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The King and The Ranger (R) Print

Written by Minx

30 March 2004 | 60419 words

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Chapter 14

As he fell to the ground, clutching his stomach, Faramir wondered vaguely through a pain-stricken mind where the servant who had let him in had disappeared. Surely the noise they were making could be heard across the house? He let out a harsh sob as a booted foot struck his curled up body, and sent a sharp stab of pain shooting up from his ribs. He thought he could hear a door open. His head was pounding now. The heavy iron chain had struck him just above his ear, and slowly but steadily he could feel the effects.

He heard voices, one slightly alarmed. The servant, he thought hopefully. Too late he remembered that the servant had been an old one who had served the family for years faithfully, and had even fought with some of them in battle. His worst suspicions were soon confirmed.

“He knows?” that was the servant’s voice.

“He saw the arrows,” came the calm voice, “He is still unable to fight. It is of no matter. If we lock him away somewhere, I shall finish off things today. I was loath to delay matters any further, anyway. This fool’s appearance here necessitates that I hurry it forward.”

Faramir lifted his throbbing head slowly, “Don’t do it,” he pleaded painfully, “Please! Please . . . forget matters of the past.”

He cringed as long fingers wrapped around his hair and pulled his head up violently. Steel-like eyes glinted at him, “I will not let this treaty be signed! Do you understand? We cannot and we must not trust Harad. They will let us down just as they did the last time. You do not remember. You do not know what it was like!”

“I –“ Faramir started but got no further as his attacker, suddenly dashed his head against the ground in a rage. Bright lights seemed to spark off in front of Faramir’s head and he felt a strange sensation overcome him, as he tried desperately to not lose consciousness. Pain reverberated through his head now, and the strong fingers were still clutching his hair, pulling at it. He began to wonder if the need for vengeance had not slowly eaten away the other man’s reason for nothing else could explain this sudden display of anger and violence.

“Should we lock him up in the wine cellar?” the servant asked.

“No, I have a better idea, get me some rope. Oh, and Faramir, my man here, he can do worse things to you than this, so be careful you do not irk him while I am away.” A vicious tug at his hair followed the words and he felt a dense fog overtake him.

He struggled to stay awake for he could feel his arms being wrenched behind once again. A thick rope was wound around his wrists, and knotted up tightly, the coarse fibres digging into the raw skin. Faramir tried his utmost to fight against the combined efforts of the two men, but he could do nothing, and soon his feet were bound too. Faramir gritted his teeth as another wave of pain swept through his head. His stomach was throbbing incessantly and his ribs felt bruised, and his vision was blurring.

“King’s wench!” his attacker spat out at him, “Eru be thanked Denethor cannot see what his sons are doing to Gondor. The elder would let the king sign us all away to Harad, and the younger is nothing more than a royal bed warmer, now discarded because the queen is here.”

Faramir continued to struggle against his bonds ignoring his aches and pains; the words were making him angry. He would not let anyone cast a slur on either Aragorn or Boromir, no matter what was said about him.

“You are getting late for the council,” the servant’s voice interrupted the tirade.

“Yes, I am. It is a pity,” the silken voice continued, “I would certainly like to know what our king saw in this one here.” A finger traced a line along Faramir’s bruised cheek bringing him back to reality, but it was not the pain that made him tense up. It was the voice and the touch. He suddenly felt scared and stared back into the other man’s face. Reason had obviously deserted him. He had known this man for many years now and never once seen him behave so. Could anger and frustration really change a person so much?

“I wonder now, do you throw yourself at every man who shows the slightest interest in you? Or was it because Elessar is king that you let him bed you?” Another hand rested on the back of his legs and the fingers stroked his inner thighs lazily, “And what does he see in you? What skills do you possess? How far will he go to get you back?”

“You cannot –“ Faramir started, but got no further for he was suddenly pulled up and given an open-handed slap across his cheek. He felt himself sag forward. He knew his face was probably swollen by now. And then much to his shock he was slung over the servant’s shoulders like a bag of coals, even as his ribs and stomach protested. He gave into the blackness.

