Summary: Aragorn is suspicious of Faramir's loyalty.
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
Aragorn was starting to have suspicions about his Steward. He instinctively liked the young man, and had sensed a noble spirit when he had called him forth from the darkness in which the Black Breath had trapped him, but now the King was beginning to wonder if Faramir was not all he seemed to be.
In the days following his coronation, Aragorn had several times observed his Steward making his way towards a disreputable part of the City without his guards in attendance. When he had greeted him, Faramir had flushed and looked uncomfortable, though he denied anything was wrong. As a healer, Aragorn knew that skin told its own story.
The King began to wonder if Faramir regretted handing over power to him. He was, after all, Denethor’s son and his family had ruled Gondor for almost a thousand years unchallenged.
One afternoon after seeing Faramir furtively slip away yet again, Aragorn decided to follow him. He needed to be able to trust his Steward completely if they were to work in harmony together to rebuild Gondor. Most likely his suspicions were completely unjustified, but he needed to know.
Using all his Ranger skills to move stealthily, Aragorn followed Faramir down to the first circle. The war damage was severe here and most of the buildings were in need of repair. Faramir entered a house, which was intact save for the windows.
Aragorn could hear voices inside. At first a murmur and then Faramir’s voice, strong and clear.
“I know the times are hard for you,” said Faramir. “But have courage. The King is returned. Moreover, is he not of the line of Eärendil and Elwing? Remember how Eärendil alone was brave enough to summon help from the Valar when Middle-earth faced the greatest hour of need? Elwing despaired and cast herself into the sea, but Lord Ulmo changed her into a great white bird. Now she and her husband sail across the night sky in the Vingilot while the light from the Simaril on the prow brings hope to Men.”
Aragorn felt himself flushing with shame at his unjust suspicions. He felt that if he could have seen his face it would have been glowing scarlet. He inwardly debated what to do next. He felt like slinking away, but knew that was the coward’s way. He would have courage.
The King knocked on the door. It was answered by a flustered looking young woman, who obviously did not recognise him. “Are you looking for Lord Faramir?” she asked. “He is such a wonderful man and a kindly mentor to the orphans here. He pays for their food and lodging and cheers and inspires the children by telling them stories.”
At the mention of his name, Faramir joined the woman in the doorway. He looked alarmed when he beheld the King. “I promise I am not neglecting my work, sire,” he said. “I shall finish the report you asked me to write before the morning.”
“Do not fret about the report, Lord Faramir,” said Aragorn. “I confess I was curious why you were visiting this part of the City. I would know how I might best help these children. The Royal Treasury will pay for anything they need.”
King and Steward walked back to the Citadel together.
“I apologise for my intrusion, Faramir,” Aragorn said contritely.
“I should have told you about the orphans, sire, but I feared you would think me neglectful of my duties as Steward.”
“You do not have to tell me how you spend your free time,” said Aragorn. You are a good and conscientious man, Faramir. I would have you tell me if know there is need, though, that I might help.”
“I was wondering, sire.” Faramir hesitated.
“Please ask of me what you will.”
“I was wondering if you would visit the orphans with me sometime,”
“I would very gladly.”
The two men parted as they reached their apartments. Aragorn returned to his chamber with much to think upon. As King, he knew now he must get to know his people and learn their needs.