Wax on. wax off….
Elrond was sitting comfortably in his best chair, leaning backwards and trying to relax. The past four days had been a nightmare. Not only did he have to play host to a delegation of dwarves but because of a trick of destiny the king of Mirkwood was also visiting Imladris and he had to try to keep those two groups apart. It was like playing a game of chess against someone who was both blind and stupid. The dwarves were there to negotiate a trading deal Imladris couldn’t afford to lose and the group consisted of twenty dwarves who all were experts in their fields. Normally Elrond would be delighted to learn more about this people and their culture but with the very khazad-o-phobic Thranduil present he felt like a ping pong ball, going in all directions at once trying to avoid any unpleasant incidents.
His servants were of course trying to do their best and he did appreciate their efforts, they were working constantly and the kitchen workers were up to their elbows in work the entire day. Thranduil and his entourage wanted good wine, good food and luxury and the dwarves wanted the same, just not the exactly the same dishes. Elrond sighed, he had a headache and his feet were aching, cursed be his mortal blood, he did feel that now, when he had used all of his energy over several days. If Thranduil did meet the dwarves Elrond feared a diplomatic incident of grand proportions so he tried to keep everybody on a tight schedule so that wouldn’t happen. He was almost close to dozing off when there was a knock on the door and he sighed, rolled his eyes and sat up, tried to look as immaculate as ever.
The door opened and one of the dwarves entered, Elrond remembered that this particular fellow was a master at shaping wrought iron and that he had created some very impressive work. He just didn’t remember the dwarf’s name. The dwarf bowed politely and Elrond did notice that the short hairy creature was blushing ever so slightly and he was fidgeting with his sleeve. “ Is there anything I can do for you my good dwarrow?”
Elrond kept his voice calm and respectful and the dwarf smiled, but his eyes were flickering and the blushing got deeper. “Ah, you are a healer right?”
Elrond got interested, he knew so little about the diseases the children of Mahal could get and he wanted to learn more. “Yes, I am a healer, I am sorry, I don’t remember your name?”
The dwarf made a grimace. “It is Khuldur, son of Khuldar, I wonder…”
Elrond cocked his head. “Yes? “
Khuldur seemed to gather his courage. “I wonder if you can help me with a wee problem of mine”
Elrond smiled. “I will at least try, what is bothering you?”
Khuldur took a deep breath. “It is me hair you see, I keep getting these bald patches and by Mahal’s beard, they are such a nuisance”
Elrond frowned, bald patches? Now that could be a problem indeed, dwarves took great pride in their hair and Khuldur had a very elaborate hairdo and an even more so beard, with braids and gems and all sorts of ornaments attached to it. “ Do tell me more”
Khuldur swallowed. “Swear you won’t tell anyone? I have managed to cover them up until now ya see, but they keep getting larger”
He leaned forth and lifted his impressive beard and lo and behold, right in the middle of his chin was a spot with no hair at all. Elrond got intrigued. “Is this something new? Or has it lasted for a while?”
Khuldur swallowed again and his face looked as if he was in agony. “It is new, it started two weeks ago. Me dad had the same problem ya see, and he had this ointment he used and it worked like magic, but I don’t have that ointment and I am no healer, I do not know how to mix that stuff”
Elrond was very curious. “Do you have the recipe for that ointment?”
Khuldur nodded “I sure do, dad thought it was a hereditary condition ya see, his dad too had gotten such spots every now and then”
The dwarf pulled an old piece of vellum from a pocket and Elrond took it with great care and reverence, it had to be old as the hills. Fortunately he did read dwarf runes, even the ancient type and it was indeed a recipe, for an ointment. He read through the ingredients and the method swiftly, it did seem legit and he was astonished to find that the dwarves had such knowledge of medicine. Khuldur shrugged. “The ointment or rather the recipe for it came into my granddads hands from a travelling merchant, coming from the east”
Elrond smiled. “Yes, I can see that, many of these herbs are not indigenous for this region, but worry not, I do have everything needed, and I can make the ointment today if you like?”
Khuldur smiled widely, all his teeth were showing. “ Oh Mahal’s boots, that would be wonderful, I am so afraid they will find out, ya see, I am trying to woo this lovely dam, and she will most certainly reject me if she finds out about this malady”
Elrond was a bit charmed by the dwarf, and he did feel sympathy for the poor fellow too. He bowed slightly. “I will go to the infirmary and make the ointment right away, do come back to my office at sunset, I think I will have it ready by then.”
