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Interrupted Journeys: Part Four--Journeys of Discovery

Chapter 11: Affectations--Part Two

by ellisk

Chapter 11: Affectations--Part Two

Aewen sat in the grass in the barnyard, stroking the puppy settled in her lap and looking over the stone fence Galithil and Maidhien had leapt over only moments before. She was watching the warriors of the Palace Guard returning from their duties for the afternoon in hopes of catching a glimpse of their captain, her father. It had been the arrival of those warriors that alerted Galithil that it was time for him to go to the training field.

As Aewen looked at the warriors on the green, her gaze fell upon two elflings approaching the barnyard. "Here comes trouble," she warned.

Holding off the jumping puppies, who did not see any reason to stop playing, the other children followed her gaze to see Anastor and Noruil storming towards them. Eirienil loosed a long sigh as Brethil began to grumble 'I told you so's.' All the children stood and faced the approaching elflings, puppies now clamoring around their legs.

"Where is my sister?" Anastor demanded as soon as he passed through the barnyard gate. "I heard she followed you lot off the green this afternoon."

"She did, but she is not with us now," Legolas said, not reacting to Anastor’s threatening tone.

"Where did she go?" Anastor pressed, coming to a halt right in front of Legolas and his cousins in the middle of the barnyard. The puppies began to jump on the new arrivals, expecting them to join the game, but Anastor and Noruil shoved them aside.

“I do not know for certain,” Legolas replied with a shrug.

“Well I am not leaving until someone tells me where she went. I do not approve of my sister being in the company of the likes of you lot.”

Legolas scowled at him, but before he could answer, Eirienil spoke. "This is precisely why I think doing anything with Maidhien is a bad idea," she muttered, intentionally speaking loud enough for everyone to hear her. 'These two are idiots."

Noruil and Anastor's expressions hardened even further and Noruil took a threatening step towards Eirienil.

Legolas stepped between them. "Maidhien played with us for a while, but she left with Galithil when he had to go to the training fields. I have no idea if she intended to go home or with him when he reported to lieutenant Glílavan. So if you want to find her, you should start with the training fields or your cottage. That is the only suggestion I can give you. Now leave us alone," he said firmly

Anastor and Noruil both adopted scornful scowls. "Before he 'reported' to Glílavan," Noruil quoted with a mocking tone. "What business could Galithil possibly have on the training field?" he asked, folding his arms across his chest and planting his feet firmly at shoulders width. He and Anastor did not move.

"That is not your concern," Legolas replied, turning away from Anastor and Noruil with the intention of walking away. He gestured for his cousins to follow him.

Anastor blocked his path, this time physically bumping against Legolas and shoving him back. "It is my concern if my sister is with him," he said in a low tone. "Now answer the question—why would Galithil have to go to the training field?" he repeated. Then his brow furrowed. "Wait. You said he had to go. Why did he have to go? Is he being punished?" Glee at the idea made Anastor's voice rise in pitch slightly.

Noruil also looked at Legolas with bright, wide eyes. "Or did your parents finally decide to teach you lot something about weapons so that you might be useful one day? Why does only Galithil have to go? Do your parents realize there is no hope for the rest of you?"

Eirienil and Aewen rolled their eyes and loosed an exasperated huff in response to that question.

"It is your parents that should be having doubts about their children, Anastor," Eirienil said with an angry tone. "I seem to recall it was you that shot at a boar but was unable to kill it. It was you that practically ran over your own sister to flee the attack you provoked. And it was you who sat in the tree with the ellyth while Galithil, Legolas and Berior fought the boar and saved your sister from injury. Your parents must be very ashamed of your cowardice."

That taunt caused Anastor and Noruil's faces to twist with rage. With an angry growl, Anastor shoved Eirienil hard.

Eirienil stared at Anastor, surprised by that treatment. No matter how badly she provoked her cousins, none of the ellyn had ever shoved her. As soon as the shock wore off, her eyes narrowed and her hands balled into fists. Legolas, Brethil and Berior moved to intervene, but before they could, an adult-sized hand grasped Anastor and Noruil by their collars and pulled them back.

