Faramir wandered lost in shadows and rolling
mists. He knew he must return to the Light and the
world of Men - but he could not find the way.
"Faramir!" his father's voice; mourning, hopeless,
despairing of an answer.
"Father I hear you, I am coming as well as I can!"
his shout fell flat, muffled by the mists, and he knew
with despair that Denethor had not heard.
'I must come to him, we must not part like this
with bitter words said to hurt, yet not truly meant,
as our last memory of each other.'
A stirring of hope, Denethor had heard. "Wait for
me, Father, wait!"
'Don't do anything desperate, don't harm yourself
before I can return to you, please Father.'
Boromir was their father's favorite, this Faramir
had always known, how could it be otherwise with such
an elder son? Yet for all that he knew right well he
was neither disregarded nor despised. Second to
Boromir he might be, yet still first before all other
things - even the White City and the realm itself.
'Your father loves you." Mithrandir had said, and
even in his grief and hurt he had known it for truth -
or would have had he let himself.
'I should not have gone. Yes the attempt to retake
Osgilliath was worth risking, we might have won time
if nothing else, would have if not for those archers.
Massed bows I never expected - never have I seen such
a tactic from Orcs before, nor read of it either.
'But I should not have let Father drive me away
with bitter words that he meant no more than I meant
my jibe that he had sent Boromir to his death.
'Why did I say that? Why did he say what he did?
Why did we tear at each other in our grief rather than
trying to console?'
When did it go so wrong between them? It had not
always been so. Looking back Faramir saw many good
times, that he hadn't remembered for years, of the
three of them together in the chase, listening to
music and tales in the Hall, or simply talking late
into the night over wine. Hours alone with his father
pouring eagerly over dusty scrolls and ancient tomes,
sharing their common love of learning. When had all
that changed - and why?
Perhaps it was just the war; the burden of Gondor
and the nagging knowledge of her slow failing, and the
terror of the Shadow in the East, slowly crushing the
spirit out of them all.
'No. Not all, not Boromir. But we had not his
courage, Father and I. We lost hope, lost faith...lost
"Father!" the shadows shifted, the mists rippled,
but there came no answer. "Father!" Faramir shouted
again, in terror. No answer. Nor would there be,
Denethor had not waited. He was gone, this his son
suddenly knew with absolute certainty.
He almost gave up then, almost let the Darkness
take him, but there was still Gondor. With Boromir and
Denethor lost he was all their people had left - such
as he was. He had to get back to them, at least he
would try as long as he had the strength to strive
with the Shadow.
And strive he did. Against a power beyond his
strength, losing, always losing, but refusing to
surrender. He was a soldier of Gondor, however
reluctantly, and he would fight Gondor's Enemy until
overcome by main force.
The shadows trembled, the mists cringed. Faramir
too trembled, though he knew not why. "Father?"
No, not Denethor. His father had not the power to
make the shadows part and the mists roll aside as they
did now before him. Opening a road to a distant light,
small and bright as a star. He went towards it. Slowly
at first, a little afraid, than with growing eagerness
as the light neared and brightened.
Then the Shadows were behind him and Faramir saw
before him the likeness of a Man. Tall and dark
haired, clad in shining garments with a star of living
Flame upon his brow above eyes almost as silver-bright
set in a face that might have graced a statue in the
Halls of the King.
Faramir knew at once upon whom he looked and was
all but overcome by awe and wonder. The King held out
his hand and, without hesitation, Faramir placed his
in it - and felt a warm, very physical grip close
around his fingers.
He opened his eyes with a gasp. He was in an
unfamiliar room lit by hearth fire and a few candles,
smelling of soap and blood, and sounding with the
moaning of Men in pain and the soothing murmurs of
Healers and Nurses.
A Man sat by his bed, one hand firmly clasped in
his. Tangled hair framed a face grained with the grime
of battle and lined with weariness. His clothes were
rough and plain and he bore no sign of royalty save
for the ring on his finger and the light shining in
Faramir looked upon the Mortal face of his King and
lost his heart to him forever. "My Lord, you called
me. I come." he whispered weakly, in all the voice he
could manage. "What does the King command?"
The King's smile transformed his sad, stern face
filling it with a sudden, captivating warmth. "That
you rest, and take food, and be ready when I call." he
answered, then rose and gently disengaged his hand.
"Now I must go to others that need me but I will
return, my Steward."
Faramir watched him go, determined to regain his
strength quickly. For who would lie idle when the
King, especially such a King as this, had returned at