December 7, 2006

“So what do you do here for fun during the winter?” Arwen was being escorted about Lothlorien by a small company of the Galadhrim who were usually assigned to the royal talan. Among them, Celebdreth, her cousin and son of her Uncle Rumil, and Dinendal, a young ellon who had been taken in by her Uncle Haldir when Dinendal’s parents disowned him. They had made their way from one neighborhood to the next, though for all it was worth, Arwen tended to think that all of the neighborhoods looked basically the same.

Dinendal shrugged. “We tend to do basically the same things in winter as we do in the summer. Snow does not reach into the Naith.”

“Oh.” Arwen looked to Celebdreth. “Then what is it you do here?”

“Well... we... we guard the trees,” he said, which was answered with much nodding and an affirmative murmur from the other wardens. “We hunt, and we fish, and we swim, and we... we...” Celebdreth stopped, nearly causing Ferevellon to walk into his back. Turning around, he asked, “What else DO we do here?”

“We guard the trees,” spoke one of the ones in the back.

“He already said that!” answered another.

“What about diving? I am not much for swimming, but I like diving,” said another.

Celebdreth gritted his teeth. “I think it all ends up in the same category, generally.”

“We drink wine!”

“Not like the elves in Mirkwood!”

To this, all of them, even Arwen, laughed. “We play music, and we dance sometimes,” offered another.

Arwen held up her hand. “But what do you have here that no one else does?”

Answering in synchronicity, in an almost eerie fashion, all of the guards said at once, “Lady Galadriel, the mistress of light.”

“Aaah... right,” responded Arwen, deciding not to ask if they were all part of some sort of cult she did not know of, with the way their eyes glazed over in an unnatural way. “So,” she said, walking again, trying not to giggle at how they all trailed after her, “is there anything else that you do here? Any games or sports you play?”

Fereveldir, Thandronen’s other twin son, grinned mischievously at his brother, and then stepped forward, forcing Dinendal out of the way. “If her ladyship likes, I have a game I think you might wish to try playing. I think we have just the right number of players for it, too.”

“Oh? Do tell,” said Arwen cheerfully, stopping in a clearing.

“It goes a little something like this.” Fereveldir pulled from his belt a blindfold and held it out to Arwen. “First, you shall need to be blindfolded.”

“Oh, well, alright then. What is the name of this game, if I might inquire?”

“I call it ‘Galadhrim Challenge’,” said Fereveldir. “Now, the next thing I shall do is spin you around and around and around.”

Peeking from beneath the blindfold and taking a step back from the bold guardian, Arwen asked, “Could I not just spin around and around on my own?”

“Oh, but m’lady, what if you were to trip and fall? We simply could not have that happen. That is why I shall need to spin you instead. After I spin you,” continued Fereveldir, tugging the blindfold back down over Arwen’s eyes, “the challenge will be for you to try not to get caught by one of us.”

“And... will you have blindfolds, too?” asked Arwen, again lifting the blindfold to reveal an innocent, doe eyed look.

“Why, my good lady, of course not! How could we be sure of your safety in these woods if we were to be blindfolded, too?”

Arwen frowned. “It does not seem like much of a challenge if I am the only one blindfolded.”

“Did you want to play the game or not?”

For a moment, it looked as if Arwen was going to remove the blindfold and beat Fereveldir with it. Instead she nodded slowly.

“Wonderful. Ready?” Fereveldir pulled the blindfold snuggly over Arwen’s eyes again, only to leap away a moment later as something else caught his eye.

“Atten-tion!” Captain Haldir marched over to the group of very naughty Galadhrim, clicking his tongue and shaking his head. “I give you one simple assignment—“

“Sir, beg your pardon,” interrupted Fereveldir. “We were only meaning to show Lady Arwen a few of the local customs.”

“No doubt,” Haldir said sarcastically. “I think I heard Lord Celeborn calling for all of you to get back to your posts.”

“Sir, I do not think I heard—“

“Doubletime!” growled their commander, and the guardians scattered. As soon as they were gone, Arwen, her blindfold pushed up so that she could see, covered her mouth with her hands and giggled. Haldir sighed and shook his head. “You see what I have to put up with?”

“I know I did not believe you in your letters, but you are right. They are not to be trusted! I am very glad I did not bring my ladies in waiting along, as you suggested I did not.”

“I can only imagine the scandals that could have occurred had they come. Sorry it took me so long to brief everyone on your party’s arrival,” he apologized, offering his arm to her. “Might I give you a real tour of Lothlorien for the trouble?”

“Yes, please,” she said, taking his arm. “I do so want to know what it is you do here. For fun that is, besides the guarding of the trees and such.”

Haldir considered her question as they strolled. “Hmm... well, we... we hunt, and we fish, and we swim, and... hmmm... what DO we do around here all day...?”