Orophin always felt like he was doing something wrong when he pulled the small box out of the locked trunk. It really wasn't wrong, but he knew he'd get laughed at. To Haldir and Rúmil, and all of his friends, hobbies were things like painting, or singing, or even gardening. Orophin had tried those, but he just didn't like them. Besides, he wasn't good at them anyway. He preferred a hobby that he was good at; it made it more enjoyable, and less like work. It was just odd. He didn't know anyone else who called it a hobby. He didn't even know anyone else who did it.
It didn't matter. Rúmil and Haldir were gone for the next few weeks on patrol. Orophin had all that time to indulge, and he meant to make the most of every minute. It didn't take long for him to pack a lunch, fill a wine skin, wrap the box in a blanket and stuff it all into a pack. He left the talan and sprinted down the back pathways to a small glade near a running stream. Nobody came here much, so Orophin was pretty sure he wouldn't be disturbed.
He unloaded the pack, spread the blanket out, and ate some of his lunch with the box on his lap. When he'd eaten about half of his food, he wrapped it all back up and put it in the pack. Then he opened the box, kicked off his boots and rolled his pants up past his knees. He'd take his tunic off later, but for now, the stream was shaded, and cool. Besides, he had to use his tunic as a basket, to haul everything from the box to the stream, or near it. He didn't like to get the box wet, it might warp and then he wouldn't be able to use it.
Once he had the box emptied into his tunic, he walked to the stream, careful to hold the bottom hem of his tunic up, and keep everything safe inside. The stream was shallow, with lots of protruding rocks and overhanging branches, as well as gently sloped banks. It was perfect.
He was so intent on setting up that he didn't hear the footsteps approaching, nor did he see that he was being observed.
"Ho! Orophin! What are you doing?"
Orophin jumped, startled, and nearly fell into the water. He looked up and, blushing bright red, gave Lord Celeborn a weak wave.
"Greetings MiLord. I was..uh…I was…"
Celeborn raised an eyebrow at Orophin's stuttering, then realized what the younger elf was actually doing.
"Elves and orcs? How many do you have?" Celeborn held up a large cloth bag, which he then dumped out on the banks of the stream.
"Want to split them up with me? I'll be orcs if you want to be elves."
Orophin laughed, smiling widely, then nodded.
Several hours later, Galadriel sent Elladan to fetch his Grandfather, with a warning.
"When you find him, be sure to shout loudly and give him a few minutes to pick up the toy figures."
"He still has those?"
"Yes. He has quite a large collection, even after he made sets for most of the children in Lorien. I've heard rumors that Orophin kept his, as well as Haldir's and Rúmil's. For all I know, they get together and have battles."
When Orophin arrived home, breathless, he put the box away in the locked chest. He was glad Elladan had been so loud when he'd arrived looking for Celeborn. He couldn't take one more person knowing that his hobby was playing with a child's toys. But on the bright side, Celeborn was going to meet him tomorrow, near the waterfall. That was bound to be an epic battle!
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