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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 24:  Come with your Playfellows         

‘What are you doing?’  Legolas asked curiously as he approached the crouching figure of Elladan among the beds of tall wild flowers on the edge of the small wood.

His friend looked up quickly, an expectant expression giving way to irritation. ‘Be quiet!’ he hissed. ‘Can you not see that I am hiding?’

‘You are not hiding very well,’ Legolas criticised.  ‘It would not appear to be too difficult to find you.’

‘It is not supposed to be challenging.’ The answer sounded exasperated. ‘Yet neither am I supposed to be jumping up and down and waving my arms whilst shouting ‘here’.  I have this down to an art now.  If Elrin finds me in less than two minutes, he feels I am making it too easy: if it takes him more than six, he feels I am cheating.’

‘How many minutes is it now?’ His friend’s voice was full of suppressed laughter.

‘About ten.’

Legolas shook his head.  ‘Either you are losing your touch, Elladan, or your son has been distracted from his attempts to entertain you.’

‘He will be along shortly.’

‘He will not.’

Elladan turned to him, straightening up as he did so.  ‘I have the impression there is more to your words than a belief he has lost interest.’

Legolas grinned.  ‘He has forgotten his brave adar, skulking somewhere among the bushes, and turned his attention to being the mature older friend.’

‘Ah.’  Elladan stepped away from the flowers, brushing himself down with dignity. ‘Shall we rejoin our offspring?’

‘I am certain Elrohir will be glad to see us.  He implored me not to take too long to find you.’

‘Our wives have entrusted you with the care of the elflings?’

‘They are secreted with Sirithiel and your naneth discussing important matters such as embroidery and smocking.’

Elrohir sat on the steps, his head bent towards a small elleth who was leaning against his knee and chattering to him in a sweet high voice.  Elrin was lying on the grass, a farmyard of animals in front of him, moving them around and making noises as he told a story to a the small fair-haired ellon who was imitating him as best he could.

‘Getting in some practice?’ Elladan enquired.

‘Do you understand a word she is saying, my friend?’ his brother asked Legolas as he smiled and nodded approvingly at Eleniel.  ‘I have no idea what she is telling me, but she seems very serious about it.’

‘Do you not comprehend?’ the proud adar said in apparent surprise, nudging Elladan.  ‘She speaks very clearly.  You will have to spend much more time with little ones to get in training.’

‘You do not know what she means, either, Legolas!   Do not take me for a complete fool.’

‘It took me several days to realise that Elerrina was tormenting me when she told me that,’ his friend said ruefully.  ‘She must have been more convincing.’  He laughed. ‘However, I can say truthfully that she and Galenthil seem to understand each other – although I fail to know how.’

Elrohir raised his eyes to his brother, a bright smile on his face.  ‘Do you remember?’ he asked.

‘Naneth was very worried, apparently,’ Elladan nodded. ‘Adar told her that it was quite common among twins of all races for them to speak in their own private language, but she was not entirely convinced until Galadriel assured her that there was nothing wrong with our minds.’

‘They will learn to talk fluently,’ Elrohir agreed.  ‘Look at us!’

‘Not encouraging, my friends, not encouraging,’ Legolas replied with the amiable insult of long acquaintance, as he and Elladan came to join him where he perched on the steps.  Eleniel stepped automatically into her adar’s arms and took hold of his sleek golden braids as he stroked her head.  ‘How is your wife?’

‘Large.  Hot.   Bad-tempered.  Trying hard to conceal that this experience is somewhat less pleasurable than she had believed. But,’ he nodded at the sight before him, ‘still convinced that it will be worthwhile.  I cannot say I disagree.’

‘It changes you, my friend,’ Legolas said seriously, his strong archer’s hand holding his daughter as gently as if she were a dream made real while he watched the two ellyn playing on the grass.  ‘But it is most definitely worth it.’


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