The Houses of Healing
Chapter 1 – The Vision of Númenor
by Siberia

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters here, nor am I making any money out of this. I just love Lord of the Rings, and this is my second attempt at fan fiction.

I would like to give a special thanks to Snitter in Rivendell for pointing out a serious mistake that I had committed in the original version of this chapter.

A great island before stood before him. It was shaped like a five-pointed star. He marvelled at its splendour; beautiful forests of blossoming trees, rolling hills, vast meadows, and sparkling rivers stretched across its landscape. Scattered throughout the isle were tall and majestic palaces, towers, and statues. "This must be Elenna," he thought," the land of star given to the Edain by the Valar for their services during the War of the Jewels."

Suddenly, he heard a ferocious roar beneath his feet. A mighty earthquake began to shake the land. It was as if Ulmo, the Ocean Lord, was furious at Andor ("the land of gift"). The Vala Ulmo arose from his deep, watery World, and sent forth a monstrous tidal wave to engulf the island. Large areas of the landmass were obliterated beneath the impact. The realm of Westernesse sunk deeper and deeper into the Great Sea. Until finally, it was no more.


Faramir opened his eyes. He was at first confused by his surroundings, but then recalled that he was lying in the Houses of Healing. He woke up feeling hungry, which was a good sign, for it meant that he was beginning to regain his appetite. The young Steward still felt drained and exhausted, but he knew that sleep would not bring him any more relief. A pale morning light had begun to seep through the windows, and as he tried to lift himself out of bed, he was instantly struck by a wave of dizziness.

The Lord Aragorn had recently healed Faramir from the curse of the Black Breath, and although the young Captain's life was no longer in any danger, he had not been completely released from all of its ill effects. Faramir was grateful, at least, that the Valar had spared him from the dark imagery that had haunted his mind for days while he was plagued by the Black Breath. The Lord of the City allowed his body to fall back down unto the bed, and he decided to focus instead on his dream. "The Fall of Númenor," he whispered to himself. The second son of Denethor dreamt oft of this catastrophic event throughout his life. While he pondered over the images, a memory from his past entered his mind.


Throughout his childhood, Faramir had wondered about this recurring vision. He told his brother about his dreams, but Boromir could not offer any answers. When the little boy approached his father about it, the old Steward simply scolded at his youngest son, and told him not to concern himself with such trivial matters.

His inquisitive mind remained restless 'til the arrival of Mithrandir at Minas Tirith. This was the Grey Wanderer's first visit to Gondor since the death of Finduilas. As a five-year-old child, Faramir had watched the old man toil at his mother's bedside, doing all that he could to save her life. However, Finduilas' spirit was already much too weak by the time Mithrandir arrived, and she withered away soon after.

Faramir was ten years old, and assisted the Wizard with his research in the library. During his months there, the Grey Pilgrim had grown fond of the boy, and would occasionally give him lessons in history, lore, language, politics, and economics, focusing on subjects the old man knew would not be covered fully in his regular schooling. At this particular session, Mithrandir perceived that his pupil's attention was not at its full capacity.

"Tell me what is preoccupying you, young Faramir, for it seems to be interfering with your ability to concentrate on writing Quenya," the teacher declared.

The second son of Denethor lowered his quill and looked up from his book. At first, the lad was hesitant to speak, for he feared to be humiliated for his strange visions. The Grey Wanderer perceived this, and deducted from watching their unstable relationship that Faramir's father must have yelled at his youngest son oft for voicing out his thoughts. The Wizard added, "Do not worry, you can confide in me. I promise not to tell one word to the Steward about this."

Mithrandir's tone was so kind and reassuring that the boy replied without a second thought. "Last night, I dreamt of a grand star-shaped island, beautiful to behold, with regal landscapes and structures. Then, an enormous wave crashed upon it, and the isle plummeted beneath the Sea. This is not the first time that I have received this apparition. I always suspected that it was Elenna, from the stories my mother used to tell me. But I was never completely sure what it is I saw, for how could I witness this in a dream when it was destroyed long before I was born?"

The Grey Pilgrim stared at his student with curious eyes. "I do not know. However, I can assure you that your vision is indeed that of Númenor, which foundered near the end of the Second Age of the Sun." The old man paused. "Tell me, do you have prophetic dreams as well?"

