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Interrupted Journeys: Part Four--Journeys of Discovery

Chapter 4: Mischief and Moonbows--Part Two

by ellisk

Chapter 4: Mischief and Moonbows--Part Two

Legolas and his cousins followed Anastor and Noruil along a rushing stream that descended one of the tall hills behind the stronghold. As he scrambled over tree roots and rocks, ascending the gentle slope of the mountain, Legolas could not deny that his heart thrilled in response to the magic that was the forest at night.

For some time now, he and his cousins had been deemed old enough to remain on the green after nightfall during festivals. Legolas had always thought the splendor of those celebrations was a product of the sparkling torchlight, the music and the dancing elves or the excitement of the games and contests. He always assumed that after the torches were quenched, the minstrels stopped playing and the elves retired to their cottages, the sleeping forest would be enveloped in a blanket of silence, but now he was learning it was not so.

Though the darkness muted its colors, the forest was every bit as vibrant at night as during the day. The trees around him hummed a contented night song that the stream beside him echoed. Chirping frogs, clicking and buzzing insects and the whistles and calls of a chorus of birds completed the melody. Animals that Legolas had never seen before scurried out of his path to hide in the underbrush and peer at him, as unaccustomed to elflings as he was to them. His attention flitted from side to side to study them. Little gray and brown furry creatures rustled in the leaves, the yellow eyes of some predator shone in the shadows, and a large, curious owl glided silently from branch to branch above them, watching them intently. As Legolas looked up to meet its piercing gaze, he marveled at the silvery beauty of the moonlight flickering in the tree leaves.

“We are almost there,” Anastor whispered excitedly.

Legolas glanced at him and could not deny another reason why his heart beat so quickly: he knew perfectly well what would happen if Crithad should awaken to find them gone. Galithil never worried about disobeying his father, no matter his displeasure, and Berior’s father never displayed a temper provided the children’s misadventures did not result in injury. But Legolas did not like causing trouble with his father and he had no doubt that trouble would arise like a dragon robbed of part of his hoard if Thranduil learned his son and nephews were missing.

These disturbing thoughts were driven from his mind, when Anastor and Noruil came to a stop in front of him and Legolas registered the rushing sound of the waterfall. Looking towards it, his eyes widened in wonder and he drew a long breath.

At the foot of the waterfall, a misty spray arose where the water plummeted from the cliff and churned in the stream below. This was a favorite play spot for the elflings and Legolas knew that in the sunlight the mist glowed golden. Now he saw that at night it sparkled like a field of silver stars. But most breathtaking of all, where a shaft of moonlight found its way to the base of the waterfall through the dense foliage above, a glittering, bright arch of color leapt up from the mist and climbed into the forest to fade amongst the trees.

“It is beautiful,” Berior whispered as the owl came to perch above their heads in a tall oak.

Brethril only nodded wordlessly as he stared at the dancing colors, all the more vivid in contrast with the night shadows.

“Surely you agree this was worth coming to see, Legolas,” Galithil prodded as he also gazed with amazement at the moonbow.

“I do,” Legolas whispered, enthralled by the sight of the violet, green, yellow and red arch gleaming before him, but even more so by the sound of the water. Many times he and his friends had played next to this waterfall, and he had enjoyed its song. But tonight he almost felt as if he could hear the echo of the Music of the Ainur in its rushing water.

“Let’s climb on top of it,” Anastor called excitedly, heading towards to base of the cliff.

Legolas and his cousins blinked and looked over to see Noruil nod and follow him. Legolas gaped at them. Climbing the waterfall was dangerous in the light of day—the rocks were wet and slippery with moss and the climb was steep. Climbing it in the dark was nothing short of insane.

“You cannot climb it,” he protested. “You will fall and hurt yourself. Besides, from that angle, I doubt you will be able to see the moonbow. The sun has to be behind you for you to see a rainbow and I imagine it is the same with the moon for a moonbow,” he said, pointing to the full moon behind them.

Anastor laughed as Noruil cast them a sneering look. “We do not care about the stupid moonbow,” Anastor said. “We came here to dive off the cliff. Ada would not let us when we were swimming here this afternoon.”

