Ten Thousand Years will not Suffice
51 52 53 54 55 56
Parts 51 - 56
25. Third Age - 3017
Boromir stayed at Cair Andros for another
fortnight. The captains, rare that they were able to meet with their
Captain-General for more than a few hours or a day at most, were
grateful for the opportunity to spend time with him. Maps were brought
out and updated, rosters were discussed, though the filling of them
depended entirely upon Faramir’s attempts to wrangle more men from the
reluctant lords of the southern fiefdoms, and battle strategies were
discussed. In between, they practiced new techniques that they found
had helped them in this last battle. Always, the enemy had created some
new armor; many lives were lost until someone could determine how to
When it became nigh unto time to leave, Boromir found himself strangely
reluctant. Egalmoth lit the brazier in Boromir’s tent and proceeded to
make his morning tea. Boromir dunked his hands in the washbasin and
quickly pulled them out again, sputtering in shock. “It is freezing!
Did you not heat it?”
“I was watching over your tea.”
“Of course you were.” Boromir stayed his tongue. “Would you heat some water so that I may at least lave my face?”
“Right away. Here, I brought this from the captain’s quarters.” He
moved forward with a pot of boiling water, tripped on the main post of
the tent, and fell forward. Boromir just missed being severely scalded
by stepping off to the side.
Just then, Beregond entered the tent. The smile froze on his face as he
looked from one man to the other. Boromir’s look told Beregond that his
Captain-General was very close to cutting off his aide’s hands. “I beg
your pardon, Captain Boromir. I have some things I wished to discuss
with you regarding Amon Dîn. Might I have a moment?”
“Yes.” He waved for Egalmoth to leave them. Swearing under his
breath, he went to the brazier. The lad had failed to light the
charcoal and the brazier was cold.
“Let me, Captain.” Beregond expertly lit the charcoal and used some
sticks from a fa ggot nearby to complete the task. Within a moment, the
fire filled the tent with warmth. “I will return in a moment.”
Boromir sank back onto his cot. ‘When I return, Míriel will be
there and I will have to spend time with her.’ His thoughts were
interrupted as Beregond brought in a pot filled with hot water.
“I decided to borrow some from the men’s fire. They were glad to share
it with you.” He smiled. “It is an honor being here with you and they
are most grateful.”
“I owe them much. They are good and stalwart men. I trust them. I
wonder how many other captains can walk into battle with the knowledge
that their men stand behind them, ready and able to do their part?” He
turned at the groan from Beregond. “Is something amiss?”
“I do not know if I can do this. Being a lieutenant was not difficult, but being a captain?” He swallowed hard.
“You did well during the battle. Your men trusted and followed you.”
“They only did so because they are good men, as you have stated. They would have followed a… a mûmak.”
Boromir laughed roundly. “But one has to watch where one walks when following a mûmak!”
Beregond joined in Boromir’s laughter, then sobered. “I do not think I should have been promoted.”
“Beregond. Sit. Please.”
“I am sorry, Captain. All my life I have spent as a lowly soldier.
I was not pleased when I was raised to lieutenant last year. I know
Gondor needs captains, but there are so many others who are better
equipped to carry that load.”
“Like Egalmoth?” Boromir grimaced.
“I am not ungrateful; I just do not feel I am what Gondor needs.
Demote me. Let me be your aide. I beg of you. That is work I am suited
“Beregond, your father has been a great captain for Gondor. As his
son, it is only right that you continue your family’s proud tradition.
I have every faith in you, as does my father. Else, he would not have
promoted you. I cannot do this.”
Beregond stood up. “I will lead the men to death! Do you not
understand this? I have neither the wit nor the courage to do what
Gondor asks of me. If you persist, if you do not demote me, then I must
do something to earn demotion. Disobey an order, defame the Steward,
Boromir stood in alarm and grasped the man’s arms. “You risk hanging,” he hissed, “and disgrace for your family.”
“Boromir, if I make a mistake, if I make a wrong decision, I can lose a whole regiment.”
“Sit,” Boromir motioned and sat himself. “I know the fear you speak
of. It is ever with me. I have lost more men than I can remember. But
Beregond, Gondor desperately needs good captains.”
“I am not one, Boromir! In the month’s that I have served as
captain, I have discovered that failing.” The man fell to his knees.
“Please. Take me as your aide. What greater service is there for a
soldier than to care for his captain?”
Tears filled Boromir’s eyes, as he finally understood. “You would
do this for me?” When he had finally caught his breath, he said,
“Egalmoth is not that bad. I cannot let you do this. Please, do not ask
Beregond stood, shoulders sagged. “Let me at least help you prepare for your journey. Your aide is not about, again.”
Boromir nodded, his mind still awhirl at the level of loyalty and love he felt from Beregond.
The soldier began packing, then took Boromir’s sword from its sheath.
Boromir groaned. “Yester eve, I asked Egalmoth to take it to the
smithy so that it would be sharpened for my ride home. I see he did
“I would have,” Beregond whispered.
“If I demote you, what excuse do I use that would shame you and your family the least?”
Beregond looked up, hope plain upon his face. “Dereliction?”
“All know you are as far from dereliction as Anor from Ithil!”
“From my men then. I have been with you all morning. It was my duty
to be with them, help them prepare for the journey back to Amon Dîn.”
Boromir smiled warmly. He placed his hands on Beregond’s shoulders. “You do not have to do this. It will remain on your record.”
“Have I not pledged all for Gondor? Shame is naught if I can serve
you. I will explain a little to my father. He will understand and
agree. My Captain, do it now, here in the field, then I will serve you
till I die.”
“Who do I appoint in your place as Captain of Amon Dîn?”
“Hirgon. I served with him at the Causeway. He is ready. Or Galdor.
He serves here at Cair Andros under Captain Hador. He could be sent
today! Ask Hador what he thinks.”
“Very well, But I will have you know I do this under duress. If not
for the need of a sharp sword…” He smiled and hugged Beregond.
“Welcome, Aide. Now, send for Captain Hador. I hope he does not object
Beregond poured Boromir another cup of tea, saluted, and left the tent singing a bawdy tavern tune.
Boromir’s brow furrowed as Egalmoth entered.
“Here is your hot water, Captain.”
Boromir kept his face still. “Thank you, Egalmoth. I have some good news for you.”
The ride to Pelargir lasted overlong, in Damrod’s estimation. They
stopped at every town, hamlet, village, and settlement that happened to
be within ten leagues of the road. Damrod knew why. The Steward’s son
did not want to go home. The news of Míriel’s death had to have reached
Denethor by now; going home would make no difference. Except for the
grilling that the young man would have to endure. But Damrod felt
certain the Steward would understand. None of this was Lord Faramir’s
doing. As they sat around a fire one evening, when meeting and greeting
another Lord of Gondor had seemed too much for Captain Faramir, Damrod
had tried to reassure the man. However, the captain would have none of
it. Looking into Faramir’s gray eyes, Damrod’s loyalty seemed to reach
new bounds. Faramir was one of the bravest men he had ever served
under, even, in his own way, braver than Captain Boromir, yet to be
afraid of one’s own father. He clenched his teeth and kept his tongue.
“I know you do not understand,” Faramir finally spoke. “The Steward is
a wise man and, if it was anyone but me, would accept my report, backed
by yours. However,” he paused, trying to put his feelings into words
for he felt he owed this man, of all men, an explanation. “I have made
some mistakes in my dealings with those Lord Denethor deems ‘suspect.’
Nothing that would harm Gondor, only myself,” his self-deprecating
smile endeared him even more to his underling, “but which makes my fa –
makes the Steward question my judgment.”
Damrod sat in silence, but his blood began to boil.
“And judgment is the key in this situation. I foolishly accepted
the Lady Míriel as a friend, because of – well, it makes no difference
why.” He did not want to bring his uncle’s hearty approbation for the
woman to mind. If Imrahil had not been so enthusiastic… But he could
not lay blame upon his uncle. As soon her intentions had become clear
to him, he should have run the other way. Instead, he was involved in a
rendezvous with the woman in his mother’s private gardens. How to
explain this to his father? No matter how hard he had tried in the
past, his father could read his mind, of that he was certain. Yet, he
was innocent. She had waylaid him. “Orc’s breath!”
“Captain. There is naught anyone can do when a woman sets her claws
into a man. Your father… The Steward is not a farm boy. He knows the
wiles of women. Do not be concerned. Tell him the details and he will
accept them.” Much to his chagrin, Faramir would not listen. He tried
again, “The Steward will know from your reports that you have appointed
yourself well on this trip. Do you not have o’erwhelming pledges from
the lords for men and coin? Is that not why you were sent on this
mission? It is a success.”
“Míriel is dead and naught will be worse than the telling of that
affair.” Faramir shook his head at the ill choice of words. “It is past
time. We should return to Minas Tirith. Tell the men we move out in the
morning. We stay in Pelargir for two nights and then leave on the third
morning.” His aide stood to leave. “Damrod. I do not know what I would
have done if Boromir had not sent you with me. Thank you.”
“It is my duty, Captain, naught more.” But the man left him with a smile upon his face and Faramir saw it.
A measure of peace came to him. If men such as Damrod listened and
obeyed him, even offered their life for him, perhaps the future that so
daunted him was not as bleak as he imagined. He entered his tent and
pulled the covers over his face.
In the morning, they broke their fast before the sun broke the sky. The
road to Pelargir was well tended, not like so many others they had
crossed on their journey. Faramir had made a listing of those roads in
dire need of repair. One of the many reports that Faramir would be
presenting to Denethor. The list of reports had grown long as their
journey progressed. Faramir ticked them off as he rode, not watching
the road, but letting Damrod lead them.
