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Unholy Light (NC-17) Print

Written by December

05 January 2020 | 6480 words | Work in Progress

Title: Unholy Light
Author: December
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Boromir
Warnings: Non-con, torture, psychological torture, AU canon divergence, dark!fic
Author's note. Alright everybody, I am sorry about this. It's my first (and quite unplanned) dabble into the dark fic realm. I blame it all on watching too many compilations of the GOT most brutal scenes in one go. This may never live up to that standard

Things go pear-shaped towards the end of the quest to destroy the One Ring, and Boromir is left with impossible choices on his hands as his darkest hopes are dragged to the light.
Added: Chapter 5



‘Now it is a strange thing,
but things that are good to have
and days that are good to spend
are soon told about, and not much to listen to;
while things that are uncomfortable,
palpitating, and even gruesome,
may make a good tale,
and take a deal of telling anyway.’

“The Hobbit”


Part 1.

As the sun rises, the page comes running to tell the new Steward that his younger brother has finally awoken.

That walk to the Wards seems like the longest journey in Boromir’s life.

It is a bright morning, the empty corridor airy and full of light.

He stands silent before the shut door.

Gathering strength.

He draws a heavy breath, feels his fingers curl into his palms. He would rather face a horde of Uruk-hai, than this.

It had taken weeks, and all of the healing wisdom left in the land to nurse Faramir back to life, and Boromir should be rejoicing in it more than anyone, and yet…

The knot in his stomach is so tight there is a distinct possibility that he might literally be physically sick.

Without warning, the door opens in his face.

The erstwhile leader of the Fellowship, dressed all in white, steps out, wiping his hands dry on a towel as he walks.

His expression is pointedly contained, as though he has no reason to have anything other than practical tasks on his mind.

“I was just changing his dressings,” he explains. As though it is actually important.

Boromir purses his lips, nods. As though what they say now makes any difference.

The older man wipes his hands some more, then glances at him sideways, without quite meeting his eyes.

“Boromir, I…” he shakes his head at the futility of trying to put the unspeakable into words. After a moment of hesitation, he places his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Just remember, please. It was not your fault.”


“You were a good sport, my old friend.”

The Steward raised his head with as much pride as the iron collar around his neck allowed.

“I am no friend of yours, beast.”

The grey lips curled, showing the fangs.

“So clever, aren’t you just? Thinking you can provoke me into giving you a quick death. How adorable. You mortals never cease to amuse.”

“Your arrogance is pathetic.”

The armoured hand came close enough for Denethor to feel the raw heat against his cheek. He did not flinch.

“You would like this, old man, wouldn’t you? I could burn you to a shell in a minute.” The hand was withdrawn, another twisted grin. “But no, that would not do us justice at all, would it now? All those years you gave me, staring into your magic ball in your little tower. That was good fun.”

The Steward turned away in distaste.

“You will look at your master when spoken to, Gondorian scum.” An invisible force gripped him on the chin and forced his face to turn. Again that self-satisfied sneer. “What we have is special, it would really be quite ungenerous to kill you without repaying the debt. Let no one say I am not a fair-minded lord. Let me entertain you in turn.”

He called something quick in the Morgul tongue.

Denethor’s eyes widened as a young man was dragged into the chamber and thrown to the floor, but he withheld any further emotion.

“You seem unimpressed, your grace. How disappointing. My boys went to all this trouble.”

The captor regarded the bound shape at his feet, struggling to get up against the many tight loops of chain, then gave it a disinterested prod with the pointed tip of his iron boot. Like a cat undecided if it will bother to play with a new toy.

“Oh, but that’s right, how very foolish of me. This one was never your favourite, was he? Good thing I have a back up option for you.”

At this, the Orc guards returned, dragging in a second man, so alike the first, if a little older.

“No!” Denethor strained against the chains even as his knees went weak and left him hanging by the hands and neck.

The yellow eyes in the visor lit up with interest, the narrow pupils widening into a hungry, gaping void.

“Well,” the heavy armour rang and scraped as Sauron came to stand over the two warriors. “We shall enjoy this very much, shan’t we?”

Part 2.

A nonexistent noise rings in the young Steward’s ears as his feet carry him into his brother’s ward. Can this actually be happening at last?

The bed is empty. The crumpled blanket thrown aside. Glass-paned doors into the gardens stand ajar.

Boromir races outside, breathless.

