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The Last Word
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Chapter 10

Chapter 10

...Ah Faramir,

I wonder what time of day will find you reading this journal. If I had to guess I would say in the quiet stillness of late at night, which would indeed be most fitting since it is well after midnight as I write.

My nights have been neither still nor quiet of late. Fear not, I remain untroubled by dreams, it is only the commotion in the courtyard below my balcony that is the reason my slumber has been disturbed. The scouting parties Elrond sent forth have begun to return, although why they choose such an unwelcome hour to do so is beyond me!

However, I suppose I should be pleased to see them no matter the hour because their presence means it will not be much longer before we are making preparations to depart. And not a moment too soon as far as I am concerned, I have been away from Gondor far too long and homesickness is beginning to overwhelm me!

The White City calls to me and I am eager to ride through the streets of my beloved Minas Tirith and to see hope rekindled in the eyes of our people when they discover who it is I have brought home.

But more than that, and I know I do not often speak the words that are in my heart, I feel the need to tell you that I love you, my brother. I miss you and Father, and hopefully only a few more months will pass before we are together once more…

Here the entry trailed off as if Boromir had become too emotional to write, which Faramir thought likely. Although always willing to share an affectionate embrace with his brother or Denethor, Boromir was less inclined to openly acknowledge his deeper feelings by putting them into words whether written or spoken.

That he had done so now spoke to Faramir not only of the bond they shared as brothers, but also of the loneliness Boromir was feeling so far away from all that he loved. Unable to clearly make out the words through his suddenly blurred vision, Faramir put the journal aside until the tears of sadness and a grief that was still so close to the surface finally subsided.

...Little brother,

You know I would deny you nothing within my power to give, so I wish to apologise for being less than committed to fulfilling your simple request. I am pleased to inform you that, after many weeks of neglect, this is the second night in a row I have taken up my quill. But I warn you not to become too elated, for I admit I do not expect this sudden display of conscientious behaviour to continue indefinitely. I have just reread last night’s entry and see that I failed to tell you the interesting news from this morning…

Faramir could not help the small affectionate smile that curved his lips and the amused gleam that briefly lit his eyes at his brother’s unnecessary apology. Boromir had more than met his expectations in keeping the journal thus far, although Faramir would certainly have led him to believe otherwise for a while when he returned… had he returned… just as he would have teased his brother for continuing this entry as if his little emotional outburst of the night before had not happened. Faramir allowed his imagination to wander and he knew that after an exchange of words of mock indignation, they would have settled their less than serious argument with a warm embrace and a tankard or two of ale.

… I had seen Glorfindel’s scouting party had return the night before so I went to the training grounds expecting to practice on my own now that Elrond’s usual sparring partner was once again available. Indeed he was not there, but to my surprise, Glorfindel was, sword in hand, offering to continue my lessons in his lord’s stead. I could not refuse such a gift, nor does it seem, could I find my voice, so dry had my mouth become as I felt the power and might that emanated from within this formidable and ancient elf warrior.

“Why?” I heard a very small voice that hardly resembled my own ask.

I know I am often accused( and rightly so at times, I will admit) of speaking without thinking and even now I can not help but cringe at how this foolish and ungrateful that must have sounded. Glorfindel was gracious enough not to say so but instead explained that Elrond and Mithrandir were otherwise occupied listening to the reports of the various patrol leaders who had arrived in the early hours of the morning.

Mithrandir’s claims as to this fearsome warrior’s abilities were no exaggeration and whilst Elrond is a highly skilled swordsman, there is no doubt that Glorfindel is a master of the art. After only the first exchange of blows I knew that had the contest been a real battle, I would already be lying on the ground bereft of my weapon and mortally wounded! Our vast difference in skill notwithstanding, we nevertheless fought a rigorous sparring match that left me breathless and exhausted and, it pains me to say, Glorfindel with nary a golden hair out of place!

Laugh at me if you will, Faramir but I imagine you will be equally outmatched should you challenge Legolas to an archery contest...

Faramir was indeed laughing at the image his brother described of his slightly dented and affronted pride. And he had already heard so many accounts of the Wood Elf’s skill with the bow that he needed no contest to prove that he was no match for Legolas.

