The darkest day yet dawned over the land
The plain of fair Pelennor ran red with brave blood
The company, outmatched, fought with fury unreal
But their hero, Lord of Gondor, lay near death on the field.
His men, heads held high, passed through the gates
So weary, dejected, their number so small
And lastly, upon the steed of Dol Amroth's king
Prince Faramir lay, with breath barely stirring.
Denethor let out a cry as his son was borne in
Tattered and bleeding, poison in his blood
Deathly pale and unmoving, in suspended grace
His father's tears slowly falling on his upturned face.
Denethor sat by his last son both night and day
Thinking of his children in their younger years passed
Boromir, so like himself, willful with pride
Faramir's gifts hidden more deeply inside.
I have failed them both, he mourned, head in hands as he wept
Encouraged the rivalry, played favorites, alas
Now one lies unburied, never availed of his right
And my other lies dying in this endless dark night.
The steward straightened up, his duty now clear
He called to his guards, told them his wish
They were to prepare a deathbed, a true royal bier
To lie beside his own, in flames, on a pagan funeral pyre.
Horrified, but obeying the word of their lord
The men of the household took up the bed of the Prince
And silently, out of the White Tower they led
A pitiful procession to the House of the Dead.
At a word from the steward, they laid down their pall
On a cold marble slab in a deep shrouded room
And father and son side by side at the last
While outside the final daylight was fading fast.
The valiant Faramir, heat consuming his flesh
Would surely have perished in his father's mad care
But for the presence of the wizard who his sire had scorned
Came to his aid at the last as he had been warned.
Leaping atop the fire, Mithrandir showed his might
Clasped the Prince to his self, made haste from the room
Heard the man moan, call to his father once more
From his trance, Denethor woke as they gained the door.
"Do not take my son from me," he cried now
I have already lost one who lies far from this place
Faramir will not waken again, of this I am sure
Let him die here with me, in fire, thus pure.
"It is not yet his time to die yet, nor your own, Denethor"
was Mithrandir's answer as he held the Prince close
There is much you can do to give your people hope still
If you will go forth and lead them through force of your will."
Denethor's sudden laugh was a frightening sound
From under the cover where his son had lain
He drew an object, which one and all feared
A lost seeing stone, cold black Palantir.
"The West has failed," roared the Lord, "and your hope is but folly!"
"Did you think the White Tower would trust to blind faith?
I will not be your shield against the Enemy's long arm
And I will not give you my son, even to save him from harm."
He strode towards the Wizard, to seize back his own
As he reached the bier upon which Faramir was now laid
The guard, Beregond, threw himself between captain and sire
For he could not bear to see his lord die by fire.
Denethor, son of Ecthelion, took up a torch
And thrust it into the oil, which drenched the royal pyre
Seized the stone, clasped it close and gave himself to the flame
So the Steward of Gondor became, in tale, a mere name.