Forming New Ties
Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings belongs to its respective owners.
Synopsis & Author's Note: There are not many fics that center on Faramir and Legolas out there. This is an attempt to write my own. This takes place shortly after the Coronation but Faramir and Eowyn are not yet married. The story examines how Faramir and Legolas became friends as they took on the governing of Ithilien.
Forming New Ties
The direction for those paths were imprinted firmly in his mind. It seemed only yesterday that he had called this outpost home, his sanctuary while fighting against the shadow. He could easily find the trail, the familiar path that he had trekked since he was old enough to shoulder the burden of defending the territory within his father's Stewardship.
Times have changed since the fall of Sauron, but still, he found solace here. His steps were light, barely leaving a trace of footfalls upon the snow. The weather had turned colder and with it brought the first snow upon Ithilien, the Princedom of Lord Faramir, Steward of Gondor, son of Denethor. For the moment, the said brother of Boromir had forgo his titles and reverted to simply Faramir, the Captain.
This was the land that he had once stationed alongside his fellow rangers. Even now the place was liked no other for it held many secrets within its shelter. Scared vows were made here among the outcrop of cliffs and hidden paths. In the heart of this land, there was an envelope of tranquillity where the Men formed their own comradery and found strength in this brotherhood.
Faramir walked these paths, stopping momentarily as he was hit with a wave of nostalgia. Not so long ago, he aided two Hobbits along on their journey towards the dark oblivion of Mordor to destroy the Ring of Power. His mind reverted back to those times as he stood mesmerised by the sight before him: a snow covered waterfall cascade plunging downwards to a ranging waters below. In this moment of solitude and silence, Faramir released his burdens.
However, the Ranger inside was ever-alert and sensitive to his the changing surrounding. Faramir was jolted from his thoughts by the crumbling of snow and the crackling of branches from his right. In a blink of an eye, he had notched an arrow to his Gondorian bow. He had been a ranger for too long to not carry the weapon around with him. However, as the intruder emerged from among the trees, he recognized the flash of blond hair as that of Legolas, Prince of the Woodland Realm, also the Lord of the fair Ithilien.
"Peace, I mean no ill will," said the Elf, with his arms out weaponless.
"My apologies, Prince Legolas," replied Farmir as he quickly lowered his bow and arrows. The appearance of the Elf had caught him off guard. He had heard of the Elven Prince with whom he shall share the governance of Ithilien. The Elf was famed for his abilities with the bow and to many maidens he was rather pleasing to look upon. However, unlike the others of the former Fellowship, he had not fought with Legolas in battle. In fact, since the Coronation, he had little chance to speak with the Prince himself.
"No, Lord Steward, the offence is mine. It is not my intention to intrude upon you if it is your desire for solitude."
Faramir was still rather uncomfortable with his newly reinstated title as the bearer of the White Rod. Though he was conditioned with the need for protocol and respect, the pain and grieve were still too fresh. "There is no need for titles here. As to your arrival, it is no intrusion. I had heard your approach... though I was under the impression that Elves were graceful in their stride."
As soon as the words came out, Faramir realized that the comment was uncharacteristically foreign to him. He had barely spoken with the Elf before. Now, Faramir immediately felt that he had laid an insult and quickly tried to amend his words.
However, Legolas answered first. The Elf had heard of Faramir, as Boromir had mentioned his younger brother during the journeys of the Fellowship. As well, the people of Gondor expressed their love and respect for the second son of Denethor. Gandalf and Prince Imrahil had their share of affections and pride for him. Still, Legolas had yet to get a first impression of the man, so he was truly surprised at the jest that was directed at him. Instead of being offended, he responded in kind.
"Elves are known for many things, including their gracefulness. However, I have a healthy mind to avoid being shot or injured by stray Gondorian arrows."
"Are you mocking my abilities as an archer, Master Elf? I had many years of the training as the Ranger of Ithilien but I do concede to your highness that my skills do not surpass that of pompous Elven royals."
Faramir stood with his arms crossed waiting for a retort. It was out-of-character but he pushed the thought aside. He had far too gone with his comments to turn back now. The only consolation was the fact that he was not under the scrutiny of the courts or the gravity of ostentatious titles. For now, he was only the ranger of the wilds.
The Elf stood silently for a moment. His silver cerulean eyes met the smoky hazel ones of the Man. Never would he feel so relaxed with the newly reinstated Steward and acclaimed Prince. When he had first met the very arrows tips from the Gondorian bow, Legolas felt a connection there. How alike he was with the Man who now stood before him? Even at the end of the Ring Wars, Faramir felt the need to carry his bow with him for fear of the enemy. Legolas, himself had been living under the Shadow since he was a mere elfling. Mirkwood had a need for warriors to defend against the enemy and Legolas was one of many who answered her call. Even on a ride in the Woodland Forest, Legolas recalled carrying some form of weapory as a precaution against any foul and unwanted guests. Now in the time of some relative peace, Legolas wanted to befriend Faramir with whom he was going to share a vassal with.
