It was Boromir's third birthday. A day of celebration turned into a quiet family event. I was proud that my special little boy was growing up to be healthy and strong, but I was also dreading this event. Denethor now had the power to send our son down to Osgiliath to start combat training. I did not want this. Boromir was still far too young. His dark hair was falling just below his ears, and he was still wearing his toddler clothing. The only difference now was that Denethor had given our son a wooden sword for his birthday. At first, Boromir just stared blankly at the sword, banging it on the floor. Denethor had to instruct him on how to use properly it – instructing him as if his training had already begun.
"I really must protest," I complained to my husband, as Boromir was swinging the wooden sword around.
Denethor's fondly gaze turned from Boromir to me. "Why?"
"Because, he is far too young," I insisted.
Denethor sighed heavily. "Finduilas, do I need to remind you that you are my wife? Therefore, you are bound to obey and serve me."
"When are you sending my son away?" I asked disapprovingly.
"Our son will be sent to Osgiliath in three days time," he replied.
My mind started filling with possible scenarios of what could happen if my precious little boy was taken from me. Would my life here in the citadel go back to the way it was before my life was filled with the laughter of a child? No. No – I could not handle it.
"I will accompany him," I said boldly. "I will go with Boromir to Osgiliath."
"No," Denethor said sternly. "I need you here."
"For what?" I asked tartly. "You spend all day in council, or locked up in your study. I hardly ever see you." I placed my hands on my hips. "Boromir needs me more than you do. I will stay at your family house by the river. Boromir can stay there too."
My words did not make my husband pleased. He stood there, towering over me. "No," he said daringly.
"Yes," I said with more force. There was no way I was going to let anyone, not even my husband separate me from my own child. To me, it was unthinkable.
Denethor sighed in what I believed to be defeat. "You truly love our son?" he asked more gently.
I smiled. "Of course I do. How could you ever doubt a mother's love for her child?" I said. "All I want to do is be there for Boromir."
"As do I," Denethor said, agreeing. "But you must remember that we both have our duties."
"My main duty is to my son," I reminded him. "I can complete my other duties in Osgiliath. What harm could be done?"
He thought for a moment, probably considering the possible outcomes. "Very well," he said, giving in.
I grinned with triumph. Very few people were able to sway Denethor's mind due to his willful stubbornness.
"Thank you," I said, embracing him. "Thank you."
"Just be careful," he said, stroking my back.
"Careful," I repeated, feeling a little nervous. "Whatever do I need to be careful of?"
"Nothing," he said quickly. "No. It is nothing. Osgiliath is safe enough." Honestly, it sounded like he was trying to convince himself, not me.
I eyed him suspiciously before stepping out of his arms. "I shall start packing."
Boromir and I arrived in Osgiliath three days later. I found myself thrilled about living by running water. The Anduin River was not the ocean, but it ran into the sea, and to me, that was good enough for the time being. I was still yet determined to convince Denethor to allow me to journey back to Dol Amroth. Right now, it was my dying wish.
Boromir was ecstatic! He was so thrilled about being able to leave Minas Tirith. Better yet, Denethor had bought him a pony to ride. Of course, I was against the idea. He was far too young to be riding on his own. However, as always, Denethor had the last say. He kept reminding me of the benefits of starting to teach Boromir all the necessities of being a soldier at a young age. If it kept going on like this, I feared Boromir would not have a childhood.
"Father says I am going to be training to be a soldier," Boromir said happily. "He said I will get to use a real sword and other... other..." Boromir frowned, trying to find the word. "W-weapons."
I looked at my son; his appearance was becoming more and more like his father every new day. Honestly, it frightened me. My love for my husband had not completely diminished, but the last thing I wanted for my son was to grow up to be like his father. I knew that would not completely happen, since Denethor was fixed on Boromir becoming a strong and capable warrior, but what if Boromir inherited his father's stubbornness and pride. Oh, how I did not want that to happen.
"Mother," Boromir said very maturely.
I sighed. I still wanted him to call me 'mama'. "Yes, darling?"
"Why do you appear sad?" he asked, his little face full of concern.
"I am not sad," I said, trying to sound reassuring. "I am just worried."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because, this training you are going to be doing is very dangerous," I tried to explain.
Boromir shook his head. "No. Father said I won't get hurt," he said high-spirited. "He said that the best soldier never gets hurt, and he said I will end up being the best soldier."
What! Denethor told him that! That is completely absurd! Imrahil was considered one of the finest soldiers in Dol Amroth, and yet he still received his fair share of injuries - even during training sessions. In fact, I had never even met a soldier who had never been injured... ever!
"I am afraid your father was mistaken," I told Boromir gravely. "Every soldier will get wounded at some point."
Boromir frowned at me. "Father is never wrong," he said with pride. "He will be the Steward of Gondor one day, just like I will be."
Before I could reply, the guards signalled our arrival into Osgiliath. There were fewer people than my last visit, and most people were walking around quietly, as if they were too afraid to make a noise. We arrived at the townhouse of the Stewards, which was located right on the river. The house was utterly beautiful. Made entirely of white stone, it glimmered in the sunlight. As I entered, I was met by a dozen servants and maids. The whole house was draped with blue and silver tapestries and curtains. The floors were lined with shades of dark blue carpets, and the furniture was finely polished wood. In fact, the entrance room alone was far more decorated than the palace in the citadel.
"Pretty," Boromir said, looking around. "Silver." He pointed at one of the candlestick holders. "This colour is silver," he said proudly.
I grinned. "Very good, darling."
"I am learning all the colours of the rainbow," he said, skipping into the sitting room.
