The Game of the Gods, 24.
Do not own the Tolkien characters, as per usual. Also, I don't own the drow or their goddess; those are property of Wizards of the Coast.
The Game of the Gods, 24
"Just one," Morgoth pleaded.
Varda sighed. "You know that your whining never does you any good. It was what got Eru angry at you in the first place."
"That was singing."
"Whining," said Varda firmly. "Or whinging, if you prefer that word."
"Just one," Morgoth said, and this time added so much deliberate whine to his voice that Varda winced.
"All right," she granted unwillingly. "Just one, before we go to seek Fëanor."
"Do you have any idea where he is?"
"I know where to begin looking for him," said Varda. "He'll be trying to get the Silmaril that Maglor dropped in the fiery chasm, I shouldn't wonder, since he knows we have Eärendil well-guarded. Vairë wove that event into her webs, as she did everything about the history of Arda. I've sent for her to bring that tapestry, and that should give us a map."
"But it's taking her some time to find it," said Morgoth.
"Well, yes," said Varda, giving him a strange look. "Endless halls, one tapestry, her own antipathy to Fëanor being returned to Mandos to criticize her weaving... I expect it to take a while."
"So we have time to play one Sue that I can win, and you won't oppose me."
"I never said that."
"You thought it," Morgoth pressed triumphantly. When he could stand to look past the shining starlight into Varda's eyes, he found her greatest weakness. Her emotions always shone there, whether she was furious or joyful.
Varda hesitated, then sighed. "Play one, without opposition from me. But I can't do anything about the stupidity that got you last time."
"Don't worry," said Morgoth exultantly, digging in his box of Sues. "This time, reality shall work for me-"
He stopped, and stared. Two of the slots near the very back of the Sue box were empty, save for a folded piece of paper placed carefully in each of them. Morgoth picked them up, wondering, and unfolded them. Each bore two words, in Maedhros's handwriting. Morgoth would have recognized it anywhere. Deadly or not with a sword in his left hand, Maedhros hadn't figured out how to hold a quill that well.
Morgoth shook his head, and selected the appropriate Sue.
"Hurry up, Morgoth," Varda called. "The endless halls aren't that endless."
Morgoth stood up hurriedly, refusing to worry about what Maedhros obviously wanted him to worry about. They were going to recapture the nutty Elf and his even nuttier father soon, and put them somewhere where they could trouble him no longer. That was the goal.
Morgoth placed his Sue on the board. Varda sighed. "Another cross-world one?"
"This one works."
Varda waved a hand. "As you will."
Zneirra dug further and further, desperately, the stone scratching her delicate ebony-black hands and making blood drip down them. But behind her was the greater pain, the greater danger. Behind her lay her mother, Matron Akizz'nizt, and the merciless priestesses of the Spider Queen. Zneirra's only chance was to make it to another world, as she had heard those digging deeply enough in the tunnels could sometimes do.
A voice laughed mockingly behind her, and called something in the tongue of the drow.
"Vith," Zneirra swore softly, as the stone continued to stand before her. Tears ran down her face. She did not have the heart of an evil dark elf, and for that she was going to die.
The stone gave way abruptly before her, and instead of hard rock, there was the softness of the Demiplane of Shadow. Zneirra lurched forward at once, grateful as it curled around her.
She woke in sunlight that stung her eyes, on the bank of a rolling stream. Carefully, Zneirra stood up, squinting, and looked down at her reflection in the water.
A young drow maiden gazed back at her, ebony of skin, her long, thick white hair carefully bound behind her sharply pointed ears with a band of blue stone. Her eyes would glow red in the darkness with her heat vision, but now she could just barely make out that they were shining a brilliant blue.
That wasn't all that was shining a brilliant blue, Zneirra realized. There was a pair of eyes behind her.
She spun, and found herself facing an arrow-
The table shook, and Morgoth had to grab for his Sue before she tumbled. He glared at Varda. "You said you weren't going to do that."
"I didn't do that," said Varda with a frown. "It's probably Fëanor, hunting for the Silmaril."
