1. Words Unsaid
It is not so much what I said to him, as what I did not say...
“It is oft repeated that when a loved one leaves - no matter where for, far or near - then to bid farewell and wish them success in the venture, is a must. Else, ill will be their fate,” my wife had said to me once. It had sounded then such as the idle thoughts of old folk with naught to do but talk. But Finduilas held those words close to her heart. The first occasion I gave her cause for ire, she stayed aloof till the time came for me to ride out to the wall. She came then to me, to wish me well.
“I would not part with you in grief,” she had said to me, then, and often again, “A blessing, kind words at parting are considered, for they mean that there is one who would await your return.”
And a blessing they were, indeed. She ensured we never parted in grief ever.
She was smiling when she left me.
She had taught our children the same. When she did so, I do not know. They were young yet, when she left us. Mayhap, she taught such to Boromir and he in turn taught Faramir or perhaps it was the other way around. They held to it always, as she had done.
There was but once I had wondered whether her words might not be heeded. Once, I feared that my heir would leave for unknown lands far away, with the cloud of the younger one’s ire hanging over his head for they were both stubborn when need be. But I need not have worried. She had taught them well.
They parted in good stead, and for that I was glad. I heard them as they spoke in the stables; quiet words, for none else to hear. The younger wished the elder a safe journey, as I had done, when I bade him farewell earlier. The more the wishes he carried with him, the safer he would be, or so she would have said.
But he returned not to those who awaited him, my son and heir, and I found I held truth no more to such thoughts.
Three days ere, the one left bade me farewell and I heeded not her words.
Would that I had, for now I know them to be truth. Those words hold wisdom in them; I can see that now. But it is too late for recriminations. He is here, the proof of what she said to me - my youngest - Faramir. I sent him to war with no promise to await his return. She had said none must be sent out in such manner for, should they not return, their last thoughts would be unhappy ones. Yet, my son I sent off so, to face a needless peril. He left and I bade him leave unthanked and unblessed. In my grief and despair, I forgot he too would have felt the sorrow I did. What his thoughts may have been, as he fell, I dread to wonder.
She would not have liked this to happen to him.
I have failed her. For while he is returned to me, I know I do not have him for long. He will depart from me soon. He will depart not in peace and in that, I am at fault. For it is now that I say to him what I should have said earlier – now when it is too late and he cannot hear my voice. It is now that I ask him to return to me.
What words I had with him before he left, were in anger, unthinking and clouded by this hopelessness that lies before us. What did he ask for and what did I give? If he would but open his eyes, I would beg him to forget them. He must never hear them again.
I know he never will. He will never hear my voice again. He will never hear me say what I should have said but did not. Instead he lies here, with naught to hold to his heart, but what should have remained unspoken. There was a poison in those words; it runs now through him.
He speaks; mere whispers are they. Yet, he speaks, and I hold to that. I strain to hear what he says, should it be that he has words for those he holds dear. I must know if it is I he is addressing. I hear words, mere fragments of speech. He calls for his brother and that brings the despair back again. He calls for me but I cannot reach him. My eldest is gone from me and now my youngest shall too.
Perhaps it is well that that should happen, for all we hold dear shall soon face that fate. The House of the Stewards has failed. This land and its people seem destined to journey into darkness now. He too may go, unblessed, yet again, because he cannot hear what I say.
I cannot fail her again. And I must not fail him, not this time.
I must give him the one blessing I can. Not in words for he hears my voice no more, but in deed. I will save him now where I failed him earlier. I will save him from the darkness that engulfs us. He will not succumb to this terrible fate that is to befall my land. We shall go side by side. It is all the thanks I can give him now. It is all I can do for the son I sent out without words worthy of farewell.br>
A/N – This piece was sparked off by the M-e superstitions challenge. Well past the deadline and perhaps the word limit too, but I felt I must acknowledge the source.
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.