With Friends Like These

Chapter Six: Lessons Learnt?

by Jay of Lasgalen

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As he left Thranduil’s library, Elrond closed the door behind him.  He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  The trick Legolas had played on the twins, especially the spider he had made, was masterly, worthy of Elladan and Elrohir at their very worst.  But when he thought of the three foolish elflings running around, with a real spider on the loose, his blood ran cold.  He had suspected the twins were up to something that evening, but had never dreamed it was something like this excursion in the dark.

He was a little surprised at the close friendship that was developing between the three.  Elladan and Elrohir did not lack for companionship in Imladris, but had always been content with each other’s company most of the time.  Having found a kindred spirit, their capacity for mischief was finding a new lease of life.  Thranduil would find Greenwood a quieter place when their visit ended.

He would not tell his sons the whole story.  Let them think they had indeed seen the spider.  They would be hell-bent on revenge otherwise, and he rather felt that Legolas had learnt his lesson – in this, at least.  He had certainly had a bad fright.

Elrond reached the twins’ room, and quietly opened the door.  They were sitting together on one of the beds, engaged in an earnest, whispered conversation.  They looked up guiltily at his appearance, and sprang apart.

“Father!  We – we were just going to bed.” Elrohir had clearly said the first thing that came into his mind, judging by the look Elladan gave him.

“Really?  It seems a little early, I would have thought.  You must be tired.”

“Yes!  It’s been a long day.”  They both gave huge, false yawns.

“Well, I will not keep you up.  But I came to warn you.  I was with Thranduil just now.  Apparently a spider has been seen, very close to Lasgalen.  They are usually kept clear from the immediate area.  He said he will be sending out a hunting party tomorrow.  But I want you both to stay inside until it has been found.  Do you understand?”

He gave them both a very stern look, noticing that both twins had gone very pale.  Very meekly, they both nodded.

“Yes.  We’ll stay here,” promised Elrohir.

“Do you think they’ll find it?” Elladan added.

“Yes.  I am quite sure they will. And look for any others that may be there as well.  So there is no need to worry.”

After saying goodnight, he left them.  The intense whispering started before he had even closed the door.

“Did you hear what he said?  It’s true!  I was beginning to think you were right, that it was something Legolas did.  But if Thranduil said it …”  Elladan paused, thinking hard.

Elrohir was silent.  He had almost convinced himself, and his brother, that it was some sort of trick, something Legolas had done – somehow.  It seemed he’d been wrong.  They really had seen a real, live, Greenwood spider.

“El?  It’ll be something to tell Arwen when we get home!”


When Elladan and Elrohir went for breakfast the next morning, the halls were a hive of activity.  Warriors bustled here and there, before moving off to the armoury.  Thranduil himself was giving orders to the captains, telling them where to search.  After eating as quickly as they could, the twins found an out-of the-way corner, and watched with great excitement.  This was the hunt for ‘their’ spider. They were half wishing they could take part, half glad that they would not have to go anywhere near it again.

In another corner of the hall, Legolas had found Brethil and Tirnan.  Talking even faster that Brethil could, he told them about the trick he had played on Elladan and Elrohir, and its aftermath, or at least a version of it.

“You made a spider?”  Tirnan was intrigued.  “Where is it?  We could scare lots of people with it!”

“I lost it,” sighed Legolas.  “In the forest somewhere.  I left it behind when I saw the real one.”

“But Legolas,” began Brethil.  “If you left it behind, and they’re going out on a hunt, they’ll find it.  Then everyone will know it was a trick.”

Legolas was thunderstruck.  That hadn’t occurred to him at all.  “Oh no,” he moaned.  “I’ve got to find it, try to get it back.”

Tirnan and Brethil both jumped on him in unison.  “Don’t you dare,” hissed Tirnan.  “You know we’re not allowed out until they catch it.”

“You promised your father, remember?”  added Brethil.

Legolas sighed again.  “I know I did.  But … oh, well, I just hope no one realises what it is.”

