This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Some chapters contain graphic sexuality in the context of loving relationships (Faramir/Aragorn and/or Eowyn) and the overall ethos is polyamorous (there's enough love to go around).».
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19 March 2006 | 32932 words
Title: The Song of the Steward and the King
Author: Raihon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: Faramir/Aragorn, Faramir/Éowyn
Summary: In the year after the war, Faramir and Aragorn are working hard to get Gondor on its feet again. As they struggle with the hardships, they also struggle to find the meaning behind the love that binds them and their families together. Faramir’s POV. Overall themes: politics, mysticism, love, friendship.
Warnings: Some chapters contain graphic sexuality in the context of loving relationships (Faramir/Aragorn and/or Éowyn) and the overall ethos is polyamorous (there’s enough love to go around).
More in this arc: The Prince of Ithilien
Year 3019-3020, Third Age: The Song of the Steward and the King
Chapter 1 – Bringing Order to Chaos
The winter’s first snow was falling in the hills of Ithilien when the company arrived at the freshly repaired gate of the town of Edenost. “Who goes there?” called the guard.
“Hail your Lord and Master, Prince Faramir and his companions, fresh from battle,” Mablung responded.
The guard hastily opened the gate and gave entrance to the three men on horseback. He gave a start when he saw that the other man with them was no man, but an Elf. He recovered himself, bowed, and said, “welcome back my Lord. I am glad of your swift and safe return.”
“Thank you, Eärnin,” Faramir said, dismounting. “How fares the town?”
“Winter’s early arrival has the settlers in a state of frenzy, m’Lord. The women have been preserving food morning ‘til night and the men hasten to finish repairing the roofs on the houses,” the old man sighed.
Faramir nodded gravely and handed his horse over to Eärnin. “We will go to see Elder Damriel,” he said, and led his companions down the road to the Commons House.
The buildings and homes that lined the road between the gate and the Commons were mostly restored, but when he looked beyond the road, Faramir could see that the alleys were still clogged with debris and the houses beyond were in a state of advanced decay. Men had not lived here since the times of Turin II and its most recent inhabitants, the servants of Mordor, had only used the town as a waystation and supply depot on the road between Morannon and Cair Andros.
After the War, the great-grandchildren of the town’s inhabitants were eager to rebuild, and while Faramir admired their tenacity, he worried that they would suffer much this winter. But then again, he thought to himself, there is nowhere yet in Gondor that is a refuge from suffering. This winter will test us all.
Faramir, Mablung and Legolas walked in silence as they passed two girls doing their best to pull nails from old pieces of wood. The girls stared at Legolas, but only briefly paused in their work. One of the girls clambered up a ladder and handed the retrieved nails to a man on the roof, while the other went foraging in the alley behind the house to salvage more wood from a crumbling outbuilding.
Legolas and Faramir exchanged a look, and Mablung cursed under his breath. “We need more iron, we need more food. Though this be the land where my ancestors died, and I understand their longing to return, it is too soon to resettle Ithilien!”
Faramir clasped Mablung’s shoulder in his hand. “At least these people have somewhere to go.” He turned to Legolas and said, “Minas Tirith is filling up with refugees who found nothing left to rebuild when they returned to their villages. After a summer working their fields and living in tents and makeshift shelters, they are now passing through our gates, a hundred hungry mouths each day, seeking refuge from the winter. It will not go well with them, either.”
Legolas shook his head, pausing outside the threshold of the Commons House. “They should not be here. It is still not safe. These people at least have rebuilt their wall, but those homesteaders further north…”
The door to the Commons House flew open and the haughty yet mischievous face of Elder Damriel confronted them. “Yes?” she said, eyebrows raised, “and what of the homesteaders in the north?”
Mablung smiled at her chidingly. “Elder Damriel, is that any way to greet two Princes and a valiant Captain?”
Damriel started when she noticed the tall Elf standing behind Mablung and hastened to invite them in. “Ambriel,” she said to a girl standing nearby, “please bring us some supper.”
Faramir held up a hand, “Elder, we would not draw down your supplies. We have our own provisions.”
Damriel bustled about the room, drawing chairs to the table in the center. “Nonsense, my Lord. It’s just a bit of broth to warm your bellies. Now, please sit and tell me news of your errand. Were you successful?”
Faramir and the others sat down and Mablung related the story of how they had defeated a band of Orcs that had been raiding homesteads in the far north of Ithilien. “And Prince Faramir took their leader by his slimy throat,” Mablung said animatedly, “looked him right in his festering eye and said, ‘King Elessar of Gondor has given you a choice: you may return behind the mountains to the free land of Mordor and live out your life as you will, or you may die here with my sword run through your belly. What say you to the messenger of the King?’”
Faramir pursed his lips and felt his cheeks flame. He could not recall having uttered such fierce words for the fever of battle had caught him and all he recalled was that the Orc had squealed like a pig and led his men in retreat along the road north.
