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Visiting the Reunited Kingdom

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T.A. 2983

During a sunny spring morning, the steward's family gathers in their dining room for their breakfast. The first person to enter the room is Denethor who is dressed in ceremonial robes as he has a court session soon after breakfast. He sits down in his chair and waits for his wife and oldest son to join him. His youngest is still too young to join them for breakfast as he is but two months old. Not long after he sat down his oldest son, Boromir runs into the room closely followed by his mother, Finduilas. Finduilas has to smile at her son's enthusiasm. As the entire family starts to eat their breakfast Denethor asks

"How is Faramir faring this morning?"

"He has been fed and is sleeping quietly right now. Or at least he was asleep when I left the nursery. I imagine that he will be awake in a few hours" Finduilas answers calmly. She is relieved that Faramir is a calmer baby than his brother was so that she can spend some more time reading without having to interrupt it because her young son wants attention. Still, as he is so young he still requires frequent feeding. As such she keeps him close to her in a basket as she reads in the garden, the nursery or her own room.

"That is good to hear. Will you be spending the day in the nursery?" Denethor asks and once he receives confirmation, says "Then I will join you there after the court session"

"Of course, meleth" Finduilas says distractedly while looking out of the window. This arouses Denethor's interest as it isn't normal for her to be easily distracted.

"What is it, meleth?" Denethor asks in an attempt to find out what is distracting his wife. Finduilas stays silent for a while as she ponders how to tell her husband what is on her mind. After some consideration, she decides that the best way to tell him is telling him directly.

"I would like to ride with our sons for a while. I want to see something different than stones and would love to see the plans and forests of Anórien once more" Finduilas says and looks at her husband hopefully.

Denethor is a bit annoyed at this. Not for the request from his wife but because he can't be sure that the area is safe. There have been sightings of orcs and other threats recently. He doesn't know how to let his wife have her wish without having to bring a company of guards with them. Normally, they would take but a few of them with them but if he wants to give his wife her wish they will have to take a company with them. He refuses to let his wife and children ride in Anórien without him being around. That way he can protect them himself together with the guards.

When he looks at his wife's face again he curses himself. Her eyes make it impossible for him to deny her wish and he sighs once accepting the inevitable before saying

"I have time to go with you tomorrow afternoon. We will be taking a company of guards with us when we go"

"Please, meleth. You don't need to stress yourself. I know how much work you have to do and I could go alone with our sons and the guards. You don't need to accompany us. Not that I wouldn't like it. Just don't stress yourself needlessly" Finduilas says worriedly. She knows that he has a tendency to overwork himself from time to time. Whenever he does that she misses their friend Gil immensely. He would be able to pull her husband from his work and get him to take the rest he needs. Unfortunately, other tasks called him away. When Denethor learned of this he was greatly saddened. Denethor's sadness was not just at the loss of a friend but also for other reasons. These reasons she doesn't know. Not for a lack of trying on her part but because her husband refuses to talk to her about these reasons. He has been quite tight-lipped about it.

"It is out of the question that you will leave without me. You know that that area is not safe. I couldn't bear it to hear that something has happened to you or our sons and that I wasn't there with you. Also, I already have little time to spend with you and our boys. As such I want to come along just that I will have some time to sound with my family. I promise you that I will not overwork myself" Denethor tells his wife with a kiss on her cheek.

"Of course, meleth. I will prepare everything for the trip except for the guards. I will leave that up to you" Finduilas tells her husband with a smile. He agrees with her and they finish their breakfast in silence. Afterward, everyone goes their separate way. Afterward, the day goes on as normal for the family.

During the afternoon of the next day, ten horses are being saddled in the sixth level of Minas Tirith by grooms while Denethor and Finduilas are making their way down from the citadel to the horses. During the trip, Finduilas has to think back on the preparations she has done. Most of the supplies she sent down early in the morning so that the grooms can put it in the saddlebags to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed. Among the supplies is camping equipment and she still can't figure out epithet reason why they would need it. The only she knows is that she had a strong feeling that they would need it. Finduilas feels sure that they will find out in time why she had this feeling.

Besides the camping equipment, there are also a few blankets so that they can sit on the ground when eating the snacks she had the cooks prepare. These snacks she sent down one hour ago. She did this to ensure that the snack will be as fresh as possible when they will be eating them later today.

Also, she has to think about the discussion she had with Denethor about the riding arrangements for their sons. They quickly agreed that she would keep Faramir strapped to her chest and that Boromir would ride with Denethor. When they told Boromir about it, he protested loudly. Knowing her son he will soon be starting to protest about it again.

"Boromir! Don't run ahead of us" Denethor calls after Boromir when he breaks away from them and starts to run ahead of them. She smiles at her son's enthusiasm and she takes a look at her youngest. Faramir is sleeping soundly in the straps that hold him to her chest.

Looking back to her husband and oldest son she sees that Denethor has managed to get a hold of him and is scolding him. She knows why Denethor doesn't want Boromir to run ahead of them. Their oldest has a unique talent for finding trouble and by keeping him close they try to limit the possibility of him finding trouble. It would be bad should Boromir find trouble during the trip they are going to make. Finduilas sees that Denethor and Boromir wait for her to catch up to them. Not long after she joined them do they leave the citadel and are joined by some of the guards who will be accompanying them. It doesn't take long before Boromir starts to protest again about the riding arrangements much to his parent's irritation.

