Author: Linda Hoyland
Characters/Pairing: Faramir, Denethor
Book/Source: LOTR book-verse
Disclaimer – Middle-earth belongs to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
With Thanks To Raksha
Faramir sighed deeply. He looked out of the window. It was still raining, so not a good day for sword or archery practise, nor for riding for pleasure. The council meeting was not until this afternoon, and he would not be joining Éowyn in Ithilien until the morrow. He had no excuse to delay any longer looking through the trunk containing his father’s private papers, which had been languishing in the bottom of a cupboard for more time than he cared to recall. Faramir would have been happy to leave it there, but kept wondering if it contained any information that ought to be given to his new lord.
He lifted out the trunk and placed it in on the hearthrug, then kneeling beside it, slid the key into the lock. It opened with some difficulty as if loth to reveal its secrets.
Faramir lifted out a sheaf of yellowing scrolls and glanced at them. They mostly concerned official decrees. He placed them to one side to give to the King.
Beneath the scrolls lay a bundle of letters tied with a red ribbon. Faramir opened the one on the top of the pile. It was in his mother’s hand, written from Dol Amroth during a visit Faramir vaguely recalled and telling her husband that she missed him. Faramir replaced it. He would read the letters one day, but not yet. He only wished that he could recall more about Finduilas.
At the bottom of the trunk, hidden under the other papers lay a bound calfskin volume. Curiously, Faramir opened it and was surprised it appeared to be a journal written in Quenya, no doubt to make it hard to decipher. The Steward was fluent in the ancient language and it posed no difficulties for him.
The journal began the year Denethor became Steward and the early entries seemed mostly concerned with matters of government. A line caught Faramir’s attention and made him shudder. ”I have decided to use the Seeing Stone. It would be foolish not to take advantage of such a powerful tool. My father claimed it was too dangerous, but I have the strength to master it. I need to know what is happening within my realm and see that Thorongil does not return without my knowledge.”
Faramir turned over more pages, scanning them quickly. There was a gap in the entries around the time his mother died. Then they resumed in greater detail. His own name caught his eye. ”Boromir grows taller by the day and continues to delight me. His sword master is delighted with his progress and says he will make a fine warrior. Young Faramir is a different matter. His tutor tells me he is a fine scholar, but shows little interest in the sword. Gondor needs soldiers not scholars in these troubled times and my sons should be a good example to others.”
Faramir turned more leaves, looking for familiar names. ”Mithrandir is here again and my younger son follows him around like a lap dog hanging on to his every word. I fear he will fill the boy’s head with gilded tales of the kings of old. I would not have a son of mine be a Wizard’s pupil!”
The young Steward took a deep breath. Mithrandir was a great and wise man. Why had their friendship troubled his father so much?
The next entry provided the answer. ”Mithrandir has gone at last, praise the Valar! Faramir is upset and keeps asking when will he return? If the boy wants a lore- master to consult, why does he not choose his own father?”
Faramir thought sadly that the answer should have been all too plain. His father had often been to busy to discuss lore with him, and angered if his opinion differed from Denethor’s on the rare occasions they did speak of legends and traditions. Faramir could still recall the way Boromir’s eyes glazed when father and son would debate the origins of the line of Nimloth. Denethor would glance sternly at Faramir and the conversation would swiftly and suddenly turn to Hyarmendacil's victories over the Haradrim or some other feat of arms that interested Boromir.
Faramir perused more pages full of details of government and praise for his brother. Then another entry caught his eye.
“My youngest continues to disturb me, as I see myself reflected in him. He has the power to see into men’s hearts. Alas, that he wastes this gift through the mawkish pity that renders him too slow to strike with the knowledge he has gained. The people love him, though, more than they love me. He reminds me all too much of that scoundrel Thorongil!”
Faramir continued to read, both dreading and desiring to see if any clue might be found to his father’s final dreadful act.
“The enemy are at the gate. The only son left to me is dying. Better we should perish together than be sport for Sauron’s creatures. I have heard too that Thorongil is on his way. I would not be his dotard chamberlain and my son his slave! Let the fire cleanse all and ...” The writing had became scarcely legible and the last few words were indecipherable.
Faramir snapped the book shut with a shudder. He had read enough for one day. At last he understood much of his father’s coldness towards him, but the knowledge brought him no peace, only pity. His father had known so much and yet understood so little.