1. Captain and Ranger
“Ranger,” Boromir said to himself, and repeated the word many times as if to test the sound of it. “Ranger. Ranger Faramir. Soldier Faramir. Captain- Faramir, a Captain!“ He smiled, and curled his lips in his usual way of being amused. His little brother was going from them to begin his career in Ithilien. Ithilien, out of all places! Not that he doubted that Faramir would make an excellent ranger; quite the contrary, for most of his brother’s qualities were suited for such a position. He had the patience required for long waits and very precise missions; he had the intelligence and sharpness to observe carefully and decide quickly what course of action to take that would ensure better results; he had the wit to gather much knowledge from just a few scattered bits of information; he was very good in carrying out detailed orders, and he was also very thorough –perhaps he had their father to thank for that-. He had the scholarly nature that had made him reflexive, observant, contemplative, and which had provided a solid framework of knowledge for whenever he was appointed Captain; not that he would ever need to recall much of those things he had so hard striven to learn, but in Faramir’s hands, that knowledge would not be wasted. He preferred to listen before saying anything, although sometimes Boromir was not too sure whether that was a good quality, or a bad one; he was a very good shot, and a tolerable swordsman, although he trusted that not many of his missions would involve close combat, or at least not so soon. However, if there was something that he could not do right, Faramir would work and work until he mastered it; Boromir had no doubt that he would succeed, no matter his call. He was keen-witted, shrewd as no other –well, perhaps only his father-, strong-willed, cautious, subtle, tactful, not altogether ignorant of a soldier’s true life-style, and not altogether unwilling to face it. But, he was his little brother; and, Ithilien was so close to the shadow!
Boromir kept walking, looking on every direction, certain that Faramir had to be around. He had hoped that the morning of his departure, he could have a few minutes with him, alone. There were so many things he wished to say, although now he could recall only a few of them. “Do not allow yourself to get distracted by anything when you have your target in sight. If you have to make a long run, or a distance flight, remember that resistance is always better than speed. Do not take off your pouch, not even to sleep! You would not wish to get stranded without your whetting stone or your provision of food... don’t ask why I say it. Do not remove your hood when you’re in the forest... just in case,” he stopped, trying to consider some wiser bits of advice that he may forget in his eagerness. “ Do not look into your victim’s eyes; the reflection will haunt you forever...” he sighed. Faramir was yet so innocent, so... well, so Faramir. But, he knew this day would come, and all he could do was try to reach his brother before his commanders found him and he was obliged to answer to the callings of his new duties.
The sky was now purple, and not the sea-blue that it had been when he had come outside, and still no signs of Faramir. He had already looked at the stables, the kitchen, the soldier’s court, the family living-room, the Great Hall, or any of those odd places were no body had any business in, but which were most usually of Faramir’s interest; he had even tried the library, but he was not to be found anywhere. At last, and just before he could turn desperate, he saw a green bundle half-hidden behind a wall of stone in front of the fountain’s square; it was a tall bundle, even though huddled, with long legs and arms, shoulders which were just broadening due to growth and exercise, and very dark hair. His little brother.
“There you are!” he cried as he walked closer, removing the gauntlets from his hands. “I was beginning to think I should not see you before you set off. What, in the name of the Valar, may you be doing out here at this dull hour? You still have time before departure, and I had hoped- You need to pay more attention, you! You are to become a Ranger, you should have heard me approaching!”
“Oh, I heard, Boromir,” Faramir replied, turning to meet his brother’s face with a wide grin. “It is only that I thought I’d try to discover who it was by the footfall. Had I turned the moment I heard someone approach, I would have entirely missed my chance of figuring out for myself.”
“And, did you make me out?”
“At first, I wasn’t sure,” he admitted. “The footfall was as heavy as any man’s.”
“Then, how did you know? I mean, did you?”
“Well, as you walked closer I found that you could be no Ranger, because the steps were too loud,” Faramir narrowed his gaze as he summoned the words to craft a proper explanation. “It could be no servant, for they would not be ready to go out at this hour, much less to be looking for me here. That narrowed my choices to only two. But, the footfall was brisk and un-even, un-timed. It was your eagerness that gave you away.” Boromir smiled, and as he walked closer, ruffled his brother’s hair in the way he used to do. Faramir snorted, and moved away, leaving some room for Boromir to sit close by him.
