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The Last Word
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

The echoes of the song of the silver trumpets that heralded the dawn faded on the warm summer breeze and awoke Faramir from his slumber. He opened his eyes and stretched lazily, feeling fully rested since for the first time in days too many to number, his sleep had been untroubled. He did not need to search his heart too deeply to know that the tenuous link to Boromir that his lost brother’s journal provided was at least in part the source of his newfound inner peace.

His tears the night before had washed some of the darkness of his grief away, and as he walked out onto his balcony to watch the unfurling of the flags atop the tower, he imagined he could hear Boromir’s voice whispering with much pride how beautiful his beloved city was as it glittered like a jewel in the early morning light.

“Aye beautiful and safe, and home once more to the King,” the young Steward thought in reply as he stepped back into his chamber and set about his morning ablutions, his mind now on the book that lay waiting in the next chamber.

Faramir had decided that journal should only be read in the privacy of Boromir’s chambers and he fully intended to spend the rest of his day there once his bandages had been changed by the Healer. And, he reminded himself with a smile, after he had taken his lovely Éowyn for the promised walk in the gardens. Although his heart ached with sadness at the loss of both his brother and his father, it had also been filled with unexpected joy when he won the fair shield maiden’s love.

It was sometime after the noon meal before Faramir was free to return to his reading and rather than sit in the armchair, he settled himself comfortably on the bed, his head and shoulders propped up against the pillows. Taking his cup of wine from the bedside table he raised it in silent toast. He could so easily imagine Boromir leaning back in a relaxed pose at the other end of the bed, quill in one hand, the journal resting on his thighs and his eyes smiling at his younger brother over his own raised cup.

Ah Faramir,

This will be brief for I have just retired for the night. ’Tis past midnight as I write and you know how dearly I covet my sleep!

I wish you were here to share a cup or two of wine with me, the day has been so full of eye opening surprises that I am sorely in need of familiar company. My thoughts are in turmoil and I have learned so much that I do not know where to begin…

My audience with Elrond (as I have leave to call him I will have you know, in case you were thinking to accuse me of being less than respectful to the Peredhel) was not in private as I expected, but ‘twas a meeting of people of many races who had come to Rivendell as I did, to seek counsel or to deliver ill news. Today I have met Elves, Dwarves, Dúnedain and Halflings and no doubt you would find one and all fascinating.

By the way, did you know that our Mithrandir, who enquired after your well being, I might add, is known also as Gandalf, at least to the ones assembled here. I wonder how many other names he uses?

“But what of our dream, did you learn the meaning of the words of the riddle?” I can almost hear you asking, your face alight with anticipation and impatience.

Aye, the puzzle is solved. I have found Imladris and the Sword that was broken, and sat through one of the longest council meetings I have ever attended. I have learned that Isildur’s Bane is in fact the Ruling Ring that he cut from Sauron’s hand, and that it is now in the possession of the Halfling, Frodo Baggins.

Of course there was much more said but I am afraid I am not inclined to write it all down. I promise to tell you every word spoken when I return, but there is one thing I must tell you, only so that once written I will be able to believe it myself.

The name of the one who carries the shards of Narsil is Aragorn son of Arathorn. He is a ranger of the North and claims to be Isildur’s heir, and the last of the House of Elendil.

I have no reason to doubt the word of Mithrandir or Elrond who attest to the validity of his heritage, but do you realise what that means? If he is who he says, then he is in fact our King!

Can you imagine how Father will receive this news? He has always been possessive of his role as Steward, even more so of late, and where I once believed he would have welcomed Aragorn with fealty, I do no longer. I do not mean to speak harshly or with disrespect of our sire, but there is no denying that he is unlikely to feel inclined to accept the return of the King.

I am afraid he will have little choice in the matter for Aragorn has agreed to travel to Minas Tirith with me and once our people learn who he is and that he carries Elendil’s sword, surely our fading hope that the Dark Lord will be defeated will be renewed. He was defeated once in battle and so he can be again!

Unfortunately our people are unaware that it was Isildur’s weakness that allowed the ring to control his greed and prevented him from making the victory complete so many centuries ago. Not only did he sever the ring from Sauron’s hand that day, but his refusal to relinquish to the fires of Mount Doom also severed all trust between Elves and Men…

For my part, I believe that were we were given Isildur’s Bane to use against our enemies, the battle would even more easily be won. However, it is said that none can wield the ring but its dark master and Elrond insists that the only way to forever rid Middle-earth of Sauron is to destroy the ring. I feel uneasy about entrusting this task to the Halfling, but I have done my duty and vowed that Gondor will abide by the decision of the council.

But enough of this for now… my eyelids are heavy and I can no longer resist the lure of this comfortable bed…good night, little brother…

“Sleep well, Boromir...” Faramir whispered in reply, wishing he could have assured Boromir that Elrond had been correct to insist the ring be destroyed. The war had been fought and won, this time a sound victory accompanied the sorrow and loss that were the price to be paid.

Feeling the need for some quiet contemplation, Faramir carefully marked his place, put the journal aside and settled back against the head board, and mulled over his brother’s words. He agreed with Boromir that Denethor would have resisted yielding rule of Gondor to Aragorn, but then his father was clearly not himself even long before his eldest son had left in search of Imladris.

Faramir felt a strange sense of relief that his brother had not witnessed the insanity of their father’s final hours, hours of which his only memory was of fire and agony and the heartbreaking regret in Denethor’s eyes in the one moment of clarity before his death.

Although twilight was slowly descending, he was again eager to continue reading and his hand had just reached for the journal when there was an unexpected knock at the door.

“The Lady Éowyn is visiting with her brother and bid me deliver you this tray and asks you to remember that you must eat to keep up your strength,” said the young kitchen maid who stood outside, offering the meal tray with a nervous smile hidden beneath downcast eyes.

“Thank you, and please tell your Lady that I will do as I am bid,” he replied, the gentleness in his voice having a calming effect on the maid who looked directly at her lord then curtseyed politely before hurrying away.

Faramir set his meal aside for later, lit several candles so that he would have enough light to read by when night fell and returned to the place he had marked in the journal.


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