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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 47: From Dark to Light


‘It it unbelievable,’ Legolas marvelled. ‘How many such marvels exist, I wonder, hidden in the dark places of the earth?’

Elladan looked around with a possessive pride.  ‘I cannot think that there are many more beautiful than this.’

‘Although,’ Elrohir added, ‘you have not seen it all yet.  This is only the first hall. Adar was speechless when we brought him here.  He said that we must keep quiet about it and then bring Daeradar when he visits.’  He grinned.  ‘When we got home he took out all his books about Menegroth and started poring over the illustrations.’

Legolas turned round slowly, his eyes absorbing the soaring height of the gleaming stone, following great pillars of fluted rock arching to the dim ceiling, examining curving steps of smooth slabs that looked too elegant to be entirely natural, yet too real to be manufactured, and admiring every surface as it glinted in the reflections of light.  ‘It is one of Aulë’s hidden gardens,’ he said, his voice hushed, ‘filled with treasures that are not for everyone to see.’

‘Is this some secret knowledge of the Naugrim that you are sharing with us?’ Elrohir enquired with interest.

‘It is hardly very secret,’ his friend replied absently.  ‘If it were, I would not know it – Gimli was my friend, but he would no more tell me his people’s most private mysteries than I would tell him mine.’

‘What did he tell you?’

Legolas drew a deep breath of the cool still air.  ‘That Aulë – Mahal – took pleasure in creating perfect treasure houses deep in the rock that only Dwarves could find – to remind them that beauty consists of more than a fine vein of ore or a trove of gemstones. He filled them with those things – but no Dwarf would touch them, because the hidden gardens were Aulë’s gift.’

‘A fine gift,’ Elladan said softly.

‘I wish he were here to see it,’ the Dwarf-friend murmured.

Elrohir placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. ‘Perhaps this is Aulë’s gift to you,’ he said.  ‘In memory of a relationship unparalleled between out races since Narvi and Celebrimbor.’

‘It is not quite the same,’ Legolas remarked with a wicked grin.  ‘She and Celebrimbor shared an interest in creating works of art from metals and gemstones.’

She?’ Elladan said incredulously. ‘Narvi was female?’

Legolas raised his eyebrows.  ‘Do not tell me you thought Dwarves kept their females hidden below ground, my friend!’  He reached out to touch a gleaming vein that twisted through a pillar of solid rock.  ‘Although I am told that Narvi long believed Celebrimbor to be female.  Dwarves apparently consider the delicacy of elves to be a very feminine characteristic.’

Elrohir stared at Legolas.  ‘I have not yet decided whether or not to be insulted, my friend,’ he said, narrowing his eyes in apparent threat.

‘I am just imagining them at cross-purposes,’ Elladan said with glee.  ‘Narvi believing Celebrimbor was female – and him convinced that she was male.  It must have led to some very puzzling exchanges.’

‘At least Gimli and I were under no illusions about gender,’ Legolas grinned.  ‘A few days of marching, camping and washing with four hobbits, two men and a wizard were enough to ensure that we had all seen enough of each other to be certain.’

‘You should have tried orc-hunting with groups of Dunedain,’ Elrohir recommended. ‘I would have welcomed rather more nudity, if it had only meant that they would bathe regularly.  We frequently had to make sure of the wind direction before we decided where to sit.’

‘Gimli made far more effort to accommodate you,’ Elladan commented.  ‘He even stopped smoking that evil-smelling pipe when you were around.  And I think he was the only Dwarf ever known to attempt to commune with trees.’

‘I miss him still,’ Legolas said simply.

‘Do not hide him away from your friends – and family,’ Elrohir told him seriously. ‘Share your memories and keep him alive in all our hearts.’

‘Come,’ Elladan insisted.  ‘Let us show you the rest of Aulë’s Halls while the sun is still showing them at their best. 

Legolas trailed his hand along the cool wall of the cavern as he followed the twins. ‘Gimli said that stone was the skeleton upon which the living forest depended – and that it had its own song,’ he reflected. ‘That the world we love out under the sky depended on the dark and secret depths and elves were foolish to turn their backs on them.’

Elrohir clapped him on the shoulder.  ‘Are you not glad after all that we made you come, my friend?  Just imagine – only an hour ago you were whingeing about entering here.  You never know, we might make a Dwarf of you yet!’

‘Provided the Blessed Realm is ready to cope with the idea of a very tall, thin and beardless Dwarf, of course,’ Elladan added dryly. 

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