He stops in his tracks when he spots him on a bench nearby. What had he expected? That Faramir had been abducted in the past two minutes, or jumped off the open balcony onto the white roofs far below?

It is late in the spring season, and the gardens are very green, the slender birch next to the bench swaying softly in the breeze.

If they had not had to crop Faramir’s hair so short, it would have moved in the breeze too.

“Faramir! Should you be up so soon?”

Faramir slowly turns his face to him, or at least as much of his face as is not wrapped in layers of loosely woven hospital gauze.

“Brother,” he says in greeting. His voice sounds disconcertingly the same as before. “I did not mean to startle you. My body was growing sore from lying down, and I wished for some fresh air.”

Of course. It would have been his first chance at any fresh air since…

Boromir swallows, does not quite know what to do with his hands, or the rest of himself.

Faramir still cannot sit up quite straight, but his pose is as collected as can be, knees together, hands in his lap.

Boromir takes an uncomfortable breath, unable to get rid of the sensation that in his bulk he is hovering over the now much thinner man.

“Do you wish me to leave?“ 

Faramir closes his eyes.

“No.”

Boromir cautiously lowers himself on the far end of the seat.

He heaves a silent sigh, studies his hands.

“How… how are you? I mean…”

“Tired.”

He glances over at his brother, sees Faramir try to offer him a peaceable smile.

“Boromir, ‘tis… ‘tis fine. I shall be fine.”

For a long time Faramir says nothing more, visibly drained by any little activity.

“So, I hear you are Steward now. How are you finding it?”

Boromir shrugs. “Ah, you know, a bit too much desk work.”

The corner of Faramir’s mouth moves, but it is but a shadow of the grin he would have given in response to these words under more normal circumstances.

Boromir swears under his breath.

“Faramir, look, I… I am so -”

Faramir shakes his head, with a calm resoluteness that implies he had long thought through what would come next.

“Brother, please, there is no need. Do not torture yourself.”

“Myself?! Torture myself? Faramir! I -”

With a pained intake of breath, Faramir hauls himself up to his feet.

“I am sorry, I think I may need my rest.“ 


No natural light could find its way into the dungeon. The torches often went out as well, and were not lit again until the guards felt like it.

What little food and stale water was brought to be forced down their throats, came at equally random intervals.

Before long, they lost all track of time.

Sometimes it got frightfully hot in the cell as far below in the bowel of the earth heat shifted around, and the walls shuddered and groaned. Then at other times, for no apparent reason, it got equally cold, gripping joints with a gnawing ache, paralising the mind into a half-awake stupor.

Once Denethor was satisfied with the account of how the brothers had been captured, no one spoke much. The surroundings somehow felt less real this way.

Faramir seemed particularly withdrawn, and although Boromir at times greatly yearned to hear his voice, he feared that to call out to him would disrupt his apparent composure. How Boromir envied his calm.

More than water, food, daylight or to be able to sleep lying down, Boromir grew to crave to be unchained from the wall so he could pace this cage of a room.

Stuck somewhere inside a stupid volcano, no doubt to be tortured to death once Sauron could find a free afternoon in his diary – while the others were still out there, fighting.

If only father would stop rattling his chain when the lights burned out.

Every now and again a wave of hot anger would rise in him. Faramir had not said a word about it to father. That Boromir had gone against his counsel. Not just that, dismissed Faramir’s concerns with a chuckle. Took unnecessary risks, as usual. And here they both were. Along with perhaps a few dozen other men, or however many of them that had not been butchered yet.

He wanted Faramir to yell at him, curse him with foul, well-deserved words. So he could yell back, so he could cry in the dark when they could not see him.

But Faramir said nothing.

Part 3.

Steward Boromir has no map to navigate this surreal terrain.

This, in the austere hospital bed, is a man he has known nigh all his conscious life. His beloved younger brother. His closest companion. With whom he had always been as honest and unguarded as only the circumstances permitted.

But that, too, had long ago become habit, the unthinking norm. Something that was under no threat of change.

To now have to lose his wits over every single thing. How to sit. Where to sit. By his bed, by the wall? Maybe not sit at all, maybe he has not earned that? Whether to look at him, if so, how.

What to say.

When nothing he could say can possibly make anything any better. Although can easily make things a lot worse – somehow. He is not certain as to exactly how. Which does nothing to assuage the black dread firmly rooted into the pit of his stomach.

