Before I was reborn as Ereolas I was King Oropher. You all know that, don’t you?
When I arrived in Mithlond, after marrying Círdan, one of the first places I acquainted myself with was the royal library. I found that there was hardly anything written about King Oropher. It was with the utmost incredulity that I then became aware of the deplorable lack of commitment in pursuing the availability of books about the most magnificent and illustrious king who ever lived. Oropher should at least have his own section. When I mentioned this to the librarian, he rather acidly suggested that I write a biography and add it to the shelves. He is a rather rude elf and I was tempted to whip his ass; instead, I ordered a servant to do it.
I was mollified, however, by the surprisingly large section of books on etiquette. I noticed that there were several copies of the best seller, ‘Etiquette – or else,’ by Prince Ereolas of Mirkwood. It is a definitive and seminal work and remains the foremost etiquette style guide available. The book renders its precedents redundant and rather insignificant. Advance copies can be ordered from the Stiffy Press for two gold pieces per book. The Stiffy Press have outlets in Mirkwood, Imladris and Lothlórien and a fourth is expected to open next year, in the spring, in Mithlond.
There is also a small hidden section in the library, lost in the shelves, in a dark corner, which I suspect is often overlooked. It contains book written by elflings in their own hand. I picked a book at random. The title was, “Why I hate living in this shit place, by Erestor, aged 20.” I flicked through the bound volume and the depth of emotion pouring from the pages by an obviously terribly unhappy elfling made me feel as though I were a voyeur. I did not want others to read something so personal, and I suspect that it was never intended for a wide readership anyway. Perhaps it was the only recourse left for my ada when no one paid any attention to his needs. No wonder he was naughty a lot of the time. The book sits in my bookshelf now, along with the others he wrote. All are painful to read, so I will not give them back to the library. Some things should remain private. I hope that soon I can return them to my ada. He can do what he likes with them then.
If anything, Erestor’s book is a salutary lesson in how not to raise elflings. My own little elfling, Cireolas, is sitting on my lap as I write. I have the curse or blessing of Saruman within my body too, just as my Ada Legolas did. Melpomaen, the shag bunny, did not inherit the ability to give birth. He finds it extremely amusing that I have to take special herbs every day to stop myself conceiving. However, I have a little son and heir, who no doubt considers that I am the greatest ada alive, and that is something Mel will never have.
Cireolas is five days old and already he has the sweetest and sunniest personality, much like mine when I was that age. He has the most perfectly beautiful face and fine golden blond hair, and looks very much like Thranduil did as an elfling baby, although his eyes are Círdan’s shade of dark blue. As far as we know he is not reborn, which is a relief, and I would suggest that none of you listen to Mel when he says that my little ion has a beard like his Ada Círdan. It would be very funny, but it is totally untrue.
This is a series of reminiscences, as I cannot be bothered to do a chronological autobiography. In fact, I am going to stop right here as my sleepy little elfling is becoming fractious and demanding a drink of body temperature milk. It is our bonding time, and Círdan likes to put his arms around both of us when Cireolas feeds, so that he associates the closeness with both his parents and not just me. He says he wants to get everything right this time, as he feels keenly that he failed Erestor on many levels when he was his guardian. He did fail Erestor, but unwittingly he saved him too by sending him to Haldir’s school for recalcitrant elflings. I firmly believe that he is the elf today because of this.
Cireolas’ bottom lip is starting to wibble and the eyes are preparing to water. The mouth is opening and in goes a nipple as I thwart his attempt to cry. Been there, done that, little one. You are suckling off a master!
I am so tired. Cireolas is spending the morning with his Uncle Melpomaen, who has taken him into the gardens. Mel intends reading a book about Fëanor; apparently, it is a mushy love story. He will find it quite hard, Cireolas loves attention and Mel will have to give it to him.
Círdan has brought me breakfast in bed. I do not know why but I could not sleep. The rest of my family are coming, en masse, to visit and this may be the reason. Círdan is of different opinion; he says that being constantly milked and caring for a baby is tiring, especially as I have a big wound at the base of my belly where Cireolas was cut out. He also considers that I am doing too much. Perhaps he is right. I am too tired to argue. I wish I could sleep.
My Nana breastfed me when I was baby Oropher, but when my wife, Queen Crabbyarse, gave birth to Thranduil, she wanted to employ a local woman to wet nurse him; apparently it would be unseemly to feed him herself. Of course, that was not her real name, but one that I gave her whenever she was especially irritating; which was most of the time actually.