“Quite impressive. And, I suppose you are about to tell me that I should measure my steps and time my footfall better, just so I show the demeanor of a stern Captain.”
“No,” he said, grey eyes flickering brightly, “keep your footfall as it is, for it is Boromir’s footfall. A stern Captain would not manage to do what you’ve done with your men. Don’t try to be a stern Captain; be a good Captain.”
Boromir had to laugh, and after a moment, Faramir did as well. “I will try to remember that advice, Faramir! And, I hope you do too, for in the future you will find yourself in the same position that I am now, commanding men and making choices. I’ve tried to do the best, for Gondor’s sake and for my men’s. I hope I can some day be called a good Captain. But, for the moment, I may be content if you think me at least fitting for my office. And, I would not mind if you recognized my footfall, but I must say I would have been somewhat bothered had this happened in other circumstances.” Faramir became quite serious; not what Boromir had intended. He leaned his head against the wall, and looked around them. There were numerous pieces of paper scattered about, exhibiting traces and lines, but no definite composition; some had even been wrinkled and discarded. He picked one up, “Now, tell me, for I cannot keep my curiosity at bay, what are all these supplies, this paper and all those pieces of charcoal? Ink? What do you need ink for? What are you drawing? I don’t seem to able to make it out from what you have here...”
“That’s because you are looking at it in the wrong way,” Faramir said as he turned the paper upwards. “Now, what do you see?”
“Some building, I guess. The Tower?” he ventured a guess, not because he could clearly distinguish it, but because it was the most prominent construction close by.
“Is it hard to make out?” he asked, rather chafed. “Well, that was one of my first. First sketches always come out... not perfect. Anyway, I’ve been trying for a while now; it should come out any time soon, or it better. Otherwise I will have to go without it, and I would not want that.”
Boromir regarded him thoughtfully for a moment. Whatever doubts he may have had about whether his brother truly understood what leaving Minas Tirith meant, had been dispelled by that simple act, that simple phrase. And, whatever hopes he had entertained of making what could be the last conversation between them somewhat cheerful, were dashed to pieces. He would miss Faramir terribly. And, what was worst, he could not understand why he should miss him more now, for it had been over five years since he had begun his soldier trainning, and never had he felt what he did at present, although they had been apart before, and for long periods of time. Increasing apprehension surged through him, and he had to sigh, or say something so he could keep his thoughts focused. He turned back to the subject of drawing.
“And, why the Tower, if I may ask? Not that it isn’t appropriate, for what better symbol of the city? But,” he said as he considered the sketch in his hand, “rather different from everything you’ve tried to draw so far. I did not know your tastes leaned toward architecture.”
“Neither did I,” Faramir said slowly, lifting his head to consider some line, perhaps, or some perspective, “until this morning.” Silence came after that, for Faramir was too busy trying to capture the tower in paper, and Boromir was too busy trying to capture the moment in his mind. His eyes fixed on his brother, watching the familiar line on his brow that revealed his concentration, the way in which he clutched the bit of charcoal tightly in his palm, the characteristic gesture of chewing on his lip whenever he knew he was being observed, and how the quick eye roamed about restlessly, trying to wrestle the secrets even out of the stone, as if the Tower itself could tell him how to better portray it. He also noticed that the grey eyes often strayed toward him, lingering before turning quickly away.
“Faramir?” he asked, if only to make sure that he was listening.
“You are leaving.”
Faramir’s hands stopped, and his head drooped even more. “Yes,” he said calmly, but firmly, after a few moments of silence and hesitation.
“Well, try to show some emotion, then, I beg you, something that tells me how you feel!” Boromir exclaimed bluntly and showing signs of desperation that could easily be mistaken with anger, and then regretted it, for Faramir did not raise his eyes to him, but slowly resumed his sketching. He should have anticipated such a reaction, for Faramir would never respond in like manner, but would patiently wait until he had calmed; that was just what he had not intended. “Forgive me,” he said, lowering his voice once more, trying to steady the feelings that raced rapidly through his own heart and mind, “I never thought to speak thus. I suppose I am already feeling your absence keenly, and am looking for a way to drive the thoughts aside; or, it may be that I’ve had so little chance of knowing your thoughts on this matter, and now you are leaving, and I will not have your company in a long while.”
