The Price

Disclaimer: Middle-earth and all its inhabitants belong to J.R.R. Tolkien and his estate. I am making no money from this and intend no infringement of copyright.

Rating: PG.

Summary: Imrahil, as he bears his kinsman back to the city.

A/N: The Encyclopedia of Arda suggests that Faramir may mean 'sufficient jewel' while Boromir may mean 'faithful jewel'.

Thanks to Isis for betaing this.

He would have wept if he dared, but a prince may not weep in war, fast though his tears may fall in peace. Yet weep he would have, if duty to his men had not prevailed, and bitter they would have been, those falling tears. Bitter tears for a land that lay beneath the shadow, the fair, wide country dim and grey. Bitter tears for a sister's death, so needless, so helpless. Bitter tears for a kinsman's sorrow, for a grief that time would not soften, nor the passing years heal.

Faramir, Faramir, would that I had been your father and not your uncle, for you would have been no lesser jewel to me.

But, even had he spoken such words aloud, no answering murmur could have come from the body he held to his very heart, limp and slack as if death already laid a hand upon his brow. The broken shaft of the arrow, that fleeting dart of evil purpose that so smote down his kinsman and laid him waste upon the field of battle. Brittle, and yet cruel and hard it jarred against the Prince's arm as he shifted his grip on the reins, urging his courser faster, faster for the walls of Minas Tirith. A grimace disfigured a face so fair in peace and so grim in war. The Tower of Watch had not guarded well the life of the last of its line, had not stayed him from that arrow's path.

Is it not enough that you put him from your heart, that you must now fling him before the Nazgû l's feet like some carrion offering, brother mine? Brother? Aye, the word was but sour sustenance for one who has looked upon the face of darkness.

The blue banner of his House surged and crackled above his head, the ship and swan roiling and surging as if in truth they rode the rolling breakers of the Great Sea. And yet even all the majesty and potency of the writhen seas could not cool the angered ember burning at the heart of the swan-prince.

Still the horse went onward, and still the enemy ravened behind. The Prince looked down upon the face so near unto his own, so like unto that of the Steward, and yet so unlike, the grey eyes half-opened, staring as some vile horror beyond the realms of sight; the pale skin, the dark hair; the harsh, clean features of lost Nú menor. Again he saw, as if the misty curtain of the years was but for a moment drawn aside, the face of his sister, wan in death.

If this is the price of your father's house, Denethor, son of Ecthelion, it is a price too high to pay.

No one answered, and the wind pricked tears from his eyes, much though he denied them.

His life was yours, brother, but his death I shall deny you. Nor shall your name be written in the legends we keep as thralls beneath the hand of Mordor.

And let it be said that he stood fearless at the last, Faramir of the White Tower, this greater son born of lesser sires.


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