Title: No Longer Any Reason
Characters: Faramir, Boromir
Categories: Angst, Drama
Summary: Faramir wonders what he has to live for as he rides out of Minas Tirith to retake Osgiliath.
Disclaimer: Denethor's sons are Tolkien's. The situation belongs to that master of movies, Peter Jackson. The rest is mine.
Author's Note: I'm finally back, after nearly three months of being incapacitated with a broken right elbow (which is still slowly healing). Anyway, after seeing "The Return of the King," I left the theater wondering what was going through Faramir's head as he left Minas Tirith. David Wenham's portrayal of Faramir was so incredibly amazing that I could not get his scenes out of my mind, and now whenever I listen to track 5 on the soundtrack, I can barely keep from tearing up. I can only hope that the extended version of ROTK has more Faramir scenes.
This story is dedicated to Evendim and Papilio. Thank you for your kind words and for your friendship! May you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
No Longer Any Reason
This is the end.
Faramir, son of Denethor, stared straight ahead, his gaze resolute and unwavering, a cold, emotionless mask that hid the hopelessness that dwelled inside him at this last desperate venture. The hooves of his men's horses struck loudly upon the cobblestones of the street, the harsh clacking sounding clearly amongst the silent crowd of women and children that lined the way to bid their men farewell. The sound had an eerie finality to it, as if the city herself knew she was sending her men on a mission for which there would be no return.
It is a death knell, he realized suddenly. The thought, strangely enough, filled him with a measure of peace. When he fell outside the City's walls – a fact he knew with utter certainty – there would be no return to the City, no funeral…for there would be no body to bring back. The Enemy's orcs would see to that. And when he fell, the last hope of Gondor would be gone.
No. No, that is not entirely true. Mithrandir is here. Perhaps he shall be able to save Minas Tirith and her people, or at the very least, buy a few more precious hours for Rohan to come to our aid. But he was too weary to hope for such a miracle, for miracles in his life had been obsolete.
As he rounded the last bend and saw the last gate of the City open wide before him, Mithrandir's words echoed in his mind. "Do not throw your life away rashly!" As good a friend and mentor as the white wizard was, his words meant nothing to him for they were designed to give him hope.
But to have hope one must first have a reason to live.
And Faramir did not.
There was no longer any reason to go on living, for what did he have left? His men? No, most of his Rangers had been slaughtered in the fight for Osgiliath and during the harrowing ride across the Pelennor Fields. The mere thought of that terrifying, desperate race sent a shudder rippling though his lengthy frame, though he tried to suppress it for the sake of his men. The unearthly, piercing shrieks of the Nazgul mixed with the agonized screams of the men who had become fodder for the black, shadow beasts that fell upon them, haunting his mind and freezing his very soul. I should have fallen with them, he decided bitterly, for then I would have been spared the meeting with my father. I could have died still believing there had been a place in his heart for me, some small shred of love for his younger son. But alas, my life did not end when it should have, and every moment hence has been filled with nothing but pain and misery. But that soon will end. It did not feel right to remain living while those he fought with died valiantly in battle.
What other reason was there to keep living if not his men? His family? His pale lips curled into a mirthless smirk at that idea, for there was no one left whom he could truly call family. His mother, who he had loved so dearly, had died when he was but a small child, so long ago that he could barely remember the sound of her voice or the soft touch of her hand upon his face. Her death had shattered his childhood and stolen his innocence.
His brother, Boromir, his protector, his confidante, the other half of his heart, was dead now as well, and that was a blow so harsh that it nearly drove the life out of his body. And although in the end his brother's death did not kill him outright, it had ripped his heart in two, thereby mortally wounding his spirit. Only the thought of his men and his country had kept him going afterwards.
And now his Father, Lord Denethor, Steward of Gondor, the only relative that remained had effectively banished him on this suicide mission, but not until he had first managed to tear out the remnants of his broken heart with his cold, unfeeling manner and hateful words.
Oh, Boromir! he cried silently, If I had only known, if Father had only accepted my offer, I would have gladly gone in your stead, to whatever end. How I miss you, dear brother! My days have grown dark and dim since your passing.
He lowered his gaze down to his chest and thoughtfully fingered the symbol of the White Tree engraved upon the breastplate of his armor, the cool feel of the metal strange to one who had worn leather for so long. It is not I who should wear this armor, but Boromir. He was the Captain-General of Gondor's Army, not I. Closing his eyes, he thought back to the last day he had seen his brother, standing proudly upon that crumbling tower in Osgiliath, the sun shining brightly, reflecting of his armor, Gondor's white banner fluttering valiantly in the wind. For that brief moment, all had been right with the world. He and Boromir had fought side by side for the first time in years. Victory had been theirs that day. The fighting had been over, their city remained safe.
"Remember this day, little brother," Boromir had said just before he had left for Rivendell. And Faramir had. That moment in time was etched into his memory and had seen him through every skirmish and every battle, giving him strength and courage when he needed it most desperately, drawing upon it for hope whenever his father had spoken harshly to him. It was a piece of his brother that remained with him in his brother's absence, a part of him that he could never lose. But this time…this time the memory did nothing for him except increase his yearning to see his brother again – in death.
The creaking of leather saddles and the clanking of metal armor roused him from his thoughts to see that his men were forming up on him on both sides, readying themselves for the charge. He raised his head high and looked first one way and then the other, pride and grief warring violently within his chest at the thought of all these fine, brave soldiers heading to their doom. I must say something to them, but what? he wondered. What do you say to men who know they are about to die? Or for those naïve few who still may yet cling to some shred of hope that their lives may be spared?
He stepped out before his men a few paces and then turned around to face them. In his heart, he knew that these would be the last words that these men would ever hear…as well as the last words he would ever utter. Looking from one soldier's eyes to the next, he spoke firmly, his voice grim yet unwavering. "Today we fight to take back what is rightfully ours and to drive the Enemy from our shores." He paused, seeking the words of truth that might bring his men a measure of peace, the same peace that he had himself.
"Years from now, men will look back upon this ride and remember the courage and determination of those brave enough to go forth into battle. What we do here shall not be forgotten! Men of Gondor, we ride side by side into history! For your friends! For your loved ones! For Minas Tirith! For Gondor!" With those last ringing words, he twisted his mount around to face the overwhelming legions that stood between him and the completion of his mission.
"FOR GONDOR!" he shouted once more, sending his horse galloping forward into the looming darkness, flanked by his brave and loyal men. The thunder of their hooves stirred up the cold embers of his spirit, igniting a blaze of battle lust so fierce that it threatened to consume him alive, to which he willingly released himself.
And as he thundered across the plains towards his death, his heart leapt within his chest as he shouted silently, I am coming, Boromir! Soon we shall be together once more, never to be parted! Keep watch for me, my brother! I am coming!