“How could you, Estel?” Arwen demanded the moment Aragorn entered her sitting room. The Queen’s beautiful face was alight with fury. Beside her, stood an equally irate Éowyn.
“I am sorry, vanimelda. The council meeting went on longer than we expected. Prince Imrahil wanted to discuss the coastal fortifications after the debate on trade was over. I completely forgot we planned to take the children to see the jugglers, as did Faramir.”
“This is the third time this month you have both forgotten a promise you made,” Éowyn said sternly. “I suggest you tell Faramir that if he wants company this evening, he can stay with you. I am remaining here with the Queen.”
“As for you, Estel, I have no wish for your company at supper tonight. You can dine alone in your chambers,” Arwen said haughtily. “ Eldarion and Elestelle were very upset that their fathers were not there to take them out as you promised.”
“I am sorry,” Aragorn repeated. ”I did not wish to cause pain to you or the children. Next time, I will insist the meeting concludes at the proper time.”
“You promised me that last time,” Arwen said coldly, unmoved by her husband’s attempts to apologise.
Knowing it was pointless to argue with either lady when they were so angry, a crestfallen Aragorn went in search of his Steward. He found Faramir sitting in his apartments looking equally despondent, having found an irate letter left for him by his angry wife.
“Arwen is as angry as your lady,” Aragorn explained. “She told me to seek your company and dine in my own rooms with you tonight and no doubt sleep there too!”
“Éowyn bids me do the same,” said Faramir. He glumly followed the King to his chambers.
The two men found Aragorn’s rooms to be cold and uninviting. The King only used them occasionally and the servants had had no time to prepare them for his use. It took only a moment for both men to decide to seek solace in a tavern on one of the lower levels.
“It is good for a King to mix freely with his people and learn their needs,” said Aragorn, by way of excuse. He rummaged amongst his clothing for old cloaks and tunics for himself and Faramir.
“Indeed so,” said Faramir “Our wives can hardly complain since they deny us their company tonight! The Silver Crown usually has good ale and a warm fire to sit by. I used to go there sometimes with Boromir when we were both off duty.”
The two men were soon sitting in the cosy inn in the sixth circle, their hoods drawn around their faces to avoid recognition. They sipped a mug of ale apiece, wondering why the tavern was so packed that night.
“Have you come to hear Minohtar play?” asked the innkeeper, bringing them a plate of crusty bread and cheeses.
Aragorn and Faramir merely nodded, not wanting to betray their ignorance of the name.
A hush fell over the gathering, when in the far corner; a man picked up a lute and began to sing. His voice was unexceptional in contrast to his skills with the instrument. The haunting song of love and longing he played, brought tears to the listeners’ eyes. He next performed a familiar ballad, which most of the people joined in with, including Aragorn and Faramir.
“You two have fine voices,” said a serving girl, coming to refill their glasses. “No woman could resist either of you, were you serenade her!”
“That could be a good idea,” Faramir said thoughtfully, tossing the girl a coin for the ale.
“Why not? We could but try!” said the King, draining his glass and feeling somewhat more confident. "Maybe Arwen will recall how I was singing the Lay of Lúthien on the day we first met?"
King and Steward hurried back to the Citadel and positioned themselves outside Arwen’s sitting room window and began to sing.
“ O, thou my glorious Evenstar, I have always gladly greeted you. This heart has never betrayed you!” sang Aragorn’s rich bass voice in Quenya, so that the servants would not understand.
“Éowyn, fairer than the sun, glad was I when your hand I won!” sang Faramir in Rohirric; his warm baritone blending nicely with Aragorn’s deeper voice.
The servants hovered around, enjoying the impromptu concert.
Suddenly the door opened and Arwen appeared. “You are just in time to read Eldarion a bedtime story,” she said smiling and kissing her husband’s cheek. “Faramir, Éowyn is just coming.”
Aragorn embraced his wife. ”Will you forgive me, beloved?” he asked.
Arwen’s tender kiss to his lips was the only answer he needed.
King and Steward exchanged relieved glances as they bade one another goodnight.
Faramir carried Elestelle in his arms as he walked back to his apartments with his wife.
“I wish you would sing for us more often,” said Éowyn. ”You have a beautiful voice, which I love to hear.”
The Steward at once began a lullaby for his daughter. The little girl listened entranced then fell soundly asleep.
“That is amazing!” exclaimed Éowyn. “She has been fretful all evening.”
“It is said that the Valar created Arda itself from music. So maybe magic is indeed contained in a song?” Faramir mused.
“Only if the singer has sufficient skill,” said Éowyn, smiling at her husband.