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Borne Upon a Dark Wind (NC-17) Print

Written by Ithiliana

18 December 2005 | 25334 words | Work in Progress

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“Rhisiart!”

Boromir’s voice was loud as they entered the courtyard.

Faramir followed Boromir into the windowless room where Rhisiart had built a fire and lit several candles which spread a pool of golden light around the low table.

He was lying on his bed and rose to sit as they entered.

“Get to as many of the Rangers as you can,” Boromir ordered. “Tell them to meet you on the west bank as soon as possible, but to cross the River alone.”

Rhisiart stood, shaking his hair back. “Where are we going?”

“Dol Amroth.”

“For how long?”

“I don’t know. I’ll write an order for supplies, and for horses. Come back here for it.”

Boromir turned, gripping Faramir’s shoulders, shaking him slightly.

“What happened back there?”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t move, at first, and then—” Faramir shuddered at the memory of his body’s betrayal.

“You’re leaving. Now.”

“Leaving?” How?”

“You’ll ride with the Rangers, go north, then along the Great West Road. I don’t think any will expect you to go that way. You can turn south later, through the mountain passes, then south and west to Dol Amroth.”

“What will father say?”

“I don’t care.”

Boromir frowned, then his hands dropped, unbuckling Rhisiart’s sword belt, setting it by the table.

Faramir flinched as Boromir pulled a knife and cut his tunic laces, yanked hard. Faramir heard the fabric rip.

“Stand still!” After sheathing his knife, Boromir tugged the ripped tunic over Faramir’s head and dropped it on the floor, then turned and kicked the chair over. He picked up a jug from the table and dropped it. The crash jolted Faramir, and he stepped back, but Boromir gripped his arm and pulled him forward, toward the pool of candlelight.

After days of itching and oozing fluids, the brand had scabbed over. When the healing was advanced enough to leave off the bandage, Faramir had taken care never to undress in front of his brother or Rhisiart.

As Boromir peered at his shoulder, Faramir tried to pull away, but Boromir gripped his other arm, pulling him around.

“You told me it was a burn.”

Boromir’s voice was even, but Faramir could see the muscles in jaw and neck tensing, feel the strength in the hands which held him still.

The red brand, double A runes, shone against Faramir’s skin. He could feel it pulse, despite the numbness of the raised scar.

“What else haven’t you told me?”

Faramir flushed, brought his hands up to strike Boromir’s wrists sharply, loosening his grip, twisting away.

“I will not tell you all that happened,” Faramir said. “It matters to none but me.”

He bent to pick up the ripped tunic, gripping it in his right hand.

“If we had more time, I would convince you otherwise. But there is no time. I want you hours gone by the time Denethor sends his message, and I want to confuse the trail.”

“How?”

“Thus,” Boromir gripped Faramir’s left wrist and drew his knife across it, the sharp blade cutting so cleanly there was little pain at first.

Confused, Faramir watched blood well up.

Boromir tugged the tunic free, dropped it again, and held Faramir’s arm over it, watching the blood fall onto tunic.

“If I come tomorrow just before the third hour and find this room empty and signs of a struggle, what am I to think? That Aragorn’s men, not knowing of the recent meeting, or not trusting Gondor will agree, have taken you by force.”

Watching the blood soak into the blue cloth, darkening it, Faramir said, “So you think he will agree to Aragorn’s demand?”

“Don’t you?”

Faramir nodded. Denethor had long limited the men assigned to Ithilien, not enough to fight, just enough to keep watch, moving the forces ever closer to Minas Tirith, keeping many in the City itself. Gondor’s boundaries had shrunk in recent years.

If his father had not immediately rejected Aragorn’s demand for surety, then Faramir knew, the knowledge cold in his stomach, that the morning’s herald would take Denethor’s agreement across the River.

Probably with Faramir as well.

Releasing Faramir’s arm, Boromir searched through the clutter on the table until he found the salve the Healer had given Faramir to use on the brand, smeared some over the cut, and wrapped a bandage around his arm, knotting it.

“Even if he rejects this demand, there will be others. And eventually, Denethor will agree. The further away you are, the better.”

Remembering what Aragorn had said, Faramir nodded.

“Here.” Boromir shrugged out of his tunic, red and gold, and tossed it to Faramir. “Wear this. I don’t want you taking anything from this room. Leave everything.”

