Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to The Lord of the Rings, Duck Dynasty, or Colgate Products
A Half-Elven Mishap
Lindir finished sweeping the dust under Lord Elrond's bed and jumped as he heard his employer's voice from the next room.
"Lindir, can you put this stuff away?" called Elrond. "I'm late for a council."
Lindir put down the broom and entered the large master bathroom. Elrond stood in front of the mirror putting the last touches to his face. His shaving supplies lay scattered on the vanity between the two sinks. Lindir picked up a small round container.
"Foundation cream?" he said, reading the label.
Elrond grew very red (even under the make-up). "It's to hide the five o'clock shadow," he explained. "I swear that's the only reason I wear it."
Lindir said nothing but tried to assume a conciliatory expression. He hated having the menial occupation of private valet to Lord Elrond of Rivendell, but unfortunately he had a horrible inferiority complex whenever he was near the stern and usually grumpy elven lord. He never had the nerve to ask for a transfer.
Lord Elrond hurried out and Lindir began to put the shaving supplies away under the sink behind the glass cleaner bottles and toilet paper rolls where they wouldn't be discovered by anyone else. The fact that Lord Elrond shaved was a great secret, which was why he had made Lindir his personal valet. Lindir was too afraid of Lord Elrond to ever divulge the secret.
He was rinsing some stray hairs down the sink when the bathroom door opened and Elladan came in.
"Oh," said Elladan awkwardly. "Sorry, I didn't know anyone was in here. I need to borrow some hairspray."
"Your father is in a council right now," said Lindir.
"I know, that's why I didn't think anyone would be in here. Don't tell him."
Elladan opened the medicine cabinet and took out a bottle of hairspray.
"I don't think your father will like you taking his things," said Lindir. "Why don't you borrow Elrohir's hairspray?"
"His is all gone," said Elladan, spraying a liberal amount of spray all over his head. "Aw, it's out. Is there any more?"
"No," said Lindir. He always knew exactly how much of anything Elrond had because it was his job to buy more whenever anything ran out.
The door opened again and Elrohir entered.
"Oops," he said. "I was looking for a bottle of cologne. Hey, Elladan, did you use up all my hairspray?"
"I'm pretty sure your father wishes this room to remain off-limits," said Lindir. As usual, nobody listened to him.
Elladan had started going through the cabinet under the sink. "Hey, cool. Dad's got some mousse," he said, pulling out a can of shaving cream. He extruded some on his hand and started plastering it into his hair.
"That's not mousse," said Lindir tentatively.
"No? What is it, then?" Elladan looked at the label. "Shaving cream? Cool."
"Hey, let me see that," said Elrohir, snatching the can. "Hey, I didn't know Dad shaved. What else has he got?"
Elladan was already pulling items out of the cabinet. "Look, it's an electric razor," he said. "And aftershave."
"Let me try it first," said Elrohir, attempting to grab the razor.
"No," said Elladan. "I found it. Give me the shaving cream. I had that first and you took it."
"I get to try it first," said Elrohir. "I'm older."
"By like two minutes."
"You don't even know how to shave," said Elrohir.
"Yes, I do. I've seen Aragorn do it."
"You'd better put those things back before your father returns," said Lindir. "I don't think the council was supposed to be a long one."
"Hey, Lindir," said Elladan, "does Dad really shave? I didn't know that."
"Hey, I wonder what he looks like with a beard," said Elrohir. "That would be cool."
"Yeah, like Duck Dynasty," said Elladan.
"Hey, I have an idea," said Elrohir. "If we take his shaving supplies, he won't be able to shave for a while and we can see if he really can grow a beard."
"That would be so cool. Our dad would be the only elf with a beard."
Lindir spoke up. "I'm afraid that would not work," he said. "Lord Elrond would just buy more shaving supplies."
"Hey," said Elladan, "he always makes you do the shopping, so you can just forget to put them on the list for a couple of weeks until something starts showing up on his chin."
"Yeah," said Elrohir. "That's all we need—just enough scruff to prove that he really can grow hair on his face."