“Either way, you are feeling my absence keenly,” Faramir said in jest, and heaved a deep sigh. “Do not make yourself worry too much about any of it, for although we may be far from each other, you will be in my thoughts as I will be in yours; that’s the way it always is.” He paused, and Boromir saw how his grip on the charcoal piece tightened. “I am very grateful that you managed to come to see me off. I knew you had many responsabilities to take you away, and I would not have dreamed of calling on you for so trivial a matter. You can imagine my surprise, and joy even, when I found that you had come. Thank you.”
Boromir nodded an acknowledgement, but did not say anything immediately. What was to be considered trivial in his brother’s initiating proper trainning as a soldier? Far from it, and bearing in mind that Faramir was, too, and heir to the Steward, and his duties would be great in years to come. If anything, this day was an event to be looked for with great interest, not only by him, but by the whole of Gondor. “Did father tell you not to ask for me?” he found himself asking.
“He did not say anything directly; but, I knew he would not be pleased had I done so. And, neither would I, in spite of how much I wished for it. There are concerns greater than ours at stake.”
How like their father he sounded. Boromir flinched upon hearing him, startled by the striking resemblance in thought and tone behind his brother’s words. At any rate, Denethor himself had written to him to inform of Faramir’s departure, and surely he had been certain that there was nothing to stop Boromir from coming home for the occasion once he knew. “Had he not wanted me to be here, he would not have told me of it, and you know that he did,” he said slowly, but clearly, trying to impress the fact in his brother’s mind. “And, I know that there are greater concerns, but at the moment, nothing concerns me more than you, and the fact that we have not spoken, that we have not been able to open our hearts to each other frankly, as men. I would know more about your feelings today, brother.”
Faramir smiled, perhaps at the shift in subject before the conversation turned to more serious matters. “Well, there is really not much to tell. Father had, I believe, expected me to choose some other company, some other place to prove myself as a good fighter, instead of skirmishing about and hiding from danger.”
“That is hardly the case, and you know it!” Boromir almost yelled. “Father has always spoken highly about the Ithilien company. The rangers are his elite, if you would say so. There are no better men in the whole kingdom, but them. I know he is proud of you for choosing such a post, and one that will take you so close to danger. It is not cowardice that led you, it is a high sense of honor and a valour that you have not yet realized you have inside. I am proud of you.”
“My mind tells me that you are right, but my heart does not feel it,” Faramir said, and Boromir had to smile by the way his brother had so carefully avoided comment upon his praise. That was usually the way with Faramir, and after all these years Boromir had grown accustomed to it, and that very trait made him respect his little brother even more, for there were few, even among grown men and experienced warriors, who were worthy of the kind of praise that was due to Faramir.
“It enters my fancy that it is also self-regard that has prompted such a wish, for the rangers are men of very high blood. You are choosing your associations very carefully; that alone is worthy of comment.”
“Oh, Boromir, stop that!” he met his eyes squarely, but a flicker of mirth lighted his countenance. “Are you, mayhap, jealous?” He laughed like he had not in a while, as far as Boromir could recall. Perhaps he had been too baffled to mask it; it mattered not, for it had made his brother smile. “Nay,” Faramir continued, “although I look forward to learning from such men, and hearing what hey have to say and what they think about the world. They see things from a different angle,” he said, just as he raised his thumb as if trying to measure some distance or some proportion in the Tower ahead.
“I dare say they do. By being on the borders, they are better able to gather different views that us, sheltered citizens, are sometimes oblivious to,” he ended the sentence with a grin. “You shall be my eyes in the forest, and also my ears and my mind. Things go on that I do not yet understand, and I am grateful that I will have you there, along with all of your abilities, to inform me of what passes, until I figure out what it is.”
“My abilities will always be in the service of Gondor, and yourself, brother,” Faramir said, “not that I have much to offer. But, whatever it is, you shall have it. I know that out of all posts, that of a ranger is the one I am better fitted to. I wish father would understand it.”
