The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.
Who will serve the King? - Frances R Havergal
With grateful thanks to Raksha
My advisers tell me I should proceed with care. They seem to think I know little of Gondor's history, when they remind me of the kings of long ago; the horrors of kin-strife and war. Castamir the Cruel's name still causes a shudder in all who hear it, while other kings were vain and foolish.
These venerable men were my father's counsellors. They remind me our House ruled wisely and well for close upon a thousand years. The House of Hurin has lineage as ancient as any scion of Isildur. My longfathers settled in Gondor with Anárion and there remained, as much a part of the land as the very soil and trees rooted therein.
"What does this pretender to the throne know of our ways?" one says. "He comes from the Northlands and was raised in the forest by Elves!"
"If we were to have any King," old Cemendur, named for a King like so many here today, huffs from his chair; "It should be one of the true line of Anárion, descended from father to son, not through a woman!"
Cemendur has apparently forgotten that my own line continued its inheritance of rod and rule through a woman, when Steward Dior was succeeded by Denethor I, son of his sister Rian. And he dares to teach me our history!
I say nothing yet, merely watch and listen.
Other voices warn me that we dare not resist. The Lord Elfstone holds the Rohirrim, through the love of their young king, in one hand, and the power of Mithrandir in the other, and now holds sway over my uncle Imrahil as well. They say he is a schemer who only healed me to gain popular support in his bid for the throne!
I begin to understand my father's impatience with his Council.
I stand up and face them. "Were the Lord Aragorn merely a devious pretender, would it not have been easier to leave the heir of the Stewardship, his greatest potential rival, to die of the Black Breath?" I ask. "After giving me life, he rode out to an almost certain death, hazarding his own life to give the Ringbearer a better chance to save us all. Though I grieve to say so, it was the Lord Aragorn who led us to victory while my father chose to perish in the flames. Were it not for Mithrandir and the Lord Aragorn, the House of Hurin would have ended that day. I have listened to you all, but my decision is already made. When he brought me forth from the darkness, I beheld the greatness of the man and hailed him as King. I mean to offer him his rightful crown and gladly surrender my Office."
Some faces are aghast, some voices stutter in protest, some sigh and others are quiet. I think that none can believe that the King has truly returned to Gondor.
I survey them with my most compelling gaze, which I remember well in the eyes of the last Steward to sit here. "My lords, there will be no more argument. I, Faramir son of Denethor and twenty-seventh Ruling Steward of Gondor, now accept the kingship of Aragorn, son of Arathorn. I have decided!"
A/N This chapter is an expanded version of a ficlet written for the AA Group, which inspired me to write this story, a series of vignettes concerning vital decisions for Denethor, Faramir and Aragorn.
A very big thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed. I hope you have enjoyed the story and greatly appreciated your comments.
I have replaced this final chapter as Raksha and I were not satisfied with the conclusion.