"Go now and rest as you may. Tomorrow's need will be sterner." *
With that, I dismiss those that are present, ending the meeting. As the door closes for the final time, I sink back into my chair and shut my eyes, wishing that the past few hours could simply disappear. It is all falling apart too quickly... far too quickly! I grit my teeth as anger boils within me once more at the thought. And all of this... because of the foolishness of my own son! I slam my fist down in fury, a bitter taste strong in my mouth. The only part of this that did not surprise me, of course, is the wizard's role in this debacle. Hasn't Mithrandir always been there, subtly hinting and "guiding" any who would listen? Alas! Too late do I realize the extent of his influence now! Faramir has been blinded to the truth by Mithrandir's deceitful teachings, and he is now deaf to all words of counsel save those of the treacherous wizard.
I stand up and begin to pace the room in my growing agitation. Indeed, I should have recognized the signs earlier -- Mithrandir has long sought to sway Faramir's thoughts in his favour -- but in my foolish pride, I did not - would not - notice how much success the wizard has had. I believed that Faramir would at least stay true to Gondor, but I was wrong. No longer is my son's heart bound to his country... or his family. Instead, he has become naught but a pawn under the wizard's command.
'So be it,' he said to me, stubborn in the belief that his actions were justified. Gondor is doomed to be destroyed, and what does he say but those wretched words! No regret or distress does he show for his actions -- letting a witless halfling deliver the most powerful weapon into the Dark Lord's hands does not bother him, as long as Mithrandir deems it wise; hiding valuable information from his own father is of no consequence to him, as long as Mithrandir wishes it so. I wonder... If I had not learned the information myself, would he have been content to keep me in the dark, while the wizard threw away everything that has ever been dear to us?
I laugh bitterly. I have been blind, and treason is now my reward. Pausing in front of the windows, I take in the dark skies and shake my head. Yet what use is there dwelling on the immutable now ? Would I watch idly as my remaining son self-destructs and brings down the world with him? If only Boromir were still here! He would certainly be able to talk some sense into that boy Faramir. Sighing sadly, I turn away from the windows and head for the door. My patience is dwindling -- that I can feel as surely as I can feel our doom approaching.
Still, I cannot let this go so easily. There will be another council called tomorrow, but I must speak with him privately before that. Perhaps if he has not yet retired for the day, I can seek him out and see what comes of it. Just one more time... one last effort. For the sake of our people, I will do this. For Gondor... for duty.
I take a deep breath and walk out of the room, closing the door lightly behind me. Heading down the corridors steadily, I brush past the multitudes of servants. Curious murmurs follow me as I walk, but I pay them no heed, intent only on my purpose.
Stopping in front of chambers, I knock on his door lightly, waiting patiently as the sound of shuffling feet is heard from the inside. The door opens with a rattle, and a mildly irritated, and no doubt tired, Faramir appears in the doorway, barely stifling a yawn. Upon recognizing me, however, his eyes widen and he tenses up immediately. Quickly recovering, though, he bows and greets me politely.
"You are not resting," I remark as I enter the room.
"I will soon," he replies. I nod, acknowledging his response, and take a look around the room. As usual, the room is kept in perfect order, with most everything where it should be. My gaze flickers over to his desk, expecting to find the newest book to catch his fancy. I wonder what fantastical tale will have caught his attention this time? Almost absent-mindedly, I let my hands stray to his desk, about to pick up the book for closer examination. To my surprise, the top of his desk is empty save a few pieces of paper, arranged neatly at its corner. How odd... he tends to keep those books of his around even at the most dire of times. Has he truly changed so much? I shake my head, dismissing the thought as quickly as it came. Nay, he has only just returned to Minas Tirith, I tell myself. Let not such trivial matters bother you.
