1. Finduilas' Dance
Finduilas stood upon the heights of Dol Amroth, looking out to the great sea at the West. Faramir fussed in her arms and she hushed him; the wind was cold and biting, nipping at her face, snapping at her ankles each time a gust blew her dress awry.
The face of her younger son was screwed up in protest at the cold. Wrapping his swaddling-clothes around him even tighter, she decided she would have to go inside, after all. It was cold, and people were probably looking for her. Her mother. Her father. Her brother. Her sister-in-law, even burdened by her own newborn babe as she would be.
But instead of going back inside as she should, letting the servants take care of her son while the physicians fussed over Finduilas herself, and her mother hovered protectively, she slipped back into the great castle by the back stairs, used only by servants who’d long been on her side in these matters.
Faramir, once inside the warmth again, went happily back to sleep. Such a good child! Most unlike his brother, who was much more demanding, although his father did encourage such behaviour. No chance that Boromir would feel jealous of his brother. Not when Denethor had made it quite clear that his focus was on his eldest, his heir.
But Boromir and Denethor were back in Minas Tirith, and now it was just Faramir and her. She kissed his brow, and held him tight as she made her way to the stables. The head of the stables was a tall man of Rohan who she’d known since her childhood, and who was of the most helpful opinion that a long ride would be as good for the Lady as any herbs and potions.
Before long she was changed into riding gear, Faramir held on her back in the manner that women of Rohan carried their babies while riding, or so she was told. The beginning of the woods was not far, but by the time she dismounted, she was already feeling exhausted. No doubt the cheerful stableman was already being thoroughly roasted by her mother’s sharp tongue, and soon her brother or some other relative would be here to fetch Finduilas home.
But now, beneath the trees, which offered much more shelter from the wind, all she wanted to do was rest. The open trees were much more welcoming than the cold stone of Dol Amroth, and much more comforting than the pale roar of the sea. Stretching out, catlike, she removed her riding boots, loosened her hair, and lay back against a tree, rocking Faramir in her arms.
She could not have said how long she had slept, but the sun was low in the sky, it’s rays filtering through the leaves above, when she awoke. Somewhere, quite near, a voice was raised in song, both beautiful and sorrowful.
“Gilthoniel! A Elbereth!”
Finduilas knew little of the Elvish tongues, but she recognised the voice of one of the Firstborn when she heard it. Creeping forward, her slumbering son still in her arms, she snuck on bare feet towards the source of the sound.
A solitary Elf, a maiden, danced in a clearing, her bare feet never stopping, the pale grey of her cloak whirling around her. As soon as Finduilas breached the circle of the dance, though, the singing stopped, although the maiden still danced with every movement, long hair in disarray, grey eyes fixed firmly on Finduilas. Wondering, appraising.
Old tales, told to a barefoot child by the warmth of a fire, came flooding back. The Elf paused, waiting.
“Mithrellas?” Finduilas asked. The Elf laughed.
“Mithrellas,” she agreed, and added a laughing sentence in her own language. “Finduilas,” she continued, “Faramir.” She indicated the babe Finduilas held. Somehow it seemed right, though, that she should know their names. Another long sentence in that musical tongue, and then a pause, as if searching for something. “Dance.”
The accent was strange, but the meaning was clear enough, and her tone suggested that no argument would be allowed. Clutching Faramir tightly, Finduilas was drawn into the dance, the music starting up again. Bare feet thudded against the grass, together they whirled, the music of the Elves surrounding her, lifting her up.
Eventually, she found herself lying against that same tree again, laughing grey eyes over her. A kiss was placed upon Faramir’s forehead, then her own. “Rest now.”
By the time Mithrellas had left the clearing, Finduilas was already asleep, feeling more peaceful then she had since…
The shock of sudden wakefulness. Faramir, alert as always to his mother’s mood, began to cry. Soon Imrahil’s worried face peered overhead. “Are you alright? You really must stop doing these things, sister.” He took his nephew from his mother’s arms, and, surprisingly, Faramir quieted. “I’m getting better at this, I guess. Get your boots, for goodness’ sake. What were you doing, dancing around by yourself?”
Finduilas grabbed her boots, red-faced. “It is none of your business.” The silver barrette that had been holding back her hair was nowhere to be found, and a piece of leather offered by Imrahil was used to hastily tie it up. She thought of saying something, telling him. But all she said was, “I suppose I look a terrible mess.”
“Indeed,” he replied, smiling, and by the time they’d gotten ready to ride back it was clear to Finduilas that all would be forgiven when they returned, chalked up in her families mind as another one of their dear daughter’s strange fancies, to be indulged as long as it could be considered ‘harmless’.
Behind her, in the grass, there was only one set of footprints.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.