With thanks to Raksha.
Crown and Sceptre
B2MeM Challenge Facets of Faramir- writer; Emotions1- delight; Roles and names of Aragorn - Stranger; Aspects of Aragorn - Traveller; Canon couples1 -Faramir/ Éowyn; Rangers of the North- Sceptre of Aninuminas;The Steward and his Sons - Prince of Ithilien; Snippets of verse-Day brought back my night; Injuries and other ailments - stomach ache;landscape - canon(gorge)
Format: short story
Characters: Aragorn, Faramir, Éowyn, OFCs
Pairings: Aragorn/Arwen, Faramir/Éowyn
Summary: Aragorn visits Faramir in Ithilien.
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
"You are fortunate I do not have to blindfold you here," teased Faramir as the two men entered the narrow gorge that led to the waterfall at Henneth Annun. The torrent was overhung with dark boxwoods and holly, which served only to highlight the water's clear brilliance.
"Not if you value your title as Prince of Ithilien!" Aragorn replied. He laughed. "This is the one place that your grandfather never suggested that I visit."
"During the dark days of our struggle against Sauron, no stranger was permitted to come this way with eyes unbound," said Faramir. "We dared not betray our refuge to possibly unfriendly eyes."
"It gladdens my heart that I can now look upon it," said Aragorn. "The waterfall brings back memories of Rivendell and my childhood, while the view over the meadows is most fair. But you did not bring me here to look at the view nor visit your Rangers at the outpost here, did you, my friend?"
"How well you read my thoughts!" Faramir replied. "There is something I wish to ask you about."
The two men ceased walking and stood together gazing at the waterfall, the bright water sparkling in the sunlight as it cascaded over the stones. "I think sunset here is the fairest sight on earth," said Faramir. "I have tried to paint it, but cannot do justice to the colours. No matter how many times I behold it, I am filled with delight. How blessed I am that you have made me Prince of this fair land!"
"You deserve it, Faramir," said Aragorn, squeezing the younger man's shoulder. "You are a man of many talents."
"I should like to write down the story of your time here as Thorongil, if you would permit to do so," said Faramir. "That is the favour I wished to ask of you."
"Why not? If you think my youthful adventures an interesting enough tale to tell. You are a skilled writer who will tell the story well."
"I find it a wondrous tale that a traveller who was a stranger here should perform such great deeds and then vanish back into the shadows from which he came then re-emerge forty years later as our king!" said Faramir. "You came when all hope seemed lost and saved us."
"You should thank Frodo, not I," said Aragorn. "Now, if we are not to need saving from your good lady's wrath, we should get back in time for the delicious meal she will be helping her cook prepare for this evening."
"I wish we could stay until sunset," said Faramir. "I did promise Elestelle a bedtime story, though."
"We will return," said Aragorn. "I should like to bring Arwen here. The waterfall would remind her of Rivendell."
King and Steward lingered a moment longer, loth to leave such fair surroundings on a summer's day, then side by side made their way back along the narrow gorge to where the guards awaited them, together with their horses. They bade farewell to the Rangers and rode away back towards Emyn Arnen.
Rather to their surprise, Éowyn was nowhere to be seen when the two men returned.
"She is in the nursery with Lady Elestelle," said Mistress Elwen, the housekeeper in response to Faramir's enquiry. "The poor mite isn't feeling well."
Faramir almost ran to the nursery. Aragorn did likewise, Faramir's little girl was almost as dear to him as his own flesh and blood.
They found Éowyn sitting on a chair in the nursery trying to soothe a tearful Elestelle. The child managed a wan smile when her father and the King entered.
"She found some green apples this afternoon and ate them," said Éowyn in response to her husband's anxious questioning. "She now has a bad stomach ache as result. I've given her some peppermint tea, but it has not helped much."
"Maybe I can ease her?" said Aragorn.
"I would be grateful if you could," Éowyn replied. "I need to feed Elboron and I also have a lame horse I am concerned about, but I cannot leave Elestelle while she is in pain."
Aragorn took the child in his arms and held one hand a few inches about her stomach. Almost immediately, the little girl stopped crying. "Does that feel better?" he asked.
Elestelle nodded. "Why can you make me feel better when Naneth can't, Uncle Aragorn?"
"Because as the King I have healing hands," Aragorn explained.
"Why don't you wear your crown all the time?" asked Elestelle. "The kings in the story books all wear their crowns!"
Éowyn smiled gratefully at Aragorn. She kissed her husband and daughter then left the room.
"I think you will be telling the bedtime story tonight, mellon nîn." Faramir said with a smile. His little daughter was fascinated by stories of kings and queens.
"The crown is too heavy and uncomfortable to wear save on special occasions," Aragorn explained. "I could not always wear it, any more than I could always carry the Sceptre of Annúminas around with me.
"What is that?" asked Elestelle.
"You will not have seen it because it is a symbol of the Royalty of Arnor, rather than of Gondor," Aragorn explained. "It is the oldest thing that survives made by Men, as my longfather, Elendil brought it with him from Númenor. It is very special to me because Master Elrond gave it to me when I married Aunt Arwen."
"Can I see it, Uncle Aragorn?"
"When you next come to the City, you may. And one day you shall visit Annúminas, which is being rebuilt to be as splendid and beautiful as Minas Tirith."
"No city could be better than Minas Tirith!"
"We shall see, child. You can tell me your verdict after you visit Annúminas with your parents once the rebuilding is complete."
"Is the sceptre like ada's White Rod?"
"I suppose it is," said Aragorn.
Elestelle nestled contentedly in his arms as Aragorn continued to tell her about the sceptre in a soft low voice. Soon she was fast asleep. Aragorn laid her gently on her bed.
"Thank you, my friend," said Faramir as the two men tiptoed from the nursery, leaving Elestelle in the care of her nanny.
"It is always a joy to be able to help you," said Aragorn. "I enjoyed telling Elestelle about the royal regalia.
"It is not crown or a sceptre but your goodness that makes you such a great King," said Faramir, and hugged his friend.