Faramir nodded. "Sometimes. I know which ones will come true, and no matter what I do to try to change or prevent it, the event occurs not long after I see it."

Gandalf raised an eyebrow at this response. This surprised him greatly, for he knew that Boromir had possessed none of these qualities, and had assumed that Faramir was of the same nature.

I must keep an eye on this lad, the Wizard thought quietly. Although the Dúnedain were occasionally blessed with prophecy, it never manifested itself in this fashion. Whatever Elvish blood Fiduilas carried within her, it must run strong in her youngest son if he possesses such foresight. 'Tis a shame that Denethor treats him so poorly, for I fear Faramir may be one of the last Men to carry both the graciousness of the kings of old and the wisdom of the Eldar race.

"Mithrandir, why do I dream of these things?" Faramir asked, slightly uncomfortable with his teacher's silence.

The Grey Wanderer sighed. "I may be wise, but even I cannot discern the ways of the Valar. Perhaps they favour you in some fashion. All I can say is that it is a gift that you inherited from your mother, and that you must bear with it for the rest of your life."


Was it truly a gift, or a curse? the Lord of the City asked himself. He had received the vision of the Reforged Sword and Isildur's Bane many times, and it had cost him his dear brother's life. Faramir had wanted to travel to Imladris to uncover the riddle behind his dream, and the old Steward was more than willing to allow his disfavoured son to pursue this "absurd" quest. But Boromir interfered, for he too had seen the vision once while in the presence of his younger sibling, and had used his favour with Denethor to have him represent Gondor at Elrond's Council.

"And now I am all alone," Faramir uttered quietly. His brother was no longer within the Circles of the World, and he had recently been informed of his father's sudden demise. He did not yet know this, but Denethor's first, last, and only act of love towards his youngest son appeared under the form of madness and despair. The Steward had tried to burn himself and Faramir in a great funeral pyre, in hopes of saving him and his son from what Denethor believed was a worse fate.


Shortly after Aragorn had used the steam from the athelas plant to free Faramir from his illness, Gandalf had sat by the young man's bedside to notify him of his loss. The old man took care not to mention the Steward's insanity and suicide, for he knew that it could severely interfere with the healing process. He silently watched as the young Captain's eyelids fluttered open in the dimness of the chamber, lit only by the flickering flame of a single candle.

Faramir awoke to see his former teacher sitting by his side. He was puzzled, for he had expected to greet the Lord Denethor.

"Mithrandir, where is my father?" the young man asked, his tone weak from fatigue. "Has he no concern for his remaining son? Why have I not seen him throughout my illness?"

The Wizard took a deep breath and said gently, "Faramir, I am sorry to have to inform you this, but the Lord Denethor is dead."

The Captain was stricken by the news, his face laced with horror. "But how can this be? My father and I parted in anger! I had hoped to amend the bitterness between us. All of my life, 'twas all I ever wanted from my Lord. Are you saying that I am denied even reconciliation?"

Gandalf's following words had struck Faramir so violently in his heart that it made him weep. "I assure you that during his last moments, your father loved you as much as he ever did Boromir."

Though tears were flowing freely from his grey eyes, Faramir managed to ask through his sobs, " did he die?"

"I cannot tell you that, yet. For now, you must rest and recover your strength. But you will know the answer in time."


When the spell of dizziness had passed, the Lord of the City arose from his bed. After he had taken a quick bath, he proceeded to his breakfast, remaining consumed within his melancholic thoughts. So much grief and pain, occurring all at once. 'Tis probably not worth wasting my time moping, for the War might destroy everything in Middle-Earth. Faramir sighed. But even if Sauron is defeated, what will I have to look forward to? Never in my life have I felt so alone, so desolate from the world. And I will surely lose my office when the Lord Aragorn reclaims the throne in a season's time.

The Warden of the Houses of Healing had witnessed the Captain's deteriorating mood, and counselled him to seek the company of the trees and flowers growing in the gardens. "It will do you good, my Lord, to have some fresh air," the Warden said. Faramir followed his advice, and as he strolled around the gardens, little did he know of the woman he would meet later that day.