Tirnan doubted that. The way Legolas had described it, it was a masterpiece of spider-building, indistinguishable from the real thing.

“Let’s hope they think it’s real,” he said, in an attempt to comfort his friend.

Brethil joined in.  “Come on, Legolas, tell us again about how you fought the spider,”  he urged.

“Well, you remember I told you about the wolf last week,” he started, cheering up. 

Tirnan and Brethil nodded.  They had heard about the wolf, both from Legolas, and also from Elladan and Elrohir. 

“Well, after that, I made sure I always had my knife.”  He touched the hilt of the knife in emphasis.  “So, when I looked up and saw the spider, I thought ‘I may not have my bow and arrows, but I can still stop you!’  It was huge, the biggest spider I’ve ever seen!”

“You’ve never seen a spider before,” interjected Tirnan.

Legolas ignored him.  “So I pulled out my knife,” -  he demonstrated the move -  “and held it up, so the thing could see I had a sting too!”

“What happened then?” asked Brethil.

“Well, I pointed my knife at it,” – he pointed it at them both – “then moved forward, and it backed away from me!  Then I stabbed at it, and tried to kill it, but it was very fast, and it ran away.  It was frightened of me!”  he finished in triumph.  While speaking, he had been showing Brethil and Tirnan all the moves he’d imagined himself making, while in the safety of his bed the night before. 

It was how he wished the fight had gone.  Falling out of a tree was so – humiliating.

Tirnan and Brethil were both properly impressed.  “So it was you that raised the alarm about the spider?” asked Tirnan.

“Yes!  I knew I had to tell my father about it, because it was dangerous.  It’s my duty to protect the realm,” he added, self-importantly.

“Wasn’t your father cross?  I remember him saying that the next time you went out at night, there’d be trouble.”  Brethil reminded him.

“Well, he said he should be cross, but because I’d been so brave, he’d forgive me.  This time.  He said I’d had enough of a fight tonight.”


Elrond came in through the main doors, and took advantage of the mass of people to keep out of sight.  He could see Elladan and Elrohir on the far side of the hall, watching proceedings avidly, and used their distraction to slip down a side passage.  He did not want them to see what he carried.  Glancing over his shoulder to make sure he was not observed, he did not look where he was going, and walked into Lanatus.  The steward took a step backwards, and gave him a look full of disapproval.  It deepened as he saw the bedraggled bundle the elf lord held.

“Lord Elrond?”

“Lanatus!  My apologies.  I should take more care.  I should look where I am going.”  Apologising the whole time, Elrond edged around Lanatus and continued down the hallway without stopping.  He felt a fleeting sympathy for Thranduil, who must find life very difficult with Lanatus at times.  He needed someone like Erestor, who would be unfailingly supportive.  Life would be so much simpler …

Lanatus gazed after Elrond as he made his way down the passageway and rounded a corner.  Then he shook his head.  He would never understand the Noldor, never.  He sighed.  Life with Thranduil could be very difficult at times. He wished the king would be more supportive. Life had been so much simpler under Oropher …

By a circuitous route, Elrond came back into the Great Hall at the far end, close to where Legolas was in deep discussion with two of his friends.  As Elrond watched, the prince was brandishing his knife, demonstrating some complicated move.  Then, with a flourish, he sheathed the knife again.

Elrond breathed a sigh of relief.  He did not want Legolas to inflict damage on himself, or his friends.  He approached the group.  Some imp of mischief – the twins must be rubbing off on him – prompted him to speak very formally. 

“Prince Legolas?  I went out into the forest this morning.  I found something.”

He gave a slight bow, and presented the wet, soggy bundle he carried.  “I think this is yours.”  Elrond left, hastily, before he could spoil the effect by laughing.

Brethil and Tirnan looked on with great interest.  “Well?  What is it?”  asked Tirnan at last.

Legolas looked up, his eyes gleaming.  “It’s my spider!” he said joyfully.

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