I absolutely forbade her to employ someone to feed Thranduil. It had not occurred to her that a wet nurse already has a baby who will only be able to suckle on what is left over. Those babies often grew up smaller than average because they were half starved when they need nutrition the most. We were a warrior society and could not afford the young to be made deliberately weak. The bitch dug her heels in and refused to budge, she was having a wet nurse whether I liked it or not and already had one lined up. I walked into the council chamber and made wet nursing illegal with immediate effect. I was not popular among the pregnant ladies of the court, but I like to think I had the welfare of more than my ion in mind.
Queen Crabbyarse, seizing the opportunity to make me look a complete and unfeeling bastard, announced to the court that she was totally behind me changing the law on wet nursing and that she had suggested it to me. She opined about how she felt that it was not fair for little baby elflings from poorer families to suffer from nutritional neglect. The lying bitch then said that she spent many hours convincing me that it was the right thing to do and that I had fought her until I gave in. Wishing to avoid being the subject of increased court intrigue, I did not publically disagree with her, but prayed silently that the Valar would strike the lying cow down with a lightning bolt, but not whilst holding Thranduil, of course.
My bitch wife announced that she would be breastfeeding her ion, Thranduil, because she wanted to give him the best start in life. How I hated her for that. She made me look like an uncaring swine and totally turned the tables on me. There are some elves today who still believe that Oropher was a harsh and evil king whose family and subjects were terrified of him. A lot of this was because of her machinations. No wonder I took Círdan as a lover. He was everything that she was not and I do not feel guilty at all. Our life together was a series of petty tit for tat battles. Such are the joys of an arranged marriage.
Onward to Lindon!
“But I do not love her.” My parents were sitting on their horses so we could go to Lindon and meet my prospective bride. I refused to mount my horse.
“You will when you see her, she is from good breeding stock.” My ada boomed and slapped me heartily between the shoulder blades, knocking the air out of me. “Now get on your horse.”
My nana gave a robust chuckle, lifted me up by my scruff, and put me on my horse. I have never seen a woman as big as her, apart from Galadriel. She was born in a time when it was necessary for royals to fight for their right to the throne and our small numbers meant that the females were warriors too. “I didn’t like your ada at all when we married, but I learned to love him and you will do as you are told and learn to love your future wife too.”
“I am sure I will not.” I replied with an air of dejection. “Why can’t I marry an ellon?”
“Don’t be silly Oropher.” My ada laughed loudly. “Look we have been through this before. We need our line to continue. You do not have any brothers or sisters and so it falls upon you to have the elflings needed for inheritance purposes. A royal’s life is not his own and you will find that out time and time again. You ask Ereinion, he will tell you it is true.”
“Ereinion isn’t married and he refuses to marry all the elleth that are introduced to him.” I used their argument against them.
“He is looking for the right one. It takes a very special elleth to be the High Queen.” My nana grinned and then slapped my horse hard, so it ran away. “Meet you in Lindon,” she boomed in her laughter.
It was the day before my fiftieth birthday that we arrived in Lindon. We were introduced to Ereinion and, let me tell you, he was hot!!! I was so glad that I was wearing a robe with tight leggings underneath. He ignored convention and gave me a bear hug. “Pick me tomorrow night,” he whispered, then said in a loud voice that he was happy to see me.
I wondered what he meant, but said nothing. When we got back to our rooms, my Ada announced, with a great deal of dismay, “It seems your bride to be has been delayed and will not be able to attend your birthday party, so you will have to choose someone else to spend the night with.”
“What?” I asked blinking in surprise.
“It is tradition that elves lose their virginity on their fiftieth begetting day. Surely, you learned this in your Model Citizen classes? Really Oropher, I think some things go completely over your head.” My ada unpacked an ornate robe and hung it on a hanger. “Now pay attention. This is what you will wear tomorrow night. At the end of the evening you will be asked to make a choice as to which elf you would like to spend the night with. Do not decide to have a bit of fun and pick me or your Nana; I know what you are like.” The robe was hung in the wardrobe.
“I can pick any elf?” So that is what Ereinion meant, obviously the attraction was mutual.
