|Celandine's Chronicle (celandineb) wrote in cels_fic_haven,|
@ 2007-08-08 14:19:00
Once again it was his brother's insistent tapping on the door that roused Faramir from his dreams.
Water... falling water... but a wave or a waterfall? And grave peril… He shook his head to clear it of the images now fading to splintered shreds.
"I am up," he called, and hastily pulled on whatever garments came to hand most readily.
Boromir eyed him dubiously as he slipped out of the room.
"I hope you don't run into Father before you can change clothes again," he snorted. "You look as if you belonged to a group of traveling minstrels. All you lack is an instrument. And perhaps some bells on your shoes!"
Faramir glanced down at himself. He had managed to select an outfit in which no two items made any pretense of matching: and ancient and patched mustard-yellow tunic, blue belt, and bright green trousers, with a knitted red vest over all.
"Perhaps I should change," he admitted, and was careful to choose more sober garb on his second rummage through the clothes-press.
"Much better," Boromir approved, when Faramir reappeared wearing dark blue trousers and a creamy linen shirt. "You don't want to give Father such an easy excuse to snipe, do you?"
"Not without you here to distract him," and Faramir dug an elbow into his brother's ribs. "If he's been critical of your attire, imagine what he would say to mine. ‘You have a responsibility to your rank, boy. Never forget that,'" he intoned in a passable imitation of Denethor's voice.
Boromir smiled. "And don't let him catch you doing that, either!" He tousled Faramir's unbrushed hair affectionately.
"Humph. As if I would around anyone but you. Are you ready to leave? Have you broken fast yet?" Faramir asked.
"Almost, and no. I've packed my bags and sent them on to the stables, but I thought to eat with you before going to the gates. Come on."
They hurried down to the Great Hall, where the laden tureens and platters were just being set out. Boromir piled his plate high.
"Back to camp food after this," he remarked over a forkful of egg-filled pastry.
The brothers were sitting at one end of the high table, far from any of the other early arrivals for the morning meal. Nevertheless Boromir glanced around carefully before continuing in a quiet tone.
"Look, Faramir. I wish I did not have to leave immediately, but I must. Still before I do, we need to speak further of – what we discussed last night. The more I think on it, the more certain I am that our oath must be secret."
"You do not wish to revoke it, though, do you?" said Faramir.
"Of course not. But until we can learn why Father seemingly bears a grudge against you, you must not give him any cause for further mistrust – or you will not be able to fulfill your vow. How exactly you can avoid provoking his anger and distrust I do not know. Have you any ideas?" Boromir gazed at his brother, his eyes thoughtful.
Faramir looked down into his mug. "Well, he clearly puts as much faith in you and your skills as in any other man…"
He paused, and recalled Mithrandir's advice from the previous evening.
"Perhaps," he said slowly, "perhaps it would be best for me to try to follow in your footsteps as closely as I am able. By my oath I must continue to study in order to serve as your advisor, and indeed I would not wish otherwise. But maybe if I put more effort into the military side of things – Father values those skills more, at least that is where his comments are always directed."
"That seems like a wise thing to try, at least," Boromir agreed. "You can write to me and tell me whether it seems to be working. If it does not we can think of alternatives. And remember, too, that in a few years you will almost certainly be out of Minas Tirith, with your own company, and not under Father's eye. Then he will not be able to judge you as closely; perhaps distance will give him the perspective to value you."
"Yes," but Faramir avoided his brother's gaze.
I wish I did not have to do this, he thought unhappily. It is not so much the swordplay and the horsemanship and learning all the military skills that I do not like, it is deceiving my lord and father. Can that ever be right? Even if it does him no harm, and is intended for the ultimate good of the land. If we knew he would have forbidden the oath we made, were we right in taking it? But it is done, now. And if Father sees that all I do is to be like Boromir, maybe he will relent in his feelings for me.
"All right, then," said Boromir, after waiting to see if Faramir would add more to the bare affirmative. "Time for me to go."
They walked down the tunnel to the stables, where Boromir collected his horse and checked to make certain all his gear was safely stowed in the saddlebags. Though the streets were not yet crowded this early, since Faramir was afoot he chose to lead the horse rather than ride the winding path back and forth across the face of Minas Tirith to the final gate.
In silence they walked, surrounded by the early-morning sounds of the waking city. At last they reached the outer, eastern gate. Boromir swung himself up into the saddle and leaned down to clasp Faramir's hands in his own.
"Remember, brother, what honor demands and where your loyalty lies. We do nothing but look to the future."
Faramir gazed up. The sun stood several handspans above the horizon now, and shone around his brother's figure, making it blaze as if with the glory he would seek and find in battle with the Orcs and other minions of the Enemy.
I stand in my brother's shadow, he thought. And that is where I wish to be, where I may be safe from my father's disapproval and yet be loyal to both of them.
"Farewell, Boromir. Good luck to you," he said.
"And to you as well – you will need it more than I, I think. Do not forget to write and tell me how Father takes your new approach. I shall probably not be here for the celebration of yestarë at midwinter, but I hope perhaps for tuilérë in the spring. No doubt we will each have much to tell. Farewell!"
The same sun that edged Boromir in light shone full upon Faramir as he stepped back. Boromir lifted his horn and let it sound to mark his departure, and with a final salute to his brother, he was gone into the eastern morning.
chapter 1 / chapter 2 / chapter 3 / chapter 4 / chapter 5