By nightfall, they were only a day’s ride from Pelargir. A company of
soldiers had been sent out to meet them and a camp was already set.
Faramir gratefully sank into the cot prepared for him. He smiled. The
captain of Pelargir, what was his name? Gwinhir. That was it. Gwinhir
had sent him a luxurious tent with a cot covered in furs, fresh fruits,
wines and meat, and new clothes to replace his travel worn outfits.
Faramir shook his head. The man was naught but organized. He chafed at
the expense, but was too tired but do aught but luxuriate in the feel
of it. He slept immediately.
In the middle of the night, he awoke, screaming. Damrod was at his
tent door immediately, calling in after him. “I am well. I am sorry,
Damrod. A dream, only a dream.” He sat up and shook until his teeth
chattered. He had had this dream before, many times, but never so
vivid. The wave crashed and rolled, climbed over beautiful, lush, green
lands, over hills rampant with sheep and cattle, across great rivered
valleys, and inexorably over even the tallest mountain. He saw people
running, screaming in terror, as the darkness unescapable, came and
covered them. He saw them drowning, trying to fight there way to the
top of the crest, but all in vain. They died, screaming, their faces
distorted in terror. He sobbed. “Father!” he whispered brokenly. “We
“The tent is from Lord Amandil. He hopes it served you well. He
asks for an audience sometime during your stay at Pelargir. At your
convenience,” the man intoned.
Faramir sat in wonder, his tea held loosely in his hand as the
servant of Amandil bowed low. Damrod stood by Faramir’s side. “Once I
arrive at Pelargir and have my schedule before me, I will contact your
lord. Please thank him for his kindness.” The man bowed and left.
Faramir turned to Damrod, amaze writ upon his face. “I do not know
why the old lord would want to see me. I have wracked my brain, but
there is naught I can do for him.”
“You are the Steward’s son. Mayhap he needs a favor from your father.”
“Amandil is a member of Denethor’s Council. He knows well that my
father rarely grants me any favor. I have no sway over the Steward’s
will. Well, be that as it may, let us be off. I want to reach Pelargir
by early evening. Tell the men and the cooks we will eat nuncheon as we
“I am very grateful that we do not have to strike this camp, that
Amandil’s servants will do that. The tents are large and there are so
many. ‘Twould take half the day to pull everything down and pack it. I
must admit weariness over such things.”
Faramir smiled. “And yet you do it so well, Damrod.”
Laughing Damrod saluted and left to prepare their departure.
Whether or no they were striking camp, still much needed to be done
before leaving this camp.
Anor was setting as they approached the city of Pelargir. Captain
Gwinhir stepped out of the garrison’s gates and motioned for them to
stop. “Lord Faramir. Welcome to Pelargir. You have been missed.
However, much as I would wish you to bivouac here at the fort, Lord
Amandil has procured a house for you, near the breezes of the Anduin.
He begs you to accept it whilst you stay in Pelargir. This guard will
take you there, if that is your command.”
Faramir’s brow furrowed. “Is that the only message he gave you?”
“Only one more. That I have been invited to your house for the
daymeal, less than an hour from now. Will you be ready by then? Have
washed the campaign’s dust from you?”
At that Faramir smiled. “It does not take much to wash if there is
a tub, which I am assuming this house has. I think I would like a bath
very much! So, I will accept Lord Amandil’s gracious offer and see you
there at the twelfth hour. In the meantime, would you make sure my men
are cared for? Damrod, come with me.” Faramir saluted and turned to
follow the guard.
A/N – 1) While Linaewen and I were discussing fires and such, she sent me this link. http://e-charcoalmakingprocess.blogspot.com/
It seems plausible that a place like Cair Andros and the other
garrisons of Gondor would have a storehouse of charcoal for starting
fires. 2) Faramir’s dream taken from ROTK: Book 1 - Ch. 5: The Steward
and the King - “Yes,” said Faramir, “of the land of Westernesse that
foundered and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and
above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of
it.” 3) Regarding above charcoal information - On the road, it seems it
would have been different; they probably would not have carried
charcoal, if the two passages in FOTR about fa ggots are any
indication. In Bree, the Hobbits use fa ggots (bundles of sticks) to
get their smoldering fire started again. FOTR: Ch. 10. Strider - “It
was not until they had puffed up the embers into a blaze and thrown on
a couple of fa ggots that they discovered Strider had come with them."
And, of course, the famous line that Boromir speaks as they head
towards Caradhras. FOTR: Book 2 - Ch. 3: The Ring Goes South - “When we
leave here, where there are still a few trees and bushes, each of us
should carry a fa ggot of wood, as large as he can bear.” Pssst – I had
to put a space in between some letters in fa ggot to let this board put
it up. Censorship. Sadly due to the age we now live in where good words
take on an ugly connotation. 4) The twelfth hour is based upon the time
used in ROTK: Ch. 1: Minas Tirith - “About the eleventh hour, released
at last for a while from service… It was the sunset-hour…”
They rode easily, for the first time in months
for his father was not expecting him back for at least another
fortnight. Boromir's mind was ill at ease. Some sense of impending
doom. He cursed quietly and rubbed the wound. It still ached,
especially after a long day’s ride. If his father ever knew… At that,
he paused. There was little one could hide from Denethor, but this he
must. He had not rested as he had promised. Every day had been filled
with either riding or battle. And the cold nights spent on the ground
wrapped in a too-thin blanket had not helped. His wound definitely
ached, but it was closed and there was no sign of ill health.
To take his mind off the pain, he began to count the duties he
would have to face once they reached the City. The beacon-hills must be
reassessed; defense plans made against siege towers; repairs to the
Rammas; new weaponry; and so much more. Oh! He had forgotten the
trebuchets. Add to that – Míriel.
Beregond rode to his side. "Time to pitch camp?"
"Yes. I need to walk about, try to clear my mind."
"There is much to prepare."
"The Rammas. Yes."
Beregond smiled. "I meant the wedding."
"It is that plain, my disquiet?"
"It is, my Lord. The Chamberlain will handle the details. There is not much you need concern yourself about."
"It is not the ceremony that vexes me."
Another smile, this time wider. "The wedding night?"
Boromir's jaw dropped. "I fear not that night. I fear the years that
stretch ahead of me." He dismounted as the company halted at his
"I am sorry, my Lord. Mayhap… "
"Say naught more, Beregond. It is known about the Citadel that I am not her preferred companion."
"None would say that aloud, my Lord."
Another low curse.
"I cannot understand why the Lord Denethor insists you wed at this
time. There are so many details that must be attended to from the
Rammas to the beacon-hills."
"You read my mind, Beregond. However, my father's will must take
precedence to mine. He is the wiser one; I must obey." He handed
Beregond his reins. "Have the men set up camp. I am going for a walk."
Beregond took the reins and began to shout orders. Controlled chaos reigned as Boromir trudged northward.
After walking a half league or more, Boromir paused, brow furrowed
at the sight of wagon marks well away from the road. He walked further,
almost a full league, and stopped in horror. Two smashed wagons lay
toppled on their sides, soldiers' bodies, fly-covered, lay about,
horses, half-eaten, were strewn everywhere. The smell was beyond
endurance. He covered his mouth, walked a few yards back the way he had
come, leaned over and lost what little was in his stomach. Would his
body ever stop betraying him like this? He tore a piece of cloth from
his shirt, covered his mouth and nose, and walked back to the carnage.
Two wagons. It was Orcs, of course. He wondered where they had been
bound. The men of Gondor seemed to have been attacked at least a
fortnight ago. There were nigh unto fifty bodies, another twenty
horses. How many had been taken captive to serve as food when the foul
creatures were once again hungry? He swore again, this time shouting
out the words, but naught eased his heart. At last, not being able to
find any recognizable features on any of the men, he turned back to
where his own men camped. There was no risk, at least at the moment,
for his company. His father would know where this sad group was heading
and which captain had led them.
Beregond saw him walking and ran to his side. "Is something amiss, my Lord?"
"Supply wagons attacked about a league from here. Send a burial detail. I recognized no one."
"Yes. Though no signs of torture; I am certain they have carried off some of our men."
"Your tent is set, Captain. I will see to the detail."
"Thank you, Beregond," Boromir whispered and walked slowly to his tent.
The men parted as he passed, but he had not the heart to speak with
them. As he prepared to enter the tent, he paused and looked back.
Twenty men were saddled and heading north. He pulled in a breath to
stop the tears. Weariness closed in upon him. Pulling the flap behind
him, he lay on his cot, arm flung over his eyes and wept.
The house that Lord Amandil had procured for him was spacious to say
the least. It was on a small hill overlooking the harbor, close enough
to enjoy the cool breezes during the summer, but far enough away to
keep the smell of the city from causing discomfort. Faramir sat on the
terrace overlooking the Anduin and at last let himself relax enough to
ponder the last month's events. Damrod had been correct; he had done
everything in his power to lengthen their journey. And it was not for
Damrod’s sake. Though he was most grateful that his aide was healing,
and well. The truth of the matter was - he did not want to meet his
father's scrutiny over the death of Míriel. He was at once embarrassed
and disheartened. The glass of wine in his hand was untouched, his brow
furrowed, and that is how Lord Amandil found him.
"My dear Lord Faramir," the man exclaimed loudly, "you will spill your
wine if you do not pay more attention to it. Is it not to your liking?"
"It is most excellent. However, my journey has been taxing and I am
enjoying the view and the comfort of your benevolence. This house is
spacious and most restful."
"I am glad you approve. I had a few properties that I perused
before deciding upon this one for your stay here. I am disturbed to
discover from your aide that you only plan to spend two days in our
fair city. There is so much to see and discuss. I had hoped we could
examine the armaments and perhaps inspect the men?"
