I went into labour early in the morning. It was not as difficult as it was giving birth to Boromir. My little child came into this world after only four hours. The pain was just as great, however. Feeling so relieved, I lay back on the pillows with my eyes closed as the midwife cleansed my child. But my eyes snapped open when I could not hear the cries of my child.
"What is going on?" I asked weakly, trying to see a glimpse of my child. "What is it?"
"Your Ladyship has delivered a boy," the old midwife said hurriedly. "Sadly, however it seems he is having difficulty breathing."
Valar! No! I felt my heart starting to pound faster than it had done during the labour. "Is... wha-what is happening?" I stuttered.
"Hush," a servant said, stroking my forehead with a wet cloth. "We are fetching a physician."
Her words did not make me feel any comfort. "Can he breathe?" I asked.
The midwife turned to face me. "Barely, my lady."
I started to cry. Why was this happening? What had I done to deserve this! "Tell me he will be all right!"
"He is not dying yet, my lady," the midwife said hastily.
The door swung open and the physician entered with Denethor trailing behind. "Explain the problem," the physician said, picking up my newborn son.
I frowned with anxiety. Having Denethor in the room did not make me feel any better. I watched him peer over the physician's shoulder at our new addition to the family. I saw his face darken. I sat up as my husband walked over to the bedside. "He may die," he said plainly. "Prepare yourself."
I was so shocked at how easy he could say such words. "But they told me he was not dying yet," I explained.
"He is weak," Denethor hissed to me. "How will this appear to the people?"
"Is that all you care about!" I shouted, causing everyone in the room to turn their attention to us.
The physician hesitated. "The boy has some fluid in his lungs, but he shall make a proper recovery. He may sleep for a few hours now to regain his strength."
I turned to Denethor and glared at him. "Never, under any circumstance say something like that to me again!"
"How could we have conceived such a weak child," he said, more to himself.
"He is weak because he is not well," I tried to explain. "Just wait and see. He will grow up to be strong and healthy, just like Boromir."
"He will never be like Boromir," Denethor said rudely. He watched me as I was given my newborn babe to hold for the first time. "He is half the size Boromir was."
I felt like rolling my eyes, but I knew it would not do justice. "Lower your voice," I said sharply. "I do not wish for his sleep to be disturbed." I looked down at my new child. I felt a little wave of disappointment flow through me. I had wanted a daughter. Now, I did not care. I only cared about my new son's wellbeing. "What should we name him?" I asked Denethor softly. "Did you not have a name picked out before his birth?"
"I had one," he answered. "But I no longer think it suits him."
I frowned, quite confused. "Then what shall we name him?"
Denethor paused for several moments, staring at our new son. "Faramir."
I looked back at my son and studied him closely. The name 'Faramir' did suit him, but for some reason I did not quite trust Denethor. "Faramir, it is," I said quietly.
Faramir stirred in my arms, but did not wake. When I turned to look back at Denethor, he was gone. I sighed heavily. I hoped Denethor's sudden act of coldness was not towards Faramir. It was not our son's fault that he was born weak. In fact, it was nobody's fault. Things like this happened all the time. It was natural and expected. Childbirth was a dangerous event.
Later in the evening, there was a soft knock on the door. Boromir entered looking very sheepish. I smiled warmly at him as I gestured for him to come over to the bed and meet his new younger brother.
"Father says I have a little brother," Boromir said, climbing up onto the bed.
I nodded. "His name is Faramir."
Boromir peered into my arms at the little sleeping bundle. "He is very small."
I smiled. "You were this small once." I knew I was lying, for Boromir had been born at least a half a size bigger.
"Then Faramir will grow up to be as big as me?" Boromir asked hopefully.
"Of course," I replied. "But I need you to promise me that you will love and care for Faramir. He may grow up to be big and strong, but he will always be younger than you."
Boromir nodded. "I would be very happy to watch over him."
"Would you like to hold your brother?" I asked.
Boromir nodded eagerly. "Yes, please."
I handed Faramir over to Boromir, who sat upright next to me. Boromir just gazed down at Faramir, who continued to sleep peacefully.
"When will he wake up?" Boromir asked me.
"Not for a while," I answered. "He was a little sick after he was born, so he needs to rest so he can recover his strength."
Boromir's eyes were filled with concern. "But he is not sick anymore?"
"No, no," I said gently. "He is all better now."
Boromir sat back against the pillows and touched Faramir's little nose. I found it so touching to see my two sons bonding.
No! I could not believe it. How could he?
Two days later, Ecthelion came and visited me in my chamber. While I watched the Steward hold my son, I saw his eyes fill with grief.
"What is the matter?" I asked curiously.
"It is such a shame that Denethor has cursed this boy," Ecthelion said.
I sat up straight. "Excuse me?"
Ecthelion shifted his gaze to me. "I am so sorry, Finduilas. Do you not know what meaning your new son's name?"
Oh, this could not be happening...
"Please tell me," I said, feeling me stomach swirling.
Ecthelion sighed. "Faramir was the name of the second son to King Ondoher – the thirty-first King of Gondor. In the year 1944 of the Third Age, the Wainriders of Rhun invaded Gondor. The King and his eldest son, Artamir led an army to stop them, while Faramir was ordered to remain behind and act as Regent. However, Faramir disobeyed these orders and disguised himself as a Rider of the Eotheod army. When the Wainriders defeated both armies, Faramir was mortally wounded and died. The King and Artamir also perished in battle, thus leaving no heir behind." Ecthelion sighed heavily. "Since then, the name 'Faramir' has been considered cursed within the Royal Family. The man who carried that name rained destruction upon his House. He disobeyed a direct order from his father – the King. His foolishness ended his father's Line."
I sat there, stunned. I looked over at Faramir and wondered what my little boy had done to deserve this. "W-why would Denethor do this?" I asked sadly.
"Denethor was displeased that his son was born weak," Ecthelion replied. "He will never be pleased with Faramir, no matter what happens."
"But Faramir is fine now," I protested. "He is getting stronger."
Ecthelion sadly shook his head. "Denethor does love Faramir – he always will. Sadly, however, that love has been tainted by something that could not have been prevented." Ecthelion slowly stood up and handed Faramir to me. "Look on the brighter side, Finduilas. Boromir adores Faramir." Ecthelion smiled warmly. "They will have a very close bond that will last a lifetime."
After Ecthelion had left, I held Faramir closer to my chest. I needed to protect him from his own father. I could not believe I was even thinking that. How could Denethor be so cruel to his own son! I did not care about my son's name. To me, 'Faramir' was a beautiful name, and I was proud to have a son with such a name. I did not care about what happened in the past. I was not going to let history interfere in my own child's life. Besides, I was never a strong believer in curses. My father always told me that curses were something to scare children into doing the right thing.
I closed my eyes and took two deep breaths. After Ecthelion's speech, I had a strong urge to argue with Denethor. But no. No! I was sick and tired of arguing with Denethor. This time, I was going to let it pass. What is done is done, and I was certainly positive that my Faramir was going to do great things in this world.
I could feel it.