Disclaimer: This is probably the most original chapter of all, so a lot of this is my own imagination;-) Oh, and I forgot to say before that the name Delthain belongs to me too. The short verse Beregond remembers in this chapter is part of the lyrics to the song "Into the West" sung by Annie Lennox, so I don't own that either. See you all in the reviews!
The next morning the standard of Dol Amroth fluttered above the city, and we were all puzzled.
"Dol Amroth!" Spoke a passerby on the street, to no one in particular, "Prince Imrahil rules the city while Faramir is ill. Where then, is the King? Was he but a dream, and has now retired back into the shadows and songs from whence he came to us?" He sighed and shook his head.
"Nay," I said, "He was here. The king has returned, but now he waits to enter the City. For what I do not know, yet he will come in his own time. Be comforted, brother." And with that I moved forward.
Indeed, it was within very few days that the whole company of soldiers moved out, headed towards Mount Doom. Likely it was that they went to their deaths, but when we knew not. Likely darkness would come swiftly upon Minis Tirith and the end of our lives as well, but that I knew not in those dark days. All I knew was to wait...watch and wait.
Happily, during those days of waiting, things were not all dark and sad. One day as I entered the Healing places to speak with Duliet and perhaps my captain, Duliet waved me over to the window and bid me look out.
"Look below, in the garden, Beregond. What see you?" she smiled. I bent my head out the window and looked into the garden. There, to my joy, I beheld the Steward seated under a tree, and with him was the Lady Eowyn. Their heads were bent close together, in discussion, and I looked back at Duliet. She winked at me and turned back to the bed.
"Think you that Faramir will finally find joy?" she asked, smoothing the sheets out. "The Lady Eowyn is worthy, and fair as the day. I am happy for him."
"And I too," I smiled, coming up behind her and slipping my arms around her. "The joys of being wed are immense, oh my wife."
Duliet turned to me and laughed, then stood on tip-toe to kiss me. "And I," she whispered, "have never regretted it."
Daily Faramir and Eowyn met and walked. This was related to me by Duliet, and she told me that the Warden of the Houses of Healing was pleased with this.
"Daily they grow in strength," he said.
Then came the day when the news came. I was at my post (judgment would not be meted out until the Steward was well again or the king returned) when the eagle came.
For the realm of Sauron is ended forever,
And the Dark Tower is thrown down.
Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
For your watch hath not been in vain,
And the Black Gate is broken,
And your king hath passed through,
And he is victorious.
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
For your king shall come again,
And he shall dwell among you,
All the days of your life.
And the tree that was withered shall be renewed,
And he shall plant it in the high places,
And the City shall be blessed.
Sing all ye people!"
Sang the eagle, and immediately the great burden of watching and waiting was lifted off of our hearts and we all sang for joy in the streets, in the houses, on our posts and in the fields.
Then Faramir took up the Stewardship, if only for a little while, as he was well again. We all rejoiced to see him and called out to him as he walked the streets, and he replied with equal joy.
But only one person in all the city remained ailing...the Lady Eowyn. For days, when I came to the Houses of Healing, I saw her walking the gardens alone, and their was worry in the eyes of Duliet and Ioreth, and of the Warden of the Houses of Healing.
"Was she not to go to the Field of Cormallen, Duliet?" I asked, gazing out the window at her once more. Duliet sighed.
"She was begged by her brother, Lord Eomer, but she would not go. I know not why, but she declines in health once more."
Late that day the Warden decided to take action, and he sent Duliet with a message to Lord Faramir.
She found him in the great hall, alone, looking over maps. He looked up as she entered, and smiled.
"Duliet!" he said, straightening, "Welcome. What is it you wish to speak with me of?" He asked as she rose from her curtsey.
She cast her eyes on the inlaid floor. "I am come from the Warden of the Houses of Healing," she started, then looked into his eyes. "He bids me ask you to come and speak with the Lady Eowyn."
Faramir frowned, asking, "What then does he wish me to say?"
"My lord, the White lady fades daily, for what reason I know not. She walks alone in the gardens, gazing east, ever east, and she barely eats. You are aware that she received an invitation to join her brother in their merrymaking, yet she declined to go. Please, my lord...you must speak with her."
Faramir nodded, sighing. "I will. Thank you, Duliet."
The next day they were to be seen on the walls, talking, and Duliet and I gazed anxiously upon them. Then came a moment when Faramir looked deep into her eyes, and she into his, and then the pale face of Eowyn changed and she looked about her, smiling. She turned her gaze once more on Faramir, and a flush crept up her cheeks. He laughed, and then, to out astonishment, he took her in his arms and kissed her. As they descended the steps their seemed to be an aura of shining light around them and I finally felt that all was right.
A minute later they came through the door and Faramir addressed the Warden.
"Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed," he said, smiling down upon her.
Then the Warden smiled too and said, "Then I release her from my charge and bid her farewell, and may she suffer never hurt or sickness again. I commend her to the care of the Steward of the City until her brother returns."
But Eowyn laughed and shook her head, saying, "Yet now that I have leave to depart, I would remain. For this House has become to me of all dwellings the most blessed."
And so she stayed.
Alas, there is one part to my short and rather disjointed tale that must be told for the sake of truthfulness. All was not perfect, for nothing can be, and amid all the joy in our hearts there was also grief.
A week after Faramir took up the Stewardship, he summoned me to his presence, for what reason I did not know, though I had an idea. I entered to find him reading, sitting by the fire. As I moved forward he looked up, but did not rise, and after I had bowed to him, he gestured to a seat by his.
