It was close to sunset.
Araviel was still standing, awaiting the much colder chill of night. He had seen no elves all evening and felt very much alone. Just when he was beginning to fall into a light sleep, a soft noise woke him up. He opened his keen green eyes immediatly and looked over the edge of the flet he was lying on. He just barely caught a glimpse of a green haze and two dark headed figures, running deeper into the forest.
Probably Elladan and Elrohir looking for me. He thought glumly. The two sons of Elrond, long friends of Legolas were staying in Mirkwood along with their sister, Arwen. They meant to leave days ago, but decided to stay until the weather cleared.
Araviel dropped down on his stomach, his head hitting the hard wood with a dull thud. Better for them not to see me, he thought, looking over the edge of the flet. He was steadfast in his wish to remain the night in the tree and prove his friends wrong. If Elladan and Elrohir, or Legolas caught him, he would be sent straightaway to his father’s hall. After a few sobbing hugs from his mother, he would face the wrath of his father. He knew it would be easier to take his father’s stern voice if he could do so knowing he had beaten the other boy’s challenge. After a few moments he sat up, still trying to be quiet and not alert the keen ears of Elladan and Elrohir.
Araviel didn’t like them much, but he was a bit in awe of the two swift sons of Elrond. They never really had anything to say to him, always when they came they immediatly left with Legolas. But they were both tall and strong dark and handsome, all the elven maidens of age swooned when they came near.
Araviel had no use for handsome looks. He saw more of their amazing abilities than the dark, sweeping faces that seemed to cast a spell on all the she elves, even his twin sister, Aranel. He wondered at how they could ride so fast and hunt so well. His brother spoke a little deeper when they were around, and seemed to perform his duties as a prince a little better, almost as if trying to impress his two friends.
When the children of Elrond visited, Araviel was more interested in Arwen. The she elf was about his age and didn’t prefer the quiet, orderly maiden games Aranel liked to play. She much preferred to go riding with Araviel or swimming at midnight when they were supposed to be asleep. She had a mischevious glint to her beautiful grey eyes that was also noticed in Araviel’s green ones. If she was beautiful, Araviel didn’t recognize it. He saw more of her muddy, dirty side than her clean, majestic side. She seemed happier when she was out in the woods, not putting on a fake face for the king of Mirkwood.
Araviel chuckled a little to himself as he thought of what Arwen would say when she found out where he was tonight. He knew she wouldn’t be worried, he knew she would be jealous. If she had been up on the flet with him, the night would have been far less dull.
Some very odd things happen in this world.
Araviel heard a small whinny and the clomping of horses at a run. He turned quickly to peer over the other edge of the flet hoping the rider wasnt Legolas. He knew his brother would have a few words to say, and maybe a few ways to emphasize them that Araviel was sure he wouldn’t like. His fears were doused though, as he saw long black hair flowing back from the small head of the rider. It was Arwen.
“What do you think you’re doing up there stupid?” she asked, an angry glint clearly visible in her gray eyes, and an angry edge clearly audible in her high, elven voice.
“Find a way up here and I’ll tell you, Beatenscar!” he retorted, voicing his greatest insult against her. The two were close enough to kid like that, and he enjoyed making fun of her role in the elven world as a ‘lady’. The terms lady and gentleman were seldom understood by the two partners in crime.
“Hey!” she yelled and grabbed hold of a low branch. With the agility of a cat, she was soon up in the tree, standing next to a gaping Araviel.
“Oh, Ar, you know I didn’t mean it!” he said.
“I certainly hope not, Aravismell!” she retorted.
“Well, its not like calling me ‘stupid’ is much nicer,” he said.
“Oh well, sorry,” she said, sounding exasperated and not in the least sincere.
“And in answer to your question, your royal ladyship,” he began, slowly.
“Oh shut up!” she replied. Araviel laughed. No one but himself ever got to see this side of Arwen.
“Well, some of the other boys didn’t think I was capable of staying up here all night, but I am showing them,” he said proudly, sticking out his chest a little.
“Well, your highness, what if your royal head froze? Where would we be then?” she said sarcastically, and not in the least impressed.
“I don’t know where you’d be,” he said, trying to sound bewildered “but I know I would probably be right here, unless I fell down. And you’d probably be right next to me, frozen too,”
“You know what I mean!” she said.
“Yah, yah yah. Sorry, but I have to maintain my dignity, and this is something Legolas never did,” he said, ending much less enthusiastically than he began. Arwen’s face softened.
“Sorry Araviel. You know, you’ll show him up someday,” she said.
“No, perfect Legolas refuses to be shown up,” he said, once more thoroughly depressed.
“Well, I know how to make you feel better,” she said, the regular glint of mischief in her eyes.
“Come on Arwen! Its too cold to go swimming, father is mad enough without us rigging his door, the servants have set a watch for us when you’re here, Elladan and Elrohir are out in the forest, so we can’t sabotage them, and I don’t want to dress up like an orc to scare Legolas.” he said, listing off some of their more brilliant ideas.
“But we don’t need orc costumes to scare Legolas tonight,” she said.
“Elladan and Elrohir rode by a little while ago, Legolas went in the same direction about ten minutes before they did. Neither one of them said a word at dinner, even when your father spoke of needing to hunt some more. They are up to something,” she said, excited, her face breaking into a sly grin.
“Yah and the King of Gondor came back,” Araviel said sarcastically.
“Why would I care about some stupid man, get back to the subject Araviel. Honestly, you’re very random sometimes,” she said, Araviel sighed, exasperated.
“I was kidding around Arwen, being sarcastic,” he said.
“So what if some country doesen’t have a king, Legolas and my brothers are up to something, that’s much more important!” she didn’t seem to be getting the point.
“You need to get your priorities straight, Ar,” Araviel said, laughing a little behind his hands.
“Will you quit talking about some stupid man that’s never coming back!” she screeched.
“Never mind Arwen, just get on with it!” he practically yelled.
“Do you want to follow them?” she asked. Araviel shrugged. He was supposed to be on the flet, but none of his friends would see him anyway.
“Sure,” he said, grinning widely.
“Good, let’s go,” Arwen said, and grabbed a branch, ready to climb down.
“Wait, I don’t have a horse,” he said.
“You honestly think I am that dumb? I brought you a horse!” She said, and whistled low. Araviel heard hoofbeats and a horse emerged from the trees.
“I didn’t want anyone to see and find out, so I told him to stay back behind me.” she explained quickly. She swung down onto the ground and mounted her horse, a honey colored two year old Arwen had christened Caspira. Araviel jumped straight off the flet and onto his horse, a jet black, feisty two year old named Erestier. They shot off, deeper into the forest, in search of their brothers and their first victory in the never ending battle of sibling rivalry.