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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 39:  Getting Physical 

The clash of swords filled the air as the blond elf span and struck in response to the actions of the more broad-shouldered dark elf.  Both had the excitement of battle in their eyes – combined with the centuries of discipline that enabled each to analyse the movements of the other and take advantage of any slight error.

They had drawn an audience without any effort or desire, but they were unaware of its presence.

Elrohir kept a hand on his nephew’s shoulder, watching the pair critically as their easy movements became a little more laboured and their breathing heavier.  Finally, just as Elrin reluctantly drew himself up to go to his training group, Elladan’s greater power overcame Legolas’s agility and he managed the touch that ended the bout.

Elladan acknowledged his son’s beam of delight as he ran off, and clapped Legolas on the shoulder. ‘A good match, my friend,’ he grinned. 

‘Not bad,’ Legolas agreed ruefully, as he stripped off his protective clothing. ‘But not good enough.’

‘You nearly had me – much longer and the weight difference would have shifted the advantage to you.’

‘Next time, I will keep out of your range for longer then,’ his friend told him.

‘My brother needs to score some victories,’ Elrohir said amiably.  ‘After all, you always win at archery.  Come – let us go to the baths.  You both stink.’

They returned their equipment to the stores, responding cheerfully to the comments thrown their way.

‘Actually, my friends, I would rather swim,’ Legolas said.  ‘There are too many people here.  Shall we go to the river?’

‘Your son was most impressed,’ Elrohir told his twin as they altered their path to head off towards one of the more isolated pools suitable for bathing.  ‘I think that is probably the first time he has ever seen his adar and Uncle Legolas in full battle display.  You have inspired him.’

‘We should get Daeradar to perform for him – with Glorfindel.  That is something to watch.’ 

‘And Adar is good.  More considered in the way he fights – it is an interesting difference.’

‘He is more like you, Elrohir.  When you challenge each other, you are both so busy thinking ahead, that neither of you is willing to start to attack.’

‘What would really astound Elrin, though, would be if Lady Celebrian and your daernaneth were to show what they can do,’ Legolas said thoughtfully. 

‘No,’ Elrohir said hastily, ‘that would not be a good idea.’

Elladan grinned.  ‘How could my brother possibly keep sharp items out of the hands of his daughters once they were aware that Celebrian and Galadriel were skilled with weapons?’ he teased. 

‘It is time they started to learn,’ Legolas said seriously as they approached the river. ‘Nimloth is always sensible when she has her bow in her hand.  She saves her wildness for when she is running free.  And Eleniel says that Aewlin has made her think much more about why she does things in the way she does – because your daughter insists on having clear explanations for everything.  Perhaps your naneth and daernaneth would agree to take some part in training them.’  He grinned.  ‘I think Eleniel – and Hithien – would be glad of some competition.  And it will be much harder for Elerrina to object if Lady Galadriel is involved.’  He drew his sweat-stained tunic over his head and dropped it on the turf.

‘We should have stopped to get some clean clothes,’ Elladan exclaimed.

‘Drying cloths might have been useful, too,’ Elrohir added.

‘No matter.’  Legolas paused to admire the deep still pool among the rocks, overhung with willow branches that trailed in the water.  Half the pool was in the shade, dark and green, but the other part glittered in the sunlight. ‘We will soon dry – and we can bathe again when we return home.’

‘I am enjoying my freedom too much to waste time worrying about anything,’ Elrohir shrugged. ‘The sun is shining, the air is alive with the promise of summer – I feel like an elfling unexpectedly freed from lessons.’

‘We will pay for it later of course,’ Elladan added.

‘Of course,’ Legolas agreed as he prepared to dive into the cool water.  ‘But it will be worth it.’

‘Mind your head on the rocks, my brother,’ Elladan said dulcetly.  ‘I would not want to have to fish you out again.  Remember water can be dangerous.’

‘One day, my twin,’ Elrohir replied with remarkable patience, ‘I will remind you of the number of times I have saved you from having your brains spattered over various parts of Arda.’

‘But not today,’ Legolas called.  ‘Come in the water.’  He sent a wave of sparkling droplets in their direction as they grinned and threw off their clothes to join him in the welcoming pool.


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