Arwen looked up from her stitching. “Yes, Rachiel, what is it?”
“’Tis your son, m’lady, the nanny-“
That was all that Arwen needed to hear before she was out of her seat
and racing to the nursery. She heard Rachiel call after no, “No, not
that way, M’lady! To the grand hall!”
Sighing, Arwen turned about and walked back to her handmaiden. “Not
again. I thought we took everything away from him. No paint, no ink.”
“Yes, m’lady, yes,” confirmed Rachiel. “We think it was...” The maid
bit her lip as they hurried down the corridor to the grand hall.
“What? What was it?” demanded the queen.
“We think it might have been something that your father left for him.
You do remember those boxes that he left before sailing? Callabelle
brought out one of the boxes for him yesterday, and we must have missed
that it was in with the rest of the items,” apologized Rachiel.
Her shoulders slumped. For some reason, all of the threats made by
her father whenever she did something wrong as a child that she herself
would deal with such things when she became a mother came flooding back
into her mind. “How bad is it, Rachiel?”
The maiden cringed as she pushed the door open to the hall. Arwen
herself paused, frowning, before entering the room and walking to where
her son stood talking to his father quietly. Estel was crouched down,
smiling as he spoke, and as Eldarion answered him. When he saw his wife
approach, his smile widened, and he stood up. “Eldarion tells me he is
in trouble again.”
“Eldarion knows he is not to run from Callabelle, and he knows he is
not to come here to play,” scolded Arwen, shaking her head and frowning
when she saw the clumsy drawings on the wall made with wax sticks. Yes,
they must have come from her father – the wax sticks were something he
loved to make and give to her to play with when she was little.
“Rachiel, fetch one of the chamber maids to clean this up.”
Rachiel curtseyed and made to leave, but the king held up his hand
and she froze. “Arwen, darling, you would have them erase our son’s art
from these walls?”
“Estel, we cannot leave it,” argued Arwen.
Turning his head, Estel looked back down at the wall where the marks
were visible, and at his pouting son. “Who will notice it? We can move
something to cover it the rest of the time,” he suggested, and without
commanding someone else do it for him, he walked to a nearby table
covered with a cloth and pulled it across the stone floor.
And promptly began to laugh, while Eldarion looked at his feet and
Arwen flushed slightly. “How many works of art has he created in here?”
mused Estel as he began to pull the furniture against the walls into the
center of the room. Behind nearly each item, he found another drawing or
painting, each of them slightly faded from an attempt to remove them,
and each failed and left much to the apparent chagrin of Arwen. “You
know, I have wondered why it was that you wanted me to have this room
“We must do so now,” concluded Arwen, looking around the room at the
walls near the floor. “You see what a terrible mess it is!”
“Absolutely. I agree completely.” Estel motioned to his advisors, one
of Gondorian descent who was sometimes here and sometimes attending his
own duties, and the other Elven, from the realm of Rivendell. “Do either
of you know where we might have paints or inks?”
“I would think there would be a store of paint near the houses of the
artisans,” remarked Faramir, “but I doubt there is enough white paint to
redo the room entirely at this time.”
“What do we need ink for?” Melpomaen asked.
Estel smiled, patting his son on the head. “I need the two of you to
clear my schedule for the afternoon. My son and I are going to finish
what he started in here. What do you think about that, Eldarion?”
“Oh, can we, Ada? Oh, this will be so much fun! Oh, can my friends
help us?” he begged, bouncing in his place.
“I see no reason why not. Arwen, darling,” said the king as the
little prince ran through the hall and out the door presumably to find
his friends, “would you mind going to the kitchens and asking the cooks
to prepare us lunch and to bring it here?” Instead of waiting for her
answer, Estel was already making plans with his advisors and rolling up
Slightly stunned, Arwen motioned for Rachiel to come with her, and
the pair left, closing the door behind them. “Rachiel, I have a terrible
feeling he has the intention to paint the rest of the lower wall in
there with mismatched pictures of smiling suns, disproportioned birds
and animals, and lopsided trees.”
Rachiel nodded. “At least we will not need to cover them up anymore.”