Lord of the Rings
Character: Aragorn, Faramir
Aragorn and Faramir are troubled by past memories.
A revised version of a story I posted here a year ago.
B2MeM Prompt:I25 Blind Guardian Lyrics- This deed can't be undone. Colour Burst 5- Blue – Robin eggs. Apothecary's Garden. Sleeplessness/ Valerian. Person vs Nature-Your character gets filthy or muddy.Setting as Character- The City.
Format: short story
Genre ; angst,h/c, friendship
Summary: Aragorn and Faramir are haunted by the past.
Faramir rubbed his eyes while trying to stifle a yawn.
“Did you not sleep well last night, my friend?” Aragorn asked.
Faramir sighed and nodded. “No matter, though, I shall finish this report.” The Steward dipped his quill into the ink and resumed writing.
“The report can wait,” said Aragorn. He put down his own quill. The two often worked together in Aragorn's study. They enjoyed each other's company and it was easier to discuss their work. “Would you like me to prepare you a tincture of Valerian to help you sleep tonight?”
“Thank you,” said Faramir. “That might help me rest peacefully. I struggle not to rouse Éowyn when I toss and turn.”
“Does something trouble you, ion nîn?” asked Aragorn. He tended to address Faramir thus when he was concerned about him.”You have a haunted look about you.”
Faramir put down his own quill. “You know that I play chess with Ambassador Tahir each week when we are both in the City?”
Aragorn nodded. “It gladdens my heart you two are good friends. The Ambassador is an honourable man.”
“He has become a dear friend to me,” said the Steward. “It is just...” His voice trailed away.
“You are are weary of chess or find him a poor opponent?” Aragorn sounded somewhat incredulous.
“Not at all,I enjoy our games as we are evenly matched. It was just that sometimes when I look at him
the memories come to me of how many men of Harad I have killed with sword and bow. They were our enemies seeking to destroy us, but I wonder how many might have been good men like Tahir who simply fought because they were forced too or they believed we were evil and seeking to destroy them.”
“Tahir might well be thinking the same thing during your chess games or when we all dine together,” said Aragorn. “A soldier's lot is a hard one. The deed cannot be undone when we slay an enemy.”
“I killed only to protect my City and my homeland, yet still it haunts me,” said Faramir.”I tried to fight cleanly in battle and to judge fairly if I found any wanderers in Ithilien. I let many I deemed innocent go despite my father's decree or sent them to him to pronounce judgement.”
“You helped save us all with your sound judgement in letting Frodo and Sam go on their way with the Ring.” The King squeezed Faramir's shoulder. “It was an act that took great courage as you brought your father's wrath down on yourself.”
“Did I always act fairly and wisely though?” Faramir mused. “How many decent men met their ends at my hand?”
“That question often robs me of sleep too,” said Aragorn.
“It does? You surprise me.”
“It should not do. You know me well enough to realise I wish our neighbours would remain at peace with us.”
“I know that full well but assumed after so many years of fighting it would have become easier for you to rest easy at night.”
“I must have slain many more than you over my long life. Orcs I give no thought to, but for every man I slew, I wished it could have been otherwise. I used to tell my men it was a good battle if it ended with few casualties on either side.”
“Legolas told me that you tried to persuade the men amongst the enemy to flee and save their lives at the Battle of the Hornberg,” said Faramir.
“I did, but alas they did not listen,” said the King. “I would much rather heal than kill, but in battle, you kill or be killed. Only once did the red mist of battle fury come upon me when a Haradrim Captain slew my kinsman. In that moment, I would gladly have wiped the Haradrim from the face of Arda, even though I knew even then that there were good men amongst them. I always tried never to kill an innocent, but the Valar alone know if I succeeded. All of us had little choice but to fight against Sauron's evil or it would have destroyed everything good that we hold dear. Each soldier pays a heavy price,though, however just the cause they fight for,though. I used to warn my men each death would sear their souls and if ever a day came when it did not was when they should have cause to worry. I am trying to teach Eldarion that war is never glorious. I hope with all my heart my son will never have to lift a sword in anger.”
“As do I,” said Faramir.
“Now we must build rather than destroy and heal rather than kill,” said Aragorn.
Both men lapsed into silence lost in dark thoughts of the past. The very air in the room felt heavy. At last Aragorn said, “I fear we will get little work done today. We need fresh air and exercise. Would you care to spar with me?”
“I would,” said Faramir. “I can enjoy using a sword for swordplay rather than killing.”
The two fetched their swords, donned leather armour and went out on to the practise ground. It was deserted and rather muddy after a recent heavy shower. It had stopped raining but the sky was still grey and overcast.
They drew their swords. “On guard!” cried Aragorn.
They began sparring engaging in what in different circumstances would have been a deadly dance of thrust, lunge and parry. Aragorn was vastly more experienced, but Faramir was an excellent swordsman too and neither dropped their guard for an instant. Soon both men were lost in the intensity of the match and sweat trickled down their faces.
Faramir took a step backwards to parry a stroke from Aragorn and the heel of his boot caught in the mud and he went flying. The King was caught off balance as his blade missed Faramir's steel and he too stumbled and tumbled over backwards.
For a moment he lay there winded then caught sight of Faramir scrambling to his feet, the Steward's face and clothing covered in mud. The Steward strode forward and held out a hand to Aragorn. “Are you hurt?” he asked.
“No, just slightly winded. And you?”
“But just look at you!”
“And at you!”
The two burst out laughing simultaneously at the unsightly spectacle they presented. They laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks.
“We had better bathe before our wives catch us looking like this,” said Aragorn when his mirth finally subsided.
As they walked back across the Court of the Fountain, the sun came out from behind a cloud. The white stone sparkled in the sunlight the tower of Ecthelion glistening like a column of pearl and silver, the royal banner fluttering high above in the breeze. Beneath their feet, the white marble pavements gleamed.
“The City looks most fair today,” said Faramir. “The Valar be praised we successfully defended her from Sauron's evil.”
As they passed the White Tree, they lingered beside it as was their custom. A robin flew out of the tree. Aragorn moved nearer to it and beheld a robin's nest filled with a cluster of eggs. He turned to Faramir and smiled. “Look a robin's nest! In the North that portends good fortune. I shall order the Guards to ensure neither man nor beast disturb it.”
“The robins have chosen a good place to nest as the tree is guarded night and day,” said Faramir. “I look forward to seeing the chicks hatch.”
The two made their way back inside. On the topmost branch of the White Tree, the robin sang.
A/n written for the 2019 BTMEM challenge.