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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 59: Frustration 

The sharp regular thwacking interrupted the tranquillity of the golden afternoon.

‘A woodpecker, perhaps?’ Elrohir enquired as they strolled towards the sound.

‘Only if woodpeckers have developed fair hair and an enormous sense of frustration,’ his brother grinned.

They paused on the edge of the dishevelled clearing, where the previous winter’s storms had felled a great oak.  Stripped to the waist and gleaming with sweat, Legolas stood with a great axe raised.  He hesitated only briefly before bringing the bright blade down to split the log sitting on the stump.  Neatly sliced into two halves, each fell to join the tumble of other freshly hewn logs.

‘What do you want?’ he asked shortly.

‘Perhaps we have just come to view the remarkable sight of a Wood Elf with an axe in his hands,’ Elrohir remarked.

Legolas turned and looked down his nose at his friends.  ‘Not so remarkable, surely.  Even the elves of Imladris must have had foresters to care for their trees.’

‘But they were not using oversized dwarven battleaxes,’ Elladan pointed out.

‘I do not believe Gimli would appreciate the use to which you were putting his gift,’ Elrohir added softly.

Legolas’s gaze dropped to the rune-inscribed blade in his hands.  ‘He would understand,’ he said.  ‘And I do not have an axe better suited to this task.’

‘He would roar at you for a foolish, light-minded elf,’ Elladan contradicted him, ‘and lambaste you for blunting the edge – and then drag you off to fill you with dwarvish ale until you told him what was upsetting you.’

‘Not that we need to get you drunk to know the answer to that problem,’ Elrohir added.  ‘Whose head are you imagining on that stump?  Your beloved adar-in-law, perhaps?  Or is it your wife’s naneth this time?  Or perhaps some other member of her family has infuriated you.’ 

Legolas let the axe drop to rest its head on the rich brown remains of years of rotted leaves and sank to sit on the golden chips of wood on the littered stump.  He rubbed his hands absently over the smooth polished surface of the axe’s handle.  ‘It is not Linevendë,’ he allowed. ‘Naneth seems to have her well in hand – and she can be diverted fairly easily by producing the elflings for her to cluck over.  But Taryatur!  Everything here is wrong!  The trees are too tall, the water is too wet, the sun is not as bright as it is in Tirion, the wind is too brisk, the grass is too long.  Everything is inferior – and not what Elerrina has a right to expect.  He has taken to calling her ‘my poor daughter’.  I think that if I do not find myself driven to kinslaying, then Elerrina will do it herself.’

A laugh from Elladan made the blond prince scowl. 

‘It is not funny,’ he said insistently.  ‘He controls himself around my adar, so even Thranduil laughs when  I complain – and points out that my naneth’s adar was less than friendly towards him until they got drunk on Dorwinion one night and exchanged a lot of off-colour stories about the whole of their acquaintance.’

‘Not recommended,’ Elrohir interrupted swiftly.  ‘Do not try that – it has a potential for providing everlasting embarrassment.  In the end you will be unable to assume the necessary expression of self-deprecating amusement and you will explode.’

‘You need to find out more about Taryatur,’ Elladan said idly.  ‘I am sure there are skeletons in his cupboard, which, if you only knew them, would still his tongue.  Perhaps Camentur is the one you need to ply with strong drink.’ 

Elrohir rubbed his nose.  ‘No,’ he pondered.  ‘We still cannot extract the best stories about Adar from Glorfindel – and we know that he has dozens.’  He grinned.  ‘He has hinted at them often enough.  Neither Elerrina nor Camentur will know the stories that will make their adar cringe.  Linevendë, on the other hand . . .’   He allowed his voice to trail away.

‘She would not tell me,’ Legolas said regretfully.  ‘It will not work, my friends.  I am going to have to endure his perpetual jibes and digs.’

‘Daernaneth,’ Elladan suggested.  ‘She has contacts who are more than capable of discovering awkward details from Taryatur’s past.  I am sure that she will do that for you.’

‘You are, after all, one of the Nine Walkers,’ Elrohir agreed.  ‘Daernaneth has great respect for you – even if you are the half-Silvan infant son of her most dogged detractor.  She might find it highly entertaining to stir things up and set your adar and adar-in-law against each other.’

Legolas contemplated the possibilities.  ‘No,’ he said regretfully, ‘it would distress Elerrina to feel that we were ganging up against her adar.  She loves him dearly – and his affection for her is, to my mind, his one redeeming characteristic.’

‘Then there is nothing else for it, my friend.’  Elladan removed the axe from Legolas’s hands and handed him his tunic.  ‘You will have to resign yourself to drinking with us.’

Elrohir held up a wineskin.  ‘The closest the Blessed Realm has to Dorwinion,’ he said.  ‘Courtesy of Thranduil’s cellar – provided by your wife, who feels you need a break.  Let us find a refuge where we can enjoy it in peace.’

‘And then,’ Elladan added with a grin, ‘we will find you another axe!’

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