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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 46:  Into the Darkness

‘I do not know why I permitted you to talk me into this,’ Legolas said, his stomach tense with nerves. 

‘You are not fond of caves, I know,’ Elrohir said, ‘but this is something you ought to see.’

Elladan put his hand on his heart and spoke with hurt, his storm-grey eyes fixed earnestly on his friend. ‘You overcame your aversion for Gimli; can you not bring yourself to do the same for us?’

Legolas glanced at him cynically.  ‘You are attempting to manage me,’ he said.  ‘You do not fool me for a moment.’

Elladan laughed.  ‘Come on, my friend – or I will tell Galenthil that his adar is afraid of the dark.’

‘You would, too,’ Legolas complained.  ‘I remember when you told Arwen that I was too nervous to ask her to dance with me – and she spent the whole evening dragging me onto the floor.  I had to pretend I had twisted my ankle in the end.’

‘You were too nervous to ask her to dance,’ Elrohir pointed out.  ‘Mainly because Elladan had told you that our adars wanted you to wed each other.’

Legolas scowled.  ‘I sometimes wonder why I continue to be friends with you.’

The twins turned identical looks on him.  ‘Do you not love us any more?’ Elladan asked plaintively.

‘I tolerate you for your sister’s sake,’ he sniffed.  After a further look at the shadowed cleft in the rock, he continued, ‘How did you discover there were caves here?’

Elladan grinned.  ‘My beloved son – and his equally beloved friends,’ he admitted.  ‘They discovered them by chance, some time ago – and were instantly banned from coming here again without proper supervision.’

‘I will warrant your naneth wishes you were young enough to be subject to the same rules,’ Legolas commented.

‘Possibly,’ Elrohir considered; then laughed.  ‘But we are not.’   He stepped into the inky shadows and eased into the narrow entrance.  ‘It is a tight fit,’ he said, his voice echoing, ‘but the passageway opens out after a few paces.’

‘After you, my friend,’ Elladan bowed with a flourish.

‘You just do not want me leaving once you have wedged yourself in that prison,’ Legolas said sourly.

‘No-one would believe you were a Dwarf-friend to listen to you,’ his friend replied sadly, shaking his head.

Legolas threw him a last reproachful look before easing his way in through the small gap.  The entrance to the cave seemed dark and cold in contrast to the brightness of the day outside.  He stepped carefully deeper in, his hand trailing along the rough wall.

‘You will need to duck,’ Elrohir said from ahead, a faint glow identifying his presence.  ‘It is not far – just follow me.’  He reached out and caught hold of his friend’s wrist.  ‘Keep breathing, Legolas.’ 

The amusement in Elrohir’s voice was more irritating than the teasing, Legolas thought.  ‘I am fine,’ he retorted.

‘Of course you are,’ Elladan agreed.  ‘Are we ready?’

The passage was narrow enough to demand that the three edged through sideways, hunching themselves down as the roof lowered.

‘Why would anyone even think of attempting to come in here?’ Legolas muttered. ‘It is not the first thought that would occur to me – ‘oh look, there is a tiny little hole in the ground: why do I not see if I can get stuck in it?’ – Elves belong in the open air under the sky.’

‘The ellyn did not find the passage quite so – confined,’ Elrohir remarked.  ‘It is not much further.’ 

‘It is getting lighter,’ Legolas said suspiciously, as they followed the passage round a curve and downwards.

Elrohir put out a hand to steady Legolas as they emerged from the confinement of the tight stone walls and rounded a final slab of stone to step into a cave so large that its roof soared above them in graceful arches.  Narrow shafts of light broke through from high openings to gleam on the reflective stone, turning the crystals to diamonds.  A delicate waterfall tumbled from a small opening, its spray turned to rainbows of colour.  Where light and water met rock there were ferns cascading down the damp stone to the pool that drained away in a stream of still green water.

Legolas drew a shuddering breath.  ‘It is beautiful,’ he said in wonder. ‘It is a masterpiece from the hands of Mahal reworked for elves.’  He stepped further into the heart of the cavern.  ‘How Gimli would have loved it.’


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