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This one's for Una...

Happy Birthday, even if belatedly! :)



„Hold it like this, see?“
The Steward of Gondor watched as his eldest showed his younger brother how to present the lettuce leaf to the turtle.
The leaf trembled slightly as Faramir obeyed carefully, his lips pressed together in concentration.
Denethor briefly wondered whether his youngest son believed in earnest that a hasty move would suffice to drive away a turtle, but then decided that this was most likely yet another variant of the ways in which the now five year old reacted to all new things crossing his path.

The animal - a present of the boys’ uncle Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, with whom they stayed for the summer, munched the offered meal happily, hewing its beak into the piece of lettuce with determination, watched ceaselessly in this utmost diversified occupation by the youngest scion of the assorted line of the Stewards of Gondor.
Until his near academic concentration was abruptly disturbed by someone apparently occupied with more down to earth issues.
“Eh, Faramir…”
The youngest scion did not look up, but his older brother continued nonetheless.
“Already thought about a name?”
“’tariel”, the younger boy muttered without averting his eyes from the animal.
Which meant, as the Steward realised belatedly, that his brother in law had meant the boys to bring the animal with them to Minas Tirith. Good Grief…
“Tariel?” the sound of Boromir’s voice reached his ears, only the split of a moment later. “Faramir, that’s no name for a turtle!”
“Is,” the younger one insisted.
His brother shrugged. “Well, if you say so… How do you know it’s a she, anyway?”
“I just know!”
“Right, right… now, is “she” finished?”
Denethor noticed that his eldest son was shifting his weight from one foot to the other already uncomfortably and had to suppress a smile. No doubt, another thing in mind already…
“… For, if she is, will you be coming? - Uncle promised us to go to the harbour today, do you remember? - We’re going to see his flagship.”
“Am not!”
“You are - uh, what?” - For a moment, confusion shone on Boromir’s face, then slowly displaced by disbelief. “Faramir, don’t be such a sissy. Don’t tell me you’ll miss the ship for watching that boring turtle.”
For the first time since he had presented the leaf to the animal, Faramir looked up. “She is not boring. And her name is Altariel!”
His elder brother rolled his eyes and sighed demonstratively. “As you wish, then. I will be going, in any case.”
Faramir nodded, absentmindedly, his eyes once again fixed upon the animal that meanwhile had finished its meal and started to crawl away over the green grass of Dol Amroth’s inner garden. “Bye”, he muttered, not noticing that his brother had already left.

Denethor followed the trail of his eldest son, saw him meet up with his brother-in-law, explaining to him why he had come alone. Imrahil, ever so trifling when it came to duties of others towards him (even if not, as the Steward had to concede, when it came to duties he had towards others), just shrugged and laughed, apparently happy with the arrangement.

The Steward retreated carefully. He sighed and rubbed his temples and reached for the jar of water, and poured himself a glass.When he had finished it, he concentrated his thoughts once more upon the milky ball of glass that throned on the table in front of him. Time, he thought with an ever so slight tinge of regret, to return to more serious issues in his never-tiring efforts to keep his realm safe.


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