"Tis not the case, I can assure you!"
"What makes you so sure?"
Esendri watched on, amused, as the twins continued their argument. They had migrated to the chambers that he shared with his master. The talk had not left the subject of their involvement in the upcoming quest, and all three were equally excited at the prospect.
"Do you really believe we were chosen simply for translation purposes?" Elrohir continued.
"I do not seem to be able to find another answer. Do you have such high faith in your abilities? What makes you think you have something special to offer the company?" his brother countered.
"I have told you that I cannot yet think of an answer!"
"Even so, why would ada hide it from us?"
"Probably because he has his doubts in your ability to keep it quiet! What does Esendri think?" Elrohir ventured.
"Err, I do not see what purposes it will serve for Master Elrond to hide the truth," he started hesitantly.
"What did I tell you? Esendri agrees that ada has no reason to lie!" Elladan cried triumphantly.
"Although there seems to be more to this than meets the eye!" the servant added hastily, upon seeing the annoyed look that crossed Elrohir's features.
He was saved by the arrival of Legolas, who did not look at all surprised to find his room invaded by his friends. The argument was quickly forgotten as all three turned to face the new arrival, faces glowing with anticipation.
"Is one's chambers no longer safe from intrusion even within the confines of your great city?" Legolas asked, taking off his outer robes and throwing them across a chair with disdain.
"I never will quite fathom your people's likes for such cumbersome raiment," he said to the twins.
"Do you ever change, tithen ernil?" teased Elrohir, watching him sink wearily into an armchair. "What did ada want with you?"
"Would you believe me if I told you he wanted a word regarding my impulsive behaviour at the council?"
"Nay, Legolas, you can do better than that!" Elladan pressed further.
"Esendri and I will be given instruction n the usage of our magic."
"And the idea sits well with you then, Master?"
The Sindarin prince thought briefly before answering.
"Knowing that ada has taken a vested interest in this affair eases my reservations, although I am still at a loss of what to think."
"Why do you call him ada?"
Elrohir jumped quickly to the rescue as he saw uneasiness cloud the face of the blonde Elf.
"Do not blame him, Esendri. Ada took Legolas as his foster son the first time he visited Imladris, as we did not know his true parentage then. Even Glorfindel has been kept in the dark about this! As for why this had to be so, I believe you have a better understanding of your king than I do!"
Esendri shrugged, seeming not to think much of it.
"Did Lord Elrond give any indication of what we were to do before setting off?" he asked.
"None, although I think honing our skills for the journey ahead would not be too bad an idea!" Legolas replied, a glint in his eye. He strode over to his drawer and pulled out his bow and newly refilled quiver.
"I am afraid I have to return this to its owner," he remarked, handing a long knife to Esendri. "I no longer have any need for it, since Glorfindel returned mine."
"Shall we?" Esendri turned to face the brothers, excitement in his face.
Elladan frowned, unsure of whether to take up the offer. It had only been a day since Legolas had collapsed, and he was not sure if it was a sensible idea to go hunting so soon.
"Our presence might be required at lunch." He began to mount a half-hearted resistance.
"Come, Dan, surely our absence will not be missed" said Elrohir, mischief in his face. "A spot of Orc-hunting would surely whet our appetites for dinner! In the meantime, there is something we must do!"
Elrohir dragged his twin out of the door, leaving the Silvan Elves behind to their preparations.
Seated atop Nardawin as he waited the arrival of the twins, Legolas felt a familiar thrill rush through his body again. it had been too long since he had properly ridden, and simply being back in a position which he knew and loved was enough to beat away all his inner demons. He had not felt so at peace with himself for a long while, and this was exactly what he needed.
The trip to Obsiran's grave had been a turning point. Just being able to face his loss and grieve for once was more beneficial than he had ever expected. All his life, he had run and hid from his losses, burying them with his past until they had all come back to him.
Not anymore. He had made a silent promise to his fallen friend never to let any of this haunt him again.
"I wonder what keeps the twins?"
"It is not like them to tarry!" Legolas agreed.
The said brothers materialised soon, both beaming as they approached.
"Our apologies for keeping his Royal Highness waiting," Elrohir said.
His brother produced an intricately carved bow and quiver with a flourish, handing it over to an awestruck Esendri.
"A welcome present from Imladris. I hear yours was lost to the Orcs."
