1. On the Edge
Faramir looked out upon his moonlit city from the Citadel walls. All was made ready. He had planned and labored to good purpose. The filth of war had been mostly cleansed, the dead buried or embalmed for future ceremony, the homeless housed. Those who had been sent forth in danger had returned in peace. Baskets of flowers lined the streets; people who had streamed in from all over Gondor were safely quartered and like him awaited the morrow. Feasts and food for all were being prepared; and the host of soldiery lying now on the Pelennor would have good shelter and welcome. Maidens, ladies and children would throw garlands; minstrels would play viols. For tomorrow, the Tower of Guard would lay down its vigil and welcome home its King.
Soon he would catch a few hours of sleep. But now, Faramir watched quietly, alone but for a few guards standing still and reverent. He had held his last Council as Ruling Steward; and made the final preparations for the ceremonies that would come on the morrow. He had chosen the words he would say to hand over the rule of Gondor to Elendil's Heir, and committed them to memory. And in the morning, in the light of the spring sun, the King would come again.
Aragorn, son of Arathorn would be, Faramir believed with all his heart, not just any King, but one of the greatest to ever wear Gondor's Silver Crown. He peered over the walls to the city of torch-lit tents that covered the Pelennor. What did the King do now, down there among the Rohirrim and Swan Knights and halflings? Was Aragorn dispensing justice, speaking of kingly matters to Mithrandir? Or was he making merry, cherishing his last night of freedom from the burdens of state? Faramir smiled, hoping his lord was taking some rest, for tomorrow would be a day as long as it was great.
He touched the cool pale stones of the wall, thinking of all that those stones had seen in the tumult of the past year. Such times were already the stuff of legend. Faramir's right hand tightened on the remade white rod as he willed his thoughts away from the brother who should now have borne it. A familiar sound of wind-snapped cloth caught his attention. Faramir craned his neck to gaze upon the argent length of the Stewards' banner, rippling from the White Tower's spire for the last time.
Faramir raised the white rod in salute to the banner of his sires. Change was coming. Destiny had seemingly appointed him to return the rule of this city and land to the realm's true lord. Faramir's breath caught, his heart hovering between sorrow and joy. He looked down to the King's encampment on the Pelennor, then once more upward to the Stewards' banner, and exhaled.
Be proud, Faramir declared silently to the Stewards who had flown the white standard in defiance of the ever-rising Shadow. For we have held our charge.
Author's Note: This story owes a debt of inspiration to Altariel's magnificent story A Kind of Valediction, which can be found here:
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.