"And what else would you have of me, Lord Amandil?" Faramir was
weary beyond endurance and had not the strength nor the heart for
subterfuge. He had been unable to discover what Lord Amandil wanted and
it irked him.
"My Lord Faramir," Amandil fairly bristled, "I have only the weal
of Gondor ever in my thoughts. We, the entire city, rejoiced at the
news of your coming. A banquet was planned for the night after next."
"My Lord Amandil. Forgive my brusqueness. I found the journey
wearisome. I was taken with fever for a time and I do not believe I
have quite recovered. Give me a night's rest and I will listen to your
suggestions for Pelargir. Are the plans for the banquet complete?"
"I did not know," the man apologized profusely. "I will leave you.
The banquet can be canceled. If there is aught you need, do not
hesitate to ask the servants. Your word is mine. Shall I send my
personal healer?" Faramir declined and the man nodded and left.
Faramir leaned his head in his hands.
"Are you truly not well, Captain?"
He heard Damrod's voice behind him. "I am beginning to think I have
not recovered. My head aches and I feel chilled. Unfortunately, they
have prepared a banquet. It would be wise if we should stay for an
"Of course they have. Have we not endured many feasts on this trip?
I am tired of the rich food; it will be good to return to Ithilien and
simple meals. I fear, though, it should be off to bed with you before I
risk the ire of your father. I am ready myself for a good night's
sleep. The beds are soft and clean."
"Ah," Faramir smiled, "soft and clean. What more could a man ask for?" He stood up. “Damrod?”
“Do you know what Amandil wants? Have you heard anything since we arrived this afternoon?”
“I have not.” He paused.
“Out with it!”
“He has a granddaughter.”
Faramir groaned. “Valar preserve me!”
“To bed then, Captain, for you will need all your strength on the morrow.”
Faramir’s groan turned into a soft curse. He nodded and left his
aide. The bed was soft and clean, yet his heart was pounding. “I will
not listen. I will suggest he meet with father at the Council meeting.
There must be one planned soon. There must be.”
He slept fitfully.
Fury and utter helplessness roiled through him as Boromir recounted
the carnage he had seen. "The enemy knew!" the Steward's eldest
shouted, his voice grown hoarse, "knew that Amon Dîn was short-staffed,
knew that we were north in battle against Easterlings, knew our wagons
were on the road, knew we were helpless…" He screamed the last and
pushed hard against his desk. A heavy crash and the desk overturned.
Sudden silence filled the room. Boromir looked on in horror as papers
gently wafted to the floor. At last, he whispered, "We have no hope."
"There is little hope, but what we have, we will guard," his father answered quietly.
"Nay, Father. We have no hope."
"You have forgotten Faramir's hope in the king's return?"
Boromir snorted in derision. "The king. What need have we for a
king who comes when all of Gondor is lost? The kings we had were weak.
So were the Stewards before you. There is no hope." His voice had grown
flat and hard.
"Come into my chambers. Let your man clean this up. We will sit and drink a little brandy and mayhap speak with the wizard."
Boromir looked up in surprise. "Mithrandir is here?"
"He is. He awaits Faramir."
"Of course. And they will read poetry and discuss Elves and all will be lost."
"Boromir! Speak not such bitter words. All is not lost. Not yet."
"You did not see, Father! You did not see what I have seen these past months."
"I have seen such sights before, Boromir," Denethor's tone was gentle. "All my life I have seen such sights."
"And my children will see the same. Father, I cannot wed, not now. Mayhap never. I cannot leave such a legacy."
Denethor drew in his breath. He had forgotten in the fury of Boromir's
pain. "Come into my study now, Boromir, as I had commanded you to an
hour ago." Denethor turned and strode from Boromir's chambers. His son
nodded to his manservant in apology and left.
As he entered Denethor's study, he was surprised to see Húrin and
Siriondil there. He nodded to the Master Healer. Boromir so missed
Arciryas that it was difficult to look his replacement in the eye.
"Warden. It is good to see you again. Is your son well? He is stationed
at Linhir, is he not?"
"That he is, Captain-General. His first assignment."
"Ah, yes. I have not seen him in over a year." Boromir found he could
no longer speak in a courtly manner, so he closed his mouth and sat
heavily on Denethor's settle. Húrin's brow rose, but he said naught.
Denethor entered from his bedchamber, a rolled missive in his hand.
"I must read you something, Boromir. But first I must ask Siriondil to
look at your wound.”
Boromir stood and began to protest.
“I saw you flinch just now. And I noted you held your stomach after
you attacked your desk. Do not try to hide things from me, Boromir.
Siriondil,” he motioned and the healer went to Boromir’s side. With
barely suppressed anger and some chagrin, Boromir stood, took off his
tunic and lifted his shirt. The healer’s hands pressed and a stifled
moan escaped the young lord’s lips.
“You did not rest?”
Boromir did not answer.
“A week’s rest at least, my Lord Steward. Else I will have to move
him to the Houses. The wound is not infected, but it is tender. It
should have lost that tenderness by now, if Captain Boromir had obeyed
Denethor nodded. “Thank you. You may go.” He waited till the man
left, then turned to Boromir. “I will not chide you, but I do not like
you disobeying me. Remember that.”
His tone was soft and low, but Boromir knew he had been severely reprimanded.
“Please sit and listen. Húrin, would you pour Boromir a brandy? And yourself one too."
Húrin nodded and filled three glasses, giving one each to Denethor
and Boromir and finally settling himself in an armchair to the right of
Boromir. He slowly sipped the drink and waited; he knew the missive
that Denethor carried.
"My Lord Steward," Denethor read, "I have the unfortunate duty to inform you of a grave matter."
"Faramir!" Boromir jumped up, spilling his drink as he stood.
"Nay. Sit now and listen," Denethor's voice was crisp and firm. "It
is from your Uncle Imrahil. It is about Faramir but there is naught to
fear; he is well. Now, let me continue." He waited until Boromir sat
"I have not had to write such a hard report in a very long time. I beg
you to know that your son, Faramir, had naught to do with the
happenings, except to be in the wrong place at the wrong time." Boromir
made as if to stand, but Denethor's withering gaze stayed him. "There
was an accident. The Lady Miriel is dead." Denethor paused.
This time, Boromir stood slowly. He walked to his father's side and put his hand on Denethor's shoulder. "I am sorry, Father."
"You know of her fondness for Faramir," Denethor continued. "She
assumed it was returned. When he did not meet her at a time she
appointed, she rode from her home to Dol Amroth. The road is
treacherous in part and she was distraught. She rode too close to the
cliffs; her horse fell; she fell with it. Lord Galador was in pursuit
and saw the accident. He came to report it to me. I will tell you that
we had her mummified and buried in state in the crypt at my palace.
After an appropriate mourning time, Faramir left. He is continuing his
journey and will pass through Pelargir before he turns north for Minas
"Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your future
daughter-in-law. Please extend these sympathies to my dearest nephew,
Boromir. Other circumstances surrounded her death, but I will make
haste to personally bring you those tidings. I leave within the week.
Respectfully, Prince Imrahil."
"Has he arrived?" Boromir asked quietly.
"He has not."
"Were other missives sent? Did not Faramir write a report?"
Boromir turned towards the window and looked, with unseeing eyes,
upon the Pelennor. "I should be sorry. I am not. Nay, I am sorry for
her mother and father. It is a terrible blow. We expect men to die, for
battle wages all around us. But to have such a young and vibrant
woman…" Boromir rubbed his face with his left hand. "It is not right."
He sighed wearily. "Would you have me go to Dol Amroth and offer my
condolences to her family?"
"Nay. Imrahil has done our duty for us. When the Council meets on
Yáviérë, you may extend your sympathies to her father. Besides which,
my Master Healer has ordered you to rest. I need you here in the City,
"May I go, Father?"
"Nay, Boromir. I deem it not well for you to be alone at this time.
Húrin was about to give me his reports on the Rammas. I thought you
would be interested."
Boromir nodded wearily.
Boromir woke with a start to hear whispers
coming from his father’s dining room. It had been a very long time
since he had fallen asleep during a meeting. He wondered, briefly, what
his father would say, but of more concern to him was the fact that Anor
was setting; the Pelennor was almost black. ‘My men!’ he thought. They
were to meet for the daymeal and here he was. He rose and heard his
name called. “Yes, Father, I am awake.” Walking into the outer chamber,
he stopped in surprise.
“Well met, young lord,” Mithrandir smiled at him.
“My Lord Mithrandir. It is good to see you again.”
“Not from what I hear. Poetry and such, bah!”
The smile on the wizard’s face gave away the remark for the jest it
was, but Boromir, nonetheless, was disconcerted. “Forgive me. I spoke
“Nay. When your brother and I get together, we tend to babble.”
Boromir smiled broadly. “Then sometime, mayhap, I might join you?”
“Boromir,” Denethor interrupted. “Beregond was here and took a
message back to your men. You will meet in a tavern, he said, on the
Fourth Level. That is not the ‘Three Fishermen’ by any chance, is it?”
Nodding his head and not taking the bait, Boromir sat at table.
Immediately, Denethor’s man brought out a salver filled with food.
“What were you two discussing when I entered?”
“The Rammas. Your father thinks he should let the North Gate alone until the rest of the changes have been made. I disagree.”
“But Rohan guards our border.”
“You yourself, if I am correct, know of the attacks to the north. I deem it unwise to wait.”
“He has a point, Father,” Boromir spoke between bites. “The wagons were attacked with impunity.”
“You listed the reasons they were attacked, Boromir. Those reasons
will now be corrected. Never again will I leave Amon Dîn so poorly
“That will help,” Boromir conceded. He took a long drink of wine
and then stood up. “If you will forgive me, Mithrandir – Father – I
would bathe before I meet with my men.”
