A clear call that may not be denied - John Masefield
The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.
With grateful thanks to Raksha and Virtuella.
Faramir slept well, lulled by the song of the waves beneath the open window. He rose early and dressed swiftly and silently, so as not to disturb the King. The sea beckoned him with its irresistible call to take an early morning walk along the shore.
Since childhood, Faramir had always loved the early mornings at Dol Amroth when none save the gulls were there to keep him company as he walked along the beach, barefoot and singing softly to himself. It had been too long since he had visited his uncle, Faramir thought. Sadly they had been estranged for a while after Faramir’s pretended treachery until the Queen's intervention had reconciled them. Faramir he could soon return with Éowyn and the girls. He longed to see Elbeth and Elestelle playing together on the beach and to take a moonlight walk with his wife when the tide was coming in would be a prospect to savour
All too soon the sun rose higher in the sky; it was time to return to the castle to prepare for breakfast. He did not want his absence to cause Aragorn to worry.
Imrahil was waiting for his nephew.
“You are up early, uncle,” said Faramir. “Is everything well?”
“All is very well, nephew,” said Imrahil. “I simply wanted to tell you how happy I am to have you under my roof again.” He drew Faramir into a close embrace.
Rather to Faramir’s surprise, Aragorn was still asleep when he returned to their chamber. The Steward pulled back the curtains, allowing the bright sunlight into the room. Aragorn stirred, tried to sit up and groaned loudly.
“What ails you, mellon nîn?” Faramir enquired anxiously.
“My arms, my shoulders, my back!” groaned Aragorn. “They are so stiff and sore! I ache everywhere!”
“Perhaps it is rheumatism?” suggested Faramir, helping his friend sit up. ”My Aunt Ivriniel used to suffer from it badly.”
“I do not suffer from rheumatism!” Aragorn said tetchily. “And since when were you a healer? I have strained some muscles, that is all!”
“I did warn you not to go climbing down cliffs at your age,” said Faramir.
“I am not old!” snapped the King. “The nineties are the prime of life for my people!” He climbed out of bed and attempted to pull his nightshirt over his head. ”Ouch!” he cried.
“Did you bring some of Mistress Tasariel’s salve with us?” Faramir enquired, referring to an effective remedy for muscle strains the country healer they had met last year had given Aragorn the recipe for.
“It is on the dressing table where I put my healing supplies last night,” said Aragorn.
“You had better let me apply some to your back and shoulders or you will never be ready to join uncle at breakfast,” said Faramir, picking up the jar. He placed the pot on the bedside table and assisted Aragorn to slide his nightshirt off his shoulders, then applied a generous amount of the comfrey, arnica and lavender mixture, using the Elven touch Aragorn had taught him. “There, is that any better?” he asked.
“A little, I suppose,” Aragorn conceded without much enthusiasm.
A servant tapped on the door. “Breakfast will be served shortly, my lords,” she called.
The two friends hurried to wash and dress. Aragorn remained in a grumpy mood, especially when Faramir had to assist him to lift his heavy velvet tunic over his head. ”Only an infant needs help to dress!” he grumbled.
Faramir wisely said nothing.
Aragorn’s mood only lightened at the sight of Mista curled in her basket contentedly suckling the kitten they had rescued the previous day.
“It is good to see my hound so contented again,” said Imrahil after bidding the King good morning. “She has not been so happy since her pups died. A pity she can not teach the kitten to catch mice too!”
Aragorn bent to stroke the kitten and her foster mother. To Faramir’s relief he did not groan when he straightened up again. It seemed that the salve was working.
“I thought we might go for a trip around the bay in my rowing boat this afternoon,” said Imrahil as they sat down to a breakfast of smoked kippers, a Dol Amroth speciality. “Then tomorrow, maybe we could go swimming.”
“That sounds delightful!” said Faramir.
I cannot row, I have a pulled muscle,” Aragorn said curtly.
“Never mind, you can leave the hard work to us young men!” said Imrahil; ignoring the fact his hair was white while Aragorn’s was still dark apart from a few flecks of grey.
“A pulled muscle does not make me old!” snapped the King.
Faramir sighed. With Aragorn in such a tetchy mood it threatened to be a very long day.
“We can just spend a quiet day then,” Imrahil conceded. “Tomorrow my messenger rides to the City, so he could take messages to your ladies if you so desire. Perhaps another day we can go sailing?”
“ I shall write a long letter to Arwen then.” For the first time that morning Aragorn looked content.
“I know you miss her a great deal as I miss Éowyn,” Faramir replied. “I wonder how our ladies and children are faring.”
“You will be home again in a few days,” said Imrahil. “Until then why not enjoy the sea air?”
“We will indeed, uncle,” said Faramir. “How could we not as we share Elven ancestry?”
A/N written for the AA Group prompt “Old.” Dedicated to NiRi.
Faramir refers to event in “Web of Treason” and “A Time to Reap.”