Disclaimer: I do not own The Lord of the Rings or any related books...the Tolkien estate owns those. I do not own Doctor Who...the BBC owns that. I do not own Discworld...Terry Pratchett owns that. I do not own the PPC...Jay and Acacia own that. I do not own Gilbert and Sullivan...Gilbert and Sullivan own themselves (or they would, if they weren't dead). I do not own Les Miserables...the people who own Les Mis own that. I do not own "Daughter of Elshadeth"...shelly holmes owns that, and she is more than welcome to keep it. I do not bloody own anything that is not Maria Falcone or Crispin Reed.
“Kalak pel kasa kree salvak!” Crispin screeched in pain as he landed on the floor. He opened his eyes and woefully looked up at the door he had walked into. A duct-taped sign identified it as ‘
Crispin glanced at the piece of paper with his transfer assignment on it. ‘Department of Mary-Sues, Agent Maria Falcone. RC #24601.’ He’d found it fairly quickly, considering he’d been walking around with his eyes closed. After checking that the contents of his pockets—a copy of The Light Fantastic and a banana—had not been damaged in the fall, Crispin stood up and knocked on the door. After a minute of relative silence, he decided to forget etiquette and just go in.
The moment Crispin opened the door, his ears were assaulted by very loud orchestral music and an equally loud voice singing unnaturally fast from somewhere behind the console.
“I’m very well acquainted too with matters mathematical
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical
About binomial theorems I’m teeming with a lot o’ news
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse!
I’m very good and integral and differential calculus
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of...”
The singing stopped abruptly. The head of a young woman popped up from behind the console. She had short brown hair, darker-than-average skin, and a wilted lilac tucked behind her ear. She, like Crispin, wore all black, but while the patch on Crispin’s sleeve had a flame on it, hers had a potted cactus. “Hi! Are you Crispin?”
“Yeah. Agent Maria Falcone?”
“That’s me. Pleased to meet you!” Maria walked around the console and offered her hand to Crispin. Crispin shook it, wondering how someone who worked for the PPC could possibly be this cheerful.
I hope they haven’t given me another psycho, he thought grimly. “Pleased to meet you, too. Um, why is there a lilac behind your ear?”
“Because it’s May 25th. I was wearing a towel, too, but it got too hot.”
Crispin nodded in understanding. “I completely forgot about that. I kind of lose track of time.”
“Me, too. I only remembered because some agents from Bad Slash were talking about it at breakfast. And your nose is bleeding.”
“Oh.” Crispin dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out a rumpled tissue. He dabbed it to his nose; it came away crimson. “Damn.”
“What did you do?”
“Walked into the door.” Maria looked at him crosswise. “My eyes were closed.”
“Oh. Trying to find the place?”
Having entirely run out of things to talk about, the two agents stared at each other in awkward silence for several minutes. Inspiration suddenly dawned on Maria’s face as she though of something to say. “So…”
The Narrative Laws of Comedy being what they were, the console chose this moment to let out a loud [BEEP-BEEEEP BEEP-BEEP-BEEP BEEP-BEEP BEEP BEEEP BEEEEEEP! BEEP-BEEP BEEEP-BEEP BEEP-BEEP-BEEE-EEEP BEEEEP-BEEP!]
Maria thwacked the console with a black towel that had been draped over a nearby chair. The beeping quickly died. She scanned the Words that appeared on the console. She couldn’t have gotten past the first paragraph when she screamed, “Elves don’t AGE!” and thwacked the console again. Crispin tried to see the Words himself, but the girl was blocking the screen.
After a few more screams and a great deal of thwacking, Maria turned to Crispin. “Let’s go. And bring extra Bleeprin.”
“Where are we going?”
“Mirkwood,” Maria growled, and Crispin become convinced that the Marquis de Sod had, once again, partnered him with another psycho.
It was quiet in the forest. So quiet that only an elf would have heard the faint rustle as a cloak slid over the fallen leaves. But here was an elf, and he heard the sound and was drawn by it…
Crispin assumed that, since this was Mirkwood, the Elf was Legolas, because in a Suethor’s mind, there were no other Elves in Mirkwood worth mentioning. This assumption was the only way to identify the Elf, due to the author’s deliberate ambiguity.
If Maria had not said that they were going to Mirkwood, Crispin would have been sure that they were in Lothlórien, for the quiet and sun-dappled wood didn’t seem much like the spider-infested forest Bilbo Baggins had encountered. “Charge one: Altering the nature of Mirkwood,” he muttered. Being a former agent of the Department of Geographical Aberrations, this crime against Arda cut particularly deep.
