Huan wasn’t really a wolf; no one knew what he was. Most considered him to look similar in size and appearance to a small poodle. That did not matter to Huan; he felt big and so he was, in his own mind anyway and seemingly also to those of an impressionable nature.
Lord Oromë considered that Lord Eru had paid much attention to diversity when creating the Maiar but wondered what sort of day he must have been having when he made Huan, a singularly self possessed little dog who refused to speak unless he wanted to. The small hound seemed to serve no purpose to anyone except himself and stuck like a limpet to Oromë’s side, allowing him no privacy and constantly examining and discussing every decision he made. Oromë dreaded Huan seeing him with a good book or simply staring at the sunset, for it was those moments when the little dog would commence his ceaseless interrogations.
It was with some relief that Oromë was able to offload the dog onto Celegorm as a gift. Because Oromë was a Vala much given to harmless mischief, he told Celegorm that Huan would only ever speak three times in his life. He chuckled often to himself about how surprised Celegorm would be when Huan did talk, the dog never having done so previously within the elf’s hearing, for reasons that were only known to himself. However, Oromë had never expected to be taken seriously or even believed.
“Remember, you are a Maia,” Lord Oromë had said to the little dog, just before handing him over. “That makes you more powerful than any elf.”
“You just want to get rid of me. Don’t you?” Huan was the only dog in creation with actual eyebrows. He raised them up in an interrogatory manner but Oromë was not one to be threatened by such gestures.
“Celegorm is travelling with his brothers to a foreign land and I want you to go with him so he can have some company. I thought you would like a holiday.”
“His brothers are surely all the company he will need?” Huan answered, satisfied at the derisive tone he managed to produce in his voice. He also raised his left eyebrow because he could.
“He will spend a lot of time hunting and only you love hunting as much as he does. I believe his brother prefer to sew quilts and knit woolly jumpers.”
Huan reflected, many years later, how one lapse of judgement had led to him living in Nargothrond. He had believed Lord Oromë, even though when they left Valinor he had formed the strong impression that none of the brothers would know the right end of a knitting needle, even if it jabbed them up the ass. He had many years to reflect on what he would do to his former master, whom he considered a devious bastard of the highest order, when he managed to find a way back to his old home.
For now Huan contented himself with watching his master, who had fallen in love with Lúthien, King Thingol’s daughter. It amused him when Celegorm loudly wondered why Lúthien did not return his love.
“It’s because you tricked her into coming here and then imprisoned her. That’s why,” Huan told him. “Any fool can see that.”
“She could learn to love me,” Celegorm replied. “Am I not the fairest elf in creation? How could she not fall for me?”
“Because she loves Beren, of course.”
“But I am known as the Fair. How can she resist my handsome looks?”
“You know what they say, ‘Handsome face, crappy personality’.”
“Who says that?”
Huan shrugged. “How would I know? I am a dog.”
Celegorm watched as Huan walked away. He really is a very rude little hound, he thought. I liked him better when he refused to talk to me.
Curufin considered that Nargothrond was not so bad. He and his brother, Celegorm, lived in a well appointed stronghold of their own and were popular with the inhabitants, more so than Orodreth, who actually ruled the kingdom. At the moment, Lúthien was locked in the tower because she would not agree to marry Celegorm.
Curufin was not interested in females but would have wed Lúthien anyway, reasoning that King Thingol would have no choice but to form an alliance with him, thus making it easier to usurp Orodreth without too much interference from the local population. He knew that was Celegorm’s objective as well, but his brother actually seemed to be in love with Lúthien. He sighed as he thought of his brother picking flowers for the maiden locked in the tower and writing her little love notes with drawings of them both together. When she rebuffed him, which she did with a constant regularity, he would rage for hours like a madman. Curufin sighed; Celegorm was yelling at a servant. Yesterday he had attacked one of them. He supposed he should try to intervene.
“No one will have her if I cannot,” Celegorm roared when Curufin told him to stop shouting. “You want her for yourself, don’t you?”
