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Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!

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Arwen had decided that she did not want to ride out with the hunt.

Arwen had decided she would skip the singing in the Hall of Fire, and rarely came to family meals.

Arwen had decided there was little appeal to walking in the gardens, helping in the kitchens, spinning, weaving, brewing or working in the forge.

Arwen stayed in her room, writing poetry.

“I don’t know what’s come over her,” Elrond said unhappily to Celebrían. “She was such a happy little girl.”

“She’s growing up,” Celebrían said, and sighed. “So quickly! It seems only yesterday she was learning to dance.”

“Do you think she’s ill?” Elrohir asked, serious and concerned.

“How can she be ill?” Erestor demanded. “She’s an elf. She has nothing to be sad about!”

Elladan said nothing at all, but he slipped away a little while later, and knocked on his sister’s door.

“What?”

“Can I come in?”

“Why?  I’m busy!”

“Because I need to talk to you,” Elladan said patiently, and waited for the heavy sigh and the reluctant footsteps coming to the door.

“Come in,” Arwen said unenthusiastically.  Clearly she had been writing again: her settle near the window was a nest of papers.

Elladan entered and closed the door behind him. “What are you writing?”

“Oh. Nothing,” Arwen said, and swept the papers into a heap before Elladan could look at them.

“Everyone’s worried about you,” Elladan told her.

“Why?  I’m only busy with my own things. I’m not hurting anyone!”

“Of course you aren’t.  Not deliberately, anyway.”

“What d’you mean by that?” Arwen said, pushing her chin out pugnaciously.

“You’re making Father sad,” Elladan said brutally.

“I am not!”

“You are. You don’t talk to him any more.”

“Did he say that?”

“No.  But it’s obvious.  Touch his mind.  You can see he’s unhappy, even if he’s not showing why.”

Arwen frowned.  “He… isn’t happy.  But then, he isn’t always happy. Everyone feels sad sometimes.  It’s inevitable, in Arda Marred. Some people think it would be the case even in a theoretical unmarred world.”

“Yes,” Elladan said patiently.  “Sometimes Father looks back, or sometimes forward, and that makes him sad. But he isn’t usually sad about now. Mother will wait patiently until you decide to come out, but Father wants you to be happy now, and if he thinks you aren’t, then nor is he.”

Arwen crossed her arms. “That’s not my fault. His sadness is his own. I’ve done nothing that should cause him to be unhappy.  He’s being illogical.  And stupid.”

“A matter of opinion.  But you’re the one who can make it better.”

Arwen sniffed, and then looked at him thoughtfully.  “What do you two think?”

Elladan huffed down his nose.  “Elrohir’s kinder than I am.  He thinks you’re ill. But I think you’re a pain in the neck.”

“I’m not!” Arwen whirled in outrage, and he caught her hands before they hit his chest.

“Prove it then.”

“I think you’re the pain in the neck,” Arwen said mutinously.

“Undeniably true,” Elladan said cheerfully. “But none the less, I am arranging an alliance for the purpose of making Father laugh. Will you aid me or stand against me? What price do you ask for your aid?”

“No price but my honour!” Arwen said, completing the line automatically, and then she glared at him and laughed. “Oh, all right.  I still think you’re a pain in the neck, but I’ll come and help.  Where is he?”

*****

Elrond was in his study, frowning at pieces of an old book spread out on the table by the light of a lamp when the singing started, words that were next to nonsense, but full of joy.

Old father Elrond, he’s older than mountains
His nose in a book and his head full of fountains
Yet he has no beard and we all wonder why
We think it was stolen, and baked in a pie!

He looked out of the window, delighted to hear Arwen’s voice among the singers, and laughed, then he joined in with the old chorus

“Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind’s in the tree-top, the wind’s in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

I’ll come down!” he called, and abandoned the book.