by Jay of Lasgalen
August 22, 2007
Stories > Jay's Quicklist
Elrohir flung open the door to Elladan’s room, making as much noise as possible, then kicked it shut again. He paused, but there was no response. “El, wake up!”
Crossing to the bed, he stretched out a hand to touch Elladan’s shoulder and shook him. “Elladan. Wake up.”
There was still no response. Elrohir sighed, and tried again, shaking a little harder. “Elladan, wake up!”
This time, there was a muffled groan as Elladan tried to burrow deeper into the pillows. “No. Go ’way, El – ’m asleep.”
Elrohir chuckled. “Not if you are talking to me!”
Turning his head, Elladan opened one eye, then closed it again. “What do you want?” he demanded, still half asleep. “It is the middle of the night!”
“It is not long until dawn,” Elrohir corrected him. “And it is time to get up!”
Elladan opened the other eye. “Have pity, Elrohir – after last night? I have only just gone to bed! And how is it that you are able to stand?”
Elrohir grinned. “I had far less wine than you,” he explained. “Elladan, get up.”
“Because it is midsummer, and I want to climb to the top of the waterfall and watch the sun rise!”
Elladan regarded him with a sour glare. “But it is before dawn!”
“Sunrise usually is,” Elrohir agreed with a grin. “Tis the best time to see it! Will you come with me?”
“I have seen the dawn before – many times. On patrols. On night duty. When I have stayed up with you, finishing a wine skin and solving all the problems of Arda. Why is today so special?”
“Because it is midsummer. Midsummer, El! With dancing, and feasts, and a day of rest from our duties, and …”
“And too much drinking,” Elladan groaned. “Why are you always so exuberant so early in the morning?” he complained.
“Why are you always so grouchy?” Elrohir countered. “Will you come?”
There was a muffled sigh. “I would follow you to the ends of the earth, my brother – but not at such an unreasonable hour!”
Elrohir suppressed a sigh of his own. This called for more desperate measures. He tugged at the light sheet covering the bed. Elladan swore, and made a vain grab at the sheet as it slithered to the floor.
Elrohir grinned, and turned to pick Elladan’s clothes, flinging them at his brother. “Now will you get dressed?”
Muttering all the while, Elladan dressed. Elrohir ignored his half-hearted complaints – Elladan always made a token protest, but he would usually agree in the end. Besides, the sunrise would be worth it.
“You will owe me for this, little brother!” Elladan pointed out, as his usual good humour returned. “I shall expect something in return.”
Elrohir grinned. “I will wager my belt knife that you will agree it was worth the early start,” he promised.
“If I do not agree, I win your knife? It is a deal!” Then Elladan looked suspicious. “What do you stand to gain?”
“The pleasure of hearing you admit that you were wrong!” Elrohir led the way through the open windows and onto the balcony, and from there down into the gardens. The air was soft and sweet; cool in this early hour before the heat of the day. The ground was wet with dew, and their feet left soft imprints in their wake.
Elrohir glanced at the sky. The stars still shone, but they were fading. Dawn was not far off. Eärendil sailed low on the horizon, and he raised a hand in automatic greeting, realising as he did so that there was little time left.
“It will soon be dawn – hurry!” he urged. Seizing Elladan by the wrist, he pulled him along the narrow, overgrown path that led to the waterfall. Vetch and meadowsweet rambled through the bushes, vibrant with life after the summer rains. Brambles laden with white blossom trailed across the track – there would be a good crop of blackberries later this year.
The final part of their route was a step scramble up tumbled rocks at the side of the falls, wet and slick with spray. The rock at the top was wide and level, worn smooth over time by the wash of the winter floods. Water lapped at the edge, and on the far side there was a sheer drop down into the misty spume. They were high above the valley here, with a clear view of the bridge, the meandering river, and the house itself. Far, far below, smoke drifted up into the still air from the kitchen chimneys.
Elrohir spread a blanket on the chill, damp rock, and Elladan dropped onto it with a yawn. “Now,” Elrohir said, pointing eastward to the mountains. “Wait, and watch.”
Slowly, the sky beyond the mountains lightened as the stars faded into the memory of night. Pale fingers of pearl stretched over the peaks, and shafts of turquoise and shell pink filtered down the passes. The light grew, and suddenly a wash of gold spilled down the mountain slopes, flooding the valley with brilliance. The sun rose beyond the distant peaks, chasing away the shadows that lingered beneath the trees.
As the radiance faded into the warm glow of another summer’s day, Elrohir looked at his twin. “Well?” he demanded. “Was it worth it?”
Elladan hesitated, reluctant to forego the prize of Elrohir’s knife. In the end, honesty won. “Very well, little brother. You were right,” he agreed. “It was worth getting up so early. Are you satisfied?”
Elrohir rubbed his ear. “I did not hear you, El. Say it again.”
“Do not push your luck, little brother!” Elladan growled. “There is a very long drop behind you.” He lay back on the rug, an arm across his eyes against the glare of the sun.
Elrohir lay on his stomach, gazing over the edge of the falls at the valley, bathed in pale golden light, long shadows stretching across the lawns and gardens. The day lay ahead, empty and full of possibilities. He turned his head. “El? What do you want to do today?”
The only answer was a gentle snore.