Challenges by Linda Hoyland

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"Where might the King be found?" Aragorn's secretary enquired. He mopped his profusely sweating brow with a large handkerchief.

"Is he not with Lord Faramir?" Arwen replied. She sat fanning herself beside an open window. It was hot indeed for one of her kind to feel it.

"The Steward's study is empty too, my lady."

"Is the business urgent?"

"Not really, my lady, but these trade reports need the King's signature."

"I will tell him when I see him, Bergon."

Arwen wandered out into the private gardens. She had a good idea where her husband and his Steward might be.

She espied them lounging in a shady spot on the grass beside an ornamental fountain. Boots and stockings discarded, their bare feet dangled in the cool water. Their tunics too, were cast aside, and their shirts unlaced.

Arwen had not seen her husband so contented since the hot weather had started several days before. His heart yearned for the cooler northern climes during Gondor's balmy summers.

Arwen smiled. Surely even the King and his Steward could sometimes enjoy a lazy summer afternoon? Loth to disturb the two men, she crept silently away. The reports could wait for another, cooler day.




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