Mithrandir’s laughter rang throughout the room. “You would eat with
us unwashed and yet meet with your men bathed. Have they not endured
your stench these past few months?”
“I am sorry,” Boromir colored. “I did not realize…”
Denethor put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “The wizard teases
you, Boromir. Go now and attend to your needs. I would meet with you on
the morrow. There will be a Council during Yáviérë; the schedule is
already filled for two full days.”
“Thank you, Father. I will break my fast with you tomorrow.” Surprisingly, his father took him in a warm hug.
“Rest tonight,” he whispered.
Boromir returned the embrace. “I will.” He nodded to the wizard and left them.
“He is suffering from the wound still?”
Denethor looked closely at him. “He is. Again, I find myself perplexed. You know more than I give you credit for.”
“I only watch. He grimaced when you embraced him. I do not think it was from discomfort at your show of affection.”
Denethor laughed heartily. “You are wily. I think we can now
continue our game.” He strode to the study and pulled out the drawer
that contained their ‘Kings Stewards’ game. “I believe it is my move?”
The wizard sat across from him. Lighting his pipe, he continued
where they left off. “Rohan will guard your borders only until they are
attacked somewhere else. I deem it unwise to leave the North Gate last
“Do you know something about Rohan that I do not?”
“I think not. You see more than many, my Lord Denethor. What do you see?”
Denethor’s brow furrowed. “I see a friend in a spiral of decay. I
see a great and courageous mind lost to confusion and… poison? I see
him trusting a wizard’s pupil.” A slight chill ran down his back, but
he stayed the urge to shudder.
“A wizard’s pupil? I have no pupils.”
“Are you the only wizard in the land? I think not. Though I believe my son listens to you with unbridled devotion.”
“Faramir is your son. He thinks for himself, though he deigns to give an old man respect.”
“I do not?”
“You show it on the outside, but I doubt there is any in your heart.”
At this, Denethor shivered. “I value your opinions but I will not
obey you just because of who you are. You are right in saying I see
much. I have seen things which cause me to question your motives.”
“If you speak of my relationship with your father, then you are
correct. I deemed your father wiser than you. However, you have grown
in wisdom since then.”
Giving a low chuckle, Denethor moved a piece. “I begin to question.
I do not accept what you say without balancing it against all I know.”
“Your son questions you and for that you deem him my pupil. Do you not wish, Lord Denethor, that you had questioned Ecthelion?”
Denethor drew in a sharp breath. “Yes. I do wish that.” He shivered again. “But I would still obey him.”
“Faramir obeys you.”
“Not always. Not always.” He grew silent and did not note when Gandalf moved his knight.
Another moment passed. The wizard waited. “Check,” he repeated at last.
Denethor looked down at the board in surprise. “Will you be here for the Council meeting?”
“Do you want me there?”
“I do. I want you ever before me.”
“So that you can watch me?”
Denethor smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes. “Yes.” He lay his king down. “I fear I have lost.”
“Just this round, Lord Denethor, just this round.”
Faramir sat at Amandil’s table and tried to hide the grimace. Not
only had Amandil a granddaughter, but also a niece. He was telling how
his own daughter had been considered as a mate for Denethor before
Prince Adrahil offered Finduilas. The man’s tone was harsh and bitter.
Faramir had all he could do to contain himself. The effrontery! To
speak of his grandfather in such discourteous terms was bad enough yet,
the man did not stop there. The tone he used when he spoke Finduilas’
name held only contempt. Faramir at last could stand it no longer.
“Thank you for inviting me to your home and the wonders of your table.
I must prepare to leave though. I have extended my stay two days beyond
my original plan. My father awaits my reports. You know it is not wise
to keep the Steward waiting. As for your proposal, I will carry the
missives to the Lord Denethor. I will ask him to make time to discuss
them after the Council meeting.”
Amandil sputtered and Faramir knew the man was furious at the early
leave-taking, but it could not be helped. If Faramir stayed any longer,
he was afraid he would gut the man with his dirk. Damrod saluted and
stood between the two.
“All of Pelargir will be sorry to see you leave, my Lord Faramir. My
thanks for sharing my table. Nerwin, Mithrellas, offer the Lord Faramir
your thanks for spending time with us this evening.”
Both women bowed their heads. Nerwin giggled and Amandil sputtered
even louder. “The girls will be coming with me to Minas Tirith for
Yáviérë. They have not been to the City before. Perhaps you could
arrange an escort to show them about?”
“Of course. I will see to it. Again, my thanks for your
hospitality. Come, Damrod.” He saluted, followed the servant out and
left the palatial home quickly behind him.
“I think you can stop running, Captain. None seem to be following us.” Damrod started laughing.
“I am not running.”
“For all intents and purposes, Captain, you are running. I can hardly keep up.”
“Damrod, I am sorry. Is the wound…?”
“Nay, Faramir, but the laughter is too much to continue at this
pace. You should have seen your face when he brought those women into
the room. I thought I would have to pick you up off the floor.”
“He said naught about presenting his granddaughter and niece. I was taken unawares.”
“You almost chocked to death on your wine. He could have warned you,” his aide grinned.
“How do I get myself into these predicaments? The Valar must hate me.”
Damrod started choking. He stopped and bent over. Faramir shoved him. “Stop it now!”
“I am sorry. I have too good a memory. The look was beyond price.”
Faramir stopped and leaned heavily against a wall. “I am definitely
doomed. I will not take them around the City. I have learned my
“Thankfully, it is your brother’s hand that Amandil seeks for those he loves. You are not worth much as of yet.”
Faramir started laughing. “Poor Boromir!”
Damrod joined him and the two men leaned on each other as they made
their way back to their quarters, laughter causing them to stop many
times on the road.
“It is time we began the preparations for the Council meeting,
Húrin. We have the agenda already set, but we must prepare as many
reports as possible to present to the lords. I want no arguments this
time. I want everything made clear to them so they do not question me.”
“A good and sincere thought, Denethor, but do you truly think the lords will not question you?”
Denethor snarled. His guard entered the room. “What is it?”
“Prince Imrahil requests an audience.”
“Imrahil. I did not hear the call. Send him in. Send him in.” He
rang the bell and his manservant entered. Quickly he gave orders for
food and wine, then turned to Húrin. “Did you hear his horns?”
“Nay. Did he not want to be heralded?”
“I know not. Ah! Imrahil,” he stood and embraced the Swan Prince.
“Welcome. Did you not bring an entourage? I heard no trumpets.”
“Only a small company, my Lord Denethor. I must return to Dol
Amroth. My stay will not be long. In fact, if I have my way, I will
Denethor looked in surprise at the man. “Come into my study.” He
led the way, offered a chair to Imrahil, and sat behind his desk. “You
come to give me report?”
“I do, my Lord Steward.”
“It is serious then. You use my title.”
“I will not beguile you with words of comfort. A wanton act of
treachery occurred in my city. I have come to beg your forgiveness and
to ask your will in the matter.”
Denethor sat back. His servant entered and Denethor nodded that
Imrahil be served first. The prince declined. Denethor waved the man
off and sat forward. “Is there a written report?”
“Nay. I deemed the matter too… delicate.”
“Begin then. I will try not to interrupt.”
Imrahil told the whole tale, evincing every detail. At the end,
Denethor sat back. “So my son is an idiot and your cousin is a wanton
Imrahil stood in fury. “Say naught about Faramir. He appointed
himself well. As for my cousin, I bid you speak not ill of the dead.”
“My son would now be buried in your vaults if not for his aide. I
will speak of her as I will. Galador has been banished to Athrad, you
say. I want him here, in Minas Tirith, for trial.”
“My Lord Denethor,” Mithrandir spoke up and Imrahil started to see
the wizard sitting in a chair by the fire. “As Prince Imrahil states,
it is a delicate matter. If you bring the girl’s father here, put him
on trial, you shame your line.”
“I want the man dead,” Denethor hissed. “He dared to touch my son, my son!”
Boromir strode into the room. “Your shouts can be heard down the
hall, Father.” He turned and walked to Imrahil’s side. “Uncle.” Imrahil
stood and was enveloped in Boromir’s arms. “It is good to see you. I am
sorry you come with such disturbing news. How fares Faramir? What is
this that father speaks of?” He motioned and Imrahil sat.
“Lord Galador lost his mind in the grief of his daughter’s death. He attacked Faramir, but Damrod took the blow instead.”
“Damrod lives?” Boromir’s face had grown white.
“He does. The wound was not deep. However, Faramir took injury
earlier in the day. He has had a difficult journey. Before he reached
Dol Amroth, he was afflicted with a fever that left him weak. Míriel
surprised him in your mother’s gardens…” He stopped as he heard
Denethor’s indrawn breath, then continued, “He fell against one of the
marble benches and was concussed. I do not want to live through another
day like that one.”
“Where is Lord Galador?”
“I sent him to Athrad at Faramir’s request. The man’s wife has
become unhinged. She began writing missives, nasty things, to Faramir.
He was concerned for my welfare.”
Boromir sat next to his uncle, took a glass of wine for himself and
insisted that Imrahil take one too. “You still have authority over the
man? You can bring him back here, to Minas Tirith?”
“Of course. He is in the coast guard there.”
“Then, Father, if it is truly your wish to hold a trial, we have
not lost the man. It is easy enough to summon him here. Mayhap you
would wish to wait to hear what Faramir has to say?”
“I know what your brother would say. He would bid me have mercy
upon the man. If news of this treachery is found out and that I have
done nothing to punish the man for his act of treason, then all of
Gondor suffers. Yes, I put my anger and pain first, but I deem it
unwise to let this matter drift into oblivion. For it will not. Rumors
already abound. There must be some retribution made. The man’s actions
call for his hanging.”
