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The Last Word
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Chapter 5

Faramir was so lost in the depths of his melancholy that he was oblivious to the soft click of the lock as the door to Boromir’s chambers was opened and closed., nor did he sense the presence of another until a gentle had rested on his shoulder. The unexpected touch caused him to rise hastily from his chair, fear and astonishment in his tear filled eyes. He drew a couple of ragged breaths and tried to slow his racing heart beat.

“I am sorry, nephew. I did not mean to startle you so. I saw the light under the door and knowing you would be in here, came to see how you are feeling. Your face is as white as the winter snow, are you ill or did you simply think that I was someone else?” Imrahil’s voice was filled with compassion and affection, and his last words were surprisingly close to the truth. For a brief moment, Faramir had thought his brother returned, at least in spirit if not in person.

“I am not ill, but for the pain in my heart and aye, for a brief moment there I almost believed you were Boromir,” Faramir sighed sadly as he slowly regained his composure. There was still much grief and anguish, in the younger man’s words, as was to be expected, Imrahil thought as he instinctively drew his distraught young kinsman into his arms, offering a comforting embrace, the kind a father gives his son in his moment of need. Sometimes, Imrahil thought, no matter his age in years, the child within needed the security and reassurance only a parent can give.

It was the kind of embrace that Faramir yearned for and had not experienced from Denethor for many more years than he cared to remember and he smiled as he relaxed against his uncle’s strong chest and simply enjoyed the feeling of being held close and loved.

“Would that I was our beloved Boromir rather than merely your aged uncle,” Imrahil said, affectionately squeezing Faramir’s shoulder to take the sting from the mention of Boromir, although the wise Prince of Dol Amroth knew here was no sense in avoiding using his name or in speaking about Denethor. He placed a tender kiss on his nephew’s troubled brow and then released him when something caught his eye.

“I would ask you what you are doing alone in here in the middle of the night, but I think I can guess,” he said answering his own question as he bent down to pick up the journal. “I take it this belonged to your brother? I recognise his handwriting.” Faramir nodded.

“It is Boromir’s journal, the one I gave him so that he could record some of his adventures as he travelled the countryside, looking for hope for Gondor on the strength of a dream. Aragorn saved a few of Boromir’s personal possessions and fortunately this was one of them,” he explained and took the book from Imrahil’s hands with a possessiveness that spoke of his unwillingness to share his brother’s memories with anyone as yet. It was a feeling all too well understood by the elder man and he saw a way to ease the suffering of his long dead sister’s youngest son.

“Did you know that I kept every letter my beloved sister wrote and that after she died; they were the only salve for my raging grief. Whenever I felt I was becoming overwhelmed by my despair, or simply missed her more than I could bear, I would go and sit in Finduilas’s favourite armchair in the library and read them over and over again. It is as if her words brought her back to life,” he said, closing his eyes briefly against the grief that although had diminished with time, was nonetheless still a dull ache in his heart.

“Aye, as I read I can hear Boromir’s voice, sees his cheerful smile and the wicked gleam in his eyes when he teases me, and the darkness around my heart lifts until I read something that …”

“…tears it in two,” Imrahil finished for him his words full of understanding. “Your brother loved you very much, he would never have intentionally caused you pain. Do you want to tell me what he said that hurt you so?”

“Nay he did not intend to. But the words caused me to see something unsettling. I know he could not have foreseen the future, but he was speaking of Aragorn being the last of his line and wondered if I had any idea how that would feel. Until that moment I had not realised that I have also become the last of my House,” Faramir’s voice sounded choked and he stopped speaking, trying desperately to hold back his tears.

“Weep if you need to child, but think on this… you may be the last your father’s House, but there is always hope you will sire an heir or two one day,” Imrahil said with compassion as he again enfolded Faramir in his arms. “You are not alone, for you have me, your cousins and other kin in Dol Amroth and more importantly if I am not mistaken, soon you will have a lovely young wife. You are planning to wed Éowyn, are you not?”

“If she will have me and if Éomer will give me her hand,” he replied, love lighting his face as he thought of his beloved.

“Then perhaps it would be wise to spend a little less time looking to the past and consider the future instead. Spending more time courting your lady might be wise, as well as extremely pleasant,” the elder man suggested with an affectionate smile. Faramir nodded and walked over to the bedside table and placed the journal there for safe keeping alongside the other items that were Boromir’s.

“Is that the clasp Boromir gave to your mother when he was but a young lad?” Imrahil asked as he looked over Faramir’s shoulder at the finely crafted hair clasp.

“Aye and he has carried with him ever since she died. I remember he caused quite uproar when he worked as a stable boy for a week to earn the coin to buy it at the market.” Faramir said smiling fondly at the memory of a defiant young Boromir, his even younger brother at his side, both with hands on hips and craning their necks upwards so they could glare at their father while Boromir bravely told Denethor he wanted to earn the money to buy Finduilas the clasp she had admired the last time they had been to the markets. Denethor had offered to give Boromir enough to purchase it, but his stubborn and proud brother had refused, insisting he wanted to earn the price himself no matter how menial or below his station was the task.