He came awake still in pain and after a very short interval. He was falling, hitting the ground. His head hit something hard, again and again and again. Steps, a painful voice spoke in his head. He was rolling down stone steps, his head impacting against them, and his ribs and back and legs, and arms. Every part of his body was on fire now. It seemed the fall would never end.

When it did, the feeling was worse. He landed heavily on level ground. It was hard and cold, and full of things strewn all over. Something sharp pressed against his side. He tried rolling over only to feel something hitting his smaller back.

Stones. There were pieces of stone cast around all over. He opened his eyes and took in his surroundings through a film of haze. It was dark and damp. A few odd beams of light filtered in somewhere, barely enough for him too see two shapes bending over him, and then he felt something cold and wet on his face. He though it was water at first and then realised it was wine.

“No one should find you here, but if they do, let them think you were drunk and that is how you fell in,” came the mocking voice of the archer, “But I doubt you can come out unless I wish it. Soon the king and I shall confer in one of the gardens and then I shall return and decide what to do with you.”

This time the fingers brushed his lips gently making him shudder almost out of fear, before running lightly over his chest and his stomach, a gesture that induced a gasp of pain. They finally came to a stop discomfortingly between his legs where the hand rested gently even as a soft voice continued to speak, “I suppose I could just attack the envoy instead.”

Faramir started at that, forgetting his fear of the hands and gaze that roved his tense body. He had never considered that! If that happened, Gondor was in danger of facing war . . .

The hand came back to his face and stroked his bruises again, “But I shall not. I love Gondor. I cannot risk the impact of such an action. Our king must be persuaded.” Then the man rose, “And scream all you like. No one shall hear you. There is merely the wall to one side of you and my house to the other. You are all alone.”

And then as a parting shot, “Do not move around too much. The structure is very weak. You do not want to be trapped in the wine cellar of a damaged house, do you? Strange is it not? This building is as it is now, because of the Haradrim.”

And then something hit the side of his head and he knew no more.

Aragorn was standing outside the large chamber where the council was being held, with Boromir next to him. Most of the councillors were already inside but there was still some time to go before the meeting would start so the king and his steward stood outside softly discussing various matters. Voices filtered out from the room, until finally the hum of conversation was broken by a forceful voice.

“We should not be doing this!” It was Eredil’s voice, “Do you not remember we once sent envoys into Harad searching for peace? That accord lasted barely months. And they broke it. You forget it was our men that they ambushed and killed in such a foul manner. You must have seen them when they were brought back by the scouts.”

“I do not forget,” Saracel replied heavily, “It was horrific, but it was the work of a few men, and you cannot blame an entire country for that. And that was many years ago. It is better to forget and look for a new start.”

“When was that?” Aragorn asked softly. It must have been after he had left Gondor, he decided.

Boromir looked at Aragorn with a troubled gaze, “I remember that I had just joined the army then. My father had spies in Harad and Khand and Rhun. There was some news from Harad of a new ruler with radical thoughts, so he thought talk of peace could be attempted. They indicated their willingness but apparently there were some in their court too then who found the idea deplorable. A small band of our men were found tortured badly and killed near Harad Road by a patrol. And then we got news that the treaty was no longer considered valid for there was a new ruler in place now. I believe they faced the trouble of kinslaying too. There was memorial for those men, I remember attending it. Faramir was there too,” Boromir continued musing, “And most of our councillors. I remember Eredil storming about in a council meeting the next day. He was younger and more forceful.”

“But I do not believe that would be reason enough for him to wish to attack me over it,” Aragorn said, “Is there anyone with a deeper involvement. I fear there might be an attack on our guest, and then all will be destroyed. There might be open war then!”

“He is being guarded with extra care and precaution,” Boromir assured him, but even he could not keep the tense note out of his voice.

They entered the room where the meetings were being held, the last councillor entering alongside them. Aragorn acknowledged Mardinel’s greeting as they walked through the doorway.

Eredil was still speaking, “Did it work? Mardinel, you tell me, did it work? You were affected too, were you not?” he asked the younger man.

“No,” Mardinel agreed softly, as he seated himself.

“You have not yet told us your opinion, Lord Mardinel,” somebody else asked, “Do you favour this treaty or do you not?”

