20 November 2010 | 12086 words | Work in Progress
Warning: Allusion to spanking
Disclaimer: All characters and everything else belong to Tolkien,
Summary: Mithrandir meets a young Faramir for the first time.
Beta: Thanks to KC for looking over several drafts. The remaining excessive commas are entirely my own fault.
A/N: In this story, Faramir is a child prodigy. Finduilas is a scholar who sees bits of the future and the past and sometimes ghosts, and Faramir inherited some of those talents. The series and its sequels will quickly become somewhat AU, although nothing happens to alter the actual plot line in a major way until several years after the end of ROTK.
Part 1A – The Wizard’s Unlooked for Apprentice
Gandalf the Gray, Wizard of the immortal Istari, returned to the White City during a rainy autumn, once again searching for the One Ring. The forces of Sauron were growing bolder and his manipulations more pernicious. Gandalf sensed that the long-awaited time of crisis was approaching. A conversation he had with his fellow Wizard Radagast the Brown had led Gandalf to think of the Library and archives of ancient Minas Tirith. The wizard hoped to find clues to Isildur’s fate, and to the path of the dread ring, amongst the books and scrolls of the White City.
Minas Tirith stood nearest of all the human realms to Mordor. In the handful of years since the Gray Wizard had last visited, the city seemed to have grown grayer itself, more despairing. Its archives, however, were as cheerful and filled with absent-minded scholars as ever, to the Wizard’s simultaneous joy and frustration.
Gandalf suppressed an oath upon realizing how many records from the time of Isildur there were in the library of Gondor. Too much was better than too little, but going through it all would take far too long without competent help. At this rate, he would never be able to leave Gondor and travel to Rivendell before the snows set in.
“Mithrandir!” A soft, sweet voice called out from nearby, disturbing only the old Wizard at the table nearest from the window. Gandalf, called Mithrandir by the humans of Gondor, looked up to the welcome sight of the Lady Finduilas, the wife of the Steward of Gondor. The Lady was ever a favorite visitor to the library and archives. He also noted the less-than-welcome presence of a small child at her side. Gandalf was very interested in making the acquaintance of Finduilas’ offspring, and was fond of human children (in fact, all children) in general. However, the Wizard was quite certain this one was far too young to handle the manuscripts he was reviewing with the care they deserved.
Beginning to gather up his research to keep it safe from small and possibly sticky fingers, Gandalf greeted “Lady Finduilas, always a pleasure. And this must be your younger son – Faramir, is it not?”
Finduilas ushered the young boy forward. “Aye, it is. Faramir, give Mithrandir your greetings. ‘Twas he who first introduced me to your father, when he visited Dol Amroth, long ago.”
Gandalf found his eyes captured by a remarkably solemn and piercing gaze. “You are looking for ways to stop the men from Mordor.” The gray eyed child observed. “May I help?”
Quite taken aback, the Wizard murmured, “hmm,” to buy time, looking to the child’s mother for guidance.
Finduilas gave her old mentor a half-smile, one he remembered well as portending mischief. Here he thought it probably expressed mere enjoyment of his shock at her child’s strangely mature manner. “Well, Fara, Mithrandir is working with very sensitive old documents, and you must needs gain even greater dexterity ‘ere you can help with them.”
The boy sighed in disappointment, perking up as his mother offered an alternative.
“But I see Gandalf has a set of newer books here – copies of older documents. Maybe you can look through those for certain words?”
“I’m good at that.” the young Gondorian Lord offered, meeting Gandalf’s eyes with sincere desire to help.
“Hmm.” The gray wizard said again, considering. “Oh, very well. It isn’t often I find such enthusiastic help. Here – look for this name – Isildur.”
“I-sil-dur” the boy pronounced, looking carefully at the word as the Wizard had written it. “Is it only in this tongue, or should I look for it in Sindarin and Quenya as well?”
“Can you spell it in those languages?” Gandalf asked in growing surprise.
