The Fabled Beardslayer
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with J.R.R. Tolkien or anyone who hold rights
to Lord of the Rings. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.
Note #1: This little oneshot is set vaguely within the 'Perennial' storyline, but
can be read as separate (aka you don't need to read 'Perennial' to read this). However, if
you have read it then you will know very quickly just exactly where Gandalf went
Note #2: Taking a brief break from the angst that is Perennial, as I managed to
come home with a serious cold from my birthday vacation (thankfully, it did not hit until
after I got home) and it's usually best that I just stick to humor when I'm sick.
Unscheduled visits from the Grey Pilgrim were not uncommon for the hidden valley of
Rivendell. The wizard was a kind, steadfast friend to their beloved lord and the valley's
inhabitants quite looked forward to what would typically follow not long after his
arrival, mainly their lord's amusement at some inane thing or other that the Grey Wizard
would invariably end up saying or doing. It was not rare for the wizard to arrive in an
excessively perturbed manner either, as he did this particular time.
"Mithrandir, my friend, it has been some time since you graced my home with your
presence," Elrond said conversationally as he escorted his new guest into his study. An
annoyed grunt was the only acknowledgement he received from the disgruntled old
man. The elf lord arched an eyebrow curiously at his clearly ill-tempered friend.
There was a tale to this no doubt, and one he would surely hear about before the night was
out. "I was beginning to think you had found that ditch of yours."
"Ditch?" Gandalf blinked in confusion as he plopped down in one of the chairs facing
Elrond's desk. His bushy brows knitted together as he tried to recall just what they had
spoken of in the past that had involved a ditch, of all things. He swiftly came up empty
as the reference didn't ring any bells whatsoever in his mind. "What ditch?"
"Why, the one you were regaling me about during your last visit," Elrond said nonchalantly
as he circled around his desk and settled down gracefully into his chair. "Do you not
remember? 'Twas the one that you were going to go find and throw yourself in. I do believe
your reasoning was that doing such was the only way you'd find any peace."
"Oh, that," Gandalf waved his hand dismissively, but stopped in mid-wave so that he could
scratch thoughtfully at his beard. "Well, the idea does bear some merit. Maybe I
should find that ditch after all."
Elrond snorted indelicately, but decided it would be best to change the subject at this
point. He did not need to spend yet another night listening to his old friend moan and
groan about the state of Middle-earth and how a nice little fall into a ditch would solve
everything -for him, at least-. "I see that you have finally obtained a new sword."
His eyebrow arched up again at the very obvious grimace that flitted across the wizard's
countenance at his words. That was quite telling, perhaps this new sword was the source of
Mithrandir's most recent woes. Something about it was certainly making the wizard
Gandalf's eyes scanned the room as he tried to think of something, anything, to
remove the focus of the conversation from his latest acquisition. He found nothing, but he
had carried something of note from the last stop on his journey, perhaps it would
serve. "Arwen sends her love," the wizard said blandly as he dug around in his robes for
the object that just might save him some embarrassment. He grinned triumphantly as his
fingers closed around the slender scroll case, then yanked it out and presented it to the
mildly surprised elf.
"Ah, so that is where you have been," Elrond commented as he accepted the case, pleasure
shining deep in his eyes. It had been several years since he had heard any definite news
of note from out of Lorien and, admittedly, he had been getting a tad bit antsy. Usually
the news ended up being delayed for such a long time thanks to Galadriel and Celeborn not
wishing to inform him of yet another hellish incident visited upon their realm by
one of his children.
But, as much as he wished to read his daughter's communique immediately, he would not.
That would only serve Mithrandir's purpose, for surely the scroll had been produced as a
means to change the subject. "I will read it later, if you don't mind," Elrond announced
casually as he placed the scroll case to the side and then reached forward, indicating
that he would like something else from the wizard at the moment, "I would,
however, like to see that new sword of yours. Now."
Gandalf scowled at the almost command in the elven lord's words, but sighed in defeat at
the thinly veiled look of bald curiosity Elrond was giving him and went about unbuckling
the damnable thing. His dear friend would find out about his latest mortifying
predicament sooner or later, t'would be best if the elf heard about it from him rather
than someone else. That way the rumor mill wouldn't have too much of a field day at his
expense. "Knock yourself out," he groused under his breath as he finally handed it over.
Elrond frowned slightly at Mithrandir's distinct ill amusement, but mentally shrugged to
himself and bent a critical eye to the sword's hilt. It was of expert make, there was no
doubt about that. No metal could be crafted to such detail as this without the skills of
one who had spent a lifetime doing just that. "It is of dwarven make, is it not?" Elrond
asked absently as he drew the blade from its sheath, the polished metal eagerly catching
the waning light of day filtering in from the balcony. Yes, it was truly a master's touch
that had shaped this.
