This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Sibling incest, Faramir/Boromir, and bisexuality. Slash and het. If this bothers you, read no further.».
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28 October 2004 | 5807 words
Synopsis: Three lives, intertwined in love and death. Faramir remembers two loves lost. Sex and funerals, what was I thinking about? Angst, angst, angst.
Pairing: Boromir/Faramir, Faramir/ Éowyn
Rated: PG beginning and end, NC-17 in the middle.
Warnings: Sibling incest, Faramir/Boromir, and bisexuality. Slash and het. If this bothers you, read no further.
Archive: Just ask, I’ll probably say yes.
Disclaimer: If only the characters were mine, all mine! They’re not. I promise, I’ll put them back where I found them after I’m finished. All homage to JRRT, but I’m sure he’d be spinning in his grave if he read this. Sorry.
Do not trouble me with Faramir. I know his uses, and they are few. — Denethor to Boromir (The Two Towers, movie-verse)
A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to show his quality. —Faramir to Frodo and Sam (The Two Towers, movie-verse)
To untrained eyes, the man moving up the cobblestones in morning’s twilight appeared to be no older than fifty years of age. As the approaching figure climbed the ramp toward the City’s third gate, he came clearly into view, and the guard snapped quickly to attention. The Prince of Ithilien must have quartered his horse at the soldiers’ barracks below, he thought, and now makes his way towards the citadel. The sentinel realized that his eyes had been deceived earlier: Faramir was closer to ninety than fifty, but the blood of Númenór had slowed the change in his appearance to that of a man nearly half his age. He moved with the grace of one who had spent a lifetime moving soundlessly through the wilderness, yet the guard knew this too was not the full truth. For twenty years, Ithilien had known more peace than in the Third Age, and Faramir’s son Elboron now led the rangers in his father’s place. Faramir had spent the past five years caring for Éowyn as illness sapped her strength and drew her closer to death. He had not ridden on patrol once he knew what the disease could do, how swiftly it might take her. Faramir’s absence from Minas Tirith was spoken of in hushed tones, by those who dared speak of it at all. For five years, when the King needed Faramir’s counsel, he had ridden to Ithilien to hear it, rather than command Faramir to leave Éowyn’s side. As Faramir strode past him, the soldier realized that his presence in the city could mean only one thing: the White Lady of Rohan was dead.
I could not stay in Emyn Arnen, though it has been home to me for nearly fifty years—fifty years since I went there with my bride, Éowyn. In the two days since her death, the bittersweet memories in our Ithilien home reached up and ambushed me at every turn, until I feared to move.
So I left. To Elboron’s consternation, as he bade me stay and make all the decisions for his mother’s memorial. But there were so few decisions to be made, really. Éowyn herself had insisted upon putting all matters to rights in her last few weeks, when she knew that she could not outrun the illness chasing her.
And there would be time enough to return for the funeral, three days from now. Her brother-son, king of Rohan, must come bearing the white flowers that will top her burial mound in Emyn Arnen, as they do those of her kin at Edoras. But I could not bear to stay in our…home…any longer. Is it a home, or just a house, now that she has gone?
But I did not merely leave: I fled. I, who have feared so little in my life, neither death in battle nor pain from wounding, ran from Ithilien like a startled hare flying a snare. I drove my horse to the point of exhaustion, something I knew was wrong, yet I could not rest until I was out of Emyn Arnen, heading for—where?
My first home, the Steward’s house. For years, I protested to Aragorn that it need not stand empty, that it should be used for more than our infrequent visits to the White City. To which he always patiently replied that the house would remain there, waiting for whenever his Steward had need of it. Now, in the cold light just before dawn, I make toward it, expecting a refuge from the storm of my thoughts.
At the second level in Minas Tirith, I stabled the horse, flecked with sweat and shaking from exertion, then told the groom to feed him well, while I climbed. Striding up the levels of the city was good exercise, passing only lonely guards at each gate this early in the morning. I needed to block my mind from thinking with physical activity, so I climbed, intent upon reaching the top and a familiar door. Finding it, suddenly, I had to stop running. There were no other places I could fly to in my despair.
As I turned the key in the lock, I remembered the first time I entered this house after my father’s death, when I was newly-made Steward of Gondor, returned from the Houses of Healing. How I leaned against the door once I closed it behind me, shut my eyes to think of Boromir, and how the house rightfully belonged to him. Once again, I walked through the door, then closed it behind me, leaned back against its solid timbers, and surveyed the room before me. The most somber of my father’s belongings had long since been disposed of, replaced with furniture from Dol Amroth, rugs from Rohan, a merging of two cultures together, as our marriage had been. Seeing only at the surface, one might think that the house had nothing in common with what it had been fifty years ago.
