Who Is Right? by Virodeil

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Title: Who Is Right?

 

Author: Eärillë

 

Rating: PG

 

Warnings: First Draft, Mild Swearing (done by children)

 

Summary:
Traces of the dark times that was before was left, even long after the Ring War had been fought. They touched children just as they did the adult veterans. But perhaps, there was some truth to the saying “Children always bounce back”?

 

Genres: Character Study, Friendship, Vignette

 

Place and Timeline: Minas Tirith, Fourth Age

 

Characters: Aragorn (King Elessar), Eldarion, OFC child

 

Words (in MS Word): 815

 

Point of View: Third Person General, Past Tense

 

Challenge: Day 7: Belegost:
Overcoming prejudices is as hard in Middle-earth as in our primary universe. Write a story or poem or create artwork where the characters try to reach across racial or gender or any other barrier.

 

Story Notes:
The girl in the story is of Haradrim descent, whose parents were close to the King (Elessar; and this one titbit is for another story…). She grows up with Eldarion; and by this time, Eldarion sisters are not yet born.
The children grow up with a refined sense of language drilled into their mannerism, but traces of childishness can still be spotted here and there. And about the swearing: It is between children, who also – unfortunately – grow up hearing them from the people they meet in the streets.


“You are a vile creature.”

 

“You are. My parents said so.”

 

“My uncle Halbarad died fighting your lot, usurpers.”

 

“Take back that word! And you are so-so-so wrong. Your own father made peace with us. But the rest of you are just vile as those who killed my brothers.”

 

“Usurpers.”

 

“Killers.”

 

“–And you, children, are just as foolishly stubborn as those people you were talking about. And here I thought I might get some reprieve from them.”

 

“Ada!”

 

“Your Majesty!…”

 

King Elessar was standing on the doorway, arms lightly akimbo, and a severe frown was plastered on his countenance. The two bickering children, one a pale-skinned boy and the other a dark-skinned girl, jumped to their feet and bowed, frightened that their argument had been overheard (or perhaps eavesdropped) by the King – and a grown-up that mattered so much to them, regardless of title and power.

 

But, unlike both of the children’s assumption, the boy was addressed first.

 

“I shall talk to your mother about this, Eldarion, and she might be able to come up with something for you. You should have known better about listening too closely to those people in the streets, son. And with that kind of language, you were putting yourself no higher than those creatures bred by Sauron.”

 

Tears welled up quickly in the boy’s eyes, and he lost his composure even quicker. Sagging as if an empty sack, he curled into himself and buried his face in the living coil, sobbing wretchedly.

 

The girl looked back and forth between the King and the little Crown Prince for a moment, undecided. But then she approached the boy, gingerly yet resolutely, and gave him a brief touch of sympathy.

 

She looked up into the King’s eyes, then, and said in a tremulous peep, “I just as worse, Your Majesty. Namer rasya ihbiolid ta’er’h.” Her grasp of Westron was slipping, sliding away so fast, faster than the blood rushing from her heart to all over her tiny body, the form that her parents so adored, which she might lose soon. Her trembling, sweaty hands wrung the bright, hand-woven fabric of her wide skirt tightly in utter fear; but she was yet standing, although unsteadily and in danger of falling over any time soon. The courage she had felt rushed out of her mind and heart just as swiftly, and she was now just gazing flatly into the King’s eyes, awaiting judgement. The semblance of a proud demeanour was only there because her parents had drilled her about it since her early age.

 

And the King smiled at the show of bravery. And with that, her little bottom bumped against the carpeted stone floor, hard. Her mouth and eyes were open in utter incredulity, and the confusion that resulted from it. But the King’s smile never faltered, and, crouching down to her level, he touched her cheek just as tenderly as he did Eldarion. “Anala,” he murmured, and she tensed up, hearing her name, fearing the judgement that was surely about to be rendered.

 

But he only told her that he was thankful she had only returned his son’s insults, not instigating it, and he apologised for Eldarion’s words. And in turn, stuttering past the tears clogging her throat and nose, she apologised for her own harsh words, and affirmed that she would take any punishment he deemed fit to give.

 

To that, the King chuckled lowly and quirked a grin. “Well, you do not like to end up in this kind of situation, do you?” he said in her native tongue, tempering his admonishment with a trace of humor. “I trust that you will do your best to avoid falling into the same situation in the future, then?”

 

She nodded frantically, her small, intricately-entwined braids bouncing with the movement of her head. Smiling shily, she scrambled into his open arms, settling at his side with a relieved sigh.

 

The king then went to his son, carefully gathering him up into his unoccupied arm just as he had Anala. And Eldarion melted into the known safety of his father’s embrace as if nothing had happened, although by then he was still sniffling away his tears. However old he was, his greatest fear was disappointing his parents; and however old he believed himself to be, an occasion like this always made him feel like a two-year-old – without the injured pride that would usually have followed.

 

And Aragorn, now Elessar – the King of the Reunited Realms of Gondor and Arnor – and a father (and surrogate father) of two six-year-olds, could only let out a tired-but-fond harrumph. Glaring half-heartedly at the two charges in his arms, he growled, “Now, no more mischief from the both of you.”

 

The children stayed true to the admonishment. Because, when the King exited the nursery, they were fast asleep from emotional exhaustion, snuggling against his chest and each other.




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