Best Brew in Buckland, The
2. The Citadel
Part 1 -- The White Tower
Faramir rested his head in the palm of his hand and tried to concentrate on the documents the messenger-boy had delivered that afternoon. The corridor outside was silent, most of the other officials having left for the evening. The room was now lit only by a low-burning oil lamp, the sun having set nearly an hour ago.
The Lord Salehr wishes to offer his felicitations... Faramir scribbled a few words on the parchment in front of him, then turned to the next. The governor of Langstrad wishes to negotiate for lower taxes now that the Umbar threat has abaited... "Of course he does," Faramir mumbled to himself. He took a sip of water from the cup resting on his desk, then made another note. The Druedain -- he looked up suddenly at the shadow looming
"My lord," Faramir said, standing up and making a hasty bow. He motioned toward the chair in front of the ancient oak desk that had served the steward for centuries. The dwarf sat down heavily and Faramir continued, "I am sorry. I did not see you there --"
"And I had hoped not to see you here, my good steward," the dwarf replied.
"I --" Faramir began, sitting down behind his desk, but Gimli interrupted him.
"My friend the prince of Greenwood informed me that he has spoke to you about your work habits."
Faramir frowned. "Your friend the prince of Greenwood will not have to explain to his excellency the king why these summaries are not completed come morning," Faramir replied.
"Did your king even request these summaries?" Gimli asked.
"He does not need to," Faramir replied. "He --"
"My lord steward," Gimli interrupted, "your father taught you well how to work. Yet if all Ihear is true, you are less proficient in other matters." Faramir grimmaced. "Aye, my friends told me of your activities on the evening of your king's wedding."
"Master Gimli," Faramir said, "I cannot be held responsible for my actions that night. I have seldom drank ale, and I did not foresee its strength --"
"In which case I must educate you," Gimli replied, smiling.
"How could I have guessed how little effect alcohol has on periannath?"
"Another area in which your education is sorely lacking. You have had one of these halflings in your service for several months. You should know by now that a halfling is unmatchable in matters concerning food and drink, save by another halfling."
Faramir opened his mouth to object but then shut it promptly when he saw the golden-haired man standing in the doorway behind Gimli.
Taking Faramir's silence for uncertainty, Gimli proceded, "I will go to the king, if need be, and I do not doubt he would order you to accompany me wherever I would lead you. He will not, however, appreciate the intrusion on his dinner hour."
"That will not be necessary."
Gimli looked over his shoulder. "My lord --"
"That will do, Master Gimli," Éomer replied. "You need not involve the king; I will speak to the steward."
Gimli gave Éomer a dubious look, then walked out to the corridor and pulled the door shut. Éomer settled himself into the chair across Faramir's desk and pulled out his pipe.
"You really must learn to relax, brother," Éomer said as he blew a ragged smoke ring.
Faramir nodded, coughing lightly. "Yet I can imagine better ways of relaxing than embarrassing myself before my men." He laid down his quill and capped his ink, then looked up in surprise. "Brother, did you call me?"
"Aye," Éomer replied. "You pledged yourself to my sister, and that makes you my brother, in my heart if not in common practice." He inhaled deeply, smiling, then continued, "Though I am not sure if I entirely approve of a match to one in so poor control of himself. You were outdrank by a creature half your size?"
Faramir nodded miserably. "Does the whole city know?"
"I am sure there is a lad or two in the lower circles who has not heard the tale," Éomer laughed. "No, my esquire told me. I am sure it is not common knowledge."
Faramir looked down at the stack of papers on his desk. "I would not mind leaving early, but the king will be expecting --"
"The king will manage. He needs his steward in good humour more than he needs his summary first thing in the morning."
Faramir nodded. "But my men --"
"Will think little less of you for enjoying yourself in a few reputable inns with the king of Rohan, a dwarf-lord of Erebor, and two of the renowned periannath."
Faramir shook his head. "You leave me little choice. Let us go."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.