"It was at the rising of the sun after that fateful night that Aragorn received a message…. Thus, again, Aragorn left Minas Tirith and Finduilas.
"It was not even a year later that he received another message from the White City…. If his timing was correct, this message was coming from Finduilas.
"For two days Aragorn hesitated to heed the plea. Still the herald would not leave him alone. Then suddenly in the middle of the night the younger lad was rudely wakened by the older ranger pulling him to his feet.
"'Come, we ride for Minas Tirith.'"
Prologue selection quoted from Chaos Theory of the Truth of the Reunited Kingdom, Chapter 7, Greetings and Goodbyes
After 52 years worth of life upon Arda, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, was no simpleton by anyone's standards. He had been raised as Lord Elrond's son and was imbued with all the knowledge and wisdom befitting the man who was destined to one day become the King of Men.
On the rushed journey from the very edge of the marshes north of Cair Andros back to the White City Aragorn considered all the reasons for this call to come to him at the specific time that it did. He did all he could to come up with reasons other than the most obvious.
Nothing else was plausible though; the Lady Finduilas must surely be with child. He wondered what the odds could be that the child was someone other than his… those odds were dangerously slight. He remembered five years, the difficulty the fair lady had in delivering her first child and how Steward Ecthelion had practically begged him to use his knowledge of healing to help her, or at the very least, his grandchild, as he reportedly had done for soldiers wounded on the field.
Knowing how difficult her first delivery had been, there was no way Aragorn felt that he could not ignore this plea with any clear conscious. However, he swore to himself that unless it was much too obvious that the child was of his loins he would simply aid Finduilas's delivery and be gone. Of course, he had no plan in place for if the child was too obviously his and not Denethor's.
He arrived at sunset and immediately went to the Houses of Healing. There were few people about at that hour but still he kept his hood up, none questioned him because the Citadel messenger remained with him. It was not until he was into the birthing chambers that he removed his travel-stained cloak. Those ladies who remembered the help he had given to their lady the last time she was with child were extraordinarily glad to see him there again, it was extremely rare that any man was permitted into those chambers. Finduilas had gone into labor the night before and they had started to fear for her strength.
Candles burned by the hours of the night and still Finduilas struggled more than she ever thought she could. Finally the sun began to glimmer in the East and with all of her strength and a good deal of Aragorn's the cries of a just-born boy were heard. For a moment Aragorn just sat by and tried to catch his breath, surprised that Finduilas had not passed out the moment the child was safely delivered.
But Finduilas was far from unconsciousness, though weakened she was. Holding her child seemed to rejuvenate her immeasurably. Aragorn rose to leave without having really looked at the baby in her arms, but unexpectedly his attention was caught as the little one wriggled, seemingly testing out his new surroundings. Aragorn was unaware that Finduilas had dismissed the nurses; he did not notice that it was just the three of them alone; it did not immediately come to his attention that she had used his true name when she asked him to hold his son. All he was conscious of was just how perfect this new little boy was.
"What do you think of the name 'Faramir?'" she said in a whisper.
"Faramir," Aragorn repeated, beguiled by looking into his son's Dunedain eyes. No, there wasn't a doubt in him… this infant was his son, his firstborn. Aragorn wondered if it would be so obvious to anyone else.
"You must take him, Aragorn. Take him and be gone from the city as quickly as you can," Finduilas said weakly but urgently.
Aragorn looked up for the first time since laying eyes on his son. Fear now replaced the wonderment in his eyes. "I can not do that, Lady Fin-"
"You must do. Please take him, quickly. You know as well as I that I do not have much time left in my life. If I live another year it will be a marvel." She needed to be resting, but instead she had pushed herself up to sit, she needed to get this message across. "Take our little Faramir to safety - if he stays here… I can not be sure that…. Aragorn, Denethor knows things that I do not understand how he may know. It is most unnatural and it frightens me. I care not for my fate, but for my child. No one but you and I need know that this child has survived even this long."
Aragorn shook his head. "This can not work, though. You do not know the wilderness as I do. Many grown men can not survive, let alone an infant. Finduilas, please, he has a much better chance here than the life of exile I have."
He tried to lay Faramir back in his mother's arms, but she refused. "If I hold him again I shall never be able to let go of him. Take him to Rivendell, I beg you, that is the life he deserves, not a life of scrutiny and reproach… not a life spent in the shadow of Mordor. Denethor will not accept him if he knows the truth, and what Denethor does not accept –"
Taking a deep breath, Aragorn nodded. "I will find a way to get him to safety, regardless what sacrifice it might mean," he vowed. Quickly he wrapped his cloak around himself and tiny Faramir. "If I am to do this, it must be done at once. Farewell, Finduilas."
She shook her head though. "It is no longer my lot to fare well, unless my husband finally consents to give me leave, or banishes me back to the Sea. Keep him well, Aragorn, see to his happiness and see that he learns."
The Dúnedan bowed his head solemnly and Finduilas granted kisses to both of them before Aragorn slipped out of the Houses into the back alley, stealthily making his way out of the city of Minas Tirith. He was stopped only once, by an eager copper merchant, but the man did not recognize him and Aragorn ignored his pitch.
He "borrowed" a mount to get out of the city and across the Pelennor faster. He sent the animal back riderless at the edge of the Druadan Wood. His first notion was to try to get to Edoras quickly, then strike north from there, but rethinking that told him he would do better to get to Lothlorien first and foremost. It was his hope to find better help from the Elves than that which Men of Rohan could provide.
"It looks like north it is, my little son," Aragorn said peeking under his cloak, which sheltered the boy. "I have no notion how I am going to do this, but I will keep you safe and well somehow. I swear that above all else. Bid Gondor farewell, little one. I doubt either of us shall see this land again too soon."
This story is dedicated to Iblis, who set me thinking about this with a note on Chapter 15 of Chaos Theory. Thanks for the inspiration!
I can not promise that this story will be updated, let alone completed, very soon. Shadows is coming to a conclusion and i just decided to start this to hopefully cure a case of writer's block on that i've encountered in Shadows. Sometimes too many other ideas will blot out the one's you're trying to concentrate on.
Anyway, i definitely intend to continue this into something substantially longer, just as soon as Shadows reaches completion.