“I think so,” the child frowned as he wrote in a hesitant hand the name Isildur in Quenya and Sindarin.
“Very good, kit.” Observed Finduilas, “but you forgot the accent here, and that the I should be an E here.”
“Only in the standard dialect though, right Mama?” The boy asked, writing the words again with those corrections.
“Yes, some of the texts of Quenya I remember from my girlhood in Dol Amroth did not have that variation.” Finduilas confirmed.
“Here, Fara, you begin with these books, and I shall help Mithrandir with the scrolls, until your Father’s meeting adjourns.”
The boy didn’t need a second invitation. He was soon engrossed in scanning pages for the words he’d been asked to look for, intent on his task.
Turning to Gandalf, Finduilas offered. “Now how may I help you, dear one?”
Smiling at the offer of real help at last, Gandalf explained how the object he was looking for disappeared not long after the Last Alliance of men and elves, when it had been in the possession of Isildur. Finduilas frowned in concentration, clarifying “So I am looking for anything about a belonging of Isildur’s, such as a battle fought over one, or a theft, or perhaps a law suit?”
“Yes, my dear.” The wizard confirmed. “Anything like that.” Gandalf smiled as Finduilas took a goodly portion of the old manuscripts he had gathered, and proceeded to peruse them with delicate skill. Were it not for the fine lines on the lady’s face, it could have been twenty years ago, the teenaged Finduilas offering to help Gandalf search the archives of Dol Amroth in exchange for hearing her favorite stories once again.
The three continued in their tasks, the boy and his mother occasionally calling the Wizard’s attention to one mention of Isildur or another in the books and scrolls, a few of which the Wizard noted for further research later. As the afternoon wore on, Gandalf found his attention straying from his search in the old manuscripts, to the fey Lady and her grave younger child.
Finduilas, the daughter of Prince Adrahil of Dol Amroth, had kept her fragile, near-ethereal beauty, despite years of marriage and the birth of two children, as well as a prolonged bout with ill health. She was pale, nearly as pale as an elf, with beautiful red-gold hair bound back with a circlet, and caught with a bronze clasp at the nape of her neck for ease of completing daily tasks. She was dressed in a light green dress that brought out the deeper green of her eyes. A handsome woman, and a clever one. Gandalf sincerely hoped that the rumors of her health further deteriorating were untrue. From her own Númenorian descent, she should have many years left. Still, Sauron’s forces breathed at the very door of Minas Tirith, and if there were any in Gondor he would choose to eliminate, it would be the wife and mother of the last surviving Hurins. Gandalf would miss Finduilas for her own sake, for he had allowed himself to care for the girl as he did few humans, but he would mourn her even more for the loss of her moderating influence on her hot-headed, stubborn husband, Denethor, the Lord Steward of Gondor. Although a skilled and perceptive leader of men, Denethor had become cynical and rather an absolutist as he grew older, and anyone who did not hold Gondor’s cause above all else in Middle Earth was highly suspect in his eyes.
Adrahil’s children all possessed certain traits that could have come almost directly from their Númenorian and elven ancestors, but Finduilas more obviously so then her siblings. Dol Amroth’s was one of the first princely lines to mix that heritage, and it gave their line the Númenorians’ talent of looking into the hearts of men, and the wood elves’ way with beasts and nature. Gandalf had carefully arranged the marriage of Finduilas to Denethor (so as to bring that bloodline back to Gondor). The Wizard would have tried to marry her to Aragorn instead, had Isildur’s heir not already fallen deeply in love with Arwen, Lord Elrond’s daughter. He had tried to arrange Finduilas’ sister Inviriel’s marriage to the previous King of Rohan, but Adrahil had been disinclined to see a daughter move so far beyond the reach of the Swan Knights protection.
Finduilas, noticing his regard, looked up with a smile. “It is so pleasant to see you again, and to be able to introduce you to Faramir. I had feared I would not have the opportunity.” The lady spoke softly, so as not to disturb her son from his work.
