With Friends Like These

Chapter Thirteen: Mornenitis

by Jay of Lasgalen

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Legolas stopped dead just inside the door, staring at Elrohir in disbelief.  “Elrohir?”  he said uncertainly.  “You know me!  You must remember!”

Elladan swallowed hard, trying desperately not to laugh.  But the innocently bland expression Elrohir turned on Legolas was almost too much.   He knew, beyond doubt, that his brother was perfectly well aware of who his visitor was - though he could not have explained how he knew.   However, it was clear that their father had not caught on yet.

Elrond was looking at Elrohir in concern, wondering what had happened.  Surely he must know who Legolas was?  He had been talking about him only minutes before. But Calmacil had warned that the effects could be erratic.  Elrond had simply not realised just how erratic that could be.

Elrohir was still regarding Legolas blankly.  He was enjoying himself immensely.  He frowned, as if trying to recall who this was.

“Brethil?” he said at last, sounding very unsure.  “Are you Brethil?”

“No, I’m not!” exclaimed Legolas indignantly.  “Are you out of your mind?”  Immediately, he bit back the words guiltily.  Maybe Elrohir was out of his mind?  He certainly seemed to have been far more badly affected than Legolas had feared.  “I’m Legolas,” he added, more gently.  “Don’t you remember?”

Elladan dropped his knife onto the floor, and ducked down behind the table  to retrieve it, unable to contain his laughter any longer.  He had never suspected his brother was such a fine actor.  He spent a long time searching for the knife, his shoulders shaking as he giggled helplessly.

He took a deep breath and finally straightened.  Legolas was still speaking to Elrohir soothingly, reminding him of some of the things they had done. His concern was very touching.

“You remember Legolas, brother,” Elladan said calmly.  “He calls us Ellahir.  He can’t tell the difference between us.”

Now Elrohir turned his bemused gaze on his twin.  “But why not?  Your arm ...”

“That happened later.  It’s something else you don’t remember yet.” Elladan spoke reassuringly.

Legolas watched the conversation with a growing concern for Elrohir’s state of mind.  Finally he turned to Elrond.  “Shall I send for Calmacil, Lord Elrond?”

Elrond nodded distractedly.  “Yes.  Thank you.  I think you should.”  He sounded flustered.  As Legolas shut the door, Elrohir and Elladan could contain themselves no longer, and fell across the bed, laughing helplessly. 

Elrond sighed wearily.  He should have realised, especially as Elrohir had mentioned Legolas only moments before.  Elladan, with that odd telepathy the twins shared, had known precisely what Elrohir was doing.  It was just another twincident. 

With their uncanny ability to read each other’s minds, Elrond  had found himself their unwitting victim on several occasions.  There had been many such twincidents over the years at Imladris - enough that he should have recognised the signs immediately.  He glared at his sons.  “That was rather unfair.  Poor Legolas was most concerned, Elrohir.  I think you both owe him an apology.  And Calmacil too, as he will have been dragged down here unnecessarily.”

“We’re sorry, father,” they said simultaneously.  That was another bad sign, Elrond reflected.

“It was just his face -” Elrohir began.

“When El said ‘Who are you?’ ”  Elladan finished.

They both had broad grins, recalling Legolas’ dumbfounded expression.  Then, exchanging yet another look, both said “Are you Brethil?” and began to laugh again.

Reluctantly, Elrond found himself smiling, then laughing with the twins.  Their mirth was infectious.  And it was a relief to see Elrohir in such high spirits.


As the door closed behind him, Legolas leaned against the wall, deep in thought.  Part of him wondered if Elrohir’s confusion was genuine, or if it was some sort of twin conspiracy.  But then he dismissed the thought as unworthy, telling himself that he had a suspicious mind. Just because he would have done something similar himself, it did not mean that Elrohir had.  And his friend’s expression of utter bewilderment could surely not have been feigned?

Elladan, too, had been behaving very oddly.  After dropping his knife, he had been very red in the face, and his eyes were suspiciously bright.  Legolas wondered if he had been crying, and trying to hide it. He must be extremely worried about his brother, after all. 

The sooner Legolas found Calmacil, the better, he decided. 