Yet in this house, nothing is as it appears to be. The furniture has been rearranged, yes, but the silence brings back the past in vivid relief. I sway, glad for the solid door behind me, as memories assault me. Sounds from childhood rush over me, unwanted thoughts catching me in the most vulnerable places. My mother singing me a lullaby. The happy laughter of my brother. Father’s too-quiet glare.
I had forgotten how rare it has been for me to be here by myself in the last half-century; this house has not known much silence with all of us present, with servants, with friends. But now, alone, in the quiet of the Steward’s house, I find I am more uneasy than I had been as a child. I cannot outrun my ghosts here—here they find me, and pin me down. I have fled one house full of memories, only to be seized by another’s, every bit as powerful.
I have not fled fast enough to get away. Running, escaping an implacable foe, I recognize it now for what it is. In my mind, I hear Boromir’s voice, an echo from my training: if you are too slow to outrun a pursuer, then either you must hide, or turn and fight the enemy. Evasion has not worked—how can a man hide from his own memories? And if I cannot flee from my memories, then I must turn and face them down. I start a fire in the grate, pull a chair close to the hearth, then sit, and allow myself to remember.
With a rush, the heart fills with the strongest memories, of touch, of taste. I can feel her touch me, that first touch, her hand stroking the side of my face tenderly as I turn my mouth to kiss her palm and taste her flesh. Was it really fifty years ago, the first time I kissed Éowyn? I wrap my arms around my chest as the breath leaves me, and the tears well up, one rolling down my cheek. A gasp, then a stifled sob, as I start to mourn my lost Éowyn.
On our wedding night, you came to me, my strong White Lady, unafraid and curious. A maid, yes, but intelligent. You bade me give you lessons, how you might please me, in what ways you could make me mindless of all else in the secret hours of our marriage bed. Slowly, I showed you. All my life before I had been the student; now I was the teacher. And our lessons could become torture, once you mastered them, my wife. How hands moved above the skin might cause more sensation than those on the skin. Why short kisses interspersed with long ones could change everything. What caresses to neck, to thighs made my chest burn, groin stiffen. You learned quickly, eagerly, a most adept student of my pleasures. Soon you learned lessons that I did not consciously teach: how to register my breathing, how far you could push me without forcing me over the brink, what your mouth might do when it closed over my hardened manhood, how your hands and tongue together could bring me to the point of ecstasy with never a word spoken.
Oh my beautiful Éowyn, did you ever discover my secret? The one I could not tell, not even to you? I did try to learn your body as you would learn mine. I studied your physical responses as carefully as I would a subject for examination, so that I would not be found wanting. You did not know, and I did not tell you, that learning to please a woman’s body was something I had to learn from you. That I knew what pleased my own body, you assumed I learned from some courtesan. You were wrong. I learned it from the only lover I had before you: teacher, lover, brother—Boromir.
Boromir showed me how closing one’s eyes surrendered control to a partner, but did not mean an end to pleasure. Trust deepened the bond, sharpened the senses. Éowyn, do you remember the night you knelt blindfolded in our garden, as I fed you the first berries of spring? I watched your tongue play with the juice on your lips and thought: Boromir must have looked at me the same way, biting back the same urge to kiss that stickiness away as he reached for another food to rouse my senses, as his hands moved from one part of my body to another in silent worship. Chocolate. Pears. Honey. Sometimes in my mouth, sometimes in his, smeared on my skin. Kisses soaked in wine.
Did you never wonder, Éowyn, how I knew the way to touch your back, to find and tease the sensitive skin along your ribcage? Why did I require you to submit, never to block my hands as they stroked the places that would leave you nerveless, giddy? I learned from a master, my brother. He found my tender places first with ticking hands when I was a child, then with lover’s hands when I became a man. “Boromir, Boromir, stop this torture” meant one thing to the boy I once was, but something quite different once I became his lover. I hear you echo his cries, Éowyn, as I touch your collarbone, run the ghost of a touch along the side of your breast, for I learned how to pleasure Boromir in the same way (“Faramir, stop, I beg you”) and I would do exactly as Boromir had done for me—stop, but only for a moment, before resuming the touches, the subtle pressure. Like him, you did not really want me to stop completely.
