Melbenions’ Lesson

Melbenion rode into the valley of horses at a full gallop. He was glad to be home. His grandfather, Lord Lathron, had sent him on an errand that had kept him away for almost a month and he was eager see his family and friends. He quickly rode up to the edge of the forest and jumped down from his horse Rochtond.

“Welcome home cousin,” he heard as he started removing his gear from his horse. Melbenion glanced over his shoulder to see his cousin Serondrych leaning against a tree.

“Thank you Serondrych,” he said as he continued to stow his gear and rub Rochtond down. When he finished he turned his horse loose with the herd. He grabbed his gear, and followed the path leading to the community where he lived.

“How was your trip?” Serondrych asked following him.

“It went fine Serondrych. I need to meet with grandfather,” he said continuing to follow the path.

“Would you like me to take your gear back to your house for you?” Serondrych asked still following his cousin.

Melbenion was starting to get annoyed. Serondrych was the youngest of his Uncle Tauron’s children and he always seemed to be following him and Garavon around. Garavon was his oldest cousin and they were the best of friends. “No Serondrych, I can take care of my gear on my own. I have some things I want to show Garavon when I finish with grandfather,” he answered.

“Is it something you found in Eglarest?” Serondrych asked still following Melbenion.

“Serondrych, do you not have some horses to tend to or some poor animal that needs your help?” Melbenion finally asked impatiently.

Serondrych stopped as Melbenion turned to glare at him. “Yes I do. I will return to the horses now. I am glad you made it home safe Melbenion.” Serondrych turned around and walked back to the valley of horses.

Melbenion was relieved to finally be rid of his cousin and turned back to continue following the path but was quickly stopped by the presence of his sister Ithildin. She stood in front of him with her hands on her hips glaring at him.

“Why do you treat him like that Melbenion?” she asked angrily. Melbenion continued walking trying to ignore his sister. “I asked you a question.”

“Ithildin I have business to take care of,” he said still trying to avoid the question.

“Yes I can tell by the rude way you treated our cousin, and the rude way you are speaking to me,” she said.

Melbenion ignored her and continued up the path and into the community. He quickly went to his grandfather’s house where he found both his grandfather and his father.

“Melbenion, welcome home,” they both said as he walked in.

“Thank you. I have a message for you grandfather,” he said as he put his gear down and pulled out a parchment folded neatly in a pouch. He handed it to his grandfather then asked, “May I go now, or do you need me for anything else?”

“No you can go for now, but I believe your father was talking about you and Garavon escorting your sisters to the homestead a few days ride from here,” Lord Lathron answered.

“Father, can someone else take them? I have just returned home and I really would like to stay for a short while before I go out again,” he asked.

“It will be a few days before they are ready to go Melbenion. You know they usually like to go to the festival that takes place there every year. They are able to trade for some things that they like,” Thalion answered his son.

“Great just what I want to be doing is following them around while they adore all the little trinkets they see,” Melbenion complained. “Why do they need to go at all? We have everything here they could possibly need, and it is a lot better quality.”

“I know that Melbenion, but they enjoy going,” Thalion answered starting to get impatient with his son. “This is not open for debate. When it is time to go, you and Garavon will escort them and you will be taking Serondrych with you.”

Melbenion sighed as he realized there was no point in arguing. His father had made his decision and that was the end of it, “Yes father. I am going to look for Garavon now. I will see you and mother this evening.” Melbenion picked up his gear again and started to walk out of the main house still grumbling to himself about sisters and cousins.

“You will probably find Garavon at the practice fields with Sirion,” his father said as he walked out. “They were going to do some practice today.”

“Thank you father, I must hurry then because I have something for Garavon,” he said excitedly. Melbenion quickly ran the rest of the way down the path, across the community, and to the practice fields. When he reached the fields, he saw Sirion and Garavon target practicing at the far end of the field. “Garavon!” he yelled.

Garavon turned as Melbenion called to him and grinning, he reached out for his cousins’ hand. They clasped hands and greeted each other with warm friendship. “I am glad to see you home Melbenion,” Garavon said.

“Trust me I am glad to be home!” Melbenion said laughing with his cousin. “I have something for you that I picked up in Eglarest.” Melbenion and Garavon started walking away when Sirion stopped them.

“Garavon we were not finished here,” he said to them reproachfully.

“Grandfather, can we please go? Melbenion has been gone a whole month. I promise to meet with you tomorrow,” Garavon said.

Sirion stared at his grandsons then finally relented, “Alright, you may go this time, but tomorrow you need to meet me back here.” Sirion laughed as he watched his grandsons walk away with their heads together talking excitedly about whatever Melbenion had brought back. He was getting ready to leave when Ithildin walked up to him looking rather angry.

“Grandfather, can I talk to you a moment?” Ithildin asked him.

“Of course Ithildin, what is wrong?” he asked her.

Ithildin watched her brother and cousin as they walked away. “Something has to be done about Melbenion. He treats Serondrych extremely rude. He does not worry about whose feeling he hurts or anything. I am absolutely furious with him right now,” she said crossing her arms. “I tried to talk to him a few minutes ago after he treated Serondrych so badly, and he actually ignored me and would not talk to me!”

Sirion watched as his grandsons reached the end of the path and turned to go into the forest. Melbenion and Garavon had a little hideaway that they loved to retreat to when they could. “I know Ithildin. I have also seen the way Melbenion treats not only Serondrych, but also some of the other elves. I have already talked to your father and Lord Lathron about it. I am not sure what is to be done.” Sirion picked up his bow where he had set it on the ground while working with Garavon. Garavon was extremely good with his short sword, but he lacked some accuracy with a bow. Interestingly enough though, Melbenion was an excellent bowman, but was not as good with the short sword. They made a good team, Sirion thought to himself. He walked to Ithildin, put his arm around her waist, and started walking with her back to the houses.

“Grandfather, it is not right for him to do that,” Ithildin continued.

Sirion laughed quietly. “I remember when a young she-elf I know was also a little unruly.”

“Grandfather, we are not talking about me right now,” Ithildin said blushing as she remembered some of her exploits. “I am serious grandfather. He is always rude to Serondrych and he does not hesitate to hurt his feelings. He does not think that Serondrych is worth his time because of his love for the horses and animals.”

“Serondrych is just as good with a bow and short sword as he is with the animals,” Sirion said. “Let your father handle this Ithildin. I believe they are already working to solve the problem.”

“Ithildin!” Sirion and Ithildin turned as they heard Gailon calling her. Ithildin smiled brightly as she saw her husband walking up to her and she removed herself from her grandfather’s hold to greet her husband.

“Hello Gailon,” she said quickly moving into his arms.

Gailon leaned down and kissed her briefly before addressing Sirion. “Hello Sirion. How did your practice with Garavon go this afternoon?”

“It was going well until Melbenion returned home. After that it was impossible to get Garavon to concentrate on what he was doing,” Sirion answered.

“See what I mean grandfather, you were not even able to complete your practice because of Melbenion,” Ithildin said.

“Ithildin, I said let your father handle it. He is already working on something. I need to go. I am meeting with Durelleth this afternoon to go riding.” Sirion waved goodbye and headed in the direction of the valley of horses.

Melbenion and Garavon quickly followed the trail into the forest, then looking to make sure they were not followed; they headed into the denser part of the forest. They made their way under some low hanging branches and around two large trees before they finally reached the spot they were looking for. When they were younger, they had found a large tree where the branches hung so low that it could easily hide anybody in the tree. They had spent that summer building a platform in the tree and setting up their own little hideaway, as they liked to call it. Melbenion pulled a rope hanging from the tree and a ladder rolled down from the tree. They quickly climbed up the rope ladder and onto the platform.

“So tell me what do you have to show me?” Garavon asked once they had reached the platform and pulled the ladder back up.

Melbenion opened his bag, pulled out a cloth wrapped item, and handed it to Garavon. “I got this for you while I was in Eglarest. There was a trader there and I traded him some of the silver leaves I took with me.”

Garavon removed the cloth from around the item and found the most beautiful short sword he had ever seen. The hilt of the sword was silver with gold lace engraving intertwined around it and followed from the hilt to the blade all the way down to the end of the blade. “Melbenion this is gorgeous!” Garavon said in awe. Then he looked at his cousin with mischief in his eyes, “What did you get for yourself?”

Melbenion laughed then quickly pulled out the package he had been carrying under his cloak since he arrived home. “I got myself this bow,” he said showing it off. “I tried it out while I was there and the tautness of it is perfect.” Garavon looked at the bow that was about half the size of Melbenion. It was beautifully made with strange emblems carved into it from top to bottom.

“What do you plan to do with that?” Garavon asked still admiring the bow. “If you use that around here your father will not be happy.”

“Who says father has to know about it?” Melbenion asked. “I did not buy it for everyday use. I bought it because I liked it.” Melbenion put the bow away inside the hollow of the tree along with several other prize possessions he and Garavon had managed to collect over the years. If their fathers ever found out some of the items they had hidden in the tree, they would be in a lot of trouble. Garavon fingered his sword for a few minutes more then he also added his sword to their collection.

“It is a shame to not be able to use such a beautiful sword,” Garavon said.

“I know Garavon and someday we will be able to, just not right now. We will keep them safe here for now,” Melbenion said. “Have you heard the news?”

“What news is that?” Garavon asked.

“We have to escort our sisters to the festival in a few days,” Melbenion answered as he sat down on the platform beside Garavon.

“Yes I have heard, but that is not too bad,” he said. “Who knows what other items we could find there?”

“We can not get anything there Garavon you know that. Our sisters will be with us. Besides Serondrych is coming with us and you know he will follow us around the entire time,” Melbenion answered him.

“I had not heard that part yet. Who told you?” Garavon asked.

