Drawing is only what seems to be keeping me sane these days. I draw my memories of the ocean and the seashells. I draw Dol Amroth atop of the cliff, with the waves crashing against the rocks. I draw ships anchored in the harbour, waiting to be unleashed again for another adventure.
No matter how much I draw these images, they do not compare to the real thing. Imrahil was now married and living very happily in Dol Amroth with his new and apparently beautiful wife. He writes to inform me that he will send a portrait of Lady Rochele to me, so I may see her beauty myself. I am touched by his thoughtfulness, but am saddened when he writes to say he is far too busy to come and visit me. So I spend my time drawing, reading and walking alone in the courtyard.
The days in Gondor are darkening. No attack has happened, but the shadow of Mordor seems to be expanding ever more. Denethor spends most of his time locked away in the Tower of Ecthelion, or deep in counsel with his men. So far, my husband has bought fear and anxiety to the people. Every street in Minas Tirith has soldiers on patrol, as if expecting that the enemy were lurking in some dark alleyway. The people began to dress in more dark and sombre garments. It seemed to me that the people were continuing their mourning for the loss of Ecthelion's Stewardship. I understood their sorrow. Ecthelion never put fear in the streets of Minas Tirith. He did his best to seclude the forming terror of Mordor away from his people. Denethor, however, was not following his father's path. He sent preachers into the city streets; informing the people that the Dark Lord had risen once more, and all should prepare for a war that would bring Gondor back to its glory.
My sons however, were growing up so fast! I could not believe that my little boy, Faramir was an active four year old, who enjoyed running around and drawing pictures. I had hoped that Faramir's sudden surge in energy would lighten Denethor's mood towards our youngest son. Oh, how I had been wrong! Denethor would hardly acknowledge Faramir majority of the time, and openly praised Boromir before everyone. I hated it. I could not stand to watch my sons being publicly compared by their father. Boromir also disliked it. He was only nine years old, but he had the wits of a young man.
"What are you thinking?" I asked Denethor one evening, as we sat in the dining hall, alone.
Denethor shifted his gaze from the wall to me. "Nothing, my dear."
I lowered my head and took a deep breath. "Husband, I have been thinking about Boromir."
Denethor looked at me intently – I knew bringing up our eldest son's name would draw his attention.
"Since he will be turning ten next year," I continued, "I believe with all my heart that we should start finding him a suitable betrothal. Surely there are dozens of noble Lords in Gondor who would gladly see their daughters betrothed to the next Steward of Gondor."
Denethor sighed heavily. "I agree. However, Boromir does not seem interested in such issues."
I shook my head. "He is still only a child. Surely you have spoken to him about the importance of marriage in his status."
"I have had other matters to think about," Denethor said, drinking some wine. "More important matters."
"What could be more important than the future our own child?" I asked, trying to press the matter as far as I could.
Denethor gazed at me. "Do you have a candidate in mind for Boromir?"
"I... no. I thought I should leave that up to you, since you are his father and the Steward of Gondor. Out of all the people in Gondor, you would be the best to decide who Boromir should end up marrying."
Denethor nodded. "When I have time, I shall further look into it."
I smiled, feeling quite relieved. "Thank you, Denethor." Several moments of silence passed, before I dared speak again. "Faramir is a joy to be around," I said, smiling affectionately. "He is also so clever."
Denethor barely nodded. "Good."
"I-I thought you would be pleased at our youngest son's progress. He is learning to read far quicker than Boromir did."
Denethor glared at me. "And yet Boromir is more accomplished."
I blinked. "Of course Boromir is more accomplished, he is five years Faramir's senior. I am almost positive Faramir will become equably accomplished as Boromir."
Denethor chuckled. "You are a fool to hope so, Finduilas."
"Why?" I asked.
"Faramir will never compare to his brother," he said, chuckling a little more.
I wanted to scream in frustration. "Nevertheless, he is loved by all, despite your tainted opinion of him."
"Tainted opinion," Denethor replied, sitting up in his chair.
"Yes," I said, strongly. "The day Faramir was born, he was sick, do you remember? You hated it, and you blame Faramir for it. Nothing could have been done to prevent it." I pushed my chair back and stood up. "It is about time you put that matter behind and started seeing our wonderful young son for what he is capable of. He will make a great soldier one day, if that is all you are worried about. I highly doubt he will fail you. He loves and adores you, just as Boromir does." I bit my bottom lip from saying more and left the room. I had had enough.
