Letters from Faramir

by Agape4Rivendell

XX: 
An End and a Beginning

Brother,

Aragorn is now Elessar, King. It feels fitting and right that Gondor, after all her long years of suffering, should finally have her king in place – sitting on the throne. I had not realized until now how empty the Great Hall has been. I have watched him now for many days and my heart is filled with joy and peace. He is putting our city back to rights, and bringing a sense of stability and hope to our people. Gimli has promised to bring craftsmen from the halls of the Dwarves to help repair the stonework and Legolas has offered the services of the Elves in rebuilding our city. I have even seen Sam puttering around the gardens near the Houses of Healing and in front of the White Tower. He stays away from the White Tree itself. I believe his heart aches to see it dead. So does mine.

In a few days time, Eomer and Eowyn will leave for Rohan. Before they go, I have planned a small ceremony, with the King’s permission. It will be held in the Steward’s chamber, though Elessar had offered the Great Hall. I cannot, in peace, do this in that Hall. It is now and finally, the King’s Hall and what I have planned does not seem to fit that place.

I have only invited a few of our friends: Elessar, Gandalf, Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli, Eomer and Eowyn, Imrahil, Merry and last, but with the deepest fondness, our Pippin.

I have taken Sam aside, that most faithful friend and ally, and have explained to him what I want to do, what I have in mind. For it is Sam who has suffered most terribly and who has shown the greatest quality and I cannot, I will not let him go into this unawares. So we spent the greater part of a night speaking of you, the journey and the Ring – you know, he held it for a short time himself – became the Ringbearer and was able to give it up. To give it back to Frodo – to be a gardener of the Shire again. That, to me, is a great thing. He is so unassuming and yet so clear-minded. Because of that, and with his permission, I am now able to do what I planned. You see, Boromir, I also needed his permission. I would not have him uneasy or fearful over what we are about to do tonight. And now it begins.

The servants have lit the fire and the torches around the room. The wine has been put in flagons and sits on the table. New pipes and pipeweed have been laid on the side table. The chairs have been pulled into a tight circle as our friends begin to arrive. First, Elessar, King – though he has every right to be last to enter. Yet he deems this important enough to place his full weight behind it. Tears spring to my eyes at his presence, at his whole-hearted support of this. Following him is Gandalf with his staff clicking on the stone of the floor and a smile upon his face. Imrahil, our dearest Uncle, comes in next and his embrace is strong and warm. I am reminded of my rescue at his hands and I can hardly breath as I thank him again. Never has he turned against us, dear Brother, never has he said a harsh word against our Father or you. My gratitude is overwhelming. He ruled the city for a time, the Lord of Dol Amroth, until I had recovered from my wounds. A lesser man would have, perhaps, begrudged me the Stewardship, but not Imrahil. I remember how he stood by Aragorn’s side as my King tended my wounds. Nor can I not forget it was he who saved Eowyn’s life, as she lay, mistaken for dead by the soldiers of Rohan. He recognized that life was still in her and had them rush her to the Houses of Healing. I cannot forget that, nor thank him enough. Legolas and Gimli never seem to be apart and they enter now, together. It would make you laugh to see them inspecting our dear city and making plans for its restoration. They are a sight. I do not believe our people understand at all what a treasure these two are and will be to Gondor. Eomer and Eowyn, dear friends and dear comrades in arms – yet my heart turns towards that fair lady and I feel my checks flush. There is something about that woman – besides her courage in battle. There is a beauty of soul...I would spend more time with her, but she leaves soon. She, more than any other, has helped heal my heart. Eomer – I have not met him before, except in the stories you have told me of your times together, but his love for you, his respect, shine out at the mention of your name and he was the most enthusiastic when approached with my thoughts for tonight’s ceremony. Gandalf told me of your defense of Rohan at Elrond’s council and I have shared that with Eomer. Further up in his esteem you could not go, but this brought tears to his eyes.

The four Halflings burst through the door – and it does not fit them all. I can only laugh again at the warmth and cheer they bring with them. It is so good to see Frodo and Sam healing so quickly. Merry grins at me as he flops in a chair, but Pippin, dearest Pippin, runs at me and hugs me. I cannot speak; his love is so true and pure and so needed. Where now would I be if he had not helped me through, writing these letters for me when I myself was unable, helping me to heal of this terrible loss, weeping with me? He was precious to you; he is precious to me. Now that we are all gathered, now that peace has come to our land, I will proceed.