"What does he want with them, anyway?" Morgoth asked, his curiosity overcoming his impatience to finish the story. "They're just jewels."
Varda stared at him. "You are the last one in the world who can say that without hypocrisy."
Morgoth smiled for a moment, then realized Varda hadn't meant it as a compliment, and returned to his Sue.
The ground shook again, but this time he ignored it.
She spun, and found herself facing an arrow, and a pale-skinned elf on the other end of it. She shrank away from him, since she had heard all her life how the darthiir, the faerie elves, had driven the drow underground and would kill them if they had the chance.
If not for the protection of the Spider Queen. But Zneirra had forsaken that evil goddess, and would never follow her again.
The elf said something angrily in a language she didn't know. Zneirra whispered a quick spell of tongues.
"-doing here in Mirkwood?"
"Mirkwood?" Zneirra asked, in what was her own language to her ears but would sound as the elf's own language to him. "Is that where I am?"
He looked at her curiously. "Of course. Where did you think you were?"
"I don't know," whispered Zneirra. "I came from another world- my name is Zneirra Tal'Abluth- who are you?"
"Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood."
"And you don't hate me?"
"Why should I?"
Zneirra fainted from sheer shock, not noticing as Legolas caught her in his arms.
"There, you see," said Morgoth, looking up at Varda. "The Elves of Middle-earth have no hatred of dark-skinned elves, since they never met any."
Varda wasn't paying attention to him, instead swatting something out of her hair. When she had finished swatting it, she held it out to him in perplexity. Morgoth stared, then shrugged. "It's a smashed spider. So what?"
"There are few spiders in Valinor," said Varda. "Vairë doesn't like the competition. Where did this one come from?"
"I don't know," said Morgoth, not caring that he really did whine now. "Let me finish the story!"
Varda sighed and lowered her head onto her hands. "Fine."
Beneath them, the floor rumbled again.
Legolas gazed on the woman in his arms, and felt nothing but awe. True, she was not like any elf-maiden he had ever beheld, being shorter and far darker of skin, but she was slender and graceful, and the shining blue eyes were the mirrors of his own.
The mirrors of his own...
Legolas stiffened, gaping at the unconscious Zneirra. Could it be true? Could this strange maiden from another world be his One, his soulmate he would spend the rest of his eternal existence with?
"Morgoth..." Varda growled, swatting at another spider.
"It's not that big a change to the world," Morgoth argued, swatting at a spider on his own shoulder. Stupid things. Probably a reminder from Ungoliant. "Elves are monogamous anyway."
"Not to soulmates."
Morgoth shrugged. "You said you'd let me win this one."
Varda sighed and settled back.
Zneirra woke to find herself in a comfortable bedchamber, and when she turned her head, Prince Legolas sat not far away. She smiled weakly at him, and then gazed around the room.
"Where are we?"
"In my father's palace beneath the earth," said Legolas. "I know that you want sunshine and open air, but I thought you should also have rest, and in Mirkwood, this is the safest place."
"No, this is fine," said Zneirra, and closed her eyes shyly. She was somewhat afraid of what she saw whenever she met the Prince's gaze.
The floor shook once more, and Morgoth looked up, ready to whine at Varda again. But she was standing back, eyes locked on a widening crack just extending beyond the gaming table.
A head popped out of it, the head of a beautiful drow woman that looked as if it should be smiling. She wasn't, though, and the rest of the body that climbed out of the crack, that of a giant spider, was tapping its eight legs on the floor as if angry as well.
"Mine," said the drow head.
"What?" Morgoth asked, as best as he could through his gape.
"Mine," said the figure. "The drow are mine. Not yours, not the property of anyone who wants to take them from the Realms. Mine."
"And who are you?" Varda asked, too politely, Morgoth felt, in the face of a giant threatening spider-creature.
"Lloth," said the figure. "Some call me Lolth. But I am the Spider Queen, goddess of the drow elves, and I say they are mine." She turned her body, legs clicking, until she faced Morgoth. "You took one without my permission."