“My lords, there is no time to discuss individual opinions,” Aragorn said calmly, “the envoy will be here shortly, and . . . we seem to be short by – where is Faramir?”

“I doubt if the envoy will appreciate it if we tarry proceedings for the sake of Lord Faramir,” Eredil said acidly.

Boromir glanced up sharply at the caustic statement, while Aragorn frowned.

“I am sure he would not be late without reason,” one of the other councillors stated calmly, to soothe Eredil’s irascible mood. Boromir glanced across the table and realised that it was Mardinel. He gave him a small smile, and got a sympathetic nod in return. Mardinel was not many years older than him, and they had often fought together. Mardinel in fact had even been one of his trainers in the army. Boromir wondered if he should consider discussing Eredil with him. He might have fresh insights on the issue, having worked with Eredil for some years now.

Faramir still hadn’t made an appearance when they started. Both king and steward decided he must have been working late. He was not crucial to the meeting and secretly, Aragorn had no intention of depriving the younger man of much needed rest.

The tension in the air refused to disperse all through. They were closer and closer to formalizing the terms of the treaty, and it was obvious to everyone that there was a lot of anger and ill feeling in the air. The closer they came to finalization; the more doubts seemed to be creeping in. Boromir stared around the table. The councillors in favour looked relieved but those who had their doubts had expressions ranging from outright anger to plain resignation. And still others looked simple stone faced. Eredil in particular looked furious.

During a small lull in proceedings, Boromir turned to Mardinel sitting next to him, “What do you think? Will Lord Eredil ever reconcile to this notion?”

The councillor looked across at the older man and then at his steward, then spoke slowly, “It is always difficult. We have all lost much over the years. It is not easy to forget. But he channels his ire in the wrong direction. Sitting here and talking of the past will not help matters.”

“Do you not think he might have done more than talk?” Boromir muttered.

Mardinel gave him a sharp glance at that, as if about to ask him more, but he finally said nothing and Boromir, too, decided not to pursue the matter further.

Faramir groaned as he came awake in a mire of confusion and pain. It took him a while to realise where he was and remember what had occurred. The cold draughts of wind blowing in through the opening above him helped revive him somewhat. He had already guessed he was in the broken-down house next door, probably in the cellar. He bit his lip as a fresh burst of ache assailed his battered body. He was having great difficulty staying awake and he knew his head had been hit quite hard and more than once. He had already realised that his sword must have been removed while he had been unconscious, and he realised with dismay that the knife he carried tucked in his boot as all rangers did was missing too. Struggling with the tight bonds was only serving to hurt him greatly and his wrists were already feeling chaffed. With each passing second the weight of what he knew pressed down upon him adding worry to physical pain.

He wondered how long he had been unconscious. It seemed like a while from the light filtering in from above. He had to get out! Anything could have happened. Rolling around in frustration, his bound hands scraped against something sharp. The stones!

He grabbed at it and then spent the next few minutes concentrating intently on grasping it in such a manner as to work on the coarse, thick rope with it. It was slow and painful. The stone kept slipping out of his fingers and more often that not it missed the rope and scraped against his skin instead. Finally he managed to loosen the ropes a little, and gasped as the circulation was restored to his now numb fingers. Finally he was able to loosen the ropes enough to slip his hands out. He hugged them tight around him trying to overcome the tingling ache. Through the dim light he could see that his wrists were now red and swollen angrily. He bent down to untie his ankles and felt a stab of pain through his back from where it had hit against the stone steps. Gritting his teeth he worked on the bonds with almost numb fingers and faced the same problem as with his wrists once he had got them loose.

He stayed down for a few seconds breathing heavily and rapidly. Even lifting his head hurt tremendously. A nauseous feeling rushed over him and he found himself heaving but the movement sent pain shooting through his bruised stomach so he simply lay slumped on his hands and knees trying desperately not to simply collapse from pain and exhaustion. But he knew he could not do that. So, ignoring his protesting body, he tried to stand up. The little cellar seemed to revolve around him and he swayed awkwardly.

“What are you doing?” Footsteps came thundering down the stone steps, “How did you free yourself?”

It was the servant.