Without quite meaning to, he falls into an evasive pattern. He comes when Faramir is resting – which naturally is most of the time. He perches himself on the small stool at the head of the cot, watches the rhythm of his brother’s sleeping breath.

The burn scars setting above his ear, somewhere under the layers of bandages, are pulling the skin a little tight over Faramir’s cheekbone; lifting and lengthening the edge of his eyebrow, which is just beginning to grow back. But all this is easy enough to almost not notice, as he lies relaxed in his slumber.

When he begins to stir, the rise and fall of his chest quickening, breaking into an uneven mess, Boromir quietly excuses himself.


Faramir was the first to feel it, long before there was anything to be perceived with the bodily senses.

He lifted his head, all of a sudden completely alert, listening intently.

He glanced over to Boromir, quickly, urgently. It seemed he wanted to speak, but would not, ever remembering the ears in the walls.

Boromir stifled a sigh, pursed his lips in grim confirmation.

His hairline began to itch as beads of sweat started to form.

One broke and trickled down, right into his eye. He tried to blink out the sting, shook his head, willed himself against the futile clenching of fists in their iron cuffs.

The heat continued to rise, and soon their lungs were labouring to pull in enough air. Father was wheezing, but Boromir knew not to acknowledge this.

Then, descending from far above, that grating sound.

Armoured footsteps.

If those could be referred to as feet. None of them knew what was inside that suit of warped black plate that looked as though it had melted and reset several times over. He would be happy to leave it that way.

The monolith door flew open like a screen of parchment, and a hot, parching wind swept into their cell. It grew dark at once, and yet not so, as though the darkness was inside his very mind.

The glare of that dreadful gaze blazed like liquid gold, yet only sucked in what little light was there to begin with.

Boromir tried to swallow away the scratchy dryness in his throat, but there was no spit left.

Unhurriedly, Sauron surveyed them one by one, before stopping at Denethor.

“So filthy, just look at them. Have you taught your litter no self-respect? Worse than animals, the lot of you.”

Boromir’s nostrils flared.

“We shall tell you nothing!”

Slowly, Sauron turned to stare at him.

It seemed he was about to ask something, when with a scrape of his helmet he threw back his head, and a strange booming, abrasive noise flew from his gaping mouth in a fountain of sparks.

It took Boromir a long moment of dragging pain in his ears to realise their captor was laughing.

“You poor idiot, you actually think you hold in your possession anything of use to me. Isn’t it tragic, that this is what your father prides himself on so much, a sack of sinew and bone, and no brain at all. What a waste of flesh.” He pointed at Denethor. “You, remind me not to let my boys eat him afterwards. Stupidity of such degree could be contagious.”

Strolling back over to Faramir, “This one, on the other hand, I might just keep for myself. Not much meat left on him, but he’ll make for a decent pudding.”

He tilted his head to the side, studying the young man with obvious curiosity. “Aw, come now, nothing? You have a sharp mind, you do, though hell help me if I know where you got it from.”

Faramir looked ahead with calm resignation.

Sauron’s eyes blackened in agitation. “Give us something, you know you want to. While you still have a tongue to speak with.”

Faramir considered, and seemed to decide against antagonising him further without necessity. “Only that one has to doubt you truly expect to find me agreeable in the form of pudding – being unlikely as you are to own the bodily structures which to digest it with.”

The pupils collapsed back to slits.

“Hm. Poking fun at an elder for his carnal limitations, how unimaginative. Your father is right, you hardly live up to your potential.”

Sauron turned away and ordered something to his Orcs, who scurried out of the room.

As he watched them go, he spoke to no one in particular: “Soon enough, my strength shall be returned to me in full. You wandered upon something of mine, and you think your flimsy mortal design holds enough power to wield it against me. Little do you comprehend your spirit can withstand its pull no more than your skin can hold when molten rock is poured over it. Your little friend, he will bring it to me, right here to my door step. We must make haste, for it is not long now until he does, and when I am whole again, I could not come within ten feet of a mortal thing and not burn its shell to dust.”

Denethor scoffed.

“That did not hinder Isildur when he chopped you down.”

“Ah, another unoriginal tactic, waving an old ghost around. I will give you that, losing a body can be an inconvenient setback. But that is all behind us now, here you are, guests at my house. And what of Isildur? The river eels feasted on him way back when, and the last of his inbred progeny was brought to me not seven nights past. You must understand, I could not pay you lords a visit before I was done with your would-be kingling.”

