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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves: Part 53 – Night Sight


The harvest moon hung low over the wide clearing, its pure silver seeming touched with the gold of ripe wheat.  The bonfires, set carefully in stone-lined firepits, cast red glows on the faces of the elves tending them and sent sharp-edged shadows out into the broad space where the wilder, less formal dancing of a forest feast was absorbing the energies of most of the participants.

The scent of roast venison filled the air, cut with the fragrance of bruised grass and night-perfumed flowers, while the sound of the pipes and drums overwhelmed the normal night-song of the forest.

‘It is hard to believe that the last time we saw him dance, he was dressed up in silk and crowned in mithril,’ Elrohir leaned over to speak into his brother’s ear.  ‘Look at him now – he seems a different person altogether.’

‘I wonder what Elerrina’s parents would say if they could see her,’ Elladan remarked, pursing his lips and looking down his nose, even as his grey eyes laughed.  ‘I feel sure they did not bring up their daughter to prance half-naked and barefoot in the woods.’

Elrohir inspected Legolas and his wife as they leapt in time to the music, swinging round and spinning as the rhythm took them.  ‘She does not look half-naked to me,’ he commented. 

‘Sirithiel has permitted you to stop dancing?’ his brother asked, lifting an eyebrow in imitation of his adar.

‘Temporarily,’ Elrohir admitted.  ‘She thought it would be a good idea to check up on Aewlin and Nimloth.  They should not be planning to get up to any mischief in the middle of a feast, but, with them, you can never be sure.’

‘Nimloth is making Elrin dance with her,’ Elladan told him.  ‘I can see them from here.  And Aewlin is with Galenthil and Eleniel – and under the eye of Thranduil.  I believe we may be safe for the moment.’

‘Do you remember the first time we attended a feast in Lasgalen?’ Elrohir asked suddenly.  ‘I had never realised that Naneth had another side to her – she was always the gracious Lady of Imladris – and to see her dancing in her light tunic with her feet grass-stained was a revelation.  I had always known that we had Sindar blood – and connections with the Wood-Elves, but they had always been just names on the family tree.  It was not until I saw her dancing in the moonlight with her hair unbound that it meant something to me.’

‘What impressed me most,’ Elladan said slowly, ‘happened much later that night.  I think you had fallen asleep.  Only the adults were left dancing – and Naneth dragged Adar out to join them.   The Wood-Elves faltered a little, as if they were not sure of him, and he was stiff to start with, but once he let the song take him he seemed a different elf.  And there was a glow about him that seemed to dim the gleam of most of the dancers.  The dance grew even wilder as he was accepted into its heart.  When I woke to the light of day, I was not sure of what I had seen.’

‘Do not forget that your Adar is the great-grandson of Luthien,’ Legolas said breathlessly, accepting Elrohir’s offer of his goblet of wine, ‘whose dancing among the trees captivated Beren.  Why should he not be able to be one with the forest – when he can cast off the shackles of proper lordly behaviour?’  He grinned at his friends.  ‘You are mongrels, you descendants of Eärendil and Elwing, able to belong to all the kindreds – or none, as you choose.’ 

‘Come, my friend,’ Elladan indicated the spits.  ‘I feel it is time for us to take a break and refresh ourselves.  Let us eat.’  He grinned.  ‘I would not want those who have been working to provide us with food to feel slighted.’

‘You could be a hobbit,’ Legolas said disapprovingly.

‘One of the races, at least, to which we are not related,’ Elrohir observed.

‘I would not over-eat if I were you,’ Legolas advised the first-born twin.  ‘I imagine your wife has plans for you this night that involve a great deal of energetic dancing – I would not want you to spoil that for her by becoming unwell.’

‘Miriwen is unlikely to permit me to tread on her feet tonight,’ Elladan gave a small secretive smile.  ‘Your suggestions would be better aimed at my brother.’

Legolas laughed.  ‘Well, if your wives can spare you, you must join Adar and me in the dance – I dare you.’   He watched the twins exchange doubtful glances.  ‘You would not let your House down by showing cowardice here, now would you?’

‘We have given up jumping into peril without considering the risks,’ Elrohir told him.  ‘We are mature elves, these days, I will remind you.  Responsible.’

Two pairs of eyes met his disbelievingly.

‘We do not accept challenges without thought.’  Elrohir kept his face straight and his voice sober as long as he could, but eventually broke into a grin.

‘I will snag one of Adar’s special flasks,’ Legolas offered.  ‘A few sips of his special brew will remove your reluctance – and it is surprisingly exhilarating to perform with all the ellyth watching.’  His eyes sparked wickedly.  ‘You will enjoy it.’

‘Oh well, why not?’  Elrohir surrendered.  ‘For the honour of our House, my brother.’

‘Of all our Houses,’ Elladan added.  ‘Lead on then, Woodland Prince.  Show the mongrels what to do.’    



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