I stand and lift my cup – the others join me. ‘To Denethor II, last Ruling Steward of Gondor. Hope for Gondor during all his long years of service, every faithful and true to the Tower of Guard, even to the very end. I do not believe it was my beloved Father in that place, ordering our final doom. I believe, rather, that his mind was already destroyed, that some creature stood in his place. For he was wise, far-sighted, learned in lore, and masterful. I will not here speak of his failings. They are all too clear to us joined here tonight, perhaps more so now, as we see the return of Thoringol, the Brave, to his city. But I speak now as son of a beloved Father, as one who learned too late the full extent of his Father’s love, as son of Finduilas, beloved wife of that same Father, mourned beyond words, and as Captain of Ithilien, devoted soldier to his lord. May he find peace.’ I drink the cup empty; the others do the same. We then sit in silence.

The servants refill our cups and Elessar stands, lifts his cup and we rise. ‘Long have I known this man whom we have come to honor and farewell. When last I saw him alive, it was in a distant age past. My only love was for Gondor and her people. He did not understand and mistook my heart. Mayhap if I had left earlier, he would have taken Mithrandir as his counselor and much that was turned to evil might have been saved. I had hoped that my coming at this time and in this manner, bringing hope to his city in its darkest hour, would have healed the wounds in his heart. Alas, it seems my coming made them worse. I would have brought healing – he chose death. But his heart was good and noble and I would have had his end more glorious. So I take up this cup, in memory of his blood, his sacrifice, his love for Gondor, and I lift it in his praise – trusting that perhaps, at the last moment, he was saved. To Denethor.’

Brother, Aragorn has taken my heart. He is now my liege lord. I am overwhelmed at his kindness. To hear him raise our Father’s memory up, knowing that Father treated him ill so long ago, and yet to put that aside and praise his memory in front of these here, my heart is so full. Gondor now will flourish. There is no other king in any of the writings in the Great Library that I have read that can outshine this man.

Imrahil stands. Of all those present, he knew our Father best. ‘I speak as brother-in-law, as uncle, as subject, and as comrade-in-arms. This man was not an easy man. This man was not without flaw, but this man loved his country and his people. He fought many a battle to protect her. He gave of his wife and his sons. He gave of himself to the point that he became weak and tired and lost his greatest battle against the Enemy. Because of his love for my sister, his love for his sons, and his love for Gondor, I raise my cup and praise his name and also wish him peace.’

Before any of the others can stand, I rise. ‘Your kindness and fealty to my Father touches my heart. I could not, in good conscience, have this night begin in any other way. But now we come to the most important part. I lift my cup to my Brother. To Boromir the Brave.’ The others stand. ‘We were inseparable. I would that I had gone with him...not instead of him...but with him. No one, no thing, could beat the sons of Denethor when they were together. His love and protection of me when we were children, left with no mother and abandoned by a Father whose total commitment was to his country, continued throughout my life. If ever a person would dare to harm me or treat me without respect, he would fly to my defense. And yet he was the first to push me towards greatness, the first to teach me love and loyalty and honor. Those who would look at him and see failure, do you not see him as he truly was. Great was his pride; yes, but great was his love and devotion, his passion for Gondor and its people, his utter dedication to this land. Great was his love for his brother. Great beyond telling. I would that you, who knew him only from the beginning of the Quest, had known him before. Had seen his ready sword, heard his great laugh, witnessed his conquest of the Orcs at Osgiliath – when all hope of victory was gone. There is so much I would share with you of Boromir, son of Gondor. Let it suffice to say that there is no equal to this man in my eyes. No soldier more fit, no captain more able, no son more obedient, no friend more passionate, no brother ... no brother more loved, more missed, more mourned than Boromir of Gondor. My life, my love, my memory of him knows no bounds. To Boromir – beloved Son of Gondor – beloved brother of Faramir.’

I sit quickly in my chair; my hand covers my eyes. I know my friends understand the depths of my feelings – that they have overwhelmed me. I bless them for their silence. I bless them for their support – it permeates the room.

