24 June 2007 | 5832 words
Summary: Aragorn and Faramir organise a midsummer festival in Minas Tirith
Written for the 2007 Midsummer Swap.
Request by Fawsley: Midsummer in Minas Tirith. Faramir with his love of lore and Aragorn with the burden of long-awaited kingship need to forge an appropriate celebration for the renewed realm. Both must be strong, experienced soldiers/politicians faced with the task of rebuilding their kingdom’s traditions. No soppy schmoop, but they discover things about themselves and each other that neither expected. Can be serious or light-hearted/humorous. Hot is good but not at all essential. Horses, dogs, White Tree, magic, mystery, minor characters and nice large bustling Minas Tirith backdrop much appreciated. Boromir can be dead or miraculously not so as the writer chooses, and you’re free to do what you want with the wives.
The early morning air was crisp and fragrant with late spring blossoms, as the riders skirted the small wood. The Pelennor spread out ahead of them and beyond it the white buildings of Minas Tirith soared into view. Aragorn nudged the horse lightly with his knee allowing it to set off across the open expanse, having noted earlier that Faramir was an extremely good rider and well able to keep up with him. He raced across, the young Steward following him, slowing down only as the open lands gave way to the pastures that had begun to come up across the once barren fields.
People were already out at work in the fields. Here and there a scarf or neckcloth flashed out a splash of colour among the brown and green fields. Elsewhere in the distance, a low chorus of voices sang a soft song as they worked.
He continued riding, past the fields and farmsteads. The singing was beautiful yet tinged with sadness he thought, much as the people who sang them. He knew that although things had begun to settle down now after the war, a sense of loss still lingered on. The war had taken much from everyone. He too felt the loss of many, and more so of fellow men at arms such as Halabrad and Boromir.
He had spoken of it to Gandalf a few days earlier, as they’d stood on one of the parapets in the citadel watching the activity in the markets in the fifth circle. The wizard in between long puffs of his pipe had glanced at him with an inscrutable expression and then spoken, “You do well to notice that,” he said.
“Sometimes grief and loss can overwhelm one a great deal. That is where your near and dear ones come to aid. But in war, where everyone loses so much, people need to be guided back to remembering what they still have.”
“And that is one of the duties of a ruler?” Aragorn said.
“Yes,” Gandalf agreed, “Ask young Faramir to help you. The White Tree is back in the courtyard. There is much to look forward to now. But you may, perhaps, need to create an occasion. Sometimes these things need to be nudged into pace gently.”
It was as dinner was nearing its end the next day that the idea of the midsummer festival was first mooted, over cups of cherry wine that had come all the way from Dol Amroth. Aragorn had asked Faramir and Imrahil and his young son Amorthos and a few other councilors to join him for supper after the council meetings that day had concluded.
The meeting that day had not stretched very long and had thankfully not been very fractious either, so they all felt well relaxed. Discussions had centred on the restoration work underway in the city and the replanting of the fields by the river. Since summer seemed set to arrive early, it made much sense to get the most of the work done while the days grew longer. From all accounts it looked to be a good summer, much welcome after all that had happened.
“This is good wine,” Angbor of Lebennin commented.
Imrahil inclined his head in acknowledgement, “It is but last year’s crop. We shall have a much better wine this year, with a longer summer.”
“Here’s to a fine, long summer an excellent crop of cherry wine then,” the young lord of Lossarnach said.
“Indeed,” Aragorn said quietly, “This shall be one summer that is much looked forward to.”
“It would be nice to be able to ride out all day in the warmth, bathe in the river, and sleep out in the open, under the stars,” Faramir said, almost wistfully.
“It would be if one were able to get away awhile,” Aragorn said drily and then smiled slightly and added, “Although I suppose one could ride out and oversee the work in the outer plains. When I was in the Shire there was another reason to welcome the summer. The midsummer festivities there are rather joyous.”
“Indeed,” Angbor said leaning back in his chair, and sipping at the wine, “It was so in my younger days as well. We welcomed the summer all the more for that. The midsummer festivals in Lebennin then involved much fun and celebration. I remember one year they had cherry wine just like this one, sweeter though, for the cherries came from Lossarnach. I think even my lord father spent much of that night singing and dancing around the flower pole, and not always with my mother!”
“The midsummer festivals were often like that,” Imrahil nodded slowly, smiling a little wistfully, “I remember there would be so much food and drink and singing and dancing, and all the elders would seem to have grown years younger!”
“And all the young women prettier,” Angbor remarked.
