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Serondai crept into the room, and waited for her eyes to adjust to the dimness. It looked as though Legolas had left in a hurry. There were items of clothing strewn across the floor, papers hanging out of draws, the sheets of the bed tangled and untidy. Wrapping her cloak tighter around her shoulders, she moved across the room to the desk where piles of paper were hoarded and a dried up ink pot was lying on its side with the quill inside. The room itself had a fresh smell, like the morning after a night of rain and even though it was untidy, it felt homely and cosy, but she felt an emptiness emanating from around her which made her disheartened and sad. She picked up a burgundy tunic, the only one folded, from the bed and held it up releasing a sigh of helplessness. She hugged it to her breast, knowing deep inside how much she already missed the soft and loving nature of her friend. Sitting at the desk, she crossed her legs elegantly and scanned the writing on the parchments placed in front of her and one in particular caught her attention. It had been torn into four pieces and so picking them up, she arranged them into their original shape and read the words out loud to herself

"You do not know the truth and I love you, but with my stolen youth I curse. I live my life like a bird without feathers, with wings but unable to soar," she paused to read the next word which had been sliced in two, "from your frozen eyes I feel my sun and yet you share your light. The cold of winter freezes all but my heart, but if only. Then I would succumb to numbness. But you are the one that I love, and you are the knife in my heart."

Serondai, overcome with sadness held a hand to her lips, unable to believe such words of beauty could have been written by her amorous friend, who had always seemed in such high spirits. She had no idea his love was so great, his heart so broken and his soul so torn and she struggled to understand who should cause him so great a pain. There was not an elf in Rivendell whom he had shown any interest in so perhaps in Mirkwood was where his affection lay, but no, would he have not returned sooner if so? She could not fathom it out. Suddenly surmounted with anger that anyone had dared to reject the golden haired elf, she crammed the remaining pieces of the poem into a pocket and gathered some others, carrying them tightly in her arms before fleeing the room. Why had he not told her he was in love? She did not know, but she knew she would find out who with if it was the last thing she did.

***

"Elrohir!?" Elladan almost screamed, casting the silver, wooden door of his twin's chambers against the wall. Elrohir had been expecting him, and failed to react. He was sat quite comfortably in his chair with his arms folded, upon his face a nonchalant expression which was almost mocking.

"Elladan," he greeted, nodding his head, "I thought I would see you before long. I trust you wish to discuss the issue of our parting ways so I may study in Lorien with the Lady Galadriel. It is a shame you do not wish to come with me for I believe it would have been a remarkable experience for us both to share. The Lady rarely offers to tutor any outside of the Golden Wood...." "I fail to understand what has happened to you Elrohir?! I once thought you would be at my side until the bitter end, but now you are deserting me."

"*I* am deserting *you*! I have followed you everywhere all of our lives without a word of protest and now you accuse me of such a thing as abandoning you!? You are too busy concerning yourself with your own interests and that pathetic mortal girl whom you have fallen for," he stood to his full height, level with Elladan. In many ways the twins were alike, obviously in looks though they often wore their hair differently so they were distinguishable, but their temperaments were quite diverse. Elladan had a fiery temper and was of an impulsive nature, always inclined to defend his honour and the honour of his loved ones in the way of force. Locked somewhere deep inside his heart was his more loving side though, and once someone had reached it then it could be broken free. He had inherited the alluring appeal his father had, the sleek dark hair and captivating grey eyes which even though were identical to Elrohir's had more life and presence. However Elrohir was more subdued, more blasť and was calm in almost any situation feeling neither obligated nor compelled to seek revenge or to 'defend honour.' His brother had once been his idol, his protector even and recently Elladan's attitude towards him had begun to grate on his nerves so he thought it best he set out on his own in the world without the watchful eye of his twin. Lothlorien was his first step.

Elladan was seething with fury and he lashed out. Elrohir stumbled and fell backwards in utter surprise, blood dripping from his nose. Never before had his brother hit him, they had never even play-fought as children and suddenly Elladan's temper had begun to frighten him. Cowering backwards he held up an arm to protect himself- if he ever succeeded in challenging him to fight and knew he could not win for he was not as large in build and would without doubt suffer a shameful defeat. Elladan grasped the collar of his blue morning robe and pulled him to his feet, bringing his face inches from his.