The gratitude was clear in the eyes of the servant, who took it, marvelling at its workmanship.
"Many thanks, Masters Elladan and Elrohir. I fear nothing I say can express my appreciation for so great a gift!"
Legolas raised an eyebrow. "I recall not receiving something quite so valuable upon my first visit!"
"For all the worry and trouble you caused, I believe a sound beating would have been more apt!" retorted Elrohir, drawing a grin.
"I trust you to put it to good use, my good Esendri, for it has come straight out of ada's private store!" Elladan said.
Legolas looked up sharply, a wicked glint in his eye while Esendri coloured furiously.
"Ai, I cannot take it!" he started, but was firmly silenced by the twins.
"You will keep it, Esendri, lest we make you. Might I warn you that Elrohir and I have discovered a very convenient way of making stubborn Silvan Elves do as they are told!" Elladan said, casting a meaningful glance at the blonde prince, who grimaced.
"Do tell, Master Elladan!"
"I see ada has not managed to find a way to keep you out of his private stores, even after the escapades of the past!" Legolas changed the subject, drawing more laughter.
"This grows ever more interesting, but I fear night will fall ere we get to the hunting ground," Elrohir interrupted, leaping onto his horse.
Elladan laughed and was about to follow suit when his attention was drawn by a rustling in the trees.
"Elladan?" a voice called, and Yuvinel appeared, carrying Daniya in her arms.
The elder twin took a step back, sensing trouble.
"Am I glad to see you! Daniya has been asking for you all day and has refused to eat until she is brought to you!" the girl said.
Elrohir stifled a laugh and dismounted as he saw his twin grow pale, and walked up to the maiden.
"What is her name?"
"Come, little Daniya, do not pout!" Elrohir called out, a gentle but amused smile on his face.
The little girl looked up, recognising the voice. There was her beloved Elf, yet there was something not quite right. Her initial beam was reduced to a confused frown as she beheld Elrohir, yet she allowed herself to be scooped up by the Elf.
"Are we interrupting something?" Yuvinel asked anxiously, suddenly noticing how all were fully armed and cloaked.
"Nay, Yuvinel, join us, for surely some Orc-hunting would do you some good!" said Legolas, taking the girl from Elrohir, who had offered the distrustful child up to the Silvan prince, who held her in front of him awkwardly, much to the amusement to his servant.
"Would you not like to ride along with us, Daniya?" Legolas asked.
To the surprise of all, the little girl tensed up, horror in her eyes, and started struggling. She gave out a loud, piercing scream. Shocked, Legolas almost dropped the writhing child, who was saved by Elrohir, and taken aside.
"Ugh," Legolas muttered under his breath.
"Your aptitude for younglings extends to mortals! It seems Master Elladan has found a match in his ineptness with children!" Esendri laughed.
In the meantime, Elrohir was having trouble trying to calm Daniya down. If anything, her screams seemed to get louder.
"By the Valar, the whole of Imladris would be roused by her shouts!" Elladan exclaimed.
"She has been such all morning, and has been crying for you!" Yuvinel exclaimed, hurrying over to the pair.
Daniya had now taken to swotting her fists about, beating wilfully at Elrohir.
"You not Dan! You not Dan!" she screamed.
"Maybe I should take her," Yuvinel proffered, moving to take the hysterical child off his hands.
Before she could do so, Elladan volunteered to take the girl, causing her tears and tantrums to stop, and a watery smile broke out.
"Dan!" she screamed happily, unmindful of how awkwardly she was being held. "Elf!"
"Come along then, Yuvinel, for I see no other solution. This hunting trip might as well turn into a picnic!" sighed Elladan in resignation.
"Would you ride with me?" Legolas offered the maiden a hand, and was surprised to see her mount the horse without his help.
"You learn fast!" he remarked, and received a shy smile in return.
The twins mounted their steeds, and Elladan moved off first, the little girl placed securely in front of him.
Presently, the company arrived at a meadow on the edge of the forest.
"I suppose this is as adventurous as it would get today!" Esendri said as he surveyed the peaceful surroundings.
Soon the Silvan Elves had wandered off in search of fruits, and returned to find that their companions had settled down among the buttercups. The horses were grazing, and Daniya was preoccupied with chasing butterflies.
