by Linaewen

This vignette was written as my submission for a challenge on a writer's board I belong to. The idea was to choose a work of art that reminded me strongly of something from the world of Middle-earth, and write a story about it. Here is what I came up with, along with the painting that inspired it -- Finduilas, wife of Denethor II, musing during a time of quiet retreat.


It is peaceful here.

I come to this place when I can, whenever my duties to my husband and people allow it. My dear one knows I need these times away, to refresh my spirit. I wish he would come with me more often, as was his wont when we first were wed! Now more than ever he would benefit from a retreat from the duties that weigh upon him. But he does not care for that word, retreat. I fear he works too hard, worries too much; I sense a weariness in him that frightens me, and he begins to look strained and older than his years. If only he would take less thought for the future and more thought for himself! Still, he is strong -- so very strong! Perhaps he is right when he claims not to need time away from his responsibilities.

But still I worry...

It is peaceful here, for I cannot see the oppressive Shadow that looms in the East. I dare not look that way, it is too frightening! Only here can I find respite from the burden of fear that pushes at me from the East, for the view of that ever-present darkness and fire is blocked by the stone arm of the mountain. It is easier to believe I am safe when I cannot see the fire, easier to believe I am strong when my Enemy is no longer watching me.

I turn my eyes from the wooded cliffs that hide me, toward the City of the Guard below. My refuge is removed from the intensity of life there, yet still protected by those white walls, strong against the oppressive Shadow. I am safe in this place, and in this City -- though some days it is hard to convince myself of that, with evil so very close, looming...

I turn my face to the setting sun, and sigh. Alas! Here there is no view or scent of the Sea, it is too far! Yet the scene before my eyes is soothing enough; the sound of the wind in the boughs recalls the sighing waves upon the shores which I love, and that is sufficient to sooth my heart.

For a time...

It is peaceful here. My Boromir sleeps soundly at my feet, unafraid and unaware of the Shadow that lurks so close at hand. Unaware? No, he is not unaware -- but he fears it not, not yet. He is young, but already he trusts in his own strength and that of his position as son of Denethor to keep us all safe. What trouble can come nigh when Boromir is vigilant? My son will chide me when he awakens, for allowing him to be lax in his duty to guard me and his brother while we are abroad. He has worn himself out in guarding me this day! He knows I am troubled, I deem. He senses my burden, and believes I fear a physical enemy -- therefore he is ever watchful, that no bad thing approach me. As yet he knows nothing of the silent and irresistable burden that grows in the heart and mind when evil is near, that cannot be guarded against as one opposes a physical enemy.

May he never know such oppression!

It eases my trouble to see him diligent on behalf of his family -- myself, his brother, his father who dotes on him. All too soon now, my little warrior will take on the cares of many instead of few, and he will feel the bite of that burden of fear that comes with such duty. Though he reproach me, I shall let him sleep in peace, while he may.

His brother knows nothing of such troubles, for he is but a child. My little one! Yet I wonder how long his innocence can remain, in this place where we must always be on guard, always preparing, always aware of that future day when the walls of safety will crumble, no longer able to keep out the evil that lurks beyond them. Already he watches his brother with alert eyes, and I feel his desire to be like him. Ah, Faramir! I cannot imagine you as a warrior with sword in hand, as you lay here quiet and confident in my arms! But you will grow and mature, and then what? I wonder what the future holds for you, Faramir, my little one?

It is peaceful here, in spite of my fearful musings. I cannot wholly forget my burden, but it is enough that I am released for a time from its heaviest weight. For a time! Soon I must rouse Boromir and return to the Citadel, where my lord is waiting -- and then the fear will return, alas!

Perhaps I shall remain a while longer, in this quiet place...


LeRepos by William Bouguereau

LeRepos by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)

For a high resolution image, go to The Art Renewal Center.