“My father did when I returned,” he answered.

“If it is not bad enough that we have to take our sisters to stare at all of the trinkets they can see, now we have to put up with my younger brother following us around like a little lost puppy. Great!” Garavon said with exasperation.

Melbenion laughed. “I know what you mean. I already had to chase him off my footsteps once today. Ithildin caught me doing it again.”

“Oh no what happened? Please do tell all and do not leave out any details,” Garavon said perking up at this newest piece of information.

“Sure you just want all the details of my sister getting angry with me again,” Melbenion laughed.

Garavon leaned back against the tree. “Of course I do. She can produce a lot of entertainment in our community,” he said laughing.

“I know. That temper has gotten her in a fair amount of trouble. Anyway, she tried scolding me for sending Serondrych away to tend to his horses and furry friends,” Melbenion said continuing with his tale.

“I bet that was a lot of fun!” Garavon said laughing.

Melbenion jabbed his friend in the side with his elbow then he also started laughing. “I told her to leave me alone and walked away,” he said with pride. Garavon started looking at his friend real close laughing quietly.

“What are you doing?” Melbenion finally asked.

Garavon was unable to hold back the laughter anymore and he burst out laughing holding his side while he attempted to answer Melbenion. “I was looking to make sure you had all of your body parts still intact. I can not believe you actually did that to her and walked away unscathed!”

Melbenion grinned then he quickly grabbed his cousin around the neck with his arm and wrestled him to the platform both of them laughing. Garavon quickly freed himself, jumped down from the platform, and started running back to the community with Melbenion close behind him. Melbenion finally caught up with him just as they were reaching the community and he tackled Garavon and wrestled him down to the ground. Both elves were still laughing when they heard, “May I ask what is going on here?” Melbenion and Garavon looked up to see Tauron standing over them with his hands on his hips trying to look stern.

Grinning, both elves quickly jumped up dusting their clothes off trying to control the laughter, “Father we were…” Garavon began and quickly looked to Melbenion for assistance.

“Uncle Tauron we were practicing,” Melbenion finally answered shrugging at Garavon who nudged him in the side.

“You were practicing? What were you practicing?” Tauron asked them trying to keep a grin off his face.

Melbenion and Garavon looked at each other again then grinning at his father Garavon answered, “Wrestling father. What if we ever had to actually fight with our hands instead of sword or bows?”

Tauron burst out laughing. He could no longer keep a straight face. “I was sent to look for the two of you because you are late,” he said still laughing.

“Late for what?” they asked in unison.

“You are late for the evening meal that is what,” he said. “I have been told that if you do not show up within the next 10 minutes, neither of you will get any food tonight.”

Melbenion and Garavon looked at each other then grinning Melbenion shouted as he took off, “I will race you!” Tauron watched as the two elves raced across the community to the house. He marveled at the differences between the two elves as he watched them racing. Melbenion was tall, well muscled, with long blonde hair and dark blue eyes. Garavon was almost as tall as Melbenion and was fairly well muscled. That was where the similarities ended though. Garavon had long dark brown hair, and light green eyes. Even their temperament was different. It was nothing short of amazing how these two had become such good friends, Tauron thought to himself. Tauron quit watching the elves as he remember he needed to go find his youngest son. He knew where he would find him though, so he headed to the valley of horses.

Serondrych was brushing one of the horses as Tauron approached. “Serondrych, are you planning to brush the horses all evening or are you going to join us for the evening meal?” Tauron asked in a teasing voice.

“I am not hungry father, but thank you,” Serondrych answered while continuing to brush the horse.

“You are not hungry?” Tauron asked his son in confusion. Serondrych was always hungry. “What is wrong son?”

“Nothing is wrong father,” Serondrych said still brushing the horse.

Tauron walked up to his son, took the horse brush from him, and then turned the horse loose with the herd. “If you brushed that spot on the horse anymore, she would have ended up with a bald spot,” he said laughing. Serondrych did not say anything. He took the brush from his father and returned it to its place among all of his other tools. Serondrych set about other tasks while Tauron watched him in silence. Finally, Tauron stopped his son. “Serondrych, what is wrong?” Tauron asked his son again.

“I just have some work to do father. I will be home after awhile,” Serondrych said as he returned to working.

“Alright, but I will be at home if you need to talk,” Tauron said. He knew there was something wrong with his son, but he also knew that Serondrych would not tell him until he was ready. He returned to the community in deep thought. It was not like Serondrych to be so quiet. He was usually very noisy, always talking about his animals, or looking for something to eat. Tauron was worried, but he was sure Serondrych would talk to him when he was ready.

Tauron arrived at his home to find not only had Melbenion joined them for the evening meal, but also so had Ithildin and Gailon. “Where is Serondrych?” Elwen asked as he walked in.

“He said he is not hungry,” Tauron said. “Something is wrong with him, but he will not tell me what.”

“I can tell you what is wrong with him,” Ithildin said glaring at her younger brother, “It most likely has something to do with the way Melbenion treated him this afternoon when he arrived home!”

Tauron and Elwen looked at Melbenion who was sitting next to Garavon laughing. “What did you say to Serondrych this afternoon Melbenion?” Tauron asked sternly.

“I did not say much to him,” Melbenion said. “He was following me again, asking silly questions, so I sent him back to his horses. That is all Uncle Tauron.” Melbenion glared at his sister.

“It was not what you said Melbenion,” Ithildin said, “It was the way you said it. You are always rude to him. You could have been a little nicer!”

“Ithildin you could try minding your own business!” Melbenion said to his sister angrily.

“Serondrych is my business. He is my cousin as well and I do not like the way you treat him!” Ithildin was now standing, glaring at her brother across the table. Gailon stood and took his wife by the arms.

“Tauron, I think I will take my wife home now,” he said apologetically.

“Gailon stop, I am not finished with my brother yet!” Ithildin argued as Gailon tried to lead her away.

Tauron stood up from the table. “Ithildin I will handle this I promise you.” Tauron looked at his nephew then said, “Melbenion I think you need to go home now. I will first talk with Serondrych. If I learn what Ithildin said is true, then I will be talking with your father.”

Melbenion stood up from the table glaring at his sister then back at his uncle. “So be it. I will go home. Garavon I will see you tomorrow,” Gailon said angrily.

“That will all depend on what I learn tonight Melbenion,” Tauron said sternly. “If I find out that you have indeed been cruel to Serondrych, then you will not be seeing Garavon tomorrow!”

“Uncle Tauron that is not fair. I was not mean to him. I just get tired of him following me around,” Melbenion said defensively.

“Father surely you would not separate Melbenion and myself?” Garavon exclaimed jumping up from his seat. “We had plans for tomorrow!”

“I can tell right now by the way both of you are acting that Ithildin was indeed correct about her view of the way you treated Serondrych today Melbenion,” Tauron said angrily. “Yes Garavon, I would separate the two of you! If you can have no more manners than to treat my son badly Melbenion then I think you need to go home now! I will talk with Thalion later. I will not tolerate this anymore!” Tauron walked past Ithildin and moved to the end of the table where Melbenion still stood. “Go home now nephew. You can let your father know I will be by shortly to talk to him.”

Melbenion looked around the table then quickly left the house. Ithildin and Gailon followed him as he walked to his home. When he realized that Ithildin was following him he spun around to face her, “Why are you following me? You have caused enough trouble tonight Ithildin, go home and leave me alone!”

“That is enough Melbenion!” Gailon answered defending his wife. “You will not speak to Ithildin like that.”

“Then take your wife home and quit following me!” Melbenion said between clenched teeth.

“I am going to the house to speak with father,” Ithildin said. “He needs to know that Uncle Tauron is going to be by later, and I am sure you will not tell him why.”

“You have caused enough trouble Ithildin. Do you have to go home and cause it with father also?” Melbenion asked angrily.

“Go home Melbenion. We are coming whether you like it or not!” Gailon told him.

Melbenion looked back and forth between Ithildin and Gailon then complaining about his sister under his breath he continued walking home. When he arrived home, his parents were in the main room eating the evening meal with Edraith, Gelireth, and Mirwen. He looked at everybody, and then quickly headed to his room without saying a word.

“What is wrong with Melbenion?” Durelleth asked as Ithildin and Gailon walked into the room.

Ithildin and Gailon sat down at the table and told them what had occurred this evening at Tauron’s home, and that he would be coming to talk with Thalion later.

Back at Tauron’s home, not all was going well either. “Father you can not be serious about keeping Melbenion and I apart! We are cousins, and the best of friends. We do everything together!” Garavon argued.

“I am serious Garavon,” Tauron answered his son. “You are not to be with Melbenion again until I say so is that understood? Nor are you to meet at your little hideaway, because if you do, I will find it and make sure that the two of you never go there again!”

Garavon stared at his father in disbelief. “Father if Serondrych would quit pestering him then Melbenion would not have to be rude to him,” he said defending his friend. “Besides you would never do anything to hurt the trees. I know you and Edraith too well, you both love these trees!”

“I never said I would hurt the trees Garavon, I said I would make sure that you and Melbenion never went there again!” Tauron answered his son sternly. “Serondrych is your brother. How could you not defend him?”

“He is a pest father. He follows us around all the time…” Garavon never finished his sentence.

“That is enough Garavon! I will not hear anymore,” Tauron said angrily. “You will not go to your hideaway with Melbenion again until I say. I do not wish to discuss this anymore. Apparently it is not just Melbenion who needs a lesson in manners!”

“I am not an elfling anymore father. You can not tell me that I can not visit with my friend!” Garavon argued.

“Garavon, you have pushed my temper enough. I said you would not run around with Melbenion until I say and that is what I mean. You will stay here while I go talk with your brother.” Tauron had lost all patience with his son at this point and was extremely angry.