“I think he does,” Boromir admitted. He was not sure, however, that it was Faramir he was trying to convince. A sudden thought brought to mind a conversation he had had with Denethor some time back; he deemed it fitting to bring it up. “Once we were discussing duties for the different regiments, and we were clearly defining boundaries and command lines for some of the newest companies down South. He seemed to be angered by the lack of skill some men had shown in attempting strategies that were clearly doomed to failure. He said that they could use some more of your scholarly disposition and analyzing mind, like that of the rangers... I had not thought of it until now, but I believe he had associated you with that company from the start. Although, I must confess I was only too surprised when I heard. I had always thought you would become a sailor.”
Faramir snorted, and both broke out into open laughter. Years ago, when Faramir had been no more than ten or twelve, he had proclaimed that he would grow to be a sailor, like his grandfather, and uncle. Faramir was seemingly pleased by the recollection, but Boromir’s mirth was not long-lived. He could clearly remember the somber mood that had befallen Denethor after hearing such a thought voiced aloud. So many years afterwards, he still knew not why his father had been so wroth, and he wished not to imagine what would have happened had Faramir carried on that purpose.
“Nay, not a sailor, or at least not now. I love the sea, but that is not my calling. Besides,” he said, looking at him from the corner of his eye, “we already have uncle to fill that post, and then Erchirion after him. I think his fancy for the sea will not be so easily dissolved as mine. Two sailors in the family is more than enough!”
“Oh, I say!” Boromir said, curling his lips in amusement. “I am glad for you, brother. Great fulfillment comes when you do your duty, and when you do it right. I knew that you needed something active to distract you and take you out, if only slightly, from that contemplative and reserved self,” he grinned, but in the back of his mind, he knew that he had sometimes been troubled by the way in which Faramir used to turn to his own self, not letting his thoughts or feelings out; he had thought it unhealthy, but Faramir would not have it any other way. “But, try not to change too much. I like my brother just as he is.”
Faramir turned to him, and a sudden flicker of something that Boromir could not make out passed through his eyes. He saw that he smiled, and that, at least, was a good sign. “I have often heard that war changes a man,” he said, “and I am willing to believe it. Such experiences may have great impact on the human mind. I only hope that I will be strong enough to find the balance between my emotions and my duties.”
It was usual in Faramir to make such deep observations, even about things of not so great import as war. By this moment, Boromir was fiddling with a piece of paper, folding it and turning it about between his hands. “I doubt it not,” he said. “But, it is hard.”
“I know,” Faramir said without removing his eyes from the paper in front of him. His hand moved easily about and over the surface of the parchment sheet. Boromir was forced to wonder how a hand that could so deftly and precisely move to trace lines with such skill would not be so steady with a sword in hand. His brother’s voice brought him out of his thoughts, “I guess I will at last find out what I am made of.”
“You will be surprised when you know,” was all Boromir managed to say, and leaned back on the wall as he looked at the sky, which had now become a very pale blue, with tints of purple and orange on it. The breeze stirred a few clouds that passed directly over them, and momentarily concealed the new-born sun from view. He felt his heart wrench with anxiety, and a deep longing that he had not known in a long time. “I had thought of making the most out of this short time that we have together. There were many things I wished to say.”
“Go on, then,” Faramir encuraged, pausing on his task to look at him. “I would hear any kind of advice that Gondor’s greatest Captain has to offer.”
“Oh,” Boromir said, smiling. “Well, I must very shamefully report that I have forgotten most of what it was.”
Faramir chewed on his lip, perhaps trying to restrain a chuckle. “Then,” he said, “I hope it was nothing of great importance, or a matter of life and death.”
“Be assured that it was not.” Boromir then took out a small package out of the folds of his shirt. “I also wanted to give you this,” he handed it to Faramir, who took it with very curious eyes, weighing it as to discover what it was, yet reluctant to unwrap it. “Well, go on! Don’t you wish to know what it is?”
“Paper?” he asked as he carefully untied the string that bound the cloth together. “Is this paper?”
“You will never know unless you open it.”
“A book!” Faramir exclaimed as he held the thin volume in his hands. More than a book, it was a series of parchment leaves bound together with string to keep them in order. Some of the pages were badly deteriorated, giving it the appearance of being very old, although seldom read: the writing was not faded, and the pages showed no sign of constant manipulation; time alone had taken its toll on the small book. “What is this, Boromir?”