"How dare you speak of Serondai in that manner! I advise you to take it back!"

"Pah!" Elrohir spat mockingly. He continued with authority though he felt afraid inside, "I will not! I merely speak the truth for few humans are to be trusted by the elves anymore, least of all a girl whom we hardly know anything of her past. She is far cry from noble and she does not belong here. She is not beautiful or of an elven lineage, she does not have a family. You should have realised you are merely another pawn in her game. We do not know that she was not sent to us as a spy for the growing enemy in the south. "

Elladan released him, at the same time throwing him backwards almost knocking him to the ground for a second time. Elrohir dabbed at the blood dripping from his face.

"You are walking on thin ice Elrohir," Elladan said, advancing, "you are making up cruel lies and if you proceed in doing so I shall not be held responsible for my actions."

"But *are* they lies?!" Elrohir hissed, growing desperate. Enough was enough. Elladan lunged at him and pinned him with ease against the far wall, "what is the matter brother?" he choked; gripping the fingers around his neck with his own, "It seems I have hit a nerve."

Elladan gave a loud shout and hit him again, this time in the stomach. Elrohir keeled over in agony and fell to his knees, gasping for air.

"Apologise and I will not strike you again," Elladan snapped. Elrohir struggled to his feet, feeling winded but none-the-less surprisingly robust. If he was to be defeated, he would not be defeated easily and for once was prepared to fight, even if it meant hurting his own brother and the destruction of their relationship. What Elrohir lacked in pride, he made up for in determination and throwing himself forward with all his might he propelled Elladan against the wall and felt satisfaction in the groan of pain emitted from the lips of his brother. Elladan grasped his waist and succeeded in battling him to the floor and landed another blow across Elrohir's cheek immediately causing a nasty gash that would require elven healing remedies. He tightened his fingers around his neck as he caught his breath, whilst Elrohir clawed at the attacking hands feeling the air leave his lungs. Elladan's temper had always been dangerous, but no one had ever expected what had happened. His family had always joked that one day he would kill someone with his scorching looks, but now it seemed this was fast becoming a reality in a much more literal sense than anticipated. Elladan was tightening his grip by the second, and Elrohir could feel himself becoming weaker until a wave of dizziness overcame him and he blacked out.

***

Serondai dashed along the corridors, up the stairs and round many corners to find him, until at last she came across him in the stables enjoying the final day of his punishment though he wondered where Elladan had got to. He had a brush in his hand and was sweeping while singing absent mindlessly a tune about the elves of old. Serondai halted in front of him and he looked up and grinned wide mouthed.

"Ah! Have you come to help me because Elladan has not arrived yet?" Teruthiel halted his sweeping and leaned on the brush.

"Did you know about this?" Serondai asked, ignoring his question. She thrust the poems underneath his nose and he glanced over them wondering if she had guessed....

"Did I know about what?" he answered finally, resuming his work until he knew more. Serondai snatched the brush off him.

"You know *exactly* what I am talking about Teruthiel!" she cried, casting the brush aside. Lindir had materialised to see what the commotion was about and shouted from behind a horse.

"Stop cavorting with the females Teruthiel. The faster you work the faster you can leave, and the faster I can have my breakfast!" he lowered his voice and muttered to himself, "who knows what Elladan has done with himself, that boy gets worse every day. He is not a bit like his father- I do not know *where* he gets it from."

Teruthiel leaned over and retrieved the brush all in one movement and stepped away from the girl, trying his best to avoid her eyes. She was *very* persistent and had a gaze like ice when it suited her.

"Teruthiel, please," she said, without a hint of harshness in her voice. He sensed in her desperation and extreme anxiety. Turning to her, he took one of the poems. He had not read one before and could hardly say he was not intrigued. After about a minute he looked up and sighed deeply, "Do you know who this girl is that he has fallen for? I must know Teruthiel! If you know who it is you must tell me!"

