There are no secrets that time does not reveal.
Round and round and around. The wheat ears tickled my chest as I swished around in a blurry circle of swiftly moving dull yellow. When the world spun and juddered, nearly turning upside down, I fell on my back amid the yellow stalks, grinning widely and feeling slightly sick. The wispy clouds moved in all directions until my eyes settled down. All too soon the giddiness passed. Weezil, my pet otter stood looking bored. She could spin all she liked and never fall over.
"Come on. Let's do it again." I stood up and immediately ducked down again. Elladan was wading through the field, shouting my name.
"LINDIR! YOU ARE FOR IT THIS TIME!" He was coming nearer. "HOW DARE YOU DYE MY HAIR PINK. COME ON, SHOW YOURSELF! I KNOW IT WAS YOU!"
I always wondered if he used hair conditioner, and now I knew. His hair definitely looked better pink, a happy change from boring black. Instead of being angry he should be on his knees thanking me forever and ever. Later on this success would be recorded in my 'Scientific Magic Experiments on Horrid Elladan' research diary, but for now I had to hide.
"Come back here," Glorfindel called. "You won't find him."
"Have you seen my hair?" Elladan screeched, sounding like an over excited monkey at a birthday party.
I couldn't see Glorfindel's expression because I was still hidden in the wheat. Elladan would go away, he always did. It was going to be a tricky few days but my research was more important than his appearance.
"This time he has gone too far. I am going to wring his neck." He shouted the last sentence, no doubt hoping I could hear and be suitably intimidated, which I wasn't. "Do you know what he did to me last week? He put a spell on my shoes, that's what. It is bloody hard trying to track a troll through the forest when your shoes are making you tango. Suppose I had been fighting an orc? I would have had to dance him to death instead!" Another thing to record. He told me the patrol was boring and nothing happened, but now I knew different.
I suspect Glorfindel laughed. He certainly had last week when I told him what I had done. Of course, he never told Elladan. Of all the constants in my life, Glorfindel is probably at the top. He knows how horrible my brothers and sister are.
After a while, I peered up above the grain. Elladan was gone. Slowly, I moved through the wheat ears, hoping that he was not concealed and trying to catch me as I went past; it would be just like him to do something like that. Did I dare to run across the courtyard to the house? Yes I did! Imagining myself as Huan the Hound, sailing in big leaps across the ground, I bounded through the field and over the flagstones, invincible, undefeatable, howling and snarling, until I reached the front door. Elladan wouldn't dare attack Huan, but I knew he wouldn't bat an eyelid at causing trouble for me.
I looked up. Arwen stared down at me. "Go away! I am being Huan the Hound."
"What did you do to Elladan?"
"I did nothing to Elladan. I did it to his hair conditioner."
"You see the clock tower over there?" she said menacingly, and a little too close to my face. "Well, I am going to string you up by your neck and hang you there if you ever pull a stunt like that with me." Weezil barked, so Arwen stood up a little; she has been bitten before.
"Does that mean you won't tell Elladan it was me?" My big, twenty-five year old eyes looked appealingly at her.
"He already knows. Honestly Lindir, sometimes you are not very bright." She shook her head dismissively and chuckled nastily before walking away.
Staring after her I hoped she would fall flat on her face, or a big well might open up and she would fall down it. A couple of the warriors smiled as she passed them; they probably wanted her to be their girlfriend and give them lots of kisses. Loads of warriors like Arwen, and she isn't all that good looking. I think it's because she flips the ends of her hair and wiggles her hips whenever she sees them.
The library has a section devoted to magic, which is closed off to nearly everybody. Elrond, my adar, has a key, which I stole off him some months back. It was a simple matter to make a cast of it with plaster mixed with water, then separating it after it set and filling the space with molten wax. The wax impression, once freed from the plaster, was a nearly perfect copy of the key. After carefully scraping away any surface imperfections it was an exact match. The bow and shaft of the moulded key were each attached to a roll of wax, pointing in opposite directions above the body, before being covered in clay plaster and left to dry. One of the rolls would act as a channel for the molten metal and the other would be a flue. I used to have lessons in making decorative jewellery; elves here like that sort of thing so I know perfectly well how to operate a small furnace. Indeed, I have one concealed in the secret laboratory Gandalf created for me the last time he was here.
After heating a small pot of bronze in the middle of the furnace until it was white hot, I took it out and slowly poured it into one of the wax channels. You have to take your time with molten metal because it tends to spurt out really quickly and splatter everywhere. When the metal pushed out the other wax channel it was done. After cooling overnight, a dusty key shape emerged when I broke the clay, but there was still work to do. First of all I had to saw off the metal that filled the channels, then I had to file the key to make it as smooth as the other one and refine the teeth of the pin so it could enter the lock and move the tumblers and catches within. I was lucky the cast worked first time. Sometimes the process doesn't work and I have to start over. Adar didn't even realise the key was gone, that's how much notice he takes of what I do.
