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The Northern Marches (NC-17) Print

Written by Ithiliana

29 May 2008 | 4823 words | Work in Progress

TITLE: The Northern Marches
BY: Ithiliana
GENRE: Crossover (Narnia/LOTR)
CHAR: Edmund/Faramir
DISCLAIMER: Totally made up, totally not true, all my imagination, sexual fantasy, DUH.
RATING: Adult.
FEEDBACK: Always Appreciated! Some explanation of what that means to me is here if you wish to see it.
AN: Celebrating his 20th birthday, King Edmund sees a white deer and follows it until he is thrown from his horse. He wakes up in a strange green land.

Edmund stretched, feeling the good ache of a hard day’s ride blending with the happiness of hours spent with his siblings.

They had set aside all of today to celebrate his twentieth birthday, or their best guess at the Narnian equivalent. Leaving Cair Paravel at dawn, they rode through sun-drenched glades holding the last warmth of summer as the year turned toward autumn. They had talked to fauns, animals, and dryads, had stripped to swim in a pool guarded by naiads, then sat on soft grass to eat and talk.

Peter and Susan were sitting together on a fallen log, drinking the last of the wine, while Lucy danced with a circle of dryads, her dark hair unbound and flashing in the setting sun.

Edmund offered the last apple to Fox, his dappled grey, who crunched happily, drooling.

A crashing in the brush drew Edmund’s eyes. His jaw dropped as the shape of a flying deer, gleaming white. It was one of the most beautiful animals he’d ever seen, and while the others stood, crying out, he leaped onto Fox.

The deer left the path, shouldering through brush, leaping over fallen trees. Edmund bent low over Fox’s neck, whispering endearments, as they careened through the woods in a way he knew was foolish. But he could not help himself, urging the powerful horse forward.

Green blurred past him, and he panted for air. He was dizzy, his eyes tearing. He blinked, felt Fox gather himself, and leap. Edmund lurched to the side, his stomach dropping. He grabbed uselessly for the reins, felt himself falling, and tried to roll. Pain blazed through his head, and he dropped into darkness.

He groaned, his head splitting. He rolled over, lurched to his knees, and was instantly, violently sick.

Sitting back on his heels, his head aching, Edmund wiped sweat and tears from his face.

Light blazed down, and he looked up, shading his eyes against the noonday sun.

Had he lain here all night and into the next day? The others must be searching for him, fearing the worst.

Swallowing hard, Edmund forced himself to stand. His clothes were wrinkled, damp, and stained. His weapons and boots had been left by the pool, and he wore only leggings and a favorite blue tunic, faded and worn.

Tall trees rose around him, bright flowers starred the grass, blue and red and yellow against bright green. The air was damp, warmer by far than yesterday, and he blinked. In the chase, Fox and he had clearly left familiar woods.

Licking dry lips, Edmund breathed slowly, calming himself, listening for the sound of water.

He could hear the rush and chatter of water over the sound of winds and birdsong, off to his right. He began to work his way cautiously through the thick brush that surrounded the clearing. He did not notice that there was no sign, no broken branch or hoof print, to mark Fox’s passage.

Edmund was stumbling, his vision blurring, when he suddenly came on a deep oval basin at the foot of a torrent that fell over many terraces. The dark race of the water pulled him. He fell to his knees, crawling carefully over the wet and slippery rock to stretch beside the pool. He lowered his face into cold, drinking gratefully.

Edmund raised his head, panting, his teeth aching, shivering from the cold. He pushed himself up to sit, hugging his knees close to his body for warmth. He needed to think.

Shouts echoed against rock, and Edmund jerked around, scrambling to his feet. He was searching for cover even as he told himself that the men could only be from Cair Paravel.

Four men, tall and broad, dressed in greens and browns, appeared under the trees, two with arrows notched, two with swords drawn. Hoods were drawn to their eyes, their faced half masked with green.

Edmund lurched to a halt, swallowing nausea. He knew of no forces in Narnia who dressed like this. He spread his hands, standing still.

One spoke, deep voice clear, but the words making no sense. Edmund shook his head.

“I cannot understand you,” he said, slowly and carefully.

The man spoke again, louder, demanding.

