Of Birthday Cakes and Bunnies
Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin’ down the bunny trail
Easter’s on its waaaay…
The sun was out over Rivendell, warming the shadows, chasing the dew from the last of the frost bitten follage of the gardens. Gone was the snow, the biting air. Gone was the rustle of dried leaves.
Gone was the peace and the quiet that the previous Lord, Elrond Peredhil, had enjoyed so.
“Beckett! That was my egg!”
“I got it first, therefore it is my egg!”
“I saw it first!”
“I got it first!”
“You warg! Give me back my egg!”
High screeching of an angry, broken-hearted little Elleth rent the air, frightening off lovebirds and robins.
Bronwyn sat on a bench, layers of diaphanous robes floating about and pooling at her feet. She shook her head in ire and started to stand.
“N’uma, Baraermin.” Her husband laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “He has displeased you, therefore he is my ion and I will deal with him.” Haldir strode off into the gardens, his gaze fixed on the red-headed Elfling who did not see him coming.
Bronwyn heard someone sit behind her, a blonde head coming to rest on her shoulder. She reached backward to pet the silken locks. “Rumil, you act exhausted! I was the one up late, coloring eggs and baking and decorating birthday cakes!”
“That you were!” Haldir’s brother sighed heavily. “But Heridil, Celeborn and I were up before dawn to hide the eggs and the chocolate bunnies. Ah!” Rumil’s head rose. “Did you beat that wayward ion of yours?”
“N’uma. Move!” Haldir shooed Rumil away and took his place on the bench, enveloping Bronwyn into strong arms. “I simply made him give several of his eggs to Faeowynne.”
“I am sure he was perturbed at your decision.”
She felt him hug her tighter. “He was not happy. I swear, Baraer, you might say he has my arrogance and I admit he favors me, but he has your stubborn bottom lip when he pouts!” Breath expelled painfully when she jabbed him in the side.
“I do not pout!”
Several snorts exploded behind her and she turned to see Rumil, Heridil, and Celeborn standing in row behind the bench.
“I don’t! How dare you even suggest that I do such a thing.” She turned back around and crossed her hands over Haldir’s large ones. “I swear!” she mumbled. “I don’t know why I even put up with the lot of you!” She began plucking angrily at perceived lint on Haldir’s tunic. “I’m up half the night, making cakes for the girls, because Faeowynne likes chocolate and Anselm prefers apple spice. I made chocolate bunnies…”
“You lie!” Rumil chortled. “Oh you foul deceitful creature…”
“Okay, okay, okay… I didn’t make the chocolate bunnies. Thank Iluvatar Elrond’s baker is human and stayed.” The Elves agreed quietly. Bronwyn’s cooking was passable at best and Elrond’s baker did the most positively sinful things with confections…
Heridil’s thoughts were interrupted by an insistent tugging at his tunic. He looked down to the see the youngest daughter of his friends looking up at him with large blue eyes.
“Heridil. I can’ts find my bunny. Beckett has his and Faeowynne has hers. Beckett says he’s gonna find mine and eat the eyes.” The lower lip on the child began to quiver. “Do you know where the Easter bunny hid my bunny?”
The quiet Elf smiled down at the little Elleth. Taking her by the hand, he led her back into the garden. “No, but perhaps I can help you find your bunny.”
Bronwyn was looking over her husband’s shoulder, smiling at the retreating form of the tall Elf and her daughter. “Heridil is so patient with her.”
Haldir’s thoughts were pensive. He had noticed his daughter would seek his friend out as much as she did her Ada. He felt a twinge of jealousy. “He needs a wife and Elflings of his own.” An elbow jabbed him again. “Baraer, must you jab me that way?” He turned her loose to rub his aching side.
“Tithen Aras, I am most curious.” Celeborn decided to speak up, hoping to aid his former MarchWarden from being bruised too terribly bad. “I do not understand this business with colored eggs and spring bunnies…”
“In my Earth, Easter coincides with the Spring Equinox. It is a time of rebirth, renewal. Life that has been dormant comes back in its glory. It is a time to celebrate the fertility of the earth, of life. And let’s be honest,” she whispered, conspiratorially, “what is more reproductive than the rabbit?” She smiled saucily at Haldir.