Clumsy from exhaustion as the shock left him, Faramir tugged the tunic on, slightly too large and still warm from Boromir’s body.

Boromir looked around the room again, thinking, then handed his signet ring to Faramir. “Take this as well. Don’t identify yourself to anyone on the road. You’ll simply be carrying messages for me from Imrahil to his home.”

The ring slid easily onto Faramir’s hand.

“Be sure to get the horses kept for the errand-riders. They’re the best, the fastest. And when you get there, write, but send the message under cover to the Five Armies. They’ll hold it for me there.”

Faramir stood, trying to listen as Boromir paced, laying out his plans. The room seemed to darken as Faramir waited for Rhisiart to return, wondering if Dol Amroth was far enough away from Aragorn. And the dreams.


The first three nights were the worst. They rode steadily, alternating between trotting and walking to save the horses’ strength, through the dark hours. During the day, they stopped, grooming and hobbling the horses, pouring grain onto the ground and letting them graze during the day while the men rolled themselves in cloaks and slept. Meals had been cold travel rations at dawn and dusk.

The past weeks of imprisonment and healing had left Faramir unused to the demands flight made of him. Only pain kept him from falling asleep in the saddle the third night, and he greeted that dawn with relief.

He slid off the horse and stood leaning against the animal’s side, breathing in warm scents of sweat and dust. When they had first left Osgiliath, the fear of Aragorn, of being dragged back to him, had pushed Faramir beyond pain or weariness.

Now they were well along the Great West Road and none of the Rangers had reported any sign of pursuit, so the group seemed to relax. Around him, a dozen men were joking about the night’s ride under the waxing moon, but he felt as if he had been beaten. Even if Aragorn was standing next to him, Faramir thought distantly, it would make no difference. He couldn’t move.

Faramir jumped as a hand touched his shoulder. He turned to see Rhisiart behind him.

“Rest. I’ll tend to the horses.”

Faramir shook his head, but Rhisiart said, “Sit down before you fall down.”

Tugging the reins out of Faramir’s slack hand, Rhisiart moved off, the horse following obediently.

Moving stiffly, determined not to groan, Faramir walked slowly to the dell where one man was building a fire. They were within a grove of trees, near a stream, that ran from the White Mountains onto the plains. The air was cold but would become warmer as the sun rose.

The first flames crackled on tinder, pale in morning light, smoke sharp in the crisp air. Faramir lowered himself onto a deadfall, sighing. The carefully tended fire grew, slow flames licking over tinder and branches, feeding, growing, heat glowing. Stretching his legs, Faramir sat, savoring the morning. He felt light, free in a way he could not remember feeling for years.


No! Faramir struggled to rise, bare feet slipping on flagstones, to find himself gripped by the arms, pulled to his feet by Aragorn. Heavy scent surrounded Faramir, and his head swam.

“Prove your loyalty to me, here, Captain.”

Faramir shook his head, voice trapped in his throat. He was not loyal, not to this man. His arms and legs would not answer his will, and he strained, sweating, but could not resist when Aragorn turned, tugging him forward, to climb the steps. Above, the throne of Gondor shone in the Hall.

“Kneel.”

Straining until his voice broke, Faramir finally managed to speak. “No.”

Calloused hands slid over damp skin, stroking sides and belly. The hands stilled at juncture of legs and body, fingers sliding apart, resting gently on flesh.

“Why do you still defy me?”

Skin flayed and peeled away as flame sank into him. Faramir shrieked, falling.

A hard hand slapped over his mouth. “Quiet!”

Faramir twisted, hands sliding over cloth, gripping hard flesh, fighting.

“You’re dreaming.”

It was Rhisiart.

Heart beating so hard he was shaking, Faramir relaxed. The hands lifted away, and he blinked, straining to see. The coals in the stone circle shone like blood. Rhisiart knelt over him.

He could feel the sweat cold on his body despite the blankets. Around him, men were stirring, grumbling, rising and moving around in the dusk.

“Are you ill?”

“It’s Aragorn.” The despair bit so deep that Faramir no longer cared what he said. “The dreams, I don’t know how, but it’s him.”

Sitting back on his heels, Rhisisart ran a hand through his hair.