How ironic that I tried to escape my grief for Éowyn by running away, and all it has done is bring me to another house, another grief for my lost Boromir. I see you both now, first with laughter, then impassioned. The quiet sobs wrack my chest, as I wipe a hand across my eyes. The wetness on my face does not shame me. Another of Boromir’s lessons from my youth: tears for someone loved and gone forever are a gift to the dead. Where our father would have allowed neither of us to cry for our dead mother, Boromir, worldly wise at ten, knew enough to comfort me and allow me my grief with dignity. He cried with me, even, a sight that shocked me then. And I think of his eyes again, those beautiful green-into-grey eyes, and another wave of tears blurs my sight before the fire.
Boromir with his long-seeing eyes, shut in sleep in a boat sweeping the Anduin. The image is burned on my brain, as if I had seen it yesterday. Tears fall in earnest now. I could never really grieve for you, my brother; circumstances never let me show the full extent of my loss. Battles, then injury blocked me from thinking of your corpse, lain out to ride the flowing river. How unfair it seemed that I never had a grave to visit, though every time I crossed the Anduin I thought of finding you that day.
Then, in the Houses of Healing, I met a woman like no other. Indeed, I had seen but never really looked at a woman until I met Éowyn. Perhaps I never looked because I needed no one other than you, Boromir. You were sufficient to every cause, center of my existence—my tutor, my shield, my world. Perhaps, with my body broken and you dead, I should have turned inward on my loss, lamented your passing. But I haunted the gardens, waiting for news of the armies in the east, my grief too raw to think of anything without distraction. And I met another whose loss was the twin to my own, whose strength was so much like yours that I put aside grief, turned back mournfulness and sought her love, although she would not give it to me at first.
Even as we celebrated our joy, Éowyn knew my loss. You knew, love, how my brother’s death robbed me of childhood playmate, confidante, ally. The empty chair at my left hand during our wedding supper silently proclaimed who should have been there, whose absence cut deeply. Aragorn did not miss the significance, and raised his glass to toast the war’s valiant dead. Your fallen uncle and cousin, my brother—our griefs mingled as our joys were shared.
Now our grieving together is at an end. Only I remain to mourn my dead, as I must, having outlived mother, father, brother, wife. Some would wish for the blood of Númenór, to stay the ravages of time in their looks, but for years I have longed only to be ordinary. How will I bear this silence, this emptiness where memories are locked within and none else remains knowing how to turn the key? I must be alone to the end of my days, thinking of you both to warm me as this fire cannot.
Éowyn, forgive me, but I can confess it now: Boromir, I never thought to love as deeply as I did when you held me in the dark spaces of the night. How could I? Our pleasure came as stolen moments, taken from evenings when we cheated sleep to touch one another. And our passion was tinged with the forbidding we ignored, brother-love become brother-lover.
You knew my body as a man knows his own hands and fingers, and used your knowledge to make me senseless, needy. I should have recognized that awareness one man has for another from the beginning, but did not. You were older, and in my eyes, perfection; no other man could know me so well, or so I thought. What harms you did me were the same ones you wished me to inflict upon you, small savageries, teeth on skin. You knew what it felt like to have a tongue rubbed over the crown of your erection, so you knew what your fingernail or hand would do when it rasped the tip of mine.
Your tongue touched places Éowyn would not go, thrusting deep between the cleft of my buttocks, and with your fingers or your hard shaft you pressed that hidden bundle of nerves within me that could drive me to madness. Ah Boromir, well do I remember the orgasm you gave me the first long night we shared together, as I came without even a hand upon my erection, all from what you could make me feel inside as you thrust and thrust again. I saw your face above me, eyes shut as you neared the peak of your exertions, while I lost control, my essence spurting between us. Brother mine, branded as clearly as if a hot iron marked your skin: where my seed hit your chest, my lover’s territory claimed.
Even the sounds of our lovemaking were different from those I came to know with Éowyn: you wanted to hear the slap of my balls against your soft underflesh, harder and harder as I drove into you, or hear me say your name out loud while I did so—for we both knew how much that tempted discovery. Dangerous, especially for us.
