On a summer Afternoon
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain
The August sun beat down remorselessly upon the riders travelling along the coast road. Aragorn and Faramir had long since removed their cloaks, and given their guards permission to do likewise,but they were still sweltering.
The constant glimpses of the sea from the road only served to make matters worse.
“We are not due in the next town until nightfall,” said Aragorn. “Maybe we could rest awhile?”
“Looking at the sea without being able to bathe in it would only make me hotter,” sighed Faramir,who rode alongside his lord.
Aragorn echoed his Steward's sigh. Even if they were not both naturally reticent men, a King could hardly bathe in full view of every passing subject. The royal dignity had to be maintained.
The party rode onwards until the path curved. Ahead some trees promised much welcome shade.
“Look!” said Faramir. “That secluded cove would be perfect for a quick swim. The currents are not dangerous in these parts.”
Aragorn surveyed their surroundings. Faramir was right. A narrow path led down to the beach, while the trees screened the road. He called the company to a halt. ”Rest the horses awhile beneath the shade of the trees,” he said. “Lord Faramir and I wish to to refresh ourselves in the water. Take it in turns to see no one approaches.” The King dismounted from Roheyn, handing the stallion's reins to the nearest guard, Pausing only to grab a towel and change of linens from his pack, he hastened down the track with Faramir.
As soon as they set foot on the beach the two men joyfully pulled off their boots and stockings. The sand felt delightfully cool beneath their feet. Leaving a trail of scattered garments in their wake,they undressed down to their drawers and plunged into the inviting waves.
“This is bliss!” Aragorn exclaimed as he immersed himself.
“Mmm,” was Faramir's only reply.
The two swam until they felt cooled and refreshed. Reluctantly, they left the water and started to gather up their clothing.
“I have never known you fail to fold your garments before when swimming!” Aragorn remarked.
“Obviously your bad influence has rubbed off on me!” Faramir retorted, drying himself and pulling on his breeches. He skilfully dodged a playful blow from his sovereign.
“You were simply too hot to care!” Aragorn laughed,pulling his shirt over his head. “If only we could stay here on the beach a while longer,but it would be irresponsible to leave the men waiting “
“We could always tell them to come and swim too if they wish,”said Faramir. “The horses would enjoy the water as well.”
“Always you are wise, Faramir!” Aragorn grinned. Still barefoot,he went to call to the guards.
An hour or so later, the once peaceful cove was filled with men and horses frolicking in the waves. A little apart from them two figures lay drowsing in the sun. Faramir lazily opened one eye ,then assured that all was well, went back to sleep beside his softly snoring lord.
With grateful thanks to Whitewave for the adorable illestrations.