Throwing a fruit at each twin, who were sprawled across the grass, Legolas took up a seat near the maiden and offered her a selection.
"How find you Imladris, Lady Yuvinel?" Elladan asked, propping himself up on an elbow and biting into the soft fruit lazily, deciding to spare Legolas a tease.
"It has a beauty beyond anything I have ever imagined," she replied graciously.
"Ada will offer you sanctuary if you ask," Elrohir said, still lying on his back.
"I will have to think about it."
"She prefers the eastern side of the Misty Mountains! Undoubtedly Greenwood will be her choice!" Esendri said, enjoying the reaction it elicited from Elrohir.
"Hush, Esendri, let not your manners be forgotten," Legolas rebuked lazily, before he too stretched out on the grass. "The best is to call both places your home, as I have done!"
"You must understand, young one, that the glory of Eryn Galen rests upon your shoulders," said Esendri, doing such an uncanny impression of the king that caused all to look around for the nonexistent newcomer, and Legolas to cry foul.
"That was your father, I presume?" Elrohir said, undisguised glee in his voice as he watched Daniya's antics out of the corner of his eye. She had now discovered the joys of dandelions, and was happily demonstrating her newfound toy to Elladan, who looked on, attempting to appear aloof to his friends, but not quite fooling them. A warm smile lit up his face as he accepted a proffered flower, and he spent the next few moments playing along and being taught what to do by the little girl.
"He sounds scary!" Yuvinel said to Legolas.
"Not nearly as frightening as his son in a tantrum! Put them together, and a sight they are to behold indeed!"
Legolas blushed and threw a stone at his servant, who laughingly deflected the blow.
"Do not heed his words, Yuvinel," Legolas said regally, drawing more giggles from the maiden. "Mere commoners all, what do they know?"
Esendri and Elrohir were upon him, and he shouted, trying to beat off their attacks. The girl laughed and moved aside, getting out of harm's way as arms and legs started flailing about.
Having gotten past the initial shock, Legolas aimed a good kick at Esendri's temple, only for his leg to be quickly pinned down quick Elrohir. Laughter and good-natured shouting filled the air as Legolas attempted to break free of the two, elbowing Elrohir in the ribs in the process. This only seemed to spur the raven-haired Elf on, and he renewed the intensity of his attacks, much to the delight of the spectators, who cheered the wrestlers on.
It was not long before the combined efforts of both attackers took their toll. Legolas refused to go down without a fight, and managed to fling Esendri off, causing him to land with a yelp a distance away. Elrohir took the opportunity to flip him around and grab his arms, pinning them firmly to his back. Sitting down hard upon the prince, Elrohir claimed his victory.
Daniya shrieked with excitement, and ran over to Esendri, offering a hand to the cross Elf who was rubbing his forehead. He took her hand, causing her to gurgle in excitement.
"Elf!" she pronounced solemnly, offering a dandelion to the amused Silvan Elf.
In the meantime, Elrohir maintained his grip upon Legolas, enjoying the power he held over his friend.
"It is not too often I get you in such a position, my dear Legolas!" he said. Leaning forward, he blew gently on Legolas's neck, causing him to writhe further.
"Now what should I do with my prized catch?" he whispered into his pointed ear.
Legolas summed up all his strength and threw his friend off, sending him hurtling a good distance away. The disturbance drew the attention of the rest away from the girl attempting to teach Esendri the art of dandelion-blowing, and more laughter filled the air.
Leaping to his feet, Legolas squatted down beside the younger twin, a look of exaggerated concern upon his face.
"You were saying something, Roh?" he asked, eyes innocent and wide, an effect he employed to full use.
What the reply was, they never found out, for a scream shattered the air, and all whipped around to find Daniya missing.
Esendri whipped out his knife and disappeared into the undergrowth. Crying out for Elladan to watch over Yuvinel, Legolas and Elrohir ran after him, weapons ready.
"This way, Roh!" Legolas called, keen eyes already picking up the trail.
Hearing the sounds of a scuffle nearby, Legolas motioned for Elrohir to pick his way carefully. Soundlessly, they slipped ahead of the assailant, rounding on him from the back.
"Come no further!" a gruff voice shouted, causing both Elves to pause, eyes straining, attempting to catch a better glimpse of their adversary through the thick undergrowth.
