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79
Changes of Fortune

Changes of Fortune – Linda Hoyland

Rated – G

Warnings - none

Summary – Faramir finds it hard to become accustomed to his new status.

Word count – 1,219

O Fortuna,
velut Luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis; - Medieval Latin Goliardic poem written early in the 13th century

(O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning;)

Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.

Faramir blinked as the servant pulled back the curtains, allowing the June sunlight to flood the room.

"Your morning drink and some light refreshment, my lord," he said, placing a laden tray on the bedside table. "I will see that your bath is prepared. And here is your official correspondence. It looks to be another fine day, sir."

Faramir smiled at the man as he took the sheaf of parchments from him.

"Is there anything else, my lord? Will you require help dressing?"

"No thank you, you may go now, Boron. Why not take a walk and enjoy this lovely morning?"

"Thank you, my lord." Boron inclined his head respectfully and withdrew.

Faramir sat upright and looked out across the City. It was indeed a beautiful morning, but then every morning had been fair since the defeat of the Enemy and the King's return. He picked up a letter from the top of the pile. It was addressed to the Steward of Gondor, as were they all.

He hesitated before breaking the seal. The title still seemed strange to him and he felt almost as if he were prying into his father's affairs with every letter he opened. He was not born to rule, had never thought to become the Steward. Even after the untimely deaths of his father and brother, he had expected to be Steward for only a little while, until either the Enemy overcame them, or the King took his rightful place upon the long- vacant throne.

When he had heard the glad tidings of victory, he had rejoiced and planned to go and live quietly in the country. He intended to make a fair garden with Lady Éowyn and live out his days as a scholar and farmer. His uncle had told him of his father's long rivalry with the man then known as Thorongil. After his father's shameful end, he had not believed the King would want any member of the House of Húrin anywhere near him. He had surrendered the White Rod willingly, confident that Gondor would be safe.

The King, though, had had other ideas and returned the Rod to Faramir, together with his office. Not only that, but he had made him Prince of Ithilien, too!

Faramir could still hardly believe his change of fortunes from the despised younger son to both Steward and Prince. Although he had never sought power, he was happy that his elevated rank would better allow him to serve the land he loved so much.

Faramir took a sip of his drink and a bite of one of the strawberries the kitchen had provided for him. It felt strange to be eating in bed, but the King had decreed he must rest while he fully recovered from his wounds. Even the crockery reminded him of his new status as it was decorated with the Steward's emblem, three stars beneath which were the runes to represent 'Arandur'. Faramir was proud and glad to be the King's servant, but it still felt odd to be dining off his father's official dinner service. When he married Lady Éowyn, he hoped that together they might choose something less pretentious for dining in private. He had drunk from a silver goblet as Captain of the Ithilien Rangers, but eaten from the same plates as his men.

Faramir finished his breakfast, then entered his bathing chamber where a bath had been prepared for his morning ablutions. A daily bath had been an undreamt of luxury for a Ranger Captain. He had to remind himself that there was no need to hurry, and no one else was waiting for his turn to bathe.

Old habits died hard, though and Faramir was soon dressed and perusing the documents in preparation for a meeting later that morning. It was a formal public meeting of Council to which any citizen of Gondor could bring matters before the King for his consideration. Faramir determined to be well informed about any matter upon which the King might ask his opinion.

That too felt strange; Denethor had rarely sought his younger son's views and if Faramir dared express one, it was only to be met with scathing disapproval from his sire. The King was very different; he frequently asked for his Steward's counsel and listened patiently and even approvingly to what Faramir said.

Faramir was so engrossed in perusing plans for repairing the lower levels of the City that he started when the bell rang. It was almost time for the meeting. He wished now that he had asked Boron to help him don his formal robes of black and silver, so very different from a Ranger's garb. It was quite tricky to keep the garments straight, especially at the back. Then, he needed to thoroughly brush his hair before donning the circlet he was entitled to as a Prince of Gondor and ensure that was straight too.

At last, he was ready. Faramir gathered up his parchments and hurried towards the Council Chamber. The other lords were arriving for the meeting as well, and greeted him respectfully. Faramir was just about to mount the steps when to his horror, he realised he had forgotten the White Rod!

Faramir dashed back to his chambers, much hampered by his elaborate robes, which were certainly not designed for running in. Despite his haste, he took up the rod reverently. He was glad it was a different rod than his father had wielded, which seemed almost an extension of Denethor's arm. Faramir still felt a little overawed to bear it and despite the need for haste, he carried it in a somewhat stately fashion, deeply conscious of what it signified.

His heart started to pound. What if he arrived after the King? Whatever would Elessar think? Kindly lord though he was, he would most surely be furious! He quickened his pace while taking care to carry the White Rod with sufficient dignity. He was so preoccupied that he failed to notice the tall figure approaching from the direction of the Royal apartments until they nearly collided.

"My lord!" Faramir exclaimed in horror. He flushed. To think that he had almost knocked over his liege lord!

"You are in a hurry today, Faramir," Aragorn said mildly. He straightened the jewel, which he wore on his brow. "And you are as late as I am when you are usually amongst the first to arrive. Maybe you were enjoying the sunshine as I was?"

Faramir flushed again. "No, my lord. I fear I almost forgot the White Rod! "

Aragorn smiled sympathetically. "So you are human, my friend. I almost forgot the Elendilmir when I dressed for the meeting today. These trappings of office can be hard to remember, can they not?"

"Indeed, my lord. I am but a simple Captain of the Rangers at heart." Faramir wanted to bite back the words as soon as they were uttered. His lord would think him a fool and ungrateful for the honours bestowed upon him, not to mention unworthy. He fell back a few paces behind the King.

The King turned round to face him, grey eyes twinkling and he laughed merrily. "Why so am I, my friend," he said. "So am I! Now let us walk together to the Council Chamber, fellow Captain!"

Written for the Teitho Moments of Transition Challenge where it was placed 3rd.

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