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Pride and Duty (PG-13) Print

Written by Nerey Camille

25 March 2011 | 557 words

Pride and Duty – By Nerey Camille
Pairings: Denethor, Aragorn
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: AU, violence, character death.
Disclaimer: The characters are Tolkien’s. No profit is being made.

Note: In this story, Denethor was saved from burning and brought to the Houses of Healing with Faramir. Consequently when Sauron was defeated, Aragorn found himself unwelcome by the Steward…

The dreadful moment had come. The court watched with wide eyes as the two men slowly donned their helmets, drew out their swords, and thinned the distance between themselves. Faramir’s eyes went from the Steward to the heir of Isildur. He didn’t dare call him King, even in the privacy of his mind, for he knew that the moment Aragorn was hailed as the King of Gondor, Denethor would lose his head for insubordination. The Steward had refused to relinquish the throne when Aragorn came back in victory from the Black Gate, and to avoid a civil war the council of the City had decided that the two men should wager battle for the rule of Gondor. Let the Valar decide whose claims were more legitimate.

Faramir snorted. Such was the faith of the council in Denethor son of Ecthelion that they had deemed it a fair decision to pit him against the man who had saved Gondor at her direst hour. It was unfair, as everything connected with Denethor had always been. Yet Faramir could not suffer his father to die, either in combat against a stronger (if not younger) man, or under the executioner’s degrading sword. He wished Denethor would have had the sense to exit gracefully, but that was now of no avail. And just when he was about to bitterly lament his failure to prevent this dishonour, in the split instant before the swords collided, he saw a way out.

Painful. Dramatic. But effective. He thought for a moment of Éowyn, whom he loved and had intended to marry, and regret pierced his mind for her as well as for himself.

The swords clanged, and Denethor fell a step backwards. Faramir drew his own sword, short and keen-edged, and with a steady hand buried it in his chest. He fell to his knees. A cry of horror rended the air, as the Lady of Rohan beheld her betrothed’s action. The opponents halted, staring at the young man who gasped for air. Seconds later, Éowyn was holding Faramir, tears flowing down her face as he gave her a gaze of deepest love and fell lifeless in her arms. Aragorn looked on them with pain and pity, but the expression in Denethor’s eyes was unparalleled. The Steward of Gondor glanced at his dead second son and a flame of fury brightened his eyes. He turned towards Aragorn.

“I know why he did it,” he said, “so that I would have no reason to fight. My heir is gone, and no one will succeed me as the Steward of Gondor. Let your grace have the rule of the White City, which in my heart can only be called Minas Dagnir* now. I will not bow to you, but neither shall I trouble you any more.”

As the crowd saluted Aragorn as the new King of Gondor, the last Steward of the line of Mardil squared his shoulders and proudly walked out of the battlefield.

*Tower of the Bane.

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4 Comment(s)

Oh, this hurt! The worst possible outcome in a way. But so well written, I had to keep reading even so I realized what was coming. Poor Eowyn, but also poor Aragorn, what a terrible way to begin his rule!

— Minkicat    Monday 28 March 2011, 21:55    #

Thanks! Well, with Denethor around things were bound to get terrible at some point… That man has a way of making everybody around miserable…

Nerey Camille    Tuesday 29 March 2011, 14:20    #

This is a situation I’ve given a lot of thought lately – what happens if for whatever reason Denethor lives to the end of the War? I see it as very, very probable that he would not be keen to bow to Aragorn, even if Aragorn had done all the heroic stuff for Gondor that he did in canon. But given that Denethor living is already off-canon, perhaps it even means that some of that heroic stuff Aragorn did not get to do.

So this opens very many possibilities. I guess even a separate community could be formed around the Denethor!lives theme. You, I think, have explored one of the grimmest paths. To me, Aragorn having to battle another Numenorean is in itself a signal of the society’s downfall. It’s just wrong, isn’t it? Though again, when we think of Denethor – you know I don’t see him as the embodiment of all evil in the world, but nevertheless in the Book there was quite clear indication he might steer in this direction. To think of it, how convenient Tolkien had made it for everybody by having Denethor get himself out of Aragorn’s way!

And Faramir… well, very like Faramir to make himself the scape-goat for the surrounding absurdity. He may understand his father is in the wrong, but he will not stand to see him hurt, especially by the hand of the man he would like to see as King over Gondor. Surely he understands that if Aragorn had to slay Denethor in order to become king, it would forever mar him…

Somebody, fetch me some valium and a bottle of red!

December    Sunday 29 July 2012, 8:00    #

Hey December, glad to see you here!
Your request of a bottle of wine and some valium made me laugh, which I wasn’t expecting when reading comments on this short story.
Thanks for this in-depth comment. And what else can I add? You’ve said it all!

— Nerey Camille    Monday 13 August 2012, 16:07    #

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About the Author

Nerey Camille

Welcome everybody!

Two things. First, all I have published here is at your disposal to enjoy, share, copy or modify freely. Just make sure to state where you took it from, and let me know you’re using it, because I’ll be thrilled to learn my work was worth your attention. Should you ever want to use it commercially or in some way not stated here, you’ll need specific permission.

And secondly, I do not write solely about Faramir, so if you’d like to see something else you’re welcome to visit my blog. There you’ll find some short stories, poems and quite a few more things, some of them in English, some in French or Spanish.

I hope you enjoy yourself reading and, as always, comments are very much appreciated.