“I am filled with the utmost astonishment that you divined my sudden admiration for the female form,” Curufin replied sarcastically. “As from five minutes ago I have totally gone off all those hard, muscled warriors I like to entertain in my bed. I am afraid they just do not do it for me anymore.” He reeled backwards as Celegorm’s fist connected with his jaw.
“That’s for taking the piss,” Celegorm yelled at him, spittle flying from his mouth and landing on Curufin’s arm as he did so.
There should have been a full scale fight and would have been if not for Huan sauntering into the hall and telling them that Lúthien wanted to see Celegorm.
“I expect she has changed her mind about marrying me,” Celegorm announced joyfully as he ran from the hall. “See you later Curufin. I win again and you are the loser.”
“She didn’t want to see him. Did she?” Curufin asked Huan. His fists unclenched and he took a deep breath. He had intended punching Celegorm right back but now the moment was lost.
“Not at all,” Huan replied. “In fact, she said that if he went anywhere near her she would string him up by his balls and roast him over a slow fire.”
“Sounds good to me. If she doesn’t kill him then I am tempted to do so,” Curufin replied. “I am off to the Rampant Weasel for a drink. Want to come along?”
“Might as well. There is nothing else to do.”
“See that man over there? He keeps looking at you.” Huan pointed with his paw to a human who had arrived shortly after they did.
“Drink your beer and be quiet. No one likes a talking dog, especially here,” Curufin ordered, not bothering to look.
“Technically, I am a wolf.”
“Right...You look like a poodle to me.”
“Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with your eyes,” Huan replied.
“Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with yours too,” Curufin shot back. “There is no way you are a wolf. You are too small, your fur is crinkly and nobody is frightened of you. You do not even howl, you bark.”
“What you on about?” Huan asked, mightily offended. “Of course I am a wolf. Everyone craps their kegs when I walk into the room. Denial doesn’t change the truth.”
“I might say that to you,” Curufin replied mockingly. “You always get argumentative after a couple of beers. I am not buying you any more tonight.”
“You owe me. Celegorm was about to thrash your arse and I stopped him.” Before Curufin could say anything, Huan added that the human man was staring in their direction.
Curufin looked in the direction of Huan’s pointing paw and smiled at the man. He raised his glass as a gesture of friendship before he fully registered who the man was.
“He’s walking over,” Huan said quickly. “It’s Beren. I bet he is looking for Lúthien. What lies are you going to tell him so he does not bash your head in for kidnapping his girlfriend?”
Momentarily, Curufin panicked, but then a flash of inspiration came to him. “I will say I am not Curufin but someone else.”
“That’s going to work, isn’t it?” Huan retorted.
“Keep your mouth shut if you have nothing good to say.”
Beren placed a full tankard on the table in front of Curufin. In front of Huan he placed a bowl of beer. “May I sit here?”
“It’s a free kingdom,” Curufin muttered.
“Technically it’s not,” Huan reminded him.
“Oh look,” Beren exclaimed. “A talking dog.”
“I prefer the silent kind,” Curufin replied.
Beren sat next to Huan. He ruffled his fingers through the dog’s fur and jumped when sharp teeth nipped the side of his hand.
“It is never a good idea to stroke a wolf,” Huan said pleasantly.
“But you are not a wolf...Ow!”
“Just agree with him. It makes life easier,” Curufin said with a shrug.
Beren pulled his hand away and moved along the bench slightly to create some space between him and the dog. Huan moved up and snuggled against him, knowing that Beren would be disconcerted.
Beren looked across the table. “You are Curufin, are you not?”
“Actually, my name is...”
“Yes,” Huan said excitedly. “His name is indeed Curufin. He is my bestest friend in the whole world.” He gave a little warning growl. “I think you know what that means.”
Curufin groaned. He was still angry at Celegorm for his latest round of flouncing and the last thing he wanted to do was answer some lovesick fool’s questions. As for Huan warning Beren, that was just laughable.
“It is good to see you again, Curufin,” Beren said, his face a mixture of emotions. He was still angry at Celegorm and Curufin for arguing against aiding him when he had previously sought help from Finrod on his quest to recover a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. However, now that he faced Curufin, he seemed different somehow.