He found the healer in the infirmary, checking stocks with Tirana, a newly qualified healer, who had just completed her training.  “Calmacil?  Lord Elrond asked me to find you.  It’s Elrohir.  There’s something wrong.  He - he didn’t recognise me.”  Legolas explained hesitantly.

“Then I shall go and see him.  I warned Elrond that this could happen.  You need not worry, this is quite normal.  Elrohir will remember soon.”  He spoke to reassure Legolas, who seemed rather worried.  It was easy to forget that the family or friends of one who fell in the river could be upset by the memory loss too. 

“I know that.  But Calmacil,  he stopped breathing.  It seemed so long.  I wondered if - if that was what was wrong.”  Legolas knew he would never forget the horror of those endless minutes when he thought Elrohir was dead, or dying.  “I know it could have affected him.”

“How do you know so much about this, little one?  I spoke to Alfiel and Taniquel.  They were both certain it was no more that two minutes - though it must have seemed far longer to you, and especially for Elladan.  But it was not long enough to cause any harm.  Elrohir will remember, in time.  But why did you think that was what was wrong?”

Legolas hesitated.  This was something he had only ever told his father before.  But who better than Calmacil?    “Well - I thought if I’m not good enough to be a warrior when I’m older, I want to train as a healer, like you, and Lord Elrond.  Like my mother.”

Calmacil was initially surprised, but then, after a moment’s reflection, decided this was not altogether unexpected.  Legolas had a great deal of compassion and concern for others, like Telparian, who had reluctantly decided to abandon her training when she married Thranduil.  What was perhaps more surprising was Legolas’ fear that he would not be a warrior.  Young as he was, he was undoubtedly the best of his generation.  Having Thranduil’s best archers and swordsmen teaching him helped, but there was an innate ability that was most unusual. 

He smiled down at the young prince. “I think you would make a very fine healer.  But somehow I think you will be an even better warrior - perhaps even Army Commander one day?”

“Army Commander?  Like Orionë is?”  Legolas was incredulous.  “I’ll never be that good!”

“No?  Who won the Spring contest this year?”

“Well, yes, I know, but that was just a game.”  Legolas was dismissive of his achievement.  “But Army Commander?  Don’t be silly!  But please, Calmacil, will you go and see Elrohir?  What’s wrong with him?”

When he reached the twin’s room, Calmacil was very much on the alert.  He not only had a great deal of experience with the effects of the Morn Nen, he had also seen all the different and varied reactions to the loss of memory.  Some were distraught and upset, while many others realised the huge potential for mischief they were offered - by ‘forgetting’ lessons, promises made, inconvenient arrangements, and friends.

As he entered the room, Calmacil watched Elrohir carefully, and did not miss the flicker of guilt in his eyes.  It was mirrored by Elladan.  So, he had known Legolas, as suspected.

Calmacil was a little surprised that Legolas had been taken in by the twins, as surely he knew only too well what they were like.  Calmacil also knew with certainty that it was exactly what Legolas himself would have done if the roles had been reversed.

“Lord Calmacil, it is good of you to come.  But I think I should tell you ...”  Elrond began.

Calmacil gave a minute shake of his head and winked, gesturing for  Elrond to take Elladan out.  Alone in the room with Elrohir, the healer turned to look at him with an expression of concern.  “Legolas tells me that you did not recognise him.  Usually the effects of the river only affect memories for a few days previously, but I know you met Legolas before that.  So I think I must look for other reasons.”

Elrohir began to look even more guilty.  “Well, really, I ...”

Calmacil would not let him finish.  “Hush, young one.  Let me think.  When you awoke, did you know where you were?  Did you know your father?  Your brother?”

Elrohir nodded to each question, and tried again to explain.  “But you see, I didn’t really ...”

“I said no talking.  Do you have a headache?”

“A bit.”  Elrohir admitted.  “But I ...”

“Sit down.  Let me have a look at you.”  Calmacil knelt before Elrohir.  “Now, follow the movement of my finger.”  He moved his long forefinger from left to right, watching as Elrohir’s eyes tracked it.  “Hmmm.  I see.  Very well, now this.”

Starting at arm’s length, Calmacil slowly moved his finger towards Elrohir until it touched his nose,  Elrohir going completely cross-eyed as he watched.  “Oh.  So that means … oh dear,” Calmacil muttered to himself.

