the marks. Spinning the elf on the wheel upside down, he brought his bright pink posterior to eye level and nodded approval at Elros. "Nicely done, but then, you always were a quick learner."
After a discussion on the merits of the cat, as Erestor fondly called it, he looked about as if searching for a volunteer on whom to demonstrate, but the assembled elves all seemed to suddenly find the grass extremely interesting and none met his eyes. He sighed, "perhaps we'll leave this for another day, when you've advanced a bit further." He looked rather disappointed, Elrohir thought in amazement. Had he actually expected anyone to volunteer?
Their meditation on the local flora did not save several elves from being brought forward to demonstrate the proper use of nipple clamps, of which Erestor seemed to have an astounding collection, complete with weights of differing sizes. "It is truly amazing," he was saying, as he attached a particularly heavy specimen to the clamp biting into the breast of one large elf, "how much pain one of these tiny things, if properly applied, can inflict." The elf, who had steadfastly refused to show any emotion up to this point, winced slightly as Erestor adjusted the device. "Such clamps can also be applied to the genitals," he commented casually, his hand sliding down the front of the hapless elf, whose face had taken on a warm pink flush by the time Erestor began to stroke a thumb over one soft, furred ball. "Similar weights may be attached to either the penis or testicles, varying in size depending on the amount of . . .incentive . . . you wish to apply," he continued. This little piece of information caused the elf on display to lose his recently acquired colour and begin to look seriously worried. Erestor smiled into his suddenly huge blue eyes with tolerant amusement. "But that's also a lesson for another day," he murmured before releasing the slightly shaking elf, whose eyes glistened with tears of profound relief.
And so it went, hour after hour, as such things as methods of using ice and hot wax, various types of gags, and whether blindfolds or hoods were best in particular situations were discussed with no more concern than if Erestor was conversing on the weather. He finally released the sore, aching and extremely subdued Noldor just after lunch, sending them off with the ominous pronouncement, "We'll move on to intermediate lessons tomorrow!"
Elrohir sat on the ground, partly to make himself smaller so as not to be noticed by the departing Noldor, but also because his head was frankly spinning. What a completely bizarre way to spend a morning. Glorfindel was never going to believe this. The fresh, green smell of the woods was comforting, and he thought that perhaps, in an hour or two, he might be able to return to the talan unaided. Then, out of nowhere, Erestor's animated face appeared in front of him, black eyes glittering wickedly. "Lunch, young one? Or would you like to stay and play with the boys? I think Elros and Cam are going to remain awhile." Elrohir suddenly found strength flowing back into him, and he scrambled to quickly follow Erestor, glancing back over his shoulder to see Cam spinning the wheel with a delighted expression on his face.
A/N: The title is from a quote--Revenge is a kind of wild justice--by Francis Bacon.
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