I wrote this 3 years ago (October 2011) on an older account that's no longer desirable or active; I decided to re-launch the fic after some writing revisions. Enjoy!
Hawk Eyes and Eagle Wings (1)
Twelve-year old Faramir cast his eyes to the wondrous view of Rohan. Then he closed them as a gentle breeze stirred his light brown curls. He breathed in deeply, and let out a gusty sigh. He had been trekking across plains and through forests since sunrise. Now he felt the sunset's glow warm his back as he faced the citadel. Never had he dreamed of venturing beyond Minas Tirith, let alone the very border of Gondor.
In his hand and close to his side was his longbow, a trusty weapon that nearly reached his height. Strapped to his back was his quiver of arrows for hunting and a light pack of rations. Faramir's visage was one of transition, the verge between a boy and a man. Though his jaw and cheeks were somewhat soft and round, his gray eyes and the set of his lips expressed maturity beyond his twelve years. It was easy to see that Faramir possessed a sharp mind attuned to his sharp senses.
The sound of galloping horses rolled like distant thunder to Faramir's right. About forty feet away, a Rohirric patrol headed for the citadel. The boy ducked back into the cover of the woods and continued to watch. With his proximity to Rohan's territory, the last thing he wanted was to be seen as a trespasser.
From an article about the nature of Rohan's cavalry, he had learned that their frequent patrols were a sign of constant vigilance, and dislike, of even travelers and fellow Men.
Faramir wasn't entirely sure on how they treated roving Gondorians. He wasn't taking any chances. He slipped back into the enclosed familiarity of the Ithilien forest.
He decided that he had better go hunt for something before nightfall. Faramir pulled his wood-green cloak over his Gondorian tunic, including the White Tree that blazed on his chest. Thanks to seasoned training, Faramir was able to sight, notch an arrow, aim and shoot with barely a sound. He caught himself a decent rabbit, just in time before darkness fully settled. The young Ranger gathered mid-sized branches for firewood, and sharpened the smallest one into a spit.
He had just finished polishing the second end when a crackle of leaves caught his attention. He froze and snapped his head toward the sound.
'Footsteps...they sound light and unsure. What could it be?'
Faramir rose to a crouch and crept closer with his bow in hand. Despite his quiet breathing and light feet, his heart pounded in his chest. It didn't sound at all like an Orc's lumber, but he couldn't be certain.
Suddenly something white flashed out of the corner of his eye.
Faramir threw himself behind the nearest tree and tensed.
'Am I seeing a ghost? What should I do?'
He took the moment to shut his eyes and swallow down his fear. Then he steeled himself and sprang from his hiding place, bow and arrow at the ready. The ghostly thing made a startled, high-pitched yelp and leapt back. Faramir's heart stopped. He nearly released his arrow. Instead he slackened his bow in surprise.
What he thought was a ghost was actually a girl. A rather pale and fair one, at that. Her laced white dress billowed at her feet. She regarded him with wide, frightened eyes.
Faramir slowly let his bow rest against his side to show he meant no harm.
"I come to you in peace. Who are you?"
Fear immediately dissolved from her face. The fair-haired girl observed him disdainfully. "I am Eowyn, niece to Theoden, king of Rohan and member of the house of Eorl. It is I who should ask you first."
Faramir suppressed a chuckle. He shouldered his longbow and inclined his head. "Forgive me, my lady. I wasn't aware that I'm addressing a maid of noble blood."
Eowyn tipped her chin to him in a cold manner. "Then know it now and do not forget. Pray tell, who are you?"
"I am Faramir, son of Denethor, and heir to the Steward of Gondor."
"Steward? Why not a prince? And why are you clothed like a traveler?"
Faramir didn't respond. Given the current situation, she was in no position to ask questions. Eowyn seemed to be put off by his steady gray gaze.
"Well? Go on, answer me."
"When did you leave the city?" he asked.
The girl's eyes widened for a second and she opened her mouth to retort. But Faramir cut her off patiently.
"I did not ask why. I merely ask when."
"…I left at noon."
"Then I suppose you're hungry."
Eowyn pursed her lips, then she looked down to the hem of her dress. "Yes. A little."
