12. Sea Longing
B2MeM Challenge AspectsOfAragorn1- wooer; Botany1- sage; Carolling- Tidings of Comfort and joy;Landscape1- cliffs Love1- And through all the lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows perhaps, the greater. Song lyrics- Now the light is slowly beckoning you to the shore; Canon couples Imrazor/Mithrellas
Format: short story
Characters: Aragorn, Faramir
Pairings: Aragorn/Arwen, Faramir/ Éowyn, Imrazôr/Mithrellas
Summary: Aragorn and Faramir enjoy a walk along the beach.
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
The two men walked slowly along the deserted beach. Few were yet abroad so early in the morning. They were enjoying a brief hour away from the bustle of the castle in this peaceful spot surrounded by the towering cliffs of Dol Amroth.
Faramir stopped. He stood motionless for several moments, watching a flock of gulls that wheeled and circled overhead. "When I visit the sea, I think of the story of Imrazôr and Mithrellas and the trace of Elvish blood in my veins," he said. "I can feel the sea longing buried deep within me."
"I hope it does not consume you, mellon nîn, as it does Legolas, and did your poor mother." Aragorn's tone was anxious. "I would miss you greatly, should you feel the need to dwell by the sea. You must, of course, follow your heart and do what is best for you, though."
Faramir laughed. "There is no cause for concern," he said. "I love Minas Tirith and Emyn Arnen far too much to ever forsake either of them, not to mention your company, mellon nîn. I just feel a longing every now and then to behold the sea and I feel grateful to my Uncle Imrahil for inviting us here for a change of scenery before the Council reconvenes in the autumn. Unlike my poor mother, I am not threatened by the Shadow and I know I can visit the sea whenever I feel the need. What of you, Aragorn? You have Elvish blood too. Do you ever feel the sea longing?"
Aragorn shook his head. "I always enjoy visiting the sea, but I have never pined for it."
Faramir gazed out across the horizon. "I often think about my distant ancestors," he said. "What were they like? What were their hopes and dreams? Why would an Elf maiden desire to be wooed by a mortal?" He flushed slightly. "I am sorry; I should not have said that to you!"
Aragorn smiled and patted Faramir's shoulder reassuringly. "No offence is taken. Out of all Men living, I deem I might be the best able to answer your question. I never set out to woo an Elf maiden. To be honest, before I beheld Arwen, I had little interest in wooing or women at all; fighting Orcs appealed to me far more, foolish young man that I was! However, when I beheld Arwen's beauty and grace, I fell in love for the first and last time. I swore I would woo and win her, or forever walk alone. Maybe it was the same for Imrazôr and Mithrellas?"
"Maybe," said Faramir. "That was exactly how I felt when I first beheld Éowyn. Never until then had I believed before in love at first sight!"
"Maybe the peril that threatened us all had its effect?" Aragorn suggested. "I recall an Elf of Lothlórien saying, Love in all the lands is now mingled with grief, it still grows perhaps, the greater."
"Wise words," said Faramir. "Love seems all the greater and more precious in the shadow of death. I knew too that I loved you from the first moment I beheld you. A very different kind of love than what I feel for Éowyn, but no less deep and true."
Aragorn nodded. "Love sprang between us when you opened your eyes and hailed me as king. I was sore weary and my heart was heavy with grief at the death of Halbarad. There were few tidings of comfort and joy during those dark hours, but that was one of them. I had not only gained in you, a son of my heart, but your acceptance of my claim brought me closer to wedding my beloved."
"There was no doubt then in my heart that you were my rightful lord and king," said Faramir.
"And now?" Aragorn asked.
"I wonder why I yielded so easily to so terrible a tyrant who hauls me from my bed at dawn to tramp over the cliffs with him!" Faramir playfully aimed a mock blow at Aragorn, which the King easily dodged.
"If I recall rightly it was your suggestion last night that we take a walk to watch the sunrise and leave our ladies to sleep a little longer."
"Éowyn was already awake and dressed when I arose," said Faramir. She wanted to go riding before breakfast."
"Your lady is an early riser. Arwen was still fast asleep when I came out," said Aragorn. "Our ladies are like the lark and the owl. We former Rangers had to be like both. I do not miss tracking Orcs all night."
"Rising at dawn for roll call as a young recruit was even worse!" said Faramir. He sat down on a large rock. Aragorn sat beside him. They sat in silence for a few moments watching the waves and listening to the roar of the incoming tide. "Éowyn is interested in visiting the local healers to improve her herb lore while we are here. She was talking to an old maidservant who claimed that a local wise woman had used sage to clear her mind when the confusion of old age came upon her. The poor old lady must indeed be confused. I thought sage was used to flavour meat. Our cook makes delicious sauces with it too."
"The old woman is right," said Aragorn. "The Elves had long known that sage sharpens the memory of aged mortals. It has many other healing uses too; to kill infections, remove surplus fluids from the body, and to treat women's ills."
"Éowyn should talk to you then rather than the local healers."
Aragorn shook his head. "There is often something new to be learned from country folk. Mistress Tasariel knew far more about treating everyday aches and pains than any Elvish healer. I now use her recipes to treat patients for muscle soreness rather than Master Elrond's. They are far more effective. Country folk have often studied lore that is of little use to Elves, but can be a great deal of use to Men."
"It is strange then that Elves know that sage could aid the old."
"The Elven healers had pity when they saw once wise folk become forgetful and confused and sought to help them. That was back in the days of long ago when Elves and Men first became friends."
The sun slowly rose higher in the sky. Soon the beach was bathed in golden light, which seemed to beckon the two men to the shore.
They rose from the rock on which they had been sitting and approached the sparkling waves. Faramir chose a flat pebble from the beach and skimmed it across the water, watching it make several jumps before vanishing beneath the waves.
The two men looked at each other, voicing an unspoken wish. Aragorn pulled off his boots and stockings and rolled up the legs of his breeches.
"Maybe we should return this afternoon with our ladies and children?" said Faramir doubtfully.
"There is none here now to frown at us enjoying such childish pleasures," said Aragorn. "Why is it so shocking that a King and his Steward might take pleasure in paddling?"
"It is indeed shocking," said Faramir. Then he grinned. "But I care not at all!" He pulled off his boots and stockings and placed them beside the King's.
Together they waded out into the sparkling water, enjoying the feel of sand and warm seawater beneath their bare feet and the wind against their faces, tugging playfully at their hair.
Aragorn laughed at the sheer joy of the moment. "On second thoughts, were I never to behold the sea again, I believe I would indeed suffer from sea longing," he said. "Is there any other place that refreshes the spirits quite as much as the seashore?"