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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 85:  Lost


Elrohir looked up.  ‘Is there any sign of them?’ he asked.

‘I hoped…’ Elladan said simultaneously.

Elrohir rubbed a muddy hand over his face in an attempt to revive himself. ‘Nothing,’ he said.  ‘We covered the route to the east from one end to the other.  Nothing.  Not even any deadfall or landslips that might have concealed their passage.’  He massaged his temples.  ‘I have no idea what might have become of them.’

‘They did not travel the northern path either.’  Elladan leaned against the door frame as if he was no longer able to support his weight.  ‘We have everyone who knows his way round a wood out there – and we have found nothing.’

‘This is stupid!’ Elrohir’s usually amiable temper flared up.  ‘It is totally irresponsible of them!  It makes no odds how they feel – they are far too old to put us through this!’

‘When we find them,’ his brother said dryly, ‘I will back you up in imposing every painful penalty you can come up with – but before we can make them hurt, we first have to lay hands on them.’

‘Adar is leading the search to the south.’  Elrohir ignored his brother.  ‘And Thranduil has his warriors scouring the forest to the west.  We can only hope they are having better luck than we did.’

‘How is Elerrina coping?’

‘How do you think?’  Elrohir pushed himself to his feet.  ‘She is frantic.  I am not certain if she thinks they may finally have cracked and done each other an injury – or whether she is merely afraid that, if they are missing much longer, one or the other will lose their last vestiges of self-control.  Linevendë is as pale as a frosty morning and looks as if she is about to shatter.  I had no idea,’ he added absently, ‘that she was so fond of the old curmudgeon.  Miriwen and Naneth are dosing the pair of them on soothing teas to the point where they must be awash – and Sirithiel is doing her best to keep the elflings both out of the way and ignorant of what is going on.’

‘Sweet Valar.’  Elladan closed his eyes.  ‘This is madness.’

‘Trying to keep the elflings out of it?’ Elrohir smiled wryly.  ‘I think so.  But needs must when wives insist.’

‘Where can they be?’

Elrohir opened his mouth to give a flippant answer, but Elladan’s glare stopped him and he sighed.  ‘I think we should ask the offspring if they have any ideas,’ he said.  ‘I am out of them, that is for sure.  And, if they are nowhere obvious, it may be because they are somewhere only an elfling would think of hiding.’

‘Caves?’ Elladan mused.  ‘Water?  I am not sure whether to hope they are both unconscious or dread it.’

‘I doubt they are among trees.’ Elrohir sounded exhausted.  ‘Laerwen is attempting to hear any disturbance to the forest – and, if Legolas were well, the forest would know where he was.’

‘It is to be hoped he is unwell,’ Elladan said savagely.  ‘It will save us a lot of effort.’

‘In many ways, it serves them both right.’  Elrohir drew his gloves from his belt and began to ease them over his fingers.  ‘How long have they known each other now?  How long have Legolas and Elerrina been wed?  Long enough for the two of them to learn each other’s good points, at least.  Leaving them to their own devices for a while, with none to intervene between them and coax them into good behaviour while soothing their egos – it might be just what they need.’

‘Provided they survive it.’  Elladan contemplated his brother.  ‘Where now?’

‘Caves.’  Elrohir said.  ‘We are going to ask about caves.  We are least likely to be able to seek them out easily if they are surrounded by stone.  You ask the elflings, while I go and find those who have been here longest.  And then we are going to go looking for them.’

‘What if we do not find them?’

Elrohir’s eyes narrowed.  ‘We will find them,’ he said with determination.  ‘It is not as if there is something else out there seeking them.  It is only a matter of time.’

‘It has already been the best part of a week.’  Elladan met his brother’s eyes and they both chose not to give voice to their fears.  He pushed himself away from the support of the wall.  ‘I will see if Elrin has any ideas.’

‘Do not forget the twins.’  Elrohir twitched the corner of his mouth into an attempt at a smile.  ‘Mine know more of what they are not supposed to than any reasonable person would expect – and this is home to Legolas’s pair.’

‘Do you remember,’ Elladan said, ‘how angry Glorfindel was when he caught up with us in the Trollshaws the year we decided single-handedly to take on the dragons in the far north?  He said that the last thing Naneth would have wanted was for us to sacrifice ourselves on a fool’s errand – that we should stick to trolls if we wanted a fight because at least they were only marginally brighter than us and could not fly.’

Elrohir grinned reluctantly.  ‘Glorfindel could be remarkably cutting when he was provoked,’ he admitted.  ‘He was right, though.  We spent years throwing ourselves into danger with total abandon – I suspect there was more than luck involved in our survival.’  He glanced at his brother.  ‘This is not the same, you know.’

His twin placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.  ‘They will be all right,’ he said.  ‘We will find them before it is too late.  I am sure of it.’

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