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The Last Word
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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

My learned brother,

Before you think poorly of me as a historian (which of course we both know I am not), I am well aware that one should record the date of one’s journal entries but doing so would make me feel obligated to write every day, and I am sure you would not have me feeling guilty for missing a day or two if I have nothing much to say?

Nor may it always be possible to write every day, especially since I am to spend the next few travelling with Aragorn. He has summoned his patrol leaders to a meeting place that he tells me is a day’s ride north of Rivendell, and asked if I would accompany him and I have agreed.

Undoubtedly our uncrowned king means to spend some time becoming better acquainted with his Steward’s son and I welcome the chance to do so. Aside from a less than friendly discussion about the achievements of my men of the south as opposed to his rangers here in the north, we have only spoken briefly once or twice at table.

I am curious as to why he, and his forefathers, chose to remain in exile. Why, if the Elves have no love for Men, they nonetheless provide a safe haven for them?

Perplexing and disquieting questions, do you not agree?...

Faramir looked up from the book and nodded. Those same thoughts had crossed his mind. Boromir was clearly sceptical about everything he had learned and it was obvious that Aragorn and the Elves had won neither his brother’s trust nor respect as yet, both being difficult to earn. Faramir had no doubt that at some point Boromir would simply ask his questions of the Dúnedan, the eldest son of the Steward had little patience for the subtleties and intrigues of his father’s court.

Faramir knew his brother well, but was unable to say the same of Aragorn and wondered if Boromir’s directness had been welcomed or if a confrontation had arisen between the two men. If it had, he was certain Boromir would have made mention of it and if not, Faramir could always ask his king. Not that it really mattered now, he told himself with a sad sigh.

...Enough of my dark thoughts for now, I have some news for you on a much lighter note.

It seems there is sound basis for the tales we heard as children about Elves. They are indeed uncommonly fair of face, mysterious in their ways, definitely possessed of elegance and grace, and of the ability to move so swiftly and silently as to remain unseen by Men.

How do I know this last you may wonder?

It must be so because when I awoke this morning I discovered that my travel clothes had been taken away and replaced with several sets of clean garments a note pinned to one of the tunics informing me that my clothes would be returned once they were laundered and repaired.

I can not count the number of times I have been accused of disturbing the rest of my soldiers when the slightest rustling of the bushes is enough to put me on my guard yet I neither saw nor heard anything during the night. I am certainly grateful for the clean clothes yet can not help but feel a little discomfited to think that someone could enter my bedchamber and walk right up to my bed without waking me…aye, there was also an invitation left on the table beside the bed, requesting me to join the lady of the house, Elrond’s daughter Arwen, in her parlour for breakfast.

I sincerely hope it was not she, nor any other lady who delivered it…naked as I was beneath the bed sheets that were barely covering my dignity!

Cease your sniggering, Faramir!... …

(as indeed he was, in fact he was laughing heartily at the blush of embarrassment he knew would be burning his brother’s cheeks and the frown of annoyance that would be creasing his brow as he wrote. Boromir was no innocent when it came to bed play, but he had a sense of decency and modesty.)

… the thought is no more amusing for me than the time you were caught swimming naked by several of your lady friends…

Faramir laughed again and wished he could have reminded Boromir that he had in fact intended to be caught, at least by the one young lady he had taken a liking to that summer. She was supposed to have come alone, and she had, but her friends also chose that particular time to visit the swimming hole.

Faramir felt his eyes widen with shock. All these years he had considered it simply an unfortunate coincidence, but at the back of his mind he heard Boromir’s laugh and knew with surety that his brother had somehow arranged for the others to be there. Faramir closed his eyes and shook his head in exasperation at his own youthful folly.

...I tell you, my brother, Arwen is the most beautiful being I have ever had the fortune to meet. Her hair is long and black, her eyes sparkle when she smiles and her voice is as soft as silk. We spoke of the little things at first, and I learned that she has two brothers, twins, who she obviously loves dearly and in turn I told her about my adorable if not sometimes irritating younger brother. For reasons unknown to me, she was keenly interested in hearing about the Rangers of Ithilien and their Captain and when I had answered her questions, she asked me to describe Minas Tirith in detail.
After breakfast we spent a very enjoyable morning touring the Last Homely House and I hate to admit this, but although Father’s reasoning was false, he may have been wise to refuse you permission to come here.