“It is good to see you again,” Curufin replied, with an easy smile covering his apprehension. “I am relieved to see you back here in one piece.”
“Finrod is dead. Sauron’s werewolf killed him,” Beren said quietly, studying Curufin’s face. “The elves who accompanied him are also dead. We were captured and taken to Tol-in-Gaurhoth. I watched the hideous wolf tear the throats from the elves because they would not reveal who they were or the reason for their errand. He came for me, but Finrod was able to break his chains and leap to my defence. He killed the wolf with his bare hands and died himself shortly after.” Beren looked down, as if to study the grain of the wooden table. “He saved my life and gave his own, that I might live.”
Here was an opportunity that Curufin could use. “I am so sorry.” He sighed sadly, genuinely moved by Beren’s distress at the events in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. “I feared this would happen. Sauron is so powerful that there are none who can overcome him.”
“Finrod nearly overcame him,” Beren protested weakly. “If we had taken more elves from here we could have won.”
“You took the cream of the warriors from here,” Curufin replied. “Finrod was the mightiest and strongest of us all. We are mere shadows compared to his greatness. If he could not overcome Sauron, then how could any of us? We could have sent a thousand strong army and he would have crushed each and every one.”
“I thought the Fëanorians were tough,” Beren replied, a trace of scorn in his voice.
“We are tough, reckless even, but we know when a fight cannot be won. To fight Sauron is to openly declare war on his master. I ask you now, who can defeat a Vala?”
“He is not unbeatable,” Beren pleaded softly, not completely believing his own words.
“Beren.” Curufin took his hand. “My father died trying to regain the Silmarils. They pave the road to madness and disaster. The reason Celegorm and I opposed your call for aid was because the elves have seen enough bloodshed. How much loss of life is your quest worth? Does a child deserve to lose a father because he is bound by his king to go to war to recover a stone just so you can win the hand of Thingol’s daughter?”
Beren sighed and shook his head. “The reason for the Noldor’s existence here is the Silmarils. All of you know that is the ultimate goal.”
“Their elflings have no such ambition or purpose. All they know is that if their parents die they will be at the mercy of others or wild animals. This is not a friendly place for such little ones. Too often I have seen their distressed little faces when they realise they have no family left and are truly alone; it cuts my heart to the bone. We need peace. We need a breathing space. Morgoth has the Silmarils, so at least we know where they are. Let him enjoy them for the moment and we will take them when the elflings are grown. Give us that at least.” Curufin knew Beren was a man, therefore limited in life span, but he was not going to let that stop what he thought was a well reasoned argument.
What a devious bastard, Huan thought. He lapped the rest of the beer from the bowl and fell sideways, landing under the table.
“He really cannot hold his drink,” Curufin chuckled as he picked Huan up off the floor. “Two bowls and he falls asleep.”
“I am here looking for Lúthien. Have you seen her?” Beren asked as he stroked Huan’s head. “He really is quite sweet when he is asleep.”
“I thought she was with you?” Curufin asked as if bewildered. “I thought you were to meet up with her after you left here with Finrod.” He was glad Huan was asleep; he might have blabbed everything to Beren. Even so, he carried the dog to the bar when getting the next round of beers.
Beren did not know what to think. Curufin’s reasoning made perfect sense and he felt slightly guilty about asking others to fight for him while not considering the effect it would have on their families. However, he did not feel so guilty that he should not ask for help in the future; everyone had the free will not to aid him and they had proved that before in the past. He looked towards the bar; Curufin carefully put Huan on his shoulder while picking up two tankards of beer. If he had looked a half second earlier he would have seen a clear liquid being added to the beer that would soon be his.
How gentle Curufin was with Huan, Beren thought. Like most men Beren equated gentleness with animals with being kind to fellow beings, especially children. He smiled and thanked Curufin when he placed the beer in front of him. Huan was carefully put on the bench next to Beren and snored loudly a couple of times before breathing quietly again.
