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Seeking (G) Print

Written by Shireling

27 June 2005 | 45981 words

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Warnings: Spanking. Non Slash.
Summary: In the first days of the Fourth Age, Estel and Legolas seek to help Faramir to break away from the shadows of the past.

Disclaimer: These beloved characters belong to the genius of JRR Tolkien. Sadly, I borrow them only for a while and promise to give them back in one piece.

Archivist’s Note: See also the sequel “Paying the Piper

Chapter 1

It is an odd sensation, to find myself in this great city in the aftermath of war. I am not accustomed to being confined within a city of men. In all the long years of my life I have been a creature of the outdoors, a being in tune with the natural rhythm of weather, tree and beast and even stone; the halls of my father’s realm delve deep into the earth, though they have been wrought to be light and airy. But the great city of Minas Tirith is like no other place I have encountered and though the people have welcomed us unto themselves I cannot warm to its cold and cloistered confines.

I can sense the anguish that remains. The fear and grief of these good people, so long beleaguered by the shadow of Mordor, has seeped into the very fabric of the buildings. The wounds that scar the once proud and noble facades are too fresh and too extensive to be healed without much toil and there are few able hands to tend to those wounds.

And wounds in stone must needs take second place when there are so many wounded in heart and body and spirit who need the salve of compassion and understanding to heal their hurts.

And what of the people!

They endure.

They endure because there is no alternative. They cheer for the King and for his beautiful Elven bride. They pick up the pieces of their shattered pasts; hopeful that the new regime holds a promise for the future; a future that they must face despite the losses that they have weathered. They pull together; the grieved, the bereft, the crippled, the widows, the orphans. All casualties in need of succour.

So many emotions tangle and boil amidst the chaos and destruction, perhaps the most obvious being relief; relief at the ending of the hostilities and fear, relief as loved ones are reunited and homes and businesses reclaimed, even the tainted relief for the bereaved of knowing finally that they can allow themselves the balm of freely expressed grief, that they can grieve for those who never came home. And yet for every citizen, from the highest to the lowest, the aftermath is a unique and personal experience and, while they may find empathy and support from their fellows, in the lonely, silent hours of the night the enormity of their loss must be born alone. Acceptance and the will to face a future never anticipated is a battle to be faced and conquered.

What can one Elf do in the midst of such need?

I share in the grief as I share in the jubilation. I watch as my beloved friend and companion takes on the mantle of his inheritance and assumes his destiny. But I don’t yet see my place, my role. As my father’s representative I am honoured; as one of the nine walkers I am celebrated, but what of me, what of Legolas?

Estel has promised that I may set up my own settlement and begin to heal the fair forests and lands of Ithilien and I relish the prospect, but that is a task for the future. For I must first seek my Father’s blessing and ascertain if there are other Elves who would wish to delay their departure to the West and assist me in the task. I wish also to keep my promise to my dear friend Gimli and travel with him so that we may share with each other our heritage of tree and stone.

I cannot offer my help to the whole city and so I must look closer to home and assist those within our own circle who still shoulder the greatest burdens in these first tentative weeks of peace.

There are two within the King’s entourage whose anguish, though courageously buried, calls out to me. My heart weeps when I catch a glimpse of their pain; when their rigid control slips and their eyes reveal the depth of their torment; a torment they hide to protect us, their friends and loved ones, from the guilt of our impotence.

For we could not protect them, we could not shield them from their pain and sorrow; we could not carry their burdens or share their fates. And so these two gentle and fragile souls still seek to protect us from the burden of our own guilt.

Of the two, Frodo carries the greater physical consequences of his trials. Despite the combined ministrations of the King, Lord Elrond, Gandalf and the master healers of the city he is slow to recover from his ordeal. The burns and lacerations from the last dreadful days in Mordor are now little more than reddened scars and the stump of his missing finger has healed. But his light is dimmed and no amount of healing potions and nourishing food will rekindle that light. Frodo is broken and there is no power on Middle-earth that can rekindle the bright spark of his unique spirit. But Frodo knows that he is loved; he is surrounded by those who would gladly give their lives for his ease and while love cannot heal him, he draws strength from the devotion of his friends.

And the other wounded soul? Faramir, the King’s newly appointed Steward; beloved brother of our dear friend Boromir and son of Denethor. His battles were not fought within the supportive bonds of the fellowship, he fought his battles alone; his brother taken from him, his father disdainful and dismissive, his beloved Rangers slaughtered around him as he battled to keep them and his city safe from the enemy.

If he has ever known joy in his life it has left little mark upon him. He carries his grief and his pain buried deep within himself; it adds a tragic and beautiful stillness to his aura for those who have the eyes to see, for those who can see through the mask of impenetrable calm he has cultivated, of necessity, to protect himself. I am not even sure that he considers himself one of our number. He hovers on the periphery of our company, a still and silent shadow who has yet to realise that we would all welcome him to ourselves if he would only accept the hands that reach out to offer him friendship.