I hear the rustle of cloth sliding across cloth and the sound of little feet hitting the floor. Pippin stands by my side. His hand touches mine and I feel the warm wetness of tears falling on my hand. I look up into that beloved face and my heart breaks for his is breaking before my very eyes. He tries to speak, but words do not come. Merry comes and stands by his side. I smile through my tears at the love these two have for each other. My heart is stabbed with pain – their love reminds me so much of ours, dear Brother. Finally, Pippin speaks. ‘No other on this journey has shown me such compassion, such love, such acceptance, such protection. When Faramir spoke of Boromir’s protection of him, my mind went to Parth Galen. Here and in many other places, Boromir put himself in front of me to protect me. This man was the greatest man I have ever known. From the very first moment of our meeting, he judged me not, but loved me. I think he was perplexed by us Halflings, as he called us, but he took us under his wings, especially Merry and I, and he watched over us and loved us. I can’t tell you the number of times that Merry and I would trick him into giving us some of his food. Those long marches that Gandalf forced upon us were particularly hard upon us Hobbits...no long meals, no elevenses, no afternoon teas, only endless marching. Boromir would always seem to have an extra apple or a piece of bread or some cold cheese stored at his side and when it seemed I might faint from hunger, there he would be, with a scowl and a piece of food. He tried to seem so frightening, but I knew better. The only flaw I saw in Boromir was his total lack of appreciation of pipeweed. I tried a number of times to encourage him to take up this wonderful habit, but he would have none of it. He was stubborn. I will always love this man. I will always remember the look in his eyes when he told me he had tried to take the Ring. Yes, Sam, he told me. He had three arrows in him already, I think, and he turned and told us to run. I didn’t want to leave my friend, but he said he needed to win his honor back. And he told me why. Otherwise, I would not have left him. His heart was broken, his pride dashed on the rocks covered by his blood, and his honor, he thought was gone, but I only look upon his memory with honor. I cannot bear the thought of what he did for us that day, of what he did for us the entire time we were together. I will always love him. And I beg you all to love him too. To Boromir – dearest friend.’

I grasp Pippin in my arms. Such a little thing. Yet so large in heart. I would that I could bring you back in some way, dear Brother, but this will have to do - the love that Pippin and I have for you. But no, Aragorn stands and bids us all do the same. ‘What words can I say to honor my friend? There are none in the language of elves, dwarves or men. Yet I cannot let this time pass without a word. You, Faramir and Imrahil, have known him far longer than we who walked with him the last few months of his life. You were witness countless times to his courage, his strength, his fealty to his people and his Steward. You above all, know the extent of his passion for Gondor and his pride in Gondor and all it stands for. Yes, his pride – perhaps it was his downfall, but it was also his great strength. Because of his pride, I was able to see what serving Gondor meant. I was able to know the need for her King. I was able to begin to take on that Kingship as we walked the fields of Hollin, the Mines of Moria, and the great land of Lothlorien. My heart broke as I beheld him amidst the corpses of the many Orcs he had slain. Valiant unto the end was this man, my brother. I will not have it said of him that he failed. He rose above more than I have had to endure. Legolas, Gimli and I, at the Falls of Rauros, declared his worth in song. Now I will declare it in a tangible way. My first duty as King is to proclaim Boromir 'Lord of Gondor,' and to have erected in a rebuilt Osgiliath, a statue in his honor. For this man was a true Son of Gondor and a true friend of his king.’

The servants bring in food and more drink and pipeweed. Pippin squeals in delight and I laugh openly and the tears are banished from my eyes. We spend the rest of the night laughing and singing. We have mourned you well this night, dear Brother, sharing your life both in word and now in stories and songs and laughter.

I draw Eowyn aside and ask her to remember me while she is in Rohan. They will be back for Elessar’s wedding and to take Theoden’s body back to Edoras with them. At that time, I hope to ask her something very important. Don’t smile at me, Brother. You knew this day would come for me. I will not forget you, but I think my letters will now be going somewhere else. Bless you, dearest Brother, for your love. Bless you for your memory. Bless you for being always with me. And bless you for loving me,

Faramir


Finis