Legolas’s jaw dropped. “The only thing stupider than climbing up that cliff at night would be diving off it into the pool,” he blurted. He had been taught to be more polite, so he would have regretted the harshness of his words if not for Noruil’s reply.

“If you are a coward, that would not surprise us. You do not have to come with us. Just stay down here and look at the moonbow.”

Legolas felt his face flush with anger, but when Galithil took a step forward, Legolas grabbed his arm firmly. “Do not do it, Galithil,” he said.

Brethil nodded urgently. “We could never explain to my adar how you got wet. Please do not follow them,” he pleaded.

Galithil looked at Brethil and sighed, but he did not move to follow Anastor and Noruil, so Legolas released his arm.

At that moment, the owl above them hooted loudly, causing the children to jump. Galithil scowled. Legolas and Berior turned a rueful look on it.

“Even the owl knows this is not wise,” Legolas whispered.

The owl was glaring at Anastor and Noruil, who were half way up the cliff. It hooted again, sending a haunting call into the darkness.

When another owl answered with two long hoots, Legolas and Berior smiled and squinted into the dark branches, hoping to spot their new friend’s mate. Anastor and Noruil stopped climbing and looked into the forest as well, but with alarmed rather than pleased expressions.

“Thranduil’s patrols!” Anastor whispered, beginning to pick his way hurriedly back down the cliff.

“We have to get out of here,” Noruil added, close on his heals.

All the children’s eyes widened at that announcement. Legolas stared at Anastor, though not entirely in response to what Anastor had said, but rather to how he had said it. He had never heard anyone, neither his friends, nor their parents, nor even his own uncles, refer to his father as simply ‘Thranduil.’ And he had certainly never heard anyone refer to him in the disgusted tone of voice Anastor had just used. However, he thought with mounting panic as he and his cousins waited for Anastor and Noruil to descend the cliff, that tone of voice might be justified if they were caught here, alone, at night by the patrols. His father would be furious and Legolas would certainly be disgusted with himself. Indeed, he already was.

“How do you know a patrol is coming?” he asked, as Noruil jumped to the ground, landing next to him.

Without pausing to answer, Anastor and Noruil ran past Legolas, following the stream back towards the river.

Legolas and his cousins looked at one another silently for a moment and then ran after them.

Galilthil, who was slightly older than any of the other elflings and already noticeably taller, caught up to Anastor and Noruil easily. “How do you know a patrol is coming?” he asked, repeating Legolas’s question in a demanding, almost threatening, voice.

“Shhh,” Noruil hissed, glancing over at him as they ran. “They are adults. Do you think they will have trouble tracking us? There is no need to make it easier for them by making so much noise that they can follow your voice alone.”

Galithil glared at Noruil and drew a breath to argue with him. Anastor intervened.

“The patrols use a call that sounds like an owl but their call has two notes. The real owl’s is always three or more,” he whispered in answer to Galithil’s question, trying to forestall more noise. As if to confirm his claim, something hooted twice, much closer to them than the first call had been.

Anastor and Noruil ran faster.

When they reached where the stream joined the river, rather than turning to follow the river upstream to where rocks made a relatively easy path across it, Anastor and Noruil leapt into an ancient tree that over hung the river. Legolas stopped at its feet, his cousins piling up behind him, and looked at the other children as if they were mad.

“You cannot hope to hide from the patrols in a tree!” he exclaimed in an incredulous whisper. “They are smart enough to find you there.”

Anastor and Noruil did not pause to answer him, nor did they conceal themselves amongst the leaves. Instead, Anastor began climbing out along one of the lower and thickest branches.

Galithil took a step towards the bank of the river to stand underneath them. “What are you doing?” he whispered urgently. “That branch will not hold your weight if you go out much further. You will fall into the river,” he warned.

All four children gasped when Anastor leapt from the branch, which was beginning to bend dangerously close to the breaking point. His hands just barely closed around another branch on a tree on the far side of the river. As Anastor scrambled onto that branch, Noruil began climbing out to make the same leap.

“You had better hurry,” Anastor called, gesturing for Legolas and his cousins to climb the tree.

Even Galithil shook his head.

“We are not doing that,” Legolas replied as Noruil launched himself into the air. He caught the branch on the opposite bank with one hand and loosed an involuntary cry as he struggled to hold on and pull himself up. Another owl hoot answered him, now very near.

