32. The Colour of Love
"Will you play with me, please, naneth?" Eldarion begged.
"Not now, dear one, your sister needs to be fed." Arwen looked down lovingly at the tiny babe at her breast. "Have you no lessons today?"
"My tutor is unwell."
"Go and play with your nanny in the nursery then," said the Queen, fondly stroking the baby's cheek.
Eldarion sadly did as he was bidden. His nanny was so very old as well as being slightly deaf and no good at playing games. He soon cheered up, though when he took out his toy soldiers. He arranged them in rows and beat his toy drum for them to march to.
His mother appeared in the nursery doorway, his wailing baby sister in her arms. "Eldarion, stop that noise at once!" she cried. "You have woken Farawyn up just as I had settled her off to sleep. Go and find your father. He is free this afternoon." With that she turned and left.
Eldarion considered that his sister made considerably more noise than his toy drum. He could not understand why his mother made such a fuss about the infant. All she ever did was sleep, or eat or cry!
He made his way along the corridor to his father's study, telling the guard on duty that his mother had sent him.
The King was standing by his desk with the Steward by his side. Both men were studying a map intently which was spread out in front of them.
"Will you play with me or tell me a story, please, ada?" asked Eldarion.
"Later, my son," said the King.
"Naneth said you were not busy today," Eldarion protested.
"I want to show Lord Faramir this new map of the realm," said Aragorn.
"It's not fair! Why must you look at some dull map?"
"Eldarion, I cannot always be playing with you," Aragorn replied.
"Playing is more fun than stupid maps!" Eldarion muttered sullenly.
"Go to your room!" Aragorn said sternly. "You are not to speak to me or to Lord Faramir like that."
Eldarion burst into tears. Dodging the guard, he ran down the corridor and outside into the garden.
Aragorn hastened after him, the Steward at his side. "Whatever is the matter with the boy?" Aragorn asked in bewilderment.
"He is still unaccustomed to not being the only child, sire," said the Steward. "Éowyn and I had to go to great pains to convince Elestelle that the Elboron was not loved more than they."
Aragorn looked horrified. "Surely Eldarion cannot believe that his sister is replacing him in our love?"
Faramir nodded sadly. "Boromir was younger than Eldarion when I was born, but he once told me he thought at first I was come to replace him! And that was despite our father greatly preferring him!"
The King and the Steward came across Eldarion in a summerhouse in the Queen's garden. The little boy was curled in a ball sobbing his heart out.
Aragorn knelt beside him. "Why are you crying, my son?"
Eldarion gave a loud sniff. "I'm not crying. Only stupid girls and babies cry!"
"Something troubles you though?" The King put his arms around the child. Faramir discreetly slipped away.
"You and naneth don't love me anymore!" Eldarion burst out then started to sob again.
"Whatever makes you think that, ion nîn?" Aragorn asked in dismay.
"You've got a new baby now!"
"That is because your naneth and I have enough love to share. Did I not explain to you before your sister was born that when a man and a woman love each other very much, they are wed so they can share that love with the children that they hope Lady Yavanna will give them? We love you just as much as we have done since the day you were born to us."
"But how can you? I've heard you say you love lots of people. You cannot have enough love left."
"My poor foolish boy!" Aragorn hugged his son tighter, trying to think of some words to console him. "Come with me," he said at last, taking Eldarion by the hand and leading him out into the garden, which was Arwen's pride and joy and filled with blossoms of every kind. "Now look at the sky. What colour is it?"
"Blue," said Eldarion.
"And what colour is the grass?"
"It is green, ada." Eldarion sounded bewildered.
"And your naneth's rose bushes?"
"They are pink and white."
"And the other flowers over there?"
"There are red ones and blue ones and orange ones and purple ones. More colours than I can count!"
"What if the sky were green like the grass? Would that look nice?"
"No, it would be horrible."
"Which flowers do you like best, Eldarion?"
The little boy ran straight to Arwen's wild flower bed and pointed to the scarlet poppies, which grew amongst buttercups, daisies and cornflowers.
"Those!" he said." Red is my favourite colour."
"Would you like all these flowers to be red or the poppies to be by themselves?" Aragorn asked.
"No, that would be so dull. I like the poppies because they are brighter than the others, but the poppies would not look so pretty without the other flowers."
"So we need all the colours then?"
"Yes," Eldarion said without hesitation. "I like lots of colours."
"Do you remember when you had your portrait painted?"
Eldarion pouted. "Yes, it was dull sitting still, but I liked seeing all the colours the artist used. But why, ada? That was a long time ago."
"You agree that lots of colours are good, though?" Aragorn persisted.
Eldarion nodded. "Everyone knows that, ada! Why do you ask?"
"Because love is like all the different colours, my son. Every colour is special and each colour makes the others look all the fairer. We need the blue sky and the green grass, the scarlet poppies and white daises and golden buttercups, just as I need you and your naneth and your sister and my friends and still have enough love for each of you. The more we love, the more love we have to give."
"But everyone makes such a fuss about Farawyn!"
"They did exactly the same when you were tiny. Your sister is so very little that she cannot tell us what she needs, so that is why she needs so much attention from your naneth, so that she will grow big and strong like you are. Then you will be able to play together and she will love her big brother very much. You just need to be patient while she grows up. Now, would you like to look at the new map with Lord Faramir and I and I will tell you a story about my travels?"
"Yes, please, ada!"
"And think about what I have just told you. I love you none the less now you have a sister neither does your naneth. You each have a special place in my heart, just as all the colours have a special place in the rainbow." He bent and kissed Eldarion tenderly on the forehead.
Eldarion was not sure he quite understood everything his father had said, for what had love to do with rainbows? He did know that his ada told wonderful stories and he was going to hear one!
A/n. Written for the Teitho "Colours" challenge.
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.