As the examination progressed, Calmacil’s expression of concern deepened, until he looked very grave indeed.  By now Elrohir was very worried.  Calmacil was obviously extremely troubled by what he was seeing, and at times sighed and shook his head.   He was not as good a healer as his father was, Elrohir decided.  Elrond always kept a neutral expression, reassuring a patient all the time, no matter how worried he was really.  He would never have murmured ‘Oh dear’ as Calmacil had done several times.

Every time Elrohir tried to explain that he had not really forgotten Legolas at all, Calmacil hushed him.

At last Calmacil sat down on the bed opposite.  “Elrohir.  I know what it is that affects you.”  He paused, searching for words.  “Do you want me to get your father?  Perhaps I should talk to him first?  I think it would be better.”

Elrohir, his mouth dry, shook his head, and swallowed.  “No,”  he whispered. “Just tell me what’s wrong.”  Despite the denial, he wished desperately that his father or Elladan was with him.

“We call it Mornenitis,” Calmacil began.

“Mornenitis?  What does that mean?”

“It means -”  and Calmacil began to smile - “It means elflings who try to fool their friends, and worry them by ‘forgetting’ who they are, get what they deserve.”

“You - you mean ...”  Elrohir’s face flooded with relief.  “Calmacil, that wasn’t fair!”

“It was as fair as worrying Legolas and your father with that trick was,”  Calmacil replied.

Elrohir looked up at him.  “How did you know?”

“I have seen many elflings who have fallen in.  Nearly all of them have done the same thing!”  *And not all of them were elflings*  Calmacil reflected.

“Will you tell Legolas?”

Calmacil smiled. “I rather think that depends on you.  But he is no fool, and will probably work it out for himself.”

Elrohir hung his head. “Calmacil, I’m sorry.  It wasn’t fair to Legolas, and I shouldn’t have wasted your time.”

Calmacil smiled again.  “It was not wasted time, I escaped a very uninteresting stock take of my medicines. By now, someone else will have done it for me!  Now, I think it must be nearly lunch time.  I expect you are hungry again?”

“Well ... yes.”

“Then shall we go?”


By the end of the next day, Elrohir had recovered nearly all his memories of Lasgalen, including the excursion with Legolas and Huan, the subsequent feast; and the terrifying spider hunt at with Elladan.  They had both been so scared, Elrohir wondered how he could possibly have forgotten that walk.   He had also recalled the letters which had arrived from Imladris  - and his letter from Athela - Elladan’s teasing, and the awful moment when Elladan had fallen.  He had already remembered odd snippets of that, when he was speaking to Thranduil, and although there were still some odd gaps in events, he was confident that he had remembered most of what had happened, and what he had lost.

At supper that day he sat near Legolas again.  They had not seen much of each other that day, as Legolas had been out with his father.  As usual, Legolas wanted to know what else Elrohir had remembered since the morning.  “Do you remember when we went back to the stables with Huan?  And the food we took from the kitchens?  And that horrible, smelly cheese?”

Elrohir nodded. “Yes, and when we went past my father’s room he opened the door, and your father was there too, but they didn’t guess!”

“Do you remember when we had to stay in all morning because they found a spider, and we went exploring?”

“Yes, and we found a tapestry, and it had Glorfindel on it!  Legolas, you have to come to Imladris one day, and you can meet Glorfindel, and my sister, and my mother!”

Legolas nodded enthusiastically.  “That would be wonderful!  I’ve never been outside Greenwood, only to Laketown.  Do you remember that afternoon when  we went to the bathing pool, you and Elladan and Brethil and me, and Brethil fell in?”

Elrohir hesitated, looking at Legolas a little uncertainly.  “I’m - I’m not sure.  When was that?” 

“Four days ago! Do you remember?”

“We - went swimming?”

“That’s right!  You do remember!”  Legolas was enthusiastic, but Elrohir was less so.  He could recall absolutely nothing about a bathing pool, or swimming, or Brethil falling in anywhere.  It was rather a blow.  He had thought his memory had very nearly returned in full, but here was a whole afternoon that was still missing.

There was clearly still a long way to go before he was fully recovered.

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