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Shadows (R) Print

Written by Minx

12 December 2012 | 29219 words

[ all pages ]

Chapter 2

Not work safe due to semi-nekkid Fara pictures

Faramir woke late in the night to find he had fallen asleep at his table, his body curled up at an odd angle in the chair. The candle on his table had melted down. He sat up, cold and confused, and then bit back a cry as his body protested. He rose slowly, straightening his aching and stiff muscles. He leaned against the table for support for some time, and then stumbled out of his study toward his chambers.

The rooms were cold, for the fireplace hadn’t been lit. Denethor, ever a stern taskmaster, had preferred Faramir be at the practice grounds rather than his chambers. The household staff hence had been deliberately encouraged to be lax in tending to his chambers, and little had changed even now.

He undressed in the moonlit bedchamber with slow and awkward movements. His fingers skated over the scars on his side as he did so, and he stilled.

He stared down at his bare body. His injuries and related ill-health had caused him to lose much weight and he still remained quite thin. To his own eyes, in the weak moonlight, he looked gaunt and pale – an awkward, unattractive figure. There was enough light for him to see too, the ugly patterns formed by the marks all over, even on his groin and buttocks. There were battle injuries, some fading now, some still stark against his pale skin – like the shoulder wound from the Haradric dart that had gone so deep, it had needed the king to heal him from it. There were other marks too, not from battle injuries – thin, symmetric lines left by repeated strikes of leather.

These would fade he knew; Denethor was no longer there to inflict these on him.

His fingers stilled on a small, ugly patch of scarred, withered looking skin just above his left hip, where the flames that he still dreamt of sometimes had licked at him as Mithrandir had snatched him away from the pyre his father had built.

He sat heavily on his bed, sinking his head into his hands. It still hurt remembering those days when the war had besieged Gondor; the memories seemed engulfed with pain and despair.

They had been unsure yet whether Boromir lived – his horn had floated down the Anduin cloven in half days ago, and though Mithrandir had claimed he was alive, he had also said that his last glimpse of him had been at Edoras, where Boromir had lain dying, riddled with injuries. Elessar had healed him as well, but Denethor and Faramir had had no means of knowing that. They had each been alone in their grief, the distance Denethor maintained from his younger son had stretched far too wide to allow them to come together even in this situation.

Denethor had instead sent Faramir to a certain death, commanding him to hold the Pelennor. When Faramir had retreated from the Pelennor, alive but barely conscious from his various injuries, Denethor, still unaware of Boromir’s survival, had chosen to respond by attempting to burn himself and Faramir on a pyre. Mithrandir had managed to pull him out in time to suffer no more than these burns, but not Denethor. Faramir had woken days later, in pain, with more scars, and broken memories of the flames and the anger in his father’s eyes when he had last seen him. All that had kept him sane then had been the sight of Boromir, looking tired, but so alive. He had spent nights after that largely alone, in pain and worry, for everyone else had left for the last battle. He’d developed a fear of fire and an entirely new set of nightmares.

He was told his father had been trying to save him. But with each nightmare he only felt an increasing sense of almost anger at his father for being weak enough to believe the palantir’s visions as reality. For, Boromir had returned alive, and Gondor had vanquished the enemy and the king had finally returned.

His injuries had healed over the weeks and the pain had receded, but the scars remained, ugly to look at, and on occasions like this, pulling at his skin, to leave him stiff and aching. The worst were the scars left by the last beating before he had ridden out.

They had had a public argument merely hours earlier – over Faramir allowing Frodo passage through Ithilien. It had ended badly, as always, and Faramir had had to endure yet again, the humiliation of a grown man being hauled over a table, divested of his tunic and leggings and punished with a beating. Denethor’s hand had been unrestrained in grief and his anger over the inevitability of defeat as he saw it. The whip had struck him deep and repeatedly, all of Denethor’s pent up energy and frustration evident in each stroke. The words that accompanied each stroke had hit deeper – repeated denunciations of his mannerisms and behaviour, his capabilities, his worth, even his very existence in place of a more capable Boromir. He had had barely enough time the next morning to bind the stinging wounds, before setting out.

The marks from that beating were still visible on his back after all these months, overlaying older scars. And the memories of that night were still clear.


After the others had left, Denethor had summoned him to his study.

His father stood by the long windows, waiting for him. His valet, Inglor, was tidying up the room and preparing the adjoining bedchamber for him to retire for the evening. The curtains had been opened, to a view of the city and the plains beyond. The pale evening light on the Steward’s face made the sharp features stand out – the expression cold, angered and unforgiving.

His words had been predictable but painful still.

“You disobeyed a direct order …

He listened quietly letting the bitter words wash over him, schooling his face to betray no expression, trying his hardest to stand straight, although every muscle in his body screamed from exhaustion. He had a hand resting on the back of a chair. He thought if he were to move his hand, he would fall.

…wizard’s pupil…

… flogging and incarceration for the traitor you are… No time for that now…

Denethor spat out the words almost viciously.

And then silence hung between them for a few moments punctuated only by the harsh sound of Denethor’s boot tapping against the stone floor.

“I will present myself for the punishment when I return,” Faramir replied softly.

“You will present yourself now,” Denethor shouted, “And you may be thankful I spare you the ignominy of a public spectacle.”

