Summary: Sequel to "Midwinter" and "Midwinter in Rohan". Faramir takes that trip to Rohan he was planning on taking, and ends up in the Glittering Caves for a bit longer than he had expected.

Disclaimer: Faramir the Wondrous is none of mine, nor is nothing else.

Symbols: [Brackets] are thoughts. Asterisks are stressed words. A band of triplets (--- --- ---) means a break.

A special thanks to everyone who (1) inspired me with the idea, and (2) encouraged me to write this. Namely, everyone who told me to write a sequel.

As for the geography of and around Helm's Deep, I tried looking in my "Atlas of Middle-Earth" book (thanks again Emera!!) but I couldn't figure out exactly what was around it. There was, however, an exact layout of the keep and the caves. 'Twas my inspiration.

I'm really sorry for the inordinate amount of time it took me to write this. I've been through midterms, four Ovid poems, and at least seven history chapters to get to this point, and I consider it a miracle that I managed to produce this. grin I don't think it's very good, but I tried my darndest. Please review!!

Chapter 1: Lending a Helping Hand

"Faramir, are you sure that we were supposed to come to Helm's Deep?" Beregond asked doubtfully, as they rode up the stone walkway.

"I'm positive. Eowyn wrote and told me that she would be at Helm's Deep, not Edoras. Trust me," Faramir replied. "And besides, what's the worst that can happen? We'll just ride to Edoras."

"I don't think my body could take another day of riding," Beregond said, rubbing his back.

Faramir laughed. "You just have to get used to it," he said. He patted Sigeberht's neck fondly. He heard Beregond sigh heavily, which started another fit of laughter. [I'm practically giddy,] he thought, quite pleased at the fact. He and Beregond were so in depth into their conversation that he hardly noticed they had passed through the gates of Helm's Deep. Dismounting, they found themselves surrounded by a group of men working on repairing damage to the stone walls.

"Where should we go now, Faramir? You'd think someone would be here to welcome you." Beregond's face looked doubtful again.

"Not necessarily. They look quite busy. And the Rohirrim are not as formal as the Gondorians." He looked around. "Why don't we ask that man over there?" he asked, pointing. "He looks as though he is in charge of these workers. Maybe he'd know." Faramir walked up to him. "Excuse me, sir, but –"

"Where have you been? You're late!" the man growled.

"Now look here –" Beregond started, but Faramir stopped him.

"No, we were supposed to arrive today."

"I know that! But you were supposed to be here earlier, much earlier. It's already past noon." The man tapped his foot impatiently.

"No time was ever specified," Faramir said, obviously uncomfortable. [The last thing I want to do is upset anyone.]

"Well, even though you're late, I'd best set you to work. Maybe you can make up the lost time."

"Begging your pardon, sir, but I think you have the wrong –" Faramir said, realization finally beginning to dawn on him. [He must think we're someone else.]

"Get to work, before I throw you out," the man interrupted. "Start stacking those barrels over there."

"We're not –" Faramir tried again.

"Do you want me to have the guard escort you out?" the man said, his voice rising.

"No, but you're making a mistake –"

"Then get to work!" Faramir took back the reigns of his horse, but the man quickly snatched them from him, and took Beregond's as well.

Faramir began walking towards the barrels and motioned for Beregond to come. He began whispering. "Beregond – the last thing I want to do is cause any trouble. We might as well just do the work, and figure out where we are supposed to be later. I have no idea who that man is or who he thinks we are."

"I think he's just a stonemason," Beregond said.

"I know, but I really don't want to take any risks. Besides, we're not familiar in Rohan, and the last thing I want to do is make a bad impression."

"I thought you said the last thing you wanted to do was cause any trouble." He grinned.

"That too," Faramir laughed. "So I suppose we'd best start shifting these barrels," he said, as he removed his cloak.

Beregond pointed to Faramir's tunic. "I told you that you shouldn't wear such simple clothes. No wonder the man couldn't recognize you. You should at least wear something that suits your station."

"You know how much I hate sticking out in a crowd," Faramir puffed out as he worked.

"Still – no one is able to recognize you in situations like these."

"Good. That means I can be recognized only by those who already know me, and avoid being treated differently by those who don't."

"Right now you're being treated as a worker," Beregond laughed.

"Well," Faramir said, with mock indignation, "there are far worse things, you know."

They worked mostly in silence for a while longer, until at last Beregond interrupted their work. "Faramir, how much longer are we going to do this? I think my back is going to break soon."

"Mine too, Beregond," he grimaced, "but do you want to argue with the man, or should I?"

"Good point," Beregond admitted. The sound of a horse's hoof beats echoed behind them. Faramir, being busy, paid no attention, until he felt someone staring at him.

"Do I know you?" a familiar voice asked from behind.

Faramir turned around and bowed low, and Beregond followed suit. "Eomer King."

"Faramir? What are you doing here? Why are you working?" Eomer asked incredulously, as he dismounted.