Beren took a large swig of his beer and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. He studied Curufin’s face as he stoked the small dog, vaguely wondering about the morality of allowing the pet to get drunk. He did not consider the question for too long after realising that he had bought the dog a bowl of beer just before. How beautiful Curufin looked. That was the word for it; beautiful. Curufin was beautiful, exceptionally so. Beren had always been in awe of the elves; as a race they were handsome indeed, but Curufin outshone them all. Such perfect lips and flawless skin. How he longed to kiss him, to drown himself in the vision who sat before him. Lúthien has still not parted her legs for me, he mused. She will never know...she can’t expect me to wait forever...
Curufin winked at Beren. The aphrodisiac was working. He would likely be getting sex tonight and it had been so long since he had lain with a man that he was impatient to get moving. However, he knew that one had to wait for things to happen naturally instead of being hasty. The aphrodisiac nudged in the direction of wanting sex but it never compelled; the victim was always able to refuse even while under the influence. He was prepared to play the game for as long as Beren needed.
It’s not as though Lúthien is around, Beren continued to reason. Curufin hasn’t seen her and he seems a decent sort... He takes care of his little dog really well...Yes, she will never know...
Curufin let his hand stray across the small table and artlessly brushed it across Beren’s own. How he wanted to kiss his lips, feeling the hairy stubble on his face as he did so.
Huan opened one of his eyes and saw the delicate dance the two men were engaging in. He sighed, as if highly bored. “Beren, Curufin wants to go to bed with you.”
Beren started with surprise, while Curufin’s jaw dropped in shock. Both of them hurriedly denied that was where their thoughts were leading to and told Huan not to be so silly.
“Look, you are both doing that ‘will he, won’t he’ thing that men do when they want to shag each other,” Huan explained before shutting his eyes. He opened one slightly. “I am trying to sleep here, do your love bunny stuff upstairs and give me some peace.”
Slightly embarrassed, Curufin said that he was game if Beren was. “They have lodgings upstairs,” he added with a seeming diffidence, as if expecting Beren to reject him.
“It has to be better than down here,” Beren shrugged, not wanting Huan to make any more remarks. He thought him to be a rather coarse little dog and wondered how he had managed to stay alive with such a forward mouth.
“Stay here or come upstairs, it is up to you,” Curufin said to Huan. “If you come upstairs, you are not going to watch. I don’t need any hints from you.”
“Will Huan be all right if he stays down here?” Beren asked Curufin as they walked across the crowded tavern towards the stairs.
In the background they heard a series of barks from Huan and the gasps of the drinkers after they tried to taunt the sleeping dog.
“It’s a wolf. Who let a wolf in here?” many of the drinkers cried in unison.
All Curufin could see when he looked back was a small poodle type dog standing on the table barking his little head off in temper. “I wonder how he does that,” he mused to himself.
Huan jumped off the table to follow Curufin and Beren. The drinkers panicked and threw their chairs back, not wanting the huge wolf to bite them. “It’s all a matter of perception,” Huan explained happily to Beren, who looked at the drinkers in the room as if they were mad. He trotted over to the stairs. “Hurry up. I want to go back to sleep.”
“Beautiful lips,” Beren said hungrily before kissing Curufin’s mouth. He marvelled at the silky smoothness of Curufin’s skin and thought that if he were blindfold he might think he was kissing a woman. The fantasy was cut when his fingers trailed across Curufin’s chest and felt the hard sculpted muscles. Their tongues slid together and Beren revelled in the feeling of his hair being pulled by his new lover as the kiss deepened. So many sensory images; Curufin smelt of the south wind and the forest rain, yet underneath Beren could detect the softness of spring and the joy of summer. He opened his eyes and saw a pointed ear, barely covered with dark wisps of hair before closing them again. The elf knew just where to touch and Beren found himself wanting more, much more.
Curufin let his cheek brush against the bristle-covered chin before kissing the man’s lips. Beren’s scent was warm and sweet, comforting even, although why he thought that he was not sure. Beren had washed earlier that day, he was certain; the heavy scent of rose and geranium soap masking the very slight odour of new perspiration. Curufin had bedded plenty of humans and always preferred the ones who took care of themselves. Holding onto Beren’s hair, he deepened the kiss. There was no taste like that of a human man and he revelled in being able to participate in such pleasures again.