"Easy now, Master Dwarf, I mean not to harm you!" Esendri's voice came through the bushes, loud and clear. The Dwarf had not detected the presence of the two other Elves. Legolas started moving forward again, motioning for Elrohir to do the same.
"A fool I would be to trust an Elf!" The dwarf saw that he was unable to outrun the Elf and started to panic.
Legolas risked moving closer still, and saw the Dwarf standing in a clearing, holding an ugly blade to Daniya's neck. Esendri stood a good few feet away, hands placed non-combatively in front of him, trying to calm the unnerved creature down. The servant twitched his eyebrow upon noticing Legolas, but did not make any other untoward movements.
"Release the girl, my friend, for what good is it to come from taking her? I would give you my word that you shall pass through the borders of this land unscathed!" Esendri continued, at the same time letting his long knife fall to the ground to show his sincerity.
A long silence passed as the Dwarf struggled to make a decision. Silently, Legolas strung his bow, ready for anything.
Just when it seemed the Dwarf was about to give in, he suddenly changed his mind, taking a few quick steps back.
"Make one more step and her head rolls!" the Dwarf shouted.
Cackling in glee, he took a few more steps back, before suddenly hurling his blade at Esendri, who just managed to dodge it. Making use of the distraction, the Dwarf then turned to flee. A whizzing sound pierced the air, and a sharp pain of his knuckles caused him to release his hold on the girl. Legolas was upon him in a flash, and Elrohir whisked the girl out of harm's way.
Screaming in anger, the Dwarf saw that the source of his pain had been a stone thrown by the blonde Elf. He hurled himself at Legolas, rushing through the bushes, and pinned him against the tree, a powerful hand crushing the slender throat.
"Take him alive!" Legolas wheezed as Esendri came to his aid, brandishing his long knife.
Esendri dutifully sheathed the knife and instead landed a harsh blow upon the Dwarf's cheek, causing him to howl in pain and release his stranglehold on Legolas's throat.
Stars left the Elf's eyes, and the sweet rush of air filled his head. Once he got his bearings, Legolas quickly ploughed into the fray, saving his friend from a powerful punch to his head, and was promptly rewarded by a knee in the stomach for his efforts. He stumbled back and fell, temporarily winded.
Kicking with all his strength at the back of the Dwarf's sturdy legs, Legolas managed to get the stout being to stumble forward. Esendri seized the opportunity to renew his onslaught, finally managing to pin the Dwarf down onto the forest ground. The creature thrashed about wildly, screaming insults, and giving Esendri a good fight.
"Legolas!" the servant cried, as the Dwarf managed to worm free from his grasp, and went crashing through the undergrowth.
In his haste to flee, the Dwarf did not notice the leg stuck out by the prince, and ran straight into it, falling to the ground.
"Oh no you don't!" Legolas shouted, lending a hard blow to the Dwarf's temple with the handle of his long knife, causing the struggling figure to pass out.
He breathed a sigh of relief and turned his attention to Esendri, who was still sprawled on the ground. It seemed that the servant had bore the brunt of the Dwarf's aggression.
"Legolas, we should not tarry!" he said as he stood up, motioning to the unconscious heap. "Do not worry about me!"
Legolas acquiesced, and quickly bound the Dwarf's limbs securely with vine which he procured from the trees around. Picking up the still form, he started back toward the meadow, with Esendri hobbling painfully behind.
"I am quite all right, Elrohir!" Legolas laughed, pushing away the younger twin as they returned to their friends. "What is more important is to get this Dwarf back to Imladris! Ada would be greatly interested in him and his motives; skulking around Imladris is hardly a normal pastime for Dwarves. There may be more of them, we should not linger!"
The twins turned their attentions instead to preparing to leave, clearing the picnic site. Legolas carried the heavy Dwarf to his horse, and together with Esendri, prepared to hoist the motionless form onto it.
A shriek from the direction of their friends revealed Daniya's reluctance to leave, and all roared in barely controlled mirth as they saw a hapless Elladan attempting to scoop the kicking girl into his arms with minimal success.
"Knocking her out like that wretched Dwarf might be an option!" Elladan muttered, causing another shout of laughter to ring through the forest.
The eyes of the Dwarf flew open, and he turned about, sinking his teeth deep into the arm of Esendri.
"Ow!" cried the servant, promptly hitting down at the assailant, but the powerful jaws would not let go.