Teruthiel shook his head, "I am afraid I do not. He never spoke with me about such an interest in anyone. If he is in love with someone then he has not told me."

"I can sense you are lying. You must think I have learnt nothing from living among elves Teruthiel. I beg you, do not keep me in the dark any longer as Legolas is my friend and I wish for nothing more than to be here for him always. I know you think I have treated him badly, and I know you must despise me at times, but understand that I am, after all, human and I have no control over what I feel. I want to do everything I can for him. I want to find this girl and his explain how much he loves her."

"You can not do that though," Teruthiel said, meaning something hidden to her.

"What do you mean?" Serondai asked, frowning.

"I mean you can not force these things to happen, though I wish with all my heart that this obstinate girl would open her eyes to him," Teruthiel commented, picking up a bundle of hay.

"So you know who it is?!" Serondai exclaimed, gripping his arm.

"I did not say so. Even if I did, unless I was asked otherwise I would tell no one, not even you Serondai," he said, outwardly with scorn. He could see the hurt in her eyes and he regretted his words, "I am sorry Serondai. I do not know who this girl is, but I am sure there is a good reason for Legolas keeping it to himself if indeed there is a secret to be kept."

"I only wish I had seen these poems before...they are so beautiful. I did not realise he had the gift of words and now I may never get to tell him or ask him about it. I could have asked him to write me a poem," she smiled, glancing across the first line of another of the parchments.

Teruthiel thought for a moment. He wished he knew nothing. He sometimes even wished he had never met Legolas Greenleaf, then his life would be much simpler, but he was glad to have his friendship even if it caused him too much grief.

"I am sure he already has....."

***

Elrohir turned over onto his side and groaned from the sharp pain in his head.

"How are we feeling?" said Erestor, touching lightly at his forehead with a damp cloth.

"Sore," he mumbled, opening one eye, "what happened?"

"Glorfindel and I happened to be passing by your chambers and we heard somewhat of a scuffle, which is when we decided to investigate. We found Elladan with your limp body in his arms and you had blacked out. We informed your father and brought you here to tend to your wounds," Erestor replied, pulling his chair closer.

"And what of Elladan?"

"I saw a fury in him that I had never seen in anyone, not even a beast. We struggled to restrain him after he saw us in the doorway, but we were forced to lock him in his room. He banged on the door for almost an hour before he calmed down; your father was trying to convince him to explain to him what had happened to enrage him, but all he received were torrents of verbal abuse."

"It was my fault. I was angry and I provo..." he grimaced as he sat up, "I provoked him. I said some things that should not have been uttered by his twin brother. I hurt him Erestor, I hurt him deeply and I deserved everything he did to me. Emotional hurt must be far worse than physical hurt."

"Still," Erestor said, squeezing the cloth into a bowl before dabbing his wounds with it, "his actions were irrational and unnecessary. Elrond is livid with his behaviour and I think this is the very last he is going to accept. I do not know how severe a punishment he will bestow, but I imagine it will be one tremendously harsh. He could have killed you if had wanted to."

"I thought he did at the time," Elrohir whispered sadly, waving Erestor's hand away and taking the cloth to tend to his own wounds himself, "I know he is in love with the girl as well as you and yet I affronted her so brutally. It is no wonder he unleashed such an attack upon me. I love him dearly, and I deeply regret all I have said to him. I only hope he forgives me..."

Meanwhile, Elladan was sat on the corner of the bed in his room listening for his father behind the door of whom he had been speaking with for almost two hours. Elrond did not trust his son to stay calm and therefore kept the door firmly shut and locked, however currently Elladan had managed to compose himself.

"You have still not explained to me what Elrohir said to you Elladan," Elrond shouted. He was sat upon a small wooden chair beside his door, drinking some wine to calm *himself* down. His sons had never had an argument quite like this one and it was beyond him what he could do to repair the damage. Glorfindel was working; he had no time to offer any words of advice and Erestor was tending to his other beaten son. Lindir was working also and Gildor was in Lothlorien on urgent business. This situation was one Elrond would have to deal with by himself.

And I Say Farewell