Crispin glanced over at Maria, who was watching the presumed Legolas with fierce concentration. Her disguise as an Elf had lightened Maria’s dark skin and lengthened her hair until it was halfway down her back; she also seemed to have grown several inches. “Um,” Crispin said, a little afraid to speak after Maria’s attack on the console. “Um!”
“Huh?” Maria stopped staring at Legolas long enough to look at Crispin. “What?”
“Nothing. It was just really quiet.”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
He moved silently through the trees towards the place where he had last heard the sound, ready to defend his aging father’s kingdom with his life, if it should come to it.
“Elves. Don’t. Age.” Maria’s eyes narrowed. “Can we kill her now?”
“We haven’t even seen her yet.”
“I don’t care. I want to kill her.”
“Let’s get a few more charges first,” Crispin suggested. “It shouldn’t take long—we’ve already got two charges in as many paragraphs.”
They watched from a safe distance as Presumably-Legolas followed the sound to a clearing, where a cloaked woman in black—“Why do they always wear black?” Crispin whispered—was drinking from a “rivulet.”
“I think ‘stream’ might have been a better word,’ said Crispin. Maria shushed him.
“It can hear us. Shut up.”
Legolas approached the figure and pointed an arrow at it. “Rise stranger, your life ends if you draw your sword.”
Crispin added ‘abuse of commas’ to his mental list of charges.
The figure rose slowly, turned and a soft voice spoke “Lord, I do not know your name, but if like me you are an enemy of the dark lord then I can but hope you will allow me fair conduct until I may pass my message to The King of the Greenleaf.”
Maria stifled a laugh. “Has Mirkwood ever been called ‘Greenleaf’?”
“Well, Eryn Lasgalen translates to ‘Wood of Greenleaves,’ and it’s been called ‘
The elf who was possibly Legolas started speaking again. “I know him who you seek…”
“Whom you seek,” Maria corrected furiously. Crispin added ‘general grammatical confusion’ to the list.
“…he is my father, I am his only son, Legolas,” said Legolas, who immediately turned from a generic elf into the Prince of Mirkwood (who looked remarkably like Orlando Bloom). “I will be pleased to lead you to him but I am sure you understand that I will not lay aside my bow, or remove the arrow from its string.”
Maria pulled out her C.A.D. and pointed it at Legolas. It let out a beep like an angry cricket, which caused Legolas and the clichéd cloaked woman to look in their direction. Both agents dove to the ground. Maria showed Crispin the screen of the C.A.D.
[Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood. Male elf. Canon. OOC: 29.42%]
“Well, that’s not too bad,” Crispin whispered. “No rupture.”
Maria gave him a skeptical look. “We’re not even a page into the story yet.”
“How long is it?”
“Thirty-three pages. If he keeps going at this rate, he’ll be…” Maria paused, calculating. “…about nine hundred and fifty percent out of character by the end of the story.”
“Oh. That would be bad.”
“Yeah.” The two characters were moving now, Legolas walking behind the cloaked woman.
“Hey, Maria?” Crispin asked as they followed, keeping their distance so that the OC wouldn’t hear them. “How does she know the way? Shouldn’t Legolas be leading, or at least telling her where to go?”
“Haven’t you learned by now not to apply logic to these fics?” Maria was looking at the Words again. “They’re going to keep walking until evening. We don’t miss anything but some stumbling from the Sue—apparently, she’s injured. Wounded in the battle that destroyed her people, yadda yadda yadda. Mind if we skip ahead?”
When Crispin got a good look at where they had portalled to, he suppressed a laugh. “You must have set it wrong; this is Lothlórien.”
Maria shook her head. “No, this is Thranduil’s palace. And yes, I mean ‘palace.’ Also called a ‘castle.’” She pointed at the Words.
As they drew within sight of the castle and were able to see the platforms in the trees reached by thin, curling stairways and a network of bridges…
It did look remarkably like Lothlórien. As a former agent of DOGA, Crispin was outraged at this further mutilation of Mirkwood. Couldn’t they understand that not every elf in Arda lived like Galadriel?
They followed Legolas and the Sue (who would not get a name for another four pages) up to the ‘Great Hall,’ where King Thranduil sat on his throne. As the Words had said, the king was aging; his hair, which had been described in The Hobbit as ‘golden,’ was graying and his face was wrinkled.
When they were inside, Legolas saw his father sitting in his throne and called his name urgently but almost before he had time to salute him, the lady had thrown off his arm and run the few steps to his throne, and holding out her hand had hurled a ball of light upwards, seemingly with her last remaining strength.