Boromir strained at his chains. “You lie!”

Sauron did not answer, as the Orcs returned, carrying in a large table and an assortment of well-used equipment, bits of clothing and decomposing flesh still hanging off the protruding parts.

“How long, do you reckon, before you all envy me the gift to escape my skin?”

Part 4.

He wonders, sometimes, if Faramir is not, in fact, sleeping.

Never had his brother been one to play tricks and deceive, least of all him.

But neither is Faramir a man who enjoys pointless confrontation, and when feigning unconsciousness is such an easy, harmless way out, why not use it?

He wonders, sometimes, if he is going mad.

They made it through, they are among the fortunate few.

But it does not feel over. It does not feel any different from when they hung trapped in the belly of the smoke-belching mountain. The decorations have been changed, his costume has been changed, but he is firmly stuck in the previous act.

He wonders if he should stop coming. Has his poor brother not been made to suffer enough? Just leave him in peace.

Faramir’s breath catches, his eyelids flutter.

Boromir rises, on quiet feet makes for the exit.

As his fingers wrap around the door handle, a voice husky from slumber catches him from behind.

“You do not have to leave when I awaken.”

Boromir lowers his face, inhales slowly, shuts his eyes.

“All right. I shall stay… next time.”


“You will have to forgive me my doubts as to your ability to fully appreciate what I have prepared here,” Sauron pointed to the table and various equipment. “It would be a shame to have you go in unprepared, so I have enlisted an assistant to demonstrate.”

On cue, the Orcs slipped out and returned dragging in one of the rangers from the brothers’ Ithilien company.

His leather gear looked tattered and faded, useless and unimpressive next to all the tools of torment.

“Damrod!” Boromir cried when the man looked up.

Damrod’s cheeks were sunken, his eyes deeper than Boromir remembered. And he had a beard now, like the rest of them, the only proper indication of how many days had lapsed since the ambush.

It took the man a moment to focus his gaze.

“My lords! Woe take us, it is true, you are here!”

“You were not brought in to talk,” Sauron spat.

As he whipped around to face the ranger, Damrod’s eyes went so wide the whites were visible all around. He screamed and thrashed uncontrollably in the Orcs’ hold, but could not look away.

Sauron stood over him until the man’s knees gave out from under him and he sank to the floor. “At least this one knows the etiquette for greeting the King of Kings, unlike his dumb masters. Perhaps we should reward that with a faster death.” He waved to the Orcs, “Go on then, tie him up before he passes out.”

Boromir gritted his teeth.

“Save this spectacle, we require no demonstration!”

Sauron looked over at him, with what appeared like satisfaction, but said nothing.

Boromir could not tell whether the next stage took hours, a day, or the better part of a week.

When Damrod lost consciousness from the pain, the first time they splashed a pail of dirty water in his face. After that no one could be bothered to go fetch more water, so the Orcs took turns rousing him with pissing.

Boromir’s ears were sore and ringing from Damrod’s prolonged screams, which went progressively more shrill as more and more sophisticated methods were showcased on him.

Father tried not to watch, his brow furrowed and face turned away. Faramir watched quietly, intently, his expression unreadable, only tears flowing freely down his face. Boromir knew his brother loved Damrod very much.

Eventually they unchained him, or what was left of him, and he slipped to the floor softly as though there were no bones in his body.

Sauron nodded to the Orcs, and they hoisted the man up, holding him by the armpits. His head lolled, he blinked groggily.

In no apparent hurry, Sauron walked over to him.

Damrod shuddered and wheezed under his gaze, but could no longer make a louder noise.

Boromir saw Sauron lift his hands, unclip his helmet in the back.

The Orcs whimpered and cowered, turning as far away as possible without dropping their charge.

Sauron pulled the helmet off.

Boromir did not even get a look at the back of his head, for his eyes could not leave the ranger’s face. After everything the man had been made to endure, still Boromir had not yet seen a distortion of such absolute horror on his features.

Damrod gaped to inhale but it would not come as though an invisible force were throttling him. His eyes bulged. Slowly his face turned red, then purple. Still he could not break the eye contact. Suddenly his body arched taut. His head whipped back with a sharp crunch, and his corpse went limp.

Sauron adjusted his helmet back in place, gave it a little twist this way and that.

“This session would have been quite educational for the lot of you, I should imagine,” he observed as the warrior’s remains were carried out.

