1. The Sacrifice
My love, your eyes shine
Brighter than Elbereth's starry jewels.
Your hair gleams gold in the candlelight,
Your lips are redder than cherries, but far sweeter.
Your kisses will set me afire
With burning flame,
That you alone can quench.
You sense my thoughts before I speak them.
You know me better than I know myself;
Two have become one through love's might.
Faramir chewed his quill thoughtfully. He had not yet met the lady to whom he would dedicate this poem, but he was certain this was how he would feel about her. This was what love should be like, a true union of souls as well as of the flesh. To dream of such a love and write about it helped make his life all the more bearable for a young man who would much liefer be a scholar than a soldier. He fought now because he must, for the land that he loved. Maybe the bow would feel less heavy in his hand if he fought too to protect a wife and little ones?
He tucked the half finished poem between the pages of the military report he knew he should be concentrating upon and resolutely returned to his task. His father expected a detailed review of Ithilien's defences first thing the next morning. Faramir worked late into the night. When he finally finished the report and placed it on his father's desk, he had forgotten all about the poem.
The next morning, he rose early and after a light breakfast made his way to the practise grounds.
"Captain Faramir, the Lord Steward wishes to see you at once!" a servant called, causing Faramir's arrow to land outside the target.
Faramir handed his bow to one of the squires and left the practice butts wondering why his father was summoning him now. He was not due to see him until the evening meal when they would dine together and make their farewells before he returned to his Rangers at Henneth Annûn the next day.
Denethor was pacing his study clutching a sheet of parchment. "What is the meaning of this, boy?" he demanded, thrusting the paper under Faramir's nose.
Faramir regarded it with dismay and flushed scarlet. It was his poem.
"I am sorry, father. It was a mere flight of fancy. There is no lady."
"About the only matter in your favour, boy, is that your moral conduct has never given me cause for concern!" Denethor snapped. "It displeases me greatly, though, that you should waste your time writing this nonsense! You are a soldier, boy, not a poet! All your time and energy must be dedicated towards your duty. I never want to catch you engaged such foolishness again or you will feel the full weight of my wrath. Do I have your word that you will not write poetry again?"
Faramir wanted to tell his father how writing poetry helped him while away the long nights at Ithilien. He yearned to explain that writing down his dreams for the future, however hopeless, gave him greater strength to fight for them against an ever increasing enemy. Why should he not write in what little free time he had? What harm did it do to anyone? He wanted to rage against his father and tell him he was being unfair. He never wanted to be a soldier, but he did his duty and served Gondor wholeheartedly. Why could he not write poetry too? Faramir knew all too well that it was futile to argue. Denethor was not only his father, but his liege lord and he was sworn to obey him.
"You have my word, sire," Faramir said bleakly.
"It is for your own good, boy," said Denethor, his tone softening slightly. "The enemy is ruthless. We can only defeat him with sword and bow and dedicating ourselves entirely to that task. We will speak no more of it. Now go!"
Faramir returned to the training ground. For the next hour, he fired arrows at the practise butts with such ferocity that those who saw him were amazed. His heart ached; he felt as if part of himself had been destroyed, a part that he had cherished and nurtured.
Twenty years later.
"We have done enough work for today, Faramir." Aragorn put aside the scroll he was working on and turned to his Steward. "Arwen and I hope you will dine with us tonight, we always enjoy your company."
"I should like that very much, Aragorn, thank you. I will just go and change my clothes to make myself presentable to your lady."
"Before you leave, I found this. It is your handwriting is it not?" The King handed Faramir a yellowing piece of parchment.
Puzzled, the Steward studied it and flushed.
"I did not know you wrote poetry, mellon nîn. Indeed, you seemed unable to, that day we were composing poems to our wives on the river bank."
"My father forbade me to write poetry and I forced myself to lose the art. Where did you find this? I believed that my father had thrown it away."
"I found it inside a book of lays that belonged to him that I was perusing in the library earlier today."
"How strange!" Faramir said thoughtfully. "He was so angry that I had been writing poems. I assumed he had burnt it. Throw it away, it is just doggerel!"
"I think it is very good," said Aragorn. "I believe your father thought so as well which was why he kept it the poem. Why not copy it out on a fresh sheet of parchment and give it to Éowyn? It will delight her that you dreamed of her before you two ever met. You should never have stopped writing, ion nîn."
"I had to; my lord father demanded that sacrifice of me."
Aragorn smiled and clapped Faramir on the shoulder. "Well your present lord would like you to write poems if you feel so inspired. I count myself most fortunate to have a Steward with so many talents!"
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.