"Why can't I ride on my pony?"

"Because we will not be staying in the Rammas Echor. You are too young yet to ride on your own outside of it. That is why you won't ride on your pony, Boromir" Denethor tells his son.

"But father ..." Boromir starts but he father interrupts him

"No, Boromir. I won't discuss it with you. This discussion ends right now"

"Not fair!" Boromir says while giving his father a sour look. He doesn't like it that he has to ride with his father now that he is finally learning how to ride on his pony. He really likes these lessons and wants to practice as much as he possibly can. But he also knows from his father's reaction that it is of little use for him to continue to try and get his way. His father won't change his mind if he uses the voice he just used.

A short while later the family arrives at the stables where they can see that everything is ready for them to leave. Denethor can see that the other guards that will be going with them are standing next to horse they will ride. This tells him that their escort is now complete and they can leave the city for the trip they want to make. He feels sure that once Boromir sees the landscape of Anórien that he will not mind having to ride with him. In fact, Denethor believes that his son will be asking a lot of questions then. He and Finduilas will be quite busy with answering them.

Ten minutes later, the family and their escort are making their way down to the gates and are on their way to Anórien.

One hour later the group is riding through the open fields of Anórien while Denethor is busy answering all the questions that come from his enthusiastic son. The questions vary from asking about the plants to asking about all the animals that they can see or hear. Whenever he has the chance Denethor glances at his wife who rides beside him to see how much she is enjoying their ride. He can see that the guards ride around them to be able to protect them should danger approach. Still, they don't obscure their sight of the landscape as Denethor requested of them. It wouldn't do to go for a ride and not being able to see the landscape because the guards obscure the sight.

Denethor glances at his wife when Boromir runs out of questions to asks. He can see that this trip is doing her good for she looks more content and at ease out here. He has always known that the city of Minas Tirith is to enclosing for her taste. Finduilas always been a person who loves to be out in the lands. She always rode over the strands, the open plains or the forests near her birthing place, Dol Amroth. Since their marriage, she hasn't been able to ride a lot as their duties don't allow them much time for rides. They always have to reserve time for it and he knows that this irritates her. She manages to quell her desire to be outside by doing research in the archive. This is also something which she loves doing. As he looks around himself Denethor remembers why he always loved being out of the city. The open land gives him a measure of freedom which he always missed in Minas Tirith. As the steward of Gondor, it is rare for him to be able to leave the city and thus intends to enjoy this trip as much as possible.

"Boromir? Do you like this trip?" Denethor asks his son. This is Borormir's first trip with his new brother. The previous trips Boromir always rode with his mother. Right now Denethor wonders what his son thinks of this trip when he has to ride with his father. Alright, if he is honest with himself then he already knows the answer if he bases his son's opinion of this trip on the number of questions he asked. Still, Denethor wants to hear from his son personally what he thinks about this trip.

"Yes, ada. I like it. I have never seen so many different plants nor heard so many animals. I want to do this more often. Please, ada?" Boromir asks pleadingly.

"Of course we can do it more often, ion nin" Denethor answers laughingly. He is greatly pleased that his son's opinion corresponds to what he already expected it to be. Denethor vowes to himself that he will go with his family more often on these kinds of trips. He wants to see his wife more often this happy and at ease. Also, when they go on future trips Denethor intends to teach Boromir the things he needs to know about the area and the animals that live here. Faramir he will teach the same things once he is old enough to learn it.

"I'm glad you like it, Boromir. I like it also" Finduilas says and draws Denethor's and Boromir's attention to her. She has greatly enjoyed the time she spends in nature. It is something which she has missed greatly so she intends to enjoy it while it lasts. She would like to have these kinds of trips more often but knows that they don't have the time for it. Their duties demand a lot of their time.

Looking down at her chest to see what Faramir is doing she sees that he is awake and is making cooing noises. She smiles as this shows that he is enjoying the ride and that the movement of the horse pacifies him. She is glad he enjoys it as Boromir didn't like to ride when he was Faramir's age and awake. This makes riding much more enjoyable.

Finduilas smiles at her son and husband but the smile instantly disappears when she notices that a fog is suddenly appearing around them. This doesn't make any sense to her as the weather didn't give them any of the indications that typically indicate that a fog will come. She sees that Denethor also stiffens as well as the guards. They know that ensuring their safety is a lot more difficult when one rides in fog. Dangers can hide much more easily in fog. She moves her horse closer to her husband's to make the work of the guards easier and also to feel a bit safer. As the fog hasn't stopped thickening she doesn't want to take the risk that she will lose sight of her family.

"Meleth, please stay close to me. I don't like this fog at all" Denethor says while looking her in the eye. At Boromir's gasp, the both turn their eyes back to the fog and see that is has become so thick that they can't see the guards. What is strange is that they can't seem to hear the guards. This worries them both and looking at each other and come to the same conclusion that this is no normal fog.