I hoped that my little speech would have done some good and make Denethor rethink his actions towards Faramir. Alas! I was wrong. Faramir was still nothing in the eyes of his father. It pained me, though Boromir kept telling me that his father had made plans for Faramir to start his training to become a Knight of Gondor. Faramir seemed thrilled about the idea, and Boromir started showing his brother how to properly hold a sword and swing it.
During this time, I had received word that Imrahil's wife had delivered a healthy son. They named him Elphir and had him blessed in the great hall in Dol Amroth. I did not bother to petition a request to attend the blessing, for I knew very well what Denethor's answer would be. I felt so happy for Imrahil. In his letter, he wrote with such enthusiasm about his son. Elphir was described as dark haired with his mother's eyes, and Imrahil's nose.
I replied with my congratulations and sent a gift of dark blue and silver velvet cloth to be made into an outfit for my new nephew. Boromir and Faramir were curious about their new cousin. They kept asking when they would be able to meet him. Denethor kept saying that their uncle would visit one day with their cousin, and they all would be able to play together.
I hoped that I would end up receiving a visit from Imrahil... or anyone in that matter. Fortunately, I did.
I was attending court in the Great Hall of Feasts. It was a rather warm day, and I was fanning myself when I felt someone approach me from behind.
My lady, it has been far too long," said the male voice.
I turned around and came in view of Lord Agoron. Instantly, my eyes widened, and I felt like embracing him tightly. I knew better than to do that in such a public place. After he had given me an elegant bow, I curtsied and came up grinning.
"Lord Agoron," I said, holding out my hand for him to kiss. "What a pleasant surprise."
Agoron kissed my hand quickly. "I am currently in Osgiliath, recruiting young men to join the navy. Your brother would have done so himself, but personal matters have kept him in Dol Amroth."
"Of course," I said, smiling. "The birth of his son has given him much joy."
Agoron grinned. "Yes, it has. Little Elphir is the image of his father."
"Truly?" I asked. "I have heard that he has his mother's eyes."
"It is the only trait he has from her so far," Agoron answered. "Still, both mother and father could be no prouder of him."
I nodded. "How is my father?"
"He is well," Agoron replied. "Since he is unable to visit your sons, your father dotes and spoils Elphir every day."
My smile faded. "I wish I could visit my father, or he visit here. It would please me so much for my family to finally meet my sons."
"Imrahil plans on visiting you as soon as Elphir is a little older," Agoron assured me. "He misses you immensely, as does your father."
"I so wish I could visit them... all of them," I said sadly. "And I also wish so dearly to visit my new sister-in-law. I have heard so much about her beauty and charisma."
"Lady Rochele is a very accomplished young woman," Agoron said. "Just by looking at her, I can see why your brother chose her to be his wife. She has every charm and grace any woman would need to be a Princess. She is already loved by the people."
"I am pleased to finally hear that my brother has found such happiness in his life." I chuckled. "At one stage, I was beginning to fear that he would lead a bachelor life and only take mistresses."
"Those days are behind him, Lady Finduilas," Agoron said. "He is devoted dearly to Lady Rochele and no other woman."
I nodded in gratitude.
"Excuse me, Lord Agoron." Behind Agoron stood four guards of the citadel. At once, I felt something dreadful was about to happen.
"Yes, what is it?" Agoron asked impatiently.
"Lord Denethor has placed you under arrest," one guard declared. "It would please his Lord for you to leave his court quietly."
My eyes widened. "Agoron," I said quietly, feeling my whole body tremble in fear.
Agoron turned towards me and smiled faintly. "Do not fear."
He gave me a brief bow before turning and leaving with the guards. The entire court had gone quiet as they watched Agoron being escorted out of the hall. My emotions were mixed with worry for Agoron and anger at Denethor.
"What has he done?" I asked Denethor as I stormed into his study.
Denethor placed a piece of parchment down before sitting in back in his chair. "Who?"
I crossed my arms. "You know exactly who I am talking about."
"Lord Agoron offended me," Denethor said, rather calmly.
"Offended you!" I yelled. "How exactly did he do that?"
"He had no right to approach you at my court," he answered.
"Lord Agoron is the Admiral of the Navy of Gondor!" I continued. "He has every right! He has proven himself to my family to be a noble and well respected man!"
