Prince of Hearts

by Orangeblossom Took

Prince of Hearts
Minas Tirith 3019

Faramir and Eowyn made their way down from the Tower in the bright sunshine and blushed when there was some discrete applause and many grins from those who had seen their new Steward and the brave Lady of Rohan embrace. There were smiles on all the faces they passed except for one face that was shiny and wet with tears. Faramir was filled with awe and gratitude that Eowyn had not rejected him as he had feared but he sighed and his heart went out to the young woman with the tear-staind face.

Her name was Catriona and she assisted the healer Finlay in caring for him after the King had brought him back. He had seen her looking at him and he knew she had spent more time at his bedside than was usual for a nurse in this busy time of war. Though his heart could not be swayed from Eowyn, he could not help but be moved by this pale girl with her glossy dark hair in a neat bun and sadness in her warm brown eyes. In her own way she had fought as much as any solider as had the other nurses and healers.

It saddened him to think that he had hurt one who had seen so much death and done what she could to prevent it. Catriona was certainly not bold enough to tell him of her feelings when she knew there was little hope of them being reciprocated but Faramir’s astute gray eyes saw the longing in her brown ones. She also let her small white hand rest on his hand a heartbeat or two longer than necessary.

“I must,” Faramir thought to himself, “find some way to repay her for the care she showed me and the damage I inadvertently did to her.” He wrapped his mother’s cloak more snugly around Eowyn and whispered something in her ear that made her smile before returning her to her quarters and the care of her healers.

He went to his own room where and stared of the window in contemplation for only a short time before a slow smiled curled at the corner of his lips. He knew exactly what to do. It would, of course, require the cooperation of both parties but, if it worked, it would be an excellent solution and reward for two who had taken part in his salvation.

“Berven,” he called, “could you summon Beregond for me, please?” Berven nodded his curly brown head, which had only a few threads of silver in it and left the room.

Faramir thought about his two most loyal men. Berven had been Faramir’s loyal bodyguard for almost twenty years. Now, as per Gandalf’s orders, he would share his duties with Beregond. Faramir knew Beregond would not be far because the man acted as if he was his captain’s second shadow. He also knew that Beregond was a widower. His wife Morna died in an epidemic of fever two years before Boromir left for Rivendell and he had a ten-year-old son named Bergil.

Faramir did not have much time to mull over his plans before Berven and Beregond entered the room.

“Beregond,” Faramir said, “Do you remember Catriona?”

To Faramir’s delight, Beregond blushed and replied, “Aye, my lord. She helped Master Finlay tend your wounds.”
Faramir nodded in satisfaction and said, “Well, I would like you to give her a message of thanks from me. If I recall, she is knowledgeable about herbs. If she has a few minutes, she would no doubt be pleased if you showed her my mother’s herb garden, which the gardener has been kind enough to keep up.”

Beregond’s face turned a slightly deeper shade of rose before he bowed and said, “It would be my pleasure, Lord Faramir.”

When Beregond returned a good while later with a smile on his face and lightness to his step Faramir thought his plan had worked. His thoughts turned to Eowyn. He patted Beregond on the back and said, “It will be a good summer.”

Beregond smiled and replied, “I think it will, my lord.”

Faramir’s hopes for Beregond and Catriona were realized the following spring. They were married when the first flowers had begun to bloom.