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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 69: Hope over Experience


Elrohir exchanged a glance of malicious satisfaction with his brother.  ‘There is something highly amusing about seeing Thranduil as an attentive elf at the beck and call of his wife,’ he remarked.  ‘I wonder if he was this bad when she was carrying the Woodland Prince.’

‘I cannot see it,’ Elladan decided, his hand clasping his younger son against his shoulder and stroking the silky black hair as Ellanthir slept with the boneless relaxation of the very young.  ‘He would never have allowed those dwelling in Lasgalen to see him as anything less than in charge.’  He smiled.  ‘It is rather touching,’ he added.  ‘I find it changes my perception of him – he is no longer the rather terrifying monarch of an endangered realm – he is an elf whose experience mirrors ours.’

‘Naneth tells me he was even worse the first time,’ Legolas chimed in, ‘but I suppose he might have made more effort to hide it – for the sake of the dignity of the throne.’  His expression softened as he watched his adar tuck a cushion behind his naneth’s back.  Laerwen smiled at her husband and subtly eased the pillow out of the way as Thranduil went to fetch her a glass of cool fruit juice.  ‘Things seem back to front,’ Legolas observed.  ‘I cannot ever recall Adar looking to me – as one with experience – to guide his behaviour.  He was full of wisdom when Elerrina was expecting Galenthil and Eleniel and he supported me serenely when I was in a state of panic, but the roles seem to have reversed.’

‘I wonder if we can persuade Naneth that she would like to enlarge our family,’ Elrohir mused.  ‘It might offend Adar’s sense of propriety, but I think it would be very good for them both.  Healing.’

Elladan inclined his head to look at the elfling in his arms.  ‘One is not like another,’ he said.  ‘I thought that caring for this little one would be much the same as dealing with Elrin – but it is not.  Each is himself.’

‘We have found that with Aewlin and Nimloth,’ Elrohir agreed.  ‘For all they appear so similar, they are – like us, I suppose – individuals.  One child can never replace another, but that is no reason not to find comfort in the gift of a new life to cherish.  But I do not know if Adar would see it that way.’

‘Perhaps we should badger our parents to provide us with a sibling,’ Elladan grinned.  ‘It would not be the first time, would it, my brother?  I have since realised,’ he added, ‘that Glorfindel put us up to it – and that it was another of his many ways of teasing Adar.’

‘I requested a brother a good few times myself,’ Legolas observed, ‘before I realised why Adar kept telling me that it would not happen.’

‘How many centuries did you have under your belt by that point?’ Elrohir jibed in passing. 

Legolas cast him a mock-offended look.  ‘I was well-educated, I will have you know,’ he remarked with dignity.  ‘I came to understand the – technicalities of sibling production long before I reached my majority.’ 

Elrohir quietened as he watched Thranduil settle beside his wife and encourage her to lean against him.  ‘How old were you at the time?’ he enquired delicately.  ‘Sirithiel laughs and says she will ensure that our daughters understand the answers to any questions they wish to ask, but . . .’  His voice trailed away.

‘You do not need to be very old to realise that it requires both an adar and a naneth,’ Legolas pointed out.  ‘More than that – I suppose I was somewhat younger than Eleniel and Galenthil when Adar found it necessary to set straight some of my more bizarre ideas.’  He smiled.  ‘It was an experience I prefer not to recall too closely.’

‘Naneth always said that it was not the mechanics but the morality that needed to be clearly understood,’ Elrohir observed.  ‘And that that was not so much taught as breathed in with the air around them as those who raised elflings showed love and generosity and consideration by example.’

‘Yet I remember her being more that a little annoyed by our – rather immature level of interest in certain ellyth when we were little more than Elrin’s age,’ Elladan reminisced.  ‘And I remember several formerly friendly elves who were fathers of daughters started looking at us with a good deal of hostility.’

‘I thought my adar would set a guard to dog my footsteps for a while,’ Legolas admitted. ‘And I spent far too much time and energy striving to escaper supervision.’ He grinned.  ‘I wonder how Adar will feel about being on the other side of that.’

‘He will have the pleasure of watching you endure it first,’ Elladan said.  ‘So he will know what not to do.’

‘Although when it comes to daughters and ellyn, I would expect a certain pair of twins to provide quite a challenge to their protective parents.’  Legolas lifted an eyebrow at Elrohir.

‘I think I will take them to live deep in the forest for a century or two,’ Elrohir sighed, ‘to live in splendid isolation – an island in the middle of a lake sounds a good idea.’

‘I would not recommend that idea,’ Legolas commented.  ‘Just think what you would miss – you are about to be offered the chance of watching my adar go through the pains of paternity.  Can you think of many things more entertaining?’

‘One or two.’  Elladan’s eyes sparkled wickedly.  ‘One or two.  But I will take what I can get, my friend.  And having seen Thranduil in the palm of his granddaughter’s hand, I look forward to seeing how he deals with the manipulations of a daughter of his own.  My money is on Laerwen to pull him through the experience.’

‘He will not object to that, I am sure.’  Legolas laughed.  ‘I find I am anticipating the arrival of a sister into my life with considerable enthusiasm.  It would seem to offer the possibility of amusement on so many levels!’

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