Edmund shrugged. The speaker straightened, sheathing his sword, and came forward. Edmund forced himself to stand still as his hands were bound behind him. When the man tried to mask his eyes, he jerked back. The man cuffed him, and then held him while another tied a green scarf around his head. They each took an arm, forcing him to walk between them.

Edmund stumbled, feeling the rocks bruise his bare feet, wondering where he was. This could not be Narnia.

Faramir bent over the table, smoothing the parchment he had crumpled in a moment of anger. He felt numb. The message, written by a scribe for his father, signed with Denethor’s spiky writing and marked with the seal of the Steward of Gondor, summoned him back to the City.

Behind him, men moved quietly, setting out nuncheon.

The winter in Ithilien had been quiet, this spring even more so. Many believed the Nameless Enemy could not return despite the sullen flames of Mount Doom. No Orcs have been seen in Ithilien since 3005, no Haradrim. For five years, Gondor’s garden has dreamed.

However, Faramir did not believe it. He walked the land, night and day, with his men, and although they have neither seen nor fought Orcs, they found evidence: trees cut and left to die, evil runes slashed in the bark. Fire pits smoldering, charred bones smoking.

Voices echoed through the cavern, and Faramir turned to see Mablung and Damrod coming through the dark narrow door that led to the passage out. They jostled, awkward, because they held a prisoner between them, bound and masked. Two more rangers followed.

“Captain Faramir!” Mablung released the slim figure, stepped forward. “We’ve captured a spy.”

Damrod pushed the figure to stand in front of Faramir, tugging the green scarf free, and stepped back.

Dark eyes blazed out of a pale face surrounded by dark curly hair. The man, the boy, Faramir thought dazedly, bore no weapons. He wore a blue tunic, of good material, but worn and stained, with a strange device, a gold beast, rampant, a fearsome cat.

“Declare yourself,” Faramir said, pulling the role of Captain around him like a cloak. “What is your errand in this land?”

The boy blinked at him, then spoke. His voice was pleasing, but his words nonsense.

Faramir looked at Mablung who shrugged. “He speaks no sense. He must be from Harad.”

“What sort of spy cannot speak the language of those he is set to spy upon?”

“He’s pretending,” Damrod said.

Faramir ignored the whispers from the men who had gathered to watch, stepped closer. The Haradrim he had seen and fought were dark, golden and brown skinned, as well as dark hair and eyes. This spy had dark hair, but his skin was as white as any of Faramir’s men.

He was barefoot as well as weaponless.

“What did he carry?”

“Nothing, Captain. We found him just as he is, drinking from the forbidden pool.”

Faramir walked slowly around the captive, noting the rich cloth, the bruised and cut feet, the sword belt, marked with a strange device. As he came round to face the boy again, he spoke casually to Mablung.

“He’s a pretty thing, isn’t he? We should strip him and give him to the men to play with.”

Paying no attention to the gasps and mutters around him, to Mablung’s open mouth, Faramir watched the boy who stared blankly back.

“He’s not pretending, Damrod. He doesn’t understand. So he comes to Ithilien, no boots, no weapons, no food, to spy on us?”

“His life is forfeit,” Damrod said, to mutters of agreement.

Faramir sighed. That was the law. But this enemy made no sense, not in Ithilien. “You say, he was caught drinking at the pool? And none of the guards stopped him before he reached it?”

The movement among the men stilled, and quiet filled the cave. Faramir looked, seeing the men who’d brought in the captive glance away.

“If our guard is so lax, then he cannot be the only spy,” Faramir said. “Mablung, Damrod, go and speak to the guards, find out what they’ve seen. Take the night watch with you and search the area. Anborn, lock him in one of the storage caves.”

Seeing the slim figure sway, noting the blue circles under dark eyes, Faramir added, “Untie him, leave him food and drink, and a blanket. I’ll be returning to Minas Tirith tomorrow, and I’ll take him back with me. There’s some mystery here.”

The wooden door shut behind the guards, the sound of the bar dropping down echoing in Edmund’s ears. He stood in the center of the small space, trying to rub feeling back into his numb hands. The only light came from outside, from torches in brackets along the passageway, shining through the space where the natural rock arched over the crude door.