“Garavon I think you need to obey your father,” Elwen said. She was also angry by the situation, but she knew from experience not to push Tauron any further.

“Mother this is not fair. I was not the one who was mean to Serondrych. I was not even there when it happened!” Garavon said determined to argue with his parents.

Tauron’s temper exploded when Garavon started arguing with his mother. He walked to Garavon and taking him by the arm, he led him into his room. “You will stay in here Garavon until I return! When I come home we will talk some more, but I am too angry right now. If I were you, I would also consider apologizing to your brother!” Tauron said to his son angrily.

“I refuse to apologize to him father. I did not do anything wrong!” Garavon said to his father defiantly. Tauron stared at his son a few moments more, and then left the room.

Elwen walked up to her husband as he returned to the main room and wrapped her arms around him. “Tauron, we will not be able to keep them separated permanently,” she said to him softly.

Tauron hugged her to him and answered, “I know Elwen, but right now it is the only thing I can think of. I am going to talk with Serondrych, and then Thalion. Perhaps he has a solution.” Tauron gave Elwen a brief kiss then walked out of his home deep in thought.

Tauron followed the path down the Teiglin River to the valley of horses where he knew he would find his son. As he reached the valley, he saw several of the other elves that helped tend to the horses, but he did not see Serondrych. Tauron continued following the path as it winded around the valley until he reached a secluded spot that his son usually like to go to when he wanted to be alone. He still had a good view of the valley, but he could sit by the trees and be unseen. Tauron had found Serondrychs’ hiding place by accident one night long ago when he had gone looking for him much like tonight. As he walked around to the tree where he knew he would find his son, he watched as Serondrych petted a small furry creature in his arms. Tauron smiled as the small gray creature curled into Serondrychs arms. “Who is your new friend?” Tauron asked as he sat down across from his son.

“I have named him Trasta. I found him on the bank of the river this morning,” Serondrych explained petting his new friend. “I thought he was dead at first, but when I checked him he was still alive so I dried him off, gave him some food, and now I seem to be stuck with him.”

Tauron watched his son for a few minutes. His love for animals always amazed him, and he was always rescuing one animal or another. “I talked with Ithildin tonight. She said that Melbenion was rather mean to you earlier this afternoon. Is this true son?” Tauron asked him softly. Serondrych shrugged his shoulder, but did not answer the question. “I would say from the way Garavon and Melbenion reacted when I told them they were to be separated for awhile, that it must be true. Serondrych, why did you not say something to me earlier this evening?”

“Father you can not separate them. They will blame me and that will only cause more problems!” Serondrych said upset to hear what his father had done. “I did not tell you about it because I am able to take care of my own problems father. I am not an elfling anymore. I will handle it eventually I am sure.”

“How do you plan to handle it Serondrych? Melbenion will not even listen to me about being rude, how are you going to stop him?” Tauron asked him.

“Father I have to do this my way,” Serondrych explained as he stood up. The furry little ferret in his arms quickly crawled up to his shoulder and made himself comfortable there. “I will find a way to prove to Melbenion that I am every bit as good as he and Garavon are. I am not sure how father, but I will,” he answered with quiet determination.

“Serondrych, I know that you are every bit as good as they are, and in some areas even better, but I can not allow Melbenions’ behavior to continue. You are not the only one he is being rude to; he has been rude to other elves also. It just seems you are his favorite target,” Tauron said. Tauron stood up and walked up to his son. “I know this does not seem like the way to take care of it, and it may not be the final answer, but for now it is the decision I have made.”

“I understand father,” Serondrych said quietly. He turned and smiled at his father. “I was just thinking I would go home and get Trasta and myself something to eat.”

Tauron burst out laughing as Serondrych grinned at him. “I figured your appetite would eventually return,” he teased his son. “I will walk back to the community with you, but I need to stop and talk with your uncle Thalion. I would be careful about taking that little fur ball into the house. You know how your mother was the last time you brought home a new pet.” Tauron and Serondrych laughed as they remember Elwens’ reaction. They walked to the community together and when they reached Thalions’ home, Tauron stopped for a moment. “I want you to know I am very proud of you son.”

Serondrych grinned at his father as he blushed, “I know father. Thank you.” Tauron watched as Serondrych continued up the path to their home.

“I have been expecting you,” Thalion said in the dark. “Ithildin told me what happened this evening.” Thalion walked beside his brother and watched his nephew walk to his home. “I am sorry for the way Melbenion treated Serondrych today, as well as his poor manners at your home this evening Tauron.”

Tauron sighed heavily as he turned to his brother. “What is going to be done is my question Thalion?”

“Meet me tomorrow at fathers’ house. I have already been to see him and we have made a plan. You can learn about it then,” Thalion said.

“Tell me tonight Thalion,” Tauron said.

“No Tauron. You will learn about it tomorrow along with Melbenion,” Thalion said. “Again, I am sorry for my sons’ behavior, but I think father and I have come up with a good plan. We still have some details to work out in the morning though.”

“Alright, I will wait until morning Thalion, but I hope you have a really good plan,” Tauron told his brother. “I lost my patience with him and Garavon tonight, and I do not like that, however, nephew or not I will not let him continue his treatment of Serondrych.”

“I understand Tauron,” Thalion answered, “I promise we are working on it.”

Tauron was silent for a moment then he turned to Thalion. “I will let you handle it for now Thalion. I will meet you in the morning at fathers. Goodnight.” Tauron walked to his home leaving Thalion to watch him.

Thalion was at his fathers’ house early the next morning. He had already worked out the last details with Lord Lathron when Tauron came in. Thalion sent an elf to get Melbenion as soon as Tauron arrived.

“Tauron, we have everything worked out, but you will have to understand our plan means that Serondrych will be going with Melbenion on a rather long errand to Eglarest,” Thalion told him while waiting for Melbenion to arrive.

“Have you taken leave of your senses Thalion?” Tauron all but shouted at him. “What do you think will happen out there with them all alone?”

“Tauron, I know our plan sounds unusual son,” Lord Lathron tried to calmly explain to his son, “But I think you will be surprised. Serondrych is quite capable of handling himself a lot more than even you give him credit for.”

“Listen, Serondrych is strong. He spends his days tending the horses and animals of the forest,” Thalion said trying to explain their plan. “He is very good with his bow and sword, and he is extremely patient. These qualities all make the right elf to teach Melbenion some much needed lessons in manners.”

“There is no way I would even consider letting him go on an errand like this with Melbenion Thalion,” Tauron said angrily. “At least here at home we can have some control over the situation, but once they leave we can not do anything to help if it is needed.”

“It is time to let the two work this out between themselves Tauron,” Lord Lathron said, “If you will not willingly allow it, then I will order it. It is time to let go son. I know it is not easy, but it is past time. All of the children, both yours and Thalions’ have grown up. I know Serondrych is the youngest and it is hard to let him grow up, but Tauron he can handle himself if you will let him.”

Tauron paced in front of his father for a few minutes thinking about their plan. Finally, he stopped and said, “If this is your decision father then I will abide by it, but I will tell you both, I am not happy about it!”

Melbenion came walking into the main room just as Tauron finished speaking. He watched his nephew for a few moments then turned and walked out of the room. “Grandfather I was told you needed me.” Melbenion said.

“Yes Melbenion. I need you to travel to Eglarest again,” Lord Lathron said. “It is important that you carry this message to Lord Cirdan there and wait for a reply.”

“Of course grandfather,” Melbenion said. “May I make a request?”

“What would that be?” Lord Lathron asked.

“I was wondering if Garavon could travel with me this time.” Melbenion said.

“No Melbenion he may not, however, you will be taking Serondrych with you,” Lord Lathron said.

“Why would Serondrych go with me?” Melbenion asked impatiently. “He has never traveled outside of the community.”

“That is why I want him to go with you Melbenion,” Lord Lathron said. “He needs to go outside of the community. I think he will have a good time.”

“Grandfather, Serondrych and I do not get along very well and I would rather travel alone than with him,” Melbenion said.

“You do not have a choice in the matter Melbenion. He is going with you and that is all there is to it.” Lord Lathron stood up so that he was looking down at Melbenion. He could see the battle going on within his grandson, but he waited to see what Melbenion would say.

“So be it. However, he better not slow me down.” With that final comment, he took the parchment his grandfather had given him, placed it in a pocket on the inside of his shirt, and walked out of the room. He went to his house and began preparing his gear.

Tauron had already returned to his home and had told Serondrych that he would be traveling to Eglarest with Melbenion. He had not told him the reason why, only that his grandfather had said he was to go.

Serondrych quickly went to his room and started preparing his gear to leave. Trasta kept climbing into his bag and he would remove him only for Trasta to climb in again. “I think I may have to take Trasta with me father. Do you think that will be a problem?” he asked.

Tauron laughed softly at the furry animals antics. “No Serondrych, I do not think you it will be a problem. Besides, it does not look like you will be able to get out of here without him.”

Tauron helped Serondrych get his gear and walked with him to the valley of horses. Melbenion was already there getting his horse Rochtond ready. Serondrych whistled for his horse and walked over to prepare him for the journey. In no time at all both elves were ready to go. Melbenion quickly jumped on his horse and waited impatiently as Tauron said goodbye to his son.

“Be careful out there Serondrych,” Tauron said.

