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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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Hiring Fair
Submitter: Ria Date: 2007/9/26 Views: 91
Summary: Santa has a problem, Manwe has a solution -- or maybe a problem of his own.
Keywords: Santa Manwe

Manwe himself met with the visitor. A pair of Maiar bore in trays of sweetmeats, while one of Manwe’s eagles eyed the process with a sharp yellow eye. The raptor stamped impatiently at the assortment of cakes and candies the servitors had brought, but Manwe’s guest piled a plate with them and began snacking eagerly. After examining the fat visitor’s bushy white beard in hopes that it was, or might contain, a small edible creature, the eagle launched itself into the skies above Taniquetil in search of more interesting events.

Manwe sat sipping at the pale green wine of Valinor while his guest demolished the first plate of sweets. Then, courtesies satisfied, the lord of the Valar made the first move toward business.

“You look well, Nicholas, though it’s been an age of the Sun and more since you saw fit to visit us.”

“I’ve been busy,” his guest chuckled. “I grow busier every year. How does Lord Eru’s business go?”

“I must confess, it’s been little more than maintenance for an age or more. My team is competent, and since we dealt with our saboteur, a few malcontents aside, the cosmos mostly runs itself.”

Saint Nick spread his callused hands on his paunch and sighed. A twinkle still lingered in his eye, but his face grew solemn. “Perhaps you are in a position to help an old friend.”

“Anything for you, Nicholas – you have only to ask.”

“I need labor, skilled labor. There’s more demand each year, and the requests are far more complex. My old hands can turn out a rocking horse or a nice dolly in the twinkling of an eye, and I subcontract out all of our catering needs to the Keebler Tree tribe. I’ve retrained most of my staff to assemble a variety of battery operated toys, but I can’t keep up with the demand for sophisticated electronics. Have you any idea of the detail that goes into an iPod?”

Manwe chewed a lordly lip. “Anything with pods or seeds is really not my department, Nick. Perhaps Yavanna would be willing to consult with you. She’s a hard-working girl, and very clever.”

Saint Nick sighed again. “That’s a very thoughtful offer, old man, and I will certainly talk with her. My wife would certainly have my belt and boots if I came this far without giving her best wishes to the Valier.

“Suffice it to say, I’ve a dire need for highly skilled craftsmen. Engineers. I was hoping to hire that tremendously clever fellow Aule introduced me to a few ages back. He made all these cunning little toys, and when he explained them to me, I couldn’t follow one word in ten. I figure he’d have just the right sort of mind to put those things together.”

Manwe winced. “Believe me, Feanor’s more trouble than he’s worth. Always a complaint, always an argument, and he was twice as good at stirring up discontent as he ever was at building things. If he were available, I’d send him to you just for the peace and quiet – and he’d be melting your pole in a week to see what was underneath.

“Honestly, his whole tribe’s a mess because of him still, two ages and more after his death. They all mutter and whine about their wrongs and complain of all the things they left behind to return here when their exile ended. They’re so puffed-up from being top dogs in the curved world, they barely give the Maiar the time of day, even Olorin and Aiwendil, who did so much for them.

“You know,” Manwe brightened his voice with unpracticed subtlety, “they are very good craftsmen. No-one equals the Noldor for taking on a new challenge. I bet you could hire two or three hundred of them on very good terms.”

“You don’t say,” Saint Nick mused, the words almost lost in his cascading beard.

“Oh, I do,” Manwe answered fervently. “Only, you’d better tell them that it’s entirely against my wishes.”

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