Elrond smiled a little, watching his sons riding ahead of the rest of the group, sitting proudly like fierce warriors on their shaggy little ponies. They were wearing their shiny elf armor as if prepared for a real mission, though they likely would not come across any need for armor, not this close to home.
They had behaved for about ten minutes, just long enough riding to get out of the crowds around the House, but Elrond knew it wouldn't last much longer. They were still very young, old enough to ride ponies well enough, but still young enough that they were only permitted to hold wooden swords, not trusted not to harm themselves- or each other.
This was one of their first rides outside fenced in yards of Imladris, and today they would ride out of the valley on their own ponies for the first time, accompanied by their father, Glorfindel, and a couple of guards. They were to spend the night camping, the twin's first time, and return in the morning.
True to Elrond's worries, not long from the edges of the valley the twins started bickering and Elladan pulled out his sword, brandishing it at Elrohir, who quickly pulled his own.
"Boys!" Elrond yelled in a deep and threatening Lord-of-Imladris-voice that made both twins freeze immediately and stop their ponies, turning back wide-eyed. Elrond spoke more kindly again once had their attention.
"Have you not learned better than to pull a sword on a member of your own company? What if that were a real sword? You know you will not be trusted with real swords until you prove you are able to be responsible with these." He told them seriously.
"Yes Ada. We're sorry." They chorused, hanging their heads.
Elrond smiled and shook his head at them. They reminded him constantly of himself and Elros at that age.
"Forgiven. Now can you take the rest of this ride seriously?" He chided them.
"Yes Ada!" They said, in unison again.
"Let us go, then." Elrond rode between them this time, the guards and Glorfindel following.
As they rode, Elrond quizzed them on everything from horse knowledge to what trees they were passing- mostly just to keep them distracted from fighting each other- and at least one of them knew the answer to each question.
Finally they reached the top of the hill they were riding up, and Elrond let the twins pull ahead some.
"Whoa." Elladan said, impressed with the view.
"You have seen this before, lots of times?" Glorfindel asked them.
"It looks different when you're sitting on your own horse, not walking or on someone else's." Elrohir informed him.
"Sure it does, neth hên." Glorfindel said with a laugh and they rode on, through some woods along the Bruinen river.
"Can we ride into the woods?" Elrohir asked pleadingly.
Elrond glanced at Glorfindel, who nodded.
"Yes, but let's wait until we reach the path. Have you studied the maps in your lessons, do you know where it is?"
Elrohir tried to subtly glance at Elladan to answer for him, but Elladan didn't know either, and they both looked guiltily at their father, who was hiding his laugh.
It was Glorfindel who had desperately tried to teach them to memorize the maps of the areas surrounding the valley, and now the blond elf let out an exhausted sigh at the twins, but none were truly angry with them. They were young, and swords were much more interesting to them than maps.
"I suppose you will learn along the way, then." Elrond told them, and nodded to Glorfindel to lead them.
The path was too thin for more than one rider at a time, and Elladan protested that Elrohir was positioned to ride ahead of him, between his father and Glorfindel at the head, but soon quieted at Elrond's look to him.
The twins had never been in this part of the forest before and their delight was infectious. Everyone else in the company was happy to see them so excited.
They took a break for lunch in a large grassy field, and now Elrond let Elladan and Elrohir practice with their swords, as long as they did not stray too far or go near the horses.
Elrond rested against the trunk of a tree, glad for a moment's peace. It had been a busy few weeks of work. He had to negotiate a three-way trade between Imladris, King Thranduil's Wood-Elves, and a group of dwarves in the mountains, and the dwarves and Thranduil both refused to cooperate on this one. Elrond was sure it would work itself out eventually, but the process was more painstaking than he would like to deal with. He hadn't had much time left over, and poor Celebrían was left with watching the twins without him often this week, so he had been happy to take the twins out now and let give her a chance to rest for a day or two.
Though, he thought as he opened his eyes, he should probably spend more time actually watching them, not just giving the task to Glorfindel.
He stood and brushed off he bits of grass that were clinging to him, and just in time, because at that moment he heard Elladan's frightened yell.