Aspiring Artist

Story by Zhie


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 repainted.”

“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 his sleeves.

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.”