Lorien – February 3019
It warmed my heart to receive your note, though the enclosed campaign pin – “Faramir for Steward” did give me pause. Don’t be getting cocky there, just because I’m not around. I WILL be back, and then I’ll pop you back down into your rightful place. Until then, have your fun, but remember who has precedence here, “little” brother…
Congratulations on your promotion, CAPTAIN Faramir. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? And ladies love a title, you know; not that we stewards have ever had any problem in that area (wink, wink).
So Dad is sending you to Ithilien! At least its good hunting there, and plenty of cover for guerilla raids on the enemy. No need to be seen unless you wish to be; a good start for a promising leader.
You write that Dad has stopped drinking but is still a bit “off” – I hate to tell you this, but he’s been “off” for a long time. You were in school and did not see, but he’s been losing it for a while. And then you mention that he has begun messing about with “spiritual aids.” I thought boilermakers were his spiritual aid, but whatever. I hope you were kidding about the whole “crystal ball” thing – that’s all we need. A reformed alcoholic who now spends his time talking to the other side in a conjuror’s tool. Next you’ll be telling me he’s started his own 900 line. I can hear the radio spots now “ Dial Denethor Direct!” Good god. Maybe your campaign for steward is not as ill-conceived as I had previously thought…
To bring you up to date, we are still in Lorien at this point, but will be leaving on the morrow. I will be glad to leave here, Faramir. I can feel her everywhere, the elf queen, probing, digging, and it makes me nervous. I have no reason to fear her, yet I find myself cloaking my mind, thinking of anything else but Gondor and this quest…still, she is there and I cannot discern her purpose.
After the events in Moria, Aragorn took up the mantle of leadership and led us on to Lothlorien, the Golden Wood, home of Galadriel and Celeborn, elf lords of great wisdom and power. At least that’s what the billboard on their border said. I personally haven’t seen Celeborn do anything amazing, but as you know, I am a skeptic and elves have never overly impressed me. We entered the wood with all stealth; even the hobbits were quiet as the proverbial mice, and all that could be heard was the grumbling of Gimli, who having been robbed of his family reunion in Moria, was bristling at the thought of spending time in yet another elf kingdom. Can’t say as I blame him. His boasting of his visual and aural acuity was brought to an abrupt halt by an arrow tickling his cheek, while another laid claim to his midsection. We were surrounded. Armed elves seemed to appear out of the very trees themselves and regard us with a mixture of suspicion and pity.
Their leader was a Legolas look-alike named Haldir. He is apparently the head of the defense forces of Lorien, as he did all the talking. I couldn’t tell if the company was co-ed or all male. It’s so hard to tell with elves. He was at first reluctant to let us in, but after some fast talking by Aragorn, he threw up his hands and decided to let the big wigs deal with us.
We walked through the woods and up several staircases that wound up and around enormous trees. (I’ll tell you, this journey is the best workout program I’ve ever had – talk about a thighmaster!) The trees were lit with silver and gold lights. I had thought nothing could be fairer than Rivendell, but this realm truly seems to be a heaven on earth.
When it seemed we could go no further without ascending into the stars themselves, we found ourselves on a platform, from which a set of gleaming white steps ascended. Elves stood guard on both sides of the stairwell. The lights grew brighter, suddenly, as two shining figures ascended, the Lord Celeborn, awash in silver, and the Lady Galadriel, a vision in gold. At the bottom of the stair, they stopped and studied us, each in turn. The Lady had piercing sky-blue eyes that seemed to sear my very soul, Faramir. I could hear her voice in my mind, speaking of the fall of Gondor and my place in our kingdom. She spoke of hope, brother, where we have for so long had none. Tears filled my eyes, for I could not feel even a shred of the hope she proclaimed. I was forced to look away.