“May be,” he said. “But this is the first one you’ve had since we left, right?”

Faramir nodded, pushing himself up.

Rising to his feet, Rhisiart continued. “The dreams came every night in Osgiliath. So maybe the further away we get, the harder it will be for him. Come and eat.”


The miles fell away behind them, the plains unrolling before them as they journeyed south and west. The snowy peaks of the White Mountains rose behind them. After nights of riding, Rhisiart had decided it was safer to travel during the day through the mountains for fear of orcs or other attackers. Wild men lived in the forests and hills.

As day followed day, and the air warmed around them, Faramir realized that Rhisiart could well be right. No dreams came to him and he slept well during the night, under the waxing moon and stars. He was regaining his strength and could enjoy the journey through lands that were flowering in the first bloom of summer.

Their journey was peaceful, and as they moved through Lamedon they came to more settled lands where they found inns and the occasional farmer willing to give them bed and food for a small price and news of the City and the war.

Sitting one night in the smoky common room of an unnamed inn, Faramir sipped dark ale. He was wearing a grey wool tunic, one Rhisiart had pulled out of his saddlebag and tossed to him early in the journey, ordering him out of the red velvet. Faramir had rolled the tunic up and pushed it down in his own saddlebag.

He sat among men who were clad in a motley of colors. They looked nothing like the farmers or peddlars they had met on the road, but there was nothing to mark them as coming from the White Tower. As the men around him began a song, a song about Nimrodel who was lost as she journeyed to the Sea, he joined in, blending his voice among many.


Boromir rose at sunrise after an uneasy night broken by dreams he could not clearly recall. He washed and ate while hearing reports from the night commander. The night watches had been quiet. By the first hour after sunrise, Boromir was dressed and armed. He went to his father’s room and knocked.

“Enter.”

Denethor was sitting in a large chair, still in his nightrobes. A table pushed to one side held a clutter of dishes piled with food, maps, and jugs. A fire burned low, light glinting on some rounded surface half hidden beneath a dull cloth on the table. Nodding to Boromir, Denethor gestured to another chair.

Boromir adjusted his sword, sat.

“What have you decided?”

Shrugging, Denethor drank, then hold the goblet in both hands, turning it.

“Can you defeat Aragorn’s forces?”

Flushing, Boromir shook his head. “Not as things now stand.” Not wanting to anger his father, he left unsaid that he had pushed for assembling a larger force, even without the Rohirrim whose tactics were not suited to this kind of battle.

“Then I think we should agree to the terms. We withdrew from Ithlien over a century ago, doing little more than watching the Nameless Enemy build his strength in Mordor since. The build-up of this force at Minas Morgul proves we could not even watch effectively.”

Boromir clasped his hands, gripping hard enough to cause pain, shifting to sit forward. His father had not been in Ithilien in decades, did not know of the dark powers that hung over the pass of Cirith Ungol, clouding the mind the closer one came to the Mountains of Ash. He breathed deeply, staring at the floor, veined with green moss and stained with water, and forced himself to speak mildly.

“I do not think we dare send Faramir back to Aragorn. Not after what happened.”

The ringing sound of metal on wood seemed loud.

“What do you mean? He was held prisoner briefly, then was rescued.”

Finding words to express his fears was hard, had been hard, but he had to try one last time. Boromir was not sure why he wished his father to reject Aragorn’s offer, why it felt as if so much was riding on this decision.

“Faramir refuses to speak of it, but I think Aragorn tormented him while holding him. Rhisiart, the Ranger who brought me news from Ithilien, heard the men joking about his…joy in causing pain.”

The silence grew heavy, hot.

“You did not tell me this.” Denethor’s voice was quiet.

“I was not sure, not until yesterday, when I saw Aragorn’s brand on him.”

Denethor stood, the heavy chair falling behind him.

“Leave me a moment,” he said. “I want to dress, then I want to talk to your brother.”

Standing, Boromir nodded and left the room, leaving the door ajar behind him. He paced the hall until Denethor came out, wearing the black robes from yesterday. They walked together out of the building into the street, guards falling in behind them.

It was a misty morning, the still air heavy with moisture. Boromir wondered if it would rain later. As they drew near to the building the Healers had claimed as the best for their work, Denethor spoke quietly.

