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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 17:  New Civilisations

‘I am astonished that she trusted us.’

‘She did not trust us, my brother.  She trusted me.’

‘Even braver of her, should you ask me.  Are you sure you know what to do?’

Elladan gazed at the cradle with trepidation.  ‘Of course I know what to do.  I have even done it – on occasion.  He will be perfectly safe with his adar.’

‘Of course he will,’ Legolas joined in soothingly, somewhat spoiling the effect by adding, ‘as long as he remains asleep.’

‘Come,’ Elrohir commanded them both. ‘If we remain here, we will be bound to wake him.  Let us sit outside – close enough to hear him, but not too close.’

‘I do not know,’ Elladan wavered.  ‘I am supposed to be taking care of him.’

‘You will be.  Does his naneth hover over him all the time?  I am sure she occasionally leaves the room – and maybe even holds a coherent conversation.’

The proud adar looked uncertainly at the sleeping elfling, then consented to be drawn outside to perform his duties from a distance. 

‘It reminds me,’ Elrohir remarked, as they took up a station within easy reach of the wide-open doors of the room in which the infant slept, ‘of the first time Glorfindel left us in charge of managing the defence of Imladris.  Do you recall?  He travelled to Lasgalen for some purpose – I forget what – and we had to organise the patrols, plan the duty rosters, analyse the reports and deal with any problems.  We felt very responsible – and absolutely petrified about how we would survive if anything went wrong.’

Elladan grinned.  ‘I remember.  It was years before I realised that he had arranged for us to be nursed through the experience and that we had Erestor looking over our shoulders the whole time.’

‘Are you suggesting. . . ?’  Legolas lifted his eyebrows.

‘Be fair, my friend.  Would you trust Elladan to guard something as precious as that elfling, supported only by us?  Of course she has her spies out. Use your eyes.’

After a moment of silence, during which he registered the distant presence of a few of the female members of the household, his brother said, ‘Perversely, that actually makes me feel better.  I ought to be indignant at her lack of faith in me but at least I will be rescued before I do anything too terrible.’

‘I wonder what is so important that your wife would leave her son to your dubious care and disappear for hours,’ Legolas mused.  ‘I asked the light of my life to let me in on the secret and she laughed at me!  She said she thought the procuring of intelligence was an important element of a warrior’s skills and it was a shame I did not appear to have any.’

‘I hope you repaid her for the insult,’ Elrohir chuckled.

‘I have not yet had the opportunity,’ his friend replied regretfully.  ‘But I will – be sure of it.’  His eyes sparkled at the prospect.

The distant gurgles of a contented elfling raised in pitch to become complaint.  Elladan leapt to his feet in immediate alarm and led the rush to the cradle.

‘Valar, he smells!’ Elrohir exclaimed, recoiling.

‘That is worse than putrefying orc!’ Legolas protested.  ‘How can you stand it?’ 

The two of them retreated to the doorway, their hands covering their noses, as Elladan picked his son up at arm’s length and, choking back his nausea, carried him to where the necessary supplies were stored.  His attempt to cleanse the elfling was somewhat hampered by his effort to remain as distant as he could, but he finally succeeded in removing the offending garment and washing the child, before covering him with a clean replacement.

‘Take him,’ he said, offering the wailing infant to his uncle and looking at the mess in front of him without enthusiasm.  ‘I had better dispose of this before his naneth returns.’

‘What am I supposed to do with him?’  Elrohir asked desperately, his strong fingers holding the small form cautiously.

‘Oh, give him to me!’  Legolas took hold of the elfling gently. ‘You have seen it done, Elrohir.  You tuck them in your arm like this and sway. It does not look difficult.’ 

The cries continued unabated and the atmosphere of panic became almost palpable. 

‘Perhaps singing might help,’ his adar suggested, as he returned and looked at the red-faced infant.   ‘His naneth sings to him.’

‘I do not believe I can think of any suitable songs,’ Legolas confessed.

‘Does it matter?’  Elrohir retaliated. ‘He is not exactly going to criticise, is he?  I will try anything to stop the noise.’  He broke into a song with a lilting rhythm and was gratified when his nephew gulped and settled down. 

Legolas joined in softly, rocking back and forth and stroking the silky dark hair, so that the first thing their wives observed as they returned was a content elfling, who was unfortunately being informed by father and uncles of the wide variety of joys available to those who visited the less salubrious inns of Minas Tirith.


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