The Best Begetting Day Ever
Elrohir lay on his back in the sweet-smelling grass, his lashes veiling his eyes against the bright sunlight. This was the best begetting day ever. No lessons for him or Elladan, no meetings for his father, no household crises for his mother to manage. It was just the four of them, and a picnic at the side of the river, and a glorious spring day.
At his side, Elladan sat up, and stared along the river path. "Someone's coming," he announced. Curious, Elrohir also sat, and tried to guess who might be approaching. Not Erestor, for the hoof beats were coming from the direction of the ford, not the house. Not one of the servants either, in that case. Not one of the guards, for although he knew they were never far away, they moved silently whether on foot or in the trees. A returning patrol? But no, the intruder was alone. A sudden hope grew in him, and he held his breath as the rider drew near.
The golden-haired warrior appeared through the trees and swung down from his horse as he was ambushed. "Glorfindel! You're back!" Elrohir cried excitedly.
"Yes, I am," he agreed.
"And today's our begetting day!" Elladan added.
"Yes, I know," Glorfindel agreed again.
"And did you …" Elrohir stopped. It would be Impolite and Rude to ask Glorfindel if he had brought them any gifts.
Glorfindel raised a hand to silence them. "Elrohir. Elladan. A moment, if you please. Let me greet your parents first."
Elrohir glowed. He loved it when Glorfindel put his name before Elladan's – no one else ever did. "And will you stay for our picnic? Please say yes!"
"But this is your special day – I do not want to intrude on a family picnic," he protested.
Celebrían rose to her feet and greeted him with a smile and a kiss. "You know perfectly well that you are one of the family. Of course you are welcome."
"Then I would love to join you." He sat on the grass and took a pastry from Elrond's plate. "And a very happy begetting day to you, Elrohir and Elladan." He opened his pack and extracted two small pouches of some leather-like material. "I have presents for you both."
Elrohir took the pouch. It was an iridescent reddish gold colour, the shade changing as he moved it slightly, and soft and supple. He fingered it curiously. "What's it made of?"
Elrohir gaped at him. "Dragon skin?" He touched it again. He had never seen anything like it – it was far more beautiful than any leather.
"I thought dragon skin was hard and scaly?" Elladan asked, still examining his own. "It's why they're so hard to kill."
Glorfindel nodded, then touched Elladan beneath his arm. "This is the only soft spot," he explained. "Their only weakness. Now, are you going to open your gifts, or just admire the wrapping?"
Elrohir was so entranced by the dragon skin pouch, he had not even thought to look inside. Unfolding the flap, he took out a necklace. It was a tooth, gleaming white, the edges sharp and serrated. It was capped with silver and attached to a leather thong. "A dragon's tooth!" he gasped, quickly fastening the necklace around his neck.
"Part of one – just the tip," Glorfindel explained. "The whole thing was the length of your arm."
"And Elladan – is his the same?"
Elladan shook his head. "No – look, El! It's a claw!" Elladan's necklace held a glistening black crescent, every bit as vicious looking as Elrohir's tooth.
"Thank you, Glorfindel!" They both hugged him tightly, admiring each other's gifts.
"Dragon's teeth? Claws?" Celebrían sounded disapproving.
"I blunted the points a little," Glorfindel explained to forestall her protests – much to Elrohir's disappointment. But even if the tooth was not as lethally razor sharp as he had hoped, it was still a real dragon's tooth. And …
"Glorfindel – did you kill the dragon?" He and Elladan spoke together, and Glorfindel laughed.
"I did. It had come to live up in the Ettenmoors, and was raiding farms and villages there. It was …"
Celebrían interrupted him. "No, Glorfindel. No dragon tales, please. I still remember the time you told them about the Balrog. I do not want them having nightmares again."
"But mother …" Elrohir protested, mortified. He and Elladan were no longer children, to be scared witless by Glorfindel's colourful stories.
"No," she repeated firmly, beginning to set out the rest of the picnic. Then she smiled again. "I swear you are a bad influence on them! Now, do you want to go and swim again before we eat?"
Glorfindel winked at the twins, then nodded. "Swimming sounds an excellent plan," he agreed. "I will tell you the tale later," he murmured. "Tonight."
Elrohir glanced at Elladan, and nodded. "Tonight," he whispered back, and grinned. This was going to be the best begetting day ever.