He will remember it ere the end
He found the will last, a document that seemed now to come from a different age. Everything was as it should have been – signed and witnessed, the papers completed with the great care that Denethor had brought to all the tasks that had consumed his life.
Gondor was for Boromir. Faramir had known that was the case for as long as he had lived. But in between the lines the gifts were given, and while they were not substantial, they were enough – due compensation for coming second, material offerings in place of something more intangible. Grave gifts; meticulous and just.
The second son receives his share of gifts. His grandmother’s fair face and his grandfather’s shrewd mind. His father’s quiet wit and his mother’s restless spirit. The dare of his uncles and the best of their luck. He fits in anywhere, flits out again unseen. He is the king’s elusive servant.
In Harad, Léof breaks hearts and gathers secrets. At the falls and the fords he lights candles, says a prayer. On the far fields of Rhûn, he dices with warlords and runs for his life. In Khand, he is captured – by a dark-eyed girl who is longing for adventure.
Elboron receives the father-sword. It is a battered thing, bloodied – but unbeaten, in the end. Its tale is one of loyalty and endurance. It will be heard. It speaks of living beyond hope to forge a new and better age. It speaks to him of peace.
Morwen has the mother-sword. It is a new-made thing, for the steel striking the pale king splintered, and the blade was mended, with a gentle touch. Its tale is one of courage and determination. It will not be silenced. It speaks of forging one’s own course despite reproof. It speaks to her of freedom.
Once the cloak was his mother’s. Now it is hers. He thinks she still looks fair and queenly wearing it.
Then Elboron gives his heart to a shy sweet thing of nineteen. She is here from the northern kingdom; far from home and hearth, star-struck by her young man’s fabled family. Éowyn is conquered. She gathers up the girl; cloaks her in the mother-mantle, shields her with love.
A boy-child follows, and when his turn comes to marry, the mantle is passed on. The bride wears blue and stars: the gift from the mother to the wife of the son.