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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 83:  Cousins


‘I was unaware that Cúraniel was Sirithiel’s cousin.’  Legolas looked at the two fair heads curiously.

‘So was I,’ Elrohir admitted.  ‘Well – it is not surprising.  They had never met before Cúraniel sailed and are not close.’ He smiled with gentle humour.  ‘Sirithiel is still not altogether comfortable with many ellyth who have experienced life east of the sea.’

‘You would not think that to see them together.’  The three elves watched the ellyth.  ‘And your wife seems to be quite happy in Miriwen’s company.’

‘Miriwen is careful what she says,’ Elladan said.  The other two stared at him, making him shrug defensively.  ‘Well, she is!  We all are.  In Sirithiel’s presence, we avoid indulging in topics of conversation that might distress her.’

Legolas looked doubtfully at the back of Sirithiel’s head.  ‘I do not avoid talking about things for fear of upsetting Elerrina.’

‘You do,’ Elrohir declared.  ‘You just had not thought of it before.’  He shrugged.  ‘There are topics we avoid when we are together – why should we want to bring them up when we are with our wives?’

The three former orc-slayers took on a slightly predatory look as they reflected.  ‘I suppose you are right,’ Legolas conceded.

‘Miriwen,’ Elladan admitted, ‘refuses to let me get away with silence.  And she knows far too much of my past to let me hide behind the idea of protecting her.  She says I need to speak to stop bad memories festering.’ He met his twin’s astonished eyes.  ‘Some need a scalpel and some a plaster, she says.  I am one and you are the other.  And Legolas…’ he turned to his friend, ‘is somewhere between the two.’

‘But on whom can Cúraniel unload her memories?’ Elrohir mused.  ‘I hope she has not allowed them to prevent her from moving on here in the west.’

‘She dwelt with Adar and Naneth for a time.’ Elladan dredged up the recollection. ‘And shared with them all she knew of Arwen’s life and children.  And Estel.  But, by the time we arrived, she had moved elsewhere – I cannot recall where or why.’

‘I would have thought she had sought trees,’ Elrohir considered.  ‘Rejoined her family maybe?’

‘But you said Sirithiel did not know her well.’

‘She would not have gone to live with the Galadhrim,’ Legolas said with certainty.  ‘And she has not spent the last centuries with those from Lasgalen.’  He hesitated.  ‘I am ashamed I did not think to seek her out,’ he regretted.  ‘It was a long while before I was ready to confront the pain brought by what I had left behind.’

‘Why would she not have gone to the Galadhrim?’ Elrohir asked.

‘Because she had changed,’ Legolas said simply.  ‘In ways that they had not.  She had been touched by time.’ 

Wordless, the three turned away from the sparkling sunlight shining on the water and headed automatically for the comfort of dappled shade of the beech grove.

‘It is not,’ Elrohir said, turning his face to the gentle whispers of the broad leaves, ‘as if there is not time here.  Night follows day and the seasons turn.’

‘Children grow,’ his brother added.

‘It is not the same, though.’

Elladan glanced at him sympathetically.  ‘You stayed too close,’ he said.  ‘It became personal.’

‘And it was not for you?’  Legolas shook his head.  ‘You cannot delude me, my friend.  You lived each day with them, whether you were there or not.’

‘But Cúraniel was there.’  Elrohir looked over his shoulder.  ‘In the White City, surrounded by men.’  He shook his head.  ‘One battles with more than blades – she showed the courage of an elven warrior.’  He smiled wryly.  ‘But hers was not a battle that sounds good in song.  I doubt many – other than our parents and our redoubtable daernaneth – gave her the credit she was due.’

‘Instead, she finds her cousin is not comfortable with the person she has become – and that she cannot go home, for it is home no longer.’  Legolas shrugged at Elrohir’s indignant frown.  ‘It is not just Sirithiel, my friend.  We live in a blinkered land – where people prefer to pretend that uncomfortable sacrifices just do not happen.’

‘But would you change,’ Elladan asked, ‘to be someone who fits in?’

‘Not for a moment,’ Legolas declared.  ‘I am the product of the experiences that have gone into making me – the bad along with the good, the painful with the pleasant.’

‘Just because she is an elleth does not mean that Cúraniel cannot feel the same way.’

‘True,’ Elrohir reflected. 

‘And just because she is an elleth does not mean that she is not one of us.’  Elladan spread his hands as his brother and friend stared at him.  ‘She knows what we know – has seen what we have seen.  That makes her our sister.  Perhaps we should tell her.’

‘It might be a good thing,’ Legolas allowed.  ‘We cannot expect her to know instinctively what is in our heads – just because she is an elleth.’

‘Oh, I doubt that,’ Elrohir grinned.  ‘Ellyth are very good at reading minds! Just as I daresay Sirithiel understands far more about us than we believe she does, whether she says so or not. There is more to her than we might think, my friends. Trust me.’

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