"Aye," Gandalf grumped as he scrunched down in his seat. His doom was fast approaching
now, for the elf lord would not fail to ask the question, the one he dreaded most
"A remarkable gift," Elrond muttered distractedly as he tested the blade's balance and
found it quite pleasing indeed. "What is it called?"
"Eheh," Gandalf barked bitterly, scrunching down even further at the startled look Elrond
sent his way. "Funny you should ask that."
Elrond blinked several times in mild surprise before quietly sheathing the sword in
question and handing it back to the wizard. So it was the sword that was the
problem, and its name appeared to be the source of the dilemma by all accounts. "What
happened?" he asked companionably, trying his best to sound encouraging, but not too eager. He didn't want to scare his friend off before at least hearing the start of the
"Your daughter happened," Gandalf snarled in disgust as he jerkily belted the cursed sword
back into its proper place.
"Oh dear," Elrond murmured sympathetically. He knew well just how difficult his
children could be when they felt like it. "What ever did she do now?"
"Well, I suppose it's my own fault, but really," Gandalf admitted wearily, his
shoulders drooping as he hesitantly began to recite his tale of woe to the incredibly
interested elf lord.
"I was showing off this thrice damned thing to Celeborn..."
"It is of excellent make," the Lord of the Golden Wood declared in appreciation as he
surveyed the sword in hand. It was of dwarven make to be sure, though certainly not made
for a dwarf, for none of the Naugrim would craft a blade quite so long for their own
personal use. "I am, however, quite surprised that the dwarves would gift someone not of
their people with such a kingly gift as this."
"Well, I've been doing some work here and there on their behalf," Gandalf said blithely as
the silver lord returned the blade to his hand.
"Oh really?" Celeborn frowned slightly, his eyes narrowing as old suspicions of Aule's
people were piqued by the wizard's offhand comment.
"Yes, really, and don't give me that look," Gandalf groused good-naturedly as he
resheathed his new, shiny sword. "I know that some of your distaste for them was well
earned at the time, and vice versa, but that was over an age ago, almost two, in fact.
Some hatchets are terribly overdue for being buried. Besides, the Istari weren't sent here
just to aid the elves, you know."
Celeborn looked skyward as if requesting patience from some deity or another before
turning his back on the wizard and putting a little distance between them. "I do not need
a lecture from you about dwarves of all things, Mithrandir. And as you say, my distaste
, as you put it, was well earned."
"Of course," Gandalf muttered, rolling his own eyes heavenward, beseeching the Valar for
their incredibly overdue counsel on dealing with the mule-headed inhabitants of Middle-
earth. They really were quite late on it; and he already had far too many complaints to
lodge at them when he saw them next as it was. Why did they insist upon him adding more to
the pile thanks to their tardiness?
Admittedly, Celeborn's distaste was well earned, for the elven lord was old, very,
very old. His memories easily encompassed Doriath and more, thus he could well recall
every little misstep made by the dwarves in their relations with the elves, as well as his
own race's mistakes in that regard. It was to his credit that he did not hold a deep
seated hatred for the dwarves, as some of his contemporaries did, but he was still highly
suspicious of them and would rather just avoid the problem instead of having to deal with
Gandalf supposed that was the best he could ask of this particular silver tree, for some
wounds, no matter how old they were, still ran deep. And at least Celeborn was nowhere
near as prickly about the subject as some others would be, certain individuals who
inhabited the great forest to the north being some of the first who came to mind. The
wizard winced at the memory of the great lengths the king of Mirkwood had gone to that one
time when Gandalf had made the mistake of mentioning the Lonely Mountain's original
inhabitants. No, there were definitely some hurts that the elves -or the dwarves for that
matter- were not eager to let go of at all.
Thankfully, the wizard was saved from having to come up with some awkward means of
quelling the tension rising between them by the timely arrival of a young elf maiden,
young by elven standards anyway. "Mithrandir! It is wonderful to see you again." Arwen
practically flew across the room, sweeping the Grey Pilgrim up in a swift, bone-creaking
embrace before leaning back so that she could get a better look at him. "I apologize for
taking so long to greet you, but I've been having extended lessons with Orophin of late
and tend to not hear of new arrivals until long after the fact."
"No apology is necessary, my dear, the favor of your smile is always a joy to behold, no
matter what the time," Gandalf grinned cheerfully as he gazed upon the lovely countenance
of his dearest friend's only daughter. It was a shame that he saw her more often than her
father, but there were some things that could not be changed, no matter how much one
wished to do so. "What's this about lessons?"
"Archery," Celeborn explained blandly as he rejoined the wizard and his granddaughter,
"She's somehow finagled Orophin into teaching her all that he knows about bow and arrow,
much to the chagrin of his brothers."