With Éowyn, not only sounds but everything was different, yet similar. I had no knowledge of women’s bodies when I took Éowyn, and trusted to the best lessons I learned from when you guided me: Listen. Taste. Touch. Explore. You led me, Boromir, even as I learned the feel of a woman’s inner spaces and outer needs. She had a wildness that reminded me of you, although the sensations we shared were different. I often felt like a horse being ridden, with her legs locked round my back, or her astride me galloping with her eyes half-shut. The pleasure was great, but oh so unlike what we had, brother. I could say her name out loud, watch her smile when I did so, but the thrill of the forbidden was not there. She and I had no need for secrecy, nor any need to hurry as dawn approached. My Lady gave me the gift of love at leisure, to spend an hour suckling her breasts if I wished it, as light streaked through our bedroom windows. Without danger, without haste—a world of the senses to explore with the luxury of time.
Making love to Boromir, I never feared my strength could harm him. How could I harm my brother, so much stronger than myself? If I pinned his hands to the sheets as I took him, I knew it was because he let me: he could free himself…if he wanted to. But I feared at first what I might do to a woman, to Éowyn, when ecstasy took me. I should have known Éowyn’s strength would make that impossible. My hardness could not bruise her for my body’s differences fit hers so well. Yet with such a lady, I could never bring myself to lower her, to demean her by taking her as you and I took each other, hardened arousals thrust deep into hidden openings. She never knew how I longed for the tightness I felt within your narrow walls. But she breathed my name at my ear, when she came, just as you used to do, brother. It was like hearing you remembered in Éowyn’s voice, two lovers merged as they both said “Yes Faramir…my Faramir….Faramir now.”
You and Éowyn had so much in common, besides your strength, your wildness. Her hands reminded me of yours—not their heft, not their span, for yours were larger, rough backed with scars while hers were narrow—but the calluses on her palms and finger tips from years of riding and sword wielding made me remember. Before we married, it never occurred to me that feeling her callused hands upon my back, running down to cup my rear and draw it closer to her, would remind me of my brother’s touch, the feel of toughened skin playing rough against the smooth.
Another tear falls, another groan escapes from my throat. What shall I do now without the both of you? Boromir, who made me forget loneliness, and Éowyn, who made me forget the loss of Boromir?
The fire in the grate has died. Lost in my reverie, I did not tend it, and the last logs burned away, leaving the room colder somehow than when I entered it. I rise to stir the coals among the ashes, and a few flames leap again, when a knock comes on the door. I expect no one, for no one knows I am here. When I open the door, I am no less surprised: Arwen.
“May I enter, Faramir?” As I nod my assent, she moves into the room and takes a seat before the weak fire.
“I have sensed a weight upon your heart. I would speak with you about Éowyn.” Again, I nod, letting her continue.
“Do you think Aragorn wrongs me, Faramir?
That is not what I was expecting. What had Aragorn to do with my grief? “No, Lady, he would never wrong you. What do you mean?”
“Is he wrong to love me, knowing he will die long before me?”
I shake my head, beginning to see her course. “No, of course not. He could do nothing else but love you.”
“Then should I have dishonored his love by rejecting him, knowing he could never live as long as I would? Aware that I would spend long years condemned to solitude after his death?”
I cannot answer, my muteness the only reply I make. I see her point, even if I cannot feel its rightness.
“Faramir, I know your loss too well—forced to live on after the death of the one you love. I have had many years to think about what awaits me after Aragorn is gone, and I know more of this than you imagine. You cannot prevent the grief-to-come by avoiding the joy-that-is-now. Think of Elboron, of Barahir, and your garden in Ithilien, all that you made together with Éowyn. Would you have foregone those pleasures, unname those happy moments, to elude your pain now?”
She worries that I need to blame someone for this death, or that I would forget pleasures past in my present sorrow. She thinks I fear the years ahead bereft of only one love, little knowing I have lost two.
“No, Arwen. My son and grandchild prove to me Ithilien will prosper. Their love is a delight to me. But that does not mean I should not grieve my losses. Please, the dead crowd my thoughts today, and I can give you no fair conversation.”
A pause. “You think on Boromir as well.”
“Always. Every day without him has seemed long. Without Éowyn, they will seem longer still.”
Arwen sits quietly, eyes lowered for a moment, then looks up with a question. “Yet you never mourned for Boromir. Elessar and I spoke of it years ago, wondering why you held no memorial, made him no ceremony of remembrance.”
“No, Lady. There were too many tasks that nee—“
“Faramir, no task could be more important than speaking Boromir’s tribute, giving his life its due worth before your friends. Elessar and I would have done it ourselves, but we thought it better that you choose the time of Boromir’s mourning, as his brother and closest friend. Now I see we have all left this deed undone too long.”
