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Plot Bunny Hutch - Pukelwoman by Virtuella

Author: Virtuella
Title: Púkelwoman
Rating: PG
This was my plot bunny, submitted by Linaewen: In RotK Chapter 5 (Ride of the Rohirrim), Elfhelm says, "We need no further guidance...for there are riders in the host who have ridden down to Mundburg in days of peace. I for one." I'd like to see a story about Elfhelm (or some other person from Rohan) visiting Minas Tirith prior to the breakout of war.
Author's Notes: Middle-earth belongs to Tolkien. Thanks to Clodia and Finlay for beta reading.

Word Count: 1500


The signal tower of Eilenach glinted in the sunlight. It was late morning and almost too hot for comfort, so Elfhelm decided to take a rest in the shade. He stopped by a group of inviting-looking birches, dismounted and took off his helmet. It was such a relief to shake out his long hair and let fresh air reach his scalp. Curse all this leather, he was sweating like an ox! But, ah, shade, welcome shade! It was good not to have the sun staring into his face for a while. The birches' leaves rippled gently in the breeze and seemed to beckon him to come nearer. Behind them, the woods rose up the slope, a brooding wall of trees and dense underbrush. Elfhelm couldn't tell one kind of tree from another, except for birches with their conveniently striped trunks, but fortunately there was no need for him to get entangled with the forest. He sat on a tussock of grass and gulped down half the content of his water bottle. He had left Edoras early, straight after breakfast, and now he began to regret that he hadn't brought a little snack. Never mind, he thought, just another hour or so to get to the city, and Húrin was bound to have lunch sorted. Last time he'd been to Minas Tirith, they'd gone to this fabulous little place in the fourth circle that did those delicious stuffed olives... That dish alone almost made it worth the trip, which otherwise he couldn't help resenting a little. It was not really necessary, from a rational point of view, but well, the Boss was very particular about what he smoked and he liked to have his own special courier. Such was a boss's prerogative.

It was quiet. The road lay deserted in the near-noon heat. Elfhelm thought of sitting for another five minutes, then having a piss and going on. There were ants crawling around or in some cases over his boots. He didn't mind them – let them try and bite through the leather!

At first he wasn't sure that he had heard a noise at all, and then he wondered what kind of animal it might be, and then, when it came a third time, he couldn't help thinking that it sounded very human. He looked round. There it was again, somewhere to the left. A kind of wheezy groan.

“Hello?” He got up and walked towards the spot where he thought the noise had come from. “Hello? Anyone there?”

There was no reply, just another pitiful moan. He stepped closer.

The girl sat under some sort of curly bush, or perhaps it was a fern. Her left leg was stretched out in front of her, the other folded under it. When she saw him approach, she tried to duck into the shade, but didn't get up.

She was stark naked, apart from a kind of dry grass skirt round her waist. Flippin 'eck, thought Elfhelm, some boobs! They were the shape and colour of hazelnuts but the size of melons. It cost him some effort not to stare.

“Are you injured?” he asked. “Do you need help?”

She made no reply. Her face clearly spoke of her fear and a terrified whimper came from her throat.

“Come now,” he said, “have you never seen a man in black leather before?” The moment he spoke the words, he realised how stupid they were. He suddenly thought it was possible that she'd never seen a fully clothed man at all.

“I won't harm you.” He held out his hand. “But let me help. I could take you home.” No, you couldn't, you idiot, because her home is likely to be somewhere deep in the woods, and how would you get her there, carry her? She doesn't exactly look like a featherweight.

There was no danger of her accepting his hasty offer anyway. She recoiled even further. Suddenly there was rustling in the forest and a choir of angry voices. Elfhelm couldn't understand a word, but he understood the tone. It meant, “Shoo!” From among the bushes emerged half a dozen chubby men, grass-skirt-clad like the girl but much fiercer looking. To a large extent, this was due to the spears they waved about. Elfhelm felt put out by this, though he realised that it could have been worse. They could have been pointing the spears at him.

“Hey, keep cool!” he cried and stepped back. Three of the men dashed forwards and picked up the girl by her hale limbs. Within seconds the whole group had disappeared among the greenery.

“What the heck!” said Elfhelm. He swept his hair out of his face and took another sip of water. There was no question now of having a piss, because who knew what faces might be staring at him from the bushes. “Well, sod it, I'd better get going.”

At least the sun had meanwhile veiled itself in a few obliging clouds. He mounted, let the engine roar and zoomed off to the South-East.


Húrin had sorted lunch. He had a table booked in that fabulous little place in the fourth circle. First though, Elfhelm showered and changed and then they went to the very upmarket tobacconist in the sixth circle to buy a three months' supply of the equally upmarket (and correspondingly expensive) cigars the Boss was so fond of these days.

“At least he's gone off that vile snuff Gríma used to give him.”

“How is he anyway?” asked Húrin as they sauntered back down to the fourth circle.

“Oh, so-so. He has his good and bad days. Not getting any younger, of course. To be honest, I don't think he will finish the term. We could have elections before the end of the year. Éowyn will run for office, you know. Good for her, too. She'd send that Gríma with all his committees and sub-committees packing.”

“Where does she stand on defence, though? The Conventional Arms Treaty with Mordor has completely fallen through. They've commissioned a whole new generation of mid-range ground-to-ground-missiles. There are rumours about a special kind of warhead. Gondor will have to invest heavily in weapons technology in the next few years. We really need our allies to back us up.”