Now that his eyes were adjusting, the light was enough to see barrels stacked along the wall, a tray with food set on one. A blanket and two buckets—one full of water, the other empty—were on the floor.

The warm smells of soup and bread made him dizzy. He took a careful two steps, set the tray down on the cold stone, and sat on the folded blanket. As he sipped hot, savory liquid, feeling his hands warm, he told himself he’d been in more danger before. He pushed the memory of the ice castle, the dark valley, away, and bit into warm bread.

It wasn’t until he cupped his hands and drank, the water cold and strong-tasting, that he finally felt deep down what he’d thought before. The taste of the water, the weight of this world, was different. He was in another world, and nobody knew where he was.

Exhausted, he rolled up in the blanket, curling up on the hard floor, escaping into sleep.

Smoothing the stained blue fabric, Faramir touched the image of the golden beast. He wondered what it meant. Maybe one of the archivists could tell him. He had spent hours with them when he was younger, amazed at their knowledge gleaned from study of the scrolls and documents they guarded.

He folded the clothes, pushed them into his pack. Six men stood nearby, waiting. He’d handed over command of Gondor’s forces in Ithilien to Anborn. There was no reason to linger here.

Mablung and Damrod brought out their prisoner, wearing boots and clothing donated by the Rangers. His hands were tied in front of him, and he looked more alert, had some color in his face.

Faramir picked the green scarf up, ran it through his hands. “Your eyes must be bound,” he said. Although he knew his words were not understood, he hoped his tone would reassure.

They were the same height, he realized, as he stood close, knotting the scarf. Dark hair, thick and soft, brushed his fingers. He pulled the knot tight, pulled the hood up and over the bound eyes, stood back. “Guide him carefully, so he does not fall.”

The small group filed out the narrow passage that led to Ithilien. It was a day and a half to the City. Faramir shouldered his pack, followed Mablung and his prisoner, unsure if he wished to come to Minas Tirith or not.

Edmund blinked, eyes watering. He was standing in daylight after a long walk in the dark. They had descended what seemed to be a narrow path, the noise of the water loud to his left. He had been guided from behind, hands firmly on his shoulders. Then they had climbed for some time; he had brushed against a rock wall, stumbled over rough patches. The men around him had been silent the whole time.

Now, he stood under old trees, a fresh breeze in his face. The man he thought was the leader stood in front of him, blue eyes intent. He wore the same cloth his men did, but the complex device of the silver tree surrounded by stars shone richly on the fine leather of his breastplate. He tucked the green scarf into a belt pouch.

He looked at Edmund in silence, then spoke. “Faramir.” He tapped himself on the chest “Far. A. Mir.”

Edmund swallowed, nodded. “Faramir.” He raised his bound hands to his own chest. “Edmund. Edmund.”

“Edmund.” Faramir smiled. He spoke again, a jumble of words, but he also moved, turning and extending his hand.

Cautious, Edmund looked around. There were a few men around him, but he knew more had accompanied them. Their brown and green garb made them nearly invisible against the old trees. His hands were still bound and he had no idea where he was. He shrugged, and took a step forward, Faramir walking alongside. At least he was willing to try to talk.

Faramir stood in the Great Hall. The space, usually silent, was full of echoes. When they had arrived the Great Gate, the guards had been tense. They had spoken little. As they had moved through the City, going through gate after gate, he feared something was wrong. He’d sent his men to the Rangers’ quarters and brought Edmund with him.

Here and now, seeing Boromir, and Imrahil, standing with a number of the commanders, Faramir knew something had happened.

He wove around the small groups to meet Denethor, his black and silver robes swirling behind him.

Faramir bowed. “My lord.”

“What news from Ithilien?”

“Little,” Faramir said reluctantly. “It has been quiet, but yesterday, just after I received your letter, we found this man.”

Faramir gestured to the young man standing silent and unmoving beside him. The bound hands had gone unnoticed in the fall of a Ranger’s green cloak.

“Found him? Where?”

Faramir breathed in then out, replying calmly. “At the Forbidden Pool.”

Silence spread in circles around him.

Boromir joined them. “His life is forfeit. What is he doing here?”

