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11
Chapter 11

Chapter 11

...Greetings and very good news, my dear little brother! I will soon be on my way home!

Elrond’s sons have finally returned and it is now a mere seven days before the Fellowship leaves Rivendell. Preparations for our journey are well in hand, and today was indeed one of great importance, for another part of our dream was realised. The Elvish smiths have reforged the shards of Narsil, the sword of Elendil, into Andúril, the Flame of the West, as Aragorn has named the sword of the King of Men.

And make no mistake Faramir that is exactly what it is, for although my own sword is also steeped in history it does not have the same hidden power as does Andúril. Once the blade was remade, I was very eager to examine the craftsmanship, as, I hasten to add, was Gimli who had spent the whole day at the forge watching the Elves work… (He remains most impressed and perhaps even a little envious of their skill I suspect).

Anyway, when Aragorn handed me the sword so that I could take a closer look at the symbols and elvish runes that are engraved on it, his hand and mine brushed briefly on the hilt and I felt a tingle that I took to be a hint of the power and might that remains a part of the blade. In the space of but a single heartbeat I sensed a faint echo of the mixture of grief, desperate courage and finally, elation that could only have been Isildur’s as he cut the ring from Sauron’s hand and a fading echo of the dark one’s scream of rage at his defeat.

“He will not have forgotten this blade, no matter what name it bears,” I said, with awe in my voice, my hope soaring that this would give us an advantage over our enemy when we reach Minas Tirith. Aragon must have sensed what I was thinking because he held my astonished gaze and nodded his understanding.

“Nay he will not and I can only hope that he will not have forgotten to fear the one whose bloodline gives him the power to wield it,” he replied, unable to hide the unmistakable glimmer of majesty of his ancient blood line that briefly flickered in his eyes. I reverently placed the sword back in his hand and as he sheathed it, he breathed a sigh of resignation, indicating to me that he remains reluctant to accept that it is he alone who could do so.

My instincts tell me that there is much more to Aragorn’s reclaiming of the crown than the simple act of returning to Minas Tirith with Andúril yet it appears that I am not the only one with misgivings, he has some of his own. Dare I risk destroying the last of our people’s hope by bringing them a King who has willingly remained in exile until now?

I sought out Mithrandir’s counsel but he was as mysterious as always and had little to say other than the answers to my questions were Aragorn’s to give, and I can only hope that before we reach our journey’s end the King and his Steward’s son will develop a closer friendship and enough mutual trust for all answers to be provided.

(I know that Mithrandir favours you over me and I wonder whether you ever receive a straightforward reply from him when you ask a question. Satisfy my curiosity when you read this, if you will)...

I have learned that it depends entirely on the nature of the information being sought as to how Mithrandir answers, my dear brother. You are wrong to believe that he favoured me over you, for I asked if it was so once. He simply shook his head and without hesitation declared that he was equally fond of us both, Faramir replied with a sad smile.

...Have I ever told you how valuable I have always found your counsel, my brother? I would be speaking less than the truth if I did not admit that we do not always look on things with the same eyes, but it is those very differences that provide balance to my judgments, and yours as well I believe. I need such a discussion as we would be having if were you here now.

But enough of my ramblings, at least until I return home, eh? I know you will have our favourite wine, and your ears at the ready as you always do...

Faramir smiled at the hint of joviality in the words and the implication that Boromir intended to make good use of his brother’s willingness to listen had he returned safely to Minas Tirith with Aragorn as intended.

He put the journal aside for a few moments and allowed himself to imagine the scene that would have occurred on Boromir’s arrival. It was one he had seen often in the years gone by and was so easy to picture in his mind that he almost felt his brother was still alive. Nay, he wanted to believe it so much that he pushed aside the truth of the haunting image of the grey elvish boat floating down the Anduin bearing its precious cargo to its unknown destination.