“Would you please quit worrying father. I will be fine.” Serondrych answered. Then he jumped on his horse and followed Melbenion out of the valley. For the first two days, they silently followed the Teiglin River until there was a safe place to cross. Once they had crossed the river, Melbenion put his horse into a fast gallop quickly crossing the land from their home. He was determined to make the trip to Eglarest as quickly as possible. That evening he pulled his horse into a slow canter letting him cool down before stopping for the night. He was disappointed when he found that Serondrych had managed to keep up with him. Finally finding a good spot to rest for the evening they brought their horses to a halt and dismounted. Melbenion got a fire going while Serondrych took care of the horses. Neither had really talked for three days now and the silence was wearing thin on Serondrych who was use to talking. After they finished eating Serondrych sat there staring at the stars while Trasta slept on his chest. He could not take the complete silence anymore.

“Will you tell me a little about Eglarest?” he asked.

Melbenion stared at Serondrych for a few minutes. He had to give Serondrych credit, he had never expected him to be able to keep up, and he had expected him to complain about the hard pace that Melbenion had set. Instead, he had kept pace with Melbenion and not once had he complained. Melbenion looked closely at his cousin for the first time in a long time and realized that he was no longer the elfling that was constantly dogging his and Garavons’ every step. Instead, he had grown strong, even though he was still quiet in speech. Melbenion looked at the small, gray, furry creature lying on his chest and marveled at Serondrychs’ ability to make friends with just about any creature. “Eglarest is a beautiful city,” he said finally deciding to answer his cousin. “It has the beautiful ships there and the home of Lord Cirdan is spectacular.” Melbenion spent the next hour describing Eglarest to Serondrych.

Serondrych listened to Melbenions every word. He had managed to bring the place to life for him and he found himself more and more eager to reach their destination. “You sound like you really like it there,” he said as Melbenions words ended.

Melbenion smiled at Serondrych, “I do like it there. That is why I am always pleased when grandfather sends me there on an errand. Of course, it is always better than escorting Gelireth and Mirwen to the festival,” Melbenion said laughing quietly.

Serondrych also laughed, “I have to admit, I was not looking forward to going to the village again this year. I do not enjoy following our sisters around while they ohhh and awww over all the little things they can find there.”

Melbenion was surprised to hear that Serondrych did not enjoy it either. “I would have thought that you enjoyed that,” he said.

“There is a lot about me that might surprise you cousin,” Serondrych said grinning at his cousin.

“I am beginning to see that.” Melbenion sat there quietly thinking for a few minutes then he said, “I owe you an apology Serondrych. I have really treated you badly over the last few years and you really did not do anything to deserve it. I had not taken the time to notice that you had grown up and were not the elfling who use to always be underfoot.”

“Do not worry about it Melbenion. Perhaps this trip will be a great time for us to get to know each other a little better,” he said.

“Perhaps,” Melbenion answered quietly. “I think we should get some sleep. If we keep at this pace we can reach Eglarest in about five or six more days.”

Serondrych grinned at his cousin and nodding his head, he rolled up in his cloak and fell asleep with Trasta curled up beside him. Melbenion watched him and the ferret for a short while still thinking. He wondered why Garavon never pointed out to him how much Serondrych had changed, but that was something he could think on later. For now, he needed sleep so he also rolled up in his cloak and went to sleep.

The morning dawned bright and clear and the cousins worked quickly to prepare to resume their journey. Serondrych was just as eager as Melbenion to reach Eglarest so they quickly ate then saddled their horses and rode off at a quick pace. The days passed quickly for the two elves as they journeyed, and they spent the evenings talking. Melbenion was fascinated to learn how much Serondrych actually new about the different animals of their forest and Serondrych listened carefully to every word Melbenion said about Eglarest.

The morning of the eighth day since they set out from Brethil, the two elves arrived in Eglarest. The beauty that filled the city awed Serondrych. He followed Melbenion as they reached the castle lying close to the sea. They walked into a large entrance that lead into a great hall. Serondrych marveled at the beautiful statues around the hall and the artistry that had to go into making them.

“Hello My Lord,” Melbenion said.

“Melbenion, you have returned to us quickly this time.” Serondrych watched as the elvin Lord stood up to greet them.

“Yes Lord Cirdan. My grandfather bade me to deliver this message to you.” Melbenion pulled the parchment out of his bag and handed it to Lord Cirdan.

“Thank you Melbenion. Who is this you have with you?” he asked.

“This is my cousin Serondrych My Lord. Grandfather sent him with me so he could visit Eglarest,” he answered.

“Welcome to Eglarest young Serondrych. I am sure that Melbenion will be glad to show you around Eglarest,” Lord Cirdan said. “I will read the letter from your grandfather now. The two of you go enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring Eglarest. When you return I will have the evening meal prepared for you. I have some other guests you might like to meet.” Melbenion and Serondrych bowed to Lord Cirdan and exited the great hall.

Once they had left the hall Serondrych asked Melbenion, “So what do we do now?”

Melbenion grinned at Serondrych, “Come with me and I will show you.” Melbenion grabbed Serondrych by the arm and led him to the main part of the city. Melbenion stopped for a moment as they entered the merchants’ row where there were all different kinds of traders. He looked at Serondrych for a moment then grinned, “I think perhaps you need a new bow cousin.”

“Why would I need a bow Melbenion? I already have one from our home that is better than anything you will find here,” Serondrych said with pride.

“Ok so maybe you do not need it cousin, but I really think we will go take a look.” Melbenion led him through the rows of merchants looking for the trader he had met on his last visit. Serondrych followed Melbenion while still trying to see some of the other wares that were available. “Serondrych, hurry up. We will look at that stuff later,” Melbenion said impatiently.

Serondrych quickened his step and caught up with Melbenion as they rushed through the city. From the castle, eyes watched their progress as they rushed through the merchants’ row. “Well it would seem that Lord Lathrons’ mission has already been accomplished,” Lord Cirdan said to himself. He grinned as he watched the young elves dash around others in the city, in a hurry to reach some unknown destination. “I will send them home, and they can escort Marithil and Bainoth home for me.” Lord Cirdan grinned as he finished putting into motion his decision. He ordered horses prepared for the two she-elves that were going to be returning with Melbenion and Serondrych, and then he returned to watching the city for the two young elves to return.

Melbenion led Serondrych to a trader at the far end of the row. There they found several bows and short swords. Serondrych looked at all the different swords and bows. He watched as Melbenion pick up different ones to examine.

“Welcome Master Elf, I am glad to see you have returned,” the trader said.

“I have brought my cousin with me today sir. I was looking for a bow for him,” Melbenion said.

“Melbenion, I do not need a new bow. There is nothing wrong with mine!” Serondrych hissed under his breath.

“Serondrych, it is not a matter of whether you need it, but just that you want it,” Melbenion said grinning at his cousin.

“I do not want it either cousin. Let us return to the castle now,” Serondrych answered him.

“How could you not want one Serondrych? Look at how beautiful they are,” Melbenion said confused.

“They may be beautiful Melbenion and I am sure they work well also, however I am content with mine,” Serondrych answered him. He turned around and quickly started heading back to the castle.

“Serondrych,” Melbenion called out, “What is wrong? I just thought you might like one that is all. I have one and I have given Garavon a short sword.” Melbenion suddenly realized what he had told his cousin.

“I have never seen you or Garavon with anything like that Melbenion,” Serondrych said stopping in front of another trader. “Where do you have these things?

Melbenion looked around then quickly took Serondrych by the arm and started walking back to the castle with him. “I have them at home in the hideaway that Garavon and I have,” he said quietly.

Serondrych looked at his cousin as if he had lost his mind. “Melbenion, why would you and Garavon keep things like this hidden?” he asked in confusion.

“Do you really want to know the truth?” Melbenion asked.

“Of course I do cousin,” he answered.

Melbenion continued walking toward the castle slowly, but looked over at his cousin a little guiltily. “You know how Garavon and I are always teasing our sisters about their going to the festival and getting all of their little trinkets. What do you think would happen if they knew that Garavon and I also have our collection?” he asked.

Serondrych stopped and stared at Melbenion in disbelief, and then he burst out laughing. “Melbenion I am sorry,” he managed to say between laughter, “You are right they would definitely have your heads!” Melbenion glared at Serondrych as he continued to laugh.

“I am glad you think it is so funny Serondrych, but to Garavon and me it is imperative that they never find out,” Melbenion said defensively. “I am sorry that I told you now.” Melbenion continued walking back to the castle in anger.

“Melbenion wait a moment,” Serondrych called. “I did not mean to offend you cousin. I just thought it rather ironic is all.” Serondrych caught up with his cousin still trying to stifle the laughter.

“We need to get back, it will be time for the evening meal,” Melbenion said.

“Melbenion, you are not angry with me are you? I did not mean to laugh. I just could not help it,” Serondrych said.

Melbenion was quiet for a moment then he looked at his cousin and grinned, “No Serondrych, I am not angry. It is rather funny now that I really think about it.” The two elves reached the castle and entered into the great hall again.

“Did you two enjoy yourselves?” Lord Cirdan asked as they walked in.

“Yes My Lord, we did,” Serondrych and Melbenion answered in unison.

“Good I am pleased to hear that. Melbenion I have the letter ready for you to take to your grandfather,” Lord Cirdan said handing the parchment to him. “I also ask a favor of you.”

“Of course My Lord, I will do what ever I can to assist you,” Melbenion answered with respect.

Lord Cirdan motioned for two elves that were standing in the shadows to move forward. Melbenion and Serondrych stared in awe as two beautiful she-elves came forward. “I need you to escort Marithil and Bainoth to Doriath on your way home. I know this takes you off a direct path to your home, but you live so close to it that it should not take too much of your time.”

“You want us to escort them to Doriath My Lord?” Melbenion asked.

“Yes is there a problem with that?” Lord Cirdan asked.

“Well it is just that Serondrych and I tend to travel very fast. We can make it from here to home in about eight days,” Melbenion explained, “If we escort them it will slow us down.”