Anastor again waved for them to climb into the tree. When Noruil reached his side, panting heavily, Anastor shook his head once and leapt to the ground on the opposite bank. “If you will not jump, then you will be caught. You will never reach the stones in time to cross that way,” he declared as he and Noruil turned and ran away from the river.

Legolas and his cousins looked uncertainly between the tree, the opposite bank of the river and the forest behind them, which concealed the approaching warriors.

“I cannot make that jump,” Berior whispered, eyes wide. Brethil nodded his agreement.

Legolas glared at Anastor and Noruil as they disappeared in the darkness. “I would rather be caught than try that anyway,” he replied. “Our adars will not kill us but the river might if we fall in. Come. We will try to make it to the rocks.”

They dashed along the riverbank, heedless of the noise they made crashing through the undergrowth and over the roots and rocks. Behind them they heard voices—one was saying that someone had crossed in the trees since the branches had torn leaves; another was saying that someone else was obviously still on this side of the river because they were leaving a plan trail along the bank. After a few moments of muffled conversation, the children heard footsteps pursuing them and voices calling for them to stop before they were injured.

But they had reached the rocks. Galithil took Berior’s hand and quickly began picking his way across the river, steadying his smaller cousin as they went. Galithil’s legs were long and the crossing was easy for him. After them, Legolas and Brethil went together. Though Legolas was a year older than Brethil, he was not much bigger. For them, the crossing was more of a challenge.

The rocks were far enough apart to force the elflings to jump from one to another. The children were agile, but the rocks were wet, with slippery spots where algae and moss grew on them. Crossing the river this way was always an exciting adventure in the daytime. That night, when they went to the waterfall with Anastor and Noruil, Legolas had not thought the crossing in the dark had been so much an adventure as it was foolishness, and he had considered turning back to Brethil’s cottage then. Now, as he jumped from rock to rock pursued by the patrol, he wished that he had turned back before. It was with a great sigh of relief that he landed safely on the last rock, nearest the opposite shore, avoiding a large patch of slick moss. He had only one more jump to join Galithil and Berior on the bank.

Brethil hurried to follow him, anxious to reach the safety of his yard. In his haste, he did not wait for Legolas to extend a steadying hand before he jumped to join him on the last rock. He also did not notice the slippery spot that Legolas had avoided nor did Legolas have time to warn him.

As soon as his foot hit the moss, it slipped from under him. Arms flailing, he began to fall backwards. With an alarmed cry, Legolas automatically reached out and caught Brethil’s wrist, but the moment he did, he realized he would not be able to prevent his cousin from falling in the water. He braced himself to at least prevent the swift current from pulling his wrist from his grasp. Suddenly, another hand caught Brethil’s other arm. Legolas turned to see Galithil balanced precariously next to him, one foot on the rock and the other on the bank. Together, they pulled Brethil to his feet on the rock. Pausing only a moment to exchange a frightened and thankful look, they quickly jumped off the rock to the riverbank.

Relieved to be past the greatest obstacle to their escape, the elflings ran out from the cover of the trees without pause and dashed across the green. As they disappeared into the forest on its far side, Legolas glanced behind them and saw the warriors crossing the river on the rocks. Breathing a sigh of relief, he silently slid into the shadows and followed his cousins along the stone path that led to Brethil’s cottage.

Reaching Brethil’s yard, the four elflings ran to where their blankets were spread on the ground and flung themselves onto them, grateful to have apparently escaped the patrols. It was immediately apparent that they were not safe yet, however. Their panting and scampering feet had been enough to awaken Crithad. All four elflings held their breath as he quickly sat up and looked about with alarm, first searching the yard and then the trees surrounding it for the creature that had made the noise that awakened him. When he finally looked at the elflings, who were staring at him with round eyes, he drew a sharp, surprised breath in response to their expressions.

“Is something wrong? Did you see something?” he asked, drawing closer to them and studying their faces.

They looked from him to each other and then quickly down or away into the woods, avoiding his eyes. Crithad frowned when he noticed they were all breathing heavily. “Did something frighten you?” he pressed with concern in his voice.