The light blossomed into a plane, which changed to a scene in a castle room, with a mountainous view out of the domed window. An old man stood there, and behind him guards could be seen, barricading the door with furniture and their own bodies as muffled sounds of battle sounded from outside. He spoke urgently;
“My brother Elf, I send this, my daughter, to you with this message. I will soon die- my warriors give my lives for this letter at this very moment. The armies of the dark lord have destroyed Elshadeth, have ripped crops from the land, torn up houses and watered the earth with the blood of our people. They move for Mirkwood, and they have a new weapon; fire that springs from water and powder, destroying all in it’s path. They have broken our walls, those that were thought indestructible even from an army ten thousand trolls. Safeguard my daughter. She is the last of our land and carries our bloodline within her blood and my ancestors’ sword, that which clove the helms of giants and slew balrog. Do this and my death and my peoples’ deaths will not have been in vain.”
“Can you get any more cliché?” Maria muttered. They stood next to the _ncanonical guards in the back of the ‘Great Hall,’ trying to look like they belonged there. Crispin did his best to look solemn.
Having delivered her clichéd, glowing message, the Sue fell dramatically to her knees, and her cloak conveniently fell off to reveal a face so beautiful that Legolas immediately fell in love with her. Of course.
Her hair was dark, like polished cedar wood and it framed a face as white the snow on the mountains of the North. Her eyes stared at his face, unseeing, like two of the unfathomable blue ice lakes which lay in the west.
Maria and Crispin glanced at each other, the unspoken question of “What ice lakes, and why are they blue and not white?” passing between them. Maria muted her CAD. and pointed it at Legolas, who knelt beside the unconscious Sue.
[Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood. Male elf. Canon. OOC: 58.3% WARNING! CHARACTER RUPTURE IMMINENT! IMMEDIATE RISK OF NEUTRON FLOW POLARITY REVERSAL!]
Maria quickly turned the CAD off before it shorted. Before Crispin could say anything, there was a sudden lurch that reminded him of a Portkey from a Harry Potter crossover. The room blurred, then came back into focus. There was less light coming through the windows now, and the Sue had been removed.
“How far are we into the story now?” Crispin asked. The _ncanonical guards had also disappeared, but even canon characters would notice them if they weren’t careful, so he kept his voice to a whisper.
Maria glanced at the Words. “Two. Pages.” She let out a groan and sank down to the floor. “I dreamed a dream in days gone by,” she sang through clenched teeth, “when elves were young and fics worth reading…I dreamed that Sues would always die…I dreamed that canon would be leading…but the fangirls come at night…with their voices sweet like Splenda…as they tear canon apart…as they turn fandom to shame…”
* * *
Crispin groaned and put his head in his hands. “How many pages now?”
“We just started page five.”
“And how many pages are there again?”
“Cruk. Do we have to sit through this?”
“Yes. There’s a lot of violations in this chapter.”
Crispin leaned against the wall of the ‘council chamber,’ trying to look like he belonged there. Other than Thranduil and Legolas, who were both dangerously close to character rupture, everyone in the room was an OC, which meant that everyone could see them. Maria’s CAD was hidden under her cloak, and she’d had to turn it off after it kept defying the mute function.
The Sue was just entering the chamber, and the lovesick look on Legolas’s face caused Maria to make a soft gagging noise.
The next time he saw her was that evening. She was being supported by the same nurse across a walkway, with two pages behind her, should she chance to fall. The council were seated; near the King, his four main advisors seated most prominently. Legolas stood by the door, symbolically welcoming everybody to his father’s house with a shallow bow, which they were supposed to return with a deeper reverence. However, when the Lady drew near he offered the same sweeping bow he had made before. This was in public recognition of her royalty, though no one had yet told him what her country was, and also in private reaffirmation of his respect for her courage…
“That was a long paragraph,” Crispin muttered. “Can we charge her for that?”
The Sue took her seat directly across from Thranduil, and Legolas stood behind his father, which (of course) meant he was looking right at the Sue for the entire meeting.
She had been dressed in the palest of pale blues today, with a dove grey under sleeves and a thin silver diadem, showing her station, even though she could not wear her ancestral circlet. Her hair had been brushed out, and a narrow pendant shaped as silver leaves graced her neck. She looked stunning, despite the fact that she had barely a bloom in her white cheeks.
“Palest of pale blues? Barely a bloom in her white cheeks?” Maria repeated. “Can this description get any more redundant? And what ‘ancestral circlet’ are they talking about?”