The library is enormous and filled with more books and scrolls than you would be able to read in several lifetimes. There are several huge galleries, one with paintings depicting the history of the Elves lining its walls, another filled with all kinds of exquisitely crafted artefacts, and a third housing the more than impressive array of weapons and armour used in battle by the Elves. I begin to understand your fascination for these people and I think it will take me many days to fully explore these places fully.

I do not mean this unkindly but I am certain you would have soon become lost in the wealth of history books, likely forgotten the reasons for your arrival here and possibly never returned home!...

Faramir scowled with feigned irritation at the absent brother who knew him so well!

Of course Boromir was only teasing, a favourite pastime of his, but there was a ring of truth to his words. On more than one occasion Faramir recalled disappearing into the depths of the library, becoming so absorbed in a book that he ignored the dinner bell or a session of sword practice with his brother. He did not really mind eating his meal cold as Denethor would insist as punishment for his tardiness, but he had been less than pleased the time he found himself hauled over Boromir’s shoulder and carried to the training grounds like a recalcitrant child.

Boromir took his training seriously at all times, and Faramir had been soundly defeated in the ensuing sparring match. Of course, being the loving brothers they were, and after sharing too many tankards of ale, they both apologised profusely for their behaviour. The more in their cups they became, the faster the embarrassment and irritation was forgotten and the whole incident was suddenly uproariously funny, Faramir recalled with a smile that reached his eyes for the first time in many months.

...However, as compelling as I found both Arwen and the wonders she showed me, I would have much preferred to have been asked to participate in the meeting in Elrond’s study.

Aragorn, Mithrandir, and even Frodo were closeted away with him, discussing the plans for the scouting missions that were to be undertaken to ensure the safest route for our journey south. I do not know the lay of this land, but I am certain I could have provided some useful comments or advice. At the very least, I would have had the chance to learn more of the dangers that lie ahead.

I do not know if my discontent was written on my face or if my thoughts were being read, but I was astonished when Arwen assured me no slight to my experience in our war against Mordor, or my abilities as a warrior and leader of Gondor’s army, was intended and that such would be called upon during the months ahead. Kind words but speaking honestly, I still feel uneasy, as if something is being withheld from me, that I am not being told the entire truth. Perhaps the ring can be used in some small way to aid Gondor?...

Boromir was first and foremost a soldier, and would always be so. There had never been a more fearsome, skilled nor courageous warrior in all of Gondor than Boromir, Faramir sighed, his heart bursting with his pride in his brother.

Ah, ...Aragorn has arrived so I will bid you farewell for a few days… I wonder if we will ever become friends in time or simply tolerate each other for the sake of Gondor...

The darkness of night had long since shrouded the city, Faramir noticed as he rose from the bed and stepped out onto the balcony to take a breath of the fresh evening air. He hated the thought that Boromir had already begun to show signs of being seduced by the ring. He had no basis for his distrust of Aragorn or the Elves, for that matter, but the seeds of suspicion were already taking root.

Faramir was no fool, he knew his brother was not evil but his inner strength and resilience had its limits, as did every man’s. And there was no doubt that Boromir’s obsession and need to protect Gondor, whilst an honourable goal was quickly becoming his weakness.

The warm evening breeze that gently caressed Faramir’s hair, was almost lulling him to sleep where he stood, reminding his still healing body of its weariness. Quickly finishing the meal Éowyn had sent earlier, he returned to the comfort of the soft mattress of the bed that had been his brother’s, anxious to learn more about the relationship between Aragorn and Boromir from the journal.

However, such was not to be this night, for he had barely read a few lines before his eyes closed and he drifted into much needed slumber, and a dream of a certain son of Gondor, whose laughter still echoed in his heart and whose eyes glittered with mirth as he held his younger brother’s clothes aloft and threatened to throw the garments into the swimming hole.


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