Format: short story
Characters: Aragorn, Faramir
Creators notes: Some descriptions are taken directly from Tolkien.
Summary: Faramir feels uncomfortable at taking his father's seat.
Faramir took a deep breath as he entered the great hall. Maybe if he tried this in small steps it would be easier for him to do as he must. The statues of long-dead kings seemed to glare at him as he passed them. His eyes fixed on the high throne, perched upon a dais of many steps under a canopy of marble shaped like a crowned helm; behind it was carved upon the wall and set with gems an image the White Tree in flower. All his life, that throne had stood empty, from henceforth a man worthy to be King would occupy it.
Faramir had not come here to gaze at the great throne, though, joyful though he was that the rightful King had returned. Reluctantly, he looked away from the throne and towards the empty unadorned stone chair on the lowest step of the dais. The Steward's chair, his father's chair and now his. There he must sit while the Council was in session or when the King held audiences.
He had always been forbidden to sit on either chair, even in play when a small child. Their father had warned him and Boromir that they would face the full weight of his wrath if they did. He smiled at the memory of his brother climbing on the throne once when they had briefly been alone in the empty hall. Boromir had wanted him to take the Steward's seat so that they could play at being King and Steward, he had feared to do so in case their father found out. Boromir was insisting that he did, but just then they had heard their nanny calling them. Boromir had leaped down from the throne just in time.
Tomorrow, though there was no escaping sitting on the Steward's chair when the King pronounced his judgements. Just looking at it, make him shudder as he could see his father sitting there, brandishing the White Rod, the Rod that he would break at the end. Faramir had found another White Rod in the Archives, but there was no other chair he could use.
Bile rising in his throat, he forced himself to approach the Steward's Chair. He must sit upon it today, as surely to do so would make it easier upon the morrow? What would the people think if he took his seat with other than a smile and utterly calm composure? He would not have the citizens believe his support for the man who had saved his life and his rightful liege lord was other than wholehearted and sincere.
Taking a deep breath, Faramir sat in the chair. His heart was pounding and he felt nauseous but he was sitting on it. It did not help that It was one of the most uncomfortable chairs on which he had ever sat, worse even than the chair in his father's study.
“I see you feel the need to practise too.”
Started, Faramir leapt out of the chair as the King approached, wearing his flowing mantle of office. He bowed low.”My lord!”
“My apologies if I startled you, Faramir. I have no desire to fall flat on my face upon the morrow when I mount the steps to the high throne”
“Indeed, not, my lord.”
“It seemed sensible I should practise mounting the steps wearing a flowing cloak.” Aragorn grinned at Faramir.
“Indeed, my lord.”
Aragorn studied the throne carefully and then the Steward's seat. “Your chair looks most uncomfortable,” he said.
“I have endured worse, sire.”
“I feel these arrangements are no longer practical,” said Aragorn. “Maybe they worked well a thousand years ago, but now, well it gives me a stiff neck even to look at the throne! How would supplicants feel when they came before me?”
“Filled with awe, I would imagine, my lord.”
Aragorn nimbly navigated the steps to the throne and sat down upon it. He gazed down at Faramir. “Could you sit in the Steward's seat?” he asked.
Faramir did as he was bidden. Somehow, this time felt far easier.
“No, this will not do at all,” said Aragorn.
“My lord?” Faramir's heart began to pound again, anxious he had displeased the King.
“What if I need to ask for your counsel when I sit in judgement?” said Aragorn. “I can hardly shout down to you about what may be a confidential matter! And what if Gondor should have a Queen? Where would she sit? No, I shall ask a carpenter to fashion a throne and a chair which will sit on the first step of the dais. They will be upholstered in velvet and cushioned and adorned with the Royal emblems. I only intend to use the high throne on state occasions. I wish to be a King whom my subjects feel they can approach without fear, not so high and mighty that I am apart from my people. I desire respect but not fear. What do you think, Faramir?”
Faramir craned his neck to look up at the King, but Aragorn was already descending the steps. “An excellent, suggestion, my lord.”
“I shall send for a carpenter today. We may be destined to fill these empty chairs and follow in the steps of our forefathers, but this is a new age which requires new chairs!” He smiled at Faramir. The young Steward smiled back. It seemed that being Aragorn's Steward would be less daunting than he had thought.
Several Months Later
In answer to the King's summons, Faramir made his way to the Great Hall. He was curious what his Lord desired. So far, Aragorn had proved a fair and kindly lord, but after so many years of facing his Father's displeasure, he still felt a knot in his stomach when summoned.
To his surprise, the Queen was also going the same way. She was smiling as she greeted him, “Good day, Lord Faramir. I wonder what manner of surprise Estel had planned for us?”
Faramir bowed low. He was greatly in awe of the Elven Queen. Her grace and beauty were beyond compare. He wondered fleetingly what it would be like wed to such perfection and was glad he would never know. His beloved Éowyn was far better suited to him.
The King was waiting for them at the entrance to the Hall. He was beaming. “Come,” he said. “I have something to show you both.” He led them both inside.
On the lowest step of the dais stood three magnificent wooden chairs. They were thickly upholstered in black velvet. and two were in the shape of thrones with very high backs. The same jewelled design of the White Tree as on the High Throne was embroidered upon the backs of the thrones with carven crowns atop the embroidery.
The third chair was less ornate but no less beautiful. The back was lower but bore the same design of the White Tree in gleaming silver thread.
Faramir gazed in wonder then his gaze moved to the old throne and Steward's chair. Both now had a cushion of black velvet embroidered in silver.
Aragorn sat on one of the thrones and gestured to his Queen and Steward to sit either side of him. Faramir sat and discovered the chair was very comfortable. “It is most fair!” he exclaimed. “Thank you, my lord.”
“A wonderful surprise, Estel,” said Arwen, leaning across to kiss her husband on the cheek.
“How could I sit on the High Throne without my Lady and my Advisor beside me?” said Aragorn. “Did the Kings of old not have Queens? And I wonder how many of them met a premature end falling down those steps?”
“I am not certain, my lord,” said Faramir.
“I shall use the High Throne when the occasion demands it, but most of the time we shall sit here where the people can approach us without fear not to mention stiff necks.” He smiled at his wife and Steward.
Faramir smiled back. The new throne felt like the King himself, majestic yet warm and welcoming.