Tantivy by Marchwriter

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Tantivy

Her little hunters have him at bay, but the stag is tall and strong and will not relent so easily. Back and back, he is driven up against the bole of a tree. With a roar, Elladan drops his practice blade and charges at his prey's knees, single-mindedly determined to have his prize. Elrohir can only follow suit, and they bodily drag their panting, blowing quarry to the ground.

Flushed with triumph, Elladan plants a boot on his fallen prey's breast and thrusts his arms up, bellowing his victory until a yank on his ankle from the not-quite-vanquished sends him sprawling.

She whistles sharp and shrill to make her presence known, and her sons fly to her with barking laughter and rushed embraces before she sends them off to the stream to bathe the dust from their faces and arms before the evening meal.

Freed from his pursuers, the stag struggles to his feet, streaked with sweat and sand kicked up from the ring. She eases herself slowly into his presence, her steps noiseless on the grassy sward, but he looks up, a line of new alertness in his body, nostrils slightly flared. She can see the pulse thrumming beneath his jaw, almost smell the musk of his sweat, his exhaustion. But the stag is not run ragged yet.

He offers her the blade hilt-first. The curl of his lip and the ruck of an eyebrow is the signal that releases the running-hounds. She plucks the blunted tourney blade from his grasp and plunges it deep into the soil. Her smile is sharp as an arrow.

"Nay, my stag. I wish to see you felled another way."

The shaft strikes home. His eyes half-close, the tension going out of his shoulders and back muscles, as he bows his proud head before her.




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