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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 82: Long Shadows


The thunder grumbled as it rolled around the bowl of the mountains, clearly reluctant to leave the wet elves to continue their journey unmolested.

‘I hope it has no more lightning bolts to hurl at us.’  Legolas regarded the sky with a jaded eye.  ‘We are rather exposed here.’

Elrohir stroked his jittery horse soothingly.  ‘It is the best shelter available,’ he said calmly.  ‘We do not wish to make targets of ourselves.’

‘I have always rather enjoyed storms,’ his brother admitted.  ‘They are exciting.’

‘They are exciting,’ Elrohir corrected, ‘as long as you are safe from their mindless enthusiasm.  I can think of once or twice when I would have paid to be at a considerable distance.’

His brother glanced up at him, his eyes bright.  ‘Now you come to mention it…’ He grinned.  ‘We have fallen foul of the weather on more than a few occasions.  Naneth used to say that we had less sense than a pair of ducklings.’

‘Glorfindel insisted we had inherited Eärendil’s affinity with water,’ his twin mused. ‘Only we lacked the wit to have a ship in which to shelter.’

Legolas laughed.  ‘I am glad that Glorfindel was not around when I was growing up,’ he said.  ‘He is far too good at putting into words the bemusement that parents feel when considering their children’s follies!   Adar would occasionally hold his head in his hands and wonder what he had done to deserve a son with so little sense of self-preservation – but there was no-one producing witty epigrams.’

The narrow overhang channelled the torrents of rain into a cascade that tumbled over the path.  Elrohir gazed at it dubiously.  ‘I hope the path remains intact – I have no wish to scoop Elladan out of another pickle.’  He lifted an eyebrow at his friend.  ‘I am surprised Thranduil was so resigned – I would have pictured him much more vocal in response to your sins.’

‘Well,’ Legolas grinned, ‘I have glossed over the early stages of his reactions.’  He leaned back against the stone.  ‘I understand his attitude much better now.  When Galenthil decided to climb up to the eagles’ nests to see them more closely – and when he and Eleniel were found petting a family of wolf cubs – I could not decide whether to shout at them, lock them in their rooms until they developed some sense, lecture them until they were too sullen to listen or simply despair!’

‘And you should hear some of the things that Aewlin and Nimloth have tried,’ Elrohir commented gloomily.  ‘If nothing else, their exploits would make you feel better!’

‘What would you say was the worst thing you ever did when you were an elfling?’ Elladan asked curiously, turning to look at the fair-haired elf.

‘Not what you might expect.’  Legolas smiled slightly.  ‘What you think is terrible when you are an elfling and what seems terrible later – they are two completely different things.  Although at one time…’ his smile twisted, ‘I held myself responsible for my naneth’s death.  Now – I would have to recognise that was not my fault.’

‘What shames me most,’ Elrohir said abruptly and paused, looking at his brother.  ‘Do you remember Galuion?’  He stopped and raised his eyes to watch the rain.  ‘He was a little older than we were – part Silvan and very much an outsider in Imladris.  His adar had been badly injured at Dagorlad – he had lost a leg and a hand and was in constant pain, but refused to sail.’  He drew a deep breath.  ‘I shall never forget the time we made him cry with our clever digs and our so-called wit.’

‘Naneth was disgusted with us.’ Elladan reflected. ‘She refused to speak to us.’

‘They left Imladris shortly afterwards – and I always felt it was our fault.  The look on his face haunts me still.’

‘Galuion,’ Legolas considered.  ‘I know the name – he was a forester in Lasgalen.  A quiet elf, who lived with his family as far from the Stronghold as he could.  He was killed in the Battle under the Trees.’ 

Elrohir exhaled slowly.

His brother glanced at him.  ‘I always felt far more wicked for drawing on Adar’s scroll of the Fall of Gondolin,’ he said airily.  ‘I knew I was doing what I should not – but I was so bored with being forced to remain inside to study.’

‘It does not compare!’ Elrohir objected.

Elladan shrugged as another rumble of thunder echoed.  ‘It sounds like a halfling’s stomach when he has missed elevenses!  You are right, of course – but it all boils down to perception.  Nimloth does not see why you object to her meddling with Adar’s herbs, Galenthil cannot comprehend why Legolas prefers him not to climb sheer cliffs – and none of them would tell us if Elrin was off doing something we know he should refrain from doing until he is much older!’

‘Ignorance is sometimes the best solution,’ Legolas suggested.  ‘Leaving the young to learn from experience.  It is hard to do, though.’

‘That sounds like a solution Daernaneth would come up with,’ Elrohir said disapprovingly.  ‘She has always felt that some learning needs to come with pain attached – and that without suffering the lesson is unlikely to stick.’

‘She is probably right.’ Elladan peered out at the slackening rain.  ‘She usually is.’

‘Well – I am sure you will excuse me if I continue to try to educate my daughters rather more gently in the realities of life.’

‘As long as Elladan strives to remember that rain and mud together can make a slippery combination.’ Legolas grinned.  ‘That is one experience I wish not to repeat!’

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