He said nothing more for a while, so as not to distract his captives from the commotion behind the door, which sounded most unambiguously like a body being ripped to pieces and hastily consumed. It would appear the two Orcs who had held Damrod expected exclusive rights to the spoils, while some others who had waited in the corridor disagreed.

“Now, where were we? Ah, yes.” The yellow eyes focussed on Denethor. “I shall give you the honour, for old times’ sake. Which one shall we use for our fun first?”

Boromir suppressed a growl. This pretense had to be worse than the actual torment.

“You cannot seriously expect my father to nominate one us for torture!”

A strange noise came from behind the visor, as though a snort. “You underestimate your father, boy. Now, old man, no need to be coy, you are not a fair maiden watching over your virginity. We both know your mind, so speak it – don’t be discourteous to those who need ears to hear.”

But Denethor only averted his gaze, visibly drained by the weight of that burning stare on him. He exhaled heavily and shuddered as Sauron turned away from him at last.

“His grace will not oblige, so what are we to do. Take them both down.”

“No!”

“Oh?” Sauron leant in with mocking attentiveness. “Which is it then?”

Denethor swallowed, took a breath.

Boromir saw Faramir lift his face.

“Leave my father be. I shall be the one.”

Sauron nodded to the old steward. “I can see how you’d grow tired of him. Must be bothersome, to be read better than you like to show. But isn’t he right?”

“Father!” Boromir cried. “Father, don’t do this!”

Denethor would not meet his eyes as he said: “Yes, it is so.”

Sauron regarded the two young men some more.

“Ah, well. Take them both down anyway.”


Part 5.

The door stands ajar, and Boromir thinks nothing of glancing inside.

Faramir is not alone.

He is propped up on the pillows, the bandages from his head removed, and beside the bed sits a young woman, very slender and very pale.

She wears the simple white robe of a hand of the Wards, but her back is straight as a lance, her head held with an unselfconscious, proud grace that only comes through habit. Her hair is plaited neatly out of the way, but its colour of ripe wheat is not that of Gondorian people, and Boromir frowns.

In the woman’s lap is a bowl of thick ointment, and she is massaging it into Farmir’s fresh scars with her fingertips.

She looks frustrated as a gentle wince touches Faramir’s lips.

“Forgive me,” she says, with a Rohirric accent, but it is faint, subtler than a commoner would have. Her voice is harder and stronger than Boromir would expect from someone of her frame. “My hand is ungentle, I was trained for battle. I am only just learning.”

Faramir smiles, and offers her kind words of reassurance.

Boromir does not hear what he says, for all he can see is that Faramir smiles.

For the first time in a hundred years.

For someone else.

Without thinking, he pushes the door and walks in.

Faramir’s companion gives a start, as one too accustomed to unpleasant surprises.

Quick to reign herself, she transforms the momentum of her jolt into rising up to greet the visitor, but her reaction does not escape Faramir’s notice. Boromir thinks he catches a shadow of disapproval pass over his brother’s face. He is not smiling anymore.

Boromir also sees her take in his warrior build, the rich attire of his office, his lordly bearing. He sees the subtle change in her face. Not that of servitude, but of recognition and restrained interest. She stands up a little taller.

“My lord.”

He bows in return. “My lady.”

A high-born maiden of Rohan in Minas Tirith would have certainly been mentioned to him. Of course she has, but he is completely blank, can recall nothing at all. She looks quite a bit like Éomer – but then again, they all look like one another to him. There are probably so many other things going on that he just does not notice.

“You must be the Steward, Lord Faramir’s brother. We were just talking of you,” she says in way of initiating polite conversation.

Boromir knows that he should say a line in return, but he cannot. They were just talking of him, were they? What is it Faramir was telling her? Of course, Faramir would not mention any of that, but… He can only stare at her, harder than he should. It throws her, but still he says nothing.

She is reluctant to acknowledge the awkwardness, he can tell she likes things to be done properly. Her chest rises, she tries again. “I had come to apply the salve. Perhaps now that you are here, you would like to-” she proffers him the bowl. He takes it on reflex, before realising Faramir would probably be less than thrilled about this.

She nods to them both, glances once again over Boromir, and draws the door closed after herself.

Boromir purses his lips.

Faramir begins to wrap his bandages back on.


He had long understood what needed to be done, he only needed the patience to wait.

