"And what should I call you, my twin?"
"Consideration," said the younger of the twins, as he regarded his brother. Darvinin had just entered the clearing, the double-scimitar of a True Elf on his back, his movements graceful and confident. He was not yet a master of either spell or blade, but he used them both -- separately or together.
"As you wish."
Consideration gestured at the assembled pile of wood, and Darvinin chuckled and set it afire with a soft word and a gesture. "Werendril and Sherra have gone," he said, and seated himself beside the fire.
"I know," said Consideration, and sat down across from him. "Sherra was headed deeper into Duendewood to teach. Werendril was headed out to the border again, to help see the refugees in."
"You saw them off, then. I wasn't sure you'd had a chance."
"Because I keep to myself so much? I'm not as isolated as all that."
Darvinin nodded slowly. "Understand me when I say that I'm relieved to hear it."
Consideration looked down at the flames. "And you?"
There was a long pause. "I've been assigned to protect the true king," Darvinin said finally.
Consideration looked back up and met his twin's eyes. "Congratulations. That is quite an honor."
"Well," said Darvinin, "It's not like I'll be in command. I'm one guard among two-score. But it is an honor."
He looked worried, and Consideration chuckled to relieve his concerns. "It is well, O my brother. I know that will take you away from here, but we are all drifting apart. And a position as a King's Guard suits your skills and your temperament."
"What of you?" asked Darvinin. "Will you just wait until it comes to war, if it truly does?"
Consideration shook his head. "Mother has asked me to come with her when she goes to petition the Dwarves for an alliance."
"Oh." Darvinin looked startled, then thoughtful. "That is... a good choice. You can show them that not all elves are frail, that we stand ready to fight. Yes, the more I think about that, the more I like it."
Consideration smiled at his brother. "Well, I doubt I'll be drinking any Dwarves under the table, but I can at least give them a decent contest."
"Fair," said Darvinin. "Still, keep your eyes open. The elders may think you're a savage, but the children of the Rebirth know better. You're sharp. Learn what you can of the Dwarves while you're there; you never know what might prove useful."
"I will." Consideration met his twin brother's eyes calmly. "And I'll keep an eye on Mother, too."
Darvinin chuckled at that. Their mother was a wizard, old and powerful, but curious and easily distracted and not -- in either of their opinions -- nearly cautious enough. He rose to leave, then paused. "And Consideration? What happened to our sister was not your fault."
"I know." Consideration looked away, closing his eyes for a brief moment. "But it changes nothing."