Khuldur nodded and grasped Elrond’s hand, shook it vigorously. “ Thank you my lord, thank you so much. “
The dwarf looked a lot happier when he left the room and Elrond stared at the vellum and started to look forward to making this medicine. He did have all the herbs and other stuff mentioned but he had never mixed them before, it would be fun watching the results. He hurried to the infirmary and started working, the ingredients did stink, and they did cause a horrible smoke when heated but after a few hours he had a box full of ointment ready. It did smell good and it appeared to be a very good salve which would dissolve into the skin very easily. Khuldur did return as promised and got the box and he was so grateful he almost cried. Elrond made him promise that he would return and tell of his progress and the healer did copy the recipe for later, in case it could become useful.
Over the next few days Khuldur did apply the ointment three times a day and lo and behold, new hair started to cover the bald patches and the dwarf was beside himself with relief. It worked, his beard and hair was saved. Then one evening he was taking a stroll by the river and he admired the lovely cast iron gates which lead into the area where they kept their horses. There was a well there and Khuldur felt thirsty so he went over to it to get some water. The bucket was heavy and he had to pull the rope really hard to get it up and as he leaned forth the box fell out of his pocket and into the well. Khuldur almost swore, it was lost now for sure for the well was very deep and there was no point in trying to get it out of there. Besides, there wasn’t that much ointment left, and his hair was almost grown back into its former splendour. He shouldn’t really care that much, the box was nice so he was sorry it was gone but so what, easy come easy go right? He sauntered off and forgot about the whole thing, his lady was awaiting him and he was constantly trying to come up with some nice ballad he could use to woo her. The bald patches were gone so why worry?
Elrond was grateful that the dwarves did end their visit after yet another week, the deal was set and everything was in order. He would have loved to get to know them better but he had to take care of his other guests too. Thranduil was a very demanding fellow and the musicians were constantly visiting the healer, complaining about sore fingers, aching ears and so on. Having to perform every night wasn’t something they were used to. Elrond was worried that this would wear everybody out before the king decided to return to his own realm and he was looking forward to the day when things returned to normal.
Then one morning the elves working in the stables entered for the morning rounds and found that all the horses had grown some pretty impressive manes and tails just over night, on most it reached the ground and Glorfindel’s famous stallion Asfaloth looked like an overgrown poodle with hair everywhere. The balrog slayer was in shock and had to spend an entire day trying to get his steed back to his normal gorgeous self. Nobody had any idea of what the cause was, some believed that it could be some runaway magic, Radagast had visited them the year before and he had put some spells upon a few of the stable tools, just to make the work easier. The tools were promptly discarded off, and things went back to normal, for a couple of days.
Elrond loved to sleep in, he wasn’t very fond of having to get up really early in the morning and he preferred to lay in bed and doze for a while before getting up. Thranduil had told them that he would return to Mirkwood in four days and Elrond was so relieved, he had wondered if the sinda had planned on staying for the winter. This morning Elrond woke up feeling well rested and comfortable, but he had an odd tingling sensation everywhere and he blinked and sat up in bed. “Ow!” He had pulled on his own hair and frowned, what? He didn’t have hair that long? He looked down, then he let out a very improper curse and sprang out of the bed. His hair had grown so long it reached his calves but that wasn’t all. During the night he had grown a beard too, a rather long one, and he had also gotten some pretty impressive hair growth also in other places. Being a peredhel he did have more body hair than a full blooded elf and Celebrian had found his chest hairs, although they were few, rather revolting so he had shaved them off. Now he had thick fur covering his chest, his arms and his legs. What in Eru’s name was happening?! He did look like a freaking yeti!
He rushed to the bathroom and opened the cabinet with the mirror in it, stared at his own reflection. Eru’s mercy, he had seen hairy humans but never anyone with this much hair, his back was just as bad as his chest and further down was also transformed to something akin to a stack of hay. What was he to do? Then he heard the sound of screams and his heart almost stopped, oh no, oh crap! He grasped a bath robe and some towels and wrapped himself up like a present, ran to the door only to be met by his assistant who was bawling like a kid. Elrond had to blink, Lindir was usually the very image of a pristine and well dressed elf but now he stood there looking like an overgrown dwarf, with his hair reaching his rump and a long and silky full beard. He saw Elrond and his eyes went wide, then he let out a wail and collapsed onto the floor, writhing with a combination of mirth and shock.
