The chest was locked, of course, but Faramir fished about in a pocket and drew forth a set of keys that he had taken from the desk. One of them clearly was meant to open a room somewhere in the Citadel--possibly the high chamber where once the palantír had sat--and a second had opened a small box that had proved to hold letters exchanged between Rohan and Gondor in the past five years. Thus, the third must be for the trunk. Faramir inserted it into the keyhole and gave a twist. Nothing. The key did not budge, and would not, despite a few well-chosen words and several further attempts.
Frustrated, he threw the set of keys across the room. He sank into a chair and wiped a hand over his face. 'That key has to open something,' he thought. Taking a few minutes to calm down, he sat staring at the keys, thinking of what else among his father's things that one key might open. There were numerous chests and boxes that had been brought to him when he took over the office of Steward. Most of them were unlocked. Several had to be broken into. Only two remained locked and unopened. The chest he had tried the key to and...
Suddenly, he realized where the keys landed. They were in front of a chest made of dark wood, with mithril riveted to the corners, and a simple lock also made of mithril. He had vaguely remembered it in his mother's rooms when he was a boy. Slowly rising to his feet, he walked to the keys and picked them up. For a moment, he stood there, keys in hand, staring down at the chest. He hadn't even considered opening the smaller chest yet, afraid of the memories that could be locked inside. 'Why would father have kept this single chest from my mother? I thought he got rid of everything,' he questioned himself.
Faramir knelt down and removed the boxes that were stacked on top of the chest. When he was finished, he sat back on his heels and looked at the chest again. Reaching out, he touched the top lightly, then ran his hand over it until he reached the lock. Turning it over in his hand, he noticed that there was something inscribed there. Taking a moment to fully sit on the floor in front of the chest, he bent to read the small writing. "Finduilas," Faramir read out softly. "Mother," he said with a pang of sorrow. He had only told Boromir how much he missed their mother. Now, he was the only one who remained of his proud family. Tears ran down his face. Tears for his mother and his beloved brother, whom he so recently lost.
Wiping the tears from his eyes, he took the third key in his hand and turned the lock around. It seemed to fit perfectly, and as he turned it, he heard the soft snick of the lock opening. Removing it, he put it on the floor and turned to the chest once more. Laying both hands, almost reverently upon the top, he opened it slowly and gazed upon the contents. Folded neatly inside was a dark blue mantle, its hem and throat adorned with silver stars. Faramir took it out and stood up, holding it up and letting the rich, dark fabric fall its full length to the floor. It was a beautiful mantle, but he couldn't remember having seen his mother ever wearing it. He put it on, and noticed that it was just a little shorter than he was. Standing there, within the warm folds of his mother's mantle, he could almost feel her arms around him. Smiling gently, he remembered her laughing and smiling. It was rare when she did so, an ever growing sadness seemed to surround her more in the days before her death. It seemed the only joy she found was with her sons.
Taking the mantle off, he folded it once more and went to place it back in the box. Before he put it inside, and small piece of paper caught his attention. It was a letter, but the seal was unfamiliar. Placing the mantle on the floor, he picked up the letter and opened it.
"My lord husband," he read aloud into the silence of the room. "It would please me to have this mantle of stars given to Faramir upon the hour of my passing."
The note was short and simple. 'Just like mother,' he thought as he folded the letter and returned it to the chest. He picked up the mantle and carefully restored it to its place. Closing the chest, he locked it once more and picked it up. As he turned to leave the room, he looked at the last unopened chest. 'I will save that one for another day,' he thought. He left the room and took the dark wood chest to his rooms, there to remain until he found need for it again.