“Hmmm!” Haldir pulled her in closely. “Ready to discuss agreeing again?” He pressed his head to hers.
“ARGH! Beckett! You Orc!”
Haldir slumped as he felt his wife’s body shaking with laughter. “Absolutely not. I will not bring more children into this world for Beckett to pester.” She smiled and pointed with her chin. “Looks as if Anselm found her chocolate rabbit.” Haldir turned to see Heridil slowly making his way, allowing the tiny, chattering Elleth beside him to keep up. He was carrying her basket, as her hands were quite full of edible rabbit.
“She’s a cutie, Cormmin. We did good.” Bronwyn whispered.
“If you are saying she is a beautiful Elfling and we should be proud, then aye. I agree.” Haldir kissed his wife’s forehead and stood up. “I will go get our battling offspring for lunch.”
More screeching from the gardens.
“Perhaps, I shall leave those two out there to commence war and we can go in and eat in peace?” Haldir looked at his wife.
“It is Anselm’s birthday as well.”
Haldir shrugged. “Ai.” He headed off down the path to where the sounds of scuffling could now be heard.
A well-known form sat next to Bronwyn and she was well prepared for the familiar embrace.
“I have another question, lirimaer.”
Bronwyn patted the hands that came around her and anchored them safely at her waist. “Certainly, Celeborn. What do you wish to know?”
“Why do you celebrate the date of birth and not the date of conception?”
She smiled and turned to take in the handsome ElfLord. “Human women are very different from Elves. Our reproductive systems work almost constantly, due to short life spans, and we don’t really know the exact date we become pregnant. Most of the time, we are six to eight weeks pregnant before we really know that we are. So we celebrate the day our children come into the world.” She grinned up at him. “Understand?”
Celeborn looked down at the minx in his arms and with a long finger, pushed an errant curl from her eye. “I believe so.” He opened his mouth to say something, only for her to interrupt him.
“No, I do not wish to go be bad!” Celeborn’s shoulders slumped in mock defeat. She had beaten him to the punch. Seeing her husband come through the trees with an Elfling in hand, she stood up, arms outstretched. Her daughter ran happily and jumped in her mother’s arms.
“I found a chocolate bunny and seven pink eggs and two orange eggs and five green eggs. I had nine blue eggs, but Beckett took them and said girls cannot have blue anything!
“I left all the pink eggs.” Beckett intoned seriously. “Really, mother…”
“Did you find a chocolate bunny?”
Bronwyn turned to look at her daughters. “And both of you found chocolate bunnies?”
Anselm lifted hers for all to see and Faeowynne nodded. Her mouth was full of chocolate bunny ears and a small bit trickled down her chin. In the way of small children, she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her tunic.
Bronwyn stretched out her hand to her youngest Elfling.
“No more chocolate, sweetling. We have a ham and sweet carrots and cake inside.”
“And candles? Do we have candles to blow out?”
“But of course!”
The little Elleth ran excitedly into the home of Elrond, determined to be the first to blow out her candles. The rest of the Elves made to move, follow her in.
Beckett hung back.
“Beckett, why do you linger?” Haldir asked. “I know it is not your birthday cake, but there will be some for you as well.”
Beckett shrugged and walked up to his sister.
“Anselm.” He reached out his hand.
There was a blue egg in it.
“Do not say I have never given you anything.” He gently plopped it in her basket and strode into the house. The group stared at him, dumbfounded at this unexpected turn of events. “Of course,” he spoke over his shoulder as he reached the doorway, “the longer you stay out here, the more of your cake I will eat!”
Anselm screamed at the top of her lungs, shoving the basket, with its chocolate bunny into her mother’s hands and chased her brother into the house.
Bronwyn felt Haldir’s strong arms pull her into his embrace.
“Uma, they are mine when they displease you.”
Screaming from the house.
“Don’t mention the word agree for at least… four hundred years.”
“I love you, Cormmin.”
“I never doubt it for a moment!”
“Want some cake?”
Haldir put his arm through Bronwyn’s and led her into the house.
“I want to dip you in chocolate and lick it off!”