Thanks to Rosie26, she was very helpful again and never complained of my numerous questions.

I still don´t own Tolkien´s characters and I promise to take care of them.

Only One Step

Faramir stood on top of the wall of the highest level in the White City, looking to the horizon, where the first sunbeams emerged after a long and dark night. He was completely lost in thought... only one step...

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His mother died when he was five years old. He missed her so much and went clandestinely to her grave as often as he could. Clandestinely? Yes, his father detested any sign of weakness shown by a steward´s son. Even on the tenth anniversary of her passing he wasn´t allowed to go, but did so nonetheless and was caught. From that day his father locked the gate of the tomb and opened it only three times a year: on the occasion of his own and his two sons´ birthdays.

There were only few who really cared for Faramir: His older brother, Boromir, who was protector, friend and surrogate father in one person, had so often comforted the little boy, when he had been ignored, or even worse, denigrated by their father. Denethor never acknowledged his second born´s qualities, never trusted him with more important tasks than fetching letters within the walls of Minas Tirith yet constantly – and unjustly – finding fault with even those simple duties.

And there was Mithrandir, the wizard: He realised very early how talented and interested the boy was in skills such as writing poems, composing songs and performing them himself on instruments like the harp or the flute. Faramir had a fabulous memory for all kind of historic facts, and was interested in law studies and sciences, but the times were not suitable for a scholar. With the constant threat of Sauron and his allies, military skills were those demanded of the Steward´s son. The lessons that Faramir loved were cut down and finally forbidden.

Faramir tried hard to learn sword fighting and other vital abilities, but except in archery he could never even approach Boromir´s level. He had remarkable strategic talents and he was able to develop cunning and effective plans to defeat the enemy without endangering more soldiers than necessary – but who would have listened to a 14 year old boy?

Finally he joined Gondor´s army. Boromir defended Osgiliath successfully but had to leave Gondor, being summoned to a secret council in Rivendell - Faramir never forgot the day of his parting: They had their last breakfast together. "I wish I could go with you," Faramir said. "It is a long and dangerous journey, I fear for you because you must go alone in these dark times."

"Yes, little brother, I would appreciate your going with me, for we have always enjoyed each other´s company and relied on each other when necessary. But you see, someone must hold Osgiliath and you are the right person to do this. I will come back as soon as possible. Take care, little one." With these words Boromir arose, hugged his brother for the last time and left the room.

And indeed, it was the very last time they saw and hugged each other, for Boromir never returned to Minas Tirith. Faramir never overcame the loss of his brother.

When he met the Ringbearer and his companion, he cared not that he broke his father´s law in releasing them. A death sentence didn´t scare him. He wasn´t even surprised at being called disloyal. To hear that his father would have preferred that his and Boromir´s places had been exchanged, hurt him so deeply that he didn´t even mind the suicide charge his father ordered – his own life was unimportant, for he had lost everything worth living for. But for the soldiers, who had to accompany him, he grieved deeply and was at the same time angered because of that injustice. Most of them had a family - parents, a wife, children. He couldn´t forgive his father for being prepared to sacrifice their lives so recklessly for an impossible task. When the first arrow hit him in the chest, he actually felt relief instead of the expected pain. Relief and the anticipation of a better life after death, hopefully side by side with Boromir.

It was an incredible nightmare when he opened his eyes again; he could barely see what was going on for he was surrounded by flames, heat and steam, unable to move. He watched his father setting himself on fire and dying having obviously lost his sanity. He wouldn´t have believed that this had really happened, had he not suffered some burns himself, which healed eventuallly, but although there were no physical scars, on his heart they were engraved like a brand, for Faramir was pursued night and day by the image of his father´s face as he called out his name before his cruel death.

During this awful time his whole being suffered pure physical and emotional pain, and he was glad for every single moment of his unconsciousness. He did not fight for his life at all - more than willing to give in to his injuries, but thanks to the healing skills of his King he survived. He was a remarkable man, this Aragorn, who spent as much time at Faramir´s bedside as he could spare. They talked a lot when Faramir´s health slowly mended and they became quite close friends, the King of Gondor and his Steward.

When he was allowed to get up, he met the beautiful Rohan Princess, Eowyn, who also was in the care of Aragorn. He had been told of her heroic deed in killing the Witchking of Angmar and that she nearly paid with her life. They fell in love and for the first time Faramir made sense of his still being alive. Later they married and lived happily together, except for the rumours.......Those rumours concerning his wife and the King, and which were never completely quelled.

When he asked Eowyn about them, she frankly admitted that she once had thought herself to be in love with Aragorn, but this had turned out to be an illusion, for she saw in him a hero, who had succeeded in battles she was never allowed to participate in because she was a woman. Faramir tried hard to rid himself of the tiny suspicion remaining in his mind but he couldn´t prevent the pain like needle-pricks in his heart, when he saw his wife and his King talking to each other.

Then last evening, on the occasion of the King´s birthday party, Eowyn gave Aragorn their present and she smiled at him during their conversation. A smile which appeared to be so loving that Faramir could hardly veil his jealousy and he felt the familiar and nearly forgotten feeling of being the second best rising again.

In the night Faramir could barely sleep. Dawn was already breaking when he heard Eowyn calling out in her sleep: "Aragorn, no, don´t go!" Faramir immediately got out of his bed and left the house.

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Only one step......without hesitation he stepped forward to do what he should have done long ago....