Looking into his brother’s green eyes, Faramir schooled his voice. “He was weaponless, barefoot, ill. He does not speak our language, or any I know. And when Anborn followed his trail back, it disappeared.”

“He is a spy,” Denethor said.

Faramir shook his head, spread his hands. “Then he is the worst possible espy.”

“Kill him,” Denethor said, and began turned away.

“But—” Faramir protested.

Boromir interrupted him. “Do you know why the Steward summoned you?”


Boromir stepped closer. “A message came up the River five days ago. Harad is sending A group from Harad is coming to Gondor.”


Faramir stared at Boromir, but before he could say anything, the doors to the Hall opened.

“My lord, they are at the Gate!”

The voices swelled again, men jerking into motion. As Denethor strove for order, Boromir tapped Faramir’s shoulder, jerked his head sideways, and began to move toward the back of the Hall where a door, unseen unless you were close, led into the Citadel. Without looking around, Faramir gripped Edmund’s arm and followed his brother.

Boromir closed the door quietly and stood with his back against it, arms folded.

“His trail disappeared?”

“You know Anborn could track a black squirrel on a moonless night,” Faramir said. “But all he found in daylight was a clearing at the end of the trail where there’d been a fall, as if he’d dropped from the air. He is not a spy.”

“An unknown man found at Henneth Annûn nearly on the day that a herald and ambassador arrive from Harad to treat with us?”

“Brother, I—” Faramir knew he was right, knew Edmund posed no danger to Gondor, but could not find words to convince Boromir.

Unfolding his arms, Boromir drew his dagger, stepped forward.

Faramir pushed Edmund behind him, moved to block Boromir who stepped back, raising his hand. He flipped the dagger, held it out, hilt first.

“Cut his bonds, and he can pass as a Ranger till we get him out of sight.”

When Faramir turned, he saw Edmund was against the wall, hands out to block the expected attack.

“It’s all right,” Faramir said, and stepped forward one pace. He had taught Edmund a handful of words, mostly to do with food and clothing and weapons. None of them helped here. Holding the dagger down and away from his body, he reached out slowly, tapped the ropes around Edmund’s wrists, mimed slashing them.

Dark eyes, wary, watched him a breath or two longer, then Edmund straightened, held out his arms at the right height for Faramir to cut the ropes.

Boromir nodded approval as Faramir returned the dagger, tucked the ropes away in his belt pouch. “Let’s go.”


Boromir did not look back. “Mother’s rooms.”

He was around a corner before Faramir could gather his wits and follow, taking Edmund’s arm again, tugging him along.

Edmund walked beside Faramir, following the strange man through winding passages. The warm grip of Faramir’s hand on his arm, the sound of their boots against rock, all seemed to have great significance. He had thought he was about to die, and his body still shook with the aftermath of that fear.

The passages narrowed the stone darkening. Finally, they stopped for the stranger to open a door.

Faramir tugged Edmund inside. The room opened up, large and airy, lit by sun streaming through tall windows. He thought the room looked untouched, too still to be a space where either of the men talking behind him lived. He stepped forward to see an arch opening into another room that held a large bed, blue and silver hangings draped around it. A low backed bench, of stone covered with cushions, was angled near an empty fireplace.

Edmund sat. He could not understand what they were saying, but he could listen to the tones of their voices and watch their movements. And he could sit in comfort. He bent to pull off the borrowed boots. He was glad he hadn’t been forced to walk barefoot, but his feet were rubbed raw in places.

Faramir was standing still, arms folded, closest to the door, with his back to it. The stranger paced back and forth, hands moving. Watching their faces closely, seeing the echoes of bone and eyes, hearing their voices, Edmund wondered if they were brothers. How often had he stood, watching Peter sweep up and down the Hall at Cair Paravel, talking the whole time?

The stranger turned, a hand extended toward Edmund, voice rising, and then fell silent.

Faramir shook his head. He stood at ease, Edmund thought, showing none of the tension that ran through the other’s body. Faramir unfolded his arms, spreading his hands, palm down, and spoke quietly.

He slid the pack off his back, knelt and pulled out Edmund’s tunic. Surprised, Edmund watched as Faramir stood, shaking it out. The stranger strode across the room to stand, his chin in one hand. Faramir pointed to the image of Aslan.