“I guess she's made up her mind about that. Let your boss give her a call and discuss it.”


Meanwhile, they had arrived. Elfhelm didn't even look at the menu; he ordered stuffed olives, sweet pepper ratatouille and hazelnut ice-cream.

“I had a strange experience on the way,” he said while Húrin frowned at the wine menu. “I stopped for a break at Druadan Forest, and there was this girl, she must have been injured or something, I don't think she understood me, she looked like some kind of, I don't know, some kind of native. Practically naked! And then all these native guys came and ran off with her. They had spears! I'm not making this up.”

“No, I know you aren't.” Húrin gave a cursory nod to the waitress as she put down the dishes of stuffed olives. “They were Woses.”

“They looked quite plucky to me!”

“Not wusses, Woses. Have you never heard of them?”

“Never. What are they, some kind of primitives?”

“Well, something like that. They've lived in Druadan Forest forever. Hunter-gatherers, band society. They're not exactly an uncontacted tribe, but the Protection of Tribal Societies Act has banned all contact with them for the last fifteen years. It is enforced very strictly. You really didn't know they existed?”

“Not outside children's books, no. I think I remember now, my sister had this picture book, The Púkelmen of Druadan. That's them?”


“Amazing. They looked like something I once saw at Dunharg Museum.” Elfhelm munched an olive and then another.

“So who proposed the ban?” he asked after a while.

“Senator Faramir. That was his first term, it was unbelievable he'd made it into senate, and he was supporting every idealistic project you could possibly think of. He's grown a bit more realistic since. But anyway, the PTSA went through, thanks to him. It was widely applauded in the usual quarters, and strongly resented in the other usual quarters.”

“Leaving a half...?” asked Elfhelm, who took maths very literally.

“Yes. A lot of people don't care one way or another what happens to a few bushfolk. They were in a bad way, it must be said. It started off pretty harmless with craft stalls by the roadside here and there, native art and blablabla, but it ended up, inevitably, with alcohol, prostitution and STDs. Obviously, somebody was making a profit there and it wasn't the Woses. Their chieftain, Ghân, came up to the city personally to demand that our government put a stop to it. And Senator Faramir was happy to champion their cause and even back then he had this charisma, you know, so the legislation went through swiftly. There are heavy fines in place for anyone who approaches them.”

“But I didn't approach her. That is, I did, but only to help.”

“You might find it difficult to prove that in court,” said Húrin. “They really are very strict about it. Fortunately, the authorities need never know. Did they get your registration number?”

“I wouldn't think so. The bike was parked behind a bunch of tall nettles.”

“Well, make sure you shut up, and I'll tell nobody. And if you ever come across any of them again, just pretend you haven't seen.”


Elfhelm couldn't help shaking his head. Púkelmen! Whatever next. He shrugged.

“Nice boobs, though,” he said and took another stuffed olive.

“I didn't hear that,” replied Húrin . The waitress served the ratatouille. The look she gave Elfhelm was as icy as the Helcaraxë.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is hilarious! I like the slow way you indicate the "AU-ness" of the story, with the occasional bit of modern language and so forth, until finally it dawns on the reader what you've done!

Not only funny, but thought provoking as well!
May. 19th, 2012 11:24 am (UTC)
Thank you. It was meant to creep up on you slowly. As I was writing it, I was imagining all the canon-wise readers to think, "He could never get to Minas Tirith that quickly!"
May. 16th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
This is totally awesome!!! I can't stop grinning! :-D
May. 19th, 2012 11:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, glad you found it funny.
May. 16th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
Made me laugh! I really liked your AU ;)
May. 19th, 2012 11:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad it gave you a laugh.
May. 16th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
I was a bit taken aback
May. 17th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Oh, help! Pandora is intent on drowning me with kisses, and Brendi is standing on the keyboard, helping her!

As I was trying to say, I was a bit taken aback by the thought he was by the Druadan but would be in the White City so shortly--until he started the engine! Aargh! Then it hit me--AU!

Very well done, my friend! And the pups send a wag of their fluffy little tails!
May. 19th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Went exactly according to plan then, lol. Thanks you.
May. 17th, 2012 01:14 am (UTC)
It was the engine that clued me in, and what a wonderful AU this was. I loved it. I'll be putting signs supporting Eowyn's election on my lawn tonight :-)

- Erulisse (one L)
May. 19th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Does she stand in your constituency?
Thanks, glad you liked it.
May. 19th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
Does she stand in your constituency?

I think I could write a story about a Rider with elvish far back in her family's history, working the phone/pigeon banks for Eowyn's election. I'm sure she would represent the Riders much better than she cooks, at any rate :-))

- Erulisse (one L)
May. 17th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
What a wonderfully clever use of the prompt.
May. 19th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Thanks. It just kind of happened.
May. 18th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
Very clever LOL!
May. 19th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it.
May. 18th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
Volume 93/Issue 8
User caras_galadhon referenced to your post from Volume 93/Issue 8 saying: [...] behind. He revisits his realm and makes a decision to visit an old friend. Pukelwoman by Virtuella [...]
May. 19th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
This story really had me laughing. Loved the AU-ness. I wonder where I could find some of those olives....

Yep. Still chuckling.
May. 19th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
I had Southern France in mind. Thank you.
May. 21st, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
This was fun and your trick certainly worked on me exactly as planned! Also thought-provoking...
May. 22nd, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad it worked for you. ;-)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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