At that moment the hoot of one of the warriors sounded in the distance. The children looked towards the sound involuntarily, their eyes widening further as they realized that the patrol was still pursuing them.

Misunderstanding the reason for their obvious panic, Crithad sighed. “That is only one of the king’s patrols. They use a call similar to an owl’s at night to communicate and keep track of each other. It is nothing to fear,” he said soothingly.

The children remained silent and again looked down.

Crithad gathered Brethil against him with one arm and stroked the other children’s cheeks or hair sympathetically. “Perhaps your naneth was right, Brethil. Those stories were not a very good idea. I am so sorry that I frightened you with them,” he said, rubbing his son’s back softly.

Tucked in his father’s arms, Brethil exchanged a surprised and guilty look with his friends in response to the assumption his father had made. Legolas, Galithil and Berior bit their lips and stared fixedly at the ground. Brethil squirmed uncomfortably, but along with the others, he remained quiet.

Crithad’s concern grew with their continued silence. “Do you want to spend the rest of the night inside?” he asked softly.

Still without speaking, the elflings glanced into the forest towards the sound of the approaching patrol. Then they nodded and hastily stood to gather their blankets.

As they all entered the cottage, another owl call sounded, closer to Crithad’s yard.

*~*~*

Seated in her traditional place at one of the tables in the library, Eirienil studied her cousins suspiciously. That they had returned on time from their adventure at Brethil’s cottage was odd enough in her mind. Normally, their parents had to send someone to fetch them, usually drag them, to lessons after such nights. And the fact that they were completely quiet—focused resolutely on the arithmetic problems Rodonon had assigned them—made Eirienil certain that something was amiss.

“I still do not think it is fair that Brethil invited only you to camp in his yard with him last night,” she said, in an attempt to draw them into talking.

“You are an elleth,” Galithil replied disdainfully without looking up from his work. His tone implied that was the only explanation necessary.

Eirienil glared at him “I camped with you when our adars took us to the river last fall,” she countered. “And they let me try to start the fire, not any of you.”

Galithil scowled and drew a sharp breath to voice his opinion of her presence on that occasion as well.

Legolas shot him an irate look and spoke before Galithil could begin an argument. “You would not have enjoyed it anyway, Eirienil. We did not do anything that you like.”

Berior nodded in agreement as he finished the first page of his problems and pushed it aside with a flourish. He was the youngest of the four, so his work was considerably easier than that of his cousins. “That is true. We played Orthor from after dinner until sunset.”

Eirienil wrinkled her nose at that.

Galithil smirked at her. “And when it was dark, Master Crithad told us stories about the Shadow that stole elves from the forests around Cuiviénen,” he said dramatically.

Eirienil turned back to her work coolly. “We already know those stories,” she replied calmly, refusing to allow Galithil to goad her into the type of reaction she knew he wanted.

“Yes, but we have not learned about the vampire Thuringwethil yet,” he added and smiled when she glanced at him nervously.

Berior frowned. “And we still have not, because Brethil’s nana would not let his ada tell us that story,” he said firmly, meeting Galithil’s betrayed gaze evenly. He did not like to tease Eirienil. “You would have liked the moonbow though, Eirienil,” he said, turning to her with an eager smile, obviously prepared to elaborate.

When both Legolas and Galithil kicked him under the table, Berior jumped and returned their warning glares crossly.

Eirienil raised her eyebrows. “What moonbow?” she asked primly, allowing herself a brief, satisfied smile before turning an expectant gaze on Legolas and Galithil. She knew she had found the reason for their odd behavior.

Legolas looked at Galithil nervously, pressing his lips into a thin line.

Galithil looked down to hide a grimace. “We learned about moonbows too,” he replied dismissively with exaggerated boredom before turning back to his lesson. Legolas did the same, ignoring Eirienil’s openly doubtful gaze.

“What did you learn about moonbows?” she asked, looking at Berior. He was the most likely source of information, but given Legolas and Galithil’s reaction to the topic, he had returned his focus to his lesson and was counting on his fingers, pretending not to notice her.

“I think the question should be, ‘what did you learn about multiplication?” a deep voice said from behind them. Rodonon had returned from wandering amongst the shelves in the library and was carrying a large stack of scrolls. “We are working on mathematics at the moment, are we not?” he asked, placing the scrolls on his own desk rather than the table in front of the elflings.