“I would not have you wear yourself out.” Gandalf observed gently. “I am very happy to have the assistance of such a capable researcher, but not at the cost of your health, my dear.”
The lady sighed. “I am just weary, Mithrandir. I long for the sea and my childhood home, for green and growing things, but my husband needs my help here, and I worry.” At this, the lady’s eyes moved to her son.
“Worry over him?” Gandalf observed the boy more closely. The wizard had already noticed over the past few hours that Faramir seemed a very quiet child, and a hard worker with a goodly attention span for his age. He had inherited his mother’s gold-red hair, perhaps a shade or so darker. He had the gray eyes which were so common amongst the Númenoreans, and, unless Finduilas had already told the boy about his research, he had also inherited his father’s ability to look into men’s eyes and know the truth. “He does not seem a difficult child, my lady. Were I you, I would be more likely to worry over Boromir, whose enthusiasm for the war-like arts exceeds his current skills.”
“Boromir will be a great warrior.” Finduilas said “I have seen it – and Faramir shall be as well, though it is not what he would aspire to, in less dark times.” Looking at her more closely, and recalling that Finduilas bore strongly the foresight that sometimes came with Númenorean blood, Gandalf carefully asked “Then what is your concern?”
Meeting his eyes sorrowfully, Finduilas explained “I know I will die ‘ere my boys become men. It was the price for bearing another child, and I accepted it knowingly, for I believe you are right – a time of crisis is coming to Middle Earth, and Gondor needs as many warriors to face it as possible. But Denethor has never forgiven Faramir for being the innocent cause of my delicate health, nor has he forgiven me for conceiving him, knowing the likely cost.”
Looking again at the child, still reading diligently, Gandalf asked “You can’t be worried he will mistreat the boy? Denethor shares your far sight, my lady. He too knows he needs his sons. As I recall, he positively dotes on Boromir.”
For the first time this day, Finduilas began to resemble a long-time invalid. “Forgive me for burdening you thusly, Mithrandir. I should not have brought these family issues up, they are not your concern.”
“Not at all, my lady. Please let me know how I may help. Your assistance, and the boy’s, have saved me many days work, and you have been one of my more astute research assistants over the years.” Gandalf explained.
Finduilas looked at her son again, then back to the Wizard. “You will likely visit here again as the years go by, renewing your searches in the archives. I would have you look up Faramir when you do, and encourage him in his scholar’s pursuits, for I fear my husband will discourage him, if he can.”
Gandalf looked again at the quiet boy. “I will, when I can. I don’t know how often I will be here over the years, but I will make a point of talking to the boy.”
“My husband may try to keep you away from him.” Finduilas related, a darker concern in her eyes than that which she had spoken.
Gandalf chuckled to hide his unease. “The day I can’t get around Denethor is the day I turn in my wizard’s staff. I convinced Adrahil to let you come to Gondor to marry him, didn’t I?”
Finduilas smiled her thanks, as the boy looked up and piped. “Mama, council will be over soon. You should go and rest, so that you may have dinner with us tonight.”
Finduilas nodded. “Aye, I should. Will you stay here with Mithrandir, and do as he tells you?”
The boy turned his attention to Gandalf and nodded solemnly.
“Very well, I shall take my leave. Good hunting, gentlemen.” The Lady nodded her gold-red head, and went to her rest. Had Gandalf known it was the last time he would see her, he surely would have embraced her. As it was, he merely nodded politely back, and then snorted at how neatly he had been manipulated into babysitting a child younger than he generally cared to watch in a library. Lord Faramir, fortunately, continued his angelic behavior even away from his mother’s supervision. The wizard and the boy continued their research, until a loud voice interrupted, one undoubtedly heard by all of the scholars in the library, and possibly also by the bookbinders’ a street away.
“What are you doing with my son, Wizard?” Denethor, Steward of Gondor, demanded in a tone bordering on the impolite, before looking at Faramir and scolding “Your mother will surely be searching for you rather than resting, for you were supposed to spend the day with her.”
