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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 63: Finding your Feet


‘It was a bad break, my brother,’ Elrohir said mildly.  ‘It is bound to take time to recover fully.’

Elladan did his best to conceal the trembling in his knees.

‘You are rushing it,’ Legolas observed.  ‘You have always been too impatient.’

‘I feel like an old man,’ Elladan said, trying to sound as if he was joking.  ‘Fit only to sit by the fire and mind the young.’

‘You need to take it steadily, that is all,’ his brother told him reasonably.

‘At this rate, my son will be on his feet before I am.’

Legolas stared at his friend, his blue-grey gaze disturbingly intent.

‘What is it?’ Elladan enquired.  ‘Have I grown a second head, perhaps?  Or have you just realised how amazingly good-looking I am?’

‘What must it have been like,’ the prince said softly, ‘for Estel?  Growing old in front of us – his muscles stiffening and his hair turning white – while we remained unchanged and unaffected by the passing years?  From being a younger brother still learning to develop his skills to being older in body than the most aged elf?  Discovering that he could no longer attempt to keep up with us?’

Elrohir sighed.  ‘He knew it would happen, Legolas – as he knew that he would outlive all those among men who were part of the years of his prime.  It was part of who he was.  In many ways I think he found our changelessness to be a relief – at least he had no fear that we would decay into old age and death and leave him bereft.’

‘Or that Arwen would.’  Elladan leaned forward to massage his calf.  ‘Although I think that, in some ways, he wished she would precede him from the world.  He did not like to think of the depth of her despair after he left her.’

‘He knew that there was nothing he could do about it,’ Elrohir said gently, ‘and that we would remain as long as it was necessary.’  He cleared his throat.  ‘Are you ready now to follow Adar’s advice?  Or are you still determined that you know better?’

Elladan scowled.  ‘I suppose there is no harm in taking things at a reasonable pace – but I do not intend to be seen in public with a walking stick.’

‘No,’ Legolas remarked supportively.  ‘Better by far for you to hobble along under your own control.  Until, that is, you measure your length in front of a hundred watching eyes – and put yourself back in a splint.’

‘Come on, brother,’ Elrohir told him patiently.  ‘Or would you rather I fetched your wife to deal with your intransigence?’

With a crack of laughter, Legolas proffered the rejected stick.  ‘I would like to see it, my friend,’ he said.  ‘The nemesis of an army of orcs cowering in dread before the elegant form of a single slight elleth.  You would do well to co-operate.  Miriwen will not be pleased if she is forced to abandon her new baby to deal with one much larger.’

‘You will feel better once you are in the water,’ Elrohir coaxed.  ‘A few sessions of swimming and you will be much less wobbly on your legs.’

‘Or,’ Legolas suggested to Elrohir, ‘we could just grab him and carry him down to the pool – and drop him in.  I am growing rather tired of this discussion – it is going round in circles.’  He lifted an eyebrow at Elladan in imitation of Elrond.  ‘And I wish to return to the house in plenty of time to change before the evening meal.’

Elrohir nodded seriously.  ‘Elerrina needs assistance in dealing with those buttons, does she not, my friend?’

‘They are indeed very small and fiddly,’ Legolas replied, straight-faced.

Elladan laughed.  ‘Well, if it is a matter of not delaying your return to your wife, how could I be so churlish as to refuse to co-operate?  Give me the wretched stick.’

Elrohir and Legolas flanked Elladan as he made his way cautiously to the warm shallow pool that had been created at the end of the rippling fall of water for the purpose of ensuring that all elflings would be able to swim competently before they began to move farther afield and ventured into more dangerous waters.

‘I resent being treated like an infant,’ Elladan murmured.  ‘I see no reason why, if I must swim, that I cannot brave the pools usually used by adults.’

‘I seem to recall,’ Legolas told him, ‘that men talked of a second childhood – when injuries refused to heal as they had in the heyday of youth and they had to resort to such devices as walking sticks.’

‘And they became cantankerous,’ Elrohir agreed, ‘and refused to take the advice of those who knew best how to aid them.’

Elladan paused.

‘And they could walk only slowly and with difficulty,’ Legolas continued. 

Elladan’s eyes narrowed.

‘It is plain, my brother,’ Elrohir said cheerfully, ‘that you are an ideal candidate for spending an hour or two exercising your muscles gently in the elflings’ pool.’

‘Just you wait,’ Elladan threatened.  ‘I am going to take great pleasure in exacting a painful revenge for each and every one of your insults.’

His brother grinned.  ‘We would not have it any other way,’ he said amiably.


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