The children looked relieved that the scrolls did not appear to be for them.

“Berior told me that they learned something about moonbows last night and now he will not say anything else about them,” Eirienil reported, stubbornly refusing to abandon the topic, much to her cousins’ obvious chagrin. “What is a moonbow, Master Rodonon?”

Rodonon sighed softly before joining his pupils at the table. “A moonbow is the same as a rainbow, but the light of the moon produces it rather than the light of the sun,” he replied, holding out his hand for the arithmetic problems. The four elflings slid their papers down the table to him.

Eirienil smiled as she did. “Rainbows are beautiful. I wish we could see them more often,” she said wistfully as Rodonon looked over their work.

He was pleasantly surprised to see a great deal more of it done than he had expected since they were talking rather than working when he returned. Given that, he decided that dedicating a moment to moonbows might not be undeserved. “They are more than just beautiful,” he replied. “It is a blessing to see a rainbow or a moonbow. Do you children know why?”

Eirienil shook her head, but to Rodonon’s increasing surprise, the ellyn looked at him with even greater interest.

“Rainbows are made by Ulmo’s rain at the bidding of Yavanna,” he explained. “She uses them to bring colors to the plants and flowers. When you glimpse a rainbow, you are seeing Yavanna performing her sacred work bringing beauty and life to Arda.”

Eirienil appeared appropriately awed by that explanation, but even more so were the ellyn.

“What about moonbows? Are they made by Yavanna and Ulmo too?” Legolas asked.

Rodonon nodded. “There are flowers in the forest that bloom only at night. Moonbows bring them their color,” he replied. Then he brightened, as if remembering something. “Most often we see moonbows and rainbows after a rain shower, but sometimes we can see can see them form in the mist of a waterfall or swiftly running river. There is often a moonbow in one of the waterfalls in the hills behind the stronghold. I will ask your adars if I may take you to see it tonight if you would like,” he offered, pleased to see his pupils so interested in any subject.

To his disappointment, Legolas frowned and shook his head. “But last night was the full moon and you can only see the moonbow in the full moon,” he replied.

Rodonon raised his eyebrows. “Who told you that, Legolas?” he asked.

Legolas chewed his lip for a moment. “One of the elflings at Brethil’s cottage told us about the moonbow in the waterfall,” Legolas admitted reluctantly. “He said it would only appear on the night of a full moon and only when the waterfall was heavy.”

Rodonon laughed lightly. “It would certainly be most brilliant under those conditions, but you could see it perfectly well tonight, the night after the full moon. The moon will still be very bright.” Rodonon’s laughter faded when Legolas, Galithil and Berior exchanged an angry look. “I am sure the child who told you it could only be seen the night of the full moon was simply mistaken,” he added softly.

Legolas and his cousins did not respond.

“Would you like to go see it tonight?” he asked, studying them closely.

“Yes, please!” Eirienil replied, leaning forward and nodding eagerly.

Rodonon was puzzled when the ellyn only nodded in a very subdued manner.

*~*~*

“It is very worrisome that the Men lost their winter grain crop to the winter’s deep freezes,” Thranduil’s steward, Hallion, said gravely while exchanging a troubled glance with Celonhael, who had just reported this information.

“Indeed,” Golwon responded. “We have nearly exhausted the supply we obtained from them last fall and now they will have none for themselves, much less a surplus to trade with us this spring.” He turned to Thranduil. “Some of the village leaders have expressed concerns to me regarding the portions of bread we are supplying as it is. I had hoped to be able to report better news to them soon.”

Celonhael looked at Golwon sympathetically. “It does not appear you will be able to do that,” he said quietly.

Thranduil listened to this exchange without comment.

“Does Lindomiel know this yet, Celonhael?” Dieneryn asked. She helped the queen manage the king’s household and knew this was information Lindomiel would need to hear.

Celonhael shook his head. “The elves we sent to Dale had just returned before this meeting. I only spoke with them briefly and this was the most important news they learned on their trip.”

Dieneryn sighed. “I will tell her this afternoon then. She will not be pleased. She was telling me only yesterday that the grain is not the only supply we are short on after the long winter.”