“Melbenion have you taken leave of all your senses?” Serondrych asked. “You would not dare to question Lord Cirdans’ authority would you?”

“I would listen to your cousin Melbenion,” Lord Cirdan said with tight restraint, “I have asked you to take the sisters home. If that means that you have to slow down a little for them, then so be it.”

“My Lord I did not mean to question your authority,” Melbenion said, “I was just concerned for their safety is all.”

“My Lord it is obvious that he does not wish to escort my sister and I home,” one of the she-elves said, “We can manage without his help.”

Melbenion looked at the dark haired she-elf that had spoken. She glared at him from half shuttered eyes. She stood there silently challenging him to dispute any further.

“That is alright My Lord,” he said grinning at her, “We do not mind escorting them home. We will just slow our pace down so as to not wear them out.” Melbenion grinned smugly as she glared at him and turned back to Lord Cirdan.

“My Lord that really will not be necessary,” she said. “Bainoth and I can get ourselves home without troubling these fine elves,” she said sarcastically.

Lord Cirdan groaned. He had not expected so much trouble from so many young elves. “That is enough Marithil. Melbenion and his cousin Serondrych will escort you back to Doriath and that is my final decision,” he said impatiently.

“My Lord, please forgive my cousins’ insolence,” Serondrych said. “We will be happy to escort Marithil and Bainoth home.” Just as Serondrych turned to speak to Melbenion, Trasta decided it was time to make an appearance. He popped his head out of the pouch Serondrych carried at his side, climbed out, and then went scampering across the floor of the great hall straight to the she-elves standing next to Lord Cirdan. “Trasta, come back here,” Serondrych said going after the ferret. Just as he reached Trasta and stooped down to pick him up another pair of hands took hold of the small ferret.

“What have we here,” Bainoth asked in a soft voice as she picked up the ferret. Serondrych looked up from where they had both stooped down to grab Trasta and he found himself looking into the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen. Her long blonde hair fell over her shoulders as she petted the ferret. “What an interesting little creature,” she said smiling at Serondrych. Serondrych forgot how to speak, how to move, and even how to breathe.

“Serondrych get that little fur ball back in your pouch before he gets into Lord Cirdans’ food,” Melbenion said. “I am sorry My Lord, but Serondrych brought his new friend on our journey and if we are not careful he will eat you out of house and home.”

Serondrych blushed at his cousin chastising him in front of this beautiful she-elf, but she winked at him as she stood up with Trasta. Serondrych also stood up and grinned at Bainoth. She was wearing a pale blue dress with silver embroidered edges and a white gauze drape running down her back. “He does tend to get into food a lot,” Serondrych said grinning at Bainoth. She laughed at his comment and Serondrych was sure he was never going to move again. Her laughter was just as enchanting as she was, he thought to himself.

Marithil rolled her eyes at what she considered complete foolishness. “Bainoth give the animal back to his master. We need to prepare to leave on our journey in the morning.” Marithil glared at Melbenion as he continued grinning at the entire situation. “Just what I need, one half witted he-elf, and one pompous one to travel with,” she mumbled under her breathe as she turned to walk out of the great hall. Melbenion still heard her and laughed at her words. He watched as the dark haired beauty started walking out of the room. She was dressed in a jade green dress trimmed with gold embroidered edges. Her dress was more simple than her sisters’ was yet he found her every bit as beautiful if not more so. He decided this would indeed be an interesting trip home.

Bainoth handed Trasta back to Serondrych and smiled at him. Serondrych held Trasta petting him for a moment before returning him to his pouch with the stern command to stay there. Bainoth laughed gently and said, “It was a pleasure to meet Serondrych. I am looking forward to our journey.”

“Me too, that is I am pleased to meet you and also look forward to our journey,” Serondrych finally managed to say. Bainoth smiled at him and then turned to follow her sister. Serondrych turned and watched her as she walked away from him, her golden hair moving gracefully against her back with each light step that she took. His eyes followed her all the way out of the great hall until she reached the entrance where she stopped for a moment, turned back, and smiled at him again. Serondrych saw Marithil grab her sister by the arm and pull her through the entrance. He turned to his cousin and saw the he too had been watching the sisters’ departure, but he knew it was not Bainoth he watched, but Marithil. The cousins looked at each other then back at the entrance. They were both in for some fun on the return journey.

“I think we should also get prepared for the return journey Serondrych. We would not want the Ladies waiting for us in the morning now would we?” Melbenion asked with mischief.

“I would remind you that you are to treat them with the utmost respect as they are the daughters of a friend,” Lord Cirdan said.

“My Lord I promise neither Melbenion nor myself would do anything to hurt them,” Serondrych said trying to reassure Lord Cirdan.

“See that you do not. If there is nothing else the two of you need, then you may retire. If you would like I can have some food sent to your rooms for you or you may join me here in the hall for the evening meal,” Lord Cirdan said.

“Will Bainoth be joining you here for the meal My Lord?” Serondrych asked before he even stopped to think.

“No, Marithil has already made arrangements for them to dine in their rooms this evening. They will not be seen again tonight,” Lord Cirdan said smiling at the young elf. It was obvious to him that Serondrych was taken with the beautiful Bainoth and the look of disappointment on his face verified that. Perhaps this would turn out to be the best decision he had made in awhile. The young she-elves had been without family, except their brother since their parents were killed by orcs many, many years before. Their older brother raised them. He had sent the young maidens here to stay for a while, but they were both ready to return home.

“I think perhaps we shall also dine our room tonight My Lord,” Melbenion said, “We will leave early tomorrow so we should get some rest.”

Lord Cirdan laughed, “Then you are welcome to use the room you usually stay in Melbenion. It is large enough for the two of you.”

“Good night My Lord and thank you for you generosity,” Melbenion said. He grabbed Serondrych and they quickly left the hall.

“What is your hurry Melbenion?” Serondrych asked as his cousin dragged him down a corridor.

“Be quiet until we get to our room,” Melbenion hissed at him. Melbenion led him down the corridor until they reached a door at the end. He opened the door, walked in dragging Serondrych in after him, and then he shut the door.

“I first want to say do not ever embarrass me like that in front of anybody,” Melbenion said as he set his gear down next to a bed.

“What are you talking about Melbenion?” Serondrych asked confused.

“Apologizing to Lord Cirdan like that for me. I am quite capable of taking care of myself,” Melbenion said impatiently. “I do have to say though; I think our journey home shall be a lot more interesting than the journey here.”

“Yes I noticed the way you were looking at Marithil,” Serondrych teased, “I did not mean to embarrass you cousin, but you were arguing with Lord Cirdan.”

“Serondrych I have been coming here for a very long time now. I was not being disrespectful of Lord Cirdan,” Melbenion said, “I just know that if these two she-elves are important enough that Lord Cirdan wants an escort for them then I thought perhaps he would want to send some of his guards not just us.”

“I apologize if I offended you as that was not my intention,” Serondrych said.

“Forget about it this time, however, I will warn you only this one time Serondrych do not embarrass me like that again,” Melbenion said. “Now shall we discuss our two companions journeying with us?” Serondrych grinned at his cousin. They were just sitting down when there was a knock on their door. Melbenion opened the door to find two elves carrying a large tray full of food for them. They brought the food in and then quietly left the room. Serondrych removed Trasta from his pouch and handed him some food and the cousins sat down at the table to eat while discussing their new companions.

The dawn found the four elves already outside preparing their horses. Melbenion watched Marithil as she made sure her horse was ready for the journey. Serondrych helped Bainoth make sure all was ready also. As soon as they were ready, they bid Lord Cirdan farewell, and rode out of the city.

At the beginning of the day, Melbenion and Serondrych rode side by side, and Marithil and Bainoth rode behind them. Serondrych kept looking behind him at Bainoth to make sure she was doing well. Each time he did, he found her looking at him and she would smile at him.

“Why do you not ride beside her after we stop to eat here shortly,” Melbenion suggested. “Of course that would mean Marithil riding beside me, though I do not know if I will survive, but hopefully I will.” Melbenion grinned at Serondrych.

“It sounds like a great plan to me cousin,” Serondrych answered. A short while later, the small group stopped to rest and eat some food. Serondrych pulled Trasta out of his pouch and handed him some food as well. He was surprised when Bainoth sat down beside him and handed Trasta a piece of fruit.

“I thought perhaps he needed some more food,” she said grinning at Serondrych. Bainoth laughed as Trasta climbed into her lap to search for more food.

“As you can see, he always wants more food,” Serondrych said laughing with her at Trastas’ antics.

Melbenion watched his cousin and Bainoth for a few minutes, and then he walked over to Marithil. “They seem to be getting along fairly well,” he said.

Marithil looked at her sister laughing with Serondrych and said, “Do not think that this will be allowed to continue. Once you have returned us home that is the end. Perhaps you should warn your cousin of that right now.”

“Why should that be the end? They obviously like each other,” Melbenion asked.

“Do you think for a moment that my brother will allow her to keep seeing your cousin once we are home?” she asked. “You are a bigger fool than I thought.” Marithil gave Melbenion a scathing look and walked away.

For once Melbenion was speechless. He glared at Marithil as she walked away from him. “Everybody get on your horse, we are riding on,” he said angrily.

Serondrych rode next to Bainoth and they spent the time talking to each other about different animals. Melbenion was riding next to Marithil and he could not think of a single thing to talk to her about. He was getting really frustrated with the way things were turning out. He had not expected Marithil to ignore him and he was not quite sure what to do about it. He looked behind him at Serondrych and Bainoth as they laughed and talked while riding and it angered him even more.

“They talk as if animals were the only thing in Middle-Earth,” Marithil said.

“I know. My cousin loves all the animals of our forest and he is constantly bringing home one creature or another,” Melbenion said. He was surprised when Marithil started talking to him, but he did not let her know that.