"Have you lost your minds? Shoving an elleth?" a dismayed, angry voice cried.

All the children looked up to see Tulus standing over them, horse tack flung over his shoulder, his expression demanding an explanation. He did not release Anastor and Noruil, but instead pulled them to his side, glaring at them.

Their faces contorted in anger and they tried to twist free of his grasp. When they failed, Anastor stopped struggling and pulled himself up to his full height. "Leave it to a coward to come to the aid of other cowards. You must stick together, after all," he said, glaring at Tulus.

"You mind your tongue," Tulus growled, giving Anastor a slight shake. "If you need a lesson in how to speak respectfully to adults, I will be happy to provide it."

Legolas and his cousins looked at Tulus with wide eyes. They knew him well as a stable hand who was always willing to play with them, show them surprises or give them little treats. The elf that stood before them now was someone completely different.

Anastor pulled hard against Tulus's grip. "When I tell my adar that you threatened me Tulus..." he began, but Tulus interrupted him.

"You go tell your adar. We can go together and speak to him now, if you like. I am certain he will be pleased to find that you were fighting with Legolas and his cousins when he specifically told you to stay away from the king's son and nephews." When Anastor and Noruil looked at Tulus uncomfortably, he leaned over to look Anastor in the eye. "You mind your tongues. Understand?"

They looked at Tulus resentfully but nodded silently.

Tulus released them. "Get home. And pray I do not visit your parents tonight."

Casting a cold parting glare at Legolas and his cousins, Anastor and Noruil fled into the forest.

Tulus knelt on the ground next to Eirienil. "He did not hurt you with that shove, did he?" he asked with his normally gentle tone. All the elflings blinked at the transformation.

When Eirienil recovered herself, she frowned and shook her head. "I could fight him. He is a coward and I told him so," she replied stoutly.

"Perhaps," Tulus responded quietly, "but I doubt lord Golwon would approve if he heard his daughter was brawling on the green. And I wonder if lord Thranduil would be pleased to see members of his family fighting with the citizens of his realm."

Eirienil bit her lip. "Are you going to tell my adar?" she asked.

Tulus smiled at her. "Of course not. I do not meddle in the affairs of lord Thranduil's household." Then he looked at them seriously. "But if I might venture a piece of advice, I think perhaps you should stay on the green. You might avoid trouble that way. I doubt very much that Anastor and Noruil went home as I suggested."

"But I am going home," Aewen declared. She looked at Legolas. "Where my adar is certain to question me about this." She looked over her shoulder at the Gate Guards. They were looking straight at the children and Tulus. "There is no possibility that my adar is not going to hear about this, Legolas, even if Tulus does not tell anyone. The guards will mention what they saw in their evening report, so my adar will know about it. And so will yours. I told you we should not play with Maidhien."

Legolas grimaced and drew a long breath before he replied. Aewen's know-it-all attitude was worse than Eirienil's. And Aewen was not his family, so he found it much harder to endure from her. "The guards to do not report what they see children doing. And this was not Maidhien's fault, Aewen. She is not even here," he replied through clenched teeth.

"Her brother is trouble, just as I said he would be," she retorted before turning on her heel and marching off towards her cottage.

Legolas stared after her, jaw set angrily.

"I had better go too," Brethil said quietly. "I want to tell ada what happened before he hears about it. He will not be nearly as upset that way."

Legolas scowled. "We did not do anything wrong," he insisted, speaking to emphasize each word and looking at Brethil with exasperation.

"But we nearly got in a fight, Legolas. Ada will not like that. I have to go. See you tomorrow after lessons," he said quickly before running off.

Legolas loosed a frustrated sigh. "Those two cause more trouble than anyone else in the forest," he said, looking in the direction where Anastor and Noruil had disappeared into the tree line. "They are worse than orcs."

Berior giggled at that comment, causing Legolas to grin as well.

Tulus stood. "You are more correct than you know," he said dryly, patting Legolas on the shoulder before moving off towards the barn.

Legolas, Berior and Eirienil looked after him as he walked away.

"What do you suppose that meant," Legolas asked in a soft voice. “He sounded really serious.”