“Even if what you say is true, Faramir was a prisoner then, taken in war. As a guest with Aragorn, his cousin held as surety by us, surely he would be safe from such treatment.”

Entering the tent, impatient, Boromir stopped, seeing his brother trapped against the table, Aragorn standing so close, turning, smiling, the voice smooth and rich as wine. “I was speaking to your brother, my lord. About those beauties hidden in Ithilien which he knows well and which he might show me whilst he is my guest.”

“You speak as if Aragorn is bound by rule and courtesy,” Boromir said. “Rather you should think of him as an Orc.”

Denethor said nothing in reply as they walked down narrow halls to Faramir’s room.

Boromir slowed, letting Denethor pass through the arch ahead of him. The room was empty, dimly lit with light from the passage. The two narrow beds were neatly made, but the center of the room was in disarray. One chair was lying on its side, surrounded by the shards of broken pottery. On the table, candles had burned out, drowning in melted wax. On the floor, a dark blue tunic was crumpled, dark stains speaking to the violence that had been done.

Breath hissing through his teeth, Denethor stood in the middle of the room, then stooped to raise the tunic. He ran it through his hands, then dropped it back onto the floor.

He turned to Boromir and spoke. “Send a herald to Aragorn. He has broken the terms of our peace and we will no longer waste words in treating with one so accursed. Then call a council for the next hour.” Striding past Boromir, Denethor called his guards to him and left.

Standing alone in the room, Boromir breathed deeply, relaxing a moment, before turning to send the messengers


The small cot lay in a fold of ground, its thatched roof nearly the same colour as the grasses that covered ground and hills behind it. Beside it, old nets were draped over poles and a boat rested on blocks. From the door, a path ran down to a cove, the green ground shifting to white of sand and blue of water.

The building was so humble most would pass it without a second glance, without even realizing it was there. It had no windows, was built low to the ground to allow storms to pass over, yet all around shone a glory of blues and greens and whites, the sea and sky and land mingling in a tapestry woven by the winds.

Faramir stood, breathing deep of salt and green, then walked down the path to the beach.

This cottage was one of a number making up a small fishing village on a headland south of Dol Amroth, so small it was not on any map Faramir had ever seen. There was one lane and a scatter of cottages built close to the ground. A chance to earn hard coin was welcomed by the people who were able to find room for the Rangers. Rhisiart wanted them close but not in a single spot.

When they had brought Boromir’s letter to the castle at Dol Amroth and the Lady had read it, she had told them of this place, sending them off with supplies and silver. The village was two day’s ride south along a narrow road which wound down from the high hill over Cobas Haven and then ran straight along the coast. They rode easily, feeling the wind tug their clothes, hearing the shrill cries of seabirds floating high above them.

Trees were sparse, small and twisted, bent from the constant winds. On their left, grassy plains ran into hills. On their right, the waters, blue and silver during the day, spread out to the Bay of Belfalas. The music of the water accompanied them day and night.

They passed few others on the road. Faramir had regained his strength and was content to ride among the others following Rhisiart. He could not remember the last time he had spent so much time away from duties, luxuriated in not having to be responsible.

Now, he stood on the edge of the world, watching the sun sink. Gold spread from the horizon up and around the sky, seeming to grow as the sun disappeared, deepening into a darker and richer colour tinged with red. Faramir thought that he could step onto the path that spread before him, walk into the west.

“Faramir!”

He started, hearing Rhisiart’s voice, realizing that the water had crept up and around his feet. He turned, sliding on the wet sand, to climb the path back to the cot.

Cold. Darkness.

Faramir curled tighter, unable to control his shaking, feeling cold stone under him, behind him.

The only warmth was in the hand that lay against his face, the voice. “You force me always to do more than I would choose. Why?”

He could barely move but had to speak. “You do what you choose. Do not blame me.” Forcing his eyes open, Faramir saw Aragorn sitting beside him and beyond Aragorn the Hall, empty and quiet in dimming light.

Closing his eyes, Faramir turned within, utterly refusing to acknowledge Aragorn’s voice.


Each night, Faramir went to his bed slowly, half-fearing what might come in his sleep, but the dream where he had rejected Aragorn seemed to mark the end. The days followed each other, drenched in sunlight and water, broken only by sudden showers from the west that left the air sweeter than before. Slowly, Faramir grew stronger, able to sleep through the night, waking each morning to the music of wind and water.