“It’s Aslan,” said Edmund, without much hope. He’d spoken the name before and received incomprehension.

They looked at him, then away, as had the others. But the debate seemed to shift, Faramir speaking more until finally the stranger shrugged, tapping Faramir on the chest. He spoke a few words, then left the room.

Faramir sighed, picked up his pack, and carried it to a long table that ran along the wall. He set it down, with the tunic, followed by his cloak, draped over it. Edmund unclasped his own cloak.

Faramir said something, watching Edmund, who shook his head, shrugged, his hands rising to show his inability to understand. Biting his lip, Faramir stood a moment, then undid his sword belt, laying it carefully on the table behind them, unbuckled the decorated breastplate and set it beside the belt and sheathed sword. He pulled knives out of both boots, set them down, then shed his boots.

Finally, he crossed to sit next to Edmund wearing nothing more than the tunic and leggings he did. Half lying across the bench, Faramir spread his arms, head tilting back, eyes closed, producing a loud snore.

Confused, Edmund watched, breath shortening as he looked at the length of body so close to his, firm legs sprawled open and loose. He jumped when Faramir spoke, opening his eyes, patting the cushion then gesturing around the room, and lying back again.

Edmund swallowed hard, forcing himself to focus on Faramir’s mouth, the full lips surrounded by red-gold hair. He raised his head, looking at Edmund, exaggerating the word as he repeated it.

Uncertain Edmund tried to mimic the sound. Was it sleep? Or something else? He became aware of how fast his heart was beating, felt hot.

Faramir laughed, shrugged, and then stood, tugging Edmund to his feet and toward a small door to the far side of the fireplace. Faramir had to drop Edmund’s arm to use both hands to force open the door, the hinges shrieking. Edmund winced, but there was a narrow opening they could slip through.

The door seemed to lead outside. He could see grass and sunlight.

Edmund followed Faramir willingly. Their trip from the caves to the city had left him amazed at the size and beauty of this world. He had thought Narnia the most beautiful place he’d ever seen, but the grandeur here, the mountains, the glory of woods flung across the land, all seemed both higher and deeper than the mountains and trees of Narnia.

Only two things were missing—he had no sense of the trees being alive, and he had seen no talking animals. Lucy was the favorite of the dryads, but all of the kings and queens had spent time with them, and their sisters, the naiads.

The sight of the city, seemingly carved into the immense mountain, rising into the air so far above he had to lean back to see the top, had stunned him.

He was glad to be outside, but in a small space, one that did not overwhelm him, a space where neither of them was armed. Edmund did not need to know what they words they were muttering meant to understand what some of the men who accompanied them to the city wished for him.

Standing on the grass at the bottom of a shallow set of steps, Faramir called his name. Edmund walked slowly, relishing the smooth warmth of stone and the soft coolness of grass against bare feet. They were standing in a courtyard shaped in a narrow rectangle, high stone walls, with a single tree at the center. The grass was ragged and uncut, bright flowers spreading in careless confusion across the space. Vines grew high on the walls, and Edmund could not see a way out. He didn’t care. Peace seemed to well from the ground.

Edmund crossed to stand by the tree, one hand on the smooth grey trunk, looking up into the green heights, hearing a breeze he could not feel rustling the leaves. “Are you there,” he said, leaning closer, straining to feel the life within.


Faramir repeated the word he’d said inside, spreading his arms wide, then drawing them close. It couldn’t be sleep then; perhaps it meant peaceful. Edmund frowned, leaning against the tree. The words he’d learned, for food, for weapons, for the clothing he’d been given to wear, were all taught by necessity. So this word had to mean something that was important now.

Remembering the harsh tones of the older man in the hall, the threat of a flashing knife, Edmund wondered if the word meant hiding, or safety. He pointed to Faramir, then back to himself, saying their names, repeating the word. Faramir nodded.

He came to stand by Edmund, placing his own hand on the tree. “Are you there?” he said, slurring the words together, watching Edmund. Then he made a gesture that Edmund had learned to make when he didn’t understand what he’d heard.