At last, upon introspection of their predicament with Faramir still waiting for a response, the Elf settled with a laugh instead. The melodious sound was soon joined by one from the Gondorian.
"Come," said Faramir as they both settled down. "I see much explanations are in order and I know of a place where we can talk at our leisure." Then just as quickly, Faramir reverted back to his competent and even-mannered self as he beckoned with the wave of his hand before continuing onwards.
Legolas was led them to a cave behind the waterfall. There were still remnants from when Faramir last held his command. The Gondorian laid his provisions down on the table though he kept his bows and arrows nearby. He motioned for the Elf to do likewise while Faramir sat near the entrance of the cave. His back was against the wall while he starred aimlessly at the waterfall. Moments later, the Elf sat near him studying the surroundings.
Silence filled the air until Faramir answered the unspoken question, "This was my posting in Ithilien while serving as the Captain of the Rangers."
Unconsciously, he has spoken in a whisper. Legolas replied in equally soft tones, "I am curious as to why you strayed so far from Minas Tirith and that of your betrothed."
"I am overseeing some potential areas for reconstruction while Lady Eowyn is in Rohan with her brother, Eomer-King. This is a natural detour when the weather turned for the worse." He paused before continuing, "And yourself? I noticed that Master Gimli is not with you."
"Gimli is quite content to be in Minas Tirith making plans with Aragorn to rebuild a new gate. As much as I enjoyed his company, one can only bear so much talk on the ways to carve mithril. I thought it best to make my escape when I stumbled upon your horse."
Faramir nodded at the explanation, before redirecting his gaze to the water. Ever the diplomat, he began to ponder if he should have addressed Legolas as 'Prince'.
Sensing his thoughts, Legolas said, "It is as you say, title mean nothing here, Faramir."
The Man wryly, wondering if Silvan Elves had the ability to read minds. "You know, you should consider yourself privileged, Legolas. Few outsiders know of this place or walk into the territory unblinded, even fewer who trespassed emerged alive."
"Then Faramir, may I inquire as to the identities who passed before me?"
"There were four to be exact, you included. The others were Frodo, Samwise and the creature Smeagol."
A look of recognition came across the Elf's face. "Then, you have certainly done a courageous deed, Faramir."
Surprised, the Man turned to the companion beside him and replied in an incredulous tone, "By sending them into further depths of danger?"
Shaking his head slightly, the Elf groped for the right words before responding, "No, for resisting the callings of the Ring. Duty for the realm before personal gain, yet you still kept true to your heart's reservations."
Faramir stiffened at the implications. He had heard the plight of his brother who was lured by the Ring which drove him beyond the sanctity of ambition. Both King Elessar and Pippin had recounted his brother's final moments in his ultimate act of bravery and valiancy. Faramir himself, suffered a severe reprimand from his father upon return to Minas Tirith. Denethor, blinded by the visions from the palantir, had craved for the power of the Ring. He had long ceased to listen to reason especially those coming from his youngest. Faramir bored the Steward stoically with a pain in his heart but he hardened his resolve to carry out orders. Even now, he heard the horn of Gondor as he closed his eyes in memory.
The Elf wished to remedy the situation, seeing that the Man had fallen silent. "Faramir, it is not my intention to inflict pain by my words. Boromir was a solider, a man of honour. As a fellow warrior, I respect him as a member of the fellowship, as a friend, a servant to the realm whose wish was to bring about peace. I need not sing praises of your brother. Yet ... do the people hold Faramir, the Steward, the Captain, the Ranger in the same accord?"
The Man turned sharply at the words, his eyes questioning, his breath still waiting for the Elf's next words. "Faramir, my words shall not do justice. The people love and admire your devotion and wisdom. They place their trust unconditionally in you, Child of Gondor. By you letting the Ringbearer and his servant continue upon the lands of Mordor, you have given hope, where hope was scarce, bestow courage where strength wanes and you have brought upon hope to Middle Earth."
Faramir turned away, schooling his face into a neutral, expressionless countenance as Legolas waited. The Man revealed little except for a small sound that could be heard. The Gondorian finally broke the silence and said, "I have no wish to be my father and I do not have the ability to be my brother. I am only a mortal man and I fervently hope that it is enough."
The Elf reached across and laid a comforting hand on Faramir's shoulder. The Gondorian did not flinch away from the contact, rather he drew comfort and strength from the immortal beside him.