Turning to Gandalf, the Steward said “As for you, I will keep the promise I made to my father that you can do your research here, old man, but you will not draw my wife into it anymore! She is not well.”
Raising an eyebrow at this excessively hostile greeting, Gandalf had yet to speak before Faramir said “Mother came to the library to fetch a book to read when we encountered Mithrandir. Mithrandir offered to watch me so that Mother might rest.”
“Oh.” Denethor sighed, and his anger mostly left his face. “Very well then. See that you return to your rooms in time for bed.”
“Yes, Father.” the boy agreed, dropping his gaze back down to his book as his father left the library.
“Faramir,” the wizard reprimanded, suppressing his amusement at seeing Denethor so neatly outfoxed by his five year old son, in favor of maintaining a serious expression. “While that was very diplomatic, it is not appropriate to lie to one’s Father, even for good reasons.”
The boy met the Wizard’s eyes, reassured by their twinkle. “It wasn’t a lie, Mithrandir. You did agree to watch me, and Mother has gone to rest. If Father had found out Mother had been helping you, he would have yelled at her, and that would have been very unrestful.” he explained.
“What about your Mother’s health?” The wizard pressed. “Shouldn’t your father know she has been neglecting it to help me with this research, so that he can ask her to rest?”
The boy looked somewhat guilty, and a little torn, but continued to defend his actions. “Mother is happier on the days she spends some time in the library, or with her friends. Sometimes the soul needs different things than the body.”
That didn’t sound like something a five year old would come up with on his own, even this odd five year old. “Where did you hear that?” Gandalf inquired.
“Mother’s healers.” Faramir explained. “They told that to my Father when he overruled them about letting her spend more time in the library. Father doesn’t always understand about what the soul needs, that’s what the Warden of the House of Healing says.”
“Hmm.” Gandalf considered. “While I can appreciate that you had good intentions, misleading one’s Father is not much different from lying to him, young Faramir. You should endeavor, in the future, to avoid both.”
The boy shook his head “Even when telling the whole truth will result in more trouble for those who haven’t earned it? Mother didn’t ask to be sick, and Father always feels bad after he yells at her.”
Gandalf leaned forward, engaged, and at the same time wondering at the oddity of being drawn into a discussion of comparative ethics with a five year old. “I suppose, young man, that one must weigh the trouble that will be caused with the harm of the lie. In this instance, I judge you were perhaps in the right. Still, it is a fine line, and one that will trip you quite readily should you continue to tread it.”
The boys face furrowed in concentration, a look the Wizard had seen many times on his mother’s face as she struggled to understand something. “Boromir says that, too. Or what he says is I’m going to get spanked for being naughty, because I’m making decisions that grown-ups should make for me.”
“Boromir says that, does he?” The wizard pondered aloud, thinking it was perhaps time to reassess the other son of Denethor as well.
As if summoned by their discussion, the older, blonder, son of Denethor entered the library, less quietly than his mother and brother, but with less volume than his father. He moved directly to their table without having to scan the room, as if drawn to his younger brother’s presence.
“Brom!” The younger boy greeted happily, but at a low volume, being careful not to draw the attention of the other scholars.
“Fara.” The elder greeted, smiling with exasperated tolerance at his sibling. “Hello, Mithrandir.” Boromir greeted the Wizard politely enough, but in a reserved way that made Gandalf regret that Boromir already seemed to have taken on his father’s wary attitude toward the wizard.
Pinning his younger sibling with a firm look, the ten year old explained “Mother’s going to be too tired to come down to dinner. Ada says she’s just having a bad day, but she was here helping Mithrandir, wasn’t she?”
Faramir looked a little ashamed. “Aye, but she was so happy while she was here! You should have seen her – she didn’t look sick at all!”
