Dead Leaves and Beetles by Zdenka

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Story Notes:

Written for the June 2016 lotr_community challenge, for the theme "June Bug" (a character dealing with something that "bugs" them, either humorously or seriously) and the prompt "beetle."


It was one of Túrin’s rare appearances at the King’s table in Menegroth. Saeros looked down the hall and frowned at Túrin’s unkempt appearance. “Will no one teach this mortal how to behave?” he said to those nearby. “It is an insult to the King, to attend his feasts in an old, dirty cloak and with mud on his boots.” Some things could be excused in one who came from the wild north, but Túrin had come to Doriath as a child, and Saeros thought he should have learned better by now.

“He is one of Beleg’s march-wardens,” one of the other counsellors said peaceably, “and like Beleg himself, they often prefer the wilderness to the King’s halls. If their manners are also a little wild, their hand is deadly against our foes.”

Saeros sniffed. “Beleg,” he said, “may choose to crown his head with a living garland rather than a circlet of gold and gems, but he does not sit at the King’s table with dead leaves caught in his hair!”

They all glanced at Túrin involuntarily. He was staring gloomily into his plate and poking at his food rather than eating it.

“Look at him,” Saeros said scornfully. “You would think someone had served him worms and beetles, rather than the finest dishes from Thingol’s kitchens. Though he may grub under a log for beetles when he is in the wild, for all I know!”

One of his cousins wrinkled her nose. “Enough, Saeros. This talk of beetles is ruining my appetite.”

“It ruins my appetite to look at him,” Saeros retorted.

“Then turn your head the other way! The rest of us wish to eat in peace.”

Saeros cast one more disapproving look toward Túrin, who seemed not to notice. “He could at least comb his hair.”




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