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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 20:  Arachnophobia

‘So how are you enjoying the visit of your beloved’s naneth?’ Elladan said.

‘The long visit,’ his brother added helpfully.

‘The very long visit.’ 

The twins laughed with wicked glee at the idea of Legolas being condemned to accept the presence of Elerrina’s less than approving naneth until after the eventual arrival of the long-awaited elflings.   

The look he returned was acid enough to rot tempered steel.  ‘It is all very well for you two,’ he snapped.  ‘Miriwen and Sirithiel have reasonable parents, who seem, for some incomprehensible reason, to think that you make acceptable spouses for their daughters.  Having Linevende staying with us is like sharing a house with a giant spider – you never know when she is going to bite next and she can be truly venomous.  Even Elerrina is not safe from her tongue.’

‘How does she deal with your adar?’ Elrohir asked curiously.

‘Carefully, my friend, carefully.  At least she has sufficient wisdom to recognise that his patience can be tried too far.  She has no such scruples as far as I am concerned! I, after all, am in her opinion responsible for what she considers an embarrassing twist on what is usually an exciting prospect.  If it were not that I have no wish to distress my wife, I would have packed her off to rejoin her colony of fellow arachnids weeks ago.’

‘Perhaps you should point out that spiders usually number their descendents in much larger quantity,’ Elladan remarked. ‘Two is a modest achievement.’

There was a moment’s pause.  ‘That would make Elerrina a spider, too,’ Elrohir protested.  ‘She is nothing like her naneth.’

Elladan waved his hands dismissively.  ‘Perhaps she is a changeling,’ he offered.

‘At least Linevende is better than she was at first,’ Legolas admitted.  ‘Your adar has had Celebrian keeping a close eye on Elerrina and your naneth could see how much the situation troubled her, so she brought your daernaneth into the game.’

‘Ouch,’ Elladan winced.  ‘I should think Shelob did not know what hit her.’

‘They were more subtle than that,’ Legolas said.  ‘Celebrian pointed out that Elerrina’s naneth would be sharing a unique distinction with Galadriel, as daernaneths to the only two sets of twins living here in Valinor.  You could see the cogs turning as Linevende thought over the information and her head swelled.  Then your naneth suggested that Elerrina invite your daernaneth to pay a visit.’

‘What did your adar think of that?’

‘Oh, the plan was for it to take place in his absence,’ Legolas sighed. ‘All females together.’

‘I take it,’ remarked Elrohir, ‘that did not work out that way.’

Legolas laughed and shook his head.  ‘If I could have watched it from a safe distance, it would have been amazing,’ he commented. ‘Your daernaneth and my adar were both lifting their eyebrows and looking down their noses at each other – at times, they are so alike!  Thranduil had that expression that could cow the Dark Lord himself – and it was making no impression at all.  The atmosphere was so charged you could barely breathe.’

‘I wish I could have been there,’ Elladan said regretfully.  ‘It sounds as if it should not have been missed.’

‘You could have had my place with pleasure,’ his friend replied wryly. ‘It was not until Thranduil settled down enough to listen to what Lady Galadriel was saying that he understood what she was doing – and then, of course, he had to remain stiff as a board so as not to give the game away.’  He grinned. ‘He did not find it too difficult – as he has to be grateful to your daernaneth for placating Linevende, who now believes she is on excellent terms with Finarfin’s daughter.  Although funnily enough, Elerrina tells me her naneth is most pleased by the fact that Thranduil is even more stand-offish with Lady Galadriel than he is with her.’

The twins chortled at the picture of Thranduil between the two redoubtable females. ‘How much longer do you have to wait, Legolas?’ Elrohir enquired.

‘Ah, that is a little difficult to judge,’ he sighed. ‘It should be thirty eight days, but apparently, as twins, they are likely to arrive early.’

‘Which is a good thing,’ Elladan commented idly.  ‘For it means that Shelob will leave sooner.’

‘How did you endure the waiting, my friend?’ His friend turned anguished eyes on him.  ‘Elerrina is increasingly uncomfortable and anxious – and there is nothing I can do! Nothing!’

‘Hold her,’ the twin said simply. ‘Hold her and reassure her – and endure the insults she hurls at you.  And make your peace with her naneth if you can.  She needs both of you.’

‘I might be able to placate the spider by letting her bite me, but there is worse is to come,’ Legolas said gloomily.

‘What is that?’

‘Elerrina’s adar is about to join the happy party.’

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