If Sauron wanted no knowledge out of them, if this was purely for his entertainment, and if indeed Aragorn was dead or as good as, then there was no point at all, nothing to be won by playing the game of resilience.

Faramir leaned his back against the wall and rubbed his wrists when he was unchained. He seemed very pale, although this could just as easily be the strange light, the fatigue, or lack of water. He was not looking at Boromir, and this made it easier.

Boromir counted backwards in his mind as the Orc-guard fiddled with his cuffs one after the other. His right arm was released first, which was good. He rolled his wrist to get the feeling to return into his fingers, counting.

The other cuff clicked open.

Three.

He lowered the freed arm.

Two.

The Orc turned away, seeing no threat in the weakened prisoner. One.

Boromir pulled the crooked sword forth from the Orc’s scabbard, rotated his wrist in a loop and struck with the return momentum. His body had not forgotten how to do this.

The Orc’s head hit the floor and rolled, and the rest of him swayed and collapsed a moment later.

The other guard screeched in enraged surprise and charged at Boromir, only to meet the same fate.

With the back of his hand, Boromir wiped the splash of black blood off his cheek.

Sauron regarded the scene emotionlessly.

“Are you done?”

Boromir stole a glance at Faramir, but the younger man would still not look to him. It seemed to him that Faramir appeared… sorrowful? But it was hard to tell, and they had no time.

He planted his feet wider, squared his shoulders.

“Take a sword,” he said. “Fight.”

Sauron looked him up and down.

“Why?”

“I challenge you!”

“Who are you for me to fight you in hand-to-hand combat, boy? You got captured by a flock of these,” he gave a nod to the dead Orcs. “It would be rather altogether below my dignity.”

Boromir growled.

“Brother,” Faramir said quietly. “Please.”

Boromir exhaled through his teeth. Now or never.

“Fight me!” he cried and went for it at a run.

The blow never made contact, or at least not with its target as such. He struck an unseen barrier halfway over, and it exploded at him. The weapon ripped out of his hand as he flew all the way back across the room until the wall stood in his way.

He slid down heavily, all breath knocked out of him.

“How can I fight you if you’re all the way over there?” Sauron said, reasonably. “Men are so confusing, what am I meant to hit? Oh, maybe this?”

The flick of his hand was light and small, as though waving away a fly. But Faramir doubled over with a grunt, clutching at his stomach.

Boromir cried out, scrambled to his feet, lunged forth unsteadily.

He was so slow, as though running through water. Another blow came crushing with sudden brutality and an inhuman, uncanny speed. Boromir did not know how many had found their mark before he made it, but his brother was flat on the floor.

He shielded Faramir with his body, and at last the onslaught stopped.

“Enough! If you have any pride, fight like a warrior!”

Sauron shook his head.

“Poor thing, you have not thought this through, have you? There is nothing in this for me. As your prize, you will ask for an honourable death or something similarly inane – and if I win, then in reward I can do with you as I please? But wait, I can already do as I please.”

“They!” Boromir pointed at the new Orcs that had snuck into the cell to replace the slain guards. “They will see their master was afraid to battle a prisoner. Your entire host will know.”

Sauron considered his words.

“Alright, perhaps you are not entirely as useless as you seem. But for me to battle you would not be fair, for you are such a puny little thing. Tell you what, here, take my sword. Land one decent blow on me, and all of you can go.”

He made a motion with his hand, and the iron longsword at his hip rose out of its scabbard and flung itself across the cell to fall at Boromir’s feet.

“Why would you let us go?”

“There are so few of you left, the battles are becoming terribly predictable, you see. No suspense whatsoever. Perhaps I am finding myself wishing to stretch out the pleasure of this war a tad longer.”

“We will be free to go?” Boromir repeated slowly. “All of us?”

Sauron shrugged. “All the same to me.”

Faramir behind him groaned, slowly pulling himself up on all fours. He coughed and Boromir saw blood drip on the stones of the floor.

As at last Faramir looked up at him, there was no misreading the admonishment in his eyes. Do not do this, brother, you will only anger him more. This is not your battle, this is greater than you.

Boromir pursed his lips, turned to Father instead.

Denethor’s face was alight, for once since the day of their capture – in fact, for the first time in many years.

Boromir saw the fire of fey hope in his gaze, and knew that he could not let this chance pass.