"But she's a Sue!" Morgoth protested. "Surely you don't want her in your own world to wreak havoc." He had to fight to keep from shrinking backwards. Memories of Ungoliant were strong at the moment.
"I am the Goddess of Chaos, you idiot!" Lloth shrieked. "Of course I would want her in my world to wreak havoc. But she's not a good havoc-wreaker. She's a milksop."
"Is there anything that would content you for the loss of one of your own?" Varda asked, while Morgoth shook.
"It's already done," said Lloth, and waved a leg at the gaming table.
Zneirra was sleeping alone that night when the walls burst open and drow flooded into the room. She woke and tried to shriek, but they had already shot her full of a slow-acting poison that froze her voice and muscles.
She lay helpless while her mother lit the brazier and called to Lloth to witness the sacrifice. She lay motionless while her mother, clad in dark robes like spidersilk, approached her and readied the sacrificial dagger with the spider on the hilt. And she lived long enough to see her heart beating on the end of the dagger in the moment before she died.
"You can't just-" Morgoth began.
"Yes, I can," Lloth snapped. "You did, just. And the palace was underground. Where one whining, puling would-be drow went, my chosen can follow." She turned until she faced Varda. "You look familiar. Have we met?"
"Varda, I have..."
Vairë's voice faded into silence as she came towards the gaming table, dragging a tapestry along behind her. For a moment, she and Lloth stared at each other. Then they both drew voice and began to shriek at once.
"Thought she could match me in weaving-"
"Queen of the weavers, my ass-"
"Abyss looks better than those tireless Timeless Halls-"
"Can't even keep her mate-"
"At least I bite the head off mine properly when the mating is done-"
"Enough!" said Varda loudly, and that managed to calm them. Morgoth lifted his head cautiously above the table.
"Vairë," said Varda, in a voice that threatened havoc if Vairë didn't obey her, "did you bring the tapestry that shows where Maedhros cast the Silmaril?"
Vairë, glaring all the while, held out the tapestry. Varda picked it up and looked it over, while Morgoth turned his head away. Vairë's tapestries always made him slightly seasick with their swirling colors.
"There seems to be a part of this torn out," said Varda, after a moment. "And it seems to be the part that would have showed the location of the fiery chasm."
"Yes," said Vairë, who was making obscene gestures at Lloth. Lloth was making obscene gestures back, and Morgoth thought she was getting the better of it, since she had eight legs to make them with.
"And what do you have to say to that?" Varda asked.
"Oops," said Vairë.
"Vairë, you know-"
"I know that I don't want Fëanor in my halls again!" shrieked Vairë. "He's always criticizing my weaving!"
"He is?" Lloth asked in interest.
"Yes!" Vairë clutched her tapestry to herself. "And laughing at me! The impudent Elf!"
"Impudent Elf," said Lloth.
"My enemy," Morgoth added, just because he thought Vairë was getting more than her fair share of attention.
Lloth looked at him. "Really."
"Yes, and we are trying to recapture him," said Varda, "so could you go back to your own Realms? Sorry to be an inconvenience."
Lloth chuckled. "Oh, I will be far more than that to you. This Fëanor sounds like someone I can appreciate. I think I will find him and offer him my assistance."
She opened a crack in the ground and scuttled into it, popped her head up long enough to say, "Oh, and I think I will take Shelob with me, since no one's using her at the moment," and slammed the stone shut behind her.
Vairë sniffed. "Good riddance."
Varda drew breath to say something. Morgoth never knew what it would have been, because alarms exploded again, two different sets of them.
"What do those mean?" he almost shrieked, since everything was treading very hard on his nerves.
"Fëanor has the Silmaril from the fire," said Varda.
"And someone else has broken out of Mandos," said Vairë. "Eru damn it, it's getting like a sieve in there." She ran towards the Timeless Halls.
Morgoth closed his eyes. He should never have come out of the Void, boredom or not.
Middle-earth does not equal Forgotten Realms, either. Silly crossover authors.