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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 32:  Toxophilia

‘Eleniel is very good with a bow, is she not?’ Elladan remarked.  ‘Remarkably accurate – and surprisingly strong. She has inherited your talent.’

Legolas grinned ruefully.  ‘It irritates Galenthil intensely.  No matter how hard he tries, she is always able to defeat him with her final shot.  He suspects that she lets him come close to winning, but cannot bring herself to let him beat her.’

‘He will develop greater strength eventually and be able to shoot further,’ Elrohir said.

‘I am not sure,’ Legolas considered.  ‘I suspect he will not work hard enough to develop the skill.  He prefers to work on the blade drills, where he does not have to compete with his sister.’

‘Lucky Galenthil,’ Elrohir commented.  ‘Elladan and I both had to train in the same classes at the same time – I was never as good with a sword, however hard I tried. Or, come to that, as talented at hand to hand fighting.  I became accustomed to spending a lot of my time on my back in the dirt.’

‘You were the better archer, though,’ Elladan said amiably. ‘As well as being a more observant scout – and cleverer at strategy.  Eleniel and Galenthil will sort it out.’ He looked over to the young archers.  ‘I am glad to see there are more ellyth training since your daughter joined the groups.’

Legolas and Elrohir turned to scan the groups of elflings.  ‘The ellyth are nearly all Sindar or Silvan,’ Elrohir pointed out.  ‘And it does not look as if they are being made very welcome by the older ellyn.’

‘Eleniel does not appear to care,’ Legolas laughed. ‘She seems to feel that beating them at the butts is reward enough – although that may change as she grows older.’

‘What does Elerrina think?’  Elrohir asked curiously.

‘She has her foot firmly down about blades,’ Legolas admitted, ‘but I am carefully not asking Eleniel what she is doing when she and Hithien sneak off in the early morning. I have a strong feeling that Hithien is of the opinion that the ability to attack is the only real defence.’

‘Well, she is there to protect your elflings,’ Elladan pointed out.  ‘The better they are at defending themselves, the easier her task will be.’

‘I am rather alarmed by the prospect of putting anything more dangerous than a pencil in Nimloth’s hands,’ Elrohir reflected.

‘Now, there is one whom the training would benefit,’ Elladan mused.  ‘If ever an elfling needed to develop self-discipline, it is Nimloth.’

‘You do not think that it would just make her more dangerous?’ his twin enquired.

‘Well,’ Legolas pondered, ‘initially, it probably would, but she would rapidly learn that skill requires control.  I believe I would start her on the bow – it would be much harder for her cunningly to conceal one about her person – and make any other training dependent on her developing the discipline needed.’

The twins exchanged identical grins.  ‘I think you have just acquired a pupil, Legolas,’ Elladan informed him.  ‘Nimloth is still too young to join in the formal training –.’

‘And, in any case, I am of the opinion that she needs a different type of coaching,’ Elrohir broke in, ‘from one whom she respects.’

‘And that excludes her adar?’ Legolas enquired ironically, lifting his eyebrows in unconscious imitation of his own parent.   

‘Please,’ Elrohir looked pained, ‘I have enough trouble managing her everyday behaviour.  I do not want to have to deal with either Aewlin or Nimloth when they are armed.’

Legolas watched his daughter’s serious expression as she prepared herself for her turn to shoot and smiled.  ‘I believe Eleniel and I would enjoy working with your twins, Elrohir,’ he said, ‘on one condition.’

‘And that is?’ his friend countered suspiciously.

‘Galenthil would also benefit from some extra attention, I believe,’ Legolas replied blandly.  ‘I am sure he would enjoy working with those who were trained by a legend such as Glorfindel.’

‘If that is all –,’ Elrohir said cheerfully.  ‘We would be glad to share any skill we have with Galenthil and Elrin.  It will be a good excuse to spend more time on the training fields.’ 

‘And less in the council chamber,’ added Elladan optimistically.

Both Legolas and Elrohir turned to him and laughed.  ‘Do not count on that, my brother,’ said his twin.


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