And we got older
He never asked for this future, but he sees it is for the best.
Although well-deserved, the honourable life he has earned has no direction, and no traces are to guide him.
He is no longer used to freedom. If he became something in the eyes of someone, if he could mean anything in the life of a friend, it was for the purpose he chased.
Travelling – or rather dragging himself around, town after town, county after county – is not of much help. Still, if he pays attention to his steps, he realises he always ends up in Bruma, where his memories lie frozen and the air feels colder every year.
Faramir faces the city gates, breathing quietly. Moments later, his steed leads him away.
He cannot keep far from Cloud Ruler's Temple for long.
The sadness of that place will never do him any good, and he is well aware of this; yet the voices, the sound of hooves on the ground, the clinging of armour and swords – they all mingle in a song, a call, which beckons to him and offers him a fragment of past.
He tries to forget, to deceive himself. He fails.
Every winter, sooner or later, he has to ride to the front door.
The wooden smell of the halls is new every time.
In the vast corridors, following his pace, the Blades greet him with a nod, full of the understanding of brothers and sisters.
In every direction he looks at, Faramir meets melancholic glances, and he answers with a sad smile.
They need sympathy, much more than he does.
Although Jauffre insists on burying himself in parchment and books, the Blades are never busy as they would like to be. Not in these times, not after these events.
Come to help, hopelessly forced to idleness, he tries to rest; and he ends up melting away whole winters with Baurus, sitting by a small fireplace that is barely enough to warm up their discomfort.
In his company the evenings slip away fast, and this is a blessing to him. Faramir talks and talks, telling the same adventures in new ways – when he has friendly ears by his side, they are all he needs.
There are times, however, when a long silence falls between them. They don't need to tell each other what they are thinking of; they know it is the same.
Faramir swallows in pain.
This place has just too much of him. Too many questions that his mind screamed, too many words that his sealed lips never spoke; while the ones who could help, who could make these warriors' efforts valuable and useful through their wisdom, are no longer in this world.
And the unspoken words still linger in the warmth, forever left without an answer.
The two men turn to the centre of the hall, meeting the same sight. An empty chair near an abandoned desk, with a pile of worn books now completely untouched.
It is the usual sight, unchanged for years – but right there, all around, the emptiness grows worse.
There is nothing to add. They lower their heads, and keep growing older.
A quick one-shot to express my feelings about the ending. I completed the main quest about two months ago, but the emotion is still strong in me, and I don't want to forget how it feels.
Sometimes I still ride to Cloud Ruler Temple to meet Jauffre and Baurus. :)
And We Got Older, the accompanying track, is by Jim Guthrie, part of the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EPsoundtrack.