Winter Mornings and Lullabies

by Firiel

It was cold. That was the first thing I noticed, even before opening my eyes. Instinctively, I burrowed deeper beneath the rich blankets that covered me, trying to hide my face from the stark air, huddling closer to the snoring mass that was my brother. I curled up into a tight ball, breathing onto my hands in an effort to warm them, and increase the heat in my little cave. But the minutes passed, and I was still cold.

I thought for a moment. What I was contemplating could very possibly result in my being pitched summarily out of bed, which definitely was not my desire, but if it succeeded, it did promise more warmth. And it was so cold...

I rolled over, and put my cold feet on my brother's back. It was time for him to start waking up anyway.

A few moments later, my fears were almost realized when the lump beside me jolted awake, choking on a snore, and forcefully pulled a large portion of the covers his way - incidentally, pushing my cold feet off his back. Oh had been nice while it lasted.

"Faramir! What do you think you are about!" A hand yanked the covers off my head, and I was looking into disgruntled grey eyes.

"I was cold", I offered, a little lamely.

"And it wasn't enough for just one of us to be cold, you had to make it both of us?" Boromir grumbled, flopping back onto the bed.

I looked away, then back again. It had been rather selfish. "Your pardon, brother", I finally said. "I was so very cold, and you were snoring so loudly, I thought maybe you wouldn't notice."

Boromir rolled his eyes, exasperated. "I don't snore. It's only deep, regular breathing. And why snoring loudly - not that I was snoring - would have anything to do with me feeling your cold feet, I don't know." He glanced out our window.

By now, the first light of the morning was shining in, a grey, watery cold light, that promised a cold, wet day ahead. I shivered at the dismal sight. Boromir glanced at me, and the disgruntled expression on his face faded somewhat.

"'Tis a very cold morning, to be sure", he admitted, a bit grudgingly. He did hate to be roused so early. And in truth, now that I thought of it, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the shock of being woken with cold feet on my back. I pulled the covers closer around me, and gave him a remorseful look. He returned it with half a smile, and I knew I'd been forgiven.

We sat there together for a moment, looking at that grey bit of daylight in the window, huddling in our covers, but the freezing air in the room swiftly drove us to action. Typically, Boromir was the first to move.

"Let's go see if Mother or Father are up, yet", he said, snatching a cover up and sliding off the edge of the bed. Wrapping it around himself, he moved toward the door. I grabbed another blanket, and followed him.

It was even colder walking down the hall than in our room. The stone floor felt like ice on my bare feet as I followed Boromir towards our parent's chambers. Pulling the blanket tightly about me, I wrapped my hands in its warmth. Ahead of me, Boromir strode down the hall, oblivious that one corner of his blanket was flapping insolently against his heels, and another dragging on the floor.

We reached the doors of our parents chambers, and Boromir laid his hand on the latch. He paused, looking back at me.

"Do you think Father is awake?" he asked me, in a whisper.

I shrugged. "I think it likely. Father is almost always up early. Or at least awake."

Boromir gave a half nod. "I know, but you recall the time he wasn't, and we woke him...he wasn't happy."

I grimaced. That was somewhat of an understatement. "That was your fault, Boromir," I hissed at him. "If we had only slipped in and climbed in bed it would have been fine, but you insisted on bringing your sword with you. I would have been angry, too, being woken up by a cold sword in my bed."

"It wasn't my fault, either!" he growled at me. "Father is the one who is always telling me a soldier of Gondor must ever be prepared! I was merely drawing an obvious conclusion, that if a soldier should always be prepared, he should have his sword. Even when he sleeps. Anyway, you're just rubbing it in, because he didn't get upset when you brought your picture book to bed."

I rolled my eyes. "Books aren't cold. Or sharp. They are much easier to sleep with."

He drew breath for a retort, but the door to our parent's chamber opened before he could speak. Hastily we both straightened. Our mother stood in the doorway, a knowing look on her face.

"Children," she said, "Is it not cold to be standing in a drafty hallway?"

We looked at each other. "We were cold," I said, as though that explained everything.

"So we thought we'd come see you and Father," Boromir added.

"Indeed," she smiled. "Father was up very late last night, and is still asleep, but if you desire, you may come sit with me beside the fire." She opened the door wider, so we could enter.

Without further ado, we both scrambled into the room, making our way to the thick rug before the fireplace. Mother followed at a more subdued pace. The fire had obviously been stoked not long before, and was burning brightly. Boromir threw himself upon the rug, and let out a loud sigh of contentment. I sat close to him, finally beginning to feel warm at last. Mother settled between us, her rich blue mantle falling about her in gentle folds. I reached out and stroked the soft fabric.

After moment, Mother began very softly to sing an old lullaby that she had sung for as long as I could remember. She told me once that it was a song from old Numenor that she had learned as a small child in Dol Amroth. I could hardly distinguish the words, she sang so softly, but I knew most of them by heart anyway.

West of the Moon, East of the Sun
There stands a lonely Hill
Its feet are in the pale green Sea;
Its towers are white and still:
Beyond Taníquetil
In Valinor....*

Mother's voice trailed into silence, and she pulled me closer to her. Boromir rolled over at that, and smiling, she held out her other arm to him. He slid over to us, and for a while we were all silent, staring at the fire and enjoying its heat. I could hear Father's soft breathing from the bed, and I cuddled closer to Mother, suddenly feeling absolutely content. Stealing a glance at Boromir, I saw that he, too, looked at peace.

"My dear children", Mother murmured, and I looked up. The grey morning light had grown more pronounced, and was reflected upon her golden hair. She was looking at both Boromir and me, her beautiful eyes smiling at us, her throat looking very white against her blue mantle. I thought in that moment that she was the most beautiful lady in all of Gondor. My mother.

I stopped, remembering. It had been so peaceful, so perfect. How was I to know that less than a year later, she would be gone...

A hand was laid gently on my arm, and glancing up, I saw Éowyn's knowing glance. I turned toward her with a slight smile.

"Now I understand," she said softly," why it is so special to you. I thank you for telling me."

*Poem by J.R.R.Tolkien, from "Tolkien: A Biography", by Humphrey Carpenter. Page 76.

Also, young Faramir is 4 years old, and Boromir 9 in this story.