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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 44:  Parents and Children

‘I had never really thought,’ Elrohir said softly in his brother’s ear as he watched Legolas lean towards his naneth in laughing response to some comment, ‘how it must have been for Thranduil to have to bring his son up without his wife’s presence.  Somehow, my focus has always been on Legolas growing up with no Nana to provide him with love and approval.’

Elladan looked towards his own dark-haired wife as if to comfort himself with her nearness.  ‘It is being a parent,’ he said.  ‘It makes you see things from the other side.’

‘I would not care to attempt it,’ Elrohir admitted.

‘I should think not!’ his twin laughed.  ‘I doubt you would last a week!’

Elrohir glanced at the elflings who had escaped being confined with their parents to sit together in a group that had instantly divided into ellyn and ellyth.  Elrin and Galenthil were busy eating and, in the intervals between bites, were clearly planning their afternoon’s activities with a complete disregard of their female kin.  Nimloth was giggling furiously at something, while Eleniel and Aewlin looked as if butter would be reluctant to melt in their mouths.

‘Perhaps not,’ Elrohir agreed ruefully.  ‘Not, note, that I am agreeing that my daughters are any more difficult than we were as elflings.’

‘Your caution does not change matters though,’ his brother remarked frankly. ‘They are, to say the least, headstrong and disobedient – and far more manipulative than we were.’

Miriwen and Sirithiel had abandoned their husbands sprawled on the picnic blankets and were sitting with Celebrian, conversing on a subject that was clearly of great interest to them all, while Elrond had joined Thranduil on the rocks overlooking the water. 

‘It seemed strange enough,’ Elrohir remarked, changing the subject, ‘when we came from the ship, to see Naneth and Adar together on the shore.  It was as if we had stepped back a thousand years or more to the days when we were still young – and in possession of a modicum of innocence.’

Elladan leaned back and watched the comfortable family occasion with a soft wonder. ‘I think it is part of what made it so difficult to settle,’ he said.  ‘What we knew for truth had changed – and we had half our adult lives cut away.’

‘Do you think having little recollection of his naneth makes it better or worse for Legolas?’ Elrohir mused.  ‘I think in many ways it must be less hard.  Laerwen is detached from his previous life.  She has come to him now, in the forest realm – she is solely part of what he is here.’ 

‘No,’ his twin insisted. ‘She is his naneth and yet not his nana.  Legolas has none of the points of reference that we have.  He does not remember her soothing his hurts, or smoothing away troubles.  She is a stranger who gave birth to him – and yet, at the same time, she is his adar’s wife and love.  They have missed so much of what we take for granted.’

Elrohir watched.  ‘Perhaps you are right,’ he said.  ‘It is a good thing that he is adaptable – and easy-going.’

‘Although a lot of that is a front,’ Elladan added.  ‘There is far more Thranduil than you would think under that blond amiability.  Just as there is more of Galadriel in you than you ever let anyone see.’

‘Do not tell,’ his brother grinned, ‘or I will see that everyone is made aware of the calm and reasoned lore-master hidden beneath the surface of your impulsiveness.’

Elladan laughed.  ‘Far beneath the surface, my twin,’ he insisted ruefully. ‘I think you take after Adar far more than I do.  I have more of Naneth in me.’

‘What is occupying your minds, my friends?’ Legolas enquired as he joined them.

‘Naneths, mainly,’ Elrohir told him.

Legolas looked back to his own naneth where she sat talking to his wife. ‘I find I enjoy having a naneth,’ he remarked.  ‘She and Elerrina get on well with each other, too.’  He grinned ruefully.  ‘Although I am not at all certain that I am going to survive the extended visit of my wife’s parents.’

The twins grinned, remarkably similar expressions lighting their faces.  ‘I find keeping quiet is the wisest course of action,’ Elladan recommended.  ‘Miriwen’s parents do not mind me – and they adore Elrin – but it is never wise to contradict anything they say.’ He shook his head.  ‘I am under the impression they believe I am reckless,’ he said.

‘Sirithiel’s parents, I am glad to say, are reasonable and well-balanced people,’ Elrohir said thankfully.  ‘I enjoy their visits – and going to see them.’

‘Your daughters must take after your side of the family, then,’ Legolas suggested.

Elrohir groaned and buried his face in his hands. ‘Do not start,’ he complained.  ‘I have heard enough comments on my daughters’ behaviour.’

‘They will grow up,’ Legolas said optimistically.  ‘In a few centuries you will look back on these years and laugh.’

‘As long as I have Sirithiel by my side to laugh with me,’ Elrohir added softly.


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