The healer swallowed hard, something had caused this, but what? Could it really be magic? He had no idea! Suddenly more elves came running to seek help and they all had grown beards and longer hair and they all were aghast. Even a few ellith did show up, sporting silky beards and when one did come bringing her now bearded four year old son Elrond almost lost it. What in heck’s name was happening? Everybody in the valley had grown a beard! Elrond was trying to gather his thoughts when he heard an almighty roar and they all turned around to see that Glorfindel was approaching, looking like a very hairy thundercloud. He too had gotten a beard but it wasn’t a very nice one, it was very curly and looked like the scrubs made from metal shavings the kitchen workers would use to clean out pans and pots. Elrond didn’t know what to say, or do.
It was rather apparent that the elves had gotten some extra hair too, they didn’t normally have chest hair, or hair in their armpits but now they did and some had gotten some very impressive bushes indeed. Glorfindel was fuming. “What in Morgoth’s name is going on, look at this!!”
The balrog slayer was so angry he dropped the towel he had wrapped around his waist and lo and behold, Elrond got an eyeful of an even more impressive bush further down on the golden haired ellon’s anatomy. That too was curly and stiff and for a short second Elrond wondered if Fin at all would be able to find his junk in all that hair. Elrond had a hard time containing a very disrespectful laughter, this was just too much! Then he remembered the guests and went pale, oh Eru damn it! What now?!
He didn’t have to wait for long, the crowd of very hairy elves did split like the red sea and the king of Mirkwood did appear, head held high and as regal as ever, but now sporting a very impressive beard. In fact it only made the tall sinda look even more majestic than before and he obviously had a very good self-control for his face didn’t give away any feelings at all seeing all this misery up close hand. That was until he saw Glorfindel standing there in the nude, Thranduil went slightly red and then he buckled over, laughing so hard Elrond started to worry he would harm himself. Some elves started to snigger, then a few started to laugh, a bit reluctantly and then it was as if someone tore down a dam. Everybody was pointing at each other, laughing until they almost puked and in the middle of the mayhem a stable worker, now bearded too, entered carrying a small box. “My lord, I found this in the well, it was floating on top of the water and it carried the seal used in the infirmary, is someone missing it?”
Elrond saw the box and then it all clicked into place, of course! Khuldur had probably tossed the box away when he was finished using the ointment, or he could have dropped it by accident and for some reason the salve obviously had a most vigorous effect on elves. Now Elrond knew what the cause was, however unlikely it sounded, but what to do about it?
Lindir had managed to recover by now and he was wiping his eyes and snorting. “Do we have enough scissors?”
Elrond took a deep breath. “I fear not, but let me test something first”
He ran back into the bathroom and found a razor and a pair of scissors. He grabbed one of the guards who by now was very hairy indeed and started cutting away at his beard. That went well, and he also removed some of his hair, but when he started to trim the other hair things went south pretty fast. He cut away some of the hairs growing on the ellon’s chest and within two minutes they were back, just as long as before. He tried the razor too but the effect was the same. The hair on their head and the beards could be trimmed or even removed without any problems, the other body hair was a different case. Many ran to find scissors, knives and sheep shearers and Elrond worried that some might hurt themselves in their eager efforts to remove the excess hair. Glorfindel was still fuming and he hadn’t covered up at all, he probably was too angry to even care and Elrond knew that this was a huge blow to the balrog slayer’s pride. One of the ellith made a grimace. “Ah, could the hair perhaps be plucked out?”
Everybody cringed but Elrond found a pair of tweezers and pulled out a few chest hairs from the guard, the ellon shrieked and looked as if he believed that Elrond was trying to murder him but the hairs which were pulled out didn’t return. The healer grinned widely. “Good news, if you pull it out it will disappear”
Everybody groaned and even Thranduil went pale. “That will take ages! We are…furry!!”
Elrond blinked, tried to think fast, was there a quicker way to remove hair? Then he remembered it, during the last alliance he had witnessed how the human healers would clean up their patients before surgery and they had used wax to pull out hair. “Wax, do we have any wax?”
Lindir nodded. “Yes my lord?”
Elrond got eager. “Go get it, now, and kettles and some strips of cloth too.”
Lindir did run off and he returned swiftly, carrying everything needed, including two huge blocks of wax. Elrond put the kettles over the fire and melted the wax and now everybody started to realize what was in store for them. The mirth was replaced by sheer horror! Elrond tried to smile. “Alright, who wants to go first?”
