Disclaimer: Faramir, etc. are not mine.
Inspired by "The Shining," but only in terms of the ability of certain people to "shine," i.e. to see the events of the past that occurred in a particular place. No parallels are intended concerning insane fathers who try to kill their children. ;)
Written for the "Things That Go Bump In the Night" challenge at the LJ community faramirfics.
Part II will be up ASAP.
Ornendil was the eldest son and heir of King Eldacar, who was ousted during the Kin-strife by Castamir. Castamir besieged Osgiliath, executed Ornendil, razed the city, and killed many of its inhabitants.
Believing it important to showcase his family to the troops as the hope of Gondor, Denethor would on occasion bring his children to visit the troops in parts of Gondor. He did not bring Boromir and Faramir to Osgiliath, however, until he was certain they were old enough to accord themselves properly in a purely military camp. Boromir, for his part, looked forward to the trip with all due eagerness. He hoped to join the garrison at Osgiliath when he reached his majority at seventeen in two years. The men at Osgiliath were noted for their bravery and saw more action than any other branch of the regular army, and Boromir looked forward to the opportunity to meet some of the real life heroes he idolised.
Faramir dreaded the visit, however. Although only ten years old, he had studied some of Gondor's history already, and knew something of Osgiliath's violent past. Even beyond that, an odd sense of dread had settled on his heart. Yet he knew that his father would not accept such a feeling as a valid excuse for shirking his duty. The fear did not leave him, though, only growing as the ruined city grew closer, and so he resolved to cling to his brother more than usual, certain that Boromir would keep him safe.
But Boromir had no intention of spending the whole day minding his brother while there were so many fascinating things to see and do. He wanted to appear mature to the men he hoped to join, and holding his baby brother's hand was not the way to do that. Denethor asked one of the lieutenants there, a man by the name of Alcarin, to give his sons a tour while he dealt with the business that had taken him to Osgiliath. Their escort was friendly enough, but nothing could take away the overriding sense of dread that beset Faramir's heart.
They lunched with Alcarin and some of the others in his division in one of the ruined houses. Boromir eagerly asked questions of the soldiers, while Faramir sat in silence. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a sombre man sitting in one of the rooms adjoining the one in which they were eating. Faramir remembered that he had seen the man in Minas Tirith on occasion. He always wore strange clothes and never spoke to anyone, but that could be said of many of the courtiers and servants in the Citadel, and Faramir had never paid him much notice. But he found it odd that the man should be here in Osgiliath. After all, if he were a soldier he would be wearing a uniform. His interest piqued, Faramir continued to watch the man, surprised by the fact the man never even glanced at the odd circle of soldiers and children sitting around what was once a hearth. He seemed to stare blankly in front of him. Indeed, Faramir might have taken him as a statue had he not been so oddly placed.
Suddenly the man shifted position and winced. Faramir found that he could not draw his eyes away from him, watching entranced as the man felt his shoulder with his hand and withdrew it. Even in the shadows Faramir could see the telltale dark marks on the man's hand. Blood.
"Sir, Lieutenant Alcarin," he cried suddenly, heedless of the conversation around him, "that man over there is bleeding! You must help him!"
Instantly the soldiers sprang to their feet, eyes searching swiftly for their wounded colleague. "Where is he?" Alcarin replied curtly.
Faramir tugged Alcarin's shirt sleeve toward the room. "He is in there, sitting against the wall."
The men sprang to aid the wounded man, while Faramir stepped back to stand beside his brother. A quick search of the room revealed nothing. Alcarin and his men came back. "Where did you say the man was?"
Faramir pointed at the exact spot where he had seen him, but now his eyes saw nothing but shadows. "He was there… but I do not see him now." An involuntary shiver made its way down his spine, and he moved indiscernibly closer to Boromir.
Alcarin's eyes narrowed. "This is not the time for games, Lord Faramir. Did you see him or not?"