Faramir fell forward. He could not stop himself. Luckily, his fall was broken by the other man. They crashed down in a noisy heap, and the only factor that prevented Faramir from further injuring himself was that the other man had cushioned his fall while himself taking a blow to the head. Faramir arose uncertainly, almost staggering to his feet. He had to get out, and the only way out was up the steps. He almost groaned aloud at the thought, and then he decided he could not leave the servant lying in here, whatever the man had done. He should at least take him outside and leave him there till he could alert the guards. It took a tremendous effort but he finally managed to get out of the cellar heaving and panting as he dragged the other man’s deadweight along.

It was light outside, but the city had quietened as people had settled into their routines. This particular area was a popular one among the more well off citizens mainly because of its peace and quiet. A stiff breeze blew around him, and he shivered as he realised his cloak was missing, and all he had on was a thin tunic and leggings. He had not time however, so he dragged the servant away from the walls and left him lying in a safe corner.

Then he dragged his exhausted, aching body to the path to the citadel. He decided it would be better for him to be as secretive as possible until he could get hold of one of his friends and warn them. Something told him it was not yet too late, but he must hurry. He hurt all over but he could not let that impede him. His head pounded furiously and his stomach and back seemed on fire.

The path to the citadel led through a set of gardens but their beauty eluded the figure that stumbled through the trees as quickly as he could, clutching his stomach in pain, berating himself all the while for his slowness. Why had he not thought on the matter earlier? He of all people should have known how much grief could result from loss, grief enough to drive one to such calculated measures in such a cold-blooded yet almost insane manner. The man had obviously been festering over this ever since Aragorn had sent emissaries to Harad. Why had they not realised it? And everything fit in perfectly! He had been there in the citadel the day of the attempt and they had known it! Faramir just hoped he could reach the citadel in time now.

Aragorn took a few puffs of his pipe as he watched the clouds gather over the winter sky. Boromir stood next to him. The meeting had just finished and they were both standing near an open window watching the view.

“Another few hours and the treaty will be signed,” he said, “Eredil still looks annoyed.”

“I still feel you are wrong in suspecting him,” Aragorn said calmly, “He is not the sort. He wishes to speak to me again on the matter”

“I do not like the sound of that,” Boromir exclaimed worriedly, “Who else could it be Aragorn? Who else could have such strong feelings about the matter? Are you going to see him now?”

“Eredil shows his feelings. Perhaps others do not,” Aragorn mused, “Whatever it may be, I will see this treaty signed and that is all there is to it. But, yes, I am going speak to him about it.”

He paused as a figure moved from the shadows of the columns near them and Boromir stood tensely by, his hand reaching for his sword. Both relaxed when they noticed that it was Mardinel, who nodded in greeting.

“Have you seen Eredil? I should like to speak to him,” Aragorn said pleasantly.

“I saw him in the gardens by the wall,” Mardinel told them.

“I shall come along,” Boromir told Aragorn.

“I see no reason you need to,” the king started off, then stopped when eh saw Boromir’s expression, “Oh, very well!”

The garden was a small one that few frequented located as it was in a quiet corner and with no view to speak of. And especially in winter there was little reason to be there. When they reached it there was no one to be seen.

“Well, he is not here, is he?” Aragorn exclaimed impatiently and turned towards Boromir who had been walking some paces behind him, only to find his steward lying facedown on the ground.

The figure leaning over him sighed softly, “I always knew he would never make a good ranger. Open soldiering was better for him. Not like that brother of his. Do you know where Faramir is now, Sire?”

Aragorn stared back in surprise at his councillor before the last few words registered in his head, “Faramir? Where is he?” he asked raggedly.

“Later!” said the harsh voice, “First let us settle our business your majesty! Would you please hand me your sword before I do something I might regret to your steward. I do like him. He is misguided as you are, but I am sure both of you can be brought to see the error of your ways. You have no other choice. You are away from the citadel, your guards have been informed that you are in your study and no one will disturb us for a while.”

Aragorn had no choice but to do as requested. He maintained his calm however and handed over his sword. Boromir groaned suddenly and came awake.

“My lord steward,” the man mocked at him as he tried to rise. Boromir gaped at him.