Thranduil turned to his mother. “Tell Lindomiel that I would like a report on the supplies remaining in our stores and whatever information she has regarding how soon we can expect to begin to gather more from the forest. The trees protect the forest floor, so we are not so affected by the frosts as the Men are on the open plains. Surely we can expect to see the return of greens and better hunting soon.” He paused to study his mother’s concerned expression a moment. “Do you think Lindomiel could join us tomorrow afternoon to make that report?”

Dieneryn nodded. “I expect she could make it now if you called her,” she responded. “But I will tell her that you want her to attend the afternoon council tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” Thranduil said, turning to Hallion to signal him to move on to the next order of business.

A knock sounded on the office door and the guard opened it.

“Lord Aradunnon and Dollion would like to speak to you, my lord,” he announced.

Thranduil nodded and the guard admitted his brother and the captain of the Palace Guard. The king looked at his brother with raised eyebrows. Aradunnon, the realm’s troop commander, hated being confined in meetings and he normally used any excuse to avoid attending the afternoon council, so Thranduil was surprised to see him appear now without a direct order to bring him. Thranduil’s curious expression turned to one of concern when he saw the openly furious look on his brother’s face.

“What has happened,” he asked, looking now at Dollion, who appeared nervous. Thranduil frowned. Aradunnon and Dollion had been very close friends since Aradunnon was a child. He could not imagine what had happened between them that had made Aradunnon angry, Dollion anxious and that merited his intervention.

“Tell the king what you told me,” Aradunnon ordered sharply.

Thranduil looked at Dollion expectantly as the captain hesitated, glancing between Thranduil and his councilors.

“I have more information about the youths that have been sneaking around the stronghold at night, my lord,” Dollion began. “My warriors got a plain look at one of the children last night.”

Thranduil glanced at Aradunnon with some confusion at his brother’s anger. “That is good news,” he responded. “The sooner we discover their identities, the sooner we can let their parents know they have been wandering at night. I am sure that will put an end to the distractions the Palace Guard has been forced to endure because of them.”

Dollion tried to hide a grimace and Thranduil’s eyebrows climbed as Aradunnon scowled. “Tell him,” he growled.

“The child my warriors saw was Legolas, my lord,” Dollion said softly, looking at the floor.

Thranduil stared silently at Dollion for a moment. Then his brows drew together and expression matched Aradunnon’s. “What?” he exclaimed, his voice rising dangerously. He stood and turned to Aradunnon, glaring at him. “Would you care to explain to me how Legolas could be getting past the guards that stand at the door to our chambers and the guards at the Gates to get into the forest at night, commander?”

Dollion shook his head and answered before Aradunnon could respond. “I spoke to every guard that has stood at either of those posts since the last snow, my lord. They all swore to me that there is no possible way Legolas could be leaving the stronghold at night.”

Aradunnon nodded. “I do not think our children are the ones that have been plaguing the patrols this spring, but they were certainly doing so last night. I spoke to the warriors that saw the children myself. They were certain the elfling they saw was Legolas and I believe them.” He paused. “They must have taken advantage of sleeping in Crithad’s cottage last night to sneak into the forest.” He glanced at Celonhael, whose eyes were wide with dismay. “And if Legolas was there, it is a safe bet that Galithil and Berior were as well.” He sighed, obviously struggling to rein in his anger. “Perhaps they can tell us who the other children are that have been roaming at night. I certainly hope Brethil is not one of them. Crithad will be horrified.”

Thranduil’s eyes narrowed. “Not as horrified as those children are going to be when I get hold of them,” he said in a low voice.

Dieneryn stood and placed a hand on her son’s arm. “Perhaps I should go find Lindomiel, Amoneth and Ollwen,” she suggested quietly.

Thranduil smiled at her wryly. “Having the children’s mothers here might prove to be very wise, naneth,” he replied. “I think I will go find my son and his cousins and bring them back here.” He glanced between Celonhael and Aradunnon. “Would you care to join me?”

Hallion winced slightly in response to the angrily enthusiastic nod Aradunnon gave his brother. He stood as well. “I am sure Amglaur could fetch them,” he said hastily, casting a meaningful look at Dieneryn, who nodded. “We should finish our work here before they arrive so you are free to deal with them, my lord.” He turned to Aradunnon. “Do you have the evening reports from the patrols? Did you hear from the captain of the western patrol about orcs near the Forest Gate?”

