1. Under the Eyes of the Evenstar
"Do all Men of the South look like him?"
"I would dearly like to find out!"
"He is not unhandsome, though his form is coarser than that of our kind."
"Aye, but it seems quite strong. Why, Estel looked spindly beside him."
The silly creatures dawdled at the open door, ogling our guest as if he were bathing for their amusement. And, as I had good cause to know, Estel was as well-made as this stranger. I cleared my throat.
"Oh, Lady Arwen," Gwaloth finally noticed my presence and blushed. Merilin and Lossael tittered softly.
I was relieved to see that their chatter had not disturbed our guest. Far from it, the Man's head was nodding; another minute and he would drown in the tub!
I led them into the bathing chamber. "I am Arwen, daughter of Elrond, lord," I greeted him; "My ladies bear towels and robes and will leave them here for you. Fresh raiment shall be brought to you in the morning; and your own garments shall be cleaned."
Though I stood far enough from the tub that our guest would feel no embarrassment, I easily descried his features. He was startled when he saw me, but he quickly mastered his surprise.
"And I am Boromir, son of Denethor, Captain-General of Gondor," he replied proudly in somewhat clipped Sindarin. "I thank you, lady. It is long since I have enjoyed such comfort."
I knew who he was; none enters the house without my knowledge. In truth, I had known of him for years. Little wonder that he could affect such pride while soaking in a tub! This was the heir of one of the greatest Númenorean lines in the South. This was one of the three men who stood between Estel and Gondor's winged crown, and so between me and my dearest hope.
It took all my will to keep my fists unclenched. I had heard of this Boromir's opposition to Estel at the Council, when by rights he should have knelt to him. I veiled my hostility and watched my ladies assist him in washing his tangled black hair.
When they finished, the man raised his head. I noticed lines of hardship in his face, the deep circles under his grey Dúnedain eyes. The Steward's son had courage to match his pride. He had travelled far, braving peril and loneliness, to find help for his realm. Here he had discovered as many questions as answers, and the man who was destined to supplant him.
He might bear watching later, but he certainly deserved kindness now.
"You are most welcome, Lord Boromir," I said, with a heartfelt smile.
He smiled back. I could see why my ladies thought him fair. I wondered if a wife awaited him in their White City. Then I knew, with the occasional foresight inherited from my father, that it would be better if Boromir had no wife, so that there would be one less to mourn him when he did not return.
I derived the names of Arwen's ladies (who are original characters) from the Sindarin name generator at http://elffetish.com/sindanames.html (well, I took two names and created the name Lossael; don't blame the site's owner if the name doesn't make sense).