I watched him walk around the room, pointing at objects and naming what colour they were. However, the large fireplace at the other end of the room distracted me. It was so large! Cushioned chairs surrounded it, with dark blue curtains draping over the windows, making the atmosphere very cosy and welcoming. I smiled – I would definitely be very happy here!
I was shown to my room, where two handmaidens stood, waiting to serve me. I ordered them to unpack my belongings, while I took off my riding clothes.
My chamber was like the rest of the house; draped in blue and silvers, with the occasional trimming of gold. There was even a large portrait hanging on the wall. It was of a noble woman, dressed beautifully in shades of orange and yellow. Her hair was dark ginger, and her face seemed pleased. The brightness and tone of the painting made me feel more content and at ease. I walked over and sat on the chair by the window overlooking the river. I sighed contentedly. I knew I was going to be very happy here.
A week had passed and Boromir had begun his training. I cried the morning he left for his first day. He told me there was nothing to cry about, for he would return victorious. Nothing can sooth a mother's pain of watching her son leaving to train with dangerous weapons. I spent most of that day cooped up in my chamber, sitting by the window. I felt depressed. I was also on high alert. Every time someone entered the house, I would immediately think that Boromir had been injured. When he returned that evening, he was so exhausted that he fell asleep before supper. This routine went on for the entire week, until I grew so concerned that I told the caretaker of the house to go to the training barracks and tell whoever was in charge to go easier on Boromir. News of this demand reached Denethor's ears, and I received a rather irritated latter from him. He informed me that it was not my duty to instruct how hard Boromir was to be trained. If I were to continue along this path, he would have me sent back to Minas Tirith. I was so angry that I threw his letter into the fireplace, along the goblet I was also holding at the time. I believe this action made the servants a little afraid to be around me, for they started to tiptoe in my presence. I suppose I had overreacted...
My annoyance and fretting was over two weeks later when I was informed I had a visitor. At first, I believed it to be Denethor coming to check up on me, and if that were so, I was ready to give him a mouth full. Instead, I found Agoron standing by the fireplace, grinning.
"Agoron," I said breathlessly. "I-I... I had no idea you were in Osgiliath." I tried to keep my posture straight and dignified in case Denethor had any of his spies within the household.
Agoron bowed low. "I have only just arrived, my lady. I came to see if you were in good health."
"I am in perfect health," I replied, feeling my heart flutter.
"I have also come to deliver these two letters from your father and brother," he continued.
I smiled gratefully and accepted the letters. "Would you like to stay for tea?"
"Certainly," he said, taking a seat at the small table.
Once we were finally alone, I grabbed his hand. "I am so glad to see you," I said. "I have been in agony here. I do not approve of Boromir training at such a young age, and it pains me to see him so overworked every evening when he returns."
Agoron nodded. "It must be hard for you."
"Is something troubling you?" I asked, seeing the sadness in his face.
"I did not wish to tell you this," he said softly. "My father has become wary of my bachelor state. He has betrothed me to a Lady from Pelargir."
I felt like crying. No. No, I felt like doing more than that. I wanted to scream with rage. My beloved Agoron betrothed to a woman other than me? It was unthinkable. "I-I do not know what to say," I replied, feeling tears swelling in my eyes.
"Finduilas," he said gently. "You of all people must know that I would have to marry eventually."
I nodded. "I know, but I shut the thought of it out of my mind."
"I wish it were not so," he said, sitting back in the chair, "for I have not even met the woman."
"Do you know when the wedding will take place?" I asked, wiping my eyes.
"No," he said simply. "It has not been organised that far ahead, for the Lady's father has not yet paid the entire dowry my father is demanding."
"What is her name?" I asked.
"Lady Liviel," he answered. "A name not as beautiful as Finduilas."
I grinned, feeling my cheeks blush.
We were both startled when the doors burst open. "Lady Finduilas, I come with grave news. Lord Boromir has been injured," the messenger said, trying to catch his breath.
My eyes widened and I jumped out of my seat. "How badly?"
"I do not know," he answered. "I was sent to inform you that he has been taken to the Houses of Healing."
I felt Agoron steady me. "We must leave now," he said. "Come."
I allowed Agoron to lead me out of the house and onto my horse. The whole way I was thinking up possible injuries that Boromir could have received. I prayed to the Valar that it was nothing serious, but I could not stop the tears flowing down my face.
I ran into the Houses of Healing and found Denethor talking to one of the physicians. I glared at him. I wanted to yell and scream at him - blame him for what had happened to Boromir, but I dared not make a scene. I also noticed that Agoron had remained outside. I did not blame him, though.
"Where is he?" I asked Denethor.
"He is sleeping," he replied gravely.
"What happened?" I demanded.
"He was not concentrating while he was being taught how to clean a sword, and he ended up slicing his hand," the physician answered.
I did not answer either of them. I was furious. I walked into the room Boromir was being kept in. He was sleeping soundly, with his injured hand over his chest. His hand was bandaged tightly, but I could see the redness of blood being soaked up. I knew this was going to happen, yet no one bothered to listen to me.
"Finduilas," Denethor said from behind me.
I turned around and folded my arms.
"I am not allowing you to return to Osgiliath," he said. "I will have the servants bring your belongings back."
"What of Boromir," I inquired, not feeling any remorse for myself.
"He will be sent back to the training ground in a week's time," Denethor answered. "That is an order, Finduilas," he added before I could retaliate.
I unfolded my arms and left the Houses of Healing. I found Agoron standing in an alley.
"I must leave," he said, checking over my shoulder.
I nodded. "I know."
He kissed my hand. "Goodbye, Finduilas."