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2
Childhood songs

How Thorongil came to know Denethor's elder son (Aragorn's POV) Thanks to Dwimordene for letting me use the Rohirric troubles at Pelargir from "Star and Stone"


~~~

Title: Encounters
Author: Tessy (ab_fan14@yahoo.de)
Beta: the wonderful hot_x_bunny
Disclaimer: The characters, unless specifically distinguished, are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Tolkien estate. They are used without permission and no money is being made through this work of fiction.
Rating: overall rating may reach NC-17, but this chapter is G at the most.
Pairing: Boromir/Thorongil and before you run away squicked, Boromir is of age when the serious stuff starts!
Author’s notes: This fic is heavily book-based, though the physical characteristics as well as some ways of behaviour are film-based. The timeline is AU and a significant element of the LOTR universe has been changed for the story’s sake: the only royal Elf/Man unions were in the First Age, so no Aragorn/Arwen here. Many thanks go to Sasjah, Cinzia, Uisgich, Galadriel and Widdershin for overall encouragement. Specific chapter thanks will be given when appropriate. This is Aragorn’s POV. Enjoy! :)

Chapter 1: Childhood songs

Gondor, TA 2979
I remember well the day I first met the young heir of Denethor.

I had been in Pelargir to verify the current commander’s doubts about the welfare and condition of the stronghold and especially the foreign troops stationed there. The commander had written an urgent letter to the Steward’s Heir in which he voiced his fears that the Rohirrim might revolt against him.

As soon as Denethor had read and evaluated the information contained within the letter, he had informed his father for he feared that a diplomatic problem might arise from the commander’s accusations.

The current situation, both political and economical, was such that Gondor had grown quite dependent on the help it received from its allies to the North. The fair woods of Ithilien had slowly drowned in the Shadow and the stream of refugees that came from that fair land was regularly strengthened by people who had escaped from the rape of their village by the Haradrim. The Sons of the Sun-land, as they called themselves, grew ever bolder these days.

A diplomatic misstep with Rohan would have been the final thrust needed to rob Gondor of all the strength she had left.

Ecthelion, son of Túrin, was well-aware of all the dangers to his country and so he ordered me to ride south as quickly as possible to both assess and solve the threat that was Pelargir, for a weakening of the chief haven would have prepared the way for the Corsairs to invade the southern fiefs of the Stoneland.

Even Denethor, despite his general doubts regarding his father’s high opinion of me, had agreed to send me, as I clearly possessed the necessary knowledge about the Rohirrim and their ways.

It had taken me nine months to rid the men stationed at Pelargir of the shame and disgrace that was their commander and to assure the lasting cooperation of the Rohirrim after restoring to them both their position as chief cavalry and, more importantly, their horses which had been taken from them by the former commander to be used as beasts of burden.

There, in the middle of a diplomatic and subtle war fought over the amount of rations issued to the men as well as simple trust and loyalty, the news had arrived that Finduilas of Dol Amroth had borne her husband an heir.

I decided to visit the new family as soon as my duties to the Steward were completed, for I had a strong liking for Prince Adrahil’s children, especially quick-witted Finduilas and her younger brother, the reckless Imrahil.

Many tongues in Minas Tirith whispered that I was in truth secretly in love with Finduilas and that I sought to belittle her husband in her eyes by gaining Ecthelion’s favour. I thought Denethor too intelligent to heed such
nonsense, but the fact remained that the Steward’s heir did not like to see me in the company of his wife.

Regardless, I went to the house that Denethor lived in with his family, not far from the Tower of Ecthelion, but far enough to ensure that the young family was not disturbed by the gossiping courtiers.

I reached the door and knocked quietly. Soon the door was opened by a servant who bowed because of my formal attire and then asked what kind of errand had led me to the house of the Steward’s heir.
“I would like to congratulate the Lord Denethor and the Lady Finduilas on the birth of their son. Please inform your master that Captain Thorongil kindly asks for permission to enter the Lord Denethor’s home.”

The servant nodded and opened the door a little wider before stepping back to make room so I could step through into the entrance hall.

“Please wait here Captain, while I inform the mistress of your coming.” The servant said, before hurrying off into the depths of the house.

No more than five minutes could have passed before the servant returned and led me to a richly-decorated dining room. Tapestries covered every wall as was the custom in Prince Adrahil’s realm. Candles illuminated the table and the comfortable chairs positioned around it in each of the eight positions associated with the Aratar. The master’s chair, set to the table’s left, was empty, but the chair to its right, positioned in the Lady Elbereth’s direction, was, as custom demanded, currently occupied by the Lady Finduilas. Opposite her sat her brother Imrahil.