“And yet mercy would not be unwelcome by your people. What would
you do if Faramir had actually died? Would you hold your anger in
check? I speak foolishly; your mind is greater than Galador’s.
Faramir’s mercy should be yours, Father. It would benefit Gondor.”
“Well spoken, young lord,” Mithrandir said quietly. “He speaks
rightly, Lord Denethor. The people would understand a ruling of mercy
along with banishment.”
“Banishment. Yet the man still serves me in the guard. This I will
no tolerate. Imrahil, when you return to Dol Amroth you will carry a
proclamation from me stating that Galador and all his heirs and kin are
banished forever from Gondor’s soil.”
Imrahil stiffened, but nodded his acceptance of his liege lord’s will. “It will be posted on the city’s gates.”
Denethor sat wearily. “Faramir? Has he completely recovered? Where is he now?”
“He went to Pelargir to complete the task you set him. However, I had expected him to be here.”
“I have received a few reports from him, brief ones, but nothing from Pelargir. Nor from Dol Amroth.”
“I imagine he holds the Dol Amroth report until he can give it personally.”
“Forgive my outburst, Imrahil,” Denethor said quietly, “and accept
my hospitality. Stay at least another day, until Faramir arrives. It
would much hearten the boy to see you.”
“I will, Denethor. I would speak with him. See how he fares. I was
concerned for him. I knew not if he had recovered from his other
wounds. Then to be assailed with fever, a concussed head, and a
“Guilt-ridden? What had he to be guilt-ridden? You say the woman threw herself at him.”
“Father,” Boromir gently chided. “You speak of Faramir. Of course he would be guilt-ridden.”
Denethor turned towards the window. ‘He carries Finduilas’ weakness.’ His face burned in shame and sorrow.
“Nuncheon is ready, my Lord.”
“Belegorn!” Boromir rose in surprise and hugged the man. “It is
good to see you! What are you doing here in the City? Does not Mardil
keep you chained to him? I did not think he could captain Halifirien
Belegorn smiled and returned the embrace. “No one can say nay to
the Lord Steward of Gondor. I am now your father’s aide and this is
most embarrassing.” He tried to pull away from Boromir, but the heir
would not allow it.
Boromir turned to Denethor. “Father! This man was one of those who saved my life! I owe him much.”
“Mayhap I should raise him to captain, assign him to the Tower Guard?”
“Nay, my Lord Steward. I am content to be your aide. Please let me
continue. Lord Boromir, I am happy to serve your family in this way. Do
not interpose your will upon your father.”
“Aye, Belegorn. I will not. Father is desperately in need of a good aide. I am grateful, as will my brother be. Thank you!”
“Nuncheon is ready,” Belegorn quipped and Boromir laughed. “Father, may Belegorn join us?”
“Nay!” Belegorn held the wanted shout down to a gentle whisper at the same time that Denethor said, ‘yes.’
“Sit with us this day, Belegorn. Afterwards, you may again pick up
your duties. I would hear more of the daring rescue of my son.”
Two days later, Beregond ran to Boromir’s side.
“He should be at the Harlond within the hour!” Excitement tinged his
Boromir quickly thanked his sparring partner then turned to his
aide. “Help me get this off. And send someone to draw a bath. And tell
Imrahil. And Siriondil. I need him with us.”
Beregond laughed. “As soon as we relieve you of this armor. I am only one man; I can do only one task at a time.”
Impatiently, Boromir worked at the clasps. At last, he was free of
the heavy armor. He ran to the baths, tore off his mail, shirt,
leggings, and under things and plunged in. The attendant had stopped
trying to help him after the first moment. However, he did bring the
soaps for washing. He poured a pitcher full of water over Boromir’s
head and lathered his hair. In the meantime, Boromir was quickly
washing himself. At about the same time the attendant poured the rinse
water over him, Boromir was done. He took the proffered towel and
hastily dried himself. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he ran to
the dressing rooms, threw his clothes on his half-dried body and strode
outside. Imrahil and Siriondil waited for him. He clasped their hands.
“Thank you for your haste,” he said as they quietly walked down
through the circles of the City. “Siriondil. I want him examined
thoroughly, though he will complain - and loudly. His wounds from the
ambush and his head, especially his head. And make sure there is no
sign of fever.”
The Master Healer of Gondor nodded. “Of course he will complain. Am
I not used to the sons of Denethor complaining?” He smiled at the flush
that crept across Boromir’s face. “I will be gentle, but thorough, Lord
Boromir. I did learn my trade from Arciryas himself.”
A shadow crossed Boromir’s face. “It is hard to believe he is gone.”
“Much happier, I am sure, now that he is free of his duty to your line!”
Boromir laughed gently. “And he is with Amma, if the scholars tell it rightly.”
“Our fondest wish,” Imrahil interjected, “that those we love and have lost dwell somewhere together in peace and happiness.”
“Yes. Now, Uncle, what should I look for? Was he distraught, desolate when he left Dol Amroth?”
“As I told your father, he was sad and guilt-ridden…”
“Damrod should have beaten the guilt out of him by now,” Boromir laughed.
They reached the First Level and went through the Great Gate. Their
horses were saddled and ready. A company of Gondor’s Knights sat in
“What is this?” Boromir cried. “I ordered no muster.”
“The Steward’s order, Captain-General.”
Boromir paled, but accepted the escort. After they were mounted, he gave the signal to move out.
Imrahil leaned over. “You did not seriously think your father was
not aware that Faramir approached? Or your response?” He laughed
quietly. “Be grateful he did not join us.”
In fact, Denethor waited for them at the gate that opened from the
Harlond onto the Pelennor. A small smile of delight that he had
surprised Boromir shone from his eyes. “Is your look of chagrin due to
the fact that I arrived first? Or did you wish to greet Faramir
privately?” Denethor paused. “Ah! You are concerned at the reception I
might offer.” His demeanor changed. “I would have thought that you,
above all men, would know that I would greet him with joy. It saddens
me, Boromir, your ill-regard for me.”
Boromir slid from his horse and handed the reins to Beregond.
Imrahil and Siriondil had stopped many paces back, as soon as Imrahil
recognized who awaited them.
Boromir embraced his father. “It is not ill-regard, Father. My concern is for Faramir’s health.”
“And mine is not?” Denethor quirked an eyebrow as he returned the embrace.
Boromir sighed heavily and stepped back. “How do I say this to you,
Father? I care not for myself. You know me and love me and I am well
aware and gratified by your love. However…”
“However my scrutiny of your brother’s dealings makes me suspect?”
“He has been on the road for months after having endured ambush and wounding…”
“You do not have to continue, Boromir. I am well aware of the trials but have beset your brother.”
“Your son,” Boromir whispered.
Denethor’s face blazed. “My son,” he spoke through clenched teeth,
“knows my love for him. He will expect me to judge him fairly. However,
my suspicious son, I did not come to the Harlond to question him; I
came to welcome him home.”
“Forgive me, Father.”
“There is naught to forgive. Why did you bring the healer here? Do
you expect the lad to strip and endure examination on the docks?”
Boromir smiled. “I have a room readied in the Harbor Master’s quarters.”
“Do you not think it would be wiser to have Faramir examined in the Houses?”
“I am concerned, Father. He had a fever before he left Minas
Tirith, albeit from the poisoned arrows; yet again, Imrahil states he
had a fever at Tarnost. I am concerned,” he repeated lamely. “My own
wound is slow to heal. I would have Faramir examined sooner than later.
Here, he cannot say, nay.”
“That is sound reasoning.”
At that moment, Faramir’s horn could be heard, calling out loud and clear.
“At least he has the strength to wind it well.” Denethor motioned
and Imrahil and Siriondil joined them. “Why do you not show Siriondil
where he is to meet Faramir. He can set up his instruments and be
ready. Imrahil and I will wait here.”
A quarter of an hour passed and Faramir’s banner could be seen.
Boromir had returned and stood anxiously, almost on tiptoe, waiting for
the first sight of his brother.
The look of discomfiture at his presence would have made Denethor smile
if not for the pallid skin and sweat evidenced upon his youngest’s
brow. He stepped forward and waited. Faramir slowly dismounted and
found himself enveloped in his father’s warm embrace.
“You were missed,” Denethor whispered. “And not just by Boromir.” He
started to shake in alarm as he felt Faramir sway in his arms. “You are
not well?” he whispered.
“Nay, Father.” Faramir swallowed, “The fever returns.”
“Damrod!” Denethor called but Boromir was at his side and gently took Faramir’s arm and held him upright.
“Siriondil awaits.” He pointed and Denethor and he walked Faramir to the Harbor Master’s quarters only a few short paces away.
Siriondil helped him to a bed in a corner of the room and knelt,
feeling his head, then his pulse. “Boromir, help him take off his upper
Boromir nodded and helped his brother undress. Damrod took the shed
clothes and mail and placed them on a nearby chair. Then, he bent and
loosed the clasps on Faramir’s boots and took them off.
Siriondil helped the boy lie down. Boromir and Denethor stood back,
waiting. After a few moments, the healer said, “Send for a stretcher
and a cart.” He turned back at Faramir’s cry of protest. “I do not know
how you stayed ahorse as long as you did. Your fever is high. Damrod,
when did this begin?”
“About a week ago. It spikes in the afternoon, quite high. A week’s journey out of Pelargir.”
“Nay. The first time.”
“Ah! Near Tarnost. We stayed in the town for a fortnight whilst it
raged unchecked. In the mornings he would be almost himself, but by
afternoon the fever brought him down. I wanted to send for you but
Faramir refused. It finally passed. Prince Imrahil had him thoroughly
examined when we reached Dol Amroth. He was found fit.”
Siriondil turned to Imrahil. “He was fit? There was no sign of a fever?”
