Bringing Up Twiglet
This is a not for profit work of fan fiction based upon the works of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien.
Brethilas and Thalion are my own characters.
It had been a long day, and Brigade Commander Brethilas Hallas-ion, (son of Hallas, which in turn translates as tall leaf) longed to remove his armour and sink into deep, hot, water. His room mate, and unofficial adoptive father, the wily ex-healer Thalion, had nixed this possibility by unintentionally offering to 'elfling sit' the king's little son, Legolas. Prince Legolas, also known as Twiglet, the king had dubbed him the 'smallest branch of the Greenwood family tree…Twiglet', had been wearing the king's patience down the entire morning, or, as Thranduil himself put it, 'had stripped it away, like an onion, layer by layer!' Now, when Thranduil had wailed: "Will no-one save me from this over-excitable elfling?" Thalion's instant retort of: "One would be only too glad to aid your majesty, if only one did not have to clean one's collection of Noldorin daggers…" had instantly backfired upon the smug elf. Thranduil had instantly seized upon the opportunity to relocate his son, and Thalion learned a valuable lesson about the overuse of sarcasm.
"Why can I smell that odious metal polish you use to clean those equally odious…daggers?" Brethilas asked as he paused in the threshold and sniffed the air like a scenting hound.
"Not a word," Thalion growled, "not a squeak, not a whimper, or I shall not be responsible for my actions!"
"Hello Brefilas! Legowas is cweaning daggers!"
"Indeed, see, this is Brefilas drawing them!" the Brigade Commander replied as he glared evilly at his room mate.
"Ooh! Legowas loves to dwaw! When I is done doing the daggers, can we do Falion? Pwease…?"
"Oh, by all means, let's do Thalion, I think that is the best idea I have heard the entire day!" Brethilas said with a somewhat menacing undertone.
"Is it my fault if the king cannot recognise sarcasm?" Thalion hissed under his breath.
"What is scar-casm, Falion?" Legolas asked earnestly as he buffed an evil looking dagger with a blade so honed that it could split a hair.
"Scarcasm is when an elf is trying to be much cleverer than he actually is, and he gets the exact opposite of what he actually wants," said Brethilas.
"So, when Falion said that you would be truly delighted there is no hot water for your baff, was he being scarcastic?" Legolas asked.
"No hot…you sluggard!" Brethilas looked about him for something solid that would not be missed if it split over Thalion's skull.
"I had no time to light the fire beneath the water heater!" Thalion said in his own defence.
"Too busy teaching the king's son how to flay him self, yes, I can see that, thank you," said Brethilas.
"More scarcasm," piped up the Twiglet, "Legowas learns ever so much when he comes to visit. What does 'flay' mean, Falion?"
"Little rabbits have big ears!" Thalion reminded Brethilas, and this particular little bunny hops back to daddy's burrow and repeats all he hears."
"Finished…!" Legolas crowed as he handed the final dagger back to Thalion who gave a muffled squeak as the blade fetched up against his palm.
"Ye-es, so you are. That concludes today's lesson in weapons handling," said Thalion with a grin.
"You sold this enterprise to Thranduil as a lesson in weapons handling? There is no limit to your audacity, you old fox!" Brethilas said, scandalized.
"Did his highness handle weapons or did he not?" Thalion demanded.
"Technically…" Brethilas shook his head.
"I rest my case," said Thalion.
"You shall wind up resting your case upon the threshold of Rivendell if you keep this up," said Brethilas. "No doubt the king shall call it a 'cultural exchange', an alternative way of saying 'exile'."
"All the poor ellon wanted was a respite from fatherhood; it has not been easy for him ever since his beloved queen was slain. I remember even now how that feels, to be left with a young son to raise, and I would not wish that emptiness upon another ellon," said Thalion.
Thalion's only son, Alion, had been slain at Dagorlad alongside Brethilas' father. Given Alion and Brethilas had been as close as brothers, it had seemed fitting for Thalion to take the younger ellon under his wing. Somewhere along the way Thalion the Principal Healer had morphed into Thalion the Adjutant of Brethilas, Brigade Commander. Together they shared these chambers, alongside shared memories, and had somehow found a niche in life that filled both their needs.
"Legowas has fetched the drawing fings," said the eager little elfling.
"Do we even have 'drawing fings'?" Thalion muttered.
"We do now, I so hope that you did not intend to keep those rare maps, Thalion," Brethilas chuckled.
"No more than you wished to preserve that mithril stylus. Well, who could have thought it would be quite as effective as a dart?" Thalion replied.
Brethilas was opening and closing his mouth like a stranded carp. His best stylus was quivering to a halt, buried nib-deep in a walnut table!
"I have said it many times," said Thalion, "that little sprite is a born archer!"
"Sit down, Falion, we is going to dwaw you," said Legolas, eyes shining with glee.
"Oh, goody," Thalion muttered as he took the seat being uncovered especially by Brethilas.
"You is being scarcastic again, Falion. Sit still, or how else is we s'pposed to dwaw you?" Legolas shook his head and sighed; the trials of an artistic vocation clearly weighing him down.
