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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 51:  Growing Pains


‘Look.’  Elladan indicated the lonely figure of a blonde elfling currently engaged in throwing pebbles at a small cairn, single-mindedly trying to ensure that not one stone should remain on another. 

‘She has a good arm,’ Legolas commented.  ‘I would not want to get in the way of one of those missiles.’

Elrohir sighed.  ‘She does not know how to deal with it.  I only wish that I could help her through this time, but telling her I understand will not make it any better.’

‘I suppose we could use distraction,’ Elladan offered.  ‘We could offer to take her riding – or Legolas could work with her on her archery.’

‘She would know it for what it was, though,’ Nimloth’s adar said ruefully.

‘What do you mean?’ Legolas asked curiously.

‘Have you not had this with Eleniel and Galenthil?’ Elladan sounded surprised. ‘Although,’ he added, ‘now I come to think about it – they have always done different things, have they not?  Eleniel has been obliged to train in feminine pursuits, such as – I do not know – stitching and making preserves and whatever it is that females do in the absence of their males, whereas Galenthil has had to learn the skills required of his adar’s son.  They have made friends beyond each other.  But this,’ he indicated his niece, ‘is the first time that Aewlin has wanted to do things that Nimloth has not.’

‘And it is the first time that her sister has chosen to spend time with another over her,’ Elrohir said softly.  ‘It is a painful time.  It will take them both some experience to learn that having other friends does not take anything from the love they share.’

Legolas watched the elleth as she rebuilt her target and gathered up the pebbles before returning to see to its destruction.  ‘What are Aewlin and Eleniel doing that excludes Nimloth?’ he enquired.  ‘Could we not ask them to let her join them?’

‘We could,’ Elrohir agreed, ‘and they would – they are not excluding her deliberately.  They are just involved in the weaving that Sirithiel is teaching them and want to talk about it and practise – and Nimloth does not.’  He smiled sadly.  ‘And, as yet, she has not found a path she wishes to follow.’  He looked at his twin and shrugged slightly. ‘She is not ready to move forward.  She could cope with Elrin and Eleniel and Galenthil starting to grow up – but not Aewlin.’

‘Did the same thing happen to you?’  Legolas glanced from one twin to the other.  ‘I suspect that Elrohir grew up first,’ he guessed.

A wide smile spread across Elladan’s face.  ‘Everyone thinks it was I who was ready to – expand my horizons first,’ he said approvingly.  ‘You are one of the few who know us well enough to realise that I was dragged, kicking and screaming, from the easy irresponsibility of elflinghood to bear the demands put on us.  Elrohir took to education and the demands of dealing with outsiders much better than I did.’

‘You learned more quickly on the training field,’ Elrohir pointed out.  ‘And you were always the leader.’

‘It tends to lead to a few uncomfortable years, though.’ Elladan squeezed his brother’s shoulder affectionately.  ‘We had to relearn who we were in relation to each other.’

‘So, Elladan,’ Legolas smiled, ‘what can we do to help your niece?’

‘Love her,’ he shrugged.  ‘Be there for her.  Refuse to make comparisons.  Praise them both.  Give her the time she needs.’

‘Adar says that one of the hardest parts of being a parent is standing back and letting your young ones learn for themselves,’ Legolas reflected.  ‘Watching them hurt and being unable to do anything about it, when you would fight dragons for them if you could.’

‘I will warrant you put Thranduil through a good deal, then.’  Elladan teased.  ‘You always insisted on learning from experience – and you made sure threw yourself head first into activities that gave you plenty of opportunities to suffer.’

Elrohir leaned forward, focusing intently on the two ellyth coming up behind Nimloth, who turned her head briefly before hurling a particularly vicious stone that struck the cairn and bounced off at an angle.  Eleniel called a greeting and veered off, leaving Aewlin to wander over and sit down close to her twin.   She picked up a twig and appeared to be drawing in the sandy soil without paying any attention to the angry clack of stone on stone.   Nimloth’s sharp rhythm eased and softened and she turned her attention to her sister, watching Aewlin uneasily, until she looked up and smiled.  Without speaking, the two ellyth rose and wandered down towards the stream, their normal relationship apparently resumed.

‘Aewlin is clever,’ Elladan approved.  ‘She handled that well.  It is very hard to focus wrath on somebody who is just there, wanting to be in your company and paying no heed to your ill-temper.’

‘Perhaps she takes after her adar, the diplomat,’ Legolas suggested.

‘Unfortunately,’ the diplomat pointed out, ‘that was just one round of what will, I am sure, be many.’ 

‘Then let us hope it sets the tone for the rest,’ Elladan said thoughtfully, ‘and that Nimloth finds her path sooner rather than later.  I am not sure that I feel able to cope with your daughter in full fury, if that example of her reaction is an early sample of what we might have to expect.’

Legolas smiled.  ‘She could be dangerous,’ he agreed, ostentatiously fingering the back of his head as if checking on an old wound. ‘It is, after all, a family trait.’

Elrohir raised an eyebrow.  ‘Watch out, elfling,’ he said haughtily, ‘or we will show you the meaning of danger.  Life in Lasgalen will not have prepared you for it.’

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