Format: short story
Genre: Family, angst
Characters: Denethor, Boromir, Faramir.
Summary: The night before Boromir departs for Imladris, he has a conversation with Faramir.
“You should rest now, my son, you will be leaving early in the morning,” said Denethor."I shall retire to my chamber now.” He rose from his place and his sons scrambled to their feet.
“Father, it is still not too late,” said Faramir. “I beg you to let me go in Boromir’s stead. The vision came first to me and I had it thrice.”
“Nonsense, boy!” said Denethor. “It has been decided that your brother should undertake this errand. He is the older and hardier. It is his by right. I have already told you this.”
“But Boromir is needed here in Gondor,” Faramir protested. “He has many duties.”
“As so do you with the Rangers of Ithilien,” Denethor replied coldly. “I shall not change my mind. Your judgement is more easily swayed than your brother’s. He shall seek for Imladris, not you. Now, goodnight.” He swept from the room in a flurry of black robes.
Boromir and Faramir stared after him.
“Do not look so downcast, little brother,” said Boromir. “You know that Father never changes his mind once it is made up. It will be a long arduous journey which only the strongest can undertake.” Faramir opened his mouth to protest, but Boromir spoke before he could. “I know you will protest, Faramir, but just look at you. You are as slender as a reed; I often fear that a stiff breeze might blow you over!”
“You are studier than I, brother, but I do not think you are stronger!”
Boromir laughed and affectionately clapped Faramir on the shoulder. “Let us not quarrel tonight of all nights, my little brother. Come to my room and we will share a cup of wine ere we sleep.”
“Most gladly,” said Faramir.
The two brothers walked side by side until they reached Boromir’s chambers. They were plainly furnished and only the large comfortable furnishings and thick rugs, marked it out as belonging to the Heir to the Stewardship. Two comfortable chairs stood either side the empty hearth, unlit due to the July heat. Boromir opened the windows, letting in a balmy breeze from the courtyard below. He called for a servant to bring wine.
Faramir stood beside his brother at the window, absently watching the Guards protecting the dead White Tree taking up their positions as the Watch was changed. “This view makes me sad,” he said after a moment. “To see the White Tree, the symbol of kings, so dead and bare.”
“That is all it is, a symbol,” said Boromir. “The kings are long gone, but Gondor still endures thanks to her doughty warriors.”
“I dream of the King returning and tree blossoming anew,” said Faramir.
“You were ever the dreamer,” said Boromir. “But who knows, little brother, maybe if I succeed on this mission, I will one day become king.” A servant brought wine and the brothers moved away from the window. Boromir filled two glasses and handed one to Faramir. “Let us drink a toast to my success!”
“May the Valar protect you and bring you safely home!” said Faramir, taking a sip of the wine.
“I know you object to me taking this mission, but it will be for the best,” said Boromir. “These are perilous times.”
“That is what troubles me,” said Faramir. “You are Heir to the White Rod, yet you have no heir.”
“Nor ever shall do.” Boromir laughed. “At least not one born in wedlock. I love variety too much to chain myself to one woman when there fair maids aplenty at every other tavern. It is you who were born to endure the tedium of wedlock.”
“How could it be tedious to spend each day with the woman you loved and watch your children grow together? “ Faramir retorted. “I would find it hard to leave their side save when I must.”
“Do not look so shocked, brother,” said Boromir. “I would far rather be with my men engaging in feats of arms, than rocking a cradle. Are you still angry with that I am setting out for Imladris rather than you?”
“I could never be angry with you for long, Boromir,” said Faramir. “You are my brother and I love you. I just feel uneasy about this mission. The sky was so dark in the East in our dream, though light yet remained in the West. The dream spoke too of doom. I feel it is too great a risk for our Captain General to undertake. Father should have allowed me to go instead. He never trusts me, though I have served Gondor faithfully ever since I could wield sword and bow.”
“You defy father in your friendship with Mithrandir,” said Boromir. “Maybe that is why he does not trust you as he ought.”
“No one knows more lore than Mithrandir. I have learned so much from our conversations. I wonder if he dwells in Imladris. Maybe you will see him there?”
Boromir laughed. “It is plain to me now why Father does not want you to go. He fears once you reached such a centre of lore and learning, you would never want to leave again!”
“I wonder if they have beautiful music there?” Faramir said wistfully. He took another sip of his wine. “And maybe you will see he Sword that was broken, the heirloom of the Kings!”
“I shall be certain to tell you about it if I do and see if I can beg some tunes for your lute too,” said Boromir. He drained his glass and yawned.
“You are weary, I should leave you to rest.” Faramir got to his feet.
“Stay with me tonight, it may be a long time before we see one another again, little brother.” Boromir laid a restraining hand on Faramir’s arm.
The two brothers prepared for bed and were soon curled up alongside one another as they had so often slept in childhood. Boromir fell asleep almost as soon as his head touched the pillow. Faramir though, remained wakeful. A troubling thought came to him. Speaking of Gandalf had reminded him of something the old wizard had once said, “Always listen to your dreams, dear boy, as they might be messages from Lord Irmo, the master of visions and dreams.” What if the dream was indeed a message from the Higher Powers, a summons to him that he was not obeying? Faramir shuddered. He knew there was no way he could persuade his father to let him go in Boromir’s stead, but how he feared some ill might befall his brother. With this unsettling thought in his mind, he finally drifted off to sleep.