Aradunnon glared at his brother’s steward, but he did seat himself at the table as Dieneryn left the room with Dollion. “You may distract me momentarily, Hallion, but in the long run, it will do no good. I intend to see to it that Galithil remembers my response to this misadventure for a very long time.”

Hallion felt a pang of sympathy for his ‘nephews’ when he saw Thranduil’s grim nod of agreement.

*~*~*

Legolas and his cousins sat in a glade with Brethil painting the Orthor figures that Amglaur had made for Brethil’s begetting day. Rather than chattering as they worked, they were unusually quiet.

Brethil sighed as he placed a completed piece down on the ground to dry. Legolas looked at him uncomfortably.

"Your adar did not suspect anything about last night, did he Brethil?" he asked.

Brethil shook his head. "No, but I still feel badly about deceiving him." He glanced up at Legolas ruefully. "He has apologized for frightening us with the stories three times," he said, looking back down to study the new little archer in his hand. "It is not right to let ada continue thinking he did something wrong just to hide what we did."

Legolas put aside the figure he was painting and nodded. "In our lessons this morning, Eirienil knew something had happened. It was very difficult to avoid telling her."

"I do not understand why we did not tell her," Berior said irritably, rubbing his shin where his cousins had kicked him. "She would love the moonbow. And what is the point of seeing something pretty if we cannot talk about it with anyone?"

"Eirienil would tell Master Rodonon and our parents," Galithil answered sharply. "She cannot keep a secret."

"And neither should we if it means we must lie to do so," Legolas responded in a soft voice without looking at his cousin.

"We are not lying," Galithil said, though he did not sound entirely certain of his own words. "We told Master Rodonon and Eirienil that another elfling told us about the moonbow and that is true."

"It is part of the truth," Brethil said dejectedly.

"And ada says a half truth is a whole lie," Legolas added. "He would be angrier at us for lying to Brethil's adar than he would be that we went to see the moonbow in the first place."

Galithil bit his lip and looked down. He knew he could not deny that. And he knew that whereas his own father might be more lenient in some areas than his uncle, his expectation for honesty was not one of those areas.

"I wish we had not gone to see the moonbow," Brethil moaned, leaning back against a tree and letting the archer fall to his lap.

Berior nodded. "It is worse than you know. We sneaked away to see it for no good reason. It is not true that it is there only on the night of the full moon. Master Rodonon told us that the moonbow will be there tonight too and he is going to ask our parents if we can go see it."

Brethil looked up at Berior, surprised. "Do you think Anastor and Noruil knew that?" he asked.

Legolas scowled. "I do," he replied bitterly. "I think they wanted us to come with them so we could not awaken your adar and tell him they were in the forest. And I think they wanted to see if they could frighten us."

"If we go tonight, we are going to have to pretend that we have never seen the moonbow,” Berior said. “I do not want to do that."

"Neither do I," Legolas agreed.

Galithil's brows drew together. "Our parents are going to be very suspicious if we tell them that we do not want to go," he said, his voice rising slightly with concern.

Legolas looked at him evenly. "I think we should tell them that we have already been to see it," he said steadily. “Otherwise we going to have to tell a series of lies and we will be in even more trouble when we are eventually caught.”

Galithil's eyes widened and he appeared ready to protest. Then he deflated, shoulders slumping and eyes turning to the ground. "You are right,” he conceded quietly. “I will do it if the rest of you want to."

Legolas looked at Berior, who nodded quickly. Then he looked at Brethil. He was obviously nervous, but he nodded also. "I think we should tell my adar first," he suggested.

Legolas stood and the others followed him. They gathered up the Orthor pieces and headed towards Brethil’s cottage.

*~*~*

Adar/ada--Father/dad

Naneth/nana--Mother/mum

Daeradar/daerdad--Grandfather/granddad

Elleth/Ellyth--Female elf/elves

Ellon/Ellyn-- Male elf/elves

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Chapter name
Mischief and Moonbows--Part Two
Created
10 Oct 2005
Last Edited
10 Oct 2005
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6038