Lalochezia—the use of abusive language to relieve stress or ease pain.
Later, Zinat will realize it was the flash of the the thimble at her finger. She does not wear rings much any longer, since Boromir told her of the Dark Lord’s, and how it had rotted his will and diseased his mind. How the darkness of it lingered, and how nightmares of it wracked him, and—well. Zinat does not much wear rings any longer.
A thimble is not a ring, but the way it caught the light as she embroidered must have been enough. Zinat should have guessed, as Boromir grows more and more tense, silent as he pores over maps and missives.
When she comments a little while after that her lord husband looks tired, he jerks to his feet and turns on her.
"How many times must I tell you—I am perfectly well, I do not require mothering as though I were some sort of invalid! I was the Captain of Gondor, I led armies, I protected my people, I will not be spoken to like some Eru-damned child by a woman who has never seen war!”
There is violence written in the line of his body and Zinat—for the first time, she is afraid of her husband. He is out of breath, both pale and red, and looks as though he’s about to pass out. But that is not Zinat’s concern.
"Leave," she says, trying to keep her posture regal and her voice from shaking. "Leave now.”
Boromir blinks at her, opens his mouth, and then shakes his head as though trying to clear it. After a moment, he turns away from her and then all but flees flees the room.
Zinat takes a breath, and picks up her thread again. She is trembling so badly that the chikan needle ends up piercing her thumb. She lifts to her mouth to keep it from bleeding, but finds herself pressing her palm to her lips in an attempt to choke back a sob.
(Her ladies, who heard the shouting, come rushing to her side a moment later. She cries on Indrani’s shoulder, just to be comforted in her own tongue.)
He comes to her door that night.
The lady Zinat will not receive you, her maid says in a distinctly chilly tone.
I desire to make amends, Boromir pleads from behind the door. Zinat half-wishes she could see his face, read his sincerity or the lack of it. (Her husband’s eyes have always revealed more than he wishes them to.) Please, let me—I do not know what I did that, why I—
The lady Zinat will not receive you, Lord Steward, the maidservant repeats, already shutting the door. Good night.
Zinat finds herself admiring the girl’s fierceness.
(The next morning, Zinat will discover her lord husband sprawled just outside her door, wrapped in his cloak and snoring faintly. Zinat will kneel, bending to kiss his bristled cheek. Husband, she will say gently, you are too old to be sleeping on a stone bed.
And his eyes will flutter open, and he will look at her as Zinat once saw a holy man look upon a statue of Sitarani. I was grieved to have spoken thus to you, he will say hoarsely. I would not sleep well anywhere without saying so. Zinat, I do not know why—why—
You frightened me. You cannot frighten me like that, my lord. I will not permit it.
I am trying, he whispers. Lady, you must believe me. I am trying. This darkness endures, determined to poison all it touches.
I know, she will say, heartsick of waiting for dawn. I know.)