As soon as I entered the room, Finduilas stood up and came over to greet me. Her long hair was not braided save for two small braids at her temples to keep her dark hair from falling into her face. Her grey eyes sparkled with mirth and when I wanted to bow she laid a hand on my shoulder and said:

“Surely such formalities are not necessary among friends, my dear Captain? I have just heard of your return from my brother”, here she waved in Imrahil’s direction before continuing, “and he said you had been to see the Steward immediately. Have you eaten already? Undoubtedly not, I presume!”

Before I could as much as protest Finduilas had bidden me take a seat and ordered a maid to bring some bread as well as goats cheese and black olives from Anórien. I wanted to thank her, but she said, smiling, that it was no trouble.

After I had finished my meal, Finduilas started to ask me questions about the situation at Pelargir. Soon we were engaged in a discussion about the current troubles that assailed Gondor.

Suddenly the door opened and a small blond child came running in and quickly crawled into his mother’s lap. Before Finduilas had time to react to her small son’s presence, however, a young woman came running into the room; her grey eyes alight with shame.

Bowing quickly, the young woman pushed a black strand of hair behind her ear, nervously taking in her lady’s company. When her gaze fell on me, she blushed slightly and quickly turned back to Finduilas who was looking at her expectantly, but was smiling at the nursemaid.

That fact seemed to give the woman confidence, for she quickly went on to explain that the young lord could not sleep and had wandered off to find his Nana before she could stop him.

Finduilas laughed loudly when she heard this and gazed at her son lovingly, before she turned her attention back to his black-haired nursemaid once more.

“There’s no need to look ashamed, Ioreth, rest assured that I will not blame you for my Mir’s curiosity. I have known since he first made his presence known to me that it would not be easy to raise such a passionate child as my Boromir is!” With these words, Adrahil’s daughter lifted Boromir off her lap and high into the air, before putting him down again.

“Go back to sleep, Ioreth, I will put him into bed myself, once he becomes sleepy again. And do not look so ashamed. I have no cause to blame you, truly, I have not!”

Smiling, Ioreth curtseyed deeply before leaving the room with a smile on her young face.

Denethor’s wife turned her attention back to her young son, who had crawled behind her back and was gazing at me with fear shining in his eyes.

“Ai, Boromir, my love, come back!” Finduilas laughed while she put her young son back into her lap. But the child still cast fearful glances my way. Puzzled, Finduilas lifted Boromir’s chin and asked her son, what he was looking at.

“Túrin!” the boy said, pointing at me.

For a moment I was puzzled, that young Boromir could already speak, but then I remembered the Elven blood in his mother’s line and the fact that the ability to speak before they were one year old, was a hallmark of those who had a, however small it might have been, strain of Eldarin blood in their veins.

Finduilas and Imrahil chuckled quietly at Boromir’s answer and once she had calmed herself, the lady said to her son:

“Aye, Boromir, Captain Thorongil does indeed look like brave Túrin, heir to Húrin Thalion, but I assure you he is quite real and a brave soldier in your father’s army.”

This seemed to reawaken the young one’s curiosity and suddenly he escaped his mother’s embrace and quickly crawled into my lap instead.

There Boromir sat down, content with his position, it seemed, and put his head against my chest. Smiling, he looked up at me with his emerald gaze and then the young lord yawned heartily.

Another pearl of laughter escaped Finduilas as she observed her son’s behaviour and then she asked her son, whether he wanted me to sing a song for him, so that Lord Irmo knew that Boromir was ready for his dreams, or if he rather wanted to hear hers instead.

Boromir smiled and, turning around, he snuggled closer to my chest. I blushed slightly, but Finduilas only smiled and lamented mischievously that her son seemed to think her skill inferior to mine.

“Would you please sing something for my son, Captain? I hope his wish does not embarrass you?” the black-haired lady asked me gently, clearly unsure what to do.

I shook my head and said, smiling slightly:

“I am honoured that the young Lord Boromir thinks me a good enough minstrel to sing a song for him. But I fear that, in truth, my skill does not exceed yours, my lady.”

I hesitantly reached out a hand to brush back a strand of golden hair that had fallen into Boromir’s face. I was rewarded for this gesture by a smile of utter fondness from the young lord.

This smile suddenly brought back a half-forgotten memory of a song Lindir used to sing for me when I was a child in the Last Homely House.

I remembered that he had told me once that it was a song the Falathrim used to sing in memory of Tuor’s coming to Nevrast which was not far from their homes in Brithombar and Eglarest where the Sindar had once dwelled nigh to great Belegaer.