And yet I would not want to give the impression that he is dismissive or disdainful of our company. He is unfailingly polite, painfully shy and almost pathologically deferential, particularly when in the company of the King and his closest companions. I have watched him and seen his almost bewildered awe when in the company of the noble Elves, as if he cannot believe this to be a waking reality; that these beings out of myth and legend are actually gracing the walls of his city with their presence.

To see him going about the endless tasks of restoring the city is to see a different man entirely. He spends many hours each day down in the lower circles of the city where the damage and destruction were greatest. He sees and endeavours to relieve the suffering of those left homeless, bereft and destitute. He coaxes and encourages the exhausted workers with his compassion and force of personality. He addresses the men by name and they work all the harder under the benevolence of his approval. Though he is not yet fully recovered from his own injuries and has yet to be passed as fit for return to active service he continues to oversee the reordering of the military. It is clear that whilst the King commands the respect and duty of the men of Gondor, Faramir has their hearts; he leads by example and they would, and did, follow him to death for the honour of being by his side.

He dispenses compassion and understanding and yet he neither seeks nor accepts it for himself. Before her departure for Rohan, I took to observing him when in the company of Éowyn and whilst it is clear that during their time together they had formed a close bond, their courtship, if that is what it is, was chaste and almost formal, only the brightening of his smile giving hint of his pleasure in her company. He treated her with the utmost gentleness and decorum and would appear almost startled if she took his hand or laced her arm through his as they walked, almost as if any tender, physical contact were unknown to him. This thought is born out by his reaction to the Hobbits. He is clearly drawn by their charm and gentle good humour and yet he is discomforted by their easy and unconscious physicality, by their tactile and rambunctious nature, especially that of Merry and Pippin; Frodo and Sam, I think, he finds easier company because they are by nature and by adversity more subdued than their Shire comrades.

He is an enigma. And I find myself drawn to him in a way I find hard to explain. I have known few mortals in the long years of my life and yet in this kind, gentle, troubled young man I feel a kindred spirit. He reminds me of another, of my dear friend Estel in his younger days, when he was confused and haunted by a destiny he neither sought nor wanted.

Perhaps this then is my role, to help guide this troubled soul back from the darkness of his isolation and to embrace a future that he never believed he would live to see, to show him that he is worthy of the love and friendship of his companions. I needs must resist the temptation of my heart to rush in and scoop him up into the protection of my embrace for I know that he could not yet accept that care. I must let my head rule my heart, for this battle requires a long term strategy, there will be no quick solutions, no easy answers and I will need the support and guidance of those who also care for Faramir to help me achieve victory.

If I am honest, I never gave much thought to the practicalities of ruling a Kingdom. For too long, from the moment I learned of my birthright, I fought against my heritage. I neither wanted nor expected this eventuality to come to pass and yet it seems the fates would have none of my feeble denials and I now find myself, against all odds, anointed and crowned, High King of Gondor. It is, at times, overwhelming but I am fortunate to be surrounded by a host of learned and supportive friends and kinsmen all eager to offer me their guidance and experience; Gandalf, Lord Elrond, The Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood, Legolas and Gimli, my beautiful Arwen plus the Nobles and Councillors of Gondor; Prince Imrahil, Lord Húrin and, not least, my newly appointed Steward, Faramir. With their support these first few weeks have seen great steps taken towards ordering the city and helping the people, my people, on the path towards recovery.

Lord Faramir has achieved great things since he discharged himself from the healers care in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Dark Lord. In the weeks before our arrival in the city he set about the task of preparing for the Coronation, organising the shelter of the homeless, the distribution of aid and food to the needy and organising accommodation for the expected host; all the while overseeing the defence and security of the city and its immediate surroundings and all this without the expectation of further office, for he assumed that the title and office of Steward would become obsolete upon my taking the throne.

I’m not sure that he entirely welcomed the prospect when I handed him back the Steward’s Rod of Office; if he had given any thought to the future I am sure it did not include tying himself to administrative duties within the White City. But duty has ever ruled his life and he took back the Rod with dignity and honour.

He has already proved to be an invaluable asset to me. He has a keen, scholarly mind; quick, incisive and intuitive. He can see through the convoluted intricacies of protocol and accepted practice, seeking practical solutions to problems that the councillors would argue about for hours; a trait that often fails to endear him to the staid and hidebound statesmen of the old Steward’s Council and they are not slow to show their antagonism.

I have spent a good deal of time in his company on official business and yet I have so far failed to break through his reserve to glimpse the man beneath. He is as much a stranger to me now as he was the day I first laid eyes on him in the House’s of Healing. I have heard much of him from others; from Boromir on our travels, from his uncle Prince Imrahil and from the campfire recollections of the men who considered it an honour to have served with him over many years. All speak highly of his courage and integrity, of his compassion, of his skills as a commander, of his gentle and self effacing nature, of his love for Gondor and for his beloved brother and of his tireless, if fruitless efforts to please his uncompromising and intransigent Father.

