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8
Fickle Fortune

Almost 700 words in this, so not technically a drabble, unless it's a sept-drabble? Written as a birthday present for Altariel, who wanted Faramir to have good luck for a change. She also wanted Denethor.


~~~

“Let’s round up the whole scurvy lot of ‘em and throw them in the brig until morning!” shouted one of Harlond’s watch.

“Should we call it a brig, sir, really?” said another, subordinate watchman. “I mean it’s on land, and some of them aren’t even sailors. Rangers, some was saying.”

“Whatever they are, I want ‘em! There’ll be no brawling in my precinct!” Feet thundered off, and from behind some piles of refuse in an alley, two fugitives looked at each other.

“Remind me to never listen to you again,” the first one said in crisp, cultured tones. “’A change of pace and place would be nice, sir,’ you said. ‘I hear the taverns in the Harlond have the best beer, ’ you said. ‘You’ll get along fine with sailors, what with your Dol Amroth blood and all, sir,’ you said. Then you manage to select the one tavern where they absolutely hate landsmen!”

“I’m sorry, Captain,” the second fugitive apologized. “I thought it would be a good time.”

“Mablung! YOU started the fight!”

“It was that remark about the sisters, sir. Struck a bit close to home, what with me having five and all.”

“Of all the ill luck! I can’t even begin to imagine what Father will say about this if he finds out.”

Mablung lifted his head. “The wind’s changing, sir. Perhaps our luck will change with it.” That he wished for a change of subject as well went without saying.

Indeed, it seemed that having toyed with them sufficiently for one evening, Fortune finally relented. They were able to elude the watch and slip back up to the City without any difficulty, though the guard at the Gate had a few pithy things to say about their appearance. Mablung had two black eyes and Faramir a gash above his eyebrow that needed stitching. Luck was also with them in the Houses of Healing, where there was no one to see their humiliation as they had their injuries tended to. And after they parted company at the Houses and went their separate ways, Mablung to the city barracks where he had reserved a bed and Faramir to the Steward’s House, it held yet again.

The sun was peeking over the horizon and birds had begun their morning songs as Faramir slipped quietly back into his home. With Ranger stealth, he tried to sneak up the hall, past the dining room, but to no avail.

“Faramir? Is that you, coming in at this hour?” came his father’s voice. Denethor sounded less than pleased.

“Yes, Father,” the Captain of the Ithilien Rangers said, and reluctantly entered the dining room.

Denethor was looking at paperwork over his breakfast. He looked up and froze in his seat at the sight of his second-born, torn and dirty and bedraggled. A distinct odor of refuse and stale beer was wafting into the room, Faramir sported a line of neat stitches over one brow and his squinty-eyed look indicated to the Steward that at least some of that beer had gotten inside him as well.

Faramir watched the assessing gaze sweep over him and waited for the litany to start-a Steward’s son did not comport himself in such a manner, brawling was beneath the House of Mardil, what had he been doing in the lower quarters, excessive consumption of alcohol damaged the higher mental faculties, etc., etc.…

Instead, Denethor coughed.

“Faramir, I know that I have at times encouraged you to emulate Boromir, so that your behavior would be more pleasing to me,” the Steward said, and coughed again. “But in this one aspect of your brother’s life, I do not insist upon slavish compliance-” He coughed yet a third time, and Faramir looked at him in concern. Was his father falling ill? “-for it would seem-” one last cough “-that you are NOT very good at it at all!” Whereupon Denethor laid his head upon his arm to the side of his plate, gave up the battle and burst out laughing.

Faramir stared for a moment in astonishment, then seized his good fortune thankfully. “Good morning to you, sir!” he said, and fled.

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