Early in the New Year, the great Captain Thorongil returned to Minas Tirith. This brought bitter disappointment to my husband. As a dutiful wife, I stood beside him in the throne room as Lord Ecthelion greeted Thorongil as if he were his own son. I could tell that this act of kindness deeply angered Denethor. When I looked at Thorongil and the hate in Denethor's eyes, I wondered if this hate was nothing more than jealousy. Personally, I admired Lord Thorongil. I was so glad to see him back in the city, but I knew Denethor would not allow me any time alone with a man who he so despised.
"My lady," Thorongil said, bowling low. "I hope that you are in better health?"
I smiled warmly – he was rather handsome. "I am. Thank you."
Thorongil turned to Denethor and bowed again. "Lord Denethor, I congratulate you on the birth of your son, Boromir."
For a small moment, I saw happiness come to Denethor's eyes, but it was quickly covered with displeasure for the man who stood before him. "Thank you."
"Come," Ecthelion said, slowly standing up from his throne – he had never fully recovered his strength from his last illness. "I believe Lord Thorongil has council and news he wishes to speak with me. Let us go somewhere more comforting."
While the men were busy in their council, I took my private time and spent it with Boromir. He had turned two years old three months ago, and already, Denethor was spoiling him. He would present Boromir with wooden daggers and play swords. He had also given our son a wooden toy army set to play with. Of course, Boromir was far too young to quite understand the meaning of these so-called 'toys'. Actually, Boromir took no interest in them at all. Instead, he played with the softer toys – the stuffed bears and other animals. He enjoyed placing them all on his little bed and covering them with a blanket so they could sleep. I found this adorable. I honestly thought Boromir would grow up to be a gentle soul.
"Mama, mama... hurt!" Boromir cried as I entered the nursery.
"He accidently hit his elbow on the table's corner," the nursemaid said solemnly.
Boromir was rubbing his right elbow with tears swelling in his eyes. "Come here," I said, picking him up and kissing him tenderly on the cheek. "Where does it hurt?"
"Here," Boromir said, pointing to his elbow.
I kissed it for him. "There. Does it feel better?"
Boromir nodded. "Better."
I smiled at him. His vocabulary was rather good for his age. I put him back down and he quickly walked over to his toy chest and started pulling all the toys out. I sat and played games with him all afternoon. Besides his stuffed toys, he enjoyed rolling a ball across the room with me, and stacking blocks to make little towers. Eventually, these little towers were cast down when he threw himself on top of them as a game. He was such an active toddler. From the moment he woke up to the hour he fell asleep, he would be running around doing something. Every night, I would watch him kneel at his bed and say his nightly prayer to the Valar. I had taught him a simple prayer of good health and fortune. He seemed to be curious as to who or what the Valar were and why he needed to talk to them before going to sleep. I tried to explain their existence, but nothing seemed to make sense to him. Therefore, I left further explaining until he was old enough to comprehend.
Two weeks into Lord Thorongil's stay, my brother and Lord Agoron sailed up the Anduin River to Osgiliath. I was so excited that they were visiting, that I dressed as elegantly as I could and wore my hair down – Agoron liked my hair down. Both men were due to ride across the plain and over to Minas Tirith and up to the citadel, where I stood holding Boromir.
"I am sure he can stand on his own two feet," Denethor said, gently taking Boromir out of my arms and placing him in front of us. "You need not bother to mother him these days. Remember, next year he is to start his combat training."
I tightened my jaw. "Yes, husband." How dare he! Boromir loved it when I held him.
Boromir fidgeted as he stood impatiently. "Stand still, son," Denethor said sternly. "During court appearances, you must be obedient."
Boromir looked up into his father's eyes and nodded. "Yes, ada."
Denethor seemed satisfied with that response, but to me it sounded like a man on guard, despite the baby voice.
Several moments later, Imrahil and Agoron strode into the throne room, both wearing matching, silver, and blue armour with deep blue capes clasped around their necks. I found them both very handsome, and had to resist a strong urge to grin.
"My Lord Ecthelion," Imrahil said, sweeping an elegant bow that he had obviously mastered from copying our father. My, my! How my little brother had grown up to into manhood! He was still considered a lad when I had to marry Denethor, and now he stood before me – tall, sea-grey eyes and sharp black hair that was cut short. It was common in any coastline cities, for men to have short hair. It seemed far easier to keep under control from the harsh ocean breezes that can quickly turn into a gale.
Agoron also bowed. He shot me a quick glance, but his eyes showed no emotion. I knew this is how it was supposed to be in public, and it pained me.
After the introductions, Thorongil appeared and introduced himself to Imrahil and Agoron. It was brief, and Thorongil seemed to be on a time schedule. "I believe the sooner we start our council, the better for all," he said, bowing his head to Ecthelion.