It was said amongst them this song had been composed by Tuor himself for his son Eärendil the Fair, for ‘twas the only possibility for the son of Huor to tell his son of the awe he had felt in the presence of mighty Ulmo, whom the Falathrim sometimes call, in the ancient language of the Nelyar, Ylmir.

I was drawn out of my reverie by Boromir’s pulling of my sleeve and his young voice calling: “Sing!”

I could not suppress a smile at this confident command and then, lowering my gaze so that Boromir and I were face to face, I began to sing in the speech of the Sindar.

This is what I sang, were it to be sung in the Common Speech, though the gentle sounds, rolling like waves off the minstrel’s tongue, are lost this way

“ ‘Twas in the Land of Willows where the grass is long and green-
I was fingering my harp-strings, for a wind had crept unseen
And was speaking in the tree-tops, while the voices of the reeds
Were whispering reedy whispers as the sunset touched the meads,
Inland musics subtly magic that those reeds alone could weave-
‘Twas in the Land of Willows that once Ylmir came at eve

In the twilight by the river on a hollow thing of shell
He made immortal music, till my heat beneath his spell
Was broken in the twilight, and the meadows faded dim
To great grey waters heaving round the rocks where sea-birds swim.


I was drawn out of my song by the touch of Finduilas’ hand on my arm. I turned and gazed into her grey eyes and found therein a confusing mixture of both anxiety, nay, worry and happiness.

“You sing beautifully, Captain, but might I ask you not to sing any more of this song, lest the description of Lord Ulmo’s wrath and Belegaer should frighten my son?”

I nodded understandingly, but when I gazed down at the child’s sleeping form, his fair hair falling over his eyes again, I could not help but smile.

Lady Finduilas wanted to lift her son gently out of my arms and carry him to the nursery, but he stirred and murmured in her embrace, until she set him down again.

Looking up at me, a smile formed itself on the black-haired woman’s lips again and then she sighed, saying:

“It seems Boromir does not want to be parted from you just now, Captain Thorongil, so would you please be kind enough to carry him to bed?”

Nodding, I stood up slowly, careful not to wake Denethor’s heir, and walked to the nursery. As I put him down in his bed and pulled the cover up around Boromir’s body, I felt suddenly the pang of an emotional connection to this boy, but I shook it off before whispering softly as I left the room:” Good night pen-neth .

Once I had returned to the dining room I took my leave of both Finduilas, who refused to accept my thanks for the meal, and Imrahil and returned to my own quarters.

I did not contemplate my meeting with young Boromir any further, but how was I to know that the young lord should one day demand (and receive) far more from me than a nursery rhyme?

TBC

Canonical notes:


Thorongil’s knowledge of Rohirrim culture: according to both the book and the movie Aragorn served in Rohan for a while before coming to Gondor
The name “Sun-land” for Harad is entirely my invention and based on the belief that the Sun played a crucial enough part in Haradrim day-to-day life to justify the naming of their country.
The positions associated with the highest of the Valar who are called Aratar: Again, my invention of a custom, because if you divide a compass you get eight different directions, equal to the number of the Aratar. The right side, being the heart side, is always the wife’s position. The heart side idea is taken from Soledad. Thus, the lady of the house is always to be found in a chair placed in Varda’s (Elbereth) position, the north-west.
The meal is based on Gwynnyd’s idea that Gondorian cuisine might be like Mediterranean cuisine with influences from other cultures.
Ioreth: this old woman has intrigued me and thus I gave her a broader background by making her Boromir’s nursemaid (she becomes a healer later on) and letting her have an ever so slight crush on Captain Thorongil. :)
The nursery rhyme: These are the first two verses of a poem, written by Tolkien in the 1930s and associated with “The Fall of Gondolin”. Inspirations for the melody are the first 16 seconds of “The Grey Havens” on the ROTK film soundtrack.
Boromir being able to speak so early is my invention, based on the fact that Elven children can fully speak before they are one year old and I think this inheritance does not affect the “Fate of Men” in the way Elven longevity would and could thus be an element that is kept in the line for quite a long time.

Language notes:

Mir Sindarin for jewel
nana Sindarin: short form of naneth means Mama
pen-neth Sindarin for young one
Falathrim: a name for Cirdan’s people, means “Shore folk” in Sindarin
Nelyar: old name for the third clan, the Teleri
Language of the Nelyar: I equated this with Common Telerin from which came Sindarin and the Telerin spoken in Aman.
Ylmir: originally supposed by Tolkien to be the Gnomish (Noldorin) form of Ulmo, but I chose to make it a CT word because it would not fit into the structure of the later Noldorin tongue, Quenya.

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