...As we made our way to the bathing pool I began wondering why such a seasoned warrior as Glorfindel had been overlooked as a member of the Nine in favour of Legolas, who is surely much younger and far less experienced in battle. I know such a decision would not have sat well with me and after having already shown my less than tactful nature, I decided it could do me no harm to ask the question of my sparring partner.

“Ai, but you already know why,” Glorfindel replied with an enigmatic wink. My puzzlement was obvious but he offered no further explanation, as if his words were answer enough. They might have been had he been speaking to an Elf and not a Man.

I find it most irritating that Elves favour vague responses, much like those given by our wizard friend, and can only hope that perhaps Aragorn or Legolas can enlighten me.

I see that they have both just safely arrived…

Faramir yawned tiredly and put the journal aside and stepped out onto the balcony, stretching his arms above his head as he inhaled the cool night air. He was feeling in need of sleep, but was loathe to stop reading just yet because his curiosity mirrored that of Boromir’s. He knew that his brother’s questions would not remain unanswered for long and hoped that Boromir would spend some time putting his insights and thoughts into words. He was not disappointed.

...Can you believe this, Faramir?

This is the third day in a row that I have found the time and inclination to write in your journal! I seem to be making up for all the days I missed before, or perhaps for those I will miss as we travel for there is not likely to be much opportunity to write once I leave Rivendell. Enjoy it while it lasts, little brother...

The amused smile on Boromir’s face was so easy to see in his words and Faramir returned it in kind.

...For the first time since the council meeting, the Fellowship were all together for the evening meal, and despite the barely concealed animosity between Legolas and Gimli that was expertly tempered by Mithrandir’s words when needed, we all had a most enjoyable time. After the meal, Aragorn drew me aside and invited me to join him and Legolas in his chambers for a quiet cup of wine and some private conversation. Leaving the Hobbits, Gimli and the wizard to continue their merry making, I readily agreed and am glad I did so for he willingly informed me of what little news had been discovered by the scouts.

There was not a great deal to be learned other than that there was no sign of the Nazgûl along the Bruinen, although the bodies of the horses they rode were found. I also discovered that we would not depart until Elrond’s sons had returned from wherever it was they had been sent.

We spent the night discussing the various strategies we each employ to protect our lands as well as those tactics we had discerned of the Dark Lord’s forces. After hearing Legolas tell of the constant battle to hold back the encroaching darkness that was invading from Dol Guldur I began to understand that I did know the answer to my own question.

The reason for choosing him from all the Elves at the council, and in Rivendell for that matter is that he is the only one with centuries of experience in dealing with the threat as it now stands. And as Aragorn pointed out, he is a warrior of noble birth, but unlike Glorfindel who has fought the Witch King, remains unknown to the minions of Sauron and will be unlikely to attract unwanted attention. The safety of those we protect will be dependant upon secrecy and anonymity almost as much as upon our skills as warriors.

Already I feel a certain kinship with Legolas, who fights for his home with the same fierce loyalty and devotion as do the Dwarf and I. But whilst the tenuous friendship that formed when Aragorn and I first met continues to grow, I feel uneasy about our future King. I do not doubt that he will do his duty, but there is also no denying he is reluctant to claim the crown. Once or twice I have seen a flicker of fear in his eyes when we speak about it, not fear of the responsibility, for he is a proven leader of the Dúnedain, but, I think, a fear of his inner self. Of course I could be allowing myself to see something that is not there, for I know I would find the task he faces daunting and I have had the benefit of being raised as heir to a ruler.

I do not wish to dwell on what might be merely my own imaginings, Faramir, so I will say no more. I will leave you to make your own judgment when you and Aragorn meet.

Today has been most intriguing and enlightening and I think that at last I begin to understand the full import of the need to rid Middle-earth of the darkness that is not confined to Gondor, though it often seems that way to us...

Faramir closed the journal and sighed heavily. Boromir’s uncertainty over Aragorn’s apparent lack of self confidence or whatever insecurity his brother sensed in the man would not have been easily overcome, especially if he came to believe a reluctant King was of more harm than good to Gondor. It was obvious from his previous nightmares that the ring had been attempting to influence Boromir, and Faramir could not help but wonder if these feelings had really been his brother’s or had been the early signs of a more subtle and insidious approach to lure Boromir into darkness and treachery.


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