Edmund turned and placed his hand next to Faramir’s. “Dryads,” he said. “Where I come from, Narnia, the trees have dryads, they live in the trees. Not all of them, but many.” Sick of the silence that he’d been trapped in since he had fallen from Fox’s back, he kept talking. “Lucy’s made friends with every one she meets. They let her dance in their circles. Just her, but we can watch. When they start moving fast, you can hardly tell them apart, she fits in so well. They’re beautiful, all different, like every tree is different, but the same. Their eyes are green and gold and…” his voice trailed off, and he turned away, embarrassed.

A gentle touch on his shoulder made him turn to see Faramir smiling at him, gesturing him to follow. But then Faramir sat, stretching his legs out and leaning against the tree. He made the gesture again.

Edmund dropped to sit cross-legged beside Faramir and stared at him. “You want me to keep talking?”

Faramir made the gesture again, beckoning.

Edmund’s throat seized up. A moment ago, he’d felt as if a whole flood of words needed to escape but now that he had permission, of sort, he couldn’t think of a thing to say.


Edmund shook his head.

Faramir leaned forward, his hand tracing a design on Edmund’s chest. Distracted by the warmth that flashed through his body at Faramir’s touch, Edmund nearly didn’t hear the repeated word.

Suddenly he flushed, clapping a hand to his own chest. “Aslan! You’re asking about Aslan.”

“As. Lan,” said Faramir slowly. “Aslan.”

The words flowed back, and Edmund talked, speaking of the great golden Lion whose power protected Narnia, whose device he and Peter wore, who had died to save Edmund’s own life, and then returned greater than ever. “We rule Narnia in his name,” Edmund said.

Finally, slowing down, he drew several breaths of the sweet, still air. Faramir watched him, motionless, hands resting on his thighs. The quiet around them, the sense of utter safety, made Edmund daring. He reached out in turn, laying his left hand flat on green cloth over hard muscle, smiling.

“What does your device mean,” he asked, tracing the arc of the stars, sliding his hand down, seeing in his mind the trunk of the large tree.

A strong hand gripped Edmund’s wrist firmly, so fast he’d seen no movement. Faramir’s grip was not strong enough to hurt, and he made no other movement, pressing Edmund’s hand against his belly.

Edmund tensed, pulled back, breath shallow, rapid.

Faramir’s mouth opened slightly, but he did not release Edmund.

Edmund waited, but no word was spoken. Instead, Faramir’s hand slid around Edmund’s neck, fingers sliding into his hair, tugging him gently forward. Amazed, sure he was courting disaster, Edmund slid an arm behind Faramir, who leaned forward. Edmund wound his hand in soft red-gold hair and tugged Faramir closer for a kiss.

Their first movements were soft, tentative, lips brushing, retreating. Edmund opened his mouth, and Faramir suddenly yanked him forward to sprawl across his lap, kissing him harder, tongue searching. Edmund wound his arms around Faramir in turn, rolling away so that they sprawled on the grass, legs intertwined, and mouths hot and searching.

Gasping, Edmund arched his neck as lips and teeth sucked and bit, feeling a current rushing from throat to groin. He groaned rubbing against the strong thigh between his legs, feeling golden heat rise within. Faramir pushed closer, closer than was possible, and then freed his mouth.

Edmund moaned a protest.


Edmund knew the word, had learned it in relation to sweet cakes, but it was one they shared. “Good, yes, good,” he said, and yanked the long hair to pull Faramir’s mouth back to his.

The shriek of rusting hinges flung them apart, rolling away from each other.

Sitting, shaking, Edmund wiped his mouth and face. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Faramir stand, but his attention was mostly on the door through which the strange man from earlier stepped, holding a tray.

“Boromir!” said Faramir.

Rubbing his sweating hands on the grass, Edmund tried to remember the name of this man. Seeing the green eyes resting on him, he knew, with a chilling certainty, that what Boromir thought would be important.

To Be Continued

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2 Comment(s)

This is an intriguing set up. I look forward to reading more.

— Jenny Elffan    Friday 30 May 2008, 8:56    #

I’m really enjoying this story and cannot wait for it to continue!

— Deadeye    Sunday 8 June 2008, 6:49    #

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