Boromir sighed. “I understand why you didn’t tell Ada, but you probably should have.” The older boy seemed sympathetic despite his scolding, but followed up with a “request” that made it clear he did not intend to let his clever brother entirely get away with his deception. “Why don’t you come help me with my chores, Fara?” Boromir asked archly. It was clear to Gandalf, and to Faramir, that the latter was more of a command than a request.
The younger brother’s stance turned stubborn, and he shook his head. “Nay, I shall continue to help Mithrandir, as Mother bade me.”
Gandalf chuckled at Faramir’s clever re-construing of Lady Finduilas’ instructions. “I think, young Lord of Gondor, you should help your brother with his chores, in payment for his silence over your transgressions. I’d also like to point out, for your consideration, that I’ve only known you for one afternoon, and twice I’ve seen you mislead those with authority over you as to the true state of affairs. It would behoove you to be aware that being clever won’t always get you the outcome you desire.”
Boromir looked uncertain as to whether he should thank the Wizard for his support, or reprimand his brother. Faramir, taking advantage of this momentary uncertainty, turned his best innocent expression – and it was very good – to the Wizard and made his case again. “But I want to help you, and you could use help, otherwise you will be late. I never get a chance to help Gondor.”
Boromir rolled his eyes, muttering “You’re a child, Fara. You’re to help Gondor by listening to your elders.” The Wizard chuckled again, sensing this was a discussion the brothers had engaged in before.
Turning to Faramir, the Wizard consoled. “You will have many chances to help Gondor, young one. In fact, I will welcome your help again tomorrow, but for now you must go atone for your misdeeds.”
Faramir sighed, and laid a bookmark in the book he had been reviewing. “Aye, Mithrandir.” He accepted, turning to his brother with a no-hard-feelings-smile. “Lead on, Brom. What are we doing today?”
“You’re going to scrub pots clean whilst I try to beg some food from the Cook.” The older brother said, chivvying the younger out of the room.
“Brom, I hate scrubbing pots!” the younger one whined softly in protest.
“Should’ve thought about that before you sassed the Wizard, huh, pest?” his older brother said, mussing Faramir’s hair affectionately as the pair disappeared from view.
Well after midnight, Gandalf the Gray woke to an odd sound in his bedroom chamber. It sounded almost like a bare foot on stone. Seizing his staff, he gave a silent command for light as he looked around for the intruder.
The intruder was a very small boy holding a very large book. It was Faramir, who, while appearing momentarily startled by the unexpected light, and the Wizard’s fierce expression on being disturbed, immediately rallied with “Good, I don’t have to wake you up. I think I found what you were looking for – it was in a book that wasn’t in your pile.”
Flabbergasted, the Wizard stared at the Steward of Gondor’s younger son, bare foot and clad only in a thin night shirt, apparently wandering the halls of Minas Tirith after midnight at will.
Taking the Wizard’s shock as a request to please continue, Faramir held the book out, and flipped to a marked page, showing Gandalf a passage that nearly made the Wizard forget completely the time of night and the tender age of this research assistant.
“Here, this is a copy of a passage in an old letter written by a Lord of Gondor whose manor was near Gladden fields. It says that Easendor, a great man of Gondor, came to his end in an orc ambush, and that he was brought by his retainers’ to the Lord’s manor, but it was too late to heal him. Before he died, the great lord spoke of his family, but mostly of his precious jewel, lost in the ambush. The Lord wrote to his cousin in Minas Tirith that it was sad irony the great lord had survived the siege of Barad-dur, only to fall before a party of orcs.” Faramir, every inch his scholarly mother’s son, looked up at Gandalf, explaining earnestly “Easendor is close to Isildur – adjust for the accent near Gladden fields, and give the scribe who copied this letter into the book a spelling problem, and you’re there.”
Gandalf nodded absently in agreement, further noting “great man is a reasonable translation of King, particularly given the likelihood the original letter was written in some form of Sindarin. And there were few great lords of any stripe who survived the siege at Barad-dur.”
Faramir nodded. “And he lost something precious to him. In the river that runs along these fields, probably.”