“I suppose all the revelry helped them press their suit upon any poor man they set their eyes on,” Amorthos said carelessly, “Was it not more of a festival for lovers to come together?”
“It was meant to celebrate the summer, as the days ahead would grow shorter,” Faramir interspersed quietly, “The spring festivals celebrated renewal and birth, the midsummer was meant to revel in growth and hope. That was I suppose why it was a more communal celebration than the midwinter, where you look back upon the year that was and usher in hope for the year ahead. At midsummer people sought to celebrate life and love and hope.”
“That sounds like a fine festival then,” Amorthos declared, “Why did we stop celebrating it?”
“I haven’t seen a midsummer celebration in many years too,” the young lord of Lossarnach stated, “The summers were when the young men in the vales left for the plains for their military training.”
“And when the forays across the borders seemed to intensify,” Faramir added.
“Oh, the festival has not been celebrated as it was then for many years now,” Angbor said quietly, “I suppose people still celebrate it in the farmsteads or upon the high hills but in the quiet of their own homes as they do the midwinter. A small bonfire or a small feast but not as it used to be. No dancing around flower poles nor singing. In the plains and towns, there has been much happening over these years that left little time for celebration. To have a large feast and have so much dancing and singing seemed inappropriate. In part perhaps it was our fault too. We let the dark times overwhelm us. We should perhaps have tried for these little means of succour.”
“We should perhaps now,” Aragorn supplied, “I had wondered whether the midsummer festivities had been revived in Minas Tirith.”
“Is that why you asked me yesterday whether the midsummer festivals had been revived here?” Faramir asked.
Aragorn nodded, “I remember when I was here earlier, there were small celebrations in the farms, little else. Of course those summers were hard ones, with constant corsair attacks and celebrations were far from everyone’s mind.”
“It has been quite long since the midsummer festivities were held in Minas Tirith,” Faramir said, “I remember hearing of festivals earlier but over time they ceased, for the summer months were when we found ourselves most hard put to defend the borders. There used to be smaller festivities but even those ceased over time.”
“But now the war is over,” Aragorn said, “Perhaps we could renew the midsummer festivities.”
“Celebrations may still be far from everyone’s mind,” Imrahil pointed out, “There is much that has been lost.”
“But what better way to remind everyone of what is left and what it means to rejoice in it than by having a midsummer celebration?” Amorthos said.
Aragorn nodded. “I have been thinking the last few days… it would perhaps help to have a celebration of some sort that would help raise morale in a way.”
“It would be nice to revive the festival,” Angbor mused.
“What do you think of the idea of a celebration,” Aragorn asked Faramir, after the other lords had left. They were retiring into his study. His hunting dogs bounded up from the grate in greeting, as they entered the room, nearly tripping Faramir as always. With many of their council meetings tending to be long and sometimes fractious, the two men had got into the practise of supping together here so they could discuss the happenings in the meeting. They were now gladly over the initial awkward phase where each man took the measure of the other. While Faramir had for various reasons that he could even now never clearly explain, had few doubts over Elessar the king, he had taken a little time to open up to Aragorn, the man who was king.
For Aragorn himself, although used to being chieftain of the rangers the last many years, having someone else at hand to talk over decisions was a novel and not unwelcome experience. For once, he had someone other than Elrond or Mithrandir that he could discuss such matters with. While both older men had been helpful and forthcoming, they had always had the weight of experience behind them. With Faramir though, he found they would both prefer to analyse the various options they had first before arriving at a decisions, a practise that he felt aided him in understanding the issue more and one that he felt he could learn more from.
He found he liked talking over things with Faramir and listening to the other man gives his views. Faramir had a logical, precise mind and Aragorn liked listening to him as he detailed out the thoughts behind his views.
They had realised a while ago that they tended to agree on all that was important, Gondor and the restoration of the lands. On matters pertaining to other lands, Faramir had always been quite frank in his thought that he held Aragorn’s personal experiences of these lands quite highly and would often consult him.
Besides, Aragorn had come to realise that he liked Faramir’s company a great deal.
“I think it is good,” Faramir said slowly, and moved away from the window where he had been standing, gazing down at the white tree in the court below, to sit by the king.
“But a celebration now?” Aragorn persisted, as he scratched the larger hunting dog under its ear, “We have just had the memorial services. Would a celebration be welcomed now?” He watched Faramir’s face closely as he spoke.
The Steward had leaned down to gently pat the smaller dog, which had moved towards him.
