1. An Education
Dol Amroth, 2998
That year taught Faramir many things about manhood.
From his uncle, he learned to take praise, and observed how a husband and wife might be sources of delight for one another.
From his grandfather, he learned that lordship could be gentle, and how easy it was to serve such a master.
From the Armsmaster, he learned swordplay, and a smattering of his language. And from a battered book found on the market, bought to improve his Haradric, he discovered that Asinyal was a man, who loved Kedara still.
Already keeping his own counsel, he went home with much to ponder.
2. What Forgiveness?
Minas Tirith, 3019
And what chance was there, in those last dark days, to speak to each other of their shared sorrow? The world was ending.
And what would he have said, besides? For if he thought of Andrahar at that time, Faramir felt only a rising, choking rage; thinking of what Boromir’s last letter had contained, what he knew now on Andrahar’s account.
Then, in the days after the downfall, it was easier to give himself over to the new experience of happiness. To lock away the old griefs, to bury them, for fear of where that burning anger might take them.
Minas Tirith, 7 F.A.
The trunk had rested undisturbed in some distant attic for more than thirty years. Unsealing it, Faramir discovered an archive – of the games they had played, the lessons they had learned, the boys they had been. School books with uneven lettering and near-miss numbers. Birds and beasts carved for them by the kitchen maid’s sweetheart. Beads and counters, trading pieces in a complex game of their own devising. Toy soldiers. Two childhoods woven together so tightly by necessity that one could hardly see the join.
“Here,” he said, opening the chest for Brand. “Here it is. Take whatever you like.”
4. Hall Faces
Minas Tirith, 18 F.A.
Quite whence the idea had come to raise the stone in memory of his father, Faramir no longer remembered. The old guard, probably, keen to curry favour with the new power in their lives – the other, uncourted son.
For who, he wondered idly, listening to the eulogies, knew the whole tale? Family, yes; the King and the Queen; a long-departed wizard; a distant perian; Beregond... and three former servants, recipients of generous pensions.
Rising to give his own tribute, his eye inadvertently met Andrahar’s. Faramir looked away. On this matter, there could be no private understanding. Only stony public faces.
Minas Tirith, 23 F.A.
When the news reached the White City of the death of the Commander of the Swan Knights, the Steward of Gondor was sitting in his garden with his daughter, Morwen, and her companion, Serindë. Their morning had been spent trading tea and tales, and in veneration of leather-bound volumes of great beauty and antiquity, handed round.
He read the letter and, wordlessly, passed it to his girl. As she read, he looked down the garden to where old ghosts lingered yet. “I should go...” he heard Serindë murmur. And: “Stay,” said the Steward, without a second thought. “You are family.”
Altariel, 3rd April 2011