"Not here," Denethor said, standing up. "He is not welcome in the citadel."
"Need I repeat myself," I said angrily. "He is the Admiral!"
"Not after today," Denethor said. "I am replacing him with a man I can trust."
"For Valar sake!" I shouted. "What has Lord Agoron done? What evidence do you have that makes him untrustworthy?"
"He once possessed a jewel that is now in my possession," Denethor said, looking me straight in the eye.
"A jewel?" I said a little perplexed.
"You," he said simply.
"Lord Agoron never possessed me, as you do not posses me," I said, unfolding my arms and backing towards the door. "You are not my keeper, and nothing ever happened between Agoron and me."
"Your father would have betrothed you to him," Denethor said, his temper rising.
"That was over ten years ago!" I shouted. "A decade! Are you going to hold that against him for the rest of his life? My father found him to be a suitable match for me, until you came along. Lord Agoron never had the chance to court me. As I have already said, nothing happened between us."
"I do not care!" Denethor shouted. "I will not have him in my city!"
"You are not being reasonable!" I continued to shout. "If you have a problem with Lord Agoron, then take it up with my father. He was the one who decided to arrange the betrothal." I took a very deep breath and calmed myself. "Now, if I were you, I would release Lord Agoron."
"No," Denethor said, sitting back down. "He is to stay in custody until I have found someone to replace him as Admiral."
"That is unfair," I said, assertively. "My father and brother will not allow you to do this. Lord Agoron is needed in Dol Amroth. He needs to command the fleet. He is respected among the men."
Denethor glared at me. "Do not interfere in state affairs, Finduilas. You are my wife, not my councillor. Now, leave me, before I become even more angry and disappointed with you."
"Angry and disappointed in me?" I said, shocked. "How do you think I feel about your behaviour towards this situation? Lord Agoron has done nothing wrong. He has only come here to recruited men. What harm is there in that?"
"I said leave, Finduilas," Denethor said warningly.
"No!" I said, standing my ground. "Not until you release Lord Agoron."
Denethor stood up and walked over to me, grabbing my arm. "It is my pleasure that you leave my sight." He pulled me towards the door and opened it. "When you have sense in the matter, I will speak with you."
The door slammed shut behind me. I closed my eyes and tears fell down my face. I walked off, enraged by my husband's behaviour. How could I love a man who unlawfully locks a man up out of jealously? I could not bear to be his wife anymore. Perhaps I was only thinking such thoughts due my current state of fury. When I entered my chamber, I sat down at the table and started to write a pleading letter to my father.
I heartedly desire your words of comfort. I write in despair and grief. My husband, the Lord Steward of Gondor has arrested Lord Agoron. Denethor plans to remove Agoron from the station of Admiral.
Father, Lord Agoron has done nothing wrong! The guards arrested him whilst speaking to me at court. There was nothing private in the conversation, nothing intimate. There has been nothing intimate between us in a very long time. Please father, I need you to intervene on Agoron's behalf. Denethor has told me that he knows of the betrothal plans you made between Agoron and I all those years ago. I believe that is the only reason why Agoron has been arrested, for I see no other reason. I am scared for him, father. I truly am.
I wish I could write with better news, but I know of nobody else I could turn to for help. I am powerless in this situation. Denethor and I have quarrelled, and he does not wish to speak to me. Please father, I need your help. I know not what to do!
Your loving daughter
I sent the letter away with my most trusted servant. My father and brother were my only hope. They were Agoron's only hope.
It was not long after that terrible incident that I began to feel withdrawn from the public. My spirit seemed to diminish. I felt lifeless. I knew I was not ill, for I had no symptoms. Denethor did not come and see me for three days. I knew he was mad for what I had said, but part of me believed Denethor was fearful that I would continue the argument. If I felt stronger, I most certainly would have. I suppose Denethor finally discovered that I had taken to my chamber and refused to see anyone.
I was sleeping, dreaming of my life in Dol Amroth and how wonderful it was. I saw my sister and her handsome husband before he died, and my mother all those years ago. The faces of those who had died came to me in my dream. They stood before me, smiling... waiting.
I opened my eyes, enjoying my memories of the life I had endured. I saw Denethor standing by the window. He did not look at me, for he had not looked at me for many days now. I honestly did not know if he had forgiven me.