I shut my eyes, to imagine Boromir’s face if he could hear himself described by me simply as ‘brother’ and ‘friend’ when I named his qualities at the end of the traditional Gondor ritual. How he would roll his eyes in mockery at me—for there could be no public ceremony where I might name him ‘lover.’ I shake off the image, open my eyes, and look again at Arwen.
“Arwen, I could not celebrate all that Boromir meant to me. No ceremony, no listing of his qualities would have enough words. So I chose to have a private farewell. I said my goodbye to him at the river’s edge, as he lay sleeping in my sight.”
Her reply was quick. “Yet a service is planned to mark Éowyn’s passing. Why none for Boromir?”
This is hard to answer, and I dodge the question. “I was his only family, his dearest friend. He had no children, no other close kin bound to him. Who would gather with me, to hear his deeds and name his gifts to me, but men who did not know him as well as I did?”
“Aragorn would come, as would I. Legolas. Gimli. The Shire-folk. Éomer, were he still alive. Éowyn, were she here to stand with you.”
“I did not want them. I do not want them. Arwen, please, leave me in peace. Boromir’s been gone for fifty years, and lies in an unmarked grave.”
“No, Faramir. The grave is marked well enough for me to see. You carry it within you, and you intend to carry it alone as a burden your friends cannot share. I do not understand all of this, but perhaps Aragorn will. Expect him, later this morning.” Arwen rose, placed a hand upon my shoulder as she walked past, and went, closing the door quietly behind her.
Éowyn deserves to be remembered. Her son and grandson would expect no less, her nephew and kin-folk of Rohan would demand it. Slayer of the Witch-King, brave Shieldmaiden. My lover and wife. Mother of our son. I fall to thoughts of the time when we had been married only a year, when Éowyn first told me a child was coming.
I was stunned. I knew where babes came from, and why, but had little considered that the outcome of our nightly pleasures. Boromir, you would have laughed at your little brother then, slackjawed at the news. But you were the reason I gave no thought to children, brother. Our love would not bear children, could not have children. With you for my lover, the future held no children—only the pleasure we could give each other, and at the time I did not count their absence a loss. No wonder then that as I held Éowyn, I sought only to give her pleasure, without concern for future possibilities.
When Elboron was first placed in my arms, I wept. Not for him, not for Éowyn and the pain she endured in his birth, but for you Boromir. There would be no sons for you, no little ones for you to teach swordplay, to hold on stormy nights. But for Éowyn, there would have been no children for us, brother, none to carry on our line, and for that I was grateful. I wept for the loss of you and your sons, and for Éowyn’s gift of our son, and then…he opened his eyes. My heart almost overflowed, for your eyes stared back at me, grey-green.
I carried Elboron in to where Éowyn lay, exhausted from her labors, and placed him at her side. The look we exchanged over the body of our son I will never forget: our eyes seemed to say, this is my gift to you, the gift of my passion for you.
When, a few weeks afterwards, we started to caress each other beneath the covers, stroking arms, chests, breasts, I stopped. “Éowyn, I would not hurt you. I could not touch you this way again if I thought you must endure more pain in childbirth on my account.” This time, it was Éowyn’s turn to laugh at me, but with love in her countenance. “Faramir, if you deny me my pleasure, you will cause me to suffer even worse pain by your absence. I need to feel your touch, to revel as you plunge inside me, for it assures me I am alive and loved.” And I could never deny you anything, ever, Éowyn; I tried to be gentle, truly I did. But once our love built to a fever pitch, as my hands and mouth had stroked and licked you to the point of readiness, I proved to you that I was alive, gloriously, even violently, alive and could not live without the feel of your skin slick against mine.
As I rocked within Éowyn that night, I remembered the first night you held me, Boromir, as a lover would. How you first tried to turn me away from wanting you, telling me that you did not want to hurt me, ever. And I replied to you with almost the same words Éowyn used to me ten years later: “Boromir, if you deny me this, you will cause me worse pain. I need for you to touch me, to want me and love me.” And you could never deny me anything, ever. Once you saw I was determined, you tried to be gentle. I saw how you tried, even as your hands and mouth primed my body to the breaking point. But as our passion grew stronger, you became a man unleashed, and proved your love by the marks you gave me that night.
Ah Éowyn, that I denied you that one part of myself, that piece of my past you did not know…would you count me unfaithful, that I held you in my arms as you fell asleep, your passion spent, and I thought of Boromir?
