Reflections in Ithilien – A Vignette

by Feb 14, 2003Stories

The children are outside playing. It is times like this, when the house is quiet, that I am given over to reflection. Most often, I think of the dark days during the War, the dead of companions, the ever present fear that was so thick that it was almost a tangible presence, the sorrow that filled me when another innocent fell.

Distantly, I can hear a child begin to cry and I almost go outside to se if the child is all right, but I stop myself. Whatever ails the child cannot be any worse than a scrape or bump, nothing serious. Soon enough, my thoughts are confirmed as the crying stops and is replaced by a giggle. Ah, to be young again…

Most would say that I am still young, even thought I have been married for over ten years and have several children. And in truth, I really am not all that old. Physically, at least.

I have seen and done things that no person should ever be forced to do. I have killed mercilessly and seen enough death to last a hundred lifetimes. Sometimes, I feel like I have lived most than one life: my childhood, then the War, and now. Innocence, corruption, and regret.

I am old and weary. Life is no longer exciting to me. I know too much about how the things really works to enjoy my quiet, peaceful little corner of the world. I know that the peace will not last. Evil will rise up again and we will be forced to go to War once more. It may not happen during my lifetime, but it will happen, and I cannot relax because of it.

I do not want my children to have to experience what I did. My sons would surely answer the call to arms to protect their home, while my daughters would most likely follow their brothers. They have too much of their mother’s spirit than is good for them.

Although I love my wife dearly for her fighter’s spirit, I do not want my daughters to experience the pain their mother did because of her spirit. She almost was called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for her spirit. I do not wish that upon my dear, beautiful daughters. I would not wish that upon anyone, but especially not my daughters.

Outside the window that I am seated beside, I can see my youngest daughter, only three winters old, chasing a butterfly through the riot of flowers that my wife chooses to call a garden. I imagine my daughter looks like my wife did when she was a young girl: long golden hair that shone in the sun, bright blue eyes that sparkled with joy, with a fair complexion, only slightly sun-kissed.

My children are lucky to look more like their mother than I, with my dark hair and eyes and slightly ruddy-looking skin. They are all fair and seem almost otherworldly, like their mother. They are all beautiful and will most likely break many hearts during their early adulthood.

Hearts are fragile to begin with and need little encouragement before they shatter. I learned this, long ago, when my love was in love with another. It took all I had to keep from letting her see my shattered heart, but, to this day, I truly do not think that I was successful in that endeavor.

I can hear my precious dear heart call out from another part of the manor and I watch as our daughter stops chasing the butterfly and runs to her older sister, who lifts the child effortlessly. I stand, turning away from my window to the outside world, and walk to the doorway of my library, but pause there. If my presence were needed, I would be notified.

After a few moments of standing still in the doorway, I decide that it will be a while yet before I am needed, so I turn to return to my chair. Only a few steps into the room, a voice behind me calls out my name, halting me. I turn and see that a servant is standing in the doorway, holding a small bundle.

Quickly, I walk over to her and take the bundle from her arms and look down into the clear blue eyes of my new child. Before departing, the servant informs me that the child is a girl and that my wife would like to see me in our room. Before I know it, I am alone with this brand new life.

She has the same eyes as her mother, but she promises to have my hair, as her head already has a peach-fuzz coating of dark hair. Nonetheless, I believe that she will look more like her mother than I. She will be just a beautiful as our other daughters, though darker colored.

A voice brings me out of my reverie: a servant reminding me that my wife wishes to speak with me. Casting one last look out the window at the sky over Ithilien, I turn to head down the hall to my lovely Éowyn.

The End


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