"He will skin me," protested Lindir, who didn't like the idea at all. Who wanted to see Lord Elrond with hair on his face? His face was bad enough without it.
The two elves didn't seem to think this was important. They had already taken all the shaving supplies they could find and were hurrying out of the bathroom. Lindir was about to try to stop them, but had a sudden inspiration and let them go. This could be interesting.
"Well, I think we're all ready," said the Lady Galadriel, looking around the council chamber at the other elves. It was two weeks later.
"All we're missing is Lord Elrond," said Lord Celeborn.
Lindir looked around at the group and hoped he'd have enough nerve to speak loud enough to be heard.
"I'm afraid Lord Elrond is unable to attend this council," he said.
"Lord Elrond asked me to inform you that he would be unable to attend."
"He has to," said Lord Celeborn. "This is his council chamber."
"For the matter of that," said Galadriel, "this is his house. Why shouldn't he be able to attend?"
"I was instructed to inform you that he is indisposed."
"Nonsense!" said Lord Celeborn. "I'll go get him."
Haldir and Legolas looked at each other apprehensively. All the elves knew how grumpy Elrond could be.
Lord Celeborn returned in a matter of minutes. "He won't come," was all he said as he sat down.
"Oh, nonsense," said Galadriel. "You can't have tried hard enough." She got up and went out. After a moment's hesitation all the other elves followed to see what would happen.
"Elrond," called Galadriel through Elrond's bedroom door. "Can you hear me? This is the Lady Galadriel. Come out at once, there's a good son-in-law."
They all listened expectantly.
"Lord Elrond?" said Galadriel.
Still there was no answer.
"Maybe we should call Bilbo," said Legolas. "We all know how fond Lord Elrond is of hobbits."
Erestor stepped forward. "This is a job for me, seeing I'm Lord Elrond's counsellor," he said. "He always listens to my advice."
He knocked on the door. "Lord Elrond, I think it would be wise for you to come down and stop annoying our honoured guests, the Lady of Lothlorien and Legolas Thranduilion…and the Lord Celeborn," he added as a hasty afterthought.
"And me," said Haldir. Legolas thumped him on the head.
"Perhaps he is truly indisposed," said Erestor, as if he thought Elrond might have been making it up. "Lord Elrond," he addressed the door again, "we are very sorry if you are in poor health and will of course send at once for a doctor, or even Gandalf, if you think the situation warrants it, but there's no telling where he—"
"GO AWAY!" came a very loud voice just on the other side of the door.
"Well, he's not ill," said Lord Celeborn decidedly.
"Lord Elrond?" said Erestor.
"Where's Lindir?" said the voice. "I thought I told him to tell you I wasn't coming."
"Not here," said Lindir, quickly slipping behind Lady Galadriel.
The elves held a brief and impromptu council there in the hall and when it was over informed Lindir that they had decided to send him in to talk Lord Elrond into coming out.
"You're his lieutenant," they said. "And his secretary. And valet. And janitor. He's most likely to listen to you."
"He never listens to me," said Lindir plaintively. "No one does."
"You have the key," said Lady Galadriel. "That makes you the chosen one."
Lindir reluctantly put the key into the lock and entered the room. Lord Elrond stood at one end with his back to the door. He swung around as he heard the door open and confronted Lindir with his eyebrows at a threatening angle.
"Oh, it's you," he said. "Didn't you tell them?"
Lindir sighed. "I tried to, Lord Elrond, but they seem to feel that your presence is indispensable."
Lord Elrond sank into a chair with a groan.
"Lindir," he said, "I can't go out there and face them like…like this!"
Lindir looked at his employer's be-whiskered face in sympathy.
"I know," he said.
"No, you don't," said Elrond. "You don't know what it's like being an elf in only an honourary sense. They merely allow me in their exclusive circles on probation. One false move and out I go."
"I'm sorry," said Lindir in a consoling voice.
"Are those razors still on back order?" asked Elrond, sitting up.