"Denethor," I said softly.
He slowly turned around and looked at me affectionately, as if nothing terrible had happened between us. "You are awake," he said.
"You are not angry with me anymore?" I asked.
"Why must you bring... that up?" he said heatedly. "Why must you always bring the past to the present?"
With that, he stormed out of the chamber, leaving me feeling more afraid than ever.
Two weeks passed and news came to me that Agoron had been released and was on his way back to Dol Amroth. I was glad to hear that my letter had proved beneficial. My father had written quite assertively to Denethor, informing the Steward that he would have no other Admiral than Agoron, and that he had no right to keep the Admiral in custody without solid evidence of any mistrust.
I knew Denethor suspected me of writing to my father, but I did not care. Agoron was free, and I was content.
January 4th 2988 Third Age
Sunlight seeped through the window. A new day had arrived. Denethor blessed each new day as I lay in our bed, feeling my life slip away from my body. I knew I was dying. It was no secret. I had been dying for months now. The physicians did not know the cause of my current state, but secretly, I did.
I had been taken from the one thing I had always loved in my life. I cherished the se -. the wild state and the calming she would always bring before a storm. I loved my family, and my two beautiful boys. But nothing can compare to the love that sustains you.
My love that sustained me was the love I so deeply had for my birthplace. I was born by the sea. Who could dare think I would gladly drift away from it?
If only I was able to visit that love during my years in Minas Tirith. If I had done so, my spirit would have been lifted and I would had felt renewed each time. I could have lived to see my boys grow up and make respectful marriages and worthy men of Gondor. I did not want to leave them alone. I knew it was unfair that I no longer attempted to hold on to life. Perhaps I was being selfish, but personally, the main part of my existence was gone. The love I had borne Denethor had diminished long ago. I knew he still loved me dearly... in his own way. Parts of me blame him for my current state, but now, I forgive him. He did not want to share me... he loved me too much for that. Perhaps I was blinded by my desire to return to the ocean to see his true love.
"Mother," Boromir said, holding my hand. "Do you have an answer for me yet?"
I remembered his question clearly. "Mother, if you knew what your future held, would you be here, in this bed, in Minas Tirith?"
"My darling boy," I said, feeling tears swell in my eyes. "I if knew what I know now, I would still be in this bed, in Minas Tirith, but I would not be feeling like this. I would have changed certain aspects of my life and made myself feel more secure and loved by those around me." I sniffed and wiped a tear away. "I think you are old enough to know that I was not always the happiest woman in Gondor. I missed Dol Amroth dearly, and I would have done anything to see it again. So, if I knew what I know now. I would have better prepared myself for the fact that I would not be seeing such a beautiful sight ever again. I would have focused on other beautiful sights - the Anduin River, the mountain range, and the vast plains before the city." I studied Boromir's sad and fearful face. "Do not be troubled for me, Boromir. When I am gone, always remember that I love you more than life itself. The same applies for Faramir. Please, Boromir, please. I need you to look after your brother. Faramir will need a role model and a hand to hold as he grows up. Your father will be much grieved when I am gone. Look after them both."
"Yes, mother. I understand," Boromir said, trying to avoid weeping. "I love you too, and so does Faramir."
The day drifted on, and I felt my body starting to become cold. I placed more blankets over me, but nothing did suffice.
Denethor and Faramir entered the chamber late in the afternoon.
"Our son has come to... to say goodbye," Denethor said with great difficulty.
I was amazed to see Denethor holding Faramir's hand. I smiled, looking at Denethor with much appreciation. "Thank you, Denethor."
Faramir carefully climbed onto the bed and embraced me, weeping as he did. "Hush..." I said, soothingly. "You need to be a strong boy, do you understand?" I asked.
Faramir nodded and wiped his face with his hand. "Yes, mama. I understand."
'Good boy," Denethor said, helping Faramir off the bed. "Go and be with your brother now."
Once Faramir had left the room, I sunk down into the pillows. Denethor walked over and gently kissed me. He stroked my hair and kissed my cheek. "I love you," he said, tearfully.
I held his hand. "I-I love you too," I said. I knew I was lying, but my tears were mournful of the fact that I no longer loved the man who was the father of my children. "Look after my boys."
Denethor nodded. "I will love Faramir, in memory of you."
I smiled. "Thank you."