"Sit, please, Beregond," he said, laying the book down slowly. "I wish to talk with you."
I complied quickly, and asked him what he wished to know.
For a moment he was silent, and then he looked up at me, his face expressionless. "I wish to know, Beregond, the tale of my father's death and my saving, for I know from dropped hints that they are closely tied. Doubtless Mithrandir gave instructions ere he rode forth that I not be told of what had passed until I was well again, but here I am recovered. Be faithful in your tale, Beregond, and speak freely. I do not wish to hear lies or a softer version than the truth."
I swallowed. Of course I would not lie to my lord, but there are ways of phrasing things less harshly. My mind, however could think of no ways to soften the blow, so I squared myself and began the tale. As I spoke, I watched the face of Faramir. It was for the most part changeless, but I noticed slight cringes when I spoke of the words and deeds of Lord Denethor. These I spoke of with great care, yet I said no untruth. Finally, I ended my tale and we were silent for a long moment.
"Thank you, Beregond," Faramir finally said, rousing himself. "You're tale is satisfying, and I have gathered more even than you put into words. I realize that were it not for you I too would have burned in my Father's madness." He fell silent, and I sat uncomfortably for another long minute. Finally, he rose and I rose also.
"Again, thank you my friend," he said, placing a hand on my shoulder, "I shall not forget this, and if I can, I will put in a good word for you when the king returns. You may go."
I bowed again and started out the door, then turned. "My lord?" I said, and he turned to face me. "If I may be so bold?"
He nodded and I went on. "Where will the Lady Eowyn and you reside in the days that follow?"
Faramir smiled, as if merely the thought of Eowyn lifted the clouds that hung over our meeting. "We shall dwell in Ithilien, if the king has no better use for me, Beregond."
I smiled and bowed, and after that I took my leave. As I walked the dark streets, I gazed up at the bright stars and thought upon my actions and the consequences of them. There was no doubt that I would be killed for what I had done, but, surprisingly, the thought did not disturb me. [If that be my fate,] I sighed, [Then so be it.]
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass
The throne room was bright that day, that fateful day. The sunshine shone through the high windows and dappled the marble floor with a spotted splendor. The walk had never seemed that long---never. As I made my way across the great hall I did not turn my head either to the right nor to the left; the statues of kings of old did not snag my attention. Up ahead I saw him, sitting upon his throne. No one had sat there for so many long years, I found myself thinking about how odd it was that he was there. Ah...that walk really HAD gotten longer, hadn't it?
Finally, I reached the foot of the throne and I knelt, bowing low. My hour of judgement had come, and I was prepared to face it without trepidation.
"Rise," he said slowly, and I marveled at the richness in his voice. He looked so different in his splendor than when I saw him that day when he healed Faramir. Different...and yet not. I rose, looking at his face.
"Beregond, by your sword blood was spilled in the Hallows, where that is forbidden. Also you left your post without leave of Lord or Captain. For these things, of old, death was the penalty. Now therefore I must pronounce your doom."
[Here it is.] I thought, standing straighter.
Then, to my surprise, he smiled. "All penalty is remitted for your valor in battle, and still more because all you did was for the love of the Lord Faramir. Nonetheless you must leave the Guard of the Citadel, and you must go forth from the city of Minus Tirith." He paused.
I stood, stricken. I felt the color drain from my face, and, try as I might, I could not stop my hands from shaking slightly. Death, I could stand. But to be forced to leave my beloved city, dismissed in disgrace from the service of the King...what was I to do...where could I go? And what of Bergil, my son, and Duliet, my wife? Where could I take them? Bergil would grow in the knowledge that his father had been banished from Minus Tirith for the rest of his life...
"So it must be," the King proceeded, and I dared not look him in the eye, "For you are appointed to the White Company, the Guard of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and you shall be it's Captain and dwell in Emyn Arnen in honor and peace, and in the service of him for whom you risked all, to save him from death."
I looked up quickly. Had I heard right? Nay, I could not have. Yet my heart rose and gave a quick thump. King Aragorn smiled down on me and suddenly, I sprang forward and, kneeling, kissed his hand.
"Thank you, my lord," I said, nearly suffocated from the joy within. He smiled and nodded his head.
"Go now," he said, "And tell you wife and son. May you live long and well, Beregond, Captain of the White Company."
I bowed again, then turned and hastened from the hall. It took me mere seconds to get across it this time, and I raced to the Houses of Healing to tell Duliet.
Bursting through the door, I picked her up and swung her around the room, crying, "Dulie! Dulie my love, you will never believe these tidings!"
She laughed and bid me put her down, which I did, and then I told her all that the king had said. When I had done, she gasped and put a hand to my cheek.
"But, Beregond, can this be true?"
"As true as can be, Duliet my wife. We shall dwell with Lord Faramir and Lady Eowyn in Emyn Arnen, in sight of Minus Tirith forever."
Duliet looked down for a long while, and when I gently raised her chin, a tear glistened on her cheek.
"My love, what is it?" I asked, worried. "Does this displease you in any way?"
Duliet sniffed and shook her head, drawing near to me. "No, Beregond. No. It is just the opposite. Nothing could please me more!"
I hugged her back, gazing out the window at the mountains, and the verse that the King had spoke at the coronation came into my mind.
"Et Earello Endorenna utulien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-mette," I spoke slowly.
The king had returned.
Elvish translation: Out of the Great Sea to Middle-Earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.