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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 70: Harmony


The small white-peeled stick of dead fall turned lazily in the small eddy before consenting to lip over the rock barrier to tumble along the rushing water to disappear into the next pool.

Elrohir thoughtfully snapped off another length and dropped it to bob along in its turn.

‘Do you think,’ Legolas asked idly, ‘that a piece of wood dropped over here would travel more swiftly?’

Elladan narrowed his eyes and considered the currents.  ‘It might,’ he conceded.  He leaned over and snatched the stick from his brother’s hands, breaking it into three pieces of similar length, keeping one himself and offering the others to Legolas and Elrohir.  ‘All together?’ he asked.

‘On three,’ Legolas suggested.

‘Wait,’ Elrohir commanded.  ‘Where will the race finish?  There is no point in holding a competition if none will be able to tell the winner.’

His twin inspected the stream before them.  ‘First past that rock,’ he decided, indicating one set in the middle of the water, shouldering the flow into two narrow channels.  ‘Select your starting point,’ he said, grinning eagerly.

‘I will remain here,’ Elrohir said firmly from where he sat perched on a slab of rock, dangling his feet in the water. 

‘Will you?’  Elladan’s eyes sparkled as he glanced as Legolas and inclined his head.  The Wood Elf slipped silently behind his friend and, at a signal from Elladan, they simultaneously grabbed at Elrohir’s elbows to thrust him into the water.

Elrohir twisted with the agility of a fish, reaching out to haul on his brother’s leg in an attempt to unbalance him.  ‘I am not totally stupid,’ he claimed.  ‘You are not going to trap me that easily.’

With a swift leap backwards, Legolas attempted to retreat from the scrapping brothers, only for his foot to land awkwardly on a green and slippery rock.   As he lost his footing, he turned and jumped, only to splash neatly into the knee-deep pool behind the slab.

The twins promptly stopped their battle and turned to look at him.  ‘They are good in trees,’ Elrohir remarked, ‘but water is a little too much for them.’

Legolas flushed slightly. ‘It is a warm day,’ he said airily.  ‘The water is most refreshing.’

‘You cannot fool us,’ Elladan pronounced.  ‘You are not paddling intentionally.’

In a cat-like desire to divert attention from his mis-step, Legolas peered into the pool around his feet and dipped into the clear water to extract a glistening nugget.  ‘Is this gold?’ he asked.

‘I believe so,’ Elladan replied indifferently.

Elrohir stretched his hand out to receive the shining pea-sized lump, placing it on the stone beside him and retrieving a solid pebble with which he hit and flattened it.  He handed the disc back to the Wood Elf without comment.

‘It adds a rather pretty sparkle to the stream,’ Elladan said, ‘but I would rather it stayed where it is.’

Legolas laughed.  ‘I have no desire to have the stream banks littered with Noldor goldsmiths,’ he agreed.  ‘Let it long remain undiscovered.’

‘Except by Wood Elves unable to keep their footing,’ Elrohir added, his sober tone in contrast to the twinkle in his eyes.

‘No such creature exists,’ Legolas declared.  ‘And if you have quite finished attempting to push each other in the water, I imagine we can continue with our race.’

‘A wager?’ Elladan enquired.

‘I can put up a very pretty piece of gold,’ Legolas suggested, flipping the disc so that it spun in the air, catching the light in a series of flashes.

The twins exchanged only a lightning glance, but their dive towards their friend revealed centuries of co-ordinated experience beyond the need for discussion.  The flattened gold hit the rock and slid back into the water as Legolas evaded their grasp.  ‘You are far too predictable,’ he teased.  ‘Your thinking is becoming unoriginal.’

‘Throwing you in the water does not require originality,’ Elladan pointed out.

‘But it does depend on your catching me,’ his friend retaliated.  ‘And, so far, you have not managed to do that.’

‘Peace,’ Elrohir demanded.  ‘We are not elflings.  We can spend a pleasant afternoon together without descending to infancy.’

Silently agreeing to abandon their games, at least temporarily, they returned to their places stretched out on the rocks in the broad stream as the sun turned the spray to living gold.    

‘So,’ Legolas remarked finally, ‘do you think that a length of wood dropped here would travel more swiftly than any other?’

Elladan laughed.  ‘We will never know unless we try, will we?’  He scrabbled for the three discarded sticks and tossed one each to his brother and friend.  ‘On three?’


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