Silence, as deep as the one before the creation of Arda. He put his hands in his side and tilted his head. “ Oh come on, someone has to be brave here?”
The guards backed away, staring at the ground, even some of the veterans from the wars of old tried to hide behind some of the ellith. Elrond scowled. “Do you want to keep the hair? We all look like dwarves!”
That did it, Erestor stepped forth from the crowd, he was the official librarian of Imladris and many believed that he was a soft and not very brave elf but Elrond knew otherwise. Erestor could be fierce if he needed to and the black haired noldo nodded sternly and removed his robe. He did wear some underpants luckily enough and Elrond did see that he wasn’t quite as hairy as some of the others there. “Good, now this may sting a little.”
Many of the others there gathered closer to watch as Elrond poured some wax over Erestor’s chest and put some cloth over the area. Lindir had found some bandages and they were perfect for the job. Erestor did look nervous, no wonder really. When in the history of Arda had an elf ever had to wax his chest? The wax did dry rather fast and Elrond nodded to two of the guards. “Please grab his arms”
They were happy to comply and Erestor had started to sweat a bit. Elrond couldn’t believe that such a small amount of the ointment in the water could have such a devastating effect but it had to be something in it which affected elves way more than dwarves. “Right, let’s see if this works then”
He grasped onto the bandages and pulled them off in one quick jerk, using quite some force doing it. The result was spectacular, gone was the hair and instead you saw flawless although rather red skin and Erestor was hovering off the bench for a few seconds, screaming so bad he would have scared the living daylights out of a cave troll. The guards had a hard time holding him for he was obviously genuinely pissed off. “Elrond, I swore to serve you but if you do that to me once more I swear to Eru I will become a kin slayer!”
Elrond just sniggered. “Okay then, now we know that this works so everybody, get some wax and help each other.”
People stared at each other, some with sheepish grins and others with a not tiny amount of glee. Elrond gathered his apprentices and they started distributing wax and bandages and before long the entire valley did resound of female yells and cries. The ellith did deal with it way better than the Ellyn, they just went for it and gathered in small groups helping each other out. Elrond had always known that females are way tougher than males when it comes to pain and now he was once again witnessing this fact. The females shaved their faces, cut their hair if they felt the need for it and then they waxed off the all the hair they didn’t want, it went rather smoothly.
The Ellyn on the other hand was a whole different tale, they all wanted to get rid of the hair for in their eyes it was revolting and disgusting and some were in fact crying with shame and loathing but the process of getting rid of it wasn’t exactly one they looked forward to using. There was a huge amount of reluctance and fear present and Glorfindel sort of rolled his eyes and placed himself on the bench. “Oh for Eru’s sake, it cannot be that bad! I have fought a balrog damn it, this is child’s play compared with those pains.”
Elrond just shrugged and poured wax onto the balrog slayer’s wide chest. Then he added bandages and Glorfindel did grasp one and pulled it over his crotch, not that anyone could see even a glimpse of his family jewels because of the hair but there were children present. When the wax had dried Elrond stared at Fin and he was trying to repress a grin. “ Ready?”
Glorfindel just shrugged “As ready as I’ll ever be, do it”
Elrond did it, he yanked the bandages off and suddenly the entire valley of Imladris was given a new insight into the curses used in the years of the trees and the first age, plus a few well chosen words in black tongue and khuzdul. Elrond had always admired the inventive dwarven language and knew that they were experts at coming up with very descriptive curses but these were just a wee bit too colourful. He had no further interest in hearing what Morgoth could do with his balls so he put a hand over Fin’s mouth, hissing. “There are children present, control yourself!”
Glorfindel growled. “I don’t give a fucking damn, oh Aûle’s hammer, I’d rather fight that balrog all over again!”
Elrond stared at the now hairless chest, that was just a wee part of Glorfindel’s body and he grinned viciously. “Well, you still have some square feet of fur left to remove, shall I or would you prefer that someone else does it?”
Glorfindel swore again, so bad you could smell the brimstone. “Oh Morgoth’s rotten molars, just…do it”
Elrond continued and slowly he returned Glorfindel back to his former glory but now he was red all over and terribly sore and then there was the small problem regarding his crotch area, Elrond didn’t want to use wax down there, and Glorfindel would most likely run and hide if they suggested it so he came up with an alternate solution, a hair removal cream. He had a recipe for that laying somewhere and did manage to find it but it couldn’t be made in a huge quantum since he didn’t have that much of the almond oil and the other ingredients needed so the cream was reserved for the private parts and only there. It did work, but it did sting and Glorfindel grasped a bucket of ice water someone had found in case someone got burned by the wax and sat down in it, hissing with relief. By now he was hairless once more and the other Ellyn there stood there staring with huge eyes and terror written all over their faces.