"We…?" Brethilas repeated.
"'member not to get ink on your cloves," Legolas instructed, "I has to sit on the naughty stool if I get paint on my cloves."
"Ah, clothes…!" Brethilas said as he nodded in understanding.
"That is what Legowas said, cloves! Falion you need to sit still, you is like a cat on hot bwicks."
"Yes, Falion, do sit still, how is we meant to catch your likeness when you fidget?" Brethilas was enjoying this far too much for Thalion's liking. Still, there would be another 'dwawing' session sooner or later, and how still would Brefilas sit with chilli seeds down his neck? This brought a smile to Thalion's face, and as he slipped into reverie, so his likeness was captured for posterity.
How long he had been sitting there the ex-healer was uncertain, he only knew that he felt refreshed after his little sojourn in the land of nod. He was even feeling up to another dose of Twiglet's unique brand of entertainment. The scent of roast venison caught Thalion's nostrils and drew him towards the low set dining table by the hearth. Legolas was setting out platters, and upon seeing Thalion he announced that dinner was about to be served, and that Falion must go and wash his paws.
No arguing with that sentiment, and so off the elder Eldar went in compliance with his prince's wishes.
"Legowas is famished," announced the little elfling, and little wonder, having worked extremely hard to burnish those dratted daggers, a hobby begun after an excursion to Rivendell and the gift of several daggers as a 'starter' for this collection from Glorfindel. Erestor had merely curled one lip in disgust and warned Brethilas that it began with just one or two of the benighted things, but before one knew it, one was pushed into the margins, and they had overrun the entire room. How right Elrond's Seneschal had been.
Bliss; the crackle of logs in the grate, the dainty chewing of the hungry little fellow by their side, the wonderful food prepared especially by Emmelin who cosseted the bereft little prince at every opportunity, and that sense of fellowship that always ensued when night fell, and duty was done for the day. Brethilas had mellowed now that he had recovered from his hectic day. He was watching the little one polish an apple against his tunic, when a sad smile formed upon the commander's handsome face, how resilient the young were. Barely six months had passed since Queen Pharin had faded, and although he still missed his beloved naneth, Legolas was making a huge effort not to be a burden upon his grieving Adar. Take today for instance, the little elfling must have longed to go to his remaining parent and spend time with him. Instinct had guided him away from that course of action; had given him the grace to make do with Thalion and his collection of daggers. And yet, why not, for this was a familiar bolt hole for the youngling. He had always been drawn to the crusty ex-healer and, by default, to Brethilas. They had all sorts of intriguing items scattered about their domain. Daggers, yes, too many in truth, but also a telescope, and a sextant, and pieces of hand tooled tack. Legolas loved to put on Thalion's carpet slippers and slap around the floor making troll noises and bear noises. He particularly liked to hang upside down by his knees from the wooden settle and play at being a bat. Here he could escape his destiny for a while and just be a little sprite without rules and regulations.
Especially, Legolas was drawn to the wonderful bows laid against the wall. His fingers would itch, his toes would curl, and then he would perform a little impatient dance that always resulted in Thalion asking did he need to 'go'. It was sheer pent up excitement, for the elfling was, as Brethilas had jokingly stated earlier, a born archer. One day all of Middle earth would know the name Legolas Thranduil-ion, would know, too, of his extraordinary feats with a bow of Lorien manufacture. That was off into the future, but for tonight the little archer was flagging from exhaustion.
"It is past your bedtime, little prince. Come, fetch your drawings and your apple, and I shall carry you back to your Adar," Thalion offered.
"Sweepy," the little prince yawned, reminding Brethilas of a snake he once had seen that had killed its prey by wrapping its coils about, and squeezing the life from, the captive body. It was said the snake could swallow a baby goat intact. "Fank you for letting me visit, Falion; fank you Brefilas."
"You are most welcome, Twiglet. Hold tightly to your drawings, your ada will wish to see those I am certain," said Thalion.
Together the two warriors escorted their little prince back to the king's private apartments. Legolas was sleeping in the king's dressing room presently, needing his Adar close, for he still had nightmares about spiders. The king was delighted to see his little son, for the space that Thalion had gifted him had allowed Thranduil to recover his equilibrium.
"Whatever have you brought with you, Twiglet?" Thranduil asked as he eyed the worse for wear drawings executed upon the reverse side of maps.
"Dwawings, ada, we dwawed today, Brefilas and Legowas had lots of fun," said Legolas.
Thranduil took the proffered drawings and turned them this way and that, and finally, to Brethilas' relief, he settled on the correct aspect and announced: "What a wonderfully rendered likeness!"
Brethilas smiled toothily at his grumpy companion, basking in the glory of the king's fulsome praise, knowing that Thalion had expected a wholly different reaction. Legolas was glowing with pride to have made his ada so proud. Thranduil nodded his golden head, enthusiastic in his praise as he held the drawing up to the candlelight and stated:
"You have both captured your subject so well. I recognized the face instantly. Oddly, I had thought that he had faded some years ago. I recall saying to Emmelin as we walked in the orchard only a few days ago that it felt unlived in without the donkey!"