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Elladan and Elrohir were excited. They’d just found out they were going on a trip to Mirkwood to be trained in the bow by Callon, the Master Bowman of King Thranduil. They were excited both because of the proposed trip and also for their chance to see their new friend, Legolas.
Arwen, seeing their excitement, asked, “When are we leaving?”
“There is no we, little sister. This trip is just for Dan and me.” Elrohir scoffed.
And snorting with laughter, Elladan added, “This is a trip to train us to be warriors. No girls allowed!” and besides the small pout of her rosy lips and the tiny crease between her brows, she’d given no indication she was displeased by their dismissal of her.
And their response, which could have been more gentle, launched a series of mishaps that ended with their trip being cancelled.
It started when they switched places when it was Roh’s turn to help out in the Healing Hall and Dan’s turn to organize the scrolls in the Library. They’d gotten into the habit of switching places by discovering their talents were pretty evenly doled out and rarely intersected.
Dan was the Healer and Roh the scholar. Yes - it was rather annoying their father was both. But expecting them both to be as accomplished as he was just unrealistic in their view. So when they’d traded places so they could each accomplish a task that needed to be done and enjoy it at the same time, they’d thought they’d come up with the perfect solution. And they’d been getting away with it forever - until a little bird began whispering in the right ears to expose their deception.
Parindo, who was the Library Master, confronted Elrohir and scolded him for allowing his brother to escape the duties he was scheduled to carry out.
Elrohir didn’t know how he’d been found out, since he’d been doing this for decades and he’d babbled something to the effect of, “What difference does it make? The work needs doing and I enjoy it.” and then received a tongue lashing about responsibility and duty and the importance of doing an unpleasant chore to build character.
And in the Healing Halls, Elladan was receiving a similar lecture from Nestoril, The Hall Mistress. Passing each other in the corridor they exchanged a pained, rueful look and it was only later that they’d wondered how their ruse had been uncovered.
But that hadn’t been the end of it. Oh no!
Glorfindel scolded them over the condition of their horse tack and the importance of maintaining their leatherworks.
Then it was Erestor scolding them for spilling ink all over the copies he’d been in the process of making for their father.
Then it was Ithril the cook, scolding them over missing tarts and she just knew it was them since only the ones they favored were gone.
But the last one was a doozy!
Elrond had set up steaming baths outside for those coming back from training sessions as those could be grueling and grimey and to save his housekeeping staff the extra headache of cleaning up after dozens of men and elves tromping through the corridors back to their chambers to bathe.
The baths that the twins habitually used were cooler than the elves liked and warmer than the men liked. This being the case, they were teased by both for their sensitivity to temperatures and how they better get used to cold baths if they expected to be useful on their scouting patrols.
Ignoring the teasing, the twins quickly divested themselves of their dust caked practice clothing and quickly got in the tub to begin washing the grime off. Not paying attention as everybody else finished and left the grounds, the twins were alone and when suddenly Elrohir gasped and said, “Dan! You’re green! I’m green! What’s going on?”
“Muk! It would appear we are the victims of yet another prank. Egad, Roh! You look like a long-haired orc! Which means I do too!” Elladan exclaimed.
“Well, we better get out of here before we turn the color of a cucumber!” Elrohir urged.
But when they went to grab the towels that were always folded near the steps, they found there were none. More importantly, not only were their clean clothes gone, but so were their filthy ones. They were stuck in a steaming tub full of dye and there was no one around to call for help.
“Well...there is nothing else for it.” Elrohir sighed.
“We have to make a dash for the house in our birthday suits.” Elladan agreed.
And that’s exactly what they did - and it wasn’t a short dash! And then their hearts sank as they ran when they heard the midday bell chime. By the time they made it to the house the corridors were full of people. It was the most humiliating thing that had ever happened to them and with their reputation for tomfoolery, that was saying something, indeed.
And Elrond was livid!
Pacing back and forth lecturing and scolding them! They’d gone too far this time! They weren’t children anymore! (though technically they weren’t of age yet) It was time they settled down and learned responsibility.
“But father! Why would we do such a thing?”
“Aye! Even as scatterbrained as we are, we’d never go around naked as jaybirds!”
“Except you did. So I suppose there is a first time for everything! And I’m afraid you’ll not be able to go to Mirkwood, after all.” and at their exclamation of dismay and the unfairness of it all, he held up a hand and firmly said, “It’s done. I’ve already sent a messenger pigeon. Perhaps in a season or two you’ll both show the proper comportment and maturity so you won’t be a disgrace to our realm. Or me.” he ended with a lift of his brow.”