Erestor scoffed. “Come on guys, don’t be wimps, show us that you do have some balls after all”
Some Ellyn came forth, got some wax and cream and bandages and sauntered off with a friend or two, looking as if they were heading for their own execution. Oh Eru, there would be many sore butts over the next days, Elrond would probably have to gather all the pillows available for the benches they used in the halls. The Ellyn scattered to help each other and now the valley did resound with even more screams and curses, it sounded as if a battle was taking place and if someone had entered unknowing of this bizarre situation they would immediately believe that the elves were being attacked by some absolutely horrible new creation of Morgoth.
Elrond was gathering as much skin cream as he could find, it would be needed and he was about to ask Erestor if he could do the honours and help him getting rid of the hair when Thranduil did step forth. He looked slightly embarrassed and Elrond did make a sigh. Of course, that too!
The elven king managed to look calm. “Elrond, I…I would like for you to give me a hand?”
Elrond nodded. “Alright, but you do have servants?”
Thranduil made a grimace. “I do, but…they are servants! I never undress in front of my servants, not even my butler”
Elrond should have guessed that, he shrugged. “Here, or some private room?”
Thranduil did look sheepish. “A private room please?”
Elrond took a deep breath. “Great, follow me”
Thranduil did follow, and he gathered a wine bottle from a servant and started drinking on the way, Elrond realized that the tall sinda was very nervous indeed. There were a few rooms with lockable doors there and Elrond turned around and smiled at the king. “ Alright, you may strip down now”
Thranduil swallowed and started to unbutton his robes, the healer was a bit shocked to see that the sinda had escaped most of the malady, he had chest hair and some on his back apparently but not that much elsewhere. Elrond found some scissors and a razor and went to work on the beard, that actually made him feel a bit sad for incredibly enough Thranduil’s beard did look good on him. When that was done it was time for the rest of the hairs and Elrond had to admire the perfect physique. Thranduil was a gorgeous specimen and the hair didn’t actually mar his beauty at all, it just made it look more exotic. Elrond did wax the king’s chest and he was surprised that Thranduil didn’t even moan as he yanked the hairs out. He was indeed tough as the hills themselves. The last part of the royal anatomy to be waxed was in fact the royal butt and Elrond had to pinch his own arm to believe this, who would have thought that he one day would have to remove hair from the ass of one of the Mirkwood royals.
Thranduil hadn’t even whimpered and Elrond was impressed by the king’s stamina and resistance against pain. Thranduil got smeared with some numbing skin cream and then he redressed himself. “Thank you, now I can return home safely. What do you think caused this? Some spell?”
Elrond managed to smile. “Ah, most likely yes, Radagast did visit us some time ago, it could be one of his spells gone wrong.”
Thranduil shrugged. “Doesn’t surprise me, that maia has got mushroom stew for a brain”
Elrond just prayed that Thranduil never learned the truth about this incident, he would hate dwarves even more vividly if he found out that a dwarf was the cause of this. Elrond had Erestor helping him with his own hairs and he did suddenly remember some curses he had heard Maedhros utter once when he had dropped something due to his handicap, they were inventive and juicy and Maglor had washed his mouth with soap when he heard the young ellon repeat them. But the skin cream did help against the soreness and some of the elves did in fact leave their head hair the way it was. Suddenly the elves making hair pins and ornaments got a lot to do.
Then one day Elrond discovered that someone had copied the recipe for the hair growth ointment and he feared the worst. His sons would return from their patrols as usual but now they somehow did come across way better information than before, somehow the orcs they captured were more talkative than ever before. Elrond got a strong suspicion and it was confirmed the year after when he followed the twins on a patrol.
Elrohir and Elladan had in fact made some of the ointment and rubbed the captured orcs with it, when the orc was covered with so much hair it resembled a bear they would add wax and yank the hairs out and after just a few strips being pulled out the orcs usually told them absolutely everything they needed to know. Elrond didn’t really appreciate the use of torture but at least the recipe did come in handy after all, and the information they gathered was very valuable and helped saving lives. And Elrond could proudly address himself as the “royal butt waxer” knowing that he was one of the very few living beings who could brag about having seen the haughty king of Mirkwood in his birthday suit.