“Bainoth does that also,” she said. “It makes my brother and me crazy. There is always some animal running through our house.”

Melbenion laughed, “I know that feeling. He lives in a different home, but Aunt Elwen is always fussing at him about the animals he brings home. Fortunately, we left with Trasta, otherwise we would have returned home to my aunt being extremely upset with the creature.”

Marithil smiled at him for a moment then they continued riding in silence. Melbenion tried to find something to talk about, but again he could not think of anything. When it started to grow dark, Melbenion found a good resting spot next to the River Nenning and dismounted from his horse. They all worked together to set up camp and ate the evening meal. After the meal, Serondrych and Bainoth went walking along the river still talking and Melbenion and Marithil remained at camp.

Marithil stood watching Serondrych and Bainoth for a few minutes then she turned to Melbenion. “You can not allow this to continue,” she said.

“I do not control my cousins’ life Marithil,” he said. He leaned back against the log where he sat waiting for her response.

“Something must be done to stop them,” she said. “My brother will not allow it. What happens when we return home? You cannot come to Doriath, and my brother will not allow her to go to your forest. Are you just going to allow your cousin to get hurt?”

“If you have all the answers Marithil, then perhaps you can stop them,” he said sarcastically.

“I do not have all of the answers Melbenion, but neither do I want to see my sister hurt,” she said to him impatiently.

“I do not care what Serondrych does. If he wants to live with a broken heart then that is his business, not mine.” Melbenion stood up and walked closer to the fire. He was angry with Marithil for ignoring him that day, as well as her deciding now that he should be the one to stop his foolish cousin.

“Do you not care what happens to Serondrych?” she asked.

“He is a grown elf Marithil and I am not his keeper,” Melbenion turned to her as he spoke.

“Then you are a fool! Family is important and you should be grateful for having one,” she said angrily. “What would you do if you lost your family?”

“I will not lose my family Marithil so I suppose that is not a problem that I need to worry about is it?” he said. He was getting angrier by the moment. The last thing he needed or wanted was for this she-elf to tell him what he should and should not be doing.

“I feel sorry for you Melbenion,” she said quietly. “You never know what tomorrow holds in store. Do you really think there is never a chance that you could lose some of your family? If you do then you are a bigger fool than I thought!” With that, she walked off in the direction of the river. Several minutes later, she returned with Bainoth. Serondrych followed them and he quickly went to the other side of the camp where he laid down with Trasta on his chest.

Melbenion walked over to where his cousin was lying down. “What did she say to you?” he asked.

“She said that Bainoth needed to come back to the camp and get some rest. Why do you ask cousin?” Serondrych said.

Melbenion thought on Marithils’ words for a few minutes then answered, “It does not matter cousin. Go to sleep and we will speak some more tomorrow.” Melbenion lay down and wrapped up in his cloak, but he found it difficult to sleep as Marithils’ words went through his mind repeatedly.

When dawn came the four travelers were up and preparing their horses to leave. Melbenion watched as Serondrych helped Bainoth with her horse and gear. It annoyed him to see him being so kind and in his opinion, doing more than he should be doing. “Serondrych, I am sure that Bainoth can take care of her own horse and gear!” he said angrily.

“I am sure she can Melbenion, but I like helping her so I am,” he said patiently.

“Then you are a fool cousin. Her sister has already said that there can not be a future between the two of you,” Melbenion said smugly, “So why bother pretending that there can be?”

“I did not help her because of any future we may or may not hope to have Melbenion,” Serondrych answered. He was starting to grow impatient with his cousin and his temper was starting to flare. He rarely got angry, but if he was pushed enough he could become quite angry. “I helped her because unlike you I have some manners and know how to be kind.”

Melbenion glared at his cousin. First, it was Marithil telling him off last night, now his cousin, who had never challenged him in his life, was embarrassing him again. He watched as everybody climbed onto his or her horse. He decided this was not the time to argue with his cousin, but he was sure that before this journey was over he was going to have to teach his cousin a serious lesson.

The days moved swiftly for them and the tension between Serondrych and Melbenion continued to grow each day. On the sixth evening, they reached the River Narog. Melbenion decided to wait until the following morning to find a place to cross the river, so they set up camp near the bank. Melbenion had grown increasingly angry as the days had gone by. His cousin continued to disregard his warning about the future with Bainoth and the two had now become inseparable. That evening after their meal, he saw Bainoth and Serondrych take their ritual evening walk and he stared at their backs as they headed to walk along the river.

“They are both fools if you want my opinion,” Melbenion said to Marithil. They had talked little over the last several days except to have arguments over Serondrych and Bainoth.

“My sister is not a fool, Melbenion,” she said angrily.

“I do not understand, you say they have no future together yet you defend her stupidity in falling in love with Serondrych,” he said. “I will never understand you.”

“I do not ask for you to understand me Melbenion,” she said angrily, “But that is my sister you are talking about and I would appreciate it if you would keep your mouth quiet! It is obvious that we cannot prevent them from falling in love. I know it will hurt both of them in the end, but you will not insult my sister again!”

“Then you are as big of a fool as your sister and my cousin!” he said.

“Melbenion you have gone too far this time cousin,” Serondrych said from behind him. Melbenion had not heard the couple return from their walk and he turned around to find his cousin staring at him angrily. Bainoth stood next to him with tears in her eyes. Serondrych sent her to her sister then stood in front of his cousin. “You will apologize to both Marithil and Bainoth now cousin!” he said angrily.

“No Serondrych, I will not apologize,” he said. He knew that the moment had come where he and his cousin were going to have to battle this out. He stood there waiting to see what his cousin would do. He smirked as he watched his cousin. The emotions that were going through Serondrych were written all over his face and Melbenion was sure his cousin would back down from the battle.

“I will ask you one more time Melbenion to apologize,” Serondrych said in a tight restrained voice, “If you do not then I will make you.”

Melbenion laughed. “Cousin you could not make me apologize for all the wealth in Middle-Earth.”

Serondrych raised his right fist and punched his cousin in the face. Melbenion staggered backward for a moment. He was shocked at first. He did not believe that Serondrych had the courage to hit him, but it would seem he was wrong. He quickly tackled Serondrych and drove him to the ground. The two rolled repeatedly, each hitting the other when the opportunity allowed for it. They could hear the two sisters’ shouting at them to stop. This battle had been building for too long, and Serondrych had finally had enough of his cousin being mean. They both regained their footing and continued to punch at each other. Melbenion grinned smugly as Serondrych dropped down on one knee. He was certain he was about to end the fight, but just as he went to strike, Serondrych ducked under the blow and grabbed Melbenion around the waist pushing him back against a tree trunk that stood beside the river. Melbenion was caught off guard by this sudden attack and he groaned as he was slammed against the tree. Serondrych leaned his weight against his cousin and placed his arm against his cousins’ throat. Melbenion knew he had lost and that only angered him more.

“I have had enough of your taunts Melbenion. You have done it my entire life and I have had it with you. You have the manners of a goat, and care about nobody but yourself,” Serondrych said angrily, “You walk around the forest thinking you are better than anybody else, and treat anybody who gets in your way as if they are an unimportant insect that you think you can just brush off your sleeve. One of these days you are going to wake up and discover that you do not have anybody that you can call friend or who will trust you.” Serondrych let all the years of taunts and rudeness rule his anger and words. He continued without releasing the pressure from his cousin at all, “Who will you turn to then cousin? Whom will you have to taunt and torment when there is nobody left in the forest that will even listen to you, much less trust you? What do you do when you find out your perfect little world is not so perfect?” Serondrych glared at his cousin, but as he finished speaking, he could feel the anger draining from him. “I am going to release you now cousin and I seriously suggest you consider what future you have when there is nobody who will even speak to you!” Serondrych slowly released the pressure from Melbenion. He was cautious in releasing him, as he expected his cousin to retaliate.

As Serondrych released Melbenion, he took a deep breathe and stared at his cousin. He rubbed his throat where Serondrych had put his arm to hold him in place against the tree, and then he pushed himself away from the tree and walked to the other side of the camp where he sat down on a log near the fire. It was obvious he had underestimated the strength and ability of his cousin and though he did not like it, he grudgingly admitted to himself that he was impressed. Nobody had ever been able to beat him; not even Garavon but Serondrych had done it in a matter of minutes. He sat there staring into the fire thinking on Serondrychs words. Had he really become such a bully? How had that happened? These were the thoughts running through his mind when he heard Marithil beside him.

“Are you alright?” she asked softly.

Melbenion laughed softly, “Now you want to know if I am alright.”

“Excuse me, I thought perhaps you might need a few of those cuts tended, but I will leave you to do it yourself,” she said angrily.

“Wait Marithil,” Melbenion said quickly when she started to walk away, “I am sorry. I did not mean to snap at you. It has been a bit of an eye opening night for me. I could use your help if you do not mind.”

Marithil looked down at Melbenion. Her expression softened as she saw the turmoil going through his mind at that moment. Then she realized he had actually apologized to her. She smiled brightly at him then said, “There is hope for you yet Melbenion.”

Melbenion laughed as she sat down with him and started cleaning up several cuts on his face. He watched her face as she washed the cuts and he grinned at her attempt not to hurt him any further. “You have beautiful eyes,” he suddenly said. He was looking into the most beautiful jade green eyes that he had ever seen.

Marithil looked into his eyes for a moment then she lowered her head blushing. “I think all of your cuts are taken care of now,” she said. “I do not envy you the bruises you will have tomorrow though.” She started to stand up but Melbenion grabbed her hand and she sat back down on the log.

“Please do not leave yet,” he said softly.

“Melbenion, the same rule applies to us as to my sister,” she said quietly.