The streets would have been lined with cheering crowds, the pathway strewn with flowers as their beloved Boromir rode through them on his way to the citadel. When he at last walked through the gateway, Faramir would have ignored propriety and rushed to greet his brother with a warm embrace and perhaps even an affectionate kiss to the cheek Denethor would have welcomed the arrival of his eldest son in the same manner and then turned his attention to Aragorn.

After they had been introduced, the Steward would have observed the required formalities in the manner expected but not without obvious displeasure. There was no doubt that his father would be less than welcoming to Aragorn, but that was all Faramir would admit, not having the heart to think anything more disrespectful of his late father. Whatever response ensued towards the uncrowned King and his claim to the throne would have been dealt with later.

All would have partaken of a meal in the Steward’s private dining chamber and undoubtedly the conversation would have centred on the ongoing battle with the Dark Lord. Afterwards Faramir would have likely been given the task of showing Aragorn to his chambers while Denethor listened to Boromir’s report.

Then, in response to the unvoiced invitation he would have seen in Boromir’s eyes, Faramir would have gone to his brother’s chambers, poured the wine and waited to share an evening of memories and laughter as they exchanged more personal news, read and discussed the journal together, and laughed the rest of night away when too many cups of wine had been consumed.

As pleasant as this fantasy was, it was also becoming too painful to bear. Faramir was well aware that the reality was harshly different and rather than dwell on what might have been, he opened the journal and returned to the record of his brother’s last journey.

...Faramir,

I can not tell you how relieved I am that at last I will be heading home later today!

Aye, the day has finally come when Elrond and Mithrandir are satisfied that it is as safe as it will ever be to make our way south. Neither they, nor Aragorn or I believe the danger has passed, but we must take advantage of the enemy’s retreat, even though we all agree it is merely the calm before the storm.

I am afraid this will be only a short entry Faramir for we leave Rivendell to travel under cover of darkness tonight, as we will do every night, resting during the day when orcs and such do not venture into the sunlight. We also must travel with packs as light as possible so that we remain unencumbered should we need to defend ourselves, which certainly makes good sense. I admit that in my eagerness to be on our way, I have had my pack ready since the day Elrond’s sons returned, and have only to add this journal to it.

Of course, not being forgetful like a certain younger brother, I will be certain to remember to pack my quill and ink.

Faramir chuckled and was sorely tempted to behave like a very much younger brother and poke his tongue out at Boromir’s teasing words.

I believe I mentioned your oversight to Bilbo when, during one of our conversations, I told him that I was keeping this journal, an undertaking of which he heartily approves. We have become friends, and told me that although he has every confidence that Aragorn and Mithrandir will do their best to see Frodo is safe, he is also grateful for the protection I offer them all, but Merry and Pippin in particular. Nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised when he presented me with a gift at the morning meal some days later.

“I recall you telling me your brother neglected to pack ink and quill and would not wish you to do the same. No doubt he would tease you endlessly if you repeated his error,” he told me, smiling with amusement as he handed me a very small skin pouch of a size that would fit in my tunic pocket. I could not help but agree you would, and it gave me a very warm feeling to know that someone who had never met you could see my brother so well through my eyes.

What was the gift you ask? At first I was unsure and studied it curiously for a few moments, jesting that it was far too small to hold much water, and laughing when Bilbo scolded me for being foolish. He told me that it contained a special ink made by the Elves that would not freeze even in the cold of winter, and then proceeded to offer a few words of wisdom reminding me of how much it would mean to you for me to continue making entries. I thanked him and replied that on a journey such as the one we faced, it was not likely that there would be time or opportunity to do so and he nodded his head sadly, saying Frodo had told him much the same. I gathered he was most disappointed that his nephew had decided not to keep a diary and so said nothing more.

As I said, I am uncertain as to when or if I will be able to make another entry, so until we meet again, little brother, I bid you a fond farewell...

Wondering how much more Boromir had written as the journey progressed, Faramir flicked idly through the remaining pages, pleased to see there were several more, but his delight was quickly replaced by dismay as he neared that last pages. A cold shiver ran down his spine when he saw that his brother’s flowing script was slowly becoming almost unrecognisable.

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