Sitting miserably, complaining about the unfairness of life, it was Elladan who finally stopped suddenly, saying, “It’s Arwen! It has to be!”
“Yes, I believe you have the right of it, brother.” Elrohir agreed.
“We need to visit our wrath upon her!” Elladan seethed.
“She’s a girl. We can’t do a thing to her, more’s the pity!” Elrohir regretfully said.
“That seems terribly unfair, don’t you think?” Elladan remarked.
“Of course I do. But she’s not just a girl. She’s our little sister. What sort of beasts would people think us if we took action to get our own back. No, brother! I’m afraid we’ll just have to suck it up this time.” Elrohir said.
“What if it was just a small thing?” Elladan mused. And then as they met each other’s eyes, they exclaimed together, “A LOT of small things.” and their matching grins were disturbing, indeed. Especially considering even their gums and tongue were green.
And the things they did were indeed, little things. Like cutting off several inches off her favorite ribbons so they couldn’t be woven into her braids the way she liked. Making sure to provide large piles of bread pieces and seed on their balcony table, ensuring the birds she was so fond of feeding wouldn’t go to her, but to them.
This had the added benefit of also attracting the squirrels she’d also befriended. They’d sanded down the soles of several of her favorite slippers so that she’d feel every rock and pebble she stepped on. And they’d also poked holes in several of her stockings right where her toes went ensuring she wouldn’t just try and hide the hole under her skirts.
The crescendo came when they were pitching hay from the loft into the stables for the horses, when Elladan suddenly alerted his brother that their quarry was within earshot. Let the show begin then!
“It really is too bad we cannot go to Mirkwood.” Elladan sadly said.
“Indeed! We could have used that bow training.” his brother agreed.
“Aye! We are woefully inadequate in that discipline.” Dan continued.
“Yes, indeed. It would really have helped us when we have to start patrolling the Valley.” Elrohir added.
“Alas. It appears that we will feel this shortcoming sooner rather than later.” his brother bemoaned.
“Aye! I hope father and mother aren’t too upset when we are killed.” Roh sighed.
“You forget our sister. She might be sad at our passing.” Dan put forth.
“Nay, I think not. I think she will be glad when we are gone.” his brother said firmly.
“Do you think so? I had thought she had some small fondness for us.” Elladan put forth.
“Perhaps, but she’ll be happier when she can have all of father and mother’s attention.” Elrohir posited.
“I suppose you’re right. I certainly hope we are killed together.” his brother said.
“Yes, indeed. And quickly too! I’d hate to think of being lame and maimed without my brother.” Roh agreed.
“Aye that would be a nightmare. Especially considering we are only loved by the other. We must make a pact, brother!” Dan agreed.
“That if one dies the other must follow?” Elrohir asked.
“Exactly! We are in agreement then?” Elladan queried.
“Agreed!” said Elrohir firmly.
“Noooooo! Please! You cannot die!” Arwen came running in, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks, her eyes filled with sorrow. “I’m the one who got your trip cancelled and I’m so, so very sorry. I was mad that you didn’t think girls could do things like you and I wanted you punished. I don’t want you to get killed. I love you both and so do daddy and mama! Promise me you won’t die! Promise!” she wailed miserably.
Both jumped down and gave their sister hugs of comfort and kissing the top of her head, admitted they were only teasing her.
“We promise, little sister.” Elladan chuckled.
“At least, we will try very hard not to get ourselves killed.” Elrohir amended.
“We were just trying to teach you a lesson.” Elladan admitted.
“Aye! We knew twas you who got our trip cancelled.” Roh agreed.
“Indeed! And I, for one, must compliment you on your cleverness.” Dan added.
“Oh my word, yes! Swords and bows may be dangerous, but not half so dangerous as a little girl who doesn’t get her way!” Roh chuckled.
They continued to reassure her, even coaxing a pleased smile from her over her clever tricks and it was then that the three came to an agreement that they’d do all they could to be kind and loving to one another.
“For we three are family. There is no one in the whole wide world that is the same as us.” Elrohir said, fondly.
“Indeed, unless mother and father have more babies. Then there will be more of us. But for this time it is just us three.” Elladan agreed.
“Yes, I see. And we will be together forever!” she exclaimed with a watery smile.
“Yes indeed! And we will never leave one another! It is a promise then!” Elrohir declared.
“Aye! That is a very good promise.” Elladan agreed.
“A promise! Yes!” Arwen laughed, clapping her hands.
And it was ever after that the three would be more fellow conspirators than adversaries. Though, of course, squabbles between siblings were bound to happen.
But that is a tale for another day!
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