Berior shrugged. "You could probably get him to tell you. Tulus loves to tell tales," he said mildly.

Eirienil nodded. All the children knew that. "But who would want to discuss Anastor and Noruil?" she asked disdainfully. "Come on, Legolas. We should go back to the library and do the essay Master Rodonon assigned us. If we finish it, maybe our parents will let us come out on the green to watch the dancing for a while tonight. At the very least, maybe our diligence will distract them if they do hear we nearly got into a fight."

Legolas shook his head, still looking at Tulus. "I am going to finish the training exercises with the puppies and then I am going to go meet Galithil on the training field to make sure he does not run into Anastor and Noruil and start a fight himself." He looked back at Eirienil, who was regarding him skeptically. "His wound," he said, touching his side. "Galithil would not back down from a fight if they pick one and if he gets into one, he will make that injury worse. I am only going to make sure he comes home without getting in trouble."

Eirienil nodded. "Make sure you do as well," she said.

*~*~*

Galithil finished wiping the last of the practice swords and begin placing them in the racks where they were stored. He still wore the happy smile that had blossomed across his face when Glílavan assigned him this duty. Maidhien leaned against the doors of the shack that housed the equipment, watching him.

"I thought you were being punished, Galithil," she said quietly so as to not draw Glílavan's attention.

Galithil nodded. "I am," he responded, making a slight stab at the air with the sword in his hand before he set it in the rack.

"You do not look very contrite," she observed.

Galithil paused and looked at her, still smiling. "Why would I be? As punishments go, this is the best I ever had. I hope adar forgets he has given me this punishment so I can keep doing it."

Maidhien frowned. "Why?"

"I like helping the warriors," he said, a hint of pride creeping into his voice. "I can hardly wait until I am old enough to train with them. Until then, I am happy to help however adar lets me,"

Maidhien's brow furrowed more deeply. "So you want to train? Ada and my brother say that your family does not like to fight."

Galithil stopped racking the swords and turned to her. "Of course we do not like to have to fight," he said. "But my brother and father are both warriors, Maidhien. So are all my uncles, for that matter, including uncle Thranduil. They have all fought in many battles." He turned back to the swords, picking one up and clearly enjoying hefting its weight. "And so will I."

Maidhien was silent for a moment. "Then why do you not have a bow or a knife," she asked.

Galithil looked at her incredulously. "Surely the answer to that is obvious," he replied. "We are not old enough to have bows yet. Neither are your brother or cousin. They proved that when they shot at that boar. That was stupid, Maidhien, and I dare you to deny it."

Maidhien nodded in response. "I cannot deny it," she said softly. "But I do not think I am too young. I have not caused any trouble with my bow. I did not shoot at the boar. I have only shot at the targets on the range."

"Only the warriors are allowed to use the targets, Maidhien," he whispered, glancing at Glílavan. Then he frowned. "And if you ruin those targets, I am going to have to fix them."

Maidhien turned towards the targets lined up on the practice field. "Glílavan lets me practice with them," she said.

Galithil frowned. "He would not do that. He is supposed enforce the rules, not break them."

Maidhien put her hands on her hips and looked at him defiantly. "I am not lying, Galithil," she said, her voice raised.

Galithil put the sword he was holding in the rack and faced her. "I did not mean to imply that you were lying, Maidhien," he said apologetically. "Only that maybe he does not know you are using the targets," he suggested with a conciliatory tone.

"Yes, he does," she said stubbornly. Then she turned to where Glílavan sat on a bench outside the shack. "May I shoot at the targets, Glílavan?" she shouted.

Glílavan nodded and waved his hand towards the archery range without looking up from the report he was reading. "Use the last target," he said. "It was to be repaired after training tomorrow anyway."

Maidhien looked at Galithil triumphantly before trotting over to the archery range. Galithil watched her, his mouth hanging open slightly, as she took up a position half way down the range, strung her bow, nocked an arrow and sent it flying.

"Very good," Glílavan's voice floated down the range in response to the sound of the arrow sinking into the target.