“I would pick a female elf if I were you, one that has been around the block a bit. She will show you what to do. Handy for when you get married.” My ada looked slightly uncomfortable which secretly pleased me. “Ah! Here is your Nana.” He waltzed off, as fast as he decently could, leaving me alone.
On my begetting day, we went to the celebration in my honour. Nana was most irritated that my new bride to be was not there. “Dreadfully bad form,” she said to me, more than once. “Make sure you pick an elleth who looks experienced, so you know how to give your wife a rollicking good time in bed. That is, of course, when she deigns to show up.”
The end of the evening arrived. The music stopped and every elf in the room looked at me expectantly as I was led to the royal dais. As was tradition, apparently, my ada asked me to choose my lover for the night. “Remember pick an older elleth, so you know what to do on your wedding night,” he whispered.
I looked straight at Ereinion who leered most becomingly. “I choose Ereinion.” I said loudly to the audience and whispered to my outraged ada. “It is my night, so bugger off.”
“You are for it tomorrow, you little git.” My ada looked as though steam would shoot out of his ears.
Ereinion walked up to me and took my hand. “So unexpected. I am most honoured.”
We walked off together. When arrived in his rooms we laughed like naughty elflings.
“I am so glad I did not have to spend the night with my bride to be,” I chuckled.
Ereinion caught my mouth in a deep and intense kiss whilst running his hand across my hardness. “She was never going to be here tonight.” He winked and I grinned.
My clothing was removed with painful slowness. As my bare skin was uncovered, it was kissed. I thought I would die from the bliss.
Mel and Glorfindel have just brought the ever-hungry Cireolas back. Glorfindel has changed his nappy, but it is up to me to feed him. I was in the mood to write about my first time as well. It will have to wait until tomorrow.
“Do you let Círdan have a drink too?” Mel was fascinated and could not keep his beady little eyes off my tit or the small mammal suckling and pawing at it with his tiny hands.
“What a question to ask,” Glorfindel told him. “That sort of thing is private.”
“Ada Legolas used to let Ada Erestor suck his tits when you had finished feeding.” Mel pulled a face; he hated milk.
“How do you know?” Glorfindel asked.
“He used to peer at them through the crack in the door, didn’t you Mel?” I laughed at his discomfort. “He got an eye infection from the draught, according to Elrond he was the first ever elfling to suffer from pink eye.”
We fell about laughing and Mel told me to stop telling Glorfindel things about him. The noise cause Cireolas to start crying and so they left, leaving me to quieten him down.
Círdan joined me shortly after. I lay in his arms watching Cireolas fall asleep and drifted off myself. At last I was able to sleep.
I AM NOT HAPPY!!!
There are no happy Oropher reminiscences’ in this journal entry, as I want to write about how awful the past couple of days have been.
Apparently, my adas, my ion Thranduil and his wife Merilnis (who once peed on my leg when a baby), Elrond and Celebrían, Galadriel and her pet husband Celeborn, Haldir and Orophin have arrived, all together. Círdan did not think to tell me that they were coming. I knew they would be coming but not when. Círdan knew, but to surprise me he said nothing. I hate surprises and he will suffer for it.
I do not like to be a drama queen but I am bloody tired. Cireolas has decided to scream every time I put him in his cot, even though it is beside the bed and he can see me. Círdan is feigning helplessness every time our ion needs a nappy change and I feel like shit. I cannot sleep and the least little thing makes me explode with anger.
Mel has tried taking Cireolas outside, which works for about half an hour before he starts crying. Not even Glorfindel, who is fantastic with elflings, can settle him down. He is fine and well behaved if he is lying beside me or if I am holding him, but I never get a minute to myself. My whole life revolves around this excessively demanding infant.
I screamed at Círdan this morning and told him to learn how to change nappies or else I would sail and leave the brat with him. He has promised to do so. It is terrible not being able to sleep. I slept last night, but only for an hour, and I feel so down and depressed. I do not feel like myself anymore. Normally, I am very happy, but at the moment I am not. Even having a bath is an effort and needs planning on a military scale so that Cireolas does not scream because he cannot see me. According to the healer, it is normal for ellith to feel depressed several days after the birth, but I am not an elleth so I do not see why this should apply to me. I am not very happy.
Somehow, this morning I managed to eat breakfast, only because Cireolas was having a body temperature drink. Then I dressed, which entailed leaving Cireolas on the bed whilst I put my leggings on. He cried. He cried and cried and cried. I told him to be quiet and he ignored me.