“There was not,” the prince stated. “He was examined three times
whilst he was with me. Once the day he arrived, the day he received the
head-wound; once as a follow-up to that, to make certain he was
healing; and again before he left Dol Amroth. I would not have allowed
him to travel if I thought aught was amiss.”
“What times were the examinations?”
“I do not understand.”
“Were they in the mornings or the afternoons?”
“Mornings. Always mornings.”
Siriondil shook his head and turned to Faramir. “Did you experience fever whilst in Dol Amroth?” he asked gently.
“I did not, but felt weak.”
“Did your head hurt?”
“Of course. I had hit it hard on a marble bench. The ache has never left me.”
“Did you tell Imrahil’s healer?”
“I did at first. But afterwards did not. He said I had a concussed wound. I expected pain.”
“Boromir strip him.”
Faramir made to protest but the healer would have none of it. “Have you any boils? Seeping wounds?”
“Good. That is fortunate for us, but I must examine you myself to
make certain. Sometimes, before they open, they are not readily seen.”
He moved Faramir’s arms and examined the armpits, then moved his
legs, and finally rolled him on his back, examining every part of him.
At last he sighed. “I think we have caught it in time. I see no seeping
wounds. You may help dress him, Boromir. Faramir,” he turned again to
the lad, “before you arrived in Tarnost, where did you stay?”
“Farms and villages along the way, or encamped in the valleys.”
“Did you touch any farm animals? Did you drink any milk or perhaps ate local cheeses?”
Faramir held his hands to his eyes and rubbed them. “I ache,” he whispered as Boromir buttoned his shirt. “Damrod?”
“I am here, Captain. Siriondil, we were offered goat’s milk at a
farm at the beginning of our journey. I did not take it, but Faramir
“What is wrong with him?” Denethor at last could stand the suspense no longer.
“I believe he has undulant fever. It can be treated. It is not
acute, not yet. I will need special medicaments though. I have some in
the Houses. Faramir, we must begin treatment immediately. You have had
this for sometime. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to
Faramir nodded as they brought the stretcher in. He meekly let the
men put him on it, take him from the room, and place him in a cart. He
closed his eyes, but opened them as he felt someone sit next to him.
“Rest now, my son. All will be well.”
Boromir never left Faramir’s side. The mornings were pleasant and the
brothers shared tales of their last trips in between Faramir’s naps.
Denethor’s youngest was most interested in the new armor the
Easterlings wore and his oldest was most concerned about Amandil and
his retinue of female kin. The fever caused extreme fatigue, besides
all its other manifestations, and Faramir slept most mornings away. But
when afternoons came, Faramir was consumed by fever. At these times,
Siriondil himself would attend the lad, using cold compresses to
mitigate the damage. The two teas he used, from taheebo and chinchona
bark, were given to Faramir four times a day. By the end of the second
week, Denethor began to question his healer’s competence.
“I have not seen any fever such as this, but it is written in the
archives as is the treatment. We are doing what is specified. There
have been no wounds and that means the teas are reducing the affects of
“Could it not be malaria? Mayhap you are treating the wrong sickness?” The Steward wondered.
“Even if my conclusion was incorrect, the teas would still heal
him. This is a dangerous ailment that Faramir has contracted. If he is
not tended rightly, serious damage will occur to the rest of his body.
I know I am correct in saying this is undulant fever, Lord Denethor.
Please trust me.”
Denethor nodded and went back into Faramir’s room. It was near to
the time the fever usually worsened. But today, at last, Faramir
rested. Denethor smiled at Boromir as the man stood and let his father
take his place. “Well, you are looking a tad better, my son.”
Faramir smiled weakly. “My head does not ache today.”
“No chills?” Siriondil asked.
“Nay. Not today.” He shivered.
Siriondil smiled and sat at the side opposite Denethor. “Then what is the shiver for?”
Looking at Denethor, he shivered again.
“What is it, my son? What ails you now?”
“I have not given my report.” His voice whispered out the statement in horror.
“You just now remember that?” Siriondil asked.
“Never the mind, Faramir. Damrod handed them to me at the Harlond.
Húrin and I and my captains have been studying them. Recommendations
will be made at this month’s Council.”
“They were complete? You did not need further information?”
“The one on Pelargir was only thirty pages. I assumed you would add any further knowledge once you recovered.”
Faramir’s brow knit. “I cannot seem to recall what was in the report. I am dreadfully sorry, Father.”
“Nay. I teased you, Faramir. The report was complete. Was more than
complete as is your wont with all your reports. Do not trouble
“Will I stand before the Council?”
“Nay. We meet in a fortnight. I do not think you will have
recovered enough to spend two grueling days with the likes of the Lords
of Gondor. Boromir will attend and report back to you.”
“The fever seems to have broken. This is very good,” Siriondil sat
back, pleased with himself. “We will continue the regimen of teas.
Another four weeks or so and you should be released from the Houses.”
“Four weeks!” Faramir tried to sit up, but Denethor gently held him
down. “I must be off to the Causeway Forts. I was to oversee the
repairs to the Rammas.” He put his hand to his head and pushed against
the pain that suddenly assailed him.
“You are going nowhere. I need you here to keep Mithrandir company.
He begs daily for a game of ‘Kings and Stewards’ and then roundly
thrashes me. I need respite from him.”
“Mithrandir is here?” Faramir asked in wonder. “When did he arrive?”
“Years ago, it seems to me,” Denethor smiled warmly. “He has oft asked after you.”
Faramir’s cringed. “I did not ask him to come for my sake, Father. Remember? You ordered me to send for him.”
Denethor’s eyes misted at the look of fear on his son’s face. “Be
not concerned, Faramir. I well remember that it was I ordered him here.
He is researching some things for me. I would have you help him, when
you are better.”
Faramir nodded, his hand once again at his temple.
“Since you are not assailed by the fever this afternoon, I think we
should not assail you with things of Gondor, Faramir. Rest now.” He
placed a kiss on Faramir’s brow. “Boromir. I would see you for the
daymeal? Húrin will be present. I would like to review the list of
items for the Council meeting?”
His son began to protest, then nodded. “Damrod,” the ever-present
soldier stepped forward. “Will you stay with Faramir tonight?” The aide
smiled and nodded. “I will leave you now, brother. Do not do anything
foolish until I return. I would devise some scheme against father for
the fright he just gave you.”
Denethor looked in mock surprise. “I will leave you to your
devising.” He stood and embraced his oldest. “Do not leave him yet.
Join me at the daymeal.”
Boromir nodded and returned the embrace, then took his father’s seat at
Faramir’s side. “You are not quite rid of me yet, little brother.”
A/N – Sorry for the long author’s notes… but the disease Faramir
has contracted, though rare, is known. The below notes about acute
brucellosis were not exhibited by Faramir. I used the symptoms that are
most common and also highest – 80% or above. He was a healthy young man
and the disease was diagnosed and treated before other symptoms could
Onset of brucellosis (undulant fever) is usually insidious, but the
disease course falls into two distinct phases. Characteristically, the
acute phase causes fever, chills, profuse sweating, fatigue,
headache... Despite this disease's common name… few patients have a
truly intermittent (undulant) fever; in fact, fever is commonly
insignificant. It may be observed if the patient goes without treatment
for a long time. Fever is the most common symptom and sign of
brucellosis… intermittent in 60% of patients with acute and chronic
conditions and undulant in 60% of patients with subacute brucellosis.
Fever can be associated with a relative bradycardia. It is associated
with chills in almost 80% of cases. Constitutional symptoms… fatigue,
weakness, and malaise and are very common (>90% of cases). Bone and
joint symptoms include arthralgias, low back pain, spine and joint
pain, and, rarely, joint swelling. These symptoms affect as many as 55%
of patients. Neuropsychiatric symptoms are frequent despite the rare
involvement of the nervous system. Headache, depression, and fatigue
are the most frequently reported neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Gastrointestinal symptoms, present in 50% of patients, include
abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Neurologic
symptoms can include weakness, dizziness, unsteadiness of gait, and
urinary retention. Symptoms associated with cranial nerve dysfunction
may affect persons with chronic CNS involvement. Respiratory symptoms
of cough and dyspnea are present in as many as 19% of persons; however,
these symptoms are rarely associated with active pulmonary involvement.
Pau d'arco, or the inner bark of the Tabebuia avellanedae tree…
Preliminary laboratory research… is beginning to suggest that the
traditional uses may have scientific merit. Such laboratory studies
have shown that pau d'arco has pain killing, diuretic,
anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, anti-psoriatic, and anti-cancer
abilities. Taking this early data, combined with information collected
about traditional uses, herbalists may recommend pau d'arco to treat or
prevent a number of conditions, including candidiasis (a yeast
infection of the ****** or oral areas), herpes simplex virus,
influenza, parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis, bacterial
infections such as brucellosis, and inflammation of the cervix
(cervicitis) or the ****** (vaginitis). http://www.taumed.com/content/adam/browse.jsp?pid=33&cid=000268 and Taheebo tea - http://www.pau-d-arco.com/
"Quinine is derived from the bark of the chinchona tree. In the early
seventeenth century, Jesuit missionary priests in Central America were
known to chew the bark of trees as a way to distinguish between them.