“I know Marithil. Just sit here and talk with me for a short while please,” he asked her.

She looked at Melbenion and bit her lower lip unsure of herself for the first time in a long time. “I will sit here and talk with you for a short while,” she said smiling at him.

Melbenion grinned, “Do you know I have spent the entire trip trying to figure out how to get you to talk to me. If I had known that it would have taken a fight with my cousin then I would have done it sooner,” he said laughing.

Marithil smiled as he laughed. She liked his laughter, it was deep and rich, and she wondered why he did not do it more often. “A fight with your cousin was not the answer. I have spent the trip trying to ignore you,” she admitted.

“Why would you do that?” he asked.

Marithil stood up and looked down at him. “I have already told you Melbenion, there is no hope in a future. I will not allow myself to be heart broken,” she walked away from him and lay down wrapped up in her cloak.

After Serondrych had let Melbenion go, he watched as his cousin walked away and sat on the log. He turned and walked to the riverbank and stared out across it.

“Are you alright?” Bainoth asked.

“Yes I am fine Bainoth,” he said quietly. He felt her lay her hand on his arm and he turned to look at her. He gave her a faint smile, “It is alright Bainoth. I am just thinking. I have never lost my patience with my cousin before.”

“You can not always let him just get away with his rudeness Serondrych,” she said as she walked in front of him. “You only spoke the truth to him tonight nothing more.”

Serondrych took Bainoth in his arms and laid his head against the top of hers. “What about what Marithil said? Are we to never be allowed to wed?”

Bainoth wrapped her arms around Serondrych. She had never expected to fall in love with him, but now that she had, she was uncertain what the future would hold. “I do not know Serondrych. I know that you will not be able to go into Doriath to talk to my brother. I will talk to him once we are home. I know nothing more than that. I love you Serondrych and I will do anything in my power to see it happen.”

Serondrych put his hand under her chin and tilted it up, “I love you too Bainoth. If that is all we can have for now, then so be it.” Then he leaned his head down and kissed her gently.

The following morning as they were preparing to leave Melbenion watched as Serondrych once again helped Bainoth prepare to leave. Grinning he thought perhaps he could learn some lessons from his cousin after all. He looked to where Marithil was preparing her horse and he walked over to her. He reached around her with his hands and started to help her cinch her saddle.

“What are you doing?” Marithil asked.

“I just thought perhaps I could help you,” he said grinning down at her.

Marithil glared at him and tried to shove him away with her shoulder. “I can prepare my horse on my own Melbenion.” This was going to be hard. While Melbenion had been the arrogant, ill-tempered elf, it was easy to ignore him. With him trying to be charming, it was more difficult, but even that could be accomplished. Having him stand so close to her with his arms around her, it was next to impossible.

Melbenion laughed softly, “I am not trying to do it all for you Marithil, I am only trying to help.”

Marithil groaned in frustration. What was she going to do? “I appreciate your help Melbenion, but I can do this myself,” she said.

“I know you can,” he said as he leaned down to whisper in her ear, “I just like having my arms around you.” Melbenion laughed as Marithil turned scarlet red and quickly ducked down under his arm and moved to stand at the head of her horse. He quickly finished cinching her saddle then turned to her. “There we go, all finished,” he said with a huge grin on his face.

Serondrych and Bainoth had watched the exchange between Melbenion and Marithil with amusement. Serondrych turned to Bainoth to help her on her horse. “I wonder what that is all about?” he asked her.

Bainoth laughed gently as she placed her hands on Serondrychs’ shoulders, “It would seem that my sister has a suitor. He is a brave elf if you ask me.”

“Why is that?” he asked as he lifted her onto the horse.

“My sister has managed to keep many suitors away with that sharp tongue of hers,” she said laughing.

Serondrych looked over at Melbenion as he continued to help Marithil. “Then it may be a good thing that he is so stubborn after all,” he said laughing with Bainoth. “Are you ready to go cousin?” he called out to Melbenion. They had not talked to each other since their fight the evening before and Serondrych was unsure how his cousin would respond to him.

Melbenion tensed for a moment when he heard Serondrychs’ question. He stood for a moment staring at the beautiful she-elf in front of him as he attempted to continue to help her. When he tensed, Marithil put a hand on his arm and he looked down at her. As he stared into the depths of her eyes, he suddenly realized that he was completely lost. He grinned down at her, “Yes Serondrych, my dear cousin, I believe we are ready.” Melbenion quickly and unexpectedly leaned down, kissed Marithil, and walked away with a grin at his cousin. “I think now would be the perfect time to leave.”

It was all Serondrych could do not to burst into laughter. Marithil stood next to her horse for several moments, and then turning quickly to hide her blush, she jumped up on her horse and started riding off.

Melbenion quickly rode off after her with Serondrych and Bainoth following close behind them. The days quickly flowed from one to another as they covered the ground toward Doriath until at last the borders were within sight. Melbenion called a halt even though it was still early and they could have reached the borders before dark. He was not ready for the journey to end, or to let the sisters go yet. He knew tomorrow he would have to, but tonight he meant to spend with Marithil. They quietly worked together to set up camp and prepare the evening meal. At last, when all was finished, Serondrych and Bainoth walked off together for their ritual walk. Melbenion watched his cousin for a few moments as he walked with Bainoth tucked under one arm. Marithil, he thought. What was he going to do? He had never expected to fall in love with her, yet he had and tomorrow he would have to let her go. He turned to look for her and found her near the border of their campsite with her arms folded across her chest as she stared off at the borders of Doriath. Melbenion walked up behind her and put his arms around her with his chin resting on the top of her head. He was surprised when she actually leaned back into his embrace and he tightened his arms just a little.

“I do not want to go home,” she said quietly.

“I do not want you to go home either, but what choice do we have?” he asked her.

She turned in his arms so that she was facing him. “I had sworn that I would not fall in love with you Melbenion. It would seem that I have failed,” she said as she gently stroked the side of his face. “You have changed so much over the last several days as we have journeyed home. Now I find I do not want to leave you.” She leaned her head against his chest.

Melbenion felt like the very breath was being sucked out of him. “Marithil,” he said quietly, “I do not want to leave you either. I love you and to let you go is going to be the death of me.”

“No Melbenion; Bainoth and I will find a way. I do not know how yet, but we will I promise. Do not give up on us,” she said looking up at him. He saw there were tears in her eyes and he leaned down and kissed her tightening his embrace as he did.

“I will never give up my love. I promise. Somehow we must find a way,” he said quietly pulling her back against his chest. He rested his chin on the top of her head again as he stared off at Doriath. Tomorrow his life would change forever.

The night found the couples holding each other close. All were afraid to sleep for fear the night would pass too quickly and they knew with the dawn they would have to part. As hard as they tried to prevent it, the dawn arrived and they slowly prepared to leave their camp. Melbenion and Serondrych spent extra time preparing all of the horses and small touches, glances and even brief kisses were shared, but eventually all was ready. They mounted their horses and rode to the border of Doriath where they all dismounted. Border guards came out of the forest as the group reached the border.

Melbenion pulled Marithil into his arms again, leaned down, and kissed her. He did not care who saw, only that he did not want to leave her. She finally pulled back with a quiet, “I love you,” and then she turned to the forest waiting for her sister.

Serondrych was also kissing Bainoth goodbye. Serondrych reached into his pouch and pulled out Trasta. He petted the furry creature for a moment then handed him to Bainoth. “Take good care of him for me,” he said.

Bainoth took Trasta into her arms and gently hugged him close to her. Then she smiled up at him with tears in her eyes. They both caressed each other’s face for a moment, and then she turned with her sister and walked into the forest. As they reached the edge of the forest, they both turned and looked back at the cousins, then Marithil took her sister in her arms and they entered the forest.

Melbenion and Serondrych watched the forest for several minutes waiting for the sisters to come back out, but they never did. Finally, they mounted their horses and rode toward home. They started out riding slowly, but as time passed, they picked up the pace and had their horses running in a full gallop in no time. They rode hard for several hours then they pulled the horses to a slow canter for about another hour. They finally stopped to rest and Melbenion asked Serondrych, “Do you want to stop for the evening to rest?”

“No cousin, I do not. I want to get home as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Me too,” Melbenion said quietly.

They both climbed back onto their horses and rode off again. They continued this pattern for several days until they reached the crossing over the River Teiglin, and then up through the forest until the reached the valley of horses and their home.

They both worked together quietly as they unsaddled their horses and rubbed them down. They were finishing when they heard, “Welcome home.”

They turned to see Garavon waiting for them. “Thank you Garavon,” they answered in unison. They grabbed their gear and started down the path leading to the community.

“Melbenion after you speak with grandfather do you want to go out to our hideaway?” Garavon asked.

“No Garavon I do not. I am exhausted. Serondrych and I have ridden for several days without any rest,” he said. He started to walk away, but stopped for a moment. “You can come with us to talk with grandfather though if you would like,” he said.

“Alright I will do that for now and we can meet tomorrow,” Garavon answered.

Melbenion smiled briefly at his cousin and they continued walking down the path until the reached the edge of the community. His sister Ithildin was waiting nearby for them, but he stopped for a moment and looked around. Serondrych and Garavon stopped and looked at him.

“What is wrong Melbenion?” Serondrych asked.

Ithildin had walked up to them and he smiled at his sister, and then looked at Serondrych. “Nothing is the same,” he said.

“What are you talking about Melbenion?” Garavon asked laughing. “Nothing has changed here.”

Serondrych smiled at Melbenion, “No nothing has changed here.”

Melbenion grinned at his cousin then looking at his sister and Garavon he said, “Come on, we need to see grandfather then I think I will collapse in my bed for the next week.”