Huan watched as Curufin and Beren made love and felt a familiar sadness. He had never physically loved in the whole of his life and wondered what it must be like. The dogs in Nargothrond gave him a wide berth and there was none to whom he would give his heart. Until Lúthien arrived he had felt dejected and miserable; his only joy was when hunting and the brothers did precious little of that anymore.
Lúthien treated Huan differently and a part of him hoped that she would fall in love and stay. Her words conjured up great visions of his future in which he ran free with the ones he loved and hunted huge wolves of dread appearance that were filled with the most consummate evil. In his imaginings he overcame each and every one of them. Lúthien told him that the future did not always happen but if he made the right choices he could make it so. The small dog shut his eyes and went back to sleep, dreaming of the day he would return to Valinor. He also included a love interest, because he could.
Curufin awoke the next morning. Something sharp and pointy was digging into his chin. He opened his eyes to see a very determined Beren about to slit his throat.
“Where is Lúthien?” Beren raged as Curufin smacked the knife away from his chin. With relief he noticed that it had fallen on the floor.
“You lied to me,” Beren hissed. “Lúthien is locked in your tower. One of the servants told me.”
“Really?” Curufin replied.
“Yes really,” Beren spat.
“Obviously Celegorm has been entertaining guests without my knowledge.” Curufin threw the bedcovers to the side and got out of bed. “You can come home with me if you think she is there and see for yourself.” He intended sending Huan to warn Celegorm, but the dog seemed fast asleep.
“All right, I will.” Beren dressed himself quickly, while Curufin dressed at a more leisurely pace.
“Huan,” Curufin called. The little dog blinked sleepily and went back to sleep. “Huan, get up and tell Celegorm that we have a guest and he is to inform the cook to make extra.”
“I do not want your food,” Beren said as if shocked by the idea he should share anything with the elf.
“I have a hangover,” Huan muttered. “Your idiot friend got me drunk.”
“Sorry about that,” Beren said amiably. “I did wonder if dogs should be drinking beer and now we both know they should not, don’t we?”
“Beren the born again moralist,” Huan said dryly and stood up.
“What do you mean by that?”
“You didn’t mind taking Curufin to bed last night and having your wicked way with him, did you?”
“I did no such thing,” Beren replied.
“Yes you did,” Curufin and Huan said in unison.
“You would have to drug me first,” Beren sneered, before reason triumphed in his mind. “You did, didn’t you?”
“For a virgin you were pretty good,” Curufin said lightly. “Although, I fear you have much to learn. You were not absolutely terrible though.”
“I am not a virgin,” Beren boomed. “How dare you. I have had hundreds of men.”
Huan sighed and rolled his eyes at Curufin. “Promiscuous as well,” he said with a sad shake of the head.
“It is not often one sees a promiscuous virgin,” Curufin admitted.
“I am not a virgin and I am certainly not promiscuous,” Beren shouted as he put on his sword belt.
“You protest too much,” Curufin replied while picking under his fingernails with the end of his dagger.
This was too much for Beren. He drew his sword and challenged Curufin to a duel.
Curufin carefully brushed the sword aside with his dagger. “There will be no fighting today. Only those who have lost their virginity the night before would challenge a lover to a duel on the morning after. I am not prepared to indulge your little love games and I am going home.”
Curufin scooped Huan up in his arms and left the room. Beren pursued them, screaming all sorts of obscenities at Curufin, before stopping to wonder why he was bothering. Lúthien needed to be his focus now; Curufin had been a pleasant diversion, nothing more, of that he was sure. He was torn: if he was honest, Curufin had been much more than that. He sighed and walked towards the brothers’ large house, which was more of a stronghold really. For a fleeting moment Beren wondered why this was so, and then he put it out of his mind and carried on walking. In the far distance he saw Curufin slam the front door shut.
“I suppose you think you are clever, storming off for a drink without me?” Celegorm said, his eyes glaring with anger. “You just want Lúthien to yourself and you cannot stand that she is not interested in you.”
Curufin shrugged and did not bother to reply. He put Huan down on the floor and told him to go to the kitchens and get something to eat. The little dog trotted off without saying a word.