“I think we should look at it less as a celebration and more as an acknowledgement of life and hope,” he said, “It would be good if there were some occasion for people to be happy and joyful. There is still a sense of loss and unhappiness prevalent, and a celebration of the summer may be just the thing to remind everyone as you said to celebrate in what is left with us.” He glanced up as he finished speaking, his expression unreadable but his eyes intense.
“We have all lost much,” Aragorn said softly, and gently laid a hand on the younger man’s shoulder.
Faramir smiled wistfully at him, “Yes. Perhaps we can use the midsummer as a reminder that life continues. When you brought the sapling of the white tree and planted it, do you remember how much happier everyone seemed to be? Even now when the new leaves have sprung, people speak of it. It gladdens them I think to know of such tidings, for it portends better times ahead. ”
Aragorn nodded, “I would like your help in this. It seems fitting that there be a midsummer festival but we must devise it carefully. We will need to see what the practise has been, here and in the other fiefdoms. And when we devise it, we must ensue that it allows as much as possible for the people to celebrate.”
Faramir had been only too happy to help reinstate the festival. He could recollect hearing of it once from Ioreth in the houses of healing. She had once told him and Boromir a long, rambling tale of his father and mother meeting at a midsummer festival in their youth. Hearing of them in their younger days had gladdened his heart and reminded him of the younger, more amenable man his father had been before the pressures of the Stewardship had come in the way. Boromir had been rather amused by the tale. He himself had been quietly moved. But he had always tended to have rather romantic notions.
He spent a good portion of his time over the next few days in the archives and talking to some of the older people, asking them their recollections of the celebrations and at the same time, eliciting their views on having the festival now.
Among the people he spoke to was Ioreth.
“So it’s true,” she said smiling widely, “There is to be a midsummer festival this year?”
“Yes, Ioreth , he said smiling back, ”There may be one.”
“It has been long,” she said sighing, “Not since your father was a young man. And then over the years he seemed to lose interest in celebrating, and so things just got quieter and quieter over the years until they just stopped. In the farms they still have a midsummer supper but in the town, you see hardly anything. When I was a girl in Lossarnach, we used to start celebrating a month beforehand. The spring festivities would have barely died down, before the young men started climbing trees in search of the most perfect pine cones.”
“To string into the flower garlands. Pine cones, wild roses, lavender, green and golden berries. They would then gift them to young women. Of course unless they were healers they knew little of the actual significance behind the gifting of the golden berries or the green ones,” she almost cackled out with a gleam in her eyes that made her look years younger.
Faramir did not have to ask her for the significance. He could well guess what it would be.
“I recollect my grandmother would speak often of the midsummer festivities in old Ithilien,” the old ranger who ran the tavern the rangers often frequented in the fourth circle told him, “The entire village would gather in a small dell at noon, and they would erect a large pole. And they would dance around it as the shadow of the pole kept diminishing, and keep singing and dancing through the night, and then the men would go hunting for green apples to give to their beloveds. There would be food – the first crop of potatoes, strawberries, fresh, luscious red ones, bread, honey, preserves, roasted meats, and wine made of a sweet smelling flower that blooms only in summer. And upon the hillside villages, lights would be lit, not like the beacons but smaller torches that they keep there for other signaling purposes.“
“In Dol Amroth,” Imrahil sighed, while speaking, “Midsummer was celebrated from dawn to dusk. They would deck the ships with flowers… we still do that, and play and sing and dance by the seaside all night. At dawn, they would jump into the sea and race each other. And in the seaside towns, young men would hunt for beautiful shells to woo young women with.”
There were, Faramir realised as he studied on and spoke to others, countless old rituals and traditions, and he told Aragorn as much.
“Many of them came down from the days in Númenor,” he said wonderingly, as he watched the sun sink behind the Anduin from the terrace outside Aragorn’s study. Below them the city was settling down for the night. The lights were slowly dimming all over, “And then over time, the fiefdoms developed their own practices. And while the customs vary there are some concurrent themes, such as singing and dancing around the flower pole, festivities amongst suitors, usually a gift of flowers as an expression of interest.”
Aragorn nodded, “I have seen celebrations in Imladris and the Shire. They were not unsimilar.”
“What was done in Imladris?” Faramir asked interestedly, “And the other elven realms?”