"I'm sorry, my Lord, but –" he cast a glance at Beregond, "we were mistaken for workers, and –"

"Faramir, first of all, there is no need for formality. Secondly, why didn't you just explain to the supervisor?"

"Well, we tried, but we were unsuccessful," he said a bit ruefully. "But it's no matter."

At that moment, the same man from before walked over. "Are these men being troublesome, my Lord?" he asked of Eomer.

"On the contrary, it is you who is being troublesome sir," Eomer replied, his eyes flashing.

"You pardon, my Lord, but I do not understand –"

"Do you know who these men are?" Eomer asked, pointing at Faramir and Beregond. Faramir lowered his eyes to the ground.

"The workers from the outer walls sent to –"

"No, they are the Steward of Gondor and the Captain of his Guard!"

The man's face drained, as he managed to bow to Faramir and Beregond, and then to Eomer. "I beg your pardon, my lords, I did not know –" he gushed.

"It's quite all right, honestly," Faramir said in an effort to diffuse the situation. "It's actually amusing, in its own way. No harm has been done."

"I apologize again, my lords –"

"We're not angry," he said, glancing at Eomer's face. "But if you'll excuse us, we would like to get to the Keep, so if you would be so kind as to tell us where our horses have been stabled –"

"You are most gracious, my Lord Steward," the man said, bowing again. "Your horses were stabled over there," he said, pointing. "I can fetch them for you –"

"Thank you, but we can do that ourselves," Faramir said. He began walking away, with Beregond at his side. Eomer caught up with the pair in a few moments.

"You don't want him to be disciplined?" Eomer asked, leading Firefoot by the reins as he walked beside them.

"Really, the man couldn't possibly have recognized us," Faramir said simply. "It was just a mistake – anyone could have done the same."

"What say you, Captain Beregond?" The man slightly blushed. [I think that's the first time anyone has ever called him that,] Faramir thought as he hid a smile.

"No," Beregond said, following his lead, though Faramir could tell he'd like to give the man a few choice words.

"Well, that's good then," Eomer said. "He is, after all, the best of the stonemasons, and I don't want to alienate him. So Faramir – how was your trip?"

"Slow. There had been so much rain that the road was muddy." Beregond fell back, allowing Eomer and Faramir to continue their conversation in private.

"Yes, it has been raining a lot. But this is the rainy season here, so we expect it." Eomer paused. "Is there a time of year in Gondor that has much rain?"

"Yes. Oftentimes in spring we get a lot of rain," Faramir replied. He retrieved his horse from the stables, and came out again to walk with Eomer.

"Do you like the rain?" Eomer asked.

"I don't know. It depends on what I'm doing, I suppose."

"Same here," Eomer responded. Suddenly, Faramir broke out into laughter.

"What is it?" Eomer asked.

"I can't believe that the only thing we can talk about is whether or not we like rain." He smiled at Eomer.

"I see your point."

"So – are you making much progress on rebuilding? At least the workers seem to be dedicated," he said, looking around him.

"Things are going well. We started working on small villages at first, because that's where most of the people live, so it's taken a while for us to begin work on the fortresses. Actually, we just started here last week. I had wanted to get an earlier start, but we never got around to it."

"Better late than never," Faramir said.

"I suppose," Eomer said doubtfully, "but we really haven't been able yet to assess the damages from the battle. The Orcs destroyed a lot of the stonework, especially around the Gate, and we really don't know how that has affected the foundation. The Orcs also exploded part of the wall, which made the rock more unsteady. And since we waited so long before beginning the repairs, there is a more likely chance of serious damage. Actually, those men whom you were working near are actually skilled at restoring stone."

"How do you do that?" Faramir asked, intrigued.

"Don't ask me," Eomer replied, as he shrugged his shoulders. "One of the workers tried to show me one day, and all I did was chip off even more stone." The pair laughed, and then walked in silence up through the fortress. "Welcome to Helm's Deep," he said, as they entered the upper courtyard. Faramir stood still for a moment, to take in his surroundings. In the middle of the courtyard stood an old statue, presumably of Helm Hammerhand himself. The green and white flag of Rohan was blowing in the stiff breeze. As he saw Sigeberht stabled, he turned around, and admired the far-reaching vista that could be had.

"The view is remarkable," he said.

"Yes. That is sometimes said to be one of the best landscapes in Rohan," Eomer said, pointing. "Shall we go in?"


Eomer led him into the Keep. "Doubtless you're weary from the journey, but perhaps you'd like something to eat, and then you can go to your rooms." Faramir turned around, and noticed that Beregond has disappeared. "He's been shown to his own," Eomer said, reading his thoughts.

Faramir nodded. "That would be fine, then."

Suddenly, Eowyn entered the Hall. "My lords," she said, curtseying graciously at the two men.

Faramir bowed politely. "My lady," he replied, though he did glance up at her somewhat nervously.