XVII. Epilogue

18 Víressë 2976

Dear Finduilas,

I am glad that I was able to see you married. It still seems strange to me that you chose Denethor, but you are clearly happy with him, and so I am happy for you both.

The Orcs are beginning to raid in greater force, now that spring is upon us. Aldadil is a competent captain, but we all miss Thorongil. Rumor has it that our company may be one of those chosen to be sent sourth, though, so I could have the opportunity to serve under him again. Denethor should know for certain, so when you write next, ask him where to direct your letter so that it does not go astray.

We are being called for a patrol – I had hoped to write more, but if I do not send this now, it could be a week or more, so I will cut it short.

with love,
Im


25 Cermië 2978

Dear Finduilas,

Congratulations on the safe birth of your son. We hear that Denethor chose to call him Boromir – a strong name. May he grow to be a strong and wise man, like those he will follow.

In haste,
Thorongil


3 Víressë 2980

General Thorongil:

What news from the southern coasts? Your dispatches have been less than fully informative, of late, although I must commend your successful defense of the harbor at Linhir.

No further funds can be provided at this time. While your work is vital, we cannot neglect Ithilien, nor can we fail to repair the roads and bridges damaged by this spring's flooding. I am sure you understand. If the harvest this year proves good, your men will be first to benefit – unless you previously bring the campaign to a successful conclusion.

Denethor, captain,
on behalf of
Lord Steward Ecthelion


24 Nárië 2980

My Lord Steward,

I must respectfully decline to return to Minas Tirith. Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, ere I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate. (1) Herewith I tender my resignation of my commission as an officer in Gondor's army. It has been my great privilege and honor to serve you and Gondor for these last years, but I have been reminded of other duties and responsibilities that are in my charge. I regret that they are so pressing as to prevent me from traveling to the White City.

My second-in-command is fully capable and ready to complete any further actions against the Corsairs that may prove necessary, though neither he nor I expects that they will be able to muster any challenge to us for some time.

If I may add a personal note, please give my regards to your daughter-in-law and son, and my apologies for not taking leave of them in person.

Respectfully yours,
Thorongil

*******

Footnote:

(1) "Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, ere I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate." This quotation is taken from Appendix A, part I, section iv, of The Lord of the Rings.

Author's notes:

Had I known when I started this story how long it would take me to finish, and where it would go, I probably would have run screaming before I wrote a single word. All I intended was to go a bit further back from my first fic, "In His Brother's Shadow," and figure out how Denethor and Finduilas might have become husband and wife. Secondary purposes were to experiment with several different writing techniques – shifting points of view with each chapter, and including letters as a means of exposition – and to try to achieve a kind of Jane-Austen-meets-J.R.R.-Tolkien kind of story, in which the conflict relies primarily on personality and small actions, rather than world-sweeping events, without resorting to unmitigated angst. Though a romance, it is not overtly sexualized, and in that at least I hope it rings true to both Tolkien and Austen.

As seems always to be the case, and was true for Tolkien himself, the tale "grew in the telling," and what I initially thought would take six chapters ended up about three times as long, with more on the political side of things than has often been the case in my work. Various minor OCs as well as some minor canon characters put in an appearance; among the former is my recurring OC, Golasgil, who first showed up in IHBS as the boys' tutor.

I would like to thank everyone who has commented on various chapters of the story over the eighteen months or so that it gestated, and to give especial thanks to Julie and Anglachel for all their helpful feedback. Without their help the story would be much less than it is. Any remaining infelicities, discrepancies, or errors are of course my own responsibility

Finally, this story is dedicated to my husband, even though he persists in calling its leading man "Desenex."