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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 80: Sisters

‘Why have you been landed with the task of caring for her?’ Elrohir enquired, looking over Legolas’s shoulder at the sleeping babe.

‘Naneth said – and she managed a straight face, too, which is remarkable – that it was important for an older sibling to bond with a younger.’  The new brother shook his head pityingly.  ‘I do not think she expected me to believe her, though.’

Elladan lifted an eyebrow.  ‘Do not tell me – she and Thranduil are taking a walk in the woods.  To admire the effect of Ithil shining on the water and listen to the night-birds singing.’

‘I believe they said something of the sort,’ Legolas nodded gravely, suppressing his urge to laugh.

‘Naneth never tried that one on us,’ Elrohir observed, ‘despite her liking for carrying Adar off into the woods.  I am of the opinion that they did not trust us to care for Arwen competently.’

‘You cannot blame them,’ Elladan grinned.  ‘We were little over a century old and noted for our heedlessness – we would probably have forgotten her and left her under a tree somewhere while we engaged in horseplay with our friends.  Or used her as an enticement to attract cooing ellyth.’

‘And why take a chance on us when they had a tame Balrog-slayer panting to care for our little sister.’

‘Glorfindel should become an adar,’ Elladan mused.  ‘He adores elflings.’

‘There is just one problem there.’  Legolas brushed the baby’s fair head with his cheek. ‘Before having elflings, the Golden Flower needs to find himself an elleth to whom to devote himself.’

Elrohir leaned back and put his feet up on a small table.  ‘He is excessively loyal,’ he mused.  ‘I suspect that he has never looked at anyone – not since his return.’  He smiled.  ‘Do you remember what Lestanen said?’ he asked.

‘Lestanen. . .’ Legolas said meditatively.  ‘The elleth who told us such delightful stories about Glorfindel in his less-than-perfect youth?’

‘Including,’ Elrohir agreed, ‘one about an elleth with hair like spring sunshine – one he allowed to ride his horse.’

His brother looked at him with some bewilderment.  ‘I have let many ellyth ride my horse, my twin.  It is not a promise of eternal devotion.’

‘But you are not Glorfindel.’  Elrohir stretched.  ‘Our favourite son of Gondolin is very possessive about his long line of Asfaloths.’

‘Do not expect me to involve myself in this game,’ Legolas declared.  ‘I have a strong wish to live long enough to embarrass my offspring – and challenging Glorfindel is never a good idea.  If he wants to find a wife, he is more than old enough to seek one for himself.’

‘Arwen could have done it,’ Elladan said regretfully.  ‘I would have relished watching Glorfindel squirm.’

‘Sisters can get away with a whole variety of things that are best avoided by their brothers.’  Legolas smiled the sleeping Celumíl.  ‘I have observed Eleniel win over her daeradar as efficiently as her naneth can handle me – while Galenthil finds him much harder to manage.  And I, of course. . .’  He shook his head reminiscently.

‘I loved Estel dearly,’ Elrohir said.  ‘He was a brother to me – but there are still times when I resent his theft of my sister.’

‘You cannot steal what is given freely,’ his twin stated soberly.  ‘Arwen asked for our understanding and support.’  He stared at the infant in Legolas’s arms.  ‘Let me hold her a while, my friend.’

Legolas held his eyes for a moment before surrendering his sister to his friend’s care.  ‘She was happy,’ he said.

Elrohir’s eyes gleamed in the cool light.  ‘And we were happy for her.’  He blinked. ‘But we have lived without her – without them both – so long, and the gap remains unfilled.’

‘She is with you still.’  Legolas spoke with some effort.  ‘She is just – elsewhere.  It is as if she is in a different room.’

Elladan held Celumíl close enough to inhale the clean scent of sleeping infant.  ‘Is that how you see the fate of the Secondborn?’

‘It is the only way to see it.’  Legolas shrugged.  ‘Nothing is lost merely because we cannot see it: Ilúvatar would not permit it.  Life is too precious to waste.’

‘My turn.’ Elrohir held his arms out imperiously.  His brother frowned, but reluctantly handed over the elfling.  His twin’s long fingers arranged her blanket carefully, smoothing it in place.  Celumíl’s head turned and her mouth worked as if she was dreaming about food.  ‘They are all blondes,’ Elrohir complained.  ‘Not one of us has produced a dark-haired elleth.’

‘I would not expect my parents to have a dark-haired elfling,’ Legolas pointed out.

‘Elrohir, on the other hand. . .’ Elladan grinned, leaving his sentence incomplete.

‘Oh no, my brother,’ Elrohir rejected the suggestion.  ‘I am not ready for another attempt at parenthood.  And, anyway, what I want is not a daughter.’

‘A sister?’  Elladan stared at him speculatively, and both twins smiled.

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