The council went on, filled with recited lines from the elves and a tragic retelling of the destruction of the Sue’s people. Oh, and the revelation that the Sue’s people were telepathic.
Legolas was confused. Surely only the very old and wise could communicate through each others’ minds.
Another council member evidently had more knowledge than Legolas on the subject. “So it is true,” he exclaimed, hissing through his teeth, “The people of Elshadeth are the true blood.”
“What kind of a name is Elshadeth?” Crispin whispered. “Is that supposed to be Elvish?”
“Something like that,” Maria replied.
The Sue continued her angsty narrative, relating how her father was tortured while their minds were ‘linked’—Maria gave a very nasty growl at that—and how she hid from orcs in a cave. The councilor who had spoken before was being antagonistically skeptical.
His face was slightly twisted, and he sneered as he asked, “A cave? You were able to hide from Orcs in a cave? Would they not check?”
Legolas was about to reprimand him but was stopped by the lady herself. She stood unassisted, anger lending her strength, her face white and taut, “You dare suggest I lie? I
Crispin added several more charges to his mental list, including ‘making elves sneer without proper cause’ and ‘causing light to do un-light-like things.’ A muffled beep came from the bag that was hanging from his waist. Glancing around to see that the elves weren’t looking at him, Crispin opened the bag and surreptitiously glanced at his CAD.
Crispin hadn’t been using his CAD, because it was still set for the Department of Geographical Aberrations, but apparently, it wanted to feel useful.
“Okay, I will,” Crispin whispered. Who would’ve thought that a CAD could get its feelings hurt? “Just don’t beep.”
Crispin imagined that he saw the word “Okay” flash briefly on the screen before the CAD turned off. Meanwhile, Thranduil had yelled at the sneering councilor and decided to send Legolas and the aforementioned councilor to Elrond’s council.
“Why is it always the Council?” Maria complained as the elves filed out of the room. “Can’t they find some other place to join the story?”
“At least the Sue’s not coming,” Crispin said, trying to be positive. “Just Legolas and that annoying councilor who has no name.” He took a look at the words. “Oh, I lied; he does have a name, it’s Greybeard. Despite the fact that an elf with grey hair or a beard is extremely unlikely. Do we have to kill him?”
“I think so. And who says the Sue’s not coming?”
They followed Legolas down to the stables, where he packed his bags and checked his arrows. (“Why is he doing that in a stable?” Crispin wondered out loud.) Thranduil entered the stable shortly after his son, and he clearly had some important (and inane) exposition to share.
“You will have one more warrior riding with you,” he beckoned Legolas closer, “
“Brain…melting down…from…comma…abuse…” Maria moaned and sank to the floor, resting her head on a pile of straw. “And I told you the Sue would be coming,” she added.
Crispin drew out his CAD, which did not beep (had it actually listened to him?), and pointed it at the two elves.
[Thranduil, King of Mirkwood. Elf male. Canon. OOC: 52.1% WARNING: RISK OF CHARACTER RUPTURE! Cause of OOC-ness:
“You’re welcome,” Crispin muttered incredulously.
[Legolas Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood. Elf male. Canon. OOC: 89.2% WARNING! CHARACTER RUPTURE! REVERSED POLARITY OF MR. JELLY!!! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! BLOODY TURN ME OFF BEFORE I BLOW UP!!!!!]
Crispin quickly complied, switching the CAD off just as it started to smoke. The device’s unusual intelligence was getting rather disconcerting; he’d never head of one referring to itself in the first person before. Of course, this was the PPC, so it was certainly possible. Crispin stuck the CAD in his pocket, making a mental note to talk to Makes-Things about it after they killed the Sue.
The sight of Rivendell nestling in the green valley was a sight truly welcome to the travellers when at last they reached it.
Rivendell (which was, at least, spelled correctly) was a welcome sight for Crispin and Maria, too, as they stumbled along behind the Sue and her companions. Maria had insisted that they suffer through the last two chapters in order to build up the list of charges, which meant that they had been forced to watch painfully stilted dialogue and a battle scene in which twelve elves fought forty goblins and came away with only scratches. The Sue had been utterly useless in the battle, as she was apparently too short for her longsword and didn’t know how to use it.
However, the comfort the two agents felt upon arriving at Rivendell was short-lived, for after portalling through several pointless scenes, they found themselves at the famous Council of Elrond. Crispin and Maria groaned in unison.
“Do we have to sit through this?” Crispin muttered. Maria nodded solemnly.
“This should be the last scene, though. After this, canon will be officially and horribly breached.” She started singing under her breath. (Again.)