I worry about him and I note that others share my concern. When Éowyn was with us he was drawn into our company, though he was always at pains not to draw attention to himself, almost as if he felt he was trespassing uninvited. When the party from Rohan returned to their own lands he again withdrew, seeking his own council and company, losing himself in an endless round of duties that ‘demanded’ his attention. He was so clearly uncomfortable at being included in our informal social gatherings that I hadn’t the heart to insist that he attend, not wanting to add to his discomfiture. Only Arwen’s gentle persuasion occasionally drew him into our circle.

Only once have I caught a glimpse of him in a truly unguarded moment. Arwen had arranged a picnic in one of the larger courtyard gardens near to the Royal Apartments where Sam and Legolas had been working together to restore some order to the neglected borders. It was a lively party and I noticed that Gandalf and Faramir had drawn aside to a secluded bench to converse quietly. They were too far away for me to hear any of their conversation but at some point Lord Elrond had drifted over to them and had joined in what was becoming a quite animated discussion. I noted that Legolas had also noticed the exchange and was observing with a look of quiet relief. Faramir’s outburst of musical laughter was so unexpected and so delightful that it caused everyone else to quiet and still, all turning their attention to see what had affected him so.

In the space between one heartbeat and the next Faramir became aware of the scrutiny and he froze, closing in upon himself tighter than a clamshell, from carefree banter one minute to the closed, neutral façade that we all recognised so well, the next. It was heartbreaking to witness. He mumbled an apology, though he had committed no error, and no amount of urging from Gandalf or my Ada would keep him there. He fled.

For several days I saw him only on official business, his manner formal and awkward; he had obviously decided to keep a low profile, managing to evade the benign but persistent attentions of at least one Elf and several Hobbits. I sought council with both Gandalf and Lord Elrond, for I was feeling out of my depth with the situation and, though they shared my increasing concerns, they could offer no easy solution; Faramir’s difficulties had been a lifetime in the making; circumstances plus his inherent personality conspiring to force him to seek sanctuary deep within himself as a means of self preservation. As a strategy it had been successful but the emotion toll had been high, eating away at his self-esteem, leaving him in a bleak emotional wilderness.

As Faramir was obviously still not comfortable in my company I decided to utilise the ‘services’ of others in our company to draw him out. My first secret weapon was Frodo. I knew that not even Faramir could fail to fall to the Ringbearer’s gentle charms. I suggested to Frodo that Faramir was the ideal person to introduce him to the delights of the archives. Frodo jumped at the suggestion and was quick to request Faramir’s help and company and thereafter they spent many afternoons in quiet and relaxed companionship, sometimes talking and discussing various texts, sometimes quietly enjoying the peace, sometimes dozing and always with Sam as a silent but watchful guardian, fussing over them both and ensuring their ease. They both seemed to gain comfort from each other’s company, perhaps recognising in each other a kindred spirit.

My other plan of attack was to enlist the aid of Legolas. I was already aware that my fair Elf had taken a special interest in helping Faramir, though so far he had made little progress. From discussions with the Warden of the Houses of Healing I knew that Faramir was not yet fully recovered from the effects of his injuries, the wound from the Southron’s Dart had healed well but he was left with residual stiffness and loss of power in his shoulder and he had yet to regain his previous level of fitness. I suggested to Legolas that he offer to assist Faramir on the training field; to spar with him, to ride and to utilise their mutual skills and love of archery on the practice ranges in helping Faramir to regain his strength and hone his skills. It was a start; few can resist Legolas when he is on a mission.

Only time will tell if my strategies will bear fruit and draw Faramir out of his isolation and into the circle of friendship and care that are his due.

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Treedweller

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4 Comment(s)

NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

Wwhat can I say. This story has help me realise that I can no longer hide my fears and nigtmares. Beautifully written, the story made me cry. I haven’t cried in almost fifteen years, it was such a relive, thank you so much

— Ingrid    25 May 2009, 22:28    #

Hi Shireling,

I realized that I’d never left you feedback on this story, so I wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I like it! I loved the initial confrontations between Faramir and Aragorn here, and the loving discipline in the denouement as well as the part with Beregrond were just terrific.

— Susana    15 June 2012, 18:04    #

Thank you! This is absolutely the best Faramir discipline fanfic. There are so many out there, but none have even come close to yours (and, need we say, many are far better not read). Thank you for all the brotherly love and concern you have portrayed in the characters, and the sense of correct punishment vs abuse. Lastly, thank you so, so much for finishing it! So many authors lose interest and leave unfinished tales!

— Treedweller    25 January 2019, 22:12    #

it’s so cute i love it

— comrade hannah    25 July 2019, 22:18    #

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