Damriel scowled. “Now Lord Faramir, why did you not kill him where he stood? Mercy and the justice of the King are wasted on them. We will live to regret that you did not destroy them all when you had a chance.”
Legolas looked at her sharply. “There is enough regret to spare because of these foolhardy settlers. Their impatience to reclaim Ithilien before it has been properly cleansed of Sauron’s slaves brings trouble even to travelers simply trying to make their way to Prince Faramir’s estate.”
Faramir held up a hand and spoke calmly, “I am grateful you found us when you did and came to our aid, Legolas, but these are the tales of our times. We cannot prevent free men from doing what they will.”
“Nor can we offer them protection every time they throw themselves in the path of danger,” Legloas stated firmly.
“Well, then,” Damriel regarded the Elf coldly, “what of preventing free men from doing what they will in violation of the law of the land?”
Faramir turned to her. “So, you also have some news for me, Elder?”
She nodded grimly. “Poachers. In the hills just southeast of the town. They’ve been driving off the game so that our men cannot bring down anything bigger than a rabbit within an hour’s walk from the town, and the men do not have two hours to spare in a week! Then their leader skulks into town and sells our meat back to us at twice a fair price.”
Faramir looked to Legolas, who nodded. “We are on our way south, but with no great haste. We will set things right before we depart.”
Damriel smiled gratefully, “Ah, thank you, Lord Faramir. We will repay your help once we’re back on our feet again.”
After spending the night on the floor of the Commons House, for there was no other shelter they could take in that town, the three companions set off into the hills. Legolas tracked the poachers and they found a group of six boys, none but one nearing the age of manhood. Orphans of the war, Faramir surmised, and his heart was breaking for them, though the ringleader looked at him with hatred and fear.
Faramir looked into his eyes and solemnly said, “Know you who I am?”
The boy shook his head, the distrust in his face hard and defiant.
“I am Lord Faramir, Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien.” The boy’s eyes widened in surprise and fear, and he stumbled back a step. “These are my lands and you have been stealing from my people.” Faramir paused, then gave the boy a small smile. “But Gondor needs every one of her sons alive and well, and you have done well to protect your men in these desperate times.” He reached into his saddle bag and produced a token bearing the Tree of Gondor.
“Take this, and your men, to the Captain at Cair Andros,” he instructed the boy.
“Is it a prison sentence?” the boy asked, holding the token at arm’s length in a trembling hand.
“Nay, son. It is a commission. The Captain will probably make you a guard and your men pages at the fortress. Now promise me that you will go directly and never again break the law of the King?”
The boy nodded eagerly and his friends began to whisper amongst themselves excitedly.
After that, Faramir, Legolas and Mablung made for Emyn Arnen, where a crew of builders from Rohan and Elven craftspeople from Greenwood were making good progress on the estate that was to be Faramir and Éowyn’s new home after their wedding.
“None too soon, is it, m’lord?” Mablung asked, nudging him.
“If it could have been built in a day, I would have given everything I own.”
Legolas frowned. “As it is, the workers are making great haste. It will be finished before the days begin to grow long again.”
“The builders from Rohan are honored to serve the White Lady, but they are understandably eager to make quick work of it and return to Rohan where their services are much needed,” Mablung said.
“We will continue to build over the next few years. For now, though, the moment the last shingle is placed on the main house, the builders will return to Edoras to send for my bride,” Faramir said, and sighed. “Then all that will be left to do is hang the decorations sent from Lórien and Éowyn and I may begin our new life together.” Faramir’s heart ached with a thousand longings for what that life would hold.
“What will you call the estate?” Legolas asked.
“Rín Tôr Nín1,” Faramir said, a sad smile on his face.
Legolas nodded. “It is well to honor Boromir thusly,” he said. The three men stood for a moment in silence, in remembrance of Faramir’s brother.
Faramir turned to Legolas and placed a hand on his elbow. “Shall I show you around? Your quarters are rough, but mostly finished.”
After talking most of the night with Legolas about the Elf’s plans for the gardens in Emyn Arnen, Faramir slipped off for a few hours sleep before his departure with Mablung to Minas Tirith. In spite of the cold, he made a rough pallet for himself in the second floor room he would soon share with Éowyn and stared up at the starry sky through the open beams of the roof.
In the quiet of the night, alone with his thoughts, Faramir wondered: will she really come? And he recalled her rough but dainty hand as it clasped his when he left Rohan, and the way he, not she, had trembled at their departing kiss. Without her, he had no one to call his own, no one to love and no hope for love in return. He was well accustomed to being thought of as second to another man, and all his life he had bent his will to duty, but Éowyn’s will was its own master. Would being Lady of Ithilien be enough for her? Would he be enough?
1 Rín Tôr Nín – remembrance of my brother
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