I smooth the frown from my features and turn to Faramir. Does he have nothing to say? Surely he knows why I am here... Studying him carefully, I silently wonder when - or if - he would speak. Never one to be very forthcoming with me, he seems even more withdrawn today. An uncomfortable air descends upon the room as we come face-to-face, each scrutinizing the other with caution.
Finally, Faramir breaks the silence. "We are now alone. Why have you come to speak to me?"
"I do not need to tell you that," I reply curtly, giving him a severe look. Turning away, Faramir lets out a sigh of exasperation.
"I know that you are displeased with my choice, father," he says with an almost imperceptible edge to his voice, "but the halfling's mission was too important to hinder! For me to have done as you wished would have been far too perilous!"
"No less perilous than leaving it to a powerless halfling, who will no doubt deliver this weapon straight into the hands of the Enemy!" I remind him sternly, making sure he catches my look of disapproval. Since when does he dare speak to me with such an impertinent tone? "Do you truly fail to see the folly of your actions?"
"Nay," he denies, shaking his head. "I have spoken at length with the halfling and his companion; they are anything but weak. In my heart, I believed that what I had done was right!"
"So you decided the fate of everyone with your intuition alone?" I ask pointedly. "Did you ever think to even consult your father before such a critical decision was made?"
"It was not a decision I made lightly, but under the circumstances, I could not see any other way." He looks at me sadly, imploring me to understand. "It was not my wish to displease you, father."
"Aye, as it was not my wish that my younger son would betray me!" I respond bitterly.
"But how have I betrayed you, father? I would never--"
"Silence! Do not think your father so blind that he would not notice your new-found allegiance to the wizard, Faramir. You have made your choice, when you allowed yourself to be manipulated by Mithrandir. You have betrayed me, and you have betrayed your country!"
For awhile, only silence lingers in the air as Faramir struggles to maintain his composure. Finally, he raises his eyes to meet mine and speaks up.
"You wrong me with this accusation, father," he says slowly. "I know that Boromir would have done otherwise in my place, but you cannot fault me for not being my brother! You may say that I acted differently than you would have liked, perhaps even foolishly if that is what you believe, but do not say that I acted to betray!"
I raise my eyebrow slightly at this unexpected outburst. "Very well," I reply, yielding to his request for now. It matters not what his intentions were, at any rate, I muse. Arguing over this will not remedy the situation. Seeing that he is appeased with our temporary truce, I continue. "In any event, it is already too late to dwell on past blunders. Tell me, Faramir, will you still heed my commands?"
"Of course," he replies somewhat indignantly. "What would you demand of me?"
I again let the an uneasy silence hang in the air as I evaluate his words. Undaunted, He merely gazes back at me evenly, unwavering in his resolve. Satisfied with his answer, I proceed with the conversation.
"I ask that only that you serve your country as you should, and that you cease all contact with the wizard Mithrandir, whose loyalties are yet unknown."
At that, his eyes widen in dismay. "But father--"
"Yes? What is it?" I interrupt. "Am I asking too much of you?"
"No," he replies after a lengthy pause. "You are not." Lowering his eyes, he bites his lip lightly, as if holding back further words of protest. It upsets him to be asked to abandon his wizard friend, I note to myself, feeling my frustrations mounting again. But willingly or not, these two will be separated.
"Do not forget that your first and foremost allegiance is to Gondor, not to any 'friend' of yours." I watch as he cringes at my words. No, this will not work. It would be best not to pursue this any further. Another time perhaps... "A council will be called early tomorrow morning. I expect that you will be there...?"
"Yes, father," he says softly, his shoulders slumping. As I start to leave, I could not help but sigh, seeing his dejected form. I wish it did not have to be so, Faramir, but until you realize the dangers of dealing with Mithrandir, I cannot let you be near enough to him so he can pollute your mind.
"Tomorrow, then." Do not be angry with your father, Faramir. This is for your own good. "Rest well, my son," I add softly.
Next Chapter: Regret
* JRR Tolkien, "The Siege of Gondor", Return of the King.
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.