A Ring's Ransom (version two)
#1
In the year 2930 of the Third Age, a Man came to the House of Elrond from out of the Wild with a grim tale. A party of Rangers had been surprised by a band of hill-trolls and all but two of the Men had been slain. One had been taken by the trolls; the tale-bearer was the other, sent by the trolls to Elrond with a demand for ransom. Elrond had listened to the news, and then sent the Man off to the Healers; the trolls had not treated him kindly.

Elrond then took thought. When he had decided himself upon his course, he summoned to him those that he needed.

In a short time, three Elves arrived in Elrond’s private chamber to break upon his thoughts; his two sons, Elladan and Elrohir, and one other. They stood silently as Elrond informed them of what had occurred. Then he instructed his sons where to seek the Man that he bid them to find, and he blessed them and sent them forth.

"Tell him that I shall do all that I can, but that I do not hold out too much hope," Elrond said as they made to depart. "He knows well enough how treacherous trolls can be."

"As did his father," said Elladan.

When his sons had departed, Elrond sat with the third Elf standing before him. His name was Mordomin.

"What has this to do with me?" Mordomin said.

Mordomin was an Elf that had returned to Middle-earth to fight in the Wars of the First Age. During that time, Mordomin had been captured by Sauron, who had placed a curse upon his right arm that had blackened it from fingertips to elbow. That arm afterward contained within it great strength, but it was also tainted by the malice of Sauron. Sometimes Mordomin was not in control of his blackened arm, and he had had to learn to be an able swordsman with his left hand. He also learned from hard experience to only wield weapons with his uncursed hand when friends were nearby. But there were times when the unnatural strength of his right arm was a blessing rather than a curse, in spite of the ill-intent of Sauron.

Because of his curse, and the rumors of evil deeds that it had caused him to commit, Mordomin made the Elves of the Valley uneasy. He dwelt far up the ravine in a small cottage, Taurn Daerebor, and seldom came forth unbidden. This day he had been so bidden.

"I want you to take my answer back to the trolls," Elrond said.

"’What might that answer be?" Mordomin asked.

"That The Master of Rivendell does not countenance blackmail," Elrond said.

"I see," Mordomin said. He thought for a moment. "In that case, I shall be off to the forge."

"To the forge?" Elrond said.

"To borrow a heavy hammer," Mordomin said. "Swords are of little use against trolls."

"It is to a parley that I send you, not a war," Elrond said.

"Without the gold that was demanded, and an insolent answer instead? Do not take me for a fool," Mordomin said. "If you thought that this were to be a negotiation, you would not have sent for me. You know in your heart that the captive is already dead."

"I fear it is so," Elrond said. "Will you still go?"

"Yes," Mordomin said. "I shall leave in the morning."


In the Ettenmoors, north of Rivendell, there was a clearing. In that clearing, there was a fire. Surrounding that fire were six great trolls, enjoying a grisly feast. A seventh person was watching from the edge of the clearing. After a time, he stepped into the light.

"Oy!" one of the trolls cried. "What are you about, then?"

"I have come from Elrond of Rivendell," the newcomer said. "I was sent to speak to you about the captive that you had taken." He nodded to the bones in the fire. "I assume that was he."

The trolls laughed.

"You are too late for that one," the leader said. "But perhaps Elrond will pay us something for you." And he reached for the intruder. The newcomer darted back.

"Hold! You have not yet been given the message of Master Elrond!"

The leader sat back upon his heavy haunches.

"Very well!" he said. "Give me his message."

The newcomer unslung the heavy hammer from his back.

"My name is Mordomin. And I am the message."


A short time later, Mordomin appeared in the private chambers of Elrond once again. He sat, and was plainly weary, having come directly from the road.

"I did not save the captive," Mordomin said. "As you foresaw, he was dead before ever I arrived. But I delivered your message."

Elrond bowed his head.

Then Elrond said, "Are you sure that the dead Man that you found was the one that I sent you to find?"

Mordomin looked astonished.

"Are there many troll camps outside of Rivendell in which they hold a Man hostage and send demands of ransom to you?"

Elrond laughed. "It is not so."

Mordomin did not join him in his mirth.

"Was the Man that you sent me to find the wearer of this?" Mordomin asked. And he held forth the Ring of Barahir.

"Yes," Elrond said, and he reached for the ring. But Mordomin closed his hand around it.

"This I will keep," Mordomin said. "Both as a trophy of war, and by inheritance. For it is the Ring of Finrod Felagund, which he redeemed from the heir of Barahir by his torture and death in the dungeons of Sauron. I am the nearest relative of Finrod upon these shores, and therefore I lay claim to this ring."

"That ring was given to Barahir as a symbol of unending friendship, not a single deed to be reclaimed," Elrond said.

"Do not speak to me of words that were spoken before ever you were born, as if you know them better than I," Mordomin said.

Elrond said, "You are angry with me that I did not tell you that you were seeking to rescue Arador, the Heir of Isildur."

Mordomin nodded.

"At first I was filled with fury," Mordomin said. "But then I realized that regaining this ring for my family was sufficient revenge for your deceit."

A sudden insight came upon Elrond.

"You knew when I sent you on this mission that it was Arador you were to seek." Elrond said. "To obtain his ring from his dead hand decided you to go. How did you know?"

"You were cunning in your conversation before me with your sons; never did you name the one they were to seek," Mordomin said. "But how many Men are there in all of Middle-earth for which Master Elrond would go to such trouble?"

"That ring does not belong to you, Mordomin," Elrond said.

Mordomin stood.

"I weary of this conversation," Mordomin said. "The ring is mine. Call your guards to accost me, and take the ring by force if you can. Otherwise we are done, and must disagree."

"We disagree," Elrond said. "I shall call no guards. We shall speak of this again when our hearts are cooler."

"My mind is made, and shall not change," Mordomin said. "But what matter is it to you, Master Elrond? For surely you do not claim ownership of this ring.

"As for the Heir of Isildur, he knows where to find me, if he wishes to dispute its ownership with me."

Then Mordomin departed the House of Elrond, and returned to Taurn Daerebor, his dark, lonely cottage upon the heights. But Elrond resolved to keep the matter of the ring from the Heir of Isildur, and to somehow re-acquire the Ring of Barahir by his own means. And so Arathorn, son of Arador, never knew that the Ring of Barahir had been lost. Rather, he thought that Elrond held it in his keeping, and thought that good.

Nor did Aragorn, son of Arathorn, know of the loss of the ring until this tale was told to him by Elrond. And that was on the day that Elrond gave to him the ring.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#2
Quote:Mordomin unslung the heavy hammer from his back.

"I am the message," Mordomin said.
That is the most terse description of a battle that I have seen in some time. LOL!
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#3
I enjoyed this story. Are you going to write more to it? Or more like it?
Part the mists and look beyond... there you will find Avalon.
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#4
Thank you for letting me know that you liked the story. As a matter of fact, I have a follow-up nearly completed, which will explain how Elrond retrieved the Ring of Barahir from Mordomin in time to give it to Aragorn. I feel as though this sequel is almost required of me, since we know that Aragorn did receive the ring.

There is also another story about Mordomin, The King's Champion which you might like since you liked this one.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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