Faramir knew Alcarin's look to be one of anger, and he grew confused. "But sir, I did see him! He moved his hand to his shoulder and I saw blood on his hand. I swear I saw him, sir."
"There is no one there, nor are there traces of blood. In fact, the room looks as though no one has been in it for many years." The soldiers stood behind Alcarin's tall form, irritation clearly visible on their faces. "Lying is a serious crime, Lord Faramir, and something not to be expected from a son of a family such as yours. One must never lie concerning something as serious as the health of a fellow soldier."
"I'm not lying, Lieutenant Alcarin…" Faramir began, but Alcarin cut him off.
"I will stay here with both of you until your father is ready for you. Until then, you will sit here quietly, and cause no more trouble. Do you understand?" Both boys nodded miserably.
As soon as Alcarin had crossed to the other side of the room to speak with his men, Boromir leaned his head down and whispered angrily in Faramir's ear. "Just what did you think you were doing?"
"There was a man there! I swear it!" Faramir felt despair surge up through his soul. "You believe me, don't you, Boromir?"
Boromir looked directly at his brother. "Faramir, there was nothing there. I cannot believe you have shamed us so. Now what will the men think of us! What sort of example do we provide? And now I will not even be able to see the rest of Osgiliath, for we are to be punished by having to stay here."
Faramir looked away, as his eyes filled with tears. If Boromir didn't believe him, then no one would. But there had been a man there! Faramir could not understand what had just happened.
Two more soldiers entered the room. Faramir paid them little attention until he noticed that they walked straight to the room where the man had been. Now he watched, hypnotised, as they walked into the room, and emerged with the wounded man! He limped, and one of the other soldiers shoved him roughly, causing him to fall to the ground. Yet his body made no noise as it hit the hard stone.
Shaking with fear, Faramir tugged on Boromir's sleeve. "Boromir…" he whispered urgently.
"No, Faramir," Boromir replied harshly. Faramir did not even glance over as his older brother walked away and sat down further along the wall, so deeply affected had been his senses. All his eyes could see was the odd trio before him. One of the soldiers dragged the man back to his feet, and then the three left the room. Unable to help himself, Faramir followed them.
Once outside, he could hear the faint sounds of the aftermath of war – cries from the wounded and dying, screams from the captured women. The now unarmed survivors of the battle stood in a group, watching silently as the two soldiers brought out the wounded man. They spoke to him, gloating over the victory that had won them such spoils. Then the other soldiers moved towards the unarmed people, and began slaughtering them one by one, as the two soldiers forced the wounded man to watch.
Faramir also watched the carnage, feeling as though he, like the wounded man, was being held in place. He wanted to scream, to run away, to hide his face behind his hands, but he could not move, could not even blink, only watch as the blood – so much blood – was spilled before his eyes. Women, children, the elderly – none were spared. But none asked to be. They merely stood in silent expectation, watching as the swords came nearer to them. Fires lit by the conquerors sprang up in several parts of the city, causing walls to crumble and fall, but the carnage before Faramir's eyes held all his attention.
When there were no more survivors, no one whose blood did not run in the streets, one man, dressed more grandly than the other soldiers, stepped forward. He too spoke words to the wounded man about victory and spilling impure blood. Then he raised his sword and sliced the man's head cleanly from his neck. Bile rose in Faramir's throat, but he could not have vomited even if he desired to, for his mouth was still sealed shut, trapping even his scream inside him.
All the soldiers stood there for a few moments, taking in the scene they had created, then the one who had killed the wounded man turned his gaze.
He looked directly at Faramir and smiled. Then he raised his sword and came closer, closer…
Somehow Faramir's senses were restored to him. He turned and fled. He did not know where he was going or what he would do, but he knew he had to run, had to get away. When he trapped himself in an alley, he simply flung himself inside one of the nearby buildings. Curling himself up into a ball, he squeezed into the corner of some room and remained there, shaking in fear and horror. Try as he might, there was no escaping the images that now plagued his mind.