The bark of the chinchona tree was noted to relieve the symptoms
(fever) of malaria, which was endemic to that area… By the 1670s, the
bark was being used throughout Europe. In the mid 1700s, the French
explorer De la Condamine identified the tree and named it quinquina
(the word comes from quina, which is Peruvian vernacular for
chinchona). In 1852, a Dutch expedition succeeded in transplanting
chinchona seeds and plants to Java in the Dutch East Indies. By the end
of that century, 90 percent of the world's supply of quinine came from
Loud shouts could be heard coming from the
Council chambers. Denethor held his temper in check, but watched as,
many times during the two-day meeting, Boromir stood and addressed
those present. Denethor’s heart fairly burst with pride. He had never
seen his eldest so animated, so ready with his reports, and so easily
at command of every rebuttal. By the end of the second day, he knew
Boromir could, if need be, take the Stewardship. A soft glow lit his
face as he left the chambers, oblivious to the chaos that surrounded
him. He wanted to share this moment, to share it with his Finduilas. As
he walked slowly back to his own rooms, he wondered if he dared take a
moment and look at the past in the stone. If he could not speak with
her, he could at least see her, perhaps when she was in the garden,
holding Faramir in her arms, with Boromir asleep in her lap. He
clenched his teeth as unimaginable pain pierced his heart. Loss mixed
with love for her and pride for Boromir assailed him. He stopped and
held the wall for a moment.
“Father?” A gentle, beloved voice pulled him from his reverie.
“Faramir? Are you allowed out of your bed?” Concern washed across his
face as the remembered moment with Faramir in Finduilas’ arms crossed
“I am. For a moment only. I wanted to be there, at the end. To see him.”
The smile that lit Faramir’s face was reflected on Denethor’s. “He did
well. Did you see the last parry with Amandil? The man never knew what
Faramir’s smile turned downward. “He only showed him the folly of
his thoughts. Boromir did not speak in anger or vindictiveness. Lord
Amandil was left his dignity.”
Denethor stood back a moment and looked at his youngest. “He has no
dignity. He only cares for his fiefdom. He has no concern for Gondor.
One day you will learn this, Faramir. That none but we, your brother,
you and I, are the only ones who care for Gondor.”
“Lord Amandil does have dignity, my father, in his own way. I did not think Boromir was unkind in his words.”
“I saw it differently.”
They walked slowly up the stairs towards Denethor’s chambers.
Just as they reached the door, it opened and Boromir stepped
forward, embracing his father. “Did you see that? Did you see how they
finally agreed with you, Father? It was incredible. I have never felt
so alive, even during a campaign. It was incredible,” he repeated, his
eyes shining with joy. “Faramir!” He embraced his brother. “Were you
there? Oh! I am sorry. I did not see you. I wanted you so much to be
there, to see all that we had practiced. It worked perfectly. They did
just as you thought.” He pulled back from the embrace. “You are
wonderful! I could not have done this without your help. They would
have never agreed, if I had presented your reports the way I wanted to.
I can see that now! Thank you.”
He held his brother again as Denethor looked on, first in bafflement
and then, in anger as understanding dawned. “Come into my chambers.
Both of you,” he shut the door behind them firmly, more firmly than he
wanted to as Boromir and Faramir looked at him in surprise. “Sit and
tell me of what you speak, my son.”
Faramir went to the sideboard and poured the wine. He brought one
to Denethor and then handed one to Boromir, sitting next to his brother
in peace. It had been a wondrous exhibition of statesmanship. Boromir
was right; everything had gone as they had planned. But the joy of the
moment was overshadowed by waves of… he know not what he felt from his
father, but he knew Denethor was disappointed in some way. What it
could be about, he could not fathom.
Just at that moment, Imrahil was shown in. Mithrandir followed.
Imrahil strode to Boromir’s side and lifted the young man into a warm
embrace. “Excellent! Truly excellent. Not only did you speak well, you
carried yourself well. I am most impressed.” He turned to Denethor.
“Well, what have you to say about these sons of yours? Are they not a
force to be reckoned with? When Boromir becomes Steward and Faramir his
Councilor, all Gondor will know they are almost as formidable as their
father. You must be proud; I know I am.”
The wizard, too, patted Boromir on the back, then turned and smiled
warmly at Faramir. “Your reports were well written, as I have said
before. They gave Boromir a strong foundation to use. Not to abuse the
Councilors but to open their eyes.” He turned towards Denethor. “To
think that the men and coin that had been promised to Faramir during
his recent journey has been doubled is a feat that was well worth the
hours we spent together devising a rebuttal to their concerns. Indeed,
as Prince Imrahil states, you must be very proud of them.” The eyes
that met his were angry and Mithrandir drew in a sharp, albeit silent
“I am proud, as I always have been, of both my sons. It has been a
tiring two days, along with the weeks before in preparation. Mayhap we
might rejoice tomorrow. If you do not mind, we can speak as we break
our fast together? At the third bell, then?”
Imrahil and Mithrandir both raised eyebrows at the coolness of the
Steward, but both nodded and made to leave. Imrahil stopped and looked
back at Faramir. "Your reports were excellent. Congratulations! And to
you also, Boromir. You held yourself well against your seniors.”
Both boys smiled as their uncle left the room. Boromir stood and
walked to the sideboard, pouring himself another glass of wine. He
looked to Denethor, but his father shook his head. Boromir turned to
Faramir. “I do not think, little brother, that you should have anymore.
In fact, I think you best get yourself back to your bed before the
healers come searching for you. Are you well? You look tired.”
“I am fine. I would not have missed that last moment for all the
tea in Harad! But I am tired. Father,” he turned towards Denethor, “by
your leave, I would retire.”
Denethor nodded, hardly acknowledging the man. He was deep in thought.
Faramir looked quizzically at Boromir, who shrugged, embraced him and shooed him out the door.
Sitting back on the settle with a fresh glass of wine, he waited.
He was familiar with this mood that was upon his father, but could not
surmise the why of it. All had gone as they had planned. "The
Councilors saw the incontestable logic of what we presented. They had
no choice but to accept. Is this not what you wanted accomplished?”
“It is. It is. I am tired, Boromir. The festival is tomorrow and I
would spend some time tonight in peace and rest. If you do not mind, I
will see you on the morrow.”
Boromir emptied his glass, watching his father over the rim. At
last, he stood and embraced him. “Rest then, Father. If you need me…
well, I will see you at the third bell.” He stepped away from the
unreturned embrace, turned and left the room.
Denethor could see his son’s shoulders slump, and he wanted to say
something; however, the feeling of betrayal sat in his stomach and made
him nauseous. He waited until Boromir left, then turned and walked to
Finduilas’ garden. Despite the early autumn heat, he pulled his cloak
tightly about him. A shiver ran through him as tears fell.
He saw before him another meeting in the very study he had just left,
the study that had been his own father’s, Ecthelion’s, before he died.
There stood his father, Thorongil, Adrahil, and Mithrandir. All talking
animatedly about a Council just adjourned. He stood in the background,
as was his want when these men met. He felt a third thumb. They did not
include him in their excited talk of the victory they had just won.
They had not listened when he had addressed them before the meeting,
airing his concerns about the proposal. Now, they did not even
acknowledge his presence. He bit his lip and walked quietly away. None
He held his sides, weeping in disbelief. The same had now happened.
His own sons had aligned with the wizard against him. Nay, he shook his
head. It is not the same. My sons love me, unlike my father. They would
not betray me nor collude with the enemy. They did what they felt they
needed to do to attain his goals. He kept telling himself that, over
and over, until his head ached, but his heart only felt the pain of
that meeting so very long ago.
At that time, he had had Finduilas to turn to for succor and support.
He needed her so desperately. Though she was now gone from him these
past thirty years, the pain of her absence still ran through his veins.
He left the garden and strode towards the upper room.
Húrin stepped into his path. “I am sorry to disturb you at this late
hour, my Lord Denethor,” the Warden of the Keys began, “but Lord
Amandil has taken ill. Siriondil requests your presence in the
Denethor’s lips pursed. Eventually, he nodded. “Take me there.”
As they walked, Húrin’s enthusiasm flared. “I have never seen
Boromir so animated. His thrusts and parries against all naysayers were
astounding. Did you grill him beforehand? You must have! Very good
idea. You must be proud. I, as a member of the House of Húrin, am!”
Denethor grumbled and Húrin knew better than to speak again. They
reached the quarters assigned to Lord Amandil and the guard opened the
Siriondil met them as they moved towards the sick man’s room. “I am not
quite certain of what the matter might be. He does not seem as ill as
he says he is. Mayhap something he ate tonight? I am baffled. In fact,
I might even say he was…” the healer blushed, “faking an illness.”
Denethor’s brow raised and a small smile touched the corners of his
mouth. “Faking? Well, I will let you know. Stay here and I will see him
alone.” He strode into the room and sat on a chair next to the bed.
Amandil made as if to rise, but Denethor motioned for him to remain
still. The obvious show of weakness was not lost upon the Steward.
However, he bowed his head. “I am most distressed to hear of this
sudden illness, Lord Amandil. You looked well enough at the Council
meeting. My Master Healer thinks you are quite ill though. If there is
aught I can do for you?”
“My Lord Denethor. It does my heart good to see you here. I cannot
tell you how much I appreciate your concern. It is only a little
thing,” he coughed gently. “I am getting on in years, you know. The
trip was long, perhaps more tiring than I had thought. Another week or
maybe even a fortnight of your hospitality should help.” Another gentle
The man closed his eyes and missed the smirk on Denethor’s face. “A
fortnight at least, my Lord Amandil. And your granddaughter and niece
will stay also. Nay!” he put up his hand to stay the protest. “I cannot
let them travel home alone. Without you as their escort and chaperone.
It would be unseemly.”
“I had not thought of that, but I see you speak wisely, as always,” the man acquiesced.
“Then it will be done. You will remain here in Minas Tirith along
with your young charges for the next fortnight at least. It is a shame,
however, that Boromir will not be available to show the women our fair
City. He is due to leave tomorrow for an inspection of Osgiliath. Ah!
How I wish I had known earlier that you would be staying; I would have
arranged his schedule differently.”