Ecthelion smiled and stood up. "I agree. Denethor, come."
My husband left my side without a word and obediently followed his father and Thorongil out of the throne room. Before Imrahil and Agoron followed, they came up to me. Imrahil gently picked up Boromir and gave him a tender kiss on the cheek.
"So this is my nephew who you have been keeping from Dol Amroth!" he said joyously. "Father is most eager to meet him!"
I faintly smiled. "It is not my fault. Denethor does not wish to visit."
"Well he does not have to come," Imrahil said curtly.
"Yes, I know, but I need his permission to leave the city," I reminded him.
Imrahil made a face and shook his head. "Ridiculous," he murmured.
Agoron bowed to me again, lifted my hand, and kissed it briefly. "My lady," he said. "I hope you are in good health?"
I blushed and smiled. "I am."
Imrahil watched our exchange with a mischievous grin on his face. "Come, Agoron. They will be wondering where we have gone to." He placed Boromir in my arms and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "It is good to see you again, sister."
After they had left, I walked to the nursery with Boromir squirming in my arms. "No, no!" he kept saying, trying to get out of my arms. "Down, down, mama!"
He was leaning towards the floor, so I placed him down. He looked up at me with a sad face. "Ada, down."
I comprehended his words, and I knew what he was trying to say. Denethor had told me to put him down in the throne room. Had his words affected Boromir? Did he not want me to hold him anymore? "Come, darling," I said hastily, grabbing his little hand. "Do you want to walk?"
Boromir nodded vigorously. "Walk."
Late in the afternoon, before dinner, I went down and visited Imrahil and Agoron in our townhouse. I wanted to take Boromir with me, but Denethor 'kindly' refused, saying it was a bad idea for a toddler to be walking around at this hour.
Imrahil greeted me with a big brotherly hug and another kiss on the cheek. I was marvelled to see that he was now taller than I was! "I barely recognise you," I said, stepping over the threshold.
Imrahil grinned. "I am a man now."
"You always were," I said, making my way over to the sitting room. I entered and Agoron was there, sitting at the table. I smiled and he pulled out a chair for me.
"So tell me about Boromir," Imrahil said, sitting down also.
I sighed. "He is a good boy, strong and healthy. Denethor dotes on him, as he should. However, I am concerned. Boromir will be three years old next year and Denethor is going to send him to Osgiliath to start his combat training."
Imrahil and Agoron exchanged a look of unease. "That is a young age to start combat training," Agoron remarked.
I nodded in agreement. "I know, but he will not listen to reason! He tells me that three years is the youngest age a child may start."
"I never started my proper training until I was six," Imrahil said, sitting back in his chair. "I used to play with wooden swords before that, but three years is a very young age."
"I have no say in the matter," I said miserably. "I think six would be a better age, but Denethor is fixed on starting our son at a younger age."
My brother placed his hand over mine and squeezed it. "I am sure Boromir will be well looked after."
"I wish I could be as confident as you are," I said grimly. "I will never be happy with this arrangement."
"There is something else, is there not?" Imrahil pressed.
"Denethor told me today that I do not need to mother Boromir anymore. Before you arrived, I was carrying Boromir, because he likes being close to me. Denethor thought otherwise and made him stand. When I was taking him back to the nursery, Boromir did not want me to hold him. He wanted to walk instead." I started to cry, so I buried my head in the hands.
I felt Imrahil stroking my back, but it did not sooth me. "I am sorry, Finduilas," he said softly. "I wish there was something that I could do."
"Would you try and reason with Denethor?" I asked, not expecting a hopeful answer.
Imrahil hesitated. "I could try."
"Thank you," I said, wiping my tears away.
I walked slowly back to the citadel. I was in no mood for dinner, but I sat through it. Thorongil had joined us and was talking merrily with Ecthelion. I tried to be as cheerful as I could, but Denethor did not seem happy at all, and I knew why.
Later that evening, when I was sitting in my chamber, Denethor stormed in. "How was your visit to your brother?" he grumbled.
I frowned. "Fine."
"Was he alone?"
My frown deepened. "No, Agoron was there."
Denethor stared at me. "Lord Agoron. Why do you not call him by his title?"
I felt nerves swelling inside of me. "He has been a family friend for many years," I replied as casually as I could. "I have been used to calling him plainly 'Agoron'.
"I do not like him," Denethor said spitefully.
"Why?" I asked defensively.
Denethor hesitated, but said no more.
I glared at him. Yes, he knew that I could have been betrothed to Agoron, but surely he does not question my honour? Then again, my husband did not seem to like anyone, and I knew that would never change.