It took me several months before I was able to bear seeing Voronda's grave. After the New Year celebrations, I walked, dressed in black, down the Silent Street. I had a bunch of white flowers in my trembling hands. I was ready to pay my respects.
Her grave was located at the very back of the Steward's cemetery, and I found her nestled between her late aunt – Denethor's first sister to die, and her grandmother – Denethor's mother. I found that touching, for she was in the company of her family still. I placed the flowers on top of her stone grave and kissed the palm of my hand, placing it on her engraved name.
"Why do I still feel that your sudden death was my fault?" I said softly. I sat down in front of the grave and hugged my knees. "Why did you have to be taken from me? You had such great potential – you would have grown to be a beautiful young lady of the court. It is not fair!"
I wiped my eyes and stood up. "I love you Voronda, and I always will."
I really did not want to leave, but I knew in time, Denethor would send out men to look for me. I know he was only concerned, but at that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be left alone in my grief.
I took my time walking back to the citadel. It was a very overcast day and the sun dared not show itself to me. The Anduin River did not sparkle in the distance, and the cold wind of winter was still sharp. I wrapped my cloak tighter around me and trudged through the snow. To me, winter was the worst season in Minas Tirith. The snow would start to fall just before midwinter, and it would cause heavy blankets of white snow to engulf the streets, causing havoc for the people. The northern winds would bring at least one severe snowstorm that would almost completely cover the white city. Maybe that was an over exaggeration on my behalf, for it never snowed in Dol Amroth. I hated the cold. I really did! I found snow to be unbearable. Denethor would take Boromir out into one of the courtyards to play in the snow, but he learned that our son's attitude for snow was just like mine. He hated it. The first time he sat in the snow, he screamed as if someone was murdering him. I was rather alarmed at the time, but Denethor assured me everything was all right.
On April fifteenth, in the middle of spring, my darling boy turned one year. For the first time in months, I was happy. Not only was he growing up far quicker than I had first thought, but he was walking on his own. I loved it! I would place him at one side of the nursery, and then I would hurry over to the other side and open my arms for him. He enjoyed this game. He would scream with excitement and walked as quickly as he could into my arms. Not only was he growing, but he was changing too. His dark hair was becoming slightly lighter, and his sea-grey eyes were bigger and more curious. He could even speak a few words! Denethor had taught him 'ada' and he had learned 'mama' and 'story' on his own. However, he was only a chatty boy when he was around me. With Denethor, he was quiet and serious, sometimes even shy. But with me, he would light up and speak words in his own little language. I was very glad he had not caught a cold through the winter, for I could not risk losing my child. I know it was common for a child to die in their infant stages, but Boromir was not any infant. He was Denethor's heir and his pride and joy. As much as I enjoyed being a mother, I did not think I could endure childbirth again. I had not told Denethor that, and he began to see that I was not too fond of him having me during the nights. He did not ask any questions, and I did not give him any reasons. Denethor would never force me, but I did show him affection – I am his wife after all.
Boromir's birthday celebration was not large. In fact, it was only Denethor and I, Ecthelion and half the court honouring my son's survival through infanthood by having a feast. I knew Boromir's health would always be a concern for me. My mother used to tell me that no child is safe until he or she has celebrated its coming of age ceremony. Then, as a mother, you would worry and fret over your son if he has joined the army, or you would cling on to your daughter and shed tears as she is married off to a man you hardly know.
I always thought my mother over exaggerated in her little speech, but now I fully understand what she means. For the rest of my years, I would never stop worrying for Boromir, especially if he is to be the commander of Gondor's forces. Such a thought made a chill run down my spine.
That night, after the small feast, I rocked Boromir to sleep in front of the large fireplace in the nursery. He was sucking his thumb carelessly as his eyes drooped. I kissed his forehead and placed him in the cradle.
