Characters/Pairing: Denethor, after the death of Finduilas
Warnings: grief and wrath
Book/Source: LOTR (although probably AU)
Disclaimer: Denethor is Tolkien’s—I hope he’s in character even though this is a what-if.
A/N: “Unread, I guess, by any save Saruman and myself since the kings failed”. But what if Gandalf were wrong about who else had read Isildur’s scroll? (Double drabble.)
Nothing here could hold his interest now. Nevertheless, he carefully unrolled the ancient scroll and read.
…of all the works of Sauron the only fair…
The scroll, released abruptly, snapped shut. Denethor sat, his heart filled with cold rage. Finduilas need not have died. She need not have lived out her life in fear of the shadow of Mordor.
Denethor wanted to rush out and proclaim the shame of the man in the market-place, the revered ancestral hero who had set up his descendants to be relentlessly crushed under the heel of the enemy he had supposedly defeated. He wanted to rant and curse aloud.
He restrained himself with a deep shudder. Such behaviour was not worthy of a steward of the House of Anarion. Denethor would still do his duty, whoever might fail.
But years later, he spoke on his pyre:
Even were his claim proved to me, still he comes but of the line of Isildur.
A/N: The quotations (including the title) are from the chapters “The Council of Elrond” and “The Pyre of Denethor”. I believe that Denethor on his pyre is meant to be rejecting the line of Isildur chiefly out of pride, but it had occurred to me that Denethor turned out to know more than Gandalf thought he did, which is not to say that he always took what he discovered the right way. (Sorry, this challenge seems to be taking me to rather dark-ish places--I suppose it is based on murder mysteries, after all...)