“You didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted to go with you. And you took my dog. He is my dog, not yours.” Celegorm looked as if he was going to explode.
“I am not interested in how you feel and neither is Huan,” Curufin replied as he sank into an armchair by the fire that was constantly alight to heat the large stone hall. “Huan and I felt the need to be around normal people and so we went to the tavern and left you behind. Has she agreed to marry you by any chance? I bet she hasn’t.”
“Lúthien, of course.”
“Not yet. After you left we had a lovely chat and looked at some love poetry together.” Ha! Celegorm thought. That will show him not to go drinking without me. He did not feel guilty at all for lying. In fact, Lúthien had yelled that he had the face of an especially ugly goblin and the conversational prowess of a deranged lizard, but Curufin did not need to know that.
“You will have to let her go. You know that, don’t you?”
“I will never let her go and no one can make me,” Celegorm boasted. “Anyway, if she cannot bring herself to love me then she will have to be trained to do so.”
“How can you train someone to love you?” Curufin asked, not quite believing that he had just heard his brother utter such nonsense. “I tell you now, she has indeed bewitched you and addled your mind.”
“I am not talking to you anymore. You are being silly.” With that Celegorm walked over to the other side of the hall and sat on the throne he had made for himself the week after kidnapping Lúthien. He looked forward to marrying the princess and receiving King Thingol’s blessing, so that he could semi-legitimately usurp Orodreth from his throne.
“CURUFIN!” Beren roared after forcing open the door to the stronghold. “WHERE IS LÚTHIEN?” He marched into the centre of the hall and glared at the brothers.
“Is that Beren?” Celegorm asked as he approached.
Curufin nodded with a bored sigh.
“What’s he doing here?”
“He thinks Lúthien is here.”
“Oh.” Celegorm looked at Beren. “Lúthien is in the tower. We gave her a room up there because she wanted to be alone. She said she had enough of human men and we were not to tell you that she was here. But, you know me; I am honest to a fault.”
“LIAR!” Beren screeched angrily. His hand took hold of the hilt of his sword, but he did not draw it. “I ought to run you through for being such a perfidious liar.”
“All right then,” Celegorm shrugged.
“What do you mean, ‘All right then’?” Beren asked, outraged that neither brother was taking him seriously. “I could kill you stone dead with this blade. “
“You probably could,” Celegorm shrugged.
“Tsk tsk,” Curufin said with an amused sigh. “Did our night of love mean nothing to you, Beren? Did you not say, in the throes of your passion, that you would reach to the sky and pull the moon down from his heights and give it to me as a token of your love?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not,” Beren replied, surprised that Curufin should say such a thing. It is because he is an out and out liar, he thought to himself.
“He did say that,” Curufin said to his brother.
“I can well believe he did,” Celegorm replied. “He looks the sort to make promises that have no chance of being fulfilled.”
Lúthien ran into the hall, followed by Huan. He was barking for all he was worth, though not for any particular reason; like all dogs he enjoyed making a loud noise.
“Lúthien, my darling? I have come to rescue you,” Beren simpered.
“Those foul fiends locked me in a tall tower and starved me. It was lucky that Huan let me out,” Lúthien accused. “I thought I would never see you again. I kept your face constantly in my mind so that I did not forget what you looked like.”
Beren did not wonder how Lúthien might forget his face so easily for he was instantly enamoured of her beauty all over again. His heart swooned with delight and he thought he saw tiny birds chirping little hearts while circling their heads and weaving ribbons around them both.
“Pay attention,” Lúthien hissed. Huan bit him on the ankle to emphasise the point.
“How dare you treat my only one like that,” Beren roared while drawing his sword.
“I thought I was your only one,” Curufin replied, seemingly aghast and wounded at Beren’s words. “You asked me to marry you. Remember? After making love you pledged your undying love and said that Lúthien had never parted her legs for you so she could bugger off because you had waited long enough.” He looked at Lúthien. “Can you trust your heart to one who would toy so carelessly with it?”
“Oh that was a bad thing to do, Beren. How can you tell Lúthien that you love her after bedding my brother? I am shocked indeed. I had no idea you were like that.” Celegorm sighed and shook his head.