“Well, in Mirkwood, they have not celebrated in many years, much like us, for their land was tinged by the shadow as much as Gondor was. In the Golden Wood, I believe they would have a feast at dusk. In Rivendell… well, we would gather together in the great hall, have a huge feast, sing songs and dance all through the night and then retire. It was not very different from other celebrations. I suppose when you have lived as many years, there sets in a monotony in celebrating something every year,” he said, “But I do remember once in Khand, traveling through a village during midsummer, all the men and women were out and they seemed to be playing a game of sorts. It was only later I realised that that was some sort of a lovers’ ritual.”
He glanced towards Faramir listening intently and wondered distractedly whether he would ever get used to having his each word heard so carefully.
“That does seem to be an abiding theme,” the Steward sighed, “Lovers, suitors, aromatic plants that awaken desires!”
“It was to celebrate growth,” Aragorn said shrugging, “If one pressed their suit at midsummer, the chances of new life in spring were higher. Our forefathers had these things well-planned.”
For some reason both men found themselves laughing at that.
“We don’t have much time now though,” Faramir said after a while, a lot more calmly than he felt. Much as he desired to see this festival, there seemed less and less time now to organise things. Why, they hadn’t even got a clear idea of what they must plan for.
“Then we shall organise something simple yet enjoyable and something everyone can participate in.”
Faramir nodded, “There are many old customs that had fallen away these years. But we would need ones that are abiding and will serve to make people happy. We could have the flower pole, erected in the clearing near the river, and then everyone could get together and sing and dance and eat and drink. And we could have archery contest and other sports. There are also particular flowers that are favoured, roses and some others. There are enough of these in the tubs in the citadel gardens. We could deck all the courts with them. And I thought the days before midsummer there could be plays staged in the courts in the third and fourth circles.”
They spent much time over the next few days drawing out plans for the festival, finalising them before they discussed it with the rest of the council. They would, as Aragorn had pointed out, need to ensure that the celebrations were such that all could participate, even the older people. And at the same time not drain the coffers by too large a sum.
They sat each evening with Faramir’s notes and discussed it over honeyed bread and wine, until the dogs would get restless and start fighting with each other. Faramir would then join Aragorn as he strolled with the dogs around the citadel gardens. At times they would meet early in the morning as well, before the councils, for a ride. They would ride all the way down the city roads, winding through each level, as the city awoke slowly. They would pass the morning bustle of the stables, and then the rows of merchant’s houses, with neatly trimmed gardens that hid the damage inflicted by the catapults in the war, the bakers’ shops with their aroma of freshly baked breads, the market, not yet opened for the day, and hence still quiet and uncrowded, and then past the lower circles, more houses and large taverns closed after the night’s business.
Faramir enjoyed this time he got to spend with the king. The older man’s openness to listen to him and even heed his suggestions had felt surprising to him after years of his position as a younger son. He had slowly found that his initial hesitation in expressing his views had slowly ebbed away. Aragorn had noticed that as well and had been pleased to note that his Steward was a compassionate and intelligent man whose recent years in the troops and rangers had given him a good understanding of how things stood in the land. It was all he could ask for in the man who was to help him rule the kingdom.
Aragorn knew that he had been trained for this nearly all his life. He had learnt from a young age to fight, to ride and even to help Elrond at times with the administrative aspects of running Imladris, and in leading the rangers of the north. He had often wondered however, how he might cope with the kingship, with running an entire kingdom. He had often feared that with all the years he had been travelling, he would find it difficult to do little other than sit in meetings all day much as Elrond had needed to do. But he had found this surprisingly easy to do. He found that the decisions he had to make were not very different from the strategies he had had to devise while with the Rangers. And Faramir was of immense help to him!
They finalised all their plans within a few days, having decided to keep it a simple and traditional celebration. They would moot it to the council and the merchants’ guild the next day.
“And then I’ll look for the songs that have been mentioned in the archives, for not all of them continue to be sung, and I’ll have them passed onto the singers and musicians,” Faramir concluded.
“Thank you,” Aragorn said and grasping him by his shoulders hugged him, “I know there has been very little time to arrange this in, but you have handled it perfectly,” he said, wishing there was more he could say.
Faramir looked up at him in surprise, his normally calm face, suddenly seemed a mix of emotions, surprise, delight and shyness mingling in the youthful features.
“I – it was nothing,” he mumbled, “I would gladly do more, you need merely to ask, and I shall endeavour to do it for you.” He did not however give voice to the thought that there was much more he would willingly give to the king, and that he had felt so since the day he had woken to his healing touch.
Aragorn looked into the clear, in tense gaze and the realising he was still holding the younger man close, dropped a kiss on his forehead, “I’m quite sure you will handle all I need as well as you have done this festival,” he said, wishing again that he had a better way with words, much as Faramir did.