"Finagled is such a harsh word, grandfather, I simply asked it of him and being the
sweetheart that he is, he agreed," Arwen said merrily, her cheeks dimpling adorably from
an impish grin. "Besides, you never know when such knowledge will come in handy."
Celeborn shook his head in mild consternation, "The way you shower affection on that boy
is going to lead others to start questioning your intentions one of these days."
"Grandfather!" Arwen scowled in mock offense, "Orophin is like a baby brother to me, and
everyone knows that. Even Haldir does, and you know how oblivious he can be
when it comes to gauging the nuances of relationships."
"Of this I know, little star," Celeborn smiled kindly as he leaned down and gave his
granddaughter a gentle kiss upon her forehead, "I am simply teasing you."
Arwen pouted prettily for a moment, but it swiftly transformed into a cheeky grin at both
of their antics. There were very few that her grandfather felt close enough to to be so
light hearted around, that he would so easily tease her now in the presence of Mithrandir
showed how much he trusted the old wizard. It was always the little things with Celeborn,
but she knew that those were always the most precious.
Shaking her head, Arwen turned her attention back to their guest and finally noticed that
there was something rather different about his ensemble. "You have finally acquired a new
sword, it's about time. It was rather worrisome knowing that you were tramping around the
wilds without a proper weapon on hand."
Gandalf harrumphed at her concern, but couldn't help smiling nonetheless. He was
quite proud of his new blade after all. "My staff served me well enough when things
got rough, but yes, I do have a proper sword to my name now."
Arwen chuckled lightly at the wizard's sprightly demeanor, he really was quite proud of
himself this time. "May I see it?" she asked jovially.
"But of course," Gandalf answered gayly, his smile widening to epic proportions. Oh yes,
he was quite proud -perhaps overly so- of his latest acquisition. He handed the blade over
with an exaggerated flourish, eliciting yet another amused chuckle from the elf maiden.
Arwen's amusement quickly morphed into outright appreciation as she studied the wizard's
new sword with an appraising eye. She did not have expert knowledge of metallurgy, not
even close, but she had been around her brothers enough times when they were at the forge
to recognize the work of a master. Truly, Mithrandir had been gifted with a magnificent
blade. "Does it have a name yet?" she queried absently, her gaze not lifting from the
weapon for even a moment's time.
"Nay, I have yet to come up with something suitable," Gandalf explained distractedly, his
brows drawing together in thoughtful contemplation as he looked over the sword resting in
As such, the Grey Wizard did not take note of the unholy gleam that entered Arwen's eyes
at his words, nor did he notice Celeborn's vague look of ill-ease at his granddaughter's
expression. "Then may I have the great honor of naming it for you, dear friend?" Arwen
asked guilelessly, the unholy look belying the innocence of her request.
Gandalf smiled indulgently at Arwen's charming entreaty, completely ignoring Celeborn's
negative head shakes. They would have easily warned him of the dire lack of sense on his
part if only he had paid them heed. Alas, for he did not and eagerly agreed to her
request, "Of course you can."
Arwen beamed delightfully at his assent, looking almost like a darling elfling who had
just been told she could have a second helping of dessert. She immediately bent her mind
to the task, trying to come up with a suitable and grand name for the weapon of an Istar.
Celeborn shook his head in despair and glanced rather scathingly at the wizard in
question. "I knew that you could be a fool at times, Mithrandir, but I had not realized
that such foolishness ran quite so deep."
"Oh pish posh," Gandalf said briskly, his chipper expression marred by a slight grimace as
he remembered the last time Arwen had been allowed to name something and the disaster that
had resulted from it. But surely such embarrassments would not repeat themselves, Arwen
was an extremely intelligent young lady after all. Surely she would realize that a weapon
needed a name well suited to its purpose. "I am sure it will be fine, it is a sword after
all, not some artful statue or what have you. No doubt her eccentricities will be quelled
by the nature of the task."
Celeborn was prevented from detailing just where exactly that lack of concern would land
the wizard by the arrival of his dear lady, Galadriel. The Lady of Light swept gracefully
into the room, a welcoming smile upon her lips. She gave her granddaughter a brief curious
look before joining her lord and their old, esteemed friend. "Forgive the lateness of my
arrival, there are some duties that simply cannot be delayed without setbacks," she said
serenely, laying her hand above the wizard's heart by way of greeting.
"My, but it has a razor's edge."
The three elders glanced askance at the elf maiden, Galadriel's eyebrows arching slightly
in deepening curiosity. She looked over at Celeborn inquisitively and was rewarded with a
slight aggrieved shake of the head and a telling eye roll heavenward. Oh dear, it seemed
that their old friend had stepped in over his head again. Ah well, one of these days he
ought to be able to live and finally learn. Maybe. Eventually. Hopefully.