“Why?” Aragorn asked.

“I want your reassurance you will not sign this treaty.”

“The treaty will be signed,” Aragorn said, watching with concern as Boromir rose to his feet unsteadily.

“Never! I will not allow it!”

“You can do nothing now,” Aragorn said quietly.

“I can and I will. I erred once in acting without thought. I should not have shot at you so hastily. And Faramir spoilt it anyway. But I have thought it out now.”

“I doubt that,” Boromir snapped out angrily. He was cursing himself soundly for falling for his inattentiveness, and the fact that he had no means to defend himself. Without his sword, he felt incomplete, “You are insane! I suggest you let us go!”

“You are both fools!” the man hissed angrily, “And you especially My Lord Steward! Peace with Harad? Never!”

“You are insane!” Boromir repeated, “Let us go now. This stupidity has been carried too far.”

“No! They destroyed my family! Gondor is all I have left and I will not let them destroy that too. And I will not let you destroy Gondor!” the man screamed out, and before either man could stop him, the glint of steel flashed through air as he swung out his sword and advanced on Aragorn.

“There is nothing you can do. Kill me now, but the treaty shall still be signed. I have made enough provisions for that!” Aragorn stated calmly

Boromir took a deep breath. He finally began to understand why this man was acting so. It had been years before and he had forgotten how the man before him had lost his brothers in the attack by the Haradrim during the so-called truce then. He reined in his temper and forced himself to think calmly. They might outnumber the councillor two to one, but he was armed and they were not and He did not want to anger him into taking a rash step. No matter what Aragorn might say, he was not going to sit back and let him be harmed. “Stop this madness, Mardinel,” he said quietly.

His words went ignored as Mardinel addressed Aragorn, “I do not have to kill you Sire. But, yes, if you want to see your dear Faramir alive, do not sign the treaty.” The sword hovered at the shocked king’s chest, almost resting at his heart.

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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11 Comment(s)

This story was AMAZING! I loved how
1) There WAS a plot!
2) There was actual chracter development between Faramir and Aragorn…my FAV couple!

Great Job! Keep it up!

— FA4ever!    Monday 15 December 2008, 5:16    #

Hi FA4ever! Thank you for your kind comments. I’m really, really delighted that you liked this story so much!:)

— minx    Thursday 18 December 2008, 21:06    #

Hi! I loved your story! =) It’s really great, Faramir and Aragorn are perfect, so are the other characters. Especially Legolas who is wonderful! ^^ (Arwen is scary! XD)
I read other fanfics you wrote, and I loved them as well. Your writing is very good!

(hum… Sorry, English is not my first language! :S )
Bye, Lily

— Lily Of the West    Wednesday 11 February 2009, 20:16    #

Thanks Lily! I’m very glad you liked the fics.

Thanks for reading and taking the time out to comment!

— minx    Thursday 12 February 2009, 19:10    #

I so love your fics!!! I am very addicted to Fara/Ara stories. Perhaps is there a sequel awaiting. Please, say yes!!!!!!

— camille    Tuesday 24 February 2009, 18:16    #

Thank you Camille:) I’m not sure of a sequel to this one but yes, there are lots of A/F stories on their way:) thank you for reading this!

— Minx    Sunday 1 March 2009, 17:42    #

Oh! It was gorgeous! It was simply unique! Especially the ending! You are a great writer!
Oh, poor Faramir… No, poor Aragorn… How long he waited that!!!
Thank you very much, Minx!

— Anastasiya    Thursday 10 September 2009, 15:08    #

Thank you Anastasiya:) I’m really glad you liked it.

— minx    Saturday 12 September 2009, 20:22    #

Wonderful story! Thank you for posting it!!

(Even though I know it’s been awhile…)

— Radical    Friday 28 May 2010, 2:46    #

Thank you Radical! I’m very glad you liked it:)

— Minx    Friday 4 June 2010, 19:19    #

Hello, just wanted to stop by and say how much I adore this fic. I must have read it a dozen times over the years. I hope Aragorn has been making it up to our sweet Fara all this time ;-)

— Laurelote    Sunday 19 August 2012, 18:32    #

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