Away, away! My heart’s on fire
I burn this base deception to repay
This very night my vengeance dire
Shall glut itself in gore. Away, away!
The beginning of the council was typically confused, a conglomeration of bookverse and movieverse that made Maria quietly curse the author’s mother. Crispin’s mental list had nearly doubled by the time Arwen led
“This is your tenth companion. Protect her as you do Frodo, for even if you destroy evil, you may still be without Good.”
Legolas was staring at the figure, transfixed. It was
Maria and Crispin looked at each other with grim determination. It was time for the Sue to die.
Maria pulled her disassembled bow out of her pack and quickly put it together. As she strained to hook the string over the end, Crispin noticed something odd.
“Is that bow canon?” he whispered, eyeing the curved piece of wood. “It doesn’t look right.”
Maria shrugged. “Um, no. It’s a Saracen bow, from the Robin Hood continuum. I swiped it off a Sue who claimed to be Djaq’s twin sister.”
“Huh.” Crispin pulled out his weapon of choice, a glass sphere filled with highly flammable liquid. (Which was at least as uncanonical as Maria’s bow, but it was very good for burning unwanted kingdoms.) “Should we do it now?”
“Wait until she’s alone. I’ll hold her, you get that councilor.”
After the council had ended, Maria followed the Sue while Crispin stalked Greybeard. The elf noticed he was being followed relatively quickly, and once he was aware of Crispin’s presence, he demonstrated the elven talent for running. Crispin, who still had the mind and instincts of a human even though he had the body of an elf, tripped over ill-placed furniture several times before he finally tackled the elf just outside of Frodo’s bedroom.
“Greybeard of Mirkwood, you are charged with acting in a manner unsuitable to an elf, having a dumb name, sneering without due cause, being an accessory to a Mary-Sue, and for being an antagonistic git with no noticeable purpose. You are hereby sentenced to death. Good-bye.” Crispin thought about using the fire-sphere, but decided that that would be cruel and bashed the elf’s head against the wall instead.
“Shit,” Crispin muttered, suddenly realizing that Maria had the portal. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
The CAD beeped. Crispin pulled it out.
[Greybeard of Mirkwood. Elf male. Non-canon. Deceased. Recommended method of disposal: Burn Greybeard.]
“Thanks. I would’ve thought of that.” Crispin threw the fire-sphere (it did have a proper name, but he kept forgetting it) and watched the golden flames turn the uncanonical corpse into ash. (DoSAT had made the fire especially for the DOGA—it could burn through anything, even bone. Strangely, it didn’t effect anything canonical…Makes-Things had said something about micro-plotholes, but Crispin hadn’t really understood it.)
There was a high-pitched scream, rather like the sound a five-year-old makes when she skins her knee.
Maria had Rennes of Elshadeth in a headlock, gasping out charges as she struggled with the screaming Sue. “…mucking about with the nature of Mirkwood, creating an uncanonical land, giving yourself telepathic powers, rampant comma abuse, doing weird things with light, having a cliché magic sword, disrupting the Naturally Nine, wreaking havoc with canon characters—specifically Legolas and Thranduil—general bad grammar, and being a Mary Sue!”
A minute later, Crispin and Maria pushed the arrow-riddled body of
“Really?” Maria closed the portal to Mordor and opened another one back to their
“I’m not sure. He kind of went insane right after. This really bad Harry Potter fic displaced
Maria’s A/N: Well, that was interesting. And we didn’t even get to the good parts, where there were Designated Misogynistic Bastards and
“The Major-General’s Song” is from The Pirates of Penzance, by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Maria paraphrases “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.
“Away, away!” is also from The Pirates of Penzance.
And in case anyone cares, the console is trying to beep to the tune of “The Minstrel Boy.”
Crispin’s A/N: *is too drunk on Bleepka to say anything*
Doctor Who quotes:
“Kalak…salvak” is from The Christmas Invasion, and was said originally by the brilliant David Tennant. I hope I have spelled it correctly, and if I have not, please let me know.
Any references to the reversed polarity of anything are paraphrased from Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor.
The word “cruk” is a common swear used in many of the Doctor Who novels. I first encountered it in Human Nature, but it’s been in a great deal of them.
“Danger, Will Robinson!” is an oft-used line from the sci-fi TV series Lost in Space, spoken by the Robot.
Maria is referring to the BBC series Robin Hood. There has not actually been any twin sisters of Djaq in fics that I have found, although there are a startling amount of Sues, considering that there are only twenty-two Robin Hood fics in the Pit.