Arwen looked at her daughter, shocked. “You mean to tell me”, she whispered dangerously, “that you wedded Elboron in the wee hours of the night?”
Ariwen met her mother’s glare. “That is exactly what I’m saying, mother.”
“But the priest would not have wed you…he would fear the King’s wrath. Who then?”
Since Ariwen seemed at a loss for words at this point, not wanting to betray her brother, Elboron stepped in. “My lady, we bargained with your son, Eldarion. He was loth to do so at first, but I managed to convince him. If anyone is to be put to blame, let it be me.”
The Queen stared at him long and hard, until finally coming to a decision. “Nay, the blame shall not fall on thee or any other. `Tis was an act of love, as much as I wish otherwise. We need only worry what Aragorn will do should he return from this war.”
Ariwen gasped, “Mother, speak not as such! Father will return, you know that. So will Lord Faramir, and all that we hold dear. They always return.” She looked frightened, despite her bold words.
Arwen smiled at her daughter sadly. “Child, you have never tasted the spoils of war. None of you have, whether it be Elfwine of Rohan, Celewen of Gondor or Elboron of Ithilien. It is like a bittersweet song, one that enchants you, but in the end brings only death and destruction. Most of those men will never return. I can feel it in my heart.”
Shamed by her mother’s speech, Ariwen lowered her eyes and Elboron as well. Faramir’s son then spoke. “What then should we do if they return not to us?”
“Continue on with life. Grieve and then forget the pain. Crown the heirs to their positions.” Here her eyes lingered of her new son-in-law a bit. “But forget not the person, for you may once meet them again beyond the Halls of Mandos.”
Comforted, Elboron allowed a small smile to grace his face. At that moment, Eldarion burst into the private sitting area that they were in. The Prince glanced quickly at Elboron, who nodded slightly to confirm that the Queen knew of that previous night’s activities.
Upon seeing her son, Arwen’s seething anger was renewed once again. “Why did you do it? What means did these scoundrels use to convince you, ion nîn (my son)?”
Eldarion eyed the Queen warily. He did not want his mother to know of his antics anymore than he did his wife. Finally submitting to her cold glare as he had done countless times as a child, he answered, “I was presented with a…bargain that thoroughly convinced me to agree to their request.”
“And what was that bargain?” Arwen pressed.
Eldarion paused before responding. “I would speak of it not, mother, if that may be permitted.”
Arwen looked at her only son suspiciously, but let the matter drop. “I suppose that is it, then. Such a thing cannot be undone.” Turning back to the newly married couple, she said, “Daughter, will you be moving into the Steward’s House or will Elboron move to the King’s House?”
After a moment of silent communication, Elboron spoke. “It would be unseemingly for one of the Steward’s Line such as I to dwell in the House of Kings. If my lady wife be willing, I shall remain in the house of my forefathers.”
Stifling a small giggle at her lover’s formality, Ariwen spoke, “I shall move to the Steward’s House, for eventually, in some way, word will get out that we are wed.”
Seeing a chance to escape, Gondor’s Prince stammered, “I-I shall see to it immediately.” With that, he fled the room and started dishing out orders to nearby servants.
Elboron smiled. “He is afraid of what the King will do to him when he finds out, that much is clear. I suppose I am a bit nervous myself.” Unless his face spoke lies, Elboron was far more than `a bit nervous’ about the prospect.
Ariwen laughed at the petrified look on his face. Until her father returned (or if, if her mother was to be heeded, she thought solemnly), her husband would most likely be jumping at every dark shadow in the alley as a small child would. As much as she had tried to reassure him, Elboron had always been a bit intimidated and frightened of her father. She supposed it came from the fear of what he would do if Elboron was found dishonoring her in any way. The fear would soon fade away, though. The King was merciful, even when it came to matters such as these.