Faramir clearly recalled how their father’s eyes had glittered with anger at the defiance and how his smile had turned slightly cold when he nodded his agreement, saying he would find suitable employment for his son. Later that day the stable master had sent for Boromir and explained his duties.

“Finduilas wrote of how proud she was of your brother, and how touched her heart was by the love and unselfishness in his gesture, especially when he gave you a small portion of his earnings so that you could buy her a present as well.”

“I did help him a little, I carried his water skin!” Faramir exclaimed with mock indignation as he took a small wooden thimble from his pocket and held it up for his uncle to see. It was very plain, but had been well loved and constantly used for a few short years.

“Ah, your mother cherished that as well,” Imrahil said to Faramir, who smiled happily at the memory of a more pleasant time. “She also told me that the jeweller was so overly generous in accepting the coin that was a meagre portion of the price he was asking for the clasp, that she had insisted Denethor makes up the difference in the cost.”

“I did not know that, but I imagine Father was none to pleased with that bargain,” Faramir said feeling a new respect for the mother he had barely known.

“I expect not, but he loved your mother dearly and would have done anything for her. Speaking of love, this family heirloom, as the clasp has become, would make a most fitting betrothal gift, would it not?” Imrahil suggested and was rewarded with a pleased nod from his blushing nephew.

“I am more than grateful for your love and concern, Uncle and I promise I will pay Éowyn more attention, but I can not abandon Boromir just yet. This journal is the final farewell he and I were denied.”

“I understand and I will bid you a good night, dear Faramir,” Imrahil said, kissing his nephew’s cheek as he took his leave.

“Good night, Uncle,” Faramir replied, offering a quick hug in return. Alone once again, ‘but not really alone’, Faramir thought, feeling more at ease and content than he had in many months he picked up the journal and settled back against the pillows. Deliberately avoiding the last few lines on the page, he began to read further.

...Faramir, as a Ranger who likes to rise before the morning dew has even fallen, and brother of one who thinks noon a reasonable time to rise if duty does not call, you will find this difficult to believe, but the grey light of dawn is just now lighting the sky as I write this.

Aye, I have no responsibilities here and was not duty bound to leave my bed early, but I did nonetheless just to bid Aragorn and his rangers farewell as they left to scout their assigned areas to the north. Legolas, the Elf, who is to travel south with us, joined one of the patrols headed towards the borders of his home in Mirkwood. I would willingly have gone with Aragorn but for this accursed sprain.

It is peaceful and quiet at this hour, and I find I am in the company of Mithrandir who is also an early riser, whether by design or habit I am not certain. I welcomed the chance to have a few words with the wise one and even now he sits on my balcony, smoking his pipe and contemplating only he knows what.

We spoke mainly of the south and naturally the first question I asked him was if he had heard how you were faring. He had no news for me, for it has become too dangerous for messengers to travel between the north and south unless in urgent need. He did say that Elrond has received word that orcs are making daring if not futile forays into the Golden Wood so it is likely the attacks in Gondor have not diminished. This is ill news indeed for it means Sauron’s power is increasing.

Mithrandir also said that he suspected the situation in Minas Tirith had not yet changed for the worse, which immediately suggested to me that it would do so in the future. I said as much and our dear friend nodded his agreement and then refused to elaborate, saying there was more than one possible outcome so there was no point in indulging in useless speculation. A typically enigmatic answer and one of the kinds that always frustrates and angers Father and I am beginning to understand how.

We also spoke of the impact of the return of the King, and aside from giving our people hope when they see Elendil’s sword and his heir back in the White City, his arrival would signal it was time for the Steward to relinquish his rule. Although it would be his duty to do so we agreed that Father may not readily accept this change without some conflict arising between the two. Such enmity would certainly be to Sauron’s advantage, I fear.

I can only hope that they would both realise this and at the very least make a pact to resolve their differences once the Dark Lord’s armies have been defeated. It may fall to you and me to act as mediators, my brother, but I am certain that together we will ensure a united front is presented to our enemies.

I have rarely seen our wizard friend angry, but he was furious when I suggested that perhaps it would be wiser to take the ring to Gondor, and practically ordered me to disabuse myself of the notion that one of us, either myself or maybe Aragorn, since he is of Isildur’s bloodline, could wield it in some small way.

He scoffed with contempt and accused me of being a naïve fool if I thought for one moment we could hold it to ransom, so that in the face of certain defeat, we could offer the ring in exchange for keeping the City safe as I had suggested.

On reflection that was a rather stupid notion since it depends entirely on Sauron being honourable and trustworthy and I do not need Mithrandir to remind me that our foe is neither of those. I do not know what I was thinking, or why I would voice such a ridiculous solution. All I can say is that it seemed quite reasonable at the time.

Speaking of the enemy, how fare the defences of Osgiliath? Do they hold or is the city in danger of being overrun again? I wish I was there to hear your answers, and I will be in a few months’ time, so make sure the ale barrels are full and the roasts are ready to be put on the spits!

Ah, I hear the bell that signals the morning meal, and as Mithrandir has wisely suggested we should hasten to table before the Hobbits make their way there. They certainly enjoy their food and mange to eat a great deal at each of the many meals they partake of in one day.

Mithrandir sends you his greetings and bids me tell you he looks forward to seeing you again soon, as do I, my dear little brother.


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