The old lord’s obvious disappointment tickled Denethor, but none
looking at the sorrow on the Steward’s face would ever know it. “If you
would permit my Warden, Húrin, to accompany the women during your
Amandil closed his eyes in consternation. “As you wish it, my Lord
Steward. However, I am beginning to feel better. The teas your
wonderful healer gave me seem to be dispelling the illness. I think we
will leave in the morning after all.”
Denethor had to clench every sinew in his body not to burst forth
in laughter. At last, feigning distress at Amandil’s decision, he bowed
and left the man. He waved to Siriondil and, without a word, left the
old lord’s chambers. Once outside, he strode rapidly to the parapet and
leaned upon it. Tears filled his eyes and a great shout exploded from
Húrin, who had run after him in concern, stepped forward. “My Lord
Steward. Is the news that dire? Is Lord Amandil near death?” Again
another shout ripped from Denethor. His shoulders began to shake as the
laughter finally found an escape. Húrin misunderstood. “Oh, Denethor. I
did not know you were so close to Amandil. He is dying then?” He sat on
a nearby marble bench and bent his head in sorrow.
“Nay,” Denethor gasped between silent laughter. “He is well and a
curmudgeon. He thought to trick me into giving Boromir to one of his
family. He feigned illness! I am still astounded at his effrontery!” He
sat next to his Warden. “When I was young, I do not know if you
remember, he wanted me to marry his daughter. His political needs have
yet to be fulfilled. He is well, Húrin, and will be returning to
Pelargir with his whole entourage tomorrow. But thank you for your
kindness towards him. You are too good.”
Húrin lifted his head. “I am not. My only concern was for you, Denethor. I love you as a son.”
Denethor stared at the man. True, Húrin was older than he was, and
related, but he had never felt anything towards the man, except respect
for his knowledge of Gondor and its needs. “Thank you, Húrin. I will
remember that. I thought I was tired before; now, I am exhausted. I
will see you at the third bell.”
Húrin nodded as the Steward left. He sat back, sadness still filling his eyes. ‘He looks older than I do.’
“Nay.” Boromir’s tone was quiet, hurt, angry, frustrated; he felt defeated.
“Whether you agree or no,” Denethor whispered, “it cannot be helped.”
“When will you tell him? When will he leave?”
“He is on his way here now. His assignment begins tomorrow. I waited until you returned from Osgiliath.”
Boromir took in a deep breath. “I do not want to be here when you tell
him. I will leave you alone. He should learn it without my doubt
filling the air.”
“I would that you would stay. Fight your doubt. Be strong for him.”
Boromir shivered and it broke Denethor’s heart. “I have never been strong when you send him… He is still a boy, in my eyes.”
“As you both are in mine. Yet, it cannot be helped. What am I to do,
Boromir? It is the way of a father. Encourage his sons, teach them
everything he can and then… send them out.” He shivered himself.
“We will all die, will we not?”
“All men die, Boromir.”
“You said he would die if given the captaincy of Osgiliath. Yet, he did not.”
“He never took the captaincy, as you well know.”
“There was the ambush in Ithilien, Dol Amroth, and then the fever… he still lives.”
“Are you listing how many times he has been saved? The odds makers would not look kindly at such a wager.”
“I myself should not be alive, if one looks at odds, Boromir. Why are
you so distraught? He is well trained. You had a hand in that, not only
with the lessons you gave him, but also with choosing the best masters
in each discipline. He is second only to you. I can no longer best
either of you.”
“He was to be my Councilor, not my Captain-General. Mithrandir says
that if you have a great jewel, you should guard it with your life.”
“I have met with him. And with Faramir. He is looking for something in
the library. Spends most of his time there.” Boromir looked up in
surprise. “Do not change the subject, Father. I am not one of your
lackeys, witless to your wiles.”
Denethor’s eyes blazed. “You are my Captain-General. This order has
been expected. In fact,” and Denethor paused for a moment, “you will
give the order. It is only fitting.”
Boromir stood and roared. “Now you give me leave to order the men
about! Now you deem me the commander of your armies! Now you… Ever have
I asked for the full authority of my station and ever have you denied
me.” His hand clenched upon his sword’s hilt. “I will give the command.
I will give the promotion to Faramir. I will watch as he rides to what
will likely be the place of his death, but you will not have me command
him any further than that. I swear by the Valar, I will not send him to
his death. I will send Damrod and Mablung with him to shadow him,
whether he likes it or no. I am the one who will die, if one of us
must; I will not let Faramir die.” He saluted Denethor and left the
Faramir was just coming up the steps. Boromir took his arm and led him
away. The younger man saw the rage in his brother’s eyes and stilled
any questions. They would be answered in due time.
Boromir walked to the stables and ordered two horses saddled. He sent a
boy to the kitchens; by the time the horses were ready, a pack filled
with food was brought to him. He hitched it to the back of his stallion
and jumped on. Silently he nodded and Faramir mounted the second horse.
Slowly, they made their way to the First Level. At the Great Gate, the
last password was given and Boromir spurred his horse into a gallop
before the gate was fully opened. Faramir shook his head and followed,
trying to catch up to the fury that rode ahead of him.
They rode hard for a quarter of an hour, then Boromir pulled back on
his reins and slowed the horse. Faramir waited, hoping that whatever
had caused this flight from their father would be explained. But no
such explanation was at hand. At least, not yet. Boromir indeed slowed
his horse to a walk, but he refused to answer any of Faramir’s
Faramir saw Boromir’s shoulders square and realized that his brother
had come to the end of a long and difficult battle within himself. A
small sad smile crossed his face. He loved his brother beyond any
thought or reason, but knew him too well. Either another marriage was
in the offing, probably to one of Lord Amandil’s kin, or Faramir was to
be stationed… A quick sudden shudder racked his body. It was about him!
He was going to be stationed somewhere and Boromir was afraid for him.
For a moment he wondered. Osgiliath? Nay, that had already been
discussed and Boromir had not reacted this violently to such a posting.
Henneth-Annûn. So he was being sent to the secret fortress in Ithilien.
He pulled his horse up. He would not let Boromir suffer needlessly.
His brother turned in surprise when he realized Faramir was not riding next to him. “I did not order a halt.”
His voice was taut and gruff, as if he had been… Faramir shook his
head. “It is useless, Boromir. I know what father wants of me. Let us
sit and spend some time together. It may be the last for a long time. I
do not want my last moments with you spent looking at your back.”
Boromir lowered his head in defeat. “Ride just a little further. There
is a stream nearby. I thought we might share our meal there. Once, we
fished there, just you and I.”
Faramir could see that Boromir was miserable. He rode with him for
another quarter hour and then turned off the road as Boromir led them
to a stream. He smiled as he recalled where they were. “I think this is
the stream I fell into when we fished it,” he chuckled quietly.
“The same one.”
Faramir shrugged at the non-committal reply. “What have you got for
us?” he asked once he dismounted. Boromir handed him the pack. Faramir
pursed his lips. So, his brother was going to be tight-lipped still. He
rummaged through the victuals and found two honeyed biscuits. He broke
one in half and popped it in his mouth.
“That was dessert,” Boromir stated dryly.
“It matters not if I eat it first or last. It still tastes good.”
A chuckle escaped.
Faramir smiled. Good! If anyone knew how to make Boromir laugh, he
could. “I refuse to fall into the water again, just to give you a
Boromir merely sat by the stream’s edge. He shook his head in dismay. “There is no time for laughter today, little brother.”
“I think that is the problem.”
“What?” Boromir asked in consternation.
“You continue to call me little brother and yet we are the same height,
though you might be broader by a tad. I think you should call me
Faramir from now on.”
Sorrow engulfed Boromir and he hung his head. “You will always be my
little brother. It has nothing to do with size.” The elder brother held
his chin in his hands, his elbows dug into his knees.
“Boromir, do you have such little faith in me?”
At that, his older brother looked up. “It is Orcs I have faith in.
Shall I tell you of the last battles I saw? Shall… Never mind. You have
seen the same.”
“I will make you a promise, big brother.” Faramir smiled and changed his tactics. “When we fish, how often do we catch one?”
Boromir smiled. “Not as often as I would wish. You best me most times.”
“We can fish whole days and never catch one. I will be like those fish,
Boromir, I promise. I will watch and not take the bait offered. I will
hide in eddies and pools, hide in their shadows so none can find me. I
will listen to the voice that you have put within me and focus on where
I am and what I am about. I will not fail you.”
“Oh, Faramir! It has naught to do with failure. Do we speak of a dead
warrior as having failed because he is dead? Nay. I would not think
such of you. I need you. It is as simple as that. I need your
friendship and your love and your support. I need to know there is
someone who waits for me and hopes I will return.”
Boromir shivered. “There are times… Father has succumbed to Gondor. I think he only loves her.”
“He loves you.”
“Because I can protect Gondor, at least for the nonce.”
“That is not the only reason, Boromir.”
“It is because I am a great warrior who will take over the Stewardship when he dies. The one who, he hopes, will save Gondor.”
Faramir was silent. “I will help you, Boromir. I will keep the enemy
harried in Ithilien. They will be so busy fighting my Rangers and me,
they will not have time to put a plan into action, nor listen to - ”
“Say it not, Faramir! Father says the Enemy sees more than we will ever know. I think it best not to challenge him.”
“I will not, Boromir. But I will not make it easy for him. Let us vow
to meet once a month, if possible. Perhaps at Osgiliath? What think you
“A fair plan, if father does not put obstacles before us. The last day of Hísimë?”
“A good date. I will see you in Osgiliath then. And I expect a bottle of one of father’s choicest wines.”
Boromir laughed. “It will be done.”
A/N - Hísimë would run between 22 October and 20 November.http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/h/hisime.html