Faramir spoke again, "And you Master Elf, is it not true that your skills as an archer had continually brought hope to the soldiers on the front, the same who befriended many including a Dwarf? The Lady Eowyn once spoke of the pillar of light which stood beside Theoden King and King Elessar in the darkness of Helm's Deep."
It was the Elf's turn to be embarrassed. Legolas was never one to announce his station amongst the people. He fought for hope, for a feeble chance. It is better to die fighting alongside friends then waiting for the darkness to engulf the light. Taking his hand away from its place on the Man's shoulder, he said, "I see you have the act of diplomacy, Faramir, diverting praises toward others. Never doubt that you have the respect and the loyalty of the people."
Faramir was unaccustomed to being praised and to have love offered to him freely. Boromir loved him, this he knew to be true. Hearing the Elven words, Faramir was at a loss. "Then, I am honour to govern Ithilien with one of the First Born, a fellow solider ..."
"A friend?" asked Legolas, sensing a slight hesitation.
"A friend," affirmed Faramir.
They shared a look before Legolas' eyes lit up mischievously, "When you say rule Ithilien together, do you plan to include Lady Eowyn, surely she shall have a few comments about the ruling of this land."
Faramir smiled, "I believe the answer depends on her brother, if he could bear her absence and if I can survive future encounters with the King of Rohan." Faramir was silent in memory and his smile told of a secret.
Legolas said, "A blind man could see that you love her."
"And you my friend, has one taken your heart thus? It seems as though every available maiden is stricken by your presence."
The Elf said nothing as he contemplated his next words. "My heart is deeply divided. Long have I pledged myself to the mortal realm and I shall hold true to that vow. Yet, I could not deny the callings of the my people as many of the Elvenkind shall sail west. Valinor, our souls shall be complete there. I will be reunited with others of my kindred. Even now, I see myself standing by the shoreline with the waves making violent and glorious laps, spraying a mist of salted air across my face. The gulls soar overhead with the endless freedom overlooking the sea. Always, they can return to infinite blue. In the distance, I can hear the sea beckoning me, in the deep recess of my mind. At times, it is the only sound that I hear..."
Legolas clutched at his chest, and his eyes squeezed shut. Faramir looked unsure as to how to offer comfort, "Legolas, mellon-nin?"
Those simple words broke through Legolas' struggle and the Elf smiled in the recognition, "You speak the Grey Tongue. Hannon-le, mellon. I shall not succumb to the call of the sea yet, but my heart is not ready for the love that you share with the White Lady of Rohan."
The matter dropped for the moment. Then, Legolas broke into a song. To his surprise, he was joined by Faramir as well. The hushed alto from the Elf was harmonized by Faramir's soft bass. As they reached the last verse, Legolas was truly delighted, "That was an old Even song, how did you came by it?"
Faramir's eyes clouded before he murmured, "My mother." The Gondorian spoke so that a mortal would not have caught the words but Legolas did due to his uncanny Elvish hearing.
"She had a bit of Elvish blood, so she wanted to teach us. Boromir was never one for languages, much less Elvish. Mother tried nonetheless and this song was one of the first that she sang. As I recall, it was one from around the second age."
Legolas was about to reply when Faramir continued, "She died when I was barely five summers and Boromir, ten but I have not heard that song for so long ..."
"I never knew my mother, she died giving birth but this song was a gift from someone close to my heart."
Faramir turned at the admission but the Elf would not disclose anymore and Faramir did not press. Instead he said, "Come, the weather has lightened. Shall we ride by the moonlight?"
Legolas concurred and together, they retrieved their packs before Faramir leading the way once more. On their trek downwards, Legolas halted in his steps and signalled the Gondorian. No words were spoken and none was necessary. The Elf cast his glance at a tree off in the distance and the Gondorian understood the silent message and the challenge in the Elven eyes. With swift and precise movements of their hands, the two archers withdrew their bows and almost simultaneously - Legolas was faster with over two millennia of training - two arrows were released. The projectiles landed on the aforementioned target. First was one with Elvish runes followed by one wrought with intricate feathers.
"My arrows do not stray," retorted the Gondorian.
They shared a smile. Both were surprise at the level of disclosure that they had shared. Perhaps, it was the setting which provided a sense of intimacy where their secretes shall remain in the other's confidence. Maybe, it was their mutual desire to strike a common ground as the governors of Ithilien. Whatever the reason may be, they had in the end, reached a level of deeper understanding. Together, they left the retreat of the forest with lighter hearts and the knowledge that the basis of a new friendship had been formed.
AN: Please r/r and share your comments good / bad. I know that Faramir was a bit OOC. Still, I take constructive criticism and if you guys like it, I will try to write more fics. Much love...