"How can I tell you apart?" she asked…
“Ah,” Elrohir said, “only I am perfect in every way.”
“But my imperfection is entirely his fault.”
“The orc should carry some of the blame!”
“An orc once slashed down my belly. Elrohir stitched me together. Except…”
“That I had been hit on the head and I could not see straight.” Elrohir was trying not to laugh.
“And he sewed me up crooked. The skin knitted well – but we peredhel have a line of hair…”
“Mine is straight – it helps ellyth find my vië in the dark.”
“Whereas mine,” Elladan finished, “is off centre and misses by a finger width!”
vië - proper Quenya for penis.
Seeing Would Be Believing
Over the years a thread of humour had woven itself into the fabric of the tales they told of the “bad times”. Times when they had felt nothing but battle-rage, wanted nothing but revenge, eschewed the comforts of home, hearth and huch.
Unlike the Dúnedain they bore no bodily scars to trace each clash and, now, even the scars of the fëar were healing.
But the look on her face told them that she understood just how close to death the encounter they joked about had taken them. Then she grinned, an impish look, and said “I so must see…”
huch - proper Quenya for the female 'parts'!
fëar - souls
Straight and True: or, One Crucial Difference (Azalais)
Only with the last orcs dead or fled does Elrohir, staggering from a blow to the head, notice his brother sinking to his knees clutching his stomach.
“S’all right…” Elladan gasps. “Just – flesh wound…”
Weaving dizzily back across the clearing, Elrohir wrestles his kit from his saddlebag, yanks open Elladan’s tunic, curses as he tries to thread a stitching needle through blurred and dancing vision.
“Make sure you – sew me up straight!” his twin mutters thickly.
“S’the last of my worries…” Elrohir retorts, squinting.
Several days later, back in Imladris, he’s woken from dozing by an outraged shout:
A Riddle in the Dark (Azalais)
“No, my son! It is not to be contemplated,” Elrond maintains. “You wish me to reopen a long-healed wound an Age old and then stitch you up again? What excuse can you possibly embroider to justify it? I am trying to imagine how it could signify that a line of bodily hair is an inch out of true, but I am groping in the dark!”
Elrohir, making a strange choking noise, leaves the room rather hurriedly. Elrond raises an enquiring eyebrow at his remaining son; Elladan sighs.
“You won’t be the only one, Father… Never mind. It does not matter.”
Looking on the Bright Side (Azalais)
“What yarn did you manage to spin Father?” Elrohir, legs dangling from a branch, looks down as his twin trudges dejectedly from the House.
“I didn’t,” Elladan sighs. “It looks as though I’m stuck crooked for the remaining Ages of Arda.”
His twin grimaces sympathetically. “I could always…”
“No, you don’t!” Elladan retorts. “It’s you I have to thank for the potential ruin of my love life as it is!”
“Don’t be so melodramatic.” Elrohir rolls his eyes. “Or so unimaginative. If ellyth have to spend a little longer exploring you in the dark – is that such a terrible thing?”
He was a Wood Elf, Once...
“There was that time… the fall down the mountainside…” Elladan began.
His twin groaned but continued, “I slid down scree, feet first, for many yards… my back was ripped from neck to thighs…”
“We had no time, no bandages left… I picked out what I could … wrapped strips of shirt around him…”
“Dark blue, embroidered red and green… and not colourfast!”
“He was tattooed with random coloured dots and lines – he looked like a Wood Elf!”
“They faded, healed, over twenty years,” Elrohir said quickly, before she asked to see, “I am, once more, a Noldo front and rear!”
“That must have been so frustrating,” she said.
“Frustrating?” Elladan asked.
“Come on – you’ve admitted to playing ‘swap the twin’ as elflings… I don’t believe you stopped when you became adults.
“In fact,” she went on, warming to her theme, “I bet you’ve played ‘which me am I?’ with loads of ellyth.”
“Multi-coloured Elrohir must have stopped you getting far with that.
“Whereas the other difference… don’t tell me you can’t get an elleth’s head in such a spin that she won’t notice that – unless she knows what to look for…”
Eyes glinting, she added, “Like I do…!”
Truth to tell, when Elrohir’s back had born the marks of spun silk and scree, there had been no joy, no pleasure; just rest, food, and drink enough to preserve the hroar. No thought of sport with ellyth; no desire had firmed the flesh.
She had, once, been too polite to ask; but they had answered, anyway.
“You wonder how long,” Elrohir had said then, smiling wryly, “Others have asked…”
“A yén, two yéni, more, we hardly know, even now,” his brother continued.
“Some would say,” Elrohir’s smile had widened, “that we have more than made up for lost time…”
Beware of Imitations (Azalais)
“He looked nothing like a Wood-elf,” Legolas said firmly when, some time later, she had the opportunity to retell the tale in question. “I remember seeing those scars – crude, meaningless dots and lines! Our tattoos are works of art and craft, and every one has meaning...”
I've only ever seen him stripped down to his tunic, she realised, when we were discussing Mirkwood silk-weaving! The temptation was irresistible:
He raised a wicked eyebrow. “You would have me appear before you without a stitch on, nethig, purely to demonstrate the point?”
She grinned; she could be wicked too.
nethig - Legolas 'pet name' for Tindómë - something al elf might call his younger sister.
To Dye For (Azalais)
Little enough mirth, in those dark years; yet sometimes black humour bubbled to the surface. On one of Thranduilion’s rare visits to Imladris from Mirkwood, sharing intelligence on orc-movements in the North, the three of them bathed in a pool below the Falls of Bruinen:
“No difficulty telling you apart for a few sun-rounds,” Legolas observed, “till those unsightly colours fade from Elrohir’s skin.”
“One more grudge to bear orc-kind!”
“Courage,” Legolas chuckled, “what’s the Peredhil motto – ‘do or dye’? At least you did not… dye in the attempt!”
A moment later he vanished, spluttering, beneath the pool’s surface…
So many times they had stitched each other up; all too often both had been injured and they trusted no-one else. Wounds, that had been serious, were treated with disdain as just a nuisance, taking up time before they could move on, fight on.
Now they told of the worst, with smiles, to amuse their guest on this rainy day.
“He numbed my hand and put back the dislocated thumb…”
“Then he saw that my leg bled so badly that he did not wait for sensation to return.”
“Which is how I came to…”
“Stitch his thumb to my calf!”
No Better Healers
Darkness had fallen. The winter afternoon had all but passed as they told tales designed to amuse their guest, finishing with their father’s inability to understand why, in more recent years, Elladan might want ‘corrective’ surgery. (“But why should such a tiny difference bother you, my sons?”).
No matter, though, how many ‘medical mishaps’ they described she knew that she would have wanted no other healers for her own injuries – or for that suffered by her not-quite-betrothed.
“After all”, she said, “better your torso is slightly, um, cock-eyed Elladan, than, um, cockless…. And, Elrohir, better you were dyed than dead.”
..........The End .........