Crossed Paths

by Eruvanne

A Story for Denethor and Finduilas

Why was he here? Because his father had told him that it was his duty. And he had allowed Eldacar to talk him into going to meet his fiancé. He hated large gatherings of people except in the case of battle. But now he must just continue what he started.

“Denethor, are you coming?” called out Eldacar.

“Yes, I’ll be right there,” Denethor replied.

“Well, isn’t this splendid?” said Eldacar joyfully.

“Yes, quite splendid,” remarked Denethor without enthusiasm.

“I can’t wait for you to meet Firiel. She is such sweet girl. I must say,” continued Eldacar, not noticing his friend’s sarcasm. “I wonder where she is at this moment.”
Firiel, at that moment, was with her older sister, Finduilas, who was helping her prepare for the occasion.

“Oh, Finduilas, won’t it be wonderful?” inquired Firiel.

“Indeed, it will, little sister,” answered Finduilas, “but I won’t be there tonight.”

“What?!” cried the younger sister as she spun around in her chair. “For what reason, may I ask?”

“You know perfectly well my reasons, so I needn’t tell you,” replied the older.

“But you must come, Finduilas,” persisted Firiel. “I was going to introduce you to my fiancé this evening.”

“But it isn’t necessary, love. You’ve told me so much about him that I think I do practically know him and don’t need an introduction,” said Finduilas steadfastly.

“Please, sister,” pleaded Firiel. “If you like, you may immediately return to your room as soon as I introduce you to Eldacar. How about that? Agreed?”

“Agreed,” consented Finduilas. “But only until I meet your betrothed.”

“All right,” replied Firiel beaming with joy. “Besides you know everyone at the gathering anyway so you won’t need to stay to meet anyone new.”

“Hello. Are you two ready yet?” called a voice from the outside.

“Yes, we’ll be out in just a moment, Imrahil,” called back Finduilas. The two sisters finished their preparations quickly and stepped out of the room into the hall where their brother was waiting.

In the main hall, the large crowd of guests was assembled waiting for the royal family of Dol Amroth to descent the staircase. Denethor was growing more and more irritated at his friend, the other guests, and most of all, himself. Continually, he had tried to politely excuse himself from the gathering but Eldacar was persistent.
“I brought you here for a reason and you will stay until that reason has been fulfilled.” He may not have been Denethor’s brother but, Eldacar was just as stubborn as Denethor himself. So Denethor had been forced to stay among the strangers at the gathering.

Suddenly, everyone grew quiet as something caught their attention. Denethor turned away from where he had been looking at the door to see what had made the crowd grow silent. It was the arrival of the royal family. The guests moved to either sides of the staircase out of deference.

The family was led by the Lord Faramir who led his wife, Gilraen, first down the stairs. Following the couple were their children with Finduilas and Firiel on either side of Imrahil.

Denethor was stunned. His eyes had fastened themselves on Finduilas and did not waver. Always, he had scoffed at his fellow soldiers when any of them had spoken of their sweetheart saying that no woman would ever catch his eye. Now, he understood their and Eldacar’s feelings. He had never seen anyone more beautiful or graceful in all his days. However, a voice interrupted his reverie.

“Come on, Denethor. You need to meet my fiancé,” said Eldacar. Denethor followed as one in a trance. He was actually moving closer and closer to the very person he had been admiring. Finally, they were very close to them. Eldacar released Denethor’s wrist, which he had been holding in fear that his friend would not follow and would instead wander out the door, and took Firiel’s hand.

“Firiel, this is my closest friend, Denethor, son of the steward Ecthelion. Denethor, this is my fiancé Firiel and her sister Finduilas and her brother Imrahil.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you all,” replied Denethor automatically. He was slowly regaining his wits about him after realizing that his friend’s fiancée was the sister of the woman who had done what had seemed to him the impossible, left him helpless.

“The pleasure is mine, Denethor,” replied Firiel. “Eldacar has told me so much about you. It is a joy to finally meet the man who is like a brother to him.”
“It is a pleasure to see the son of the steward in the halls of Dol Amroth again,” greeted Imrahil. Denethor bowed his thanks but out of the corner of his eye, he kept sight of Finduilas. He did not understand his feelings. How could she stir in him what he thought could never be? She had not even spoken and had only smiled. It amazed him beyond belief.

Their meeting ended too soon for Denethor, however. Sadly, he watched Finduilas remount the stairs and disappear from sight. As he and Eldacar left, he hoped that one day their paths would cross again.