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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 27: Leading Strings

‘Do you really think it will require all three of us to keep the elfling safe on a simple overnight camp in woods no more than half a mile from his bedroom?’ Legolas enquired.

Elrohir grinned.  ‘I suspect that this is one outing Elladan could probably manage on his own,’ he replied. ‘Although I can remember occasions when being close to home has not precluded trouble.’

‘Miriwen insists,’ Elladan said airily.  ‘And who am I to point out that we have survived worse dangers than being responsible for the care of one elfling?  As it is, I believe she feels that we provide insufficient security – I would not be surprised to discover that we have had spies set on us to ensure that we are doing just as we have been commanded.’

‘Then they will have delivered their first bad report by now!’ Legolas reminded him.  ‘I have already had to retrieve your son from a tree.’

‘He has more confidence that skill.’ Elladan shook his head. 

‘Of whom does that remind me?’ Elrohir mused in mock puzzlement.

‘I think it is probably just as well that your wife put her foot down about camping by the lake,’ Legolas mused, ignoring the friendly scuffle in which the brothers were indulging.

‘Valar, yes!’ Elladan laughed, as he lay back among the crisp leaves. ‘Water and elflings make a dangerous combination, do they not, brother dear?’

‘I was never any more likely to end up wet than you,’ his twin answered with dignity. ‘And I only ended up close to drowning that one time, because you had rendered me unconscious. It was not my fault.’

Legolas met the eyes of the elfling lying on a branch above his adar’s head and winked.  ‘Have you seen Elrin recently, my friend?’ he asked innocently.  ‘I do not believe we should lose sight of him.  Miriwen would be most annoyed if we returned without him.’

Elladan sat up quickly and narrowed his eyes to peer into the surrounding undergrowth.  ‘I told him not to go out of our sight,’ he said anxiously.

‘That always worked with us, did it not?’ Elrohir reminded him dryly. ‘Should we split up and look for him?’

‘Elrin!’ Elladan called.  ‘Where are you?’

The elfling put his finger to his lips and a shadow of a smile crossed Legolas’s face.

‘Come here at once, my son!’ his adar commanded, an edge of panic apparent to those who knew him well.

Elrin gathered himself and leapt, landing on his adar’s back and knocking him off-balance, so that they fell to the ground, giggling as they landed among the leaf litter.

Elrohir winced.  ‘That looked painful,’ he remarked, as his brother rolled over, pinning the chortling elfling to the ground.  ‘I hope Aewlin and Nimloth decide to be rather gentler with me.’

An evil grin lit up Elladan’s face as he looked up.  ‘Not a chance, my twin,’ he said with relish.  ‘Do you not remember what a terror Arwen could be as an elfling? And then she would give you that Look – so you could not even be cross with her.’  He turned back to his son.  ‘Just for that, you little monster, you can take your uncle to the stream to get the water.’  He laughed as the young one bounded up and grabbed Elrohir’s hand, pulling him excitedly after him.

‘You knew he was there, did you not, Legolas?’ Elladan commented after a moment. ‘I will hold you responsible for damage to my back.’

Legolas smiled.  ‘It is good to have a break, is it not, my friend?  I seem to have spent the last weeks imprisoned in my adar’s office going over endless sheaves of paper.  Elerrina was becoming quite concerned about me – she almost forced me to come away with your little expedition.  She said I needed air and sunshine and trees.’

‘Will you bring Eleniel when she is old enough to camp, do you think?’  Elrohir asked, returning with filled water skins.  ‘I have set your son to collecting wood,’ he told his brother.  ‘I told him to sing as he worked, so we will be able to keep track of him.’  He turned back to Legolas. ‘Or just Galenthil?’

‘I might leave her behind because she is an elleth, you mean?’  Legolas considered.  ‘I do not know what Elerrina might think, but I see no reason why she should not join in – or why your little ones should stay at home poring over their stitchery.  I think they should come – until they choose not to, at least.’

Elladan stood and moved to the edge of the clearing so that he could see his son.  ‘It will not be many years before he is the age we were when we started weapons’ training,’ he remarked.  ‘He finds the idea exciting – but I do not know that I am keen for him to take up the sword.  It is not as if there is anyone here for him to fight. It seems pointless.’

Legolas shrugged.  ‘It is traditional,’ he said. ‘He will need to learn if he is to fit in with those around him.  The sword and the bow – it is part of who we are. It is a good discipline, even if there is no need to use the skills in anger.’  He grinned at Elrohir.  ‘And yes, my friend, I will train Eleniel to use a bow, although I doubt her naneth will want her to learn to wield a blade.’

‘Do not worry that you will be left out. I am sure Sirithiel will understand,’ Elladan told his brother, ‘and that she will agree to your ellyth taking part in our games.’


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