Isildur had managed to land the Enemy a crippling blow even when Sauron was at the height of his power, with the One Ring upon his finger. Captivity may have taken its toll on Boromir’s strength, but the Enemy, too, was diminished. If all he needed was one good strike…

Keeping his eyes on the Enemy, he bent down to pick up the iron sword.

Boromir laid a firm grip on the hilt and so nearly blacked out from the sudden burst of scorching pain in his hand. Like grabbing a coal out of a burning furnace.

There was no taking back the involuntary, rather unheroic yowl that escaped his throat as he dropped the sword, nor the equally involuntary way he cradled his burnt hand to his middle.

He straightened up, muttering dark curses under his breath. The inherent humiliation of being unable to reign his body’s responses stung his face with bitter heat.

Sauron just watched, patient like a spider.

This was not how deeds of valour were meant to be done, not in stuffy, filthy dungeon cells, coated in uncounted layers of dried-up sweat, tattered and weak, given a sword he could not even hold, facing an Enemy who seemed above all infinitely bored with him.

“Take your time,” Sauron said, generously, “it will cool down eventually.”

“Go to hell.”

Boromir pulled a roughly made leather glove off the arm of one of the beheaded bodies on the floor. It fit poorly and felt sickeningly grubby on the inside, but it did not matter. Upon a moment’s reflection, he also ripped off the Orc’s cloak and wrapped it several times over the glove.

He probed carefully this time, first touching lightly, then allowing himself to take a surer hold. He could still sense the heat, and it decisively bordered on the uncomfortable, but he could work with that.

The blade was longer than any he had ever held, and he placed his other, uncovered hand on top of his hold, for a more controlled grip, and stood up.

Except the sword did not come up with him. So Boromir did not stand up either, only yanking up rather comically to remain bent down with his backside up in the air.

He tried again, putting in more force.

He could feel the weight of Faramir’s eyes with his back, sorrowful, reproachful.

Boromir gritted his teeth, squatted deeply for purchase, and heaved with his full brawn, what was left of it.

The hilt came up about two feet off the ground, the tip scraped across the floor. What was this bloody thing made of?

No matter.

Breathing heavily with the effort, he pushed forward, one impossible step at a time, dragging the metal over the rocks with an unholy screech.

The sword grew hotter. The room grew hotter.

Moisture he did not know he had left in his body beaded on his forehead.

His forearms began to cramp with the strain. The veins in his face began to bulge with the strain. The target was still so far away.

Another step.

He heard himself panting. Where had all the air gone?

Sweat trickled down into his eyes. He blinked, shook his head, nearly lost his balance. His strength was draining away too fast, and the distance seemed to grow only the greater.

Another wheezing intake of breath, another step.

Perhaps three, four more, and he should be within striking range. He needed to save up for the effort, parcel out how much he could afford to spend on each foot of ground earned.

The corners of Sauron’s mouth moved. His lips parted, and it seemed he blew a puff of air towards Boromir.

With a moment’s delay, a wave of utter, paralisying dread washed over the man. His eyes lost focus, knees weakened, a nauseous knot rose up in his throat. They were all going to die, Gondor will fall, and the sun will rise no more. They must run, hide, crawl into any dark hole they could find. He staggered, and tripped over his own feet.

He crashed hard, hitting the ground with his knees. The sword dropped down in front of him, making the floor shudder.

As the spasm of terror passed, he was left trembling and cold, as if after a fever, even as the air around him seemed about to boil.

He swallowed, shut his eyes tight.

For Aragorn. For Frodo.

Slowly, he dragged himself up again. He could not quite stand straight, but it was not necessary.

He gave himself a pause to recover, hands on knees, gasping for breath.

Then to pick up the dark sword again. There was no pushing it ahead of himself anymore, so he dragged it behind, with a half-turn of his body.

His shoulders ached, his chest was on fire.

He looked down and saw the fabric wrapped around his glove turning black around the edges, curling back and crumbling. He saw the first sparks of orange.

For Father, for Gondor. For Faramir.

He made the mistake of looking up.

Another wave of nameless, inescapable dread crippled him. He let the sword drop, waited for the shadow to wash through him and move past.

This was it.

With weak, shaking fingers Boromir gripped the hilt, again. Heaved, pulled up.

Please. Valar in the West, or any power that will listen to me, guide my hand.

He just needed to turn around, and with the momentum of the turn to swing the sword, and aim high enough for the strike to count.

Boromir nodded to himself, breathed in, breathed out. His right hand was taking damage, but he only needed to last one moment more.

