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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 50:  Fishing for Compliments

The crystal water pushed at Legolas’s calves as he gazed intently at the gold-flecked pebbles of the stream bed beneath his feet.

‘Have you not caught any yet?’ demanded Elrohir.  ‘Could it be that you have over-estimated your skill?’

With a quick flip, the blond elf secured a large trout, ending its life with a quick blow on the wet rocks, combined with an apology and an offer of thanks.

‘It is rather like watching a bear after salmon,’ Elladan commented lazily.  ‘Less hairy, of course.’

‘And somewhat better tempered,’ his brother added. 

‘Less malodorous, too,’ Elladan sniffed pointedly.  ‘Have you ever got close to a bear?  Breath like an orc’s armpit.’

‘Oddly, I have never felt the need to resort to bears for female company,’ his brother jibed.  ‘Neither have I been in the habit of assessing the personal hygiene of orcs.’

‘Are either of you planning on helping?’ Legolas pushed back his hair with a dripping hand.

‘No,’ Elrohir considered.  ‘You seem to be getting wet enough on your own.’

‘Take this, then.’  Legolas tossed the fish at Elladan, who snatched it out of the air before it could land on his lap.  ‘If you do not wish to help catch supper, then the least you can do is clean it.’

‘Perhaps I was wrong about the temper,’ Elrohir remarked idly, as Legolas pulled another trout from the water and tossed it at him.  ‘He does seem to be a little gruff.’

Legolas remained motionless, waiting for another fish to come and investigate the strange fronds waving gently in the chill water.  The shade from the trailing willows disguised his form from the most suspicious of fish and before long another sizeable trout found itself on the way to providing a meal for the three elves.

‘Is that enough?’ he asked, as he waded towards his friends.

‘Oh, I should think so,’ Elladan said seriously, ‘we would not want to appear greedy, now would we?  And we have brought bread and cheese – and wine.’

‘A feast,’ sighed Elrohir.  ‘And we can eat it in perfect peace, without having to weigh up everything we say.’

Elladan looked at him sympathetically.  ‘Adar thought you should wait a while before coming on one of our trips, but Sirithiel told him that it was exactly what you needed to help you relax.’  He grinned at his brother.  ‘He was pleased with you,’ he added. ‘You are apparently the pride of our House when it comes to getting the best out of trade negotiations.’

His twin lifted an eyebrow at him.  ‘Do not try to make anything of it,’ he said warningly.  ‘There is nothing that I can do that you cannot.’  

‘Debatable,’ Elladan said with a disarming grin.  ‘I have my talents, but watching every word I say is not among them.’

The three friends moved without consultation to prepare their meal.  Elladan cleaned the fish and speared them onto sticks as Elrohir raked out the hot embers to give them a consistent heat.  Legolas fetched their food supplies and wine skins before sprawling by the fire.  The smell of cooking fish drifted on the air as the twins turned them.

‘Am I the only one to feel guilty,’ Legolas enquired, ‘that I am so pleased to escape everyday life to disappear into the woods?’

Elrohir smiled.  ‘No,’ he answered candidly.  ‘There are time when I feel I should refuse to come – that I am abandoning Sirithiel to care for our enterprising daughters while I enjoy myself.’

‘They are not as bad as they were,’ Elladan said critically.  ‘I was thinking only the other day – you have been away for well over a month, and the ellyth have behaved like reasonable elflings all the while.’

‘It is dangerous to remark on it,’ his brother replied with foreboding.  ‘It almost challenges them to misbehave.’

‘They are beginning to grow up,’ Legolas pointed out.  ‘Eleniel even suggested that they should come and stay for the summer.’

‘Is the invitation seconded by her adar, though?’ Elrohir grinned.  ‘Not to mention her daeradar?’

‘Her adar would like to extend it to the whole family,’ Legolas said amiably. ‘Why do you not all come?  We could all head off into the woods and spend a couple of months among the trees leading a simple life.  It will do the elflings good to learn to look after themselves – and it will not do their adars any harm to get away for a while either.   Elerrina has agreed to come – and I cannot imagine that Miriwen would object.  Do you think Sirithiel would indulge us, Elrohir?’

Elrohir leaned back and closed his eyes as the golden glow of the evening sun warmed his face. He breathed in the scent of wood smoke and grilling fish, whilst beneath it he caught the fragrance of the living forest and his ears relished the sound of birdsong and the soft busy hum of a thousand bees.   A blissful smile spread slowly across his face.  ‘I think she could be persuaded,’ he said. 


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