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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves - Part 48:  Climbing High       

Elladan’s eyes gleamed in the moonlight.  ‘Tell me again why we are doing this,’ he demanded.

Legolas smiled.  ‘Because it is there,’ he suggested.

‘That really is insufficient reason,’ Elrohir remarked, removing a leaf of lembas from his pocket and offering a section to each of them. 

‘Because my wife thought it would do us good to get some fresh air,’ Legolas offered again.

Elrohir shook his head.  ‘There are many perfectly sensible ways for us to get fresh air, my friend, but this is not one of them.’

‘You are just taking it out on us for making you go into the caverns,’ Elladan asserted.

‘Would I do that?’ Legolas put a hand to his heart, as if wounded that his motives could be so misconstrued.

Elladan laughed.  ‘Of course you would,’ he said.  ‘I would do the same.’

‘How did you find this?’  Elrohir asked.  ‘The elflings?’

‘It is,’ Legolas remarked dryly, ‘a little hard to miss.’

‘Not the pillar of rock, orc-brain,’ his friend sighed.  ‘The path.’

‘Oddly, not the elflings,’ Legolas admitted.  ‘Mainly because Elerrina has threatened to nail shut the doors to their chambers should they keep escaping at night and – more practically, I feel – has ensured that some of Adar’s guards earn their keep by observing the exits and entrances available to them.’

‘Does that work?’ Elrohir asked with interest.

‘It is not infallible.’  Legolas grinned.  ‘Last time I was away they were caught sneaking out, and a very irate Elerrina carted them off to Adar for judgment.  I think they had always believed that I exaggerated,’ he commented.  ‘Even Eleniel’s skilled use of her eyelashes failed to mitigate their sentence.  I do not believe they will take advantage of my absence again.’

Elrohir gazed at the moon thoughtfully.  ‘Would Thranduil care to employ intimidation on my daughters?’ he asked.

His twin laughed.  ‘You have given up on the idea of Daernaneth as an elfling trainer?’

‘I am keeping it as a last resort,’ his brother said with dignity.

‘So, who discovered the path?’ Elladan dropped the subject and returned to the reason for their outing.

‘That information is lost in the mists of time,’ Legolas said poetically and grinned.  ‘I do not know – all those who have lived here over the years know of it.  They were quite surprised to find that I did not.  Amondil asked me one day if I enjoyed the view from up here and he was astonished when I confessed that I had never climbed it.’

The full moon appeared to smile at them from above the trees as a wisp of luminous cloud drifted past.  The light caught flat planes of the rock and cast others into deeper shadow.  Trees stood silhouetted against the sky, whilst, at their feet, the short turf glinted.

‘It is almost time,’ Legolas murmured as the silver gleam illuminated the huge monolith.  ‘The moon path,’ he said softly as their way up the vertical face became apparent.

‘Have you climbed it before?’ Elladan asked him.

‘No,’ their friend replied.  ‘I saved it for this visit.  Come, while the light holds true.’

He stepped swiftly but with care up the precipitous path, followed by the sons of Elrond, all of them taking care to avoid the loose stones that could have made the way treacherous.  The path gave way to a ledge and the ledge to footholds and projections of rock that would have been impossible for any but elves to climb and proved testing even for them.

‘Is it much further?’ Elladan queried breathlessly.  ‘I am not sure that I am cut out for life as a mountain goat.’

‘Amondil was right,’ Legolas said.  ‘Without the moon path, this would seem impossible.’

‘As opposed to the first cousin to impossible,’ gasped Elrohir. 

‘That part is the worst,’ Legolas told them.  ‘As soon as you turn the corner, there is a path again.  We can rest for a moment if you like.’

‘No,’ Elladan told him.  ‘Let us get to the top first.  I want to see if this is as good as you say – because, if it is not, I might just decide to see if you are the first Wood Elf to develop the power of flight.’

They stepped onto the pinnacle – much greater than it seemed from the bottom – and stared out over the moon-bathed forest canopy, stretching in every direction as far as they could see, to the distant shrouded mountains in the east, crossing the broad ribbon of the river in the south and extending in other directions until it blurred into the horizon.

‘I think I can say that it was worth the climb,’ Elladan patted his friend’s shoulder. ‘What do you think?’

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