“Why would you say that, son of Finduilas?” The Wizard asked intently.
“When the passage speaks of trying to heal him, it talks of water in his lungs. Unless he had caught pneumonia, it is likely he fell into the river during the ambush.” Faramir pointed out.
“A likely conjecture.” The Wizard agreed, putting on his overrobe and swiftly copying the relevant passage. “I must travel to this area with all haste, perhaps something can still be learned. It is not that far from the Mirkwood – perhaps King Thranduil’s scouts can be of assistance.”
“King Thranduil is a wood-elf.” Faramir observed, seeming impressed. “Do you know many elves, Mithrandir?”
“Hmm? Oh yes. Lovely beings, elves.” Gandalf commented absently, collecting his travel bags.
“I shall leave the book here with a note for the staff to return it to the archives.” Lord Faramir explained, noticing that the Wizard seemed not to be aware of such little details.
“Why not take it back yourself?” The Wizard asked, still not recalling, in his excitement at making progress in his search, that Lord Denethor’s son was probably supposed to be in bed, rather than wandering the castle.
“You have used my water-proof bag to pack your parchment in.” The boy observed. “I would need it to take the book back to the archives without damaging it.”
“Hmm.” The Wizard agreed absently, noting the rain outside, before stopping abruptly. “This book came from the archives?”
The boy nodded, beginning to look worried. Mithrandir hadn’t seemed much like an ordinary adult, but Faramir knew that most adults, even the eccentric ones, disapproved of his leaving the castle by himself, particularly at night. Even Boromir disapproved of such activities at night, however Faramir had felt the Wizard’s mission was urgent enough to justify the haste.
“The archives are on the seventh level of the city.” The Wizard pointed out, sighing. “Dare I hope that you wore a warm cloak and boots?”
“Of course.” Faramir seemed insulted. “I couldn’t properly sneak…I mean go…from the castle to the seventh level without being seen if I hadn’t been properly attired.”
“Of course not.” The Wizard agreed with tired good humor. “What was I thinking? That a child who wanders several miles away from home, in the dark and the rain, by himself after an old book not even one I had thought of…incidentally, Faramir, what did make you think of this book?”
The boy blushed. “Mama reads it to fall asleep, sometimes. It is mostly a very boring collection of letters from Lords of Gondor to their families, and mostly from the time of Isildur’s grandchildren, but I remembered reading this passage a few weeks ago, and the name Easendor, and I thought it might be important.”
“It might be.” The Wizard agreed. “And you are correct that my mission here is indeed urgent, we may not fully understand how urgent yet. But still, you are a child with a duty to obey the rules set by your parents for your safety, which probably do not permit solo midnight forays to the archives.”
Faramir looked at the Wizard as if he might not be entirely sane. “Mithrandir, I am Finduilas’ son. I knew ‘ere I left that I would come to no harm, and that if I gave you this book, you would leave tonight.”
“Foreknowledge is not perfect.” The Wizard scolded. “Surely your mother has taught you that.”
The boy’s chin rose stubbornly. “She has. She also taught me that sometimes you have to break the rules in order to make sure that important things get done.”
“As I am sure Finduilas also mentioned, it is important to meet the consequences of breaking those rules.” The Wizard pointed out gently. “Come, I will take you to your nurse, and perhaps my thanks for your assistance will in some part make up for your transgressions.”
“Don’t take me to my nurse.” The boy said firmly. “She’ll wake father, who will wake mother, and a large fuss shall ensue. You’ll not be away swiftly, and everyone will be upset.” Faramir then fixed Gandalf with a very hard look, for his age and state. “This was a good day for Mama. She hardly ever makes a formal dinner anymore. If you take me to my nurse, Mama will be upset and have a couple of bad days. Its just how it is.”
“What would you suggest, child? An eccentric Wizard I may be, but I cannot leave the five year old son of my host to find his own way home.” Gandalf pointed out, impatient to be away, but mindful of his duties.