I do not know what she saw in the other’s thoughts, but I found myself greatly relieved when we were led away to quarters where we could find rest and sustenance. We were assigned a communal area with various private corners for bedding. Legolas was excited to be among his own kind again, and near running water; he immediately dug in his pack for shampoo and conditioner and headed off to the nearest waterfall, where I soon heard a clear voice belting out a tune from “South Pacific.” Gimli shocked us all by harmonizing along under his breath…until Merry, pleased at the thought of a sing-along, requested “Big Spender” and Gimli, embarrassed at having been caught out, lumbered away, muttering something about golden hares. The others all followed Legolas’s example and soon a veritable pool party was going on just over the hill. The smell of freshly cooked food drew me there as well (Sam presided over the grill, in tall white toque and apron) and soon the fellowship forgot its troubles as it ate, drank and engaged in a rousing water-polo match. I stayed for a bit, until Haldir started a congo line; as I was not nearly drunk enough to join that, I left.
To sober up, I wandered a bit and her voice was everywhere in my mind. I finally found a place to sit and let despair wash over me. I didn’t even hear Aragorn’s footsteps behind me, until a voice beside my ear advised me to take some rest, as we were in no danger here. Aragorn sat down beside me, his drink still in hand. Whiskey, neat. Blast. Another reason to like the man. “I will find no rest here,” I told him. His sympathetic silence was somehow comforting, and I proceeded to speak to him of what the Lady had said. He listened without comment, and I wondered if he could truly understand what it is like to have a city that is yours, that is in your blood. As though he too could hear my thoughts, he clapped a hand to my shoulder, then rose and walked away, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
The party was winding down when he returned. I could hear Pippin and Merry roaring a hobbit drinking song and slurring the words, much to the amusement of the elves. He sat down beside me once again, and in his hands he held the freshly washed brandy snifters, filled with an auburn liquid. He pressed one into my hand and nodded. “Skoal!” he said and drank. Cheered, I followed suit. Good stuff, very good stuff. Boy, the dwarves know how to live. I mean, knew.
Finally all fell to rest, the hobbits snoring where they had dropped. Gimli too was snoring, having overcome his shyness sufficiently to partake of the festivities. His axe throwing had earned him many admirers, though some had flinched when he had deftly sliced a mango placed atop Celeborn’s head. The praise of the Lady had warmed his soul, and he had been quite merry for the rest of the night. A freshly washed and deep-conditioned Legolas had initiated a river-dancing contest which drew quite a crowd, but had lost in the final round to Haldir, who had donned his dancing shoes this night with a vengeance. Legolas was gracious in defeat, though he privately avowed to me his plan to slip some Nair into Haldir’s Salon Selectives just before we departed. Never trust an elf who smiles in the face of a loss in a dance contest.
I could not sleep, and so set out walking so as not to wake the others – though I doubted much less than an explosion would have roused them at that point. I searched out Aragorn to see if he’d like to accompany me, but found him dreamily enmeshed in a letter from Arwen – at least, I think it was from Arwen. The paper was pink, bedecked with scrolling, and a faint scent wafted from between the pages. Aragorn looked up as I approached and in his haste to hide such unmanly things as love letters, I spied the worn envelope bedecked with a Hello Kitty wax seal. I left him with his dignity intact and spent my night mostly in wandering. I got in on a quick game of craps with some of the Galadrhim guard, but the shame of having to write IOUs prevented me from partaking in more games. Have you spoken to Dad regarding a pay raise yet? If not, just remember this – once Denethor sent me to Ithilien, all allowance STOPPED. It was only battle pay from there on in, and sonny, it ain’t much. So, before you go, put in a good word for all the soldiers- of which you are now one- and see if he’ll pry open a coffer or two for us, okay? Good guy.
So here we are, once again taking our leave of an elf kingdom. It is a sobering thought indeed to realize that if we fail, that this place, this world, will be covered in darkness. It is enough to make one seek out more brandy; maybe Aragorn will be up to having a jolt with me before we leave. We will be traveling by boat, the better to make speed. I do not like this plan, as it seems to leave us all the more open to attack – sitting ducks, as it were. But as I am often reminded, I am not in charge here.
Aa’ menle nauva calen ar’ta hwesta e’ ale’quenle. Quel fara, Nikerym Faramir.
Your loving Brother