Elladan didn't have a key to the magic section of the library, neither did Elrohir or Arwen, so I would be safest in there. The room was quite large, with plenty of places to hide, so even if they borrowed a key they might not find me.
"Where are you going?" Erestor asked as Weezil and I passed him in the library. He was sitting in an armchair reading a book about famous elves’ quotes and insults. I had already read it and worked out a few of my own. When I am older I bet a whole book like that will be devoted to the things I have said over the years.
"I am avoiding Elladan. He thinks I put stuff in his conditioner which made his hair turn pink."
"Well you did. Didn't you?"
"That's beside the point. I am doing important research and he is my guinea pig."
"You couldn't have picked a worse elf to be your guinea pig. You know how foul tempered he is."
"He is the only one who doesn't hide his toiletries. I looked in Elrohir and Arwen's rooms first."
Erestor sighed, because he likes to make loud huffy noises in libraries. "Come with me." He took my hand and we went to the door to the room containing the magic books. "Get your key out."
"What key?" Had he been spying on me?
He raised an eyebrow, so I took it out of my pocket and unlocked the door.
"How did you know?"
"I know everything." He smiled at me before pushing the door open. "We should get these locks changed.
"That's all right. I will make another one."
Erestor shook his head. "Get in there quick." He bundled us in with indecent haste and swiftly shut the door. "Just in time."
"LINDIR!" Elladan roared from outside the room. "I KNOW YOU ARE IN HERE." We heard a soft voice followed by Elladan yelling that no, he would not modify his voice, and he didn't care one whit that he was in a library.
"That was lucky." I looked up at Erestor and giggled. Weezil giggled as well.
"Come along. It won't be two minutes before the librarian lets him in here." Erestor led us to the back of the room. He pulled out one of the books and let it go. The title of the book was 'Adventures in Sindarin - a Tengwar Primer for Tiny Elflings." Elladan would never know to pull that book out. He never reads, and I doubt he can, which means I am cleverer than him. Anyway, the bookcase moved a couple of feet and Erestor, Weezil and I squeezed inside. He pulled a lever and the gap closed. Weezil sneezed, nearly letting Elladan know exactly where we were hiding. Erestor took a light orb out of his pocket. In the soft yellow glow I could make out a table, some arm chairs and even more books.
"Doesn't smell very nice in here."
"There's very little ventilation; however, it's handy for hiding, or just getting away from everyone."
Weezil jumped onto one of the chairs and I wondered if she had been here before; she likes spending time with Erestor so it was possible. I didn't like to ask her because she is an otter and they cannot speak. Elrohir used to have a pet stag beetle called Rumbletybum, and he used to say things like, 'Who is a pretty boy?' to it. The beetle never answered, so Elrohir used to do a silly voice making out to answer for it. I used to laugh when he did that, but that was before Nana left when everyone was happy. He wouldn't talk to a beetle to make me laugh now.
"Where in Mordor is he?" Elladan yelled. It sounded as if he was standing right next to the bookcase.
The soft voice beside him suggested that if I had been in the room I must have run out as soon as Elladan bounded in between the bookshelves. Then he said that Elladan's hair was extremely attractive and asked if he would like to go to a party that evening.
"So long as the only other person there is you," Elladan replied, his voice taking on a smoother, lower tone. He has no idea about parties at all; that's because he is a thicky.
I rolled my eyes at Erestor. He rolled his back. The voices receded and the door beyond closed.
"You got away with that one," Erestor grinned. "Come along. I have something to show you."
We walked across the room. Halfway across I nearly tripped on a fur rug that still had the warg's head intact. Erestor pulled me up before I could hit the floor and told me to look where I was going. He opened another door . Beyond was a vision of the utmost brilliance.
"Wow! I never knew such a place existed. This is great. Look at all those bottles. What's inside them?"
"This is my magic laboratory. Gandalf has asked me to teach you the ways of magic. Lord Elrond has reluctantly agreed. It is hoped that increasing your knowledge will make you act more responsibly. I cannot see it myself, but who am I to disagree?"
"This is far better than my secret laboratory."
"You have a secret laboratory?"
"How do I not know about it?"
"Because it's secret. Gandalf said not to tell anyone."
I had to take Erestor to my rooms and show him my secret laboratory. "Ah good," he exclaimed. "This means you can do homework."
I didn’t care, and I told him so.