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Recall by Nath

Author: Nath
Title: Recall
Theme: Father's Day
Elements: "Fengel. He was the third son and fourth child of Folcwine. He is not remembered with praise. He was greedy of food and gold, and at strife with his marshals, and with his children. Thengel, his third child and only son, left Rohan when he came to manhood and lived long in Gondor, and won honour in the service of Turgon." (RotK, Appendix A)
Author's Notes:
Summary: While dealing with a bit of family drama, Thengel considers the past.
Word Count: 898

“Don’wanna new pony. Want Tubby!”

Hild was old enough that she only fell back on babytalk when she was upset, and it was clear she was upset now, Thengel thought as he crouched down to talk to her. She was not crying yet, but looking at the quivering of her bottom lip, that could not be too far away. He cast a pleading glance at Morwen, who pretended not to notice as she stood up to go to the garden. His wife had never hidden her view that he was mad for teaching the children to ride so young, but had given up arguing about it except for the occasional complaint about the cost of keeping ponies in Minas Tirith.

“You’re getting too tall to ride Tubby.”

“Don’care. I like Tubby.”

“But Tubby isn’t going away,” Thengel argued. “Your brother also needs a new pony, and Tubby’s the right size for him.”

Hild said nothing, but she was clearly thinking about it. Then she gave him a sly look and replied triumphantly, “But if... if you give Théo the new pony, I can keep Tubby.”

Thengel sighed. The child’s logic was impeccable, but she really was outgrowing her pony, even if she was still deeply attached to the rotund little beast. “You’ll hurt Tubby if you keep riding him when you’re too big for him. I’m sure you don’t want to do that.”

“Oh...” She clearly hadn’t considered that yet. “But I can still brush him and look after him?”

“You can help Théo, if he agrees, but you have to take care of your own pony as well.” That seemed to be enough to reassure Hild, and she skipped off outside. For now at least the matter was settled, and once Hild saw the almost horse-sized pony he had in mind for her – and realised how much work two ponies were to care for – no doubt her feeling for Tubby would soon fade to no more than fondness. Of course, he would still have to convince Théoden that his pony should go to little Leofwyn, and that might be a harder task than this.

Watching his daughter as she ran off, Thengel smiled. Fatherhood agreed with him, and his life now was certainly not what his own father had envisioned when he had spat on the ground at his feet and pronounced a final curse. “However miserable you will be, it will be too good for you and no more than you deserve, wretch! Now begone!”

Thengel’s expression darkened at the thought of Fengel. He could barely accord him the name ‘father’; that required more than to merely be there at the begetting, he thought in contempt. He could not imagine that he would ever treat Hild, Théo, Leofwyn as Fengel had treated his children. After he himself had gone to Gondor, within the year his sisters had married to escape Meduseld, but found themselves, and their husbands, still at odds with the king, for Fengel was as mistrustful of others as he was dishonest himself, and could not accept that any would escape his control.

Looking back from the vantage of middle age, Thengel found himself wondering how Fengel and his father had got along. Folcwine had lost his elder sons in battle, and the youngest, adored and spoiled by all around him, had suddenly found himself the king’s heir, unexpected and untrained, aware that all knew him to be second choice, second best. He shook his head; no, he might understand Fengel a bit better than before, his verdict had become no milder.

Though he had in effect exiled himself, Thengel knew leaving had been the right thing to do for many reasons personal and political. Had he stayed, by now he might well have been either a living usurper or a dead rebel; neither position held much appeal for him, and while he had no love for his father, he had no wish to end up a parricide. And yet... he had also turned his back on his mother, his sisters, his people; that the Mark still stood as strong as it did was thanks only to the good men who remained in the king’s service.

Even so, he would rather serve Turgon than Fengel; here at least he served an honourable lord rather than a greedy pig who knew no restraint, no honour. While being a captain in the Steward of Gondor’s armies might not seem much when one was a prince in another land, it suited him well enough. The ways of Gondor were not those of the Mark, yet he had made a home in this city of stone, and found his bride here. Even if he never returned to the Mark, he had no regrets.

His thoughts were disturbed by a loud knock on the front door. Thengel hoped there was no bad news from Ithilien, for he was not due back in the field for at least another month. As he opened the door, Thengel expected to see one of his company’s runners, or one of the Steward’s messenger, but instead there stood a man of the Mark.
As Thengel tried to remember the man’s name, the other spoke after some hesitation. “My lord king, your councillors ask that you return to Edoras as soon as you can.”


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Weird. I thought I'd commented here already. Point is, *loved* this one. This family is beautifully portrayed and well-rounded, even in this brief glimpse. The family drama is believable and touching, and darned funny, too. Tubby the Pony just might be my new favorite animal character, if only for his name. Well done!
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
Thank you:)
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
What I loved most about this was the way you painted the contrast between Thengel, who was a kind and loving "daddy" (I adored "Tubby the Pony"!) with his own father, who was hard and selfish.

It's clear that Thengel loves his life in Gondor, and is happy being a simple Captain and living quietly with his wife and children.

Which makes the ending very poignant, as we realize what he'll be giving up to return.
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
Thanks. Tubby just insisted on being included.
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
At least the Mark will be getting the best King available, one who has devoted himself to caring and loving and guiding with persuasion and respect rather than through fiat.

Lovely, Arc!
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
Thank you:) ... even if I'm not Arc *g*

Well, Thengel is said to have been a good king; and one can only hope the lords of the Mark are easier to manage than an eight-year old and her pony.
Jun. 17th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Sorry, Nath--definitely my bad! I'm NOT with it at the moment, I fear. But I loved this.
Jun. 17th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
I loved the story! I must admit though, that I'm glad I didn't have your prompt! ;) Looking at the prompt I was totally stymied in thinking about what I would have written! Hild was adorable and Tubby was to die for! ;) (Can I have him when Theo's done with him? Pretty please?) I could relate well to Thengel since my own father is very similar to Fengel...see how much we can learn from good stories? ;) Rock on mrowe!
Jun. 18th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Thank you, and the queue for Tubby is over there --->
Jun. 20th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Hopeful, yet sad at the same time. And very, very well written.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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