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Tales of the Telcontars (PG-13) Print

Written by Susana

19 September 2011 | 56124 words | Work in Progress

Not my Daughter (or Adrahil’s great-granddaughter)

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
Harry S. Truman

Gondor and Arnor owed some measure of their peace to their spy service. And Gondor’s spy service had been Faramir’s creative child almost as much as Dervorin’s, back in the long-ago days when they had been the Steward of Gondor’s unwanted second son, and his faithful shadow. Just like any other two lieutenants, save that they left their commanding officers with a few more victories, and a few more white hairs. From the beginning, the southern spy service had been their collaboration. It stayed their collaboration, even though Faramir half-retired from spying when he was promoted to Captain. He became more like 95% retired when he became Steward and Prince, and more like 98% when he also became acknowledged as the King’s son. After the King his father learned of his 2% active involvement with Dev’s network, Faramir thought he might just have to give up sitting, as well as walking about outside his personal chambers unescorted, for the rest of his life. He’d never seen his father so angry, or so over-protective. But the southern spy network still remained a collaboration – Faramir’s ideas and Dev’s, though rarely ever Faramir in the field. Faramir had kept his promise to Aragorn to never go actively spying again, save for a few carefully planned ventures which Aragorn himself had reluctantly approved in advance. But Faramir had a way with people, and Dev always asked his opinion on new recruits, especially those whom Dev had marked for rapid promotion. One summer Dev came to Faramir with an application, and a serious look on his normally laughing face.

“I want this one badly, Faramir. Could even be my replacement, someday. I’d like to have the chance to train this recruit personally, either way, and I’m getting too old and well-known for fieldwork. But it has to be your call. This one has to have your consent.” Dev said.

Faramir knew as soon as he saw the hand-writing, though it was so well-disguised the applicant’s own mother and tutor would not have recognized it. He thought he had probably known even before he saw the writing, as soon as he heard the phrases “want this one badly” and “my replacement.” If he were brutally honest with himself, Faramir would have had to say he had known this was coming for awhile. But he was not ready, would never be ready, to send his youngest daughter out a-spying.

Oh, he could easily see Haleth doing the work, and doing it well. He could also see Haleth the infant, delivered into his arms after Éowyn’s most difficult labor, her gray eyes even then steady, weighing. Haleth at three years of age, a sturdy toddler, already the most quietly determined and persistent of his children, sitting beside her older brother, hour after hour, making friends with a family of otters on the river near Emyn Arnen. Elboron had said Haleth could come only if she didn’t lose her patience, thinking she would last half an afternoon. The otters still recognized his children’s whistles of greeting, and could be counted upon to turn up at Haley’s or El’s call.

Haleth, who reminded him of Adrahil, his insightful grandfather, Gandalf’s former spy. Adrahil who had probably saved Faramir’s life, that summer in Dol Amroth, by convincing him to go to his brother and confess that his frequent injuries were from his armsmasters’ brutal training regimen. Haley, who at 8, had provided the suggestion that solved the problem of that season’s orc incursions. Even Faramir had not thought to send an orc to gather information from other orcs.

Haley, who must have been planning this for years. She was 18 now, but she had been spending part of each year in Annuminas since she was 13, aiding Nessa with her children, and her various tasks as the Lady of the Steward of Arnor. Either way, if Nessa’s husband Ethiron had been aware of Haleth’s plans, and approved them, or unaware, and still had Haley in his household for such lengths of time – it constituted an endorsement of Haleth’s capability to gather information for Gondor, and to do so well. Haleth, who could easily make herself appear and seem as many as ten years older, or as many as six years younger, depending on her mood. Ai, Haleth. Why did his daughter have to want to do something that not only terrified Faramir, but that she was also so well-suited for?

Faramir spent a good hour horrified, wandering the Citadel in such a dark mood that his father stopped him not once but three times to ask what was the matter. With the wisdom of age, Faramir could admit that he had been wrong to go back to his role as a spy. But he had been the King’s Steward, the ruler of a key border princedom with only a toddler to heir, and himself the next heir of the King of Men. He still was the King’s next heir, until Eldarion or one of his sisters got around to producing his first nephew. Haleth, in contrast, was fifth in line for the Princedom, ninth in line for the throne of Gondor and Arnor. And she was not the politician and administrator who kept things running smoothly, whether the King was in Gondor or Arnor. He loved her desperately, but he thought even his father would agree that she could become a spy if that were what she were best suited for and what she desired, were she Aragorn’s fifth grandson, and not his fifth granddaughter.

Faramir wrestled his fears, and eventually decided that much like with Theodwyn, he wasn’t going to deny his youngest daughter the chance to stretch her wings with his support. He was not going to deny his support, just because what she wants to do left him so worried he’d rather face Sauron again, or Denethor in a temper after he had defied the old Steward to aid Mithrandir. Not when Haleth has thought this through calmly, and prepared for it, and done everything right. She’d be the perfect young spy, if she weren’t female, and his little girl. But those things made her perfect as well. She was friendly, and people wanted to confide their secrets in her. She was kind, but practical, a planner. She didn’t forget details or plans or lessons. She knew that the best way to get information was to become liked and trusted by many. And she would be overlooked, by the men who wielded power and influence. Unnoticed, she would gain the confidence and ear of their wives and daughters, cooks and officers, and sooner or later, the man who ruled some foreign land would find himself doing what his wife or squire wanted, because Haleth said so. It happened to Aragorn, Faramir, Éomer and Imrahil all the time.

Faramir’s heart felt as if it had been turned to stone. No spy was ever out of danger. If her influence was discovered, he could lose his Haley in a dark street, or a shadowy dungeon. Lose her under another lass’s name, without ever knowing his second youngest baby’s fate. But he reigned that overprotectiveness in. He’ll be there for her, no matter what. This girl-child wasn’t going to have to run away and hide to test her avocation, as once his wife her mother had done. Not my daughter. No, Haleth would have all the support he’d give the best of his his young spies, the best trainers. If she turned out to be unsuited for the work – which he quite sincerely doubted – she would not be sent to spy, because he would not send, nor let Dev send, anyone who was unsuited for this work. . But if Haleth proved to be one of Adrahil’s heirs in truth, as Faramir had suspected ever since the first time he met her gray-eyed gaze, she would fly fast, and far, and, Valar willing, home safe again, every time. Respected, loved, protected, but not smothered. He would not build a cage for his children to flee. He could be a fool, Faramir freely admitted, but he would not be that kind of a fool. Not Finduilas’ boy. Not Éowyn’s love. Let some other man be that fool, and he would pity that man’s daughter, even as he envied the fool’s peace of mind.

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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6 Comment(s)

Oh these are wonderful. Eldarion is such an astute child :)

— Maria    Thursday 14 October 2010, 1:28    #

A very interesting beginning. I look forward to reading more!

— Ria    Thursday 14 October 2010, 3:05    #

I love these father-son moments, they’re so perfect and heartwarming.

— Anna    Monday 20 December 2010, 17:55    #

Just lovely!

— Linda    Tuesday 11 January 2011, 9:58    #

This is so lovely to read! It’s light and bright and makes me smile or chuckle during reading. Very enjoyable, I hope you update soon.


— Aneyrin    Wednesday 2 February 2011, 15:56    #

Cute, cute, cute story.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

— lille mermeid    Monday 16 May 2011, 15:50    #

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