1. A Cold Night in June
Quickly crossing the Courtyard, Faramir pulled his cloak closer about him. The wind had picked up and a flake or two fell. He looked up in surprise; it was soot from the mountain, which had been belching furiously for days now. The Steward's son burrowed deeper into the folds of warmth and picked up his pace, thinking all the while of the dream. The worrisome riddle contained within had haunted him with a thousand and one questions. Ahead of him lay a cold evening's meal with Denethor; his father thought 'twas only a dream.
He shivered despite himself and almost collided with the Chief Archivist. Eyes widening in dismay, he watched Arthad step aside to avoid the collision and lose control of the books and papers that the archivist carried. They fell. That is – the books fell, but the wind caught the papers and flung them high into the air. A sharp gasp left the archivist's mouth, and then a yelp as Arthad rushed forward, desperately trying to catch the wayward papers. Faramir ran to help, but there must have been close to a hundred sheets scurrying about the Courtyard. The guards, duty-bound, could not move to help and Faramir, in the midst of the flurry of white, noted their dismay at the sight before them.
Arthad, by this time, was huffing and puffing at an alarming rate, darting about trying to catch the errant papers. "Arthad," Faramir called. "Take care of the ones nearest you; let me pick up the further ones." The Steward's son noted the archivist nod and stoop to pick up those pages nearest his feet. Faramir ran further, picking up papers and crushing them to his chest. None seemed in danger of wafting over the parapet, yet he dared not dally. A slow smile crept across his face as he realized what a sight he must be. At that very moment, Beregond stepped out of the tunnel; Faramir shouted for help. The guard ran forward and, within a quarter of an hour, almost all the papers were retrieved. The last two were close and Faramir lunged forward. Another puff of wind took them; Faramir tripped and fell, but the papers were crunched in his hand. He stood, looking as triumphant as a young knight after receiving his first commission; then smiled sheepishly, slightly shame-faced at such a victory.
The smile broadened, his sides began to shake and laughter filled the Citadel. The archivist scowled, but Faramir could not stop the laughter. He could just imagine what the three of them must have looked like, scurrying about the Citadel as mice being chased by the proverbial farmer's wife. Finally reining in his mirth, he approached Beregond. The guard's smile was almost as full as his own. "Let us take these inside and try to right this muddle," Faramir said, still smiling. The archivist looked crestfallen. "A cup of mulled wine should help warm us and make the task lighter." At that, Faramir noted Arthad's eyes lit up. He clasped Beregond on the shoulder. "Join us, Beregond. It is the only reward I can give you for your help."
The distance from Tree to Hall was rapidly covered and the archivist and the guard found themselves in a small study off the Steward's office. A servant brought the wine, set it down and left. Denethor's chamberlain poured, then passed the salver around. Faramir asked and the chamberlain agreed to help with the papers. The task was quickly done and they all sat back: Faramir with a deep groan of satisfaction, the archivist with a moan of relief, and Beregond with a moan of pure bliss. The wine was quite good.
Faramir smiled. "We caught them all, did we not?"
Arthad nodded. "I must be to your father now, Lord Faramir. He waits upon these."
"What are they?" Faramir stood and began to help the man gather the now straightened papers and the books.
"Copies of the writings of Isildur."
Faramir stepped back in surprise. Arthad did not note; he quickly thanked the three and walked from the room. Beregond, oblivious to his commander's discomfiture, smiled, saluted and followed the archivist out. Faramir slipped back towards the table and stopped.
"I do not know which was more comical – you rushing about the Courtyard after those papers or your look now." He stepped from the doorway. "You did not think I believed you – about the dream?"
Faramir blushed as Denethor called for the chamberlain to bring the archivist back. "Come, my son. Let us see if the papers you scurried after in such a fashion were worth the trouble."
Denethor began to laugh and, after a moment's hesitation, Faramir joined him. Perhaps, the Steward's youngest thought, the night will not be as cold as I had imagined.
A/N – 1) Some say that Denethor hated his youngest. I do not believe it. His grief was not at the 'ending of his line' as PJ portrayed in the movie, but at the untimely death of his son. That he was harsh and grim is legend, and rightfully so, but that does not mean he did not love Faramir. IMHO. 2) This story came to me after the wind took the pages I was editing for another story and blew them down a full block, littering the black asphalt with white blotches. I did not laugh as readily as Faramir does in this tale – but, in the end, the humor of the event took over and I did laugh.
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.