Serondrych laughed, “I agree with you cousin. I think bed for a week will probably not be long enough.”

The cousins walked side by side with Ithildin and Garavon following close behind them. They followed the path that lead up to their grandparents’ house. As they walked into the main room, they found their grandparents and parents there waiting for them. Melbenion pulled out the parchment that Lord Cirdan had given him. “Here is the message from Lord Cirdan grandfather,” he said.

“Thank you Melbenion,” he said taking the parchment from him, “Did the two of you enjoy your journey?”

Melbenion and Serondrych looked at each other then their grandfather. “The journey went well grandfather,” Melbenion answered.

“It was an interesting experience,” Serondrych said, “But I am glad to be home.”

“If you will excuse us grandfather, we are both exhausted and need to rest,” Melbenion said.

“Of course, go ahead and get some rest and we can talk tomorrow,” he said.

Melbenion and Serondrych turned and walked out of the main room and back into the community. They stopped as they exited the path from their grandparents’ home and looked around. “For some strange reason I feel lost cousin,” Melbenion said. “I do not know what is wrong.”

“Yes you do Melbenion,” Serondrych said looking closely at his cousin, “We have both changed during this journey.”

Melbenion smiled at Serondrych for a moment, “Yes you are right, we have.” They grinned at each other for a moment then continued walking to their homes. They parted company and each went to their room where they fell into their beds and slept until the following day.

A month had come and gone and the two cousins had finally settled into a new routine. For Melbenion everything had changed. He started working with his grandfather in training the younger elves while Serondrych had returned to tending the horses. Often, during the evenings the two would go to Serondrychs’ favorite spot near the valley of horses.

Melbenion still had the feeling of being lost, but he was slowly adjusting. He had not gone out to his hideaway with Garavon since his return. He spent the afternoons practicing with him and some of the other younger elves, but he had not wanted to go to their hideaway. Finally, one afternoon when he was wondering through the community he decided he needed to go out there. He walked into the forest, found their secret hideaway, and climbed up onto the platform. Melbenion stared at all of the items he had brought from Eglarest for himself and Garavon. He wondered how his life had ever been so shallow. Melbenion leaned over and picked up the bow he had bought for himself on his previous trip. What had once looked so beautiful now looked dull and lifeless. He started pulling several of the items he had bought for himself out and wrapped them up in a cloak he had also purchased on a different trip.

“What are you doing?” he heard Garavon exclaiming from below the platform. Garavon pulled the ladder to the platform down and climbed up. “Why are you removing everything?”

“I am not removing your stuff Garavon, just what had once belonged to me,” Melbenion said.

“Why would you do that Melbenion? What is wrong with you?” Garavon asked. “You have not been yourself since you returned from your trip to Eglarest.”

“I am glad to hear that Garavon. I do not like the elf I use to be,” Melbenion answered. He stared off into the distance unfocused on any particular item, just gazing.

“What are you talking about?” Garavon asked. “We use to have a lot of fun up here.”

Melbenion sat on the edge of the platform with his feet dangling over the side, “I know. Remember when we hid up here for two days so that we would not get into trouble with our fathers for picking on our sisters?” Melbenion asked.

“Of course I do. We still got into trouble when we got home,” Garavon sat down next to him as they talked.

“Do you remember all the times we use to pick on Serondrych because he was always following us around, or was taking care of some silly animal?” Melbenion asked again.

“Yes, to torment him was one of our favorite things to do,” Garavon said laughing.

Melbenion looked at his cousin for a moment, “Garavon did you ever once consider standing up for your brother and defending him?”

“No I did not Melbenion. He was a pest, you know that,” Garavon was starting to get impatient as Melbenion continued to stare at him.

“We are family Garavon. All of us, this entire community and we should always stand up for each other.” With that, Melbenion stood up and grabbed the bundle of his once precious treasures, climbed down from the tree, and headed back to the community.

“Melbenion have you taken leave of all of your senses?” Garavon asked as he followed him into the community.

“No cousin, I have found them,” he simply answered and continued walking to his grandfathers’ house. When he reached the main room, he found his grandfather, father, and uncle at the table talking.

“What do you have there Melbenion?” Thalion asked his son.

Melbenion walked up to the table and set his bundle down. “This is some stuff I bought in Eglarest on the many trips I have made there father,” he said opening his bundle. He pulled out the bow and several other items and handed them to his father. “I once thought there was nothing more precious than theses items, but I have since learned that there is,” he said. He looked at the items lying on the table then looked up at his father, “I do not want these anymore. Please do whatever you want with them. If you will excuse me now, I think I will go talk with Serondrych.”

“What happened on your journey?” Thalion asked his son as he started to leave the room.

Melbenion turned and looked at his father. Then smiling he said, “I learned what was really important father, that is all. If you will excuse me, I will see you later.” Melbenion walked out of the main room and headed to the valley of horses in search of his cousin.

Thalion looked at his brother and father, then at the items lying on the table. “Something must have really changed those two,” he said.

Tauron looked up at Garavon and asked, “Do you have a collection also?”

“Yes father I do. Melbenion brought them home for me when he went to Eglarest,” he answered.

“You may keep it if you like, however I would like to see it,” his father said.

Garavon was just about to answer when some of the border guards walked in escorting some other elves with them. One stepped forward and said, “My name is Tathar and I was hoping we could talk.”

Tauron, Thalion, and Lord Lathron stared at each other, and then Lord Lathron nodded. The elves sat down on chairs that were offered to them as they all talked.

When Melbenion reached the valley of horses, he looked for Serondrych. He was not near the shed where the gear was stowed but he knew where to find him. He walked around the valley to Serondrychs’ favorite spot and found him sitting against the trunk of a large tree. “I thought perhaps you could use some company,” he said.

Serondrych grinned up at his cousin and moved over a little, “There is plenty of room here for the both of us.”

Melbenion sat down next to his cousin. “What are you thinking about?” Melbenion asked as they gazed out across the valley.

“I was thinking of beautiful blue eyes,” Serondrych said, “And soft red lips. Her soft laugh and light touches.”

Melbenion laughed softly, “I was thinking of beautiful jade green eyes, her temper, her soft kiss, and soft dark hair.”

The cousins smiled at each other and sat in silence for a while staring out across the valley. They sat like that in companionable silence for a long time. Suddenly they were both startled out of their thought as a small, gray, furry creature scampered over them and onto Serondrych. “How did you get here Trasta?” Serondrych asked.

“I brought him,” they heard. Melbenion and Serondrych looked up to see Marithil and Bainoth standing there. For a moment they stared at the sister in shock, sure they had conjured them up from their thoughts. Then they realized they were really standing there and they both jumped up.

Melbenion grabbed Marithil and swung her around. Then he set her down and kissed her soundly hugging her into his embrace.

Serondrych took Bainoth into his arms also and kissed her. Then held her back from him and held her face in his hands just staring at her. Then he took her into his arms and kissed her again.

“It would seem Tathar that you were correct,” Thalion said.

Melbenion and Serondrych looked up at their fathers as they leaned against a tree grinning at their sons. “It would seem the two of you failed to mention a small detail about your journey,” Tauron said.

Serondrych grinned at his father, “We never figured that we would ever see them again father, so we did not mention it.”

“We thought they were lost to us forever,” Melbenion said.

“Well I can now understand the changes in our sons Tauron, what do you think?” Thalion asked.

“It would seem to me that the two had very good reasons now for wandering around here looking a little lost. Such pretty she-elves they have,” Tauron teased.

“Indeed Tauron, I think we should get busy and get homes prepared for them. What do you think?” Thalion asked still teasing the cousins.

“Wait a minute,” Melbenion said. “How did the two of you get here? What about your brother?”

“I decided I would prefer to see my sisters happy, than to see them walking around crying,” a strange elf said walking up. “I can see now that they will truly be happy here with you, so it does my heart good to say that if you wish to marry them you may.”

Melbenion and Serondrych grinned at each other then down at their loves. “Oh yes Tathar, I know I personally want to marry Bainoth,” Serondrych said grinning at the she-elf in his arms.

“I definitely want to marry Marithil,” Melbenion said grinning. He hugged Marithil to him even tighter.

“Well it would look like we have a couple of weddings to plan,” Thalion said grinning at his brother. The group walked back to the community and celebrated that evening, the upcoming weddings.

The month went by quickly as the entire community worked together to make a home for Melbenion and Serondrych and their soon to be wives. The day of the wedding arrived and everybody was rushing around making preparations. That evening the wedding was held for both of the couples. They celebrated late into the evening and soon retired to their new homes. The next day Garavon watched as the new couples walked through the community thanking different elves for all of their help with building their homes and the preparations for the wedding. Marithil and Bainoths’ brother had left that morning to return to Doriath, but he had left with the promise that he would return for a visit as soon as his duties would allow. Garavon walked out to the hideaway where he and Melbenion use to sit for hours talking. He sat on the edge of the platform thinking about what Melbenion had told him the day that the sisters had arrived here at the forest. He suddenly realized what he had meant when he said the entire community was family. Garavon stood up and looked at the treasures he still had hidden in the tree. Then he took a cloak, wrapped them all up, and climbed down from the tree. He walked to the practice field where his father was at, and handed the bundle to him.

“What is this for Garavon?” Tauron asked his son.

“I realized there is something else I want more father,” Garavon said grinning at his father.

“What would that be Garavon?” Tauron asked.

“I want what Melbenion and Serondrych have. I want family and friends,” he answered. “These items are just little trinkets compared to the love they have with their new wives. Someday, I hope I will be lucky enough to find someone just like they have.” Garavon smiled at his father then turned and walked away.

Tauron watched as his son walked into the community to join his brother, cousin and their wives. “You will Garavon. Someday, you will.”

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