I sat on the edge of the bed and picked him up. “Why don’t you just shut up for a while? Your crying goes right through me.” I felt so tired and a small tear slid down my cheek.
Feeling alone and angry I went to the door and made my way to the rooms where I knew my ada’s would be staying. Walking in, I saw everyone having a good time, drinking wine and not having to look after baby elflings. They were laughing, chatting and enjoying themselves, especially Círdan, who I noticed was definitely not looking after an elfling. I stormed up to him, gave Cireolas to him and screamed at him to keep the little brat because I was going to sail as soon as the next ship left.
“You have not brushed your hair.” Círdan looked shocked. His mouth dropped open and nearly hit the floor when I told him to go stick his head in a pig.
I stormed out of the room and took a moment to stand and calm down once outside. Through the door, I could hear Círdan apologising for my behaviour, which made my blood boil. Then Erestor asked how much help I was getting and Círdan replied that he cuddled us both when Cireolas fed.
“I would start pulling your weight if I were you.” Legolas sounded angry. “If you do not I am taking Ereolas back to Imladris where we can help him raise his child.” I could hear Círdan start to protest, but Legolas cut him short. “You said he was asleep, he looks as though he hasn’t slept for a week. Erestor always helped me.”
“I have council meetings…” Círdan knew he sounded weak and Cireolas started to cry.
“Delegate.” Erestor sounded angry. “I do not expect to see my ion looking like that because he has a husband who cannot be bothered to give him the support he needs.”
I left them to it and walked back to my bedroom. Sitting on the bed, I hugged my knees and rocked back and forth, feeling extremely miserable. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. The door opened but I took no notice, assuming it was Círdan returning Cireolas, but it was not. Legolas put his arms around me and pulled my head to his chest. I felt the tears running down my cheeks and my breath hitched as I breathed.
“Sweet one, let us lay down together and you can sleep. I will make sure you are not disturbed.”
I lay down in my Ada’s arm and he stroked my hair and sung to me. I do not remember him finishing the song and when I woke up it was dark and my chest was swollen, leaking and painful. Legolas brought a cup of tea into the room.
“You have slept for twelve hours. Cireolas has been fed several times by one of the court ladies who expressed some milk into a bottle and your Ada Erestor has been rather firm with Círdan. He realises now that his behaviour has been less than perfect. Earlier on, he wanted to apologise but I would not let him in until you woke up.” Legolas smiled and stroked my hair. “Things will get better. I know you think they won’t, but they will.”
I took a sip of my tea. “Ada, I feel a bit better. I do not feel so tired now.”
“I have a bath run for you. Then we can go to dinner.” Legolas stood up then went to the cupboard and pulled out several towels. “Elrond wants to look at you tomorrow. He says you do not look very well and that a healer saying it is normal hardly helps the situation.”
I bathed and squeezed the excess milk out so that I was comfortable. Afterwards, we went to dinner. Círdan pulled my chair out and sat beside me. It was the first time I appeared in public since the birth. He put his arm around me and whispered in my ear that he was sorry. Cireolas was crying as usual.
“That is easy to say and hard to prove.” I replied, and then stabbed my spoon into a small mound of tomato ice cream.
“If you express milk into a bottle we can take turns at feeding and I promise, as much as nappies disgust me, I will help change them.” Círdan kissed my cheek. “I love you. I do not want you to be unhappy.” Another kiss. “I will take Cireolas to council meetings as Erestor suggested.”
Now I could smile. I ate all of my dinner and let Cireolas feed from under my shirt. After I had finished Galadriel took my elfling; he did not dare cry in her arms. Celeborn asked if she wanted another child and she asked who would father it; his face was a picture. Celebrían fussed over Cireolas and told Elrond that she would like another elfling; he refused. Mel and Glorfindel were spotted having a sneaky kiss, with tongues, on the balcony later in the evening and Erestor and Legolas sat cuddled into one another as they listened to the minstrels. Haldir and Orophin found they had much in common with Galdor and Saelbeth, like they are male, love sex and have long hair. We did not see them for quite a bit of the night. I sat cuddled into Círdan and fell asleep after a while. I woke up in bed. My husband had carried me back to our rooms and undressed me. His arms were around me and Cireolas was asleep in the cot beside us. I snuggled backwards into my sleeping husband and closed my eyes until the morning.