“I never did!” Beren lied.
“I believe him,” Lúthien stated, the look of triumph shining in her eyes. “He would never bed either of you because he has standards.”
“Unlike you,” Celegorm said, looking unimpressed. “Did you not read love poetry to me yesterday evening and beg me to share your bed?”
“Absolutely not!” Lúthien replied. “I said that if you came near me I would hang you up by your balls and let the birds peck out your eyes.” She looked at the brothers, her eyes filled with hate. “You are both so foul and reprehensible that even Melkor would be shocked by your antics.”
“I hardly think so,” Curufin smirked. “Now Beren, run along to the kitchens and ask the cook to give you a sandwich and show you the way out.”
“You do not tell me what to do, spawn of Melkor,” Beren shouted before throwing his dagger at Curufin. “Die, like the dog you are.”
Curufin moved to the side and the dagger clattered on the floor.
“How dare you attack my brother,” Celegorm roared with sword drawn. He leapt across to where Beren was standing and challenged him to a duel.
“You will have to fight me as well,” Lúthien smirked and drew a small sword.
Curufin threw a second sword to his brother who smiled evilly and announced that was fine as far as he was concerned.
Heavy iron blades clashed together; bright sparks flying upon contact, while the combatants grunted with the effort of heaving their overlarge weapons.
“I suppose I had better join in,” Curufin sighed. Huan agreed with him and told him that he would bite the winner if it was not him.
Lúthien noticed the large, weighty chandelier suspended from the ceiling. It was made of black iron and had candleholders around the rim. It would serve perfectly as a vehicle to swing on and kick the Fëanorian brothers in the head. She ran off, leaving Beren to fight the brothers. Huan ran after her, not intending to catch her but to advise that the rope holding the chandeliers was frayed and she could fall. He quite liked Lúthien and she seemed to lead such an exciting life that he wanted to be her dog rather than stay with the boring Fëanorian brothers who had settled down to a life of unending peace.
“Celegorm, get after her,” Curufin urged his brother as they fought Beren. “She is getting away.”
Celegorm ran to catch Lúthien as Curufin redoubled his efforts to overcome Beren. In one startlingly swift move, he feinted with his foot and then attacked with his hand from the other side, quickly spinning Beren around until he had his arm around his neck and a dagger at his throat.
“I should kill you,” Curufin hissed.
“Do what you want,” Beren sighed dejectedly. “She does not love me. See how fast she runs away? Go on, slit my throat. I have nothing left to live for now.”
Curufin relaxed slightly, not enough for Beren to take advantage though. “She is a fickle strumpet; always has been, always will be. Have you considered that her father gave you the task of recovering a Silmaril because he thought you would refuse, thus saving you the heartache of being subject to his daughter’s caprice? She is well known for such behaviour. ” The knife moved away from Beren’s neck as Curufin sensed his dejection. “You deserve better than one such as her.”
“How can she be a strumpet? I was assured she was a virgin,” Beren asked, resignation shrouding his voice.
“By her no doubt,” Curufin replied. “She is well known for her behaviour and I find it hypocritical of her to refuse you when she has lustily enjoyed every elf in Doriath, even the ones who did not fancy her.”
Beren’s spirit was torn in two. He wondered if he could believe Curufin, but he had seen Lúthien running from him with his own eyes. “Let me go. I will not run from you,” he said quietly.
Curufin turned him around. “We have no argument. You can leave whenever you want. Or, you can stay.” He hugged Beren close, wondering if he would get to feel the stubble on his chin again while having sex. Beren was not the best he ever had but was enthusiastic, and that counted for a lot in his opinion.
Beren’s lips hesitantly made contact with Curufin's. He did not know if he would be rebuffed, but making love to the elf the night before had been very pleasant and he decided that he wanted more. If truth be told it was the most enjoyment he had experienced since pledging his love for Lúthien. Life had been so much simpler before he met her.
“My feelings run very deep for you,” Beren said softly when the kiss ended.