“It seemed that the rest of your stuff would be too heavy to take away, and I could not bear the thought of you without a book on your hands during an idle hour, and Valar knows you will know your share of them. Besides,” he added as he pointed at the title on the first page, “I found one book that befits this particular occasion.”
“Ithilien: Chronicles of a traveler,” Faramir read with increasing enthusiasm. He raised questioning eyes at his brother.
“The warden tells me that this particular volume was written by one of the first men to ever colonize the land. He said that, more than any account of battles or a detailed description of forces or strategy, the annotations addressed themes regarding the land itself, geography, plants, animals... It may not be as interesting or fanciful as any of those tomes you’ve read; but, I thought it would give you a nice knowledge of the land that will be your home from now on.” He saw Faramir smile, and he knew not whether it was out of excitement for his new possession, or whether it was due to something else.
“Thank you,” he said, and clasped his hand. “I shall treasure this very much.”
“I knew you would,” he said, trying to keep his tone light ere he drifted into sentimentality. “Now, tell me, how is that sketch of yours going? Have you managed to capture the intricacies of this Tower’s design?” he asked, taking one other leaf that Faramir had pushed aside a while back. “Now, this doesn’t look quite like it. It seems... wider; definitely wider on the bottom, and much too tall.”
“Well, Boromir, it is not easy to get the proportions right when you are staring at it from below and so close to sight,” he declared. “You need to create an optical illussion, because it is impossible to portray it just as you see it, and still have it look like itself. There are tricks for this, you know.”
Boromir smiled. One thing remained clear in his mind: he had not the eye for drawing, it required too much patience and an ability to see things that were not plain to be distinguished, and the capacity of creating things that were not there, or making them be just what you wished. He gripped the hilt of the sword that hung from his belt, and frowned at the irony of it all. An artist was a creator; with his blade, he only took life away, even though he did it with a good purpose in mind. He wondered whether Faramir would, after a year or two, still be the creator he was now.
“Well, then,” Faramir spoke again, interrupting the thread of his thoughts. “ ‘Tis finished. What do you think of it?” On his hands, he held the product of his labour. Boromir grabbed it, almost solemnly, because that sketch did resemble the White Tower, and a great deal. His eyes were torn between looking at Faramir’s expectant face, or at the drawing in front of him. The beauty of the place of his ancestors had been captured in its true escence, and it almost seemed as though he saw himself there, pacing about the square, feeling the greatness that radiated from the building itself, all captured in a few lines properly placed together. He saw the solid lines of the structure, the spire that loomed so high that it almost seemed as if it would reach the heavens, the white marbles that glistened whenever a straying sun-beam caught them, the many windows, each holding secrets that an active imagination would surely try to uncover. The light of the rising sun was on her stones, glorious and bright. Boromir looked at the tower, then at the sketch, and then at his brother in front of him.
“This is masterful, Faramir,” he said, when he at last was able to speak. “Never had I seen a drawing so closely resemble the original. You have outdone yourself.”
“Thanks,” Faramir said, shyly. “Your company helped me put things into proper perspective.
“I am glad of that. However, there is something that appears to be missing from it.”
“Like what?” the younger brother was quick to add. “What do you think is wrong with it?”
“I don’t think there is anythig wrong with it; I just have the feeling that something is... missing.”
Faramir considered it for a while, looking afterwards at the tower very intently. “I suppose you are right, although I do not yet see what it is.”
“Neither do I. But, it looks not quite... well...”
“Yes, I see what you mean. Although,” he was interrupted by the clear note of a horn ringing loudly, awakening the world that had been their whole universe until a few years back. “I am afraid,” he said, “that this will have to do. The horn beckons, and I have to go and report myself. We will leave shortly, no doubt.”
“Aye, I am afraid so. Though, I am sorry to see you go so soon. And, you never really told me why you chose the Tower as your memory from this place,” Boromir said, half asking, half stating something.
“I can hardly say,” Faramir began, as he gathered all the objects and supplies that he had brought to finish his little task. “I suppose,” he said, standing tall in front of him, a decided look on his face, “the Tower is my memory of this place. It stands for everything I have ever loved, lost, and hoped for.” A long silence followed these words, and they stood together looking ahead, where the Tower loomed in front, tall and firm.