"Then come with me. I have food and a fire nearby. I'll answer your questions in due time."
Faramir turned back to the woods, and Eowyn reluctantly followed. His fire was still going. Flames leapt and danced over the wood it steadily consumed. The rabbit carcass still laid next to it.
Faramir turned to Eowyn. "Give me a few minutes to cook this rabbit. Can you wait?"
She nodded. Curiosity replaced the hostility in her eyes as she tucked in her dress and carefully sat down. Faramir set aside his bow and quiver. Eowyn's gaze followed the young Ranger as he speared the rabbit on the spit with firm and deft hands.
Undaunted by pluming smoke and flying sparks, Faramir started cooking the rabbit.
He turned the spit over a few times, hearing the fat crackle and watching the meat turn from red to golden-brown. Eowyn simply sat there with her legs crossed and hands folded in her lap, mesmerized by the whole thing.
Finally, Faramir looked satisfied as he removed the spit from the fire. "There, done as promised. Though I hope I didn't burn it."
He pulled out a pocket knife and divided the meat into roughly two halves. He handed to Eowyn the meat that was still on the spit. She thanked him and accepted it. He held and ate his share with his fingers.
Eowyn nibbled at the meat slowly and daintily, but not before taking care to peel off the skin.
"You should keep it on," Faramir suggested. "The skin has all the flavor and tastes great with the meat."
"I don't like its texture," she snapped. "And you are not my mother."
Then something seemed to stir inside her, because the anger in her eyes dimmed.
"I'm sorry." she murmured. "I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. The rabbit is very good...thank you for catching and cooking it."
"It's all right. You're welcome, Eowyn."
The children lapsed into silence as they worked on finishing their meal. Eowyn left the fat untouched while Faramir picked his meat clean to the bone.
The Rohirric girl leaned back and wrapped her hands around her full stomach. "How old are you, Faramir?"
"Really? I expected older."
"By a lot?"
"Fourteen years at least."
Faramir smiled a little. "I'm a little tall for my age."
"And you sound so mature. How long have you been traveling?"
"I haven't set foot in Minas Tirith in months."
Her eyes lit with excitement. "You must've had all sorts of adventures. Tell me more."
As if it was storytime, the fire illuminated Faramir's gestures and Eowyn's awed expressions. He told her much about the sights he had seen and animals he had hunted.
"Traveling as a Ranger is an exciting but dangerous life." he concluded. "The most important thing I've learned is to never leave anything wasted. An arrow missed is a meal missed."
That still didn't seem to deter Eowyn's enthusiasm. "I long for the life you're leading now," she said wistfully. "For the longest time, I wanted to leave the cage of Rohan and roam like an eagle...with wings wide open under a free sky."
Faramir lightly chuckled. "Don't forget that you must keep a hawk's eye peeled for danger."
Eowyn waved it off. "Where's the thrill without a pinch of peril?"
Faramir shook his head with a grin, but did not attempt to curb her spirit further.
She fluttered a hand to her mouth as she yawned. "All this talk is making me drowsy."
"Then go ahead and rest. I'll keep watch for the night."
"By yourself? Do you want me to help?"
"I'll be fine, young lady. You need the sleep."
Faramir shed his cloak and covered Eowyn with it. She curled into a ball next to him and closed her heavy eyes.
"G'night," she mumbled.
"Good night, Eowyn."
In a matter of minutes, only her rhythmic breathing and the sound of dying embers permeated Faramir's ears. He leaned against a tree and drew his longbow close to his chest. He looked down at Eowyn with many questions occupying his mind.
He knew it would be rude to prod her for the reason she left Rohan, so he didn't bother to ask. But he couldn't help wondering. She had mentioned the desire to roam free. Perhaps she had personal problems back at home, or issues with her family. She had only mentioned her uncle, the king, as her kin. Faramir wondered if she, like him, had any siblings. He didn't know if Eowyn would be willing to answer any of his questions. Then again, he himself wasn't keen on revealing his own backstory. Particularly the tensions between him and his father.
At this, Faramir ceased his brooding. He took his eyes off of Eowyn and let his gaze wander to the night sky above.