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Sensing the Change (PG) Print

Written by arahiril

02 November 2007 | 1076 words

Title: Sensing the Change
Author: arahiril
Archive: Faramir Fiction Archive
Characters: Faramir, Boromir; a bit of Denethor and some Rangers (Mablung!) :)
Rating: PG
Genre: gen, angst
Warnings: Dark – but in a thoughtful way (i.e., no blood, etc.).

Summary: Faramir senses the change.

He knew it would happen – had felt the signs long before he had seen them, had sensed the change in the air, the feeling that something was – somehow different. The world seemed motionless, as if it had taken a deep breath and was holding it, for fear that it would never be able to take another breath once it had exhaled. Trees swayed in the wind, birds flew and fish swam – but all with a sense of urgency he had never seen before.

Do creatures truly know when a great disaster will occur?

He had spoken to Boromir once – as brother and superior officer, he had felt the older man would want to know his thoughts – but Boromir had not responded positively.

“You need more ale and more sleep, little brother,” Boromir had laughed, tousling the younger man’s hair in amusement.

If Men are alive like other creatures, why do they not sense it?

After his conversation with Boromir, he had kept his feelings to himself, mixing dark thoughts with dark silence, brooding in the cold nights when sleep evaded him. Yet that self-imposed solitude of doubt ended one night at Henneth Annûn. Mablung – a man so like himself, a Númenorean, a Ranger – had made an off-handed comment that led to a comforting yet dreadful revelation.

“The sky looks restless tonight,” Anborn had said.

“The sky always looks restless, these days,” had come Mablung’s soft reply.

He had turned sharply to look at Mablung, as did some others, the shock of recognition clearly writ upon their faces – for Mablung’s simple statement had revealed that each man was not alone in sensing the change. They had felt both relief and dismay – for the knowledge that there were others who sensed the same changes brought the knowledge that something was indeed amiss.

That night, in hushed tones, they shared their thoughts – that the calls of the birds, the smell of the air, the taste of the water – that all was different, somehow, in some unquantifiable way. They tried to describe what their heart knew without words, yet none could express the feeling.

Then he spoke. “Desperation and intensity,” he said, “like the dying man who strives to stretch out every last moment, sensing that every emotion and movement might be his last, and so desires to feel truly each one.” They nodded mutely, the comparison all too familiar.

“Then what does it mean?” Damrod asked. He did not sense any change, yet the men he most respected were troubled, and he, like the other Rangers, would listen to whatever they said, even without understanding.

All looked to their Captain to answer, for he held all their esteem and respect. He could only shake his head. “I know not,” he replied, “but I believe we are at the crossroads. My heart tells me that the end of all we have known is near – but what comes after, be it good or evil, I cannot say.”

They sat in silence then, pondering his words. He sat with them for several minutes, a fey mood tinting his thoughts and wrapping him once more in solitude, until he collected himself enough to look at the men sitting around the fire with him. No light could banish the darkness from their eyes, and he regretted speaking such words of hopelessness to those who needed encouragement most. Then he stood. “Come, my brave Rangers, do not sit in dark thoughts! We cannot let fear of the future rule our present – rather, we must use the present to shape our future. Watches must be set for this evening.” So the group divided for the evening, and when he and Mablung sat in seclusion above the Forbidden Pool, they spoke quietly of anything but their shared revelation.

Weeks passed. But the conversation was never far from his mind, and on more than one occasion he thanked whatever fortune had sent him among the Rangers of Ithilien, among others who were perceptive enough to sense what he sensed.

How can the others be made to see?

He tried to use his limited influence in Gondor to warn others of what might come, but most dismissed him. Only Denethor, strangely enough, seemed to believe some of what he said – not that his father would ever admit to it. But Denethor did not refuse to hear him, and indeed he even considered changing some strategies, though eventually nothing came of it. Too many complications, Denethor said, and not enough proof. But a pale flickering light was seen more frequently in the high towers of the Citadel in the late hours of the night.

In the midst of these troubles, his heart was lightened by Damrod, who returned from a leave of absence spent in his native Lebennin. He took his Captain aside one night, and whispered hoarsely, “You are right. I sensed the urgency and fear of which you spoke in the trees on our farm – and since then my heart has been disquieted and sees and hears the same everywhere.” No hollow words of consolation passed between them, for they respected each other too much to indulge in comforting lies. They could only share comforting hands on each others’ shoulders and sad smiles of mutual understanding.

It is too late.

He orders his Rangers out of Ithilien as soon as he receives word from Boromir: the Captain-General needs reinforcements, for he hopes to hold at least one side of the Anduin. But the enemy, even if held to the east of the Anduin after this battle, will overrun Gondor soon, and they are not ready for the onslaught.

The Captain of the Ithilien Rangers arrives with his men, and gives orders for the preparation of battle. He surveys the streets of the ruined city; with the Captain-General he forms plans for an organised retreat across the Anduin.

The Captain-General does not laugh now, the Captain of Ithilien notes, as he looks upon the hoards of Mordor preparing to attack the remnants of once great Osgiliath. Faramir looks over at Boromir, and asks silently, Do you sense it now, brother?

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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2 Comment(s)

I really, really liked this. A very interesting look at what things must have been like, how desperate times must have been in Gondor before the events of the war of the ring.

— HU    Friday 3 July 2009, 7:38    #

Ooh… very “I told you so,” but in a very eloquent way

— Azalia D.    Monday 10 May 2010, 3:52    #

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