Author: Linda Hoyland
Characters: Aragorn, Arwen, OFC
Summary: Aragorn finds the summer heat hard to endure,
Word Count: 500
Author's Notes: 2nd Place. Written for Great Tales Challenge 307 “Summertime, and the livin' is easy: True or False?”
|Aragorn struggled vainly to concentrate on a lengthy treaty offering trading concessions to the Easterlings that he was supposed to be studying. He replaced it on his desk and wiped his sweating hands on his breeches. Then he went over to the open window and leaned out in the hope of a breath of fresh air. There was none to be had, though. The thick humid air made him feel as if he were trying to breathe underwater. The leaves of the White Tree did not stir. There was no breeze.
As King, he ruled over the Reunited Kingdom, but the weather was not his subject to command. Lord Manwë had supreme command of the winds. Aragorn sent up a silent prayer for at least a cooling breeze to bring respite to himself and his sweltering subjects.
From where he stood, he could see Arwen sitting in the courtyard beside the fountain playing with Eldarion. The heat failed to trouble her and Eldarion seemed to have been born with her resilience. Faramir strode into view and smiled cheerfully as he greeted the Queen and her son. He appeared as untroubled by the heat as they were.
Aragorn picked up one of the parchments he had been working on and fanned himself. For an instant, he thought somewhat wistfully of the Kha Khan of Harad, who kept several slaves for sole purpose of fanning him. He then smiled ruefully at the absurdity of employing a servant for such a purpose. How his subjects would laugh at the notion of such a pampered king!
It seemed only yesterday that he had been battling against the elements of a northern winter, struggling to find shelter from the biting cold.
Strange that the summers had not seemed so hot when he had served in Gondor as Captain Thorongil. Either the summers were hotter now the sun was unclouded by fumes from Mordor, or as he grew older, he felt the heat more. Or maybe Thorongil had been too engrossed in Gondor’s defence to notice the weather.
He heard a tap on his study door. “Come in!” he called.
“The Queen thought might like some iced apple juice to ease the heat of the afternoon,” said the maidservant.
“Thank you, Firwen.” He sipped the drink appreciatively. “I did not realise we still had some ice.”
“The cook had the ice house filled last winter,” said the girl. “There is still plenty left.” She wiped her apron across her sweating forehead.
“You and the rest of the kitchen servants must have iced juice if you wish,” said Aragorn.
The girl thanked him with a beaming smile, then scurried away.
Aragorn sipped his refreshing drink, his usual good humour restored. Arwen might not feel the heat, but she understood how it troubled him as Man of the North, born and bred. Aragorn decided he would spend next summer in the Northern Kingdom.
A sudden breeze blew through the open window and the refreshing rain began to fall.