He did not try to count the days, did not think of what lay behind them after he had sent his message to Boromir. No news had come from Boromir, and Faramir did not worry. Had Aragorn gained victory, Faramir felt he would know it, would feel that change.

He and Rhisiart spoke little, sharing the necessary work in a companionable silence, spending two or three nights a week at the small Inn where they could also have baking done and speak to the Rangers.

The cot was small, one room holding the narrow beds built into the walls, a fireplace with hooks and a spit for cooking, a rickety table, and a shelf or two which held their supplies. The floor was pounded earth and at night, above his head, the rustles hinted of small lives moving through the old thatch. The only other sound inside the thick walls was the regular sound of Rhisiart’s breathing.

But the door opened to the sea and sky, and Faramir could spend the afternoons sitting alone on the slope of the hill that led down to the water. Long grass cushioned him as he rested against one of the small trees, losing himself in the quiet perfection of each day. He would not have traded the cramped cottage for his rooms back at the Citadel.


One afternoon, the growing heat of the day leaving him hot and parched, Faramir left his tree and walked back to the cottage. He heard the blows of an axe as he climbed the hill. Ducking inside the room, he found the water bucket empty. He picked it up, going back outside and around the back of the cot to the well.

He turned the corner, moving from shadow to light, and blinked, seeing Rhisiart chopping wood. In the heat of the day, he had pulled off tunic and shirt. He was standing with his back to Faramir, lifting the axe high above his head, then pulling it down, splitting the heavy chunks of wood in one smooth motion, the quiet cut by the sound of metal against wood.

What stopped Faramir’s breath was seeing the welts on the broad back. Old and faded, the twisted scars stood out against the white skin, covering both shoulder blades.

The crash of the bucket hitting the ground brought Rhisiart around, axe held ready, until he saw Faramir and relaxed. “Anything wrong?”

Faramir shook his head, swallowed the dryness in his throat. “What happened?” he asked, voice hoarse.

Rhisiart knelt to toss the split wood away from the chopping block onto the growing pile of firewood. “What?”

Taking the few steps necessary to cross the space between them, Faramir laid a hand on Rhisiart’s back, feeling the ridged slickness of the scars against his palm, the heat of the skin.

“That.”

Faramir could feel muscles tense under his hand and stood in silence for a long moment before Rhisiart moved. As he stood, shaking his hair back, Faramir’s hand slid down and off him. Rhisiart set the axe down and turned to face Faramir. Skin gleaming with sweat, he seemed to glow in the light of the westering sun. Faramir wanted to feel that heat again, thought dizzily of setting his hands on the narrow waist, sliding fingers beneath the tight cloth, and down.

“It’s an old story,” Rhisiart said.

Faramir blinked, and the world returned to normal.

He turned, shaking, and retrieved the bucket. Going to the well, he attached the bucket to a rope and let the harsh line slide through his hands. When he heard the splash and felt the change in weight, he pulled the full bucket up and onto the stone coping. Water splashed down his front, cool and clear.

He turned back to Rhisiart, the bucket heavy in his hand.

“Will you tell me?”

Rhisiart rubbed a hand across his mouth, green eyes steady. “Why do you want to know?”

“I don’t know.”

“Who’s asking? The Captain of Ithilien or Faramir?”

Faramir had felt this ground change under him long ago. Faramir had been Captain in Ithilien. But the ambush, what happened with Aragorn, what Rhisiart had done, in Ithilien and Osgiliath, had changed things. He’d come to understand just how much, and how little had changed, as he’d sat on the hills above the sea. He wondered if that precarious understanding had come only in time for yet another change.

He hefted the bucket, feeling the metal handle bite into his skin. “There is no longer a Captain in Ithilien.” A pause. “But Faramir is still the son of The Steward.”

Rhisiart nodded. “I’m nearly done. Go in and make some tea and we’ll talk.” He turned away, picking up the axe.

Faramir returned to the cot. He stirred banked coals to life, laying on more kindling, then, when flames rose, firewood. He hooked out the rod which held a fire-blackened pot, filled the pot with water, then swung it back over the fire.

