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The Pugilist

I am Feanor's boy, and my story's dark and cold,

I have squandered my resistance,

For a pocket full of marbles - such are Silmarils.

Dafydd Illian swings round to stare at the computer. "What… in Arda… is this?" he grinds out.

Made in the West.

Morgoth stole them from my father

And hacked up Grandpa's breast.


"This is…" Dafydd closes his eyes and breathes deeply - once, twice, three times. Then his eyes open again, hard and grey.

"Right," he says, managing to just about ungrit his teeth. "This is a… song about… well, me. And it's… rather flippant."

When I left my home to go cross the sea,

I was no more than a boy

in a company of warriors.

Standing by my father I an awful oath declared.

We needed boats,

so we asked our shoreland cousins if they'd help but they said no;

it was then we knew that they would have to go.

"That's-" Dafydd begins, but stops dead at the next line:

Die die-die!  Die die-die die die die-die,

Die die-die!  Die die-die die die die die die-die-die-die die!

"... as I was saying. This is a very… light-hearted retelling of the Fall of the Noldor." Dafydd shakes his head slowly. "'We knew that they would have to go' does technically describe the events at Alqualonde, but it implies that Father was… I don't even know, a cheerful psychopath." He frowns at the camera. "Which he wasn't. Cheerful, I mean. The jury's still out on psychopath."

We marched in there

Killing men and helpless children 'cause their lord was so unfair.

Die-die die-die die, die die die die...

"And this." He waves his good hand through the air as if grasping for a passing arrow. "Was Dior 'unfair' to claim the Silmaril his parents retrieved from Angband? No. He was either perfectly in the right, or - if you talk to some of my brothers, which I do not recommend - an unrepentant thief who deserved everything coming to him." The elf cocks his head. "Actually, thinking about it, if this was about Curufin, it would be entirely apt…"

In the clearing stands a jewel-box and two fighters holding blades

And we slay them for the treasures

That cost every love and life we had

"That-" Dafydd flinches, clutching the stump of his right arm, and listens in silence as the song winds down.

but burned us 'til we cried out

In our anger and our shame,

"I am leaving, too much grieving," but the minstrel still remains.


"Yes." Dafydd's voice is quiet as he smiles at the camera. "I do, don't I? And as a minstrel, I can say with conviction that this song is…" He trails off, his eyes becoming unfocussed. "It's… I don't even know."

The elf shakes himself and trains his gaze on the camera once again. "So there's your take-home message," he says. "This has been Ardolindi, and I promise that next time, we'll pick something better."

Die die-die!  Die die-die die die die-die,

Die die-die!  Die die-die die die die die

Die-die-die-die die!

Dafydd pushed the door closed behind him, leant on it, and frowned at his wife. "Seriously?" he said. "You thought that was appropriate?"

Constance looked up from her book. "Was it, or was it not, a song about Middle-earth?"

"Well, yes, but-"

"Then yes, I thought it was appropriate." She closed the book and rolled over on the bed to look up at her husband. "Don't tell me - you have a problem with flippant treatment of the Super Serious fact that you and your family murdered a bunch of innocent people."

Dafydd blinked. "No, that's not it. I mean, it is a serious matter, but it was also a very long time ago; they're all back now."

"No?" Constance sat up, cross-legged on the duvet. "Then is it the bad memories it brings up? I'll remind you that two of the other three songs you've done were about you anyway."

"I know that." Dafydd frowned at her. "You're missing the point."

"I'm trying to find the point." Constance drummed her fingers on her thigh. "Wait, I know - some of the details in how it describes events are slightly inaccurate, and you're immortally offended."

Dafydd stared at her. "... no. Connie, I'm not actually talking about the lyrics."

"Then what? Is the tune too cheerful for you? Do you hate the fact that it's a filk? Are the instruments distasteful?"

"None of that." Dafydd waved her suggestions away with his hand. "Did you listen to the recording? The quality is just abysmal."

Constance burst out laughing. "All this and it's the sound quality you're whinging about?"

"This sort of thing is important."

"Oh, I bet." Constance shook her head, still chuckling, then gestured at the small harp sitting on their bookshelf. "If you're that bothered by it, record your own version."

Dafydd looked at the harp, chewing his lip. "I think I will."

"Um." Constance leant forward and took his right forearm. "You remember you're down a hand?"

Dafydd patted her hand and pried his arm loose. "I can still do better than the version you gave me." He rounded the bed and lifted the harp down, struck a string, and frowned at the ivory tuning keys.

"Though I might need help getting this to sound right. Care to lend me a hand?"

Disclaimer: The Pugilist belongs to Steuard Jensen, while The Boxer belongs to Simon & Garfunkel. Middle-earth and everything in it was created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The PPC is the work of Jay and Acacia. Dafydd and his family belong to me and Kaitlyn.

Author's Note: Yeah, this one. The Pugilist appears on the famous Tolkien Sarcasm page, buried in the text of 'The Lord of the... whatever'. The sound-file linked in this episode came from there originally, though their version is now long gone. It is, of course, a filk based on Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer.

And it's demented. Did I mention that part?