He mustered the full remainder of his strength, planted his foot down for purchase, and swung with his all.

“Gondor!”

The tip of the iron sword painted a perfect, round arch. Half an inch above the floor. Meeting no obstacle to break its path, it took Boromir with it, and spun him around into a full circle, and then some.

In a flash of heat, the metal burned through his glove, and as he let go it skidded across the floor, far into the corner of the room behind Sauron.

“That – that is actually quite impressive,” Sauron said, graciously ignoring the fact that his opponent had been thrown the other way and landed on the floor in a heap. “It flew a good five feet right there, well done.”

Boromir closed his eyes, unable to hold back the tears of shame.

The iron steps rung out, then stopped in front of him.

He stared dully at the blur of Sauron’s boots, not bothering to look up.

“Now you are done,” Sauron said softly.

Then he bent down, and with his hands split Boromir’s skull open.


To be continued…

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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

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11 Comment(s)


NB: Comments may contain spoilers!

Intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Actually, I’m a bit into this kind of thing, disturbing and nerve-racking, so I’m happy with your choice of darcfiction genre)) Another ‘thank you’ for Denethor, I believe his character to be too complex to be wasted just as a reason of Faramir’s eternal sadness, so it’s nice to see him again. And I really like your choice of words. Please keep writing.

— LCD    22 November 2018, 18:38    #

Thanks so much, LCD! Again, your commentary is very thoughtful :)

Well, we shall see what I can make of this genre!

Denethor is an interesting one. I’ve said this elsewhere before, he is indeed more complex than that. Can’t say I exactly like him as a person, but I definitely like him as a character. He is a flawed person who’d had a pretty rough run of it in life, with things getting progressively worse. It doesn’t mean he is an inherent tyrant and madman. If anything, he had endured and fought for a very long time before succumbing. And his relationship with Faramir was not entirely one-sided either.

Thank you for reading!

— December    23 November 2018, 09:30    #

Can’t wait for you to finish this fic! Perhaps you wouldn’t mind also posting this on An Archive of Our Own so that way readers can get chapter update alerts. I’m afraid I don’t check this site often.

Romanse    2 December 2018, 08:05    #

Thank you Romanse! Yes, I always publish both there and here.

— December    6 December 2018, 08:43    #

Please, carry on this story as fast as possible. But be merciful. Did you read “The War of the Ring? I’m reading now, and it’s fantastic, especially the relatonship of Faramir and Denethor. :)

— Liza    14 December 2018, 10:13    #

Thank you Liza! No, I have not… Where can I find it?

— December    14 December 2018, 10:56    #

It’s the 8th book of The History of Middle-earth series, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

— Liza    14 December 2018, 13:47    #

Liza, ah, of course it is. With my fanfiction tunnel-vision, l thought it was a fic and tried to look for it on this site! Can’t believe I did not know there was extra material on Faramir out there, and I didn’t know!

— December    15 December 2018, 00:02    #

Will you countine this story, dear December?

— Eve    12 May 2019, 18:11    #

The first time in my life I beg for winter’s month to come back) Please, December, let us enjoy the next chapter, don’t stop your breathtaking storytelling.

— LCD    22 May 2019, 08:18    #

Thank you the new chapter dear December!
How much I was missing this story.

But Boromir… for Eru’s sake I like him but his very very stubborn.

— Eve    5 January 2020, 16:58    #

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About the Author


December

Greetings, fellow fan, and welcome!

What to expect to find here: All the stories are based on Book-verse for looks and personalities, although you will often find the canon bent (hehe) in terms of events. Please prepare for an unhurried, often bitter-sweet read with lots of sexual tension.

A bit about me for those interested: feisty redhead headquartered in New Zealand. Living in a wooden house in the old forest not far from the sea – probably goes some way to explain why I write what I do. Other than reading and writing, my passions are music, visual arts, travel, gardening, dance, horses, acrobatics, medieval martial arts, jewellery making, banter, and above all chocolate.

Was introduced to Tolkien at the tender age of six, was never the same since.

Always keen to collaborate with all ye good folke in the fandom. Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for a beta reader, too. Please, also, if you’re one of the dudes in the fandom, I would really really appreciate if you could please take a moment to share a bit of your perspective on how authentically my stories portray relationships between men.

Also, if you’re looking to visit New Zealand, happy to offer a bed and breakfast (second breakfast negotiable).

Cheers.