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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 87: Broad Shoulders


Elrohir looked bewildered.

‘Everything used to be so simple,’ Elladan remarked as he watched his nieces walk away, noses in the air.  ‘You know – us, them.  They tried to kill us and we did our best to take them out first. How did it turn into a world where everything is our fault?’

A broad grin, half-sympathetic, half-knowing, spread across Legolas’s face.  ‘It is a female thing,’ he said.  ‘You should be used to it – your naneth and daernaneth could put you firmly in the wrong with no more than a glance.’

‘That was different.’ Elrohir shook his head.  ‘Then, we usually were in the wrong.  But now…’ he drew a deep breath, as if seeking strength, ‘they twist everything,’ he complained. ‘You think you are taking a stand on one thing – and it turns into something completely different.’  He glared accusingly at Legolas.  ‘How have you escaped it?’

‘Do not think for a moment that I have,’ his friend replied mildly.  ‘Eleniel is just a little more subtle about it than your daughters.’

‘And stop looking smug,’ Elrohir turned on his twin.  ‘You may have sons – but Miriwen manages you without your even noticing.’

Elladan laughed.  ‘I notice,’ he protested.  ‘I just do not mind.  Why should I?  She has my best interests at heart – and she does not push me into doing anything to which I am truly averse.’ 

His brother sighed.

‘You would not change your daughters for any number of sons.’  Elladan grinned.  ‘And already I have noticed a certain suspicion on your face when ellyn look towards your pair.’

‘Who should know better than I how little ellyn of that age are to be trusted?’  Elrohir shrugged moodily.  ‘And yet…’

‘Elerrina just smiles,’ Legolas admitted.  ‘And tells me that being a parent is like riding a raft through the rapids.  Ellyn think they are in control, she says, but really the river could decide to smash the raft and leave them to drown – it just chooses not to and lets them  get away with thinking they are directing their path.’

Elladan tilted his head reflectively.  ‘I do not appreciate the idea that I am being humoured,’ he said.  ‘I wish to be the master of my own fate.’

His brother snorted.  ‘As if we have ever achieved that!  I sometimes feel that I have spent my whole life having my strings pulled by some sweetly-smiling elleth.  I am certain that one of the reasons ellyn willingly took on armies of orcs was that they were predictable and – unless they came at you in large groups – easily defeated.’

‘Our daughters are using us for target practice,’ Legolas said easily.  ‘I have come to the conclusion that one of the main duties of an adar is to provide his female offspring with someone on whom they can refine their wiles – so that when they decide who to take as a suitor, they are able to manage him effortlessly.’

Elladan looked at him indignantly.  ‘I have never been manipulated by the ellyth in whom I showed interest,’ he declared.  ‘I chose those with whom I wished to flirt!’

A crack of laughter escaped his twin.  ‘I only have one word to say to that load of … twaddle,’ he pronounced.  ‘Uruiel!’

A faint wash of colour flushed his brother’s cheekbones.  ‘Yes … well …’ he muttered.  ‘We were very young at the time.’

‘A certain young ellon,’ Elrohir explained remorselessly to a grinning Legolas, ‘decided to pursue this elleth – she was rather older than him and considerably more experienced.  He thought she would appreciate his attentions and perhaps reward him with a kiss or two…’  He ignored his twin’s moan of protest and continued.  ‘She decided that my brother would make a very suitable partner – despite the fact that his body was barely of age and his brain had yet to catch up with it – and chased him relentlessly.’  He grinned.  ‘We had often pretended to be each other just for the fun of it – but my dear twin took to claiming to be me and sending her off in my direction whenever he got the chance.’

Elladan smiled reluctantly.  ‘That and spending much of my time in the sties – Uruiel seemed to object to the smell of pigs.’

‘In the end, Naneth took pity on him and sent us both to Daernaneth for a season or two – and, when we came back, Uruiel had gone to dwell in Mithlond, where she found an ellon more willing to become her husband.’ 

‘So is the moral of the story: leave such matters to those with greater wisdom?’ Elladan asked.  ‘Or it makes no matter what we do, our place is always in the wrong?  Or, perhaps, that some things just have to be learned through experience?’

‘Or,’ his brother suggested, ‘that orcs are easy in comparison to ellyth.’

‘I would not worry about Aewlin and Nimloth,’ Legolas said.  ‘If they take their complaint to Sirithiel, she will give them short shrift.  They are just testing their limits – and they are quicker learners than their uncle.’

‘I fail to see,’ Elladan remarked, ‘how it is that I came out of this conversation as the butt of your mockery!  I simply remarked how our offspring managed to twist what we say to blame us for matters of which we have no knowledge – and suddenly it is all my fault!  Your daughters have clearly inherited their sophistry from their adars!’

Elrohir grinned.  ‘You cannot blame me, my twin.  You offered your services!’

‘Ah, well,’ Legolas remarked philosophically, ‘we have broad shoulders, my friends, and strong backs.  And it is just as well.’

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