The fire again had gone out, embers burned to nothing when not renewed with fresh tinder. How like these days of mine, I thought: I am burned to nothingness, a fire gone out, with my two lovers gone before me to the next world. As I debated whether to throw a new log on the ashes, a sharp knock came at my door. I glanced to the clock—two hours since Arwen’s visit. Yes, it probably was Aragorn. I opened the door, and bade my liege enter.
“Faramir, I grieve with you for the loss of Éowyn.” He knew the rituals of Gondor, and unlike Arwen, started with those familiar words to give me comfort.
My face sketched a smile in answer to his kindness, but there was no heart behind it, and the smile fell away from me. “My losses threaten to overwhelm me, Aragorn. It is as if Boromir has died again when Éowyn is not here.”
“Yes, Arwen mentioned that Boromir was much in your thoughts today, as well. But that you did not wish to hold a ceremony of remembrance for him, still.”
“No. I could not…name all that…the things my brother…I could not speak all he meant to me.” My words are tangled, but in my mind, the thought is clear enough. If I could not call him lover, there would be no ceremony. Aragorn knew the ways of our people, at death to list their honors, their names, and lastly, their qualities. Always that had stopped me, with Boromir. How could I mourn him publicly, yet deny his greatest gift to me: a lover’s kiss?
“….It occurred to me, Faramir, that you might honor both their memories in the same service, for you were the focal point to both their lives. Speak of their qualities together….wife, brother, friend, lover… Éowyn never met Boromir, but through you she knew him, and through you, his spirit must have known hers.”
Aragorn, reader of men’s hearts. You have plumbed the mystery that Arwen could not. Perhaps you suspected it—you saw Boromir’s eyes when he spoke of me in Rivendell, years ago. Perhaps you knew it—you first saw me speak of him in council, a short time after your return. It matters not, for what public conventions would not let me utter of Boromir alone, I might say aloud of both of them, together. It would be possible to speak of both my loves, to mourn them together, for in my heart, they have long been intertwined.
But I speak cautiously, careful as in days of old when Boromir and I feared discovery. “That is a worthy suggestion. Perhaps I might find the way to honor Boromir when Éowyn is remembered, as you recommend. Would no one think it odd, though, with her death so new, and his gone these many years?”
Aragorn shook his head. “No, Faramir, none would wonder. All knew that your loss of Boromir was a blow too harsh to overcome, yet Éowyn helped you stand again. With Éowyn gone, I think it is time to mourn for Boromir as well. We will be there, in three days’ time.”
I think on his words, as he rises to take his leave.
Three days later, I stand beside the burial mound for Éowyn, as her nephew spreads the white flowers and her kinfolk speak her praises. I stand next to Aragorn and Arwen, with my cousins from Dol Amroth, son and grandson at my side, while Rohirric lays are sung, Éowyn’s name and lineage recounted, her victory in battle retold. Elboron speaks next, naming Boromir’s family and our line, his many triumphs, and the part he played in holding the West against Mordor. Then I clear my throat, thinking of what I will say to conclude this memorial, how carefully I have written it over and over again in my mind. As namer of their qualities, I am last.
“The two we honor were worthy, noble in life, nobler in death. May their spirits freed from this place on Middle-earth find rest beyond, even as we remember them.
We honor Éowyn this day, strong and proud, my wife and helpmeet in all things. Her spirit watches our efforts, as we measure her gifts and give her the names she earned in life.
We also honor Boromir this day, my brother, so like my wife in strength and pride. Dead in battles past and with no body to bring to our family hall, his spirit too knows that we measure his life by the names we give him for his accomplishments.”
Most on hearing the names I give them will assume I alternate their qualities as I go, and I do not tell them otherwise. But I have painstakingly chosen the words, all but two, that describe them both.
The time has come, the moment to let go.
“I knew their qualities, for they were many. I name them now:
Wife, brother, lover, friend, companion, protector, comfort-bringer, teacher, battle-tested, warrior, free-spirited, fierce when roused, tender, proud, iron-willed, un-book-learned yet wise, kind, fearless, beloved.” My voice breaks on the last, but I am finished, and could wait now for the gathering to disperse. I reckoned not with the Queen and King of Gondor.
Arwen stepped forward, and said: “I knew Éowyn, and a better woman I have known not. Her finest quality I name here: Éowyn, who loved Faramir above all others. Remember her.”
Then Aragorn spoke: “I knew Boromir, and a better man I have known not. His finest quality I name here: Boromir, who loved Faramir above all others. Remember him.”
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