“I have to go now,” Faramir said. “Thanks for coming to meet me, Boromir. I am grateful to be your brother, and I hope I will ever live to be worthy of the name and your affection.”
“You shall always have it,” he said, placing his strong arm on his brother’s shoulders, as if he wished to retain him there forever, and suddenly realizing that he could not. “One piece of advice I will share with you ere you go.” Faramir nodded, and stared at him, intently. “Take care of yourself, little one, grown one... brother. I would not be able to bear your loss.”
“Only if you care for yourself, as well.”
Thus they parted, Boromir to search for their father so that they could see Faramir off together, and Faramir to seek for the rest of his gear before he had to report to the Steward of the City. A few moments later, the horn rang one final time, and Faramir and the small company that traveled with him disappeared in the plains beyond the Rammas Echor.
Later that day, Boromir wandered about the rooms, trying to seek for some past-time to keep his mind occupied,or perhaps unconsciously looking for some reminder of his brother. He went again to all those places where he had been earlier: the kitchen, the stables, the family living-room, the soldier’s court, the Great Hall, the library, and last of all he visited Faramir’s now deserted room. Perhaps it was his fancy, but even though empty, his brother seemed to be even more alive there. All the beloved books had been carefully arranged and put back to the shelves and boxes where they belonged, and some had been neatly stacked together and piled up on top of the desk, or at corners in the floor. The maps still covered the walls, but he noticed that on one particular spot, whatever it was that had hung there, had been removed. He tried very hard to recollect what it might have been, but to no avail. He frowned, and looked toward the bed, where the heavy blanket had been folded and put aside, ready for a long absence. He kneeled beside a heavy chest made of oak wood, where Faramir used to keep his instruments, and slowly opened it. He took out a flute and blew a shrill note; the sound startled him, and he jerked back. He blew another note, and then another one, but stopped because the sounds screamed of Faramir in his mind. Around him, he could behold every small thing, odd or no, that his brother had collected during the last sixteen years. His life was there for him to read it, and it was then that he realized how much he would miss the little one.
“He will be glad when he finds my little note in his book,” he said aloud, trying to dispell the silence that wrung about him, and one that he had never felt when in his brother’s domain. He had turned to leave, but decided to take a final look at the desk to see whether Faramir had left any sketches of himself, or perhaps of his father or mother, when a blue stone caught his attention. He lifted it, and there was an envelope underneath it. Boromir fingered the stone, and it glittered in the sun. He smiled upon recollecting a day on the beach, a long time ago, when they had been picking stones and had found the ‘blue jewel,’ a child’s treasure. It was not strange that he would have kept it after all those years. It was then that a yellowed piece of parchment fell from the envelope, and Boromir stretched his hand to take it. He had to gasp, for he was holding a beautiful sketch of the White Tower, the very sketch that Faramir had made that morning.
“What is this, Faramir?” he asked as though his brother were still there, while he examined the drawing closely. “Why have you left this behind, and something that took so much of your effort?” He distanced himself from the sketch, looking at it with the distance of his stretched arm in between. The Tower was there in front of him, as though he were actually beholding it from the courtyard of the fountain. The light of the rising sun was on its stones and, atop the spire, the banner of the Stewards whirled in the wind, caught in the morning breeze like a protective mantle over the land of Gondor. On the back of the page, he saw a message hastily scribbled in his brother’s light hand.
After you departed, I was suddenly made aware of what was not right with my picture, and the missing piece dawned on me: the Steward was not there. I hope I have ammended that situation satisfactorily. It is you who should have it, to remember that cause for which we fight, and to remember your ranger brother. May the land of Gondor remain free and safe. May we all live to our own expectations.
I love you,
Boromir had to smile, although he did not feel particularly happy, but surprised and amused. How had Faramir known he would come there, he knew not, but his brother knew him well, and had made arrangements so he would find the sketch, and keep it, as he intended to do.
“Farewell, little brother,” he said as he carefully put the drawing back on its envelope. He knew he would treasure that glimpse into his brother’s soul to the end of is days. “May the Valar always keep you.” He twitched his lips and brow in an odd gesture, and he was undecided whether it was a smile or a frown. Drawing his hand to his heart, he gave a final glance around the once cluttered room, and closed the door.
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.