The boy looked as if he rather didn’t understand why. But instead of arguing that he had found his own way here and could find his own way back, he offered, “Take me to Boromir. He will punish me for wandering around the city alone at night, but it is better than the alternatives for everyone.”
Gandalf would normally not have left the care and discipline of a five year old child to his ten year old brother, but he recalled the strained dinner he had attended in the great hall that evening. The Steward had not mentioned his younger son once, despite Gandalf praising the lad’s scholarship. Talking to the young Lord Sendar and the old Captain Tyrel, Gandalf had learned that Denethor never mentioned his younger son if he could help it, despite praising the elder near constantly.
Captain Tyrel had explained “the younger boy seems likely enough – well formed, quick, polite. When he is with his brother, he does all the things one would expect of a boy of five. He’s already riding and shooting a small bow that Boromir had his guards buy for his brother. But the Lord Steward prefers not to see Faramir, so mostly he is not mentioned.”
Boromir, for his part, had been well-behaved during the formal dinner, far from the boisterous child Gandalf remembered from his previous visits. And Boromir had very quietly asked the server to pack up a second serving of the dessert, for his younger brother. Recalling that, and how well the ten year old had dealt with Faramir’s earlier transgressions, the Wizard agreed. Gandalf was unsurprised when Faramir quietly guided them through hallways, pausing to enter hidden tunnels once or twice to evade guards.
Boromir woke near instantly to his brother’s quiet, hesitant knock at the door to his outer chamber in the Lord Steward’s suite. The tall ten year old immediately swept his younger brother into the room with a sigh, wrapping Faramir in his own dressing gown. “Thank you for bringing him.” Boromir said to the Wizard, looking as if it pained him to owe a man his father so disapproved of anything.
“Your brother saved me a great deal of time tonight.” The Wizard supplied, “but he probably ought not leave his room and journey to the archives by himself.”
“Fara…” Boromir scolded, frustrated but not furious. “I told you, books can always wait til tomorrow!”
Faramir huffed, and Gandalf pointed out, “Possibly not, in this case. But it was still not wise.”
“I will deal with him.” Boromir promised. To the wizard’s surprise, the younger child did not object.
“Don’t tell Mama or Father, Brom.” Faramir said, sighing.
“I won’t, kit.” Boromir promised, still frustrated but affectionate “Now go get in my bed – we’ll tell them you sleepwalked here again, should they ask, and we’ll deal with the rest in the morning.”
Faramir nodded and turned to obey, pausing at the door to Boromir’s bedchamber to ask, sounding truly like a child for possibly the first time that day, “Mithrandir, if we meet again, and you can spare the time, will you tell Brom and I stories of the elves?”
Gandalf nodded. “It will be my honor, Faramir.” The boy grinned tiredly at him, and disappeared through the door.
Gandalf felt more and more the pressure to be away, but love for Finduilas, and growing admiration for her children, made him stay. “It is unfair for a child your age to have to assume such a responsibility for a child your brother’s age.” The Wizard told Denethor’s older son.
Boromir looked at him derisively, but no hint of his derision showed in his voice, which was level and respectful, if barely so. “Its not fair that Ada looks at Fara, and can’t see beyond our mother becoming sick after she bore him. I’ll take care of him, like he helps me with my lessons. We both do what we have to, Fara and I, to keep our family as whole and happy as possible.” Boromir closed his door, and the Wizard was left to marvel at the strong friendship between the two brothers, particularly given their father’s clear preference for the elder.
As Gandalf rode swiftly away from Minas Tirith toward the site where Isildur may have lost the ring, the Gray Wizard decided that he should indeed make a point of returning to the White City on a regular basis. A scholarly spirit such as Faramir’s did indeed deserve to be nurtured, and it was unlikely that Denethor would see the value in such pursuits, standing as he did at Mordor’s gate. It would be worthwhile keeping an eye on Boromir as well – any young child who was so protective and caring of a younger sibling at such a tender age would likely also grow into a remarkable man.
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