Lindir sat down opposite him on the bed. "Actually," he said, "I can get you one right now, if you want it."
Elrond sat up even straighter and looked at him eagerly. "You can? Well, hand it over!"
"Not so fast," said Lindir. "First I should like to discuss a few matters. My raise, for one thing."
"If you recall, I have been requesting a raise for some time. A small bonus would also be welcome."
"Now, just a minute," said Elrond.
Lindir stood up. "Well, I thought there could be no harm in asking," he said, heading for the door.
"Stop!" said Elrond. "Are they still out there?"
Lindir opened the door a crack and looked out. "Yes."
Elrond sighed. "All right. I suppose I have to. How much were you thinking?"
"Double my present rate," said Lindir. "I hope I've convinced you that I'm indispensable."
"Agreed," said Elrond. "Now hand it over."
Lindir handed him a safety razor and a can of shaving cream and Elrond instantly vanished into the bathroom. He emerged several minutes later looking more like his usual elven self.
"My raise goes into effect today," said Lindir, when he appeared. "I forgot to stipulate that."
Elrond looked at him suspiciously. "You had that razor all the time, didn't you?" he asked.
"And you let me look like that for two weeks? A fine lieutenant you are! I'm not giving you a raise. Be glad if I don't fire you."
"But you promised," said Lindir.
"Only under duress, so it doesn't count," said Elrond. "I was going through a traumatic experience and wasn't accountable for my promises."
Lindir took out his phone and held it up. "I got a picture of you with your beard," he said.
Elrond looked from the phone to Lindir in horror. "Did I really look that bad?" he asked. He buried his face in his hands. "Oh, fine. A raise…whatever. But if you post that picture anywhere, I'll see you personally to the halls of Mandos."
He left the room and found the elven council waiting outside.
"Oh, Lord Elrond, there you are," said Erestor, who had just been about to convene the council for lunch.
"Sorry to make you all wait," said Elrond. "Where's Elladan and Elrohir?"
His two sons came down the hallway just then, drawing the attention of all the elves. Lady Galadriel shrieked and fainted at sight of them. Elrohir had a goatee and Elladan had a handlebar moustache.
"Hey, Dad," said Elrohir. "You finally left your room. He hasn't left his room for the past two weeks," he explained to the other elves.
"What's that on your face?" asked Legolas.
"Hey, isn't it cool?" said Elladan. "Now everyone can tell us apart."
"Elrohir!" said Elrond sternly. "Have you boys been messing around with steroids?"
"No, Dad," said Elrohir. "This is honest hair. It's the power of positive thinking—one of Grandma's ideas."
"Yeah," said Elladan. "It worked great. I've even got hair on my chest."
"Just a minute," said Elrond.
He went back in his room and they could hear him rummaging in the bathroom. He returned in a few minutes with an empty bottle.
"You used up all my hair replacer!" he shouted.
The two elves looked guilty.
"You use hair replacer?" asked Celeborn, looking superior.
"Somebody restore the Lady Galadriel," said Elrond, trying to recover his poise. "Let's get on with the council."
Later that evening Elrond found Lindir in his bedroom playing games on his phone.
"Get off my bed," said Elrond. "It may interest you to know that you started a new fad in Middle Earth."
"Everyone's trying to grow beards now. Even Lord Celeborn, who's tired of getting confused with his wife, and Legolas, who hates getting confused with his dad. Hair replacer will be on back order for months."
"That's not my fault," said Lindir. "I told your sons not to take it."
"It may also interest you to know," Elrond went on, "that your incriminating picture of me is now worthless for the purposes of blackmail. So you can't have a raise after all."
Lindir sat up. "But you promised!"
"When you start being useful, maybe I'll think about it," said Elrond.
Lindir got up and picked up the broom.
"Make sure you get the corners of the room," said Elrond. "And there's a cobweb on the ceiling."
He turned to go. Lindir glanced at the elven lord's extremely receded hairline with vengeful satisfaction. Well, if blackmail didn't work, he might be able to resort to bribery. It was a good thing he had stocked up on hair replacer.