Sitting cross-legged, he watched the fire. Sunlight laid a bright path from the doorway across the earth floor. A shadow on the path became Rhisiart, entering. He carried his shirt in one hand, tossed it onto his bed. He scooped water from the half-full bucket on the table with both hands, drinking and rubbing his face, slicking his hair back.

The water bubbled, and Faramir stood. He swung the pot out of the fireplace and dumped a handful of tea leaves into the boiling water. He set two battered mugs on the hearth and they waited in silence until he could dip tea for each of them.

Rhisiart sat on his bed, and Faramir handed one of the mugs to him then took his own to sit on the hearth. He took a mouthful of the strong, bitter drink, wincing at the bite of the hot liquid.

Cradling his mug in his hands, Rhisiart stared into the depths a while, then drained it, setting the empty mug down.

“The Vale has an evil name in Gondor,” he started, straightening, squaring his shoulders.

Faramir nodded but said nothing. He had heard the stories all his life.

“Many folk live there, in scattered villages. The Blackroot River that rises from the Haunted Mountain gives the Vale its name. The farmland are rich, but in the center lies the Stone of Erech. Few go there and the land is dead. There are stories of pale shades that gather around the Stone at times, whispering. I paid little attention to the stories. One summer, my seventeenth, there were rumours of orcs coming down from the mountains, at dusk. I was the strongest in my village. I’d been working our land since my father died when I was ten. I didn’t pay any attention to the latest stories. I’d never seen the ghosts. I didn’t believe in the orcs.”

Rhisiart stopped, gazing down at his hands which he clasped in front of him.

“When the time came to take the herds up to the mountain pastures, I said I’d go. There were a handful of us. We had the dogs. The first tenday or so was quiet. Then one night, I heard the dogs barking. We went out. I thought it was wolves. We had sticks, knives. One of us had a sling. He’d killed a wolf with it the year before. The noise—we found orcs, they’d slaughtered a sheep and were eating it raw.”

Faramir swallowed, sickened not so much by the image but by what he could imagine would come next.

“We didn’t try to fight. But they saw us, came after us. We scattered and ran. Most escaped. We knew the land better. But the orcs had arrows. One boy died. I was hit. Leg wound. I remember trying to drag myself away, but they stood around me. Laughing. I thought the worst they could do was kill me.” Rhisiart looked at Faramir. “I was wrong.”

Heart pounding at the back of his throat, Faramir nodded, mute. He felt numb, dizzy.

“They wanted to kill me. Better than sheep, they said. But the leader stopped them. Killed one of them over it, too. I was almost grateful for a while. He cut the arrow out of my leg, smeared on salve, bandaged it with my shirt. They camped for the night. That’s when I found out that he liked whipping.”

Rhisiart stood, skin pale even in the dimness of the cottage. He crossed to the hearth, dipped his cup into the pot. He stood near Faramir, drinking. Not looking at him, Rhisiart continued.

“He liked it even better with a white-skin he said. We were softer, bled more easily than orcs. I don’t know how long he had me. After a few days of nightly beatings, lack of food, and the orc-filth, I was ill, unconscious, when a company from Dol Amroth attacked and killed the orcs. They’d been moving down into the Vale and through the land. I never found out why. They took me back to the city with them.”

Faramir gripped the mug so hard he could feel the soft metal give way. He was shaking so much that the cooling liquid splashed onto his hand.

“I never went home,” Rhisiart said, setting his empty cup down beside Faramir. “After I recovered I came to Minas Tirith and joined the guard. I wanted to fight Sauron. And his orcs.” After a pause, he went on, voice softer. “I didn’t want to tell anyone what happened. That’s why I left Dol Amroth. I was ashamed.”

The silence grew around them, inviting Faramir to speak.

“He said I was responsive, that I made him do what he did.” Faramir was shocked to hear the words that dragged out of his throat, harsh and hurting.

“He lied.”

Faramir shook his head, and Rhisiart gripped his shoulder.

“He took what he wanted, took his pleasure, it had nothing to do with you.”

Rhisiart’s warmth seemed to soak into Faramir’s body, easing the racking chill. “I blamed myself for years. If I’d run faster. If I’d fought harder. If I’d done something else, anything. It took seeing a lot of death and surviving a lot of battles to understand that death and pain can come to anyone, at any time. And you did one thing right, or at least I think so.”

“What?”

“Saved my life.”

Faramir blinked, confused.

