The Prince's Portrait.
B2MeM Challenge:Eldarion, possibly other Gondorians - baby's first armour
This ridiculously cute photo of a kid cosplaying a young Eldarion is making the rounds over at Tumblr:
and I thought it would make for some interesting fic. What did Eldarion, his proud parents, or anyone else think of this finery? Is it new, or is it inherited from somewhere? What did Arwen think about seeing her child wearing the Evenstar, which neither waxed nor waned? What of the craftsmen who made it? I'd love to see what people make of different aspects of this post, and would welcome either an Eldarion-centric piece or something about other Gondorians' reactions.
Format: short story
Characters: Aragorn, Arwen, Eldarion, OMC, OFC
Summary:Eldarion has his portrait painted.
The canon characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been nor will be made from this story.
<img src="http://www.silmarillionwritersguild.org/images/b2mem2015/participant30.jpg" alt="Back to Middle-earth Month 2015 Participant" />
With thanks to my friends here on LJ and to Medcat for editing.
“I think it quite absurd,” said Arwen.
“It is the tradition, my love, not only in Gondor, but for all the surrounding realms.”
“You are the High King; you should create your own traditions!” Arwen retorted. “Eldarion is a child of only eight short years, so why dress him as a grown warrior holding a sword?”
“He always enjoys holding Andúril when I permit him and he loves to play with his wooden sword too.”
“That is quite different. Every child likes to pretend to be grown up. The portrait should capture our son's childhood. He should be painted in his ordinary clothes playing with his puppy.”
“I am sorry, vanimelda, but this is an official portrait. We cannot have our own people, not to mention the Kha Khan of Harad and the other lords of the South and East, thinking that one day Eldarion will be less of a force to be reckoned with than I am. Much as I hope Eldarion will never have to raise his sword in anger; he must look like he would be capable of so doing.”
Arwen sighed. “Very well, I understand, but I still wish that my son could be portrayed as the innocent child that he is.”
When Eldarion saw the outfit he was to wear, he was even less happy about matters than his mother. “These clothes look silly!” he complained. “I don't want to put them on.”
“I thought you admired the uniforms the Citadel Guards wear,” said Arwen. “You told me only last month that you wanted to be either a Guard or a Ranger.”
“That was ages ago! I only want to be a Ranger now, and in any case the Guards don’t wear all this silly red and blue velvet, nor any jewels!” Eldarion scowled deeply.
“Your father has to wear jewels and velvets sometimes as part of his official duties.”
“Well, I don’t want to.”
“Well. you are heir to the Reunited Kingdom and this part of your duties,” Arwen said firmly.
Eldarion pulled a face. He brightened, though when he saw the sword he was to carry. “I’m a warrior now!” he cried, brandishing the blade.
“Not until you are a man grown,” said Arwen. “Now hold it very carefully and stop waving it around. Someone might get hurt.”
Farawyn was teething had been fretful all morning. Arwen was already late for an important meeting she desired to attend, when the children's nanny appeared.
“Please, my lady, I thought I’d better come and ask your advice. Master Eldarion just won’t sit still for the artist. He does nothing but fidget. He wanted his dog with him, but I feared that would only make him more restless.”
Arwen sighed deeply. “Ask one of the nursery maids to take Nimrodel in and play with her. Hopefully that will distract my son. Meanwhile, I want you to stay with Farawyn and settle her down. I am sorry, but I have to go now or I will be late. I will not be gone for long.” She gestured to her maid to fetch her cloak.
“Very well, my lady,” the nanny said somewhat doubtfully, but summoned a nursery maid to do as the Queen asked.
Aragorn was engrossed in studying the finer points of a planned decree concerning the upkeep of Gondor’s roads when he heard the commotion. First a series of piercing barks and hisses, then a loud crash followed by a scream and more barking. The sound came from the family sitting room. He hastened to see what the matter was.
An unforgettable sight met the King’s eyes. In the centre of the room, the artist’s easel and paints lay on the ground. Paint was splattered everywhere, on the floor, on the painting, on Nimrodel, and, in copious quantities all over Eldarion’s clothes and armour.
The spaniel was barking frantically at the nursery cat, who sat on top of a bookshelf, washing her whiskers.
Eldarion was waving his sword and shouting, “Naughty dog!” The artist was wringing his hands while the nursery maid looked about to have hysterics, as did the housekeeper.
“What has happened here?” Aragorn sounded stern, though inwardly he wanted to laugh. He took the sword from his son. “I have told you to treat swords with respect, Eldarion. Why is Nimrodel not outside in her kennel?”
“Naneth told Nanny that I might watch her play while my picture was painted,” said Eldarion. “It wasn’t her fault that the cat walked in and she started chasing it. I didn't do anything naughty. Somehow the easel got knocked over and the falling picture knocked over the paint and-”
“That is why she lives in her kennel and plays with you outside so she will not get into mischief like this,” said Aragorn, cutting short what he was certain was a long list of excuses. “We will send for the maids to clean up this mess before your mother returns. One of the grooms can take Nimrodel outside. Master Turin will have to return tomorrow to paint your portrait after I pay him to buy more paints. I want you to apologise to him.”
“I'm sorry, Master Turin,” Eldarion muttered.
The nursery maid looked glumly at Eldarion’s finery. “I fear Master Eldarion’s clothes are ruined, my lord.”
“We shall have to find him some new ones then.”
“Do I still have to have my picture painted, Ada? Sitting still is so boring and I hate wearing these stupid clothes!”
“Yes, you do, ion nîn. Why not watch Master Turin as he works? Maybe you could paint a picture of your own one day?”
“Painting is for girls,” Eldarion said glumly.
“I quite like to paint myself when I have the time,” said Aragorn. “So does Uncle Faramir. I do not think either of us are girls! Now go with your nursemaid and wash away the paint before your mother sees what a sight you are. You are covered in it.”
A few weeks later
Aragorn and Arwen stood in front of their son’s portrait. They were both smiling appreciatively. “It is such a fair likeness,” said Arwen. “This will be one of my dearest possessions. If any at Rivendell sail, I shall ask them to take a copy to my mother and father.”
“We will have many copies made so that the people can see what their prince looks like,” said Aragorn. “I should have listened to you to begin with, vanimelda. It is my place to introduce new traditions, not be enslaved by old ones. There should be plenty of time in the future for Eldarion to be depicted as a warrior. This portrait will help us remember him as a small boy when he is grown to manhood.
Eldarion’s painted likeness smiled at them from the canvas. He was sitting on the grass in the Queen’s garden, clad simply in a black tunic and trousers, while Nimrodel reclined on his lap. The only marks of his status were the white tree embroidered upon his tunic, a copy of those Aragorn liked to wear, and a mithril circlet about his head.
“I wonder however Master Turin persuaded both Eldarion and Nimrodel to stay still?” Aragorn mused.
Arwen laughed. “It proved quite simple. Eldarion played with the dog until they were both tired out before each sitting. I think they were both happy with the arrangement as was Master Turin!”