Both the council and the merchant’s guild approved of the festival, and in fact were extremely taken in by the idea. Which meant that now the actual organising of the festival needed to start in earnest. Faramir took over the task, promptly commandeering help from Amorthos, Legolas, Gimli and even Gandalf.
“What is Gandalf helping with?” Aragorn asked curiously.
“You’ll see,” Faramir said grinning.
He also had huge pots of roses, and other flowers moved from the gardens into various parts of cities, and in some places, in fact, Legolas organised the planting of flowering creepers and vines – jasmine, honeysuckle and ramblers of fragrant wild roses, and other flowers from the vales of Lossarnach. The roses, Faramir told him signified love and affection, while a large blue flower he could not name symbolised fertility, and a sweetly fragrant creeper containing pink and white flowers had long been associated with an old play about the revival of a merchant family’s flagging fortunes following many difficulties.
The singers and musicians in the court were given the old songs Faramir had unearthed and often as Aragorn rode out in the morning he would hear the strains of music, soft and melodious and joyful emanating from the terrace where they practised these.
He could see too that the news of he festival had made the people in the city curious and interested, and he thought he detected a sense of greater liveliness in them.
Faramir found he thoroughly enjoyed himself organising the festival, and though he had involved Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf in order to utilise their greater expertise in the various tasks he needed, he found they expected him to take the decisions and although a little hesitant initially he soon found himself doing so.
“It’s a good thing you involved the lad,” Gandalf told Aragorn one evening as they watched the Steward and Gimli poring over a large piece of parchment and discussing something very intensely, “sometimes he needs to be reminded that he is well capable of being your Steward.”
“Indeed, he is well capable of it,” Aragorn said, and continued watching the younger man, as he spoke excitedly, his eyes bright and face flushed from the excitement of the upcoming event.
A week prior to the festival, Faramir found himself being roused urgently from a deep sleep. He had been tired from a long meeting with the ambassadors from Rhun and with the work on the celebration and had fallen asleep early. But the king’s soft, slightly wary voice was enough to waken him.
“Forgive me for waking you,” Aragorn said as he rose. The king was seated on his bed.
“Sire,” he asked worriedly, “Is anything the matter?”
Come, there is something I must show you,” Aragorn said softly.
Faramir stared up at him in confusion.
”Is anything the matter?” he asked again.
“Nay. Come outside with me,” was all Aragorn would say.
He pushed away the bedclothes, and slipped out of the bed, reaching for his robe as he did so. He pulled it on over his naked body and slipping on his boots, followed the king through the long corridor out on to the courtyard. It was a cloudless night and the court was milky white in the moonlight.
Faramir gazed at where Aragorn pointed out and gasped. The white tree was abloom, covered in tiny white blossoms glistening under the moonlight. Faramir stared up at the tree in awe. For all his life the tree had been blackened dead wood, until a month prior, Aragorn had found and planted the fresh sapling. He had watched as the leaves had sprung up and the tree had turned green, fresh and bright against the white stones of the court.
Aragorn moved closer to him.
“It’s beautiful,” Faramir said.
A slight breeze sent a few blossoms fluttering their way. Faramir caught one and laying it on his palm sniffed deeply. Aragorn watched the younger man’s face as it transformed from awe to delight. Having smelt the flowers already he knew the fragrance, like that of athelas was one that would refresh even the tiredest of minds.
Faramir caught a few more of the flowers and smiling at Aragorn offered them to him to smell.
“Thank you,” he said softly, “For bringing me here to see this.”
Aragorn smiled at the sight of Faramir’s happy expression and the shining eyes, one he realised he’d like to see more often, and said, “I could think of none else who would understand what I feel or feel as I do at this sight.”
Faramir stared into the king’s bright grey eyes, and then wrapped his arms around him. He said nothing, but when the king’s arms folded around him, he glanced up at him and gave him a small smile.
“Thank you,’ he whispered again, and when Aragorn’s lips fell on his, he kissed the king back just as fervently.
Aragorn’s hand moved to rest on his lower back and held him in place as their kiss deepened.
By the end of the day, a carpet of white covered the grass under the tree, as the leaden branches sagged down gracefully under the weight. The sight delighted everyone who beheld it, and soon the entire city was abuzz with the news.