Rhisiart shook him, gently. “In the caves, when Aragorn gave the order to kill me. That’s the reason I offered to join his men. If I hadn’t, he’d have kept using me against you.”

Faramir looked away, feeling the heat rise in him, remembering what had happened in the cave.

Rhisiart released him, turning away.

“Do you want to cook tonight or go to the Inn?”

Faramir watched as Rhisiart bent, retrieving his shirt and pulling it over his head, tugging it down.

Shifting against the hard stone, Faramir said, “The Inn.” He stood, feeling a lightness in his limbs. But he was also hungry, craving something he could not yet name.

“Come on!” Faramir pulled Rhisiart to his feet, shrugged under one arm and gripped his wrist, slid an arm around Rhisiart’s waist. He sagged against Faramir, warm and smelling of ale and smoke.

“Nother drink?”

“No.” Faramir struggled through the night, feet slipping on grass damp from the sea air.

The Inn had been full, not only the locals but most of the Rangers crowded into the common room to eat fish stew. There was singing. Faramir had been glad to sit on a small bench built into the darkest corner, furthest from the fire, but Rhisiart had been in the center of it all. He’d burned brighter than the fire, topping every joke, leading the songs.

And drinking.

“‘S early!” Rhisiart wrenched away, turning, stumbling and pulling Faramir down on top of him. They rolled, a slow journey back to the cot becoming a tumble down a grassy hill.

Breathless and dizzy, Faramir found himself pinned under Rhisiart. They lay a moment, damp soaking into Faramir’s clothing, before he sighed, pushed Rhisiart off, and started the whole process over again.

He thought it would be dawn before they made it home, but the moon was still high when he kicked open the door and tugged Rhisiart inside.

They stood swaying as Faramir debated what to do next. He finally decided the moon gave enough light that he need not bother with the lamp, and walked Rhisiart to his bed. Holding him up with one arm, tugging the wool blankets back with his free hand, Faramir released Rhisiart, expecting him to fall back onto the narrow bed.

Instead Rhisiart wrapped his arms around Faramir’s shoulders, leaning until their foreheads touched. Shocked, Faramir set his hands on Rhisiart’s waist, fearing that he might fall.

“Why didn’t you drink with me?” Rhisiart’s voice was low, not a whisper, charged with some feeling Faramir did not understand.

“What?”

“T’night. Drinking. You said no.”

Rhisiart had tried to challenge him to some drinking game early in the evening, but Faramir had refused. The challenge had moved on, with laughter and much spilling of good ale, and Faramir had nearly forgotten.

“Why?”

The dark note in Rhisiart’s voice pulsed inside Faramir, his heart beating faster.

“I, I, I’m afraid to drink too much.” Afraid that such loosening of mind and will would allow Aragorn entrance. Faramir’s dreams had left him after the first night here, but he did not know why, only hoped that it was for good.

A huff of laughter, Rhisiart’s arms tightening around Faramir. “Drinking helps dull the pain. It’s good. Should try it.”

“I’ve never seen you drink like you did tonight.” Faramir felt the tremor that took Rhisiart.

“Din’t need to before.” Swallowing loudly, Rhisiart straightened, releasing Faramir. “Before today. Thought it was over. Till today.”

Silence. Faramir’s hands fell away, but as he began to step back, Rhisiart surged forward to grab Faramir, pushing him against the wall that held the shelf-beds, stones pressing painfully into his back. The hard body pinned him, hands gripping his arms, and Faramir stiffened, breath catching in his throat a raw moment.

“I wanted to save you that pain.”

Moonlight picked out gold hair, and the deep voice next to Faramir’s ear reassured him. He was safe. They were safe.

“You did.” He breathed out, sliding arms around Rhisiart

“Not soon enough.”

Lips chapped from wind and sun moved across Faramir’s neck. He tilted his head back, pushing hips forward to rub against hardness.

“Better, ah, late than..” Faramir knew he was babbling as Rhisiart pulled him away, backing the few steps to fall on his bed, pulling Faramir down into the same sort of tumble as earlier, ending again with Faramir beneath the hard body. But this time, Rhisiart curled around him, holding him, until a hand stroked roughly down his belly. Legs tangled with bedding, fully dressed, the smell of smoke strong in his throat as Rhisiart’s hair tangled in his mouth, Faramir spread his legs, rocking against the sure hand working through heavy cloth.