Legolas aimed a blow at the Dwarf's head, but missed his target as the creature let go and wriggled free of both Elves. He managed to break the vines on his legs, and aimed a powerful kick at the Sindarin prince's ankle, causing him to fall as his leg gave way. The Dwarf then headed Esendri, a powerful blow that caused the servant to double over in pain, before making his dash for freedom.
Eraisdor reared in fright as the ugly creature attempted to mount him, and Legolas and Esendri had to roll out of the way to avoid being crushed by the powerful hooves of the stallion.
The twins bore down upon the Dwarf. Both were soon upon him, raining blows upon his thick hide, attempting to subdue the thrashing creature. Even without the use of his securely fastened hands, the Dwarf managed a few good kicks, rewarding the brothers with many cuts and bruises.
Eventually, Elrohir lost his temper and unsheathed his dagger, drawing blood by slashing the Dwarf's arm.
"Roh!" cried his brother.
The pain seemed to jolt the Dwarf out of his frenzied state, and he calmed down, while Elrohir seized the chance to place the blade of the dagger at the base of his throat, exerting just the right amount of pressure so as not to wound him.
"Try that again, and you will be sorry! Get to your feet!"
The Dwarf moved slowly, but obeyed the command and stood up.
Keeping a firm eye on the angry creature, he motioned for his twin to proceed with whatever the pair had in mind.
Grinning, Elladan suddenly covered the Dwarf's mouth and nose with a piece of cloth that he whipped out from nowhere. The creature struggled, but the Elf held on, and soon the stocky body went limp. Satisfied, Elrohir let the body slump to the ground.
"That should take care of him for a while longer!" he muttered.
Once they had seen to the Dwarf, the twins turned their attention to their friends, only to find Legolas struggling to help Esendri to his feet. Both seemed in pain, and the brothers ran over to help. It took both of them to help a groaning Esendri to his feet, and eventually managed to get him atop his horse.
"Mayhap I should ride with you?" Elladan offered, but was politely declined.
Esendri weakly pointed over to his master, who was sitting on the ground, face pulled into a grimace. He was clasping his ankle, which was twisted. Seeing the two glance over, he quickly hauled himself out with great difficulty. Giving in to the concerned younger twin, he allowed himself to be helped upon Nardawin, his foot dragging along.
"You should get that examined," Elladan remarked absently, and received a small scowl in return.
"Lady Yuvinel." the Elven prince offered a hand to the girl, who accepted, mounting carefully.
"Leave the rest to us, speed you on your way home!" Elladan commanded, and the horses were off.
"I fear we are unrivalled in the art of landing ourselves in trouble!" Legolas said in response to a worried question from Yuvinel.
It was not long before the twins caught up, and all four horses wound their way back to Imladris. Elrohir hung behind with the Dwarf while the rest made their way to the home of the half-Elven, where they were quickly greeted by grooms and servants.
The Silvan Elves were both carried against their will and placed upon beds in the house of healing, but not without a great deal of protesting. Elrond and Glorfindel made their appearance, and almost burst into laughter at the sight of the bedraggled party, for all three Elves were cut and bruised, and looking very sorry.
Elladan quickly crossed to his father and spoke softly, and the two left the room. Healers immediately appeared and started examining the Silvan Elves.
Glorfindel went over to them, noting that their injuries were not serious enough to cause more than a few days of inconvenience. If anything, the young ones seemed embarrassed, and both grinned at him ruefully, for they had already begun to heal in the quick manner of Elves.
"That must have been a record, the speed of which you got yourselves into this!"
The healer examining Legolas was frowning at his ankle in puzzlement.
"An old injury," Legolas said.
"The bone was shattered when he was scarcely nine," Esendri elaborated, "I believe it still haunts him periodically."
Smiling, the Elflord turned to the mortals. The little girl was still clinging to Yuvinel.
"I trust you are not injured, my lady?"
"No, Lord Glorfindel, I am not hurt. Daniya, might need something to soothe her nerves for she has just gone through quite an ordeal."
The blonde Elf nodded, and motioned for the mortals to follow him.
"Elrond will be with you shortly!" he spoke to the young ones, only to receive two pink tongues sticking out at him in unison.
"Come, Lady Yuvinel, I shall escort you back to your chambers."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.