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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 42:  Losses  

Elrohir’s arms clasped the limp form of the tear-stained elfling and he continued to stroke her hair soothingly.

‘Is she sleeping?’  Legolas asked softly.

‘She is,’ Aewlin’s adar agreed.  ‘My poor sorrowful little one.’

‘This is her first close contact with mortality?’

‘I sometimes wonder if it is a mistake to let elflings keep small animals,’ Elrohir sighed as he nodded.  ‘It seems that no sooner do they learn to love their pets, than the little creatures reach the end of their lives.  Aewlin has been weeping since she found Fluffy.’

‘Nimloth has been very concerned,’ Elladan poured his brother a glass of wine and set it down next to him.  ‘She said that Aewlin could share Patch, but it just made her sister cry harder.’

‘She feels it would be disloyal to Fluffy – show that she did not care about him,’ Elrohir told him.  ‘Do you remember the dog we adopted when we were about Elrin’s age?  Adar was not at all keen to let us keep him – he knew that, even if he lived to a ripe old age, we would still not be old enough to understand when he left us.’

‘I remember that Tug was caught in that rock slide,’ Elladan said quietly.  ‘And that I held him as he died.  Adar offered to let us have another dog – but I could not bear the idea.  I have been fond of other dogs since, but I have never risked investing so much love in one.’

‘I do not want my daughter to have to learn to guard her heart.’ Elrohir pressed a gentle kiss on Aewlin’s fair head.

Legolas closed his eyes and allowed a feeling of weariness to overcome him. ‘It seems wrong,’ he said, ‘to be confronted with mortality here.  I always thought that it was one of the sorrows we would be spared in the Blessed Realm.’

‘It seems that to live is to know pain,’ Elladan said sadly.  ‘If we are to grow, we must offer something of ourselves – to live without the possibility of heartache would be to stagnate.’

‘That is very philosophical of you, my brother,’ Elrohir remarked.

‘I am more than a pretty face,’ Elladan bragged.  ‘I have brains, too.’  He looked at Legolas and laid an encouraging hand on his shoulder.  ‘They are here always,’ he added seriously, moving to touch his heart. 

Aewlin turned her head and murmured, a sob catching in her throat.  Her adar resumed his steady stroking of her silver-fair hair and rocked her gently as she settled back into sleep.

‘What happened to Fluffy?’ Legolas asked.  ‘She was barely out of kittenhood – she should have survived another twenty years or more.’ 

Elrohir smiled wryly.  ‘She had the soul of a stable cat,’ he said.

‘You can take the cat out of the stable, but you cannot take the stable out of the cat,’ Elladan interjected.

His brother shook his head.  ‘She was too curious – and she put herself in the way of a hoof.  At least, that is what her injuries suggest.  And then, in true cat fashion, she hid and tried to lick the damage better.’

‘Aewlin was searching for her last night,’ Elladan said.  ‘Sirithiel insisted she went to bed in the end – and said that the cat would turn up.  Aewlin and Nimloth were both up at dawn to continue to seek her.

‘And, unfortunately, Aewlin found her,’ Elrohir concluded.  ‘She was still warm, so when the first shock wears off, I suspect we may have to deal with guilt that she did not succeed earlier in finding the unfortunate creature.’

‘Try as much as you can, you cannot shield them,’ Legolas mourned.

‘Daernaneth says you should not stand between elflings and the light,’ Elladan observed. ‘That the only way to ensure they grow straight and true is give them love and structure and let them be free to learn from all that surrounds them.’

‘Although saying is not doing,’ Elrohir added.  ‘The expression on Adar’s face when she said it was – interesting.’

‘They have many centuries to grow,’ Legolas pointed out, ‘and so few years to be kept safe.  I want these years to be as – untouched as possible.’

‘They will fight you,’ Elladan said, ‘every step of the way.’

Legolas’s grin held an edge of recklessness.  ‘Then let them fight,’ he declared.

Elrohir shook his head.  ‘It will not work, my friend,’ he stated.  ‘The world has a way of working its way in.’ As he spoke, he rested his cheek against Aewlin’s hair and her fingers reached up to grasp his dark braids.  ‘And all we can do is be there for them.’


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