Pleasure curling through his belly tightened his body in a spasm until Faramir cried out, a surge soaking his leggings.

Sweat stinging his eyes and slicking his skin, Faramir tried to understand what had just happened. They lay in silence a while, Rhisiart’s breathing loud in the silence. Faramir’s sweat dried, chilling on him, as his heart slowed.

Next to him, bulking large in the narrow bed, pressing against Faramir, Rhisiart was still. When Faramir’s legs began to go numb, he shifted away, trying to gain the courage to speak. Rhisiart flailed, turning on his back, muttering something, then began to snore.

Loudly.

Faramir rubbed his head, hair sticky from sweat and damp. He’d had only one ale and for a moment wished he’d had more. Rhisiart was right. It might have helped.

After a few moments, Faramir slid off the small space of the bed, standing, stamping to relieve the numbness in his legs. He thought a moment, listening to the echoes in the small stone cottage, then bent and pulled Rhisiart’s boots off, setting them aside, and picked the wool blankets from the floor. He shook them out over Rhisiart.

He took a few moments to strip and wash. Pulling on the only other clothes he had, he gathered his own blankets and left the cot, shutting the door behind him. Faramir thought he would sleep more soundly under his tree tonight.

The moon lit his way over the hill to where the small trees grew, shaped by the constant wind, and spread a silver path over the water below. He spread one blanket on the ground, wrapping himself in the other, and lay down, cushioned by the soft grass. The air was cool against his face, tasting of salt and some other scent, spicy, unknown. The moon and stars shone clearly here, not lost in the web of branches as they were in Ithilien. Breathing deeply, feeling the ease spreading throughout his body, Faramir lay wrapped in warmth and light until he slept.

“Faramir!”

Cold and stiff, Faramir opened his eyes. Why was he sleeping outside? He levered himself, groaning, off the tree root that seemed to have ground its way into his back, to blink up at Rhisiart.

“What?”

“I woke up. You were gone.” Rhisiart sat carefully, holding a steaming mug. He offered it to Faramir. “What’s wrong?”

The sight of the strong hand wrapped around the mug brought the memory of what had happened in the dark flooding back. Faramir pulled heavy wool closer and reached to take the mug, feeling his member twitch at Rhisiart’s touch.

Sipping, the hot bitter taste clearing his mouth and head, Faramir finally spoke. “Nothing. You were snoring.”

Rhisiart snorted, leaning back on his elbows, body relaxing as he stretched out. He was wearing only a shirt, thin from many washings and open at the neck, over his leggings. His hair was wet, curling on his neck.

“I was drunk.”

”I noticed.” Faramir drank again, then held the half-empty mug out

Rhisiart took it, drained it. The mist was heavy, the air still and cold. It was early, Faramir realized, and wondered if it was worth trying to go back to the cot and sleep. He shifted again, telling himself that he could not feel the warmth rising from Rhisiart’s skin, that the musky scent surrounding him was from some plant wet with morning dew.

What had happened last night was drowned in ale, would never be mentioned between them, had not happened.

Yawning, Rhisiart slid down, lying flat, casually balancing the empty mug on his belly, one arm tucked beneath his head. “It won’t happen again.”

Shifting off the gnarled root that seemed to have grown underneath him overnight, Faramir tossed the blanket aside, preparing to rise. When he finally trusted himself to say something, he turned back to see that, Rhisiart had fallen asleep, breathing soft and regular, long legs sprawling.

Faramir shook his head. It was too early for this. He picked up the empty mug and set it aside, then pulled the blanket back over them both. The ground wasn’t that much harder than the beds inside, as along as he could avoid the tree root. He shifted closer to Rhisiart, lying curled on one side, the warmth at his back solid as the earth under him.

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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1 Comment(s)

Thank you dear for posting the story at the Faramir fiction archive!
I loved this story, “Borne upon a dark wind”, and i hope you plan to continue writing this story, or as you mentioned, write sequel of this story at some point. I really want to see how dark Aragorn will go, and how his power will grow over Faramir. Can Faramir stand a chance to overpower Aragorn’s dark control?
Thanks!
dream

dream.in.a.jar    Monday 2 April 2007, 13:54    #

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