"Bless you, sweet child," I whispered to him, before giving him one last kiss on the cheek. I tucked the blankets around him and closed the cot's curtains. In the distance, I heard Mordor rumbling. Valar! How I hated it! Every time I heard or saw Mordor, it would remind me that my precious little boy would have to grow up and face its wrath, and I knew it would be under my husband's orders. I knew Denethor loved his son dearly and took joy in spending time with him, but it did not cover the fact that I knew in his study, Denethor was planning our son's future. He told me that I should be proud to have a son who will be the defender of our people, but as a mother, I see myself in the future, sitting at a window that faces east and bitting my nails, watching my son lead forces out to face the enemy. It would drive me mad with worry! This is not what I wanted, Valar, this is not what I wanted for my son!
I became so concerned for the future of my son, and my future, that I decided to write a journal about my life in Minas Tirith. It was not going to end up as some silly journal a maiden of the court would write. No! No, my journal was going to be of sophistication and words of truth about how I really felt in my current situation as wife to Lord Denethor. It was at that moment, when Boromir turned one, that when I died, my son would be able to read this memoir and discover the truth about my marriage to his father and the friendship with Agoron that I hold dearly.
It was in late September when I heard the tragic news of my sister's death. At first, I thought it was my father making a rude joke of it. Ivriniel could not be dead! Sadly, however, his words were true. My beautiful, most loved sister had died.
I suppose I should have expected her death. Ivriniel had not been healthy in the past years after her beloved husband, Lord Losdir, had died in service to our father. After his death, Ivriniel went through a serious period of depression and would not come out of her chamber. When she finally presented herself to the court, she refused to wear anything except the colour black, and that is how it has been for the past four years. I had wished and prayed for her wellbeing. I hoped that she would one day see the light of life again. I saw how happy she had been with Lord Losdir – it was a marriage united by their love and deep devotion to one another. Oh, how I envied Ivriniel for being able to marry for love. My love for Agoron was far more complex as he was from a family less important than Lord Losdir was. Still, I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I am not deeply in love with Denethor. I know my husband would never ride out to battle, thus he would never die in the field. I also know that I should consider myself lucky to be married to a man deeply interested in lore. Still, after all these years, I cannot accept him. I cannot accept the idea of the Steward of Gondor's heir not being skilled in leading men. Yes, he has skills in leading people through a time of peace, for it has been nothing but peace in Gondor for several decades. Then it hit me hard. Boromir was to be everything Denethor was and is not.
Sometimes I wonder if I am nothing more than a foolish woman who has led a life of leisure by the sea. A woman who had everything she needed and a wonderful brother and sister. My life in Minas Tirith has been nothing but a hard courtship with a man twice my age. Am I that selfish? Should I be punished for my deep thoughts? One thing I have learned about myself is that I am not as strong a woman as I had first thought. Yes, I have survived the long journey to Minas Tirith, the sweating illness, and childbirth. Emotionally, I am weak. I am a weak woman.
I dress in my mourning stage for my late sister. A letter of request comes from my father, asking for my attendance at Ivriniel's funeral in Dol Amroth. I wanted to go. Valar, I needed to go. I had to say what I needed to at the funeral, and kiss my sister's tomb and pay my respects. I needed to apologise for leaving her behind when I had to marry Denethor. I needed her silent forgiveness for hardly writing to her, because I was holding onto the idea of being able to visit her in Dol Amroth. I have missed so much! Maybe if I had been with her, at her side, she might not have even died. I felt the exact same way when Voronda died. I blamed myself. I should have done more!
Of course, not to my surprise, Denethor respectfully declines my father's invitation. Instead, he sent his and my condolences with a purse of gold. I was shaking with fury at his actions. A purse of gold! Was that supposed to make up for my absence at my own sister's funeral! I want to yell at him, I was to scream and hit him! But I know it would do no good. This time, I remained silent as I sat in his office, dressed all in black. I do not make eye contact with him; I keep my eyes focused on the edge of the desk. I do not cry – I do nothing. When Denethor tells me how sorry he is for her death again, I nod and he allows me to be excused. As I walk down the corridor, I wonder what I should do next. I am still not able to see Lord Ecthelion. He is still immensely weak, having caught another illness. This time, he has been bedridden for two weeks. I fear for him. I fear if he dies that nothing will be the same again. I am not sure why, but I am afraid of my husband becoming the Steward of Gondor. I have a bad feeling about his reign of power. Maybe not right away, but eventually something will go horribly wrong, and this makes me fear for Boromir.