Galithil snorted. The arrow had struck the edge of the target and he did not think such a shot warranted praise. The noise drew Glílavan's attention. Galithil looked down and turned back to his work, not wanting to get in more trouble.

"You may join her when you have finished putting those swords away," Glílavan offered after watching him a moment.

Galithil blinked and tried not to appear too surprised when Glílavan smiled at him. Then he hurriedly finished putting the swords in the rack.

"I cannot believe he lets you use the warrior's practice range," Galithil whispered to Maidhien as he came up next to her. He looked uncomfortably from side to side. Standing in the middle of the range was something he had always been taught was incredibly unsafe. Even though they were alone and there was no possibility they could be shot, he could not shake the feeling that being there was dangerous.

Maidhien shrugged. "I told you I was not lying," she said mildly. Then she held out her bow to Galithil. "Would you like a turn?"

Galithil's eyes widened and he looked at the bow longingly. "Ada and uncle Thranduil made my cousins and I promise that we would not play with your bows. Or even be around you when you were using them. I am not allowed," he said with obvious regret.

Maidhien did not withdraw the bow. "I will not tell on you," she said.

Galithil blinked at her and then looked again at the bow. "I cannot," he said softly. "I promised."

Maidhien let her arm drop so that the bow hung to her side. "What did you promise, exactly? Maybe we can think of a way around the promise." When he stared at her, she grinned at him. "It is obvious you really want to shoot it, Galithil. And it is not as if you are going to get hurt doing so on the archery range, is it? And that is why your adar told you not to play with our bows—he was afraid you would get hurt? As long as you do not get hurt, what is the harm?"

"I promised I would not. That is the harm," he replied.

Maidhien stared at him a moment and then shrugged her shoulders. "Have it your way," she said before nocking another arrow and sending it into the target next to its mate.

Galithil gazed at the arrows. "Of course, I promised I would not shoot Anastor or Noruil's bows. Your name was not mentioned, if I remember correctly," he commented softly, without looking at her.

She smiled and offered him the bow again. "There. You did not promise not to shoot mine."

Galithil frowned and looked at the bow. He reached towards it hesitantly before looking over his shoulder. Glílavan, he realized, was a powerful argument for not touching the bow. Galithil's eyes widened and he drew a sharp breath when he saw the lieutenant approaching them.

"Perhaps you should not, Galithil," he called, ignoring Galithil's reaction to his presence. "I understand you have a nasty wound on your side. You might tear your stitches drawing the bow."

Galithil hastily tucked his hands to his sides. "I was not going to take it," he said guiltily.

"That shows good sense," Glílavan replied. He had reached their sides and knelt on the ground next to them. "Let me see it, Maidhien. I think I can judge a bit better than either of you if the draw is enough to make Galithil's injury worse," he said, taking the bow and drawing it partially. After a moment, he nodded and thrust the bow into Galithil's hands. Galithil automatically took it and looked questioningly at the lieutenant. "It is a very weak draw," Glílavan explained in response to Galithil's expression. "So I do not think you will hurt yourself. Just draw slowly and pay attention to how your side feels. If it hurts, stop."

"But if Dolgailon or my adar finds out, they will be angry," Galithil said, trying to hand the bow back to Maidhien.

Glílavan grinned at him conspiratorially. "And if they find out that I let children use the archery range, they will be angry with me. But I see no harm in it." He reached out and ruffled Galithil's hair. "You will be in the training classes soon enough. The better you are with a bow when you start them, the easier my job is." He paused, regarding Galithil seriously. "I will not tell Dolgailon or lord Aradunnon. It will be our secret—to make your punishment a little more palatable, assuming you do a good job as you did today. Think of it as a reward for good work."

Galithil looked at him a long moment before looking down. "But I do not know how to use it," he admitted softly.

Glílavan's smile returned. "No matter. I can teach you," he said, taking the hand Galithil used to hold the bow and beginning to reposition his grip. Galithil grinned at him.

*~*~*

adar/ada--father/dad

naneth/nana--mother/mum

ellon/ellyn--male elf/elves

elleth/ellyth--female elf/elves

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Affectations--Part Two
Created
24 Mar 2007
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24 Mar 2007
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