Change of Plans by Linaewen

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Story Notes:

Written for the LotR Community's 2016 Potluck challenge, with the theme of Wisdom and the prompt of "gnat".

Dûrlin is a recurring OC in my stories; he attends the Steward's family and in later years, serves as Boromir's personal attendant.


Dûrlin approached the door to Boromir's room, bearing a tray of fruit and cheese for a light mid-afternoon repast.  The door was slightly ajar, and he could hear Boromir's voice waxing eloquent.  Dûrlin smiled, imagining a scene of Boromir telling a long story involving battles and swords and clashes with orcs, while his younger brother listened in awe.  He tapped to get their attention, then pushing the door open, he entered the room.

The silence from the two boys was immediate.  Dûrlin had a brief glimpse of the boys bent over an unrolled piece of parchment, seemingly a crudely drawn map, before Boromir swept it off the table and onto the floor, leaning with his elbows on the table as if nothing had been there.  Boromir's attempt to look carefree and welcoming met with little success.

"Dûrlin," he said, a slight tone of accusation in his voice.  "We were not expecting you."

"Oh?" queried Dûrlin, setting his tray down upon the table that had most recently held the mysterious map.  "That surprises me.  Do I not always come at this time of the day to bring you a bite to eat after you have finished your studies for the day?"

Boromir and Faramir glanced at each other in dismay, then tried to cover it up with more innocent looks.  Boromir stammered a bit as he searched for words to answer.

"You must have been so occupied in your studies that you lost track of the time," Dûrlin said soothingly, pretending not to notice the boys' guilty-looking faces and making certain his eyes did not stray to the hidden map.  "I hope you will accept this food and enjoy it, even if it comes sooner than you were expecting."

Without waiting for an answer, Dûrlin set out plates and distributed the food.

"What was it you were working on so studiously that you forgot about your afternoon food?" he asked in a friendly tone.

Boromir seemed reluctant to answer but he spoke up anyway.  "We were studying a map."

"A map!" Dûrlin exclaimed.  "Maps are always so interesting, are they not?  When I was young I used to make my own maps."

"We made our map, too!" Faramir announced excitedly, but he fell silent when Boromir scowled at him.

"Maps always make me feel like having an adventure," Dûrlin went on, ignoring the exchange between the brothers.  "Are you boys thinking the same, by chance?  Planning an adventure with your map, perhaps?"

"Well..." Boromir hesitated.  "Perhaps...."

"Very good!" Dûrlin replied.  Boromir looked surprised.

"Just remember," Dûrlin went on, "'No one can be caught in places he does not visit'."

"What...what does that mean?"

"Oh, it is something my father used to tell me," Dûrlin chuckled.  "He always used to know when I was contemplating an adventure that might land me in trouble.  I learned the hard way that the saying is true."

"The hard way?"  Boromir swallowed hard.  "What happened?"

"I got caught in places I should not have visited, and had to deal with the consequences!"

"I see," Boromir said thoughtfully.  Faramir's eyes were round at the mention of consequences.

Dûrlin tucked the empty tray under his arm.  "Enjoy your afternoon, Boromir, Faramir.  I will be back later to retrieve your empty plates."

"Th..thank you, Dûrlin.  Thank you for the food."

As Dûrlin left the room, he heard Faramir's voice raised in complaint.

"Change of plans?  But why?  What about our map?"

"I have realized the map is no good.  It will not take us where we want to go.  But I have a better idea, Faramir.  This will be even more fun than the map."

"And we will not be in trouble or have to deal with consequences?"

"No, Faramir.  There will be no trouble or consequences...."

Dûrlin smiled and gently closed the door.

"Another crisis averted!" he sighed in relief.




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