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Chess game, difficulty - Valar level

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- I think Melko’s bored out there in the Void, we should brighten his mood somehow - announces Manwë one day.

His decision nearly causes a strife amongst the Powers of the Arda.

- A chess game?

- But how do we split?

- I cannot be in his team, he’s evil!

- That’s okay, - Melkor waives them all, - am I not the mightiest among you? I shall play alone and still win this. Watch the master, see how it’s done, children.

Before the game starts, Varda takes Aulë at side and they consult something in hushed voices. Then, Queen of the Stars places five additional figures on the board. At that time five Istari sails to Middle-Earth.

- Varda, what are you- - starts Melkor, watching this stupefied.

- You’ve got Sauron, - explains Varda, unfazed. – We should have our Maiar out there too.

- But five of them?! – protests Melkor. - Sauron is only one. That’s not fair!

- Fine! We’ll reduce their powers.

- Deal.

The game begin rather peacefully after that. Manwë moves Olorin toward Shire which stirs a few random pawns that got incidentally in a way. The great game starts and the life of a one small insignificant hobbit who was unlucky is to be changed for eternity since this moment.

***

- Who is this guy? – asks Melkor as they all watch Tom Bombadil puts the Ring on and nothing happens, - what a fun-spoiler. Manwë, isn’t it you in disguise? – he looks around suspiciously to check if everyone’s present.

- I’m right here, - says Manwë, - I have no idea what’s going on either.

***

 - Hahaha see how it's done - laughs Melkor evilly, moving nine horse figures upon the board strategically. Your little halfling will die even before he reaches one of your safe places. Haha, your petty three rings you robbed from my Sauron won’t have a chance to be useful, all for naught, hahaha. Watch this, Aulë.

Aulë looks rather stricken, last scrapes of hope dying on his face and he hides his face in his hands and pulls at his hair as it becomes clear Ringwraiths will catch up on Frodo before he reaches Rivendell.

But then Mandos makes a move for the first time and a blond figure appears among the Nazgûls. Glorfindel fights them, whirling around and ferrying lethal cuts.

- Hey, didn’t that blondie fell in Gondolin? – Melkor frowns. – I remember Gothmog saying something…

- He got resurrected, - says the Ruler of the Dead in a grave tone.

Melkor shots him a dirty look.

- Now, that’s cheating, you can’t play like that, - he points out. - Besides, there was a prophecy. Seems like something you get off on, nah, Master of Fate? No man can kill Nazgûls’ leader!

As Melkor is criticizing Mandos, Ulmo leans over Aulë’s shoulder and moves one of the figures. Just one.

- Wait… what are you- - Melkor notices his action too slowly, - nooo! – he wails as the waters of Bruinen churn and wash down all the Ringwraiths.

Mandos takes them off board. He is dutifully collecting fallen figures and pawns from both sides, hoarding them. He’s got a nice pile already that is still growing as the game goes on.

- No, hey, you can’t knock them off so easily, - howls Melkor, assessing his rapidly melting chances. – They’re no mere pawns.

Nienna takes pity on him.

- Let him have them back, brother.

- No way.

- Námo…

- Argh, fine. But they have to wait a few rounds before coming back.

***

The fellowship tries to cross Caradhras but the snow is too deep and it won’t stop falling from the sky.

- Ugh, Manwë, can’t you melt it down? Or wind it away or something? Or just send there your Eagles to make them moving a little faster? – says Nessa, always bored when things aren’t proceeding swift enough.

- I can’t. Besides, if I called the Eagles, the game would end too soon. And I don’t want to spoil the fun, - says Manwë, still deeply moved about his older brother’s comment from earlier.

- It’s nothing. We’ll go through Moria, - beams Aulë.

***

The great squid surfaces from the dark waters near the Moria’s gates and attacks Frodo and his companions.

- A kraken?! – exclaims Ulmo. – What’s it doing in my lake?!

- You thought you were the only one that can use water to his advantage, didn’t you? – grins Melkor. – You know what? You were wrong!

- Kraken shouldn’t even live in sweet waters, - notices Yavanna, exasperated. – You know nothing about animals, you brutes.

***

- A balrog?! – cries Aulë. - But they all became extinct in the First Age!

- Oops, - says Melkor, not sounding sorry at all. – Looks like this one survived. Why are you making such long faces, all of you? It’s not as dirty trick as you played with that blondie on me. My balrog has’t even died before.

The balrog tips the scales in favor of Melkor as he chases the fellowship across Moria’s halls. But then, Gandalf turns around, fights him and wins.

- Damn, no! – screams Melkor, hitting the table with his fist. – No! Mandos, don’t you dare. Keep your hands off my balrog. If you gonna take ‘im, you must take Olórin too. That’s the only fair way. You cannot defeat balrog so easily.

Mandos doesn’t look happy but fulfills his wish. Far below, in the Mines of Khazad-dûm, balrog switches his whip one last time, the rope curls around wizard’s ankle, and he drags Gandalf with himself into the abyss.

***

- C’mon, Varda, come here! – beckons Manwë. – Play with us.

And soon several voices join his request.

Varda doesn’t look too appeased, thinking their petty games beneath her authority but eventually she yields to their pleas. (There is nothing else to do in the Blessed Realm anyway, all the troublemakers still locked in Mandos’ Halls and every other soul engaged in the chess game.)

Varda makes her move.

In Middle Earth Galadriel leans toward a hobbit.

- And you, Frodo Baggins, I will give the light of Eärendil, our beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out…

Before she even finishes her line, Aulë groans.

-  Seriously, Varda? – he starts. – Will you never let go of Fëanor’s Silmarils?  

- What is your problem? This is a star after all and I, as a Kindler, can do with stars what I want.

- Yeah, but you have to choose this particular one. The only one from Silmarils that still exists…

Their argue goes on and Aulë, protecting fiercely his favorite pupil, doesn’t notice as Melkor does some fishy things with one of his Maiar.

- What the fuck? – says Manwë as Melkor reaches to move Curunir toward Rohan field. – That’s not your figure, hands off, Melko.

- Aye, he wasn’t my figure. But he switched sides.

- What? You cannot make them switch sides!

Aulë, wrung from his argument about Fëanor by raised voices only now notices he’s lost a Maia.

- Not again, Melkor! You cannot steal all my Maiar!

- Maybe you should guard them more closely, - retorts Melkor.

- No, stop it! It’s all wrong! – interrupts Manwë. – Curunir’s on our side.

- Not anymore.

- That’s cheating! That’s against the rules!

- Oh, go on, cry about it to the daddy. But as much as you would have liked it, you aren’t the one making rules here. He is. Even in this game. And it’s not cheating, it’s called free will, bitches. Saruman is with me and Mairon now. Look, he even dresses properly, - with those words Melkor puts off the white robe of the wizard and replaces it with a rainbow one. – Fuck yeah, Angbang team.

- That’s so gay, - mutters Ulmo.