Over the rest of the week, the preparations of the celebration began to pick up pace as did Aragorn and Faramir’s comfort with each other. They met each night in the king’s study before retiring to his bedchamber and slowly but steadily set to explore and understand each other to a greater depth. Sometimes they walked out into the gardens and court as well. Faramir thought he would never get enough of the sight of the white tree in full flower.
Midsummer’s eve dawned bright and clear. The city walls gleamed bright and white in the sunshine. Flowering creepers spread over the white stones, in a multitude of colours.
They had selected a large clearing near the riverbank for the celebration. A long pole had been placed upright in the centre of the clearing. There were strings of flowers and leaves hanging from it, interspersed with thin, long strands of coloured silk.
The trees around the clearing had small tallow lanterns hanging from the branches, to be lit as dusk started to fall.
The singers and musicians had a place set aside not far from the pole, and Faramir had ensured they would follow a roster so that they too had time to enjoy themselves. In the river itself, a fleet of small rowboats stood tethered to the bank, decorated with flowers and ribbons, should any of the revellers wish to enjoy a moonlight sail.
Late in the afternoon, everyone gathered at the clearing, a large mass of people, young and old, men and women, dressed in their brightest clothes, curious yet a little silent, barring the younger children who had already started playing among the trees.
Faramir kept an eye on the proceedings carefully, spoke to the musicians, and checked on the feast. Aragorn made a short speech as promised, welcoming everyone to the festivities, his voice deep and warm as it resonated through the clearing. He stood on a raised stone platform. He wore a circlet over his hair. He wore a soft, deep blue robe lined with a simple band of gold cloth. Underneath he wore a white tunic unbuttoned at the neck and grey pants.
The younger children continued to run around and play as he spoke their clear, bright yells and laughter interspersing his words.
“We have all had a difficult year, there is much that we have lost. And yet there is that we have still and that we have gained. In celebration of what we have and what the future holds for us, and in hopes of this glorious summer bringing an equally glorious year,” he said, and held up his cup of wine.
He was joined by everyone in his toast and then the musicians struck up a soft melody. Faramir joined Aragorn at the stage, and smiled.
“Now for Mithrandir’s speciality,” he said and clapping his hands together briefly to attract attention asked everyone to gaze towards the river.
The sky on the other side of the river immediately lit up in riot of bright lights accompanied by a volley of popping and hissing sounds which did not sound entirely discordant with the music.
“Fireworks!” Aragorn exclaimed smiling.
It was Gandalf at his best. There were bright fireworks in red, green blue, yellow and other indescribable colours shaped as starts, flowers, spirals, even a castle, a dragon and other such. They lasted for a very short time but it was enough to lighten the mood considerably.
As the fireworks had neared an end, Faramir unknotted the sash Gimli pointed out to him, and tugged gently. As he did so, the wrappings around the pole unraveled perfectly letting loose a shower of flowers and leaves that floated down onto the surprised crowd around the pole. Long strands of coloured silken cloth streamed out from the top of the pole, as did strings of flowers and leaves.
The music struck up after that, lovely lilting tunes that Faramir had not heard in many years. Soon young men and women were gathered around the pole, some dancing, some merely standing close together, talking.
There were some contests too before dusk fell, in archery and swimming in the river, and a few other small sports that Amorthos and some of the other younger lords had devised. The winners were given wreaths made from flowers, leaves and berries, and a goblet of fruit wine, that they promptly shared with the other participants.
The dancing continued trough the night, and Aragorn noted that the quieter faces had given way to gentle smiles. They may not have the boisterous celebrations that he had seen in the shire, not this year, but perhaps in a few years they would. The festivities continued well into the night, and it was as dawn came up that people finally began to return home, tired but happy from the revelry.
A little before dawn though, Aragorn found his Steward standing by a tall tree, watching the dancing.
“Well, now that the celebrations are nearly over, perhaps we could have one of our own,” Aragorn suggested smiling.
When they returned to the citadel, Aragorn slipped his arms around Faramir. The younger man leaned back into the embrace sighing quietly.
Aragorn nudged him towards his chambers.
“I’ve been inspired by all you’ve told me of the midsummer traditions, so I thought I’d today what I should have done earlier. I have something for you,” Aragorn said, “I hope you’ll accept it.”
There lay on the pillow a circlet made of roses, lavender, daisies and herbs, with a blue silk ribbon wound through, a pink and white seashell of an exquisite shape, a large, shiny, green apple perfectly rounded in shape, and a glistening red strawberry.
Faramir found himself laughing as Aragorn slipped in through the doorway and wrapped his arms around him.
“I accept,” he said smiling.
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