Curufin looked deep into Beren’s eyes and was about to say something when Beren suddenly swung upward. Lúthien had pulled in the chandelier and used it to fly through the air, grabbing Beren as she swung. Both of them landed on the other side of the hall and ran to the door. Curufin looked up and saw Celegorm hanging from the balustrade on the upper gallery.
“I nearly caught the bitch,” Celegorm shouted to his brother. He pulled himself up, over the top of the balustrade onto the other side, before running down to the hall.
“Do you want to follow them?” Curufin asked.
Celegorm was already putting his sword away. “What would be the point? Beren is a simple idiot and Lúthien has him well under her thumb. He will die a virgin and serve him right.”
“Not so. His only memory of sex will be with me. I hope that galls the bitch forever more.” Curufin smiled at the thought. “I say we should write in the Elven Chronicles that we pursued them, so we do not lose face. We have to maintain our bad reputation, after all.”
“I have no problem with lying about our exploits,” Celegorm chuckled. “People expect the Fëanorian brothers to be bad boys, so who are we to disappoint them? You haven’t seen Huan anywhere have you?”
“He is probably in the kitchens eating leftovers. You know how hungry he gets when he has a hangover.”
“Come on; let’s go to the Rampant Weasel. I need a drink. Let’s not take Huan; he has no idea how to behave. For a dog who says he is only allowed to speak three times ever in his life, he is the most garrulous hound I have ever heard.” Celegorm hugged Curufin close and scrubbed his head with his fist in a brotherly display of affection. Lúthien was gone and they could have fun again. Who knew what delights the night would bring and who they would choose to be their respective lovers for the night? Everything was looking up and it felt as though a cloud of uncertainty had shifted. They left the hall chattering and laughing as if there had never been any discord between them.
Deep within the land of Angband, from behind a small, sparsely grassed ridge of earth, Lúthien and Beren observed Draugluin walking around the perimeter of Sauron’s towering black stronghold. Not a sound could be heard except the soft growls of the shadowy beast. Lúthien and Beren unconsciously held their breathing in check, perhaps because at some deep level they thought the abomination might become aware of their presence, even though they were some distance away from their quarry. A large crow flew from one of the battlements, shrieking a caw as it did so and splitting the silence of the oppressive night. Instinctively, Lúthien and Beren ducked their heads, in case it noticed them.
“He is of such dread appearance that I shudder to look at him,” Beren said softly.
“I could take him,” Huan boasted, not bothering to keep his voice down. “I could have him just like that. He doesn’t scare me.”
“Hush,” Lúthien whispered before clamping her hand around his jaws. “Tonight is not the night to die.”
“Why did we let Huan come with us?” Beren asked, his voice so low that he might not have said anything at all.
“It seemed a good idea at the time,” Lúthien replied. “In any case, we have the brothers’ dog and now they will have to get another one.”
“I doubt that will bother them somehow.”
“Well, he is my dog now,” Lúthien replied as her hand shot swiftly forward to stop Huan from jumping over the ridge and giving away their position. “Poor thing; I would never let him get drunk like the brothers did.”
Huan looked at Lúthien in disbelief and heartily wished that he had never left the brothers. He would never be allowed to sample the delights of beer again, if Lúthien was to be believed, and she would not let him fight Draugluin. It seemed as if his new life would be just as boring as the old one. There was only one thing for it.
With an impulsive, yet physically powerful leap, Huan escaped Lúthien’s relaxed grip and landed on the top of the ridge. Before Lúthien could grab him, he bolted over to the werewolf and taunted him.
“Come on them. Do you think you are hard enough?”
Draugluin looked down at the small dog and for a moment it seemed as if he was amused. Dropping down on all fours he girded himself for action, then stared wide eyed as Huan changed into his real form.
“Valar, I cannot look,” Lúthien said, shielding her eyes with her fingers.
Beren sighed and grinned at the small yapping dog. Draugluin seemed to hesitate and Beren knew exactly what Huan was doing. “I think he will be all right. You might even get a new fur coat out of it.”
The rest is history; a story of valour to be told another day, but not in the Elven Chronicles. Not in the one written by two of the Fëanorian brothers anyway.