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9
The Vase that was Broken

The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been,nor will be made from this story.

The Vase that was Broken

With grateful thanks to Raksha


~~~

“Tell me a story, ada, please!” Eldarion pleaded. He was sitting with his father in his mother’s sitting room eating his tea. The Queen had taken Farawyn to visit Éowyn for a few days and the young prince was bored.

“What sort of a story?” asked Aragorn.

“A tale of your battles and brave deeds,” said Eldarion.

The King began to tell his son about how they had fought the orcs and the cave- troll in Moria, using his spoon to illustrate how he had wielded Andúril. Before long, father and son had risen from the table and were mock-fighting enthusiastically.

A sudden loud crash brought the game to an abrupt halt.

“Oh, no; we broke naneth’s vase!” Eldarion exclaimed.

Aragorn surveyed the scene in horror. All of Arwen’s vases looked much alike to him. He seemed to recall that this was a special one; a family heirloom that had belonged to Celeborn and Galadriel and had been made for them before the breaking of Beleriand. He gingerly picked up the fragments.

Eldarion frowned. "Naneth will be cross." He looked up at Aragorn, his small face earnest. "I did not mean to break so old a thing, truly, ada."

Aragorn caressed the child's tousled black hair. “ It was not your fault, ion nîn,” he reassured his son. "I should have known better than to mimic a battle with you in Naneth's sitting room. Let us send for Uncle Faramir and see if he can help.”

The Steward, who was working late to allow Aragorn to spend more time with Eldarion, appeared within a few minutes and inspected the damage. “ I fear it is beyond repair,” he said. ”At least it does not look to be very valuable.”

“It is!” Aragorn contradicted. “ It is Elven workmanship dating from the First Age. It had pride of place in my lady’s room.”

“I have rarely been in your lady’s private rooms, so had little chance to appreciate its beauty,” Faramir said diplomatically. “ I suggest we summon the City’s craftsmen and find a vase of equal beauty ere she returns.”

“A good idea, mellon nîn, always you think of something!” said Aragorn, clapping his friend on the shoulder.

The King’s enthusiasm for the plan abated somewhat after spending much of the day inspecting the wares of a seemingly endless procession of craftsmen, all of whom had dozens of vases to show him. Aragorn’s head began to ache at the sight of each additional vessel of silver or gold or multi-coloured glass. Eventually, with Faramir’s help, he chose a silver vase encrusted with sapphires and rubies. It seemed well made and was quite costly, but the expense would be worth it if it staved off Arwen’s wrath.

Aragorn went to bed weary and slept badly, dreaming he was being buried under a mountain of vases of every hue and description imaginable.

The King’s heart was in his mouth when his Queen returned and took her accustomed place in her sitting room. He decided to wait for her to notice the vase before confessing his mishap with her treasured heirloom.

Suddenly, she espied the new vase and her eyes lit up. “How beautiful!” Arwen exclaimed. “And how thoughtful of you to buy me a surprise gift, Estel!”

“I fear your grandparents’ vase was broken while Eldarion and I were playing,” the King said sheepishly.

“The priceless heirloom?” Arwen looked puzzled. “That is silver inlaid with pearl and I put it away safely as soon as Eldarion could walk. The one that was there was a gift from the Harad Ambassador, which I always considered hideous! How could you fail to notice the difference? Men are so unobservant!”

Aragorn sighed with relief, before ruefully realising he had wasted a good deal of time and money.

Arwen picked up the new vase and studied it. Then, embracing her husband lovingly, gave him a tender kiss.

Returning his wife’s loving embrace, Aragorn decided the vase was worth every coin after all.

~~~

A/N This is an extended version of the ficlet I wrote for the prompt “Mishap” on the AA list.

Arwen’s priceless vase was created by Raksha and appears in chapter 4 of “A Time to Reap.” Chapter 27 of the story is now posted.


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