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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 84:  In Loco Parentis


‘What do you think he is doing?’  Elladan leaned back, putting his feet up along the length of the branch and clasping his hands behind his head.

‘How should I know?’  Legolas rested against the smooth bark of the trunk.  ‘He appears to be measuring something.’

Elladan yawned. ‘I had no idea how wearing it would be to take a swarm of elflings off for a week in the woods. I always thought ours were bad because they were ours.’

‘Swarm,’ Legolas reflected.  ‘A good word choice.  They buzz everywhere – and yet there is a sting in the tail. I do not know why we ever agreed to take charge of them.’

‘Just because one knocked you from a tree.’

‘He did nothing of the sort,’ Legolas declared with dignity.  ‘I merely jumped to another branch so as not to unsteady the child.’

‘Knocked you from a tree,’ Elladan repeated.  ‘You were not expecting it – a warrior of centuries’ experience and not expecting it.’

‘You are becoming tedious.’

‘He has been tedious for a long time,’ Elrohir commented.  ‘Especially when it comes to reminding anyone of things best left buried.’

‘So tell us,’ Elladan ignored his brother’s words, ‘what were you doing?’

‘Planning how best to dig a pit to hide your body.’ Elrohir kept his face straight.

‘I doubt whether that would be a good place,’ Legolas remarked idly.  ‘You have been spotted for one thing – and it would be centuries before the soil settled back entirely as it was before.  Anyone with a good eye would see it had been disturbed.’

‘Oh well – in that case I might as well let him survive to irritate us further.’

‘Thank you, my twin.’

‘Who is supposed to be in charge of the brats at the moment?’ Legolas looked round as if expecting to see evidence of half a dozen busy elflings.

‘You.’  Elrohir settled down easily.  ‘Do you not recall?’

‘Perhaps I am trying to bury the memory.’

‘We would be better employed trying to bury Elladan.’ 

‘They are here to spend time in the woods.’  Elladan tilted his face to look at his friends.  ‘I say – let them do it.  Surely they cannot come to too much harm.’

‘But part of the idea is to prevent them damaging themselves when in the woods,’ Legolas objected.  ‘And, in my experience, that is what happens as soon as you leave them unsupervised.’

‘Did you enjoy having adults hanging over your shoulder all the time?’  Elrohir crossed one leg comfortably over the other.

‘No,’ Legolas conceded.  ‘Generally because I was up to something that I knew no sane adult would let me do.’  He grinned.  ‘Even if I claimed to think otherwise.’

‘Like?’ Elrohir asked.

‘Is this really the time to be telling stories?’

Two identical faces looked at him expectantly.  Legolas grinned reluctantly.  ‘You will ensure we retrieve this pack of elflings before they go over the edge of the cliff in search of eagles’ eyries, will you not?’

‘If the story is good enough,’ Elladan promised.  ‘Now, reveal all!’

‘Well – Mirkwood was not the safest environment when I was growing up.’

‘You astound me!’ Elrohir raised an eyebrow.  ‘Is that really so?’

‘Do you want to hear this?’  Legolas looked down his nose at his friend before resuming.  ‘Our parents had just begun to loosen the leading reins a bit to permit us to wander a little further from the Stronghold.  In daylight.  When there were adults around.  If the warriors were of the opinion that the wood was relatively free of threats.  My friends and I were sick of being treated – as we thought – like a group of helpless babies.  So – to prove we were quite capable of fending for ourselves, of course – we decided to light a fire and roast ourselves the chestnuts we had gathered.’ Legolas paused.  ‘Fortunately we were not as alone as we liked to believe – and the fire was extinguished before it could do any harm.’

‘Let us go and find our charges,’ Elrohir said after a moment’s thoughtful pause.  ‘I can remember one or two incidents with us and fire – and I really do not want to have to learn from experience that these elflings are just as headstrong as we were.’

‘I am surprised your adar allowed you to survive to grow up,’ Elladan commented.

‘Had I not been an only child,’ Legolas mused, ‘he might well have decided to cut his losses and abandon his constant struggle to bring me to years of discretion.’

‘Oh,’ Elrohir remarked. ‘You are not too bad.  And he can sit back now and enjoy watching you suffer the same trials.  In fact, I would not put it past him to coach your offspring in the skills required to make their adar’s life as difficult as possible.’

‘Well – in that case, there is one thing he should bear in mind,’ Legolas grinned. ‘It is my brotherly duty to see that my little sister keeps him on his toes.  And I shall.’

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