Faramir swallowed hard and straightened his back further. He had but returned a mere few hours earlier; he could barely stand. And he would need to be at the city walls in the morning, surely. But one look at his father’s furious visage told him he had no recourse.

“Yes, my lord,” he said tonelessly.

He had removed his tunic and undervest and pants, his leaden fingers fumbling over the ties so much that Inglor had had to help him.

The room was damp and cold, the fireplace had been cleared, Denethor clearly not in the mood for comfort. Faramir stood in front of the large table, as he often had before, shivering in nothing but a pair of thin underpants, divested of his upper garments, his pants pooled at his ankles. The cold breeze through the window hit his exposed upper body, and he just about managed to prevent himself from folding his arms across his chest for warmth.

Inglor handed Denethor his favoured cane, only to have the Steward brush it aside and pick up a large whip that hung over the fireplace.

Faramir let out a small whimper. Denethor snorted in derision at the sound.

It was a long, thick, whip, one that Faramir had felt only on occasion earlier, but could still recollect with painful clarity.

He heard the door shut as Inglor left. Denethor gave him an impatient look.

“What are you waiting for?” he spat out.

Faramir quietly leaned over the desk in a practised gesture, and grasped the edge. The wood was hard and icy against his bare chest and stomach and the edge carved with an intricate pattern of intertwining flowers and leaves pressed painfully into his barely covered groin.

The first lash landed square in the middle of his back, sending pain flaring across, causing him to let out a soft sound. The second and third landed in the same area. He felt his sweat- slicked fingers slipping of the edge and his knees weakening. His body slid down, the sharp patterns on the table edge now poking into the soft skin of his naked belly.

Denethor waited. Faramir dragged himself up and regained his earlier position.

Denethor resumed the lashing, with an increased fervour, his tongue too unrestrained.

Disrespectful…unworthy of your station… hiding behind your brother’s achievements… fail at everything you attempt… coward….

…alas that I sent away my Boromir to die alone in some far corner…while you betray your people and your father…

He lost count of the strikes; they covered his back, shoulders, and some had even struck his buttocks, the backs of his thighs, even his calves. Some of them had cut skin, he thought, he could feel the wetness of blood trickling down his skin.

And then finally, the sound of the whip thrown aside, welcome but so late in coming. He lay there, hurting all over, breathing heavily, his fingers frozen around the table edge, his face a mess of tears, mucous and spittle. He pried his hands loose, and his knees slumped to the floor, his shoulders still on the table. He bit back a moan.

Denethor stood by the table, his breath coming out in laboured gasps, his arms shaking. He looked spent, the exhaustion clear in the eyes that now rested on Faramir’s slumped body. And then he lunged, pulling Faramir up, grabbing him by hair and shoulders.

Faramir cried out.

“Get away from my sight…out…out you go… out…!”

He felt himself shoved away, landing in an ungainly heap against the wall near the whip. His clothes were thrown at him.

“Out!”

He felt himself cowering as Denethor advanced over him.

The booted foot struck his hip and his uncovered stomach.

He cried out again.

“Coward… weeping like a girl…”

He scurried up, ignoring the pained protest from his limbs. He clutched at the clothes that were thrown at him and trembling, pulled on the robe, and stumbled out onto the passage. He remembered little of the rest of that night. He had somehow managed to make it back to his rooms through the citadel. The hallways were empty, the servants having retired. There had been some washing water in his rooms, cold, but aiding him in cleaning up a little. He had dredged up some little energy to do so, and then slumped on his cold bed, where he’d spent the night, trying unsuccessfully to sleep.

He’d finally risen at dawn, forcing his aching limbs to move for the pain of his sore back too much to bear,. A servant knocked at the door with summons to a council in a half hour and a fresh tub of bathwater. He had bathed hurriedly, unsure of what the call to council meant. He’d fumbled through his healing pouches and dumped whatever herbs he found into the water. The water was tepid, but it helped ease his aches somewhat. He’d applied whatever salves he had on whichever injuries he could reach, his face flushed in embarrassment at the nature of his punishment.

And then after the council, he had ridden out, ignoring the soreness, into the throes of a long, exhausting battle that still filled his nightmares to this day.

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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7 Comment(s)

Heart wrenching, stomach twisting and wonderful! Absolutely loved it!

— JD    Friday 14 December 2012, 6:36    #

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

Minx    Monday 17 December 2012, 16:32    #

After reading this in bits and pieces as you wrote it, I finally had the time to reread it front to back in one sitting last weekend. That’s some first class angst! Well done!
Although… according to h/c standards and conventions, I think this poor chap is due some more hugs and cuddles. Might have to imagine those myself. But then stories that get my imagination going are my favourite;) So many thanks for this one!

Iris    Wednesday 30 January 2013, 16:48    #

Awww…. thank you! :) I think he needed more hugs and lots of cuddles too…. :o

Minx    Thursday 31 January 2013, 18:00    #

I enjoyed this very much, Minx, as sad as it always is to read of Faramir going through such things! I’m glad that his brother and Aragorn were able to help him, even if it took some time for them to figure it out!

— Susana    Tuesday 18 June 2013, 4:47    #

Thank you Susana! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.:)

Minx    Sunday 23 June 2013, 19:04    #

That was fantastice.
Good job honey, well done.
Ohhhh…my poor little Faramir.
It such a relife that he finally has someones who care about him.
Thank u for creating this

— Elahe    Friday 5 November 2021, 11:16    #

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Minx

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