Mentally shaking off her amused concerns, Galadriel sedately broke the charged silence
created by her granddaughter's muttering, "You have been away from the Golden Wood for
quite some time, dear friend. An absence that is quite telling from the ragged state of
Gandalf scowled at the underlying chastisement in the lady's tone. He well remembered the
last time he had visited, when Galadriel had threatened to have her Galadhrim lock him up
in one of the highest flets if he did not go take a proper bath with all due haste. He
wasn't that bad, really. Neither the men or the dwarves he frequently worked
with made mention of his grooming, or lack thereof.
"Tell me truly, Mithrandir, is your infrequent visits to the elven realms the only
instances when you bathe?" Galadriel asked witheringly as she raked his form with an
appraising look. She did not wait for an aggravated answer from him as she reached forward
and fingered the forlorn edges of his long beard, "You are so scraggly, have the birds
begun to take up nest within your beard?"
Unfortunately, the Grey Wizard was not given the chance to come up with a properly
scathing retort to the lady's lackadaisical potshots at his manner of hygiene. For it was
at that very moment when Arwen piped up, her delighted voice instantly cutting through the
familiar teasing. Gandalf's doom had arrived.
"I've got it! The perfect name for the sword of Mithrandir shall be..."
Elrond couldn't help but laugh outright as the wizard's tale of woe wound down to its
inevitable conclusion. Gandalf scowled darkly at the highly amused elf lord sitting across
from him. "It's not funny."
"Oh yes it is," Elrond snickered hard as he attempted to get his hilarity under control
and only succeeded somewhat. "But you are correct, my friend, it is your own fault. You really ought to have known better."
"I thought it would be fine since the object that she was going to name was a
sword, but apparently I was wrong," Gandalf sighed halfheartedly as Elrond's
hilarity slowly quieted down to the occasional odd giggle. "Must she be so flighty about
something so important?"
"Yes, she must," Elrond said sympathetically, he had often been the victim of his
youngest's whimsy, thus could well understand the wizard's distress. "It is a part of her
nature, I would not have her any other way. Nor would you."
"No, I would not," Gandalf agreed reluctantly, but directed a heated scowl at the
offending lump of metal. He had been so proud of it... No doubt, these unsavory events
were just the Valar's way of highlighting his folly upon placing so much pride in a tool
of war. But still... "What am I going to do about this, Elrond? The dwarves will
ask what name has been given to such a magnificent looking sword and when they learn
of it they will not let me within ten feet of them!"
Elrond chuckled lightly at the wizard's scandalized expression, "Could you not rename it
"Of course not! And you know that," Gandalf grumped, slumping down in a vague attempt to
become one with his chair, "To do so would hurt Arwen's feelings and I'm not quite so much
of a cur as to do that."
Elrond smiled gently, touched by his old friend's careful regard for the sake of his
child's happiness, "Then there is only one recourse left to you, my friend, you must go
about finding yourself another sword and a suitable manner in which to relieve your person
of this one."
"Easily said, not so easily done," Gandalf grumbled in despair as he considered his
options, "Well, maybe the rangers will have some daring or dangerous mission scheduled for
when I visit them."
"You are going to join up with the rangers after you have departed our company?" Elrond
asked curiously, his interest piqued at the mention of the Dunedain.
"Aye," Gandalf replied companionably, his eyes growing distant as he thought of his
upcoming trek, "I want to take a look at Arathorn and Gilraen's new babe."
Elrond blinked in surprise, his thoughts jumbling to a halt at the odd tone in the
wizard's speech. "Do you sense something amiss?"
"No, at least not in the way that you mean," Gandalf said slowly, testing the words out in
his mind before giving them voice, "It is just a feeling, indistinct and nebulous, but I
think that this little Aragorn may prove to be more important in the grand scheme of
things than we can possibly imagine."
The elf lord gave the wizard a skeptical look, but did not attempt to brush aside the
almost fanciful turn their conversation had abruptly taken. He knew better than that, for
the gift of foreknowledge was not his alone. The Grey Pilgrim had remarkably accurate
hunches at times, and only a fool would ignore them.
Alas, for the fabled Beardslayer faded quickly from the annals of history, its existence
soon dwarfed by the great legend of Glamdring. However, whenever an inquiry was made about
that marvelous sword that the dwarves had crafted so expertly for him, the Grey Pilgrim
would mournfully announce that it had been lost during the struggle to drive the
Necromancer from Dol Guldur. This knowledge verily silenced all seekers, for to fall
whilst battling against such a dark foe was a worthy, if bleak, fate for such a wonderful