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This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Sex, polyamory, angst, politics, economics. Lots of economics! It's long - over 30,000 words.».
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The Prince of Ithilien (NC-17) Print

Written by Raihon

08 June 2007 | 33215 words

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The next morning, Faramir and Imrahil both arrived early for their meeting with the King. The King’s secretary, Valacar, was hovering near the edge of the room. “Have you made a decision?” Imrahil asked Faramir quietly.

Faramir nodded. “I will advocate for increasing the harvest.”

“And what of the forest preserve?”

Faramir shook his head. “Too sensitive. It needs to be worked out between myself, the King and the Elves first. I am not yet confident in that plan, in any case.”

Imrahil smiled grimly. “It is your plan, nephew!”

“I know, but it is not ready yet.” Faramir felt a prick of doubt. “Think you I am too timid?” he asked, and immediately regretted it. What good would it do to trade in reliance on Aragorn’s counsel only to be overly dependent on his uncle’s?

Imrahil wisely did not answer the question and instead turned and sat in one of the chairs across the table from Aragorn’s.

Faramir saw on the corner of the desk the velvet pouch he had forgotten there yesterday. He almost did not want it anymore, but overcame his reluctance to touch it and picked it up. “I had this delivered here yesterday, and forgot it,” he explained to Valacar, who just raised an eyebrow. He went to the door and called for Doronil, whom he instructed to put it in his room. Then Faramir took his seat next to Imrahil.

Aragorn entered, his robe flowing behind him and Faramir sank under the weight of his emotion. He was swept into a torrent of melancholy thought. My love moves across the room and stops my heart. How am I to declare myself anything but a slave to a man such as this? The naked quality of these thoughts embarrassed Faramir. His resolve to cling to himself today began to slip away and a muddled longing took its place.

Aragorn’s eyes lingered on Faramir as he sat down at his desk, and though he longed to meet those eyes again and feel the pleasure of seeing the love that shone there, Faramir turned his face away, afraid Imrahil would see his weakness.

Fortunately, the meeting started off with Imrahil explaining to Aragorn at length the affairs of the Falas since the last Great Council. Faramir took the time to clear his mind and feel his own will strong again inside him. He then looked back to Aragorn, whose handsome face quickened his heart, but did not cause him to falter. He also looked to Valacar, who met his gaze. Faramir had nothing against the man, he was discreet enough, but sometimes Faramir found his constant presence irritating. He wondered how much Valacar knew, or suspected.

“Lastly, my King, I would call to your attention the problems the lumber shortage is causing for the fishermen and maritime traders in my lands,” Imrahil said, glancing briefly at Faramir. “Is there no way to increase the supply?”

Faramir frowned, for this was not the most advantageous point from which to begin his conversation with the King. He wondered if his Uncle were challenging him to confront the problem with Aragorn directly, or if he just playing politics, trying to get what he wanted by putting Faramir on the spot.

Aragorn had not missed the looks the other two men exchanged and asked, “you mean by lifting the harvesting limits in Ithilien?”

“My Lord,” Faramir began, “I share your concern that if we had an abundant supply of timber, some of it might again be diverted into illegal trade to Umbar, but we must make better use of the resources of Ithilien. I have already proposed to the Woodcraft guild that, if they re-establish workshops in Ithilien, they will have unlimited access to raw supplies.”

Aragorn sat back in his chair, trying not to show his surprise at Faramir’s words.

Faramir took a deep breath and continued. “Increasing Ithilien’s timber harvest for use locally will pose no threat to the Kingdom, and it will provide a better life for the woodsmen and for the towns that sponsor a workshop.”

Faramir looked to Imrahil and said, “and perhaps we can work out among ourselves other exceptions to the restrictions on timber harvesting. Perhaps a one-time shipment negotiated between the Princedoms to meet the needs of Dol Amroth?” he said, as if they had not already discussed it the night before. Something inside him twisted uncomfortably at playing politics with Aragorn, but he did it anyway because he had to understand for himself what being a Prince entailed.

Aragorn placed both palms flat on the top of his desk. “Wait. What you propose regarding the woodcraft guilds is reasonable, but the order regarding the harvest limits is not yours to rescind.”

Faramir felt his face flush. “There are two reasons why it is.”

“What are they?” Aragorn asked, leaning forward.

“First, though this order was given by you, it was recommended by me. I now recommend that you revise the order. Second, by your grace, I am Prince of Ithilien and unless you command me otherwise, it is within my rights to determine how the resources of my land are used.”

Aragorn looked stunned, staring at Faramir as if he suddenly did not know him. “First,” he said harshly, “I may not accept your recommendation. Second, I may command you otherwise.”

Faramir clenched his jaw. I take one step away from him and now he seeks to reject my counsel and command my actions! he thought indignantly. But he bowed his head and said, “yes, my Lord, of course you may,” in a pointedly humble tone. Faramir looked up and his eyes locked with Aragorn’s. The space between them felt almost electrified.

Faramir pushed down the anger building inside him, and thought about how to bring the conversation back to a more reasonable tone. “Lord Aragorn,” he said, trying to sound conciliatory, “I wish I had been able to speak with you when I first arrived, to advise you of my plan beforehand, but there was no time. Much has been set in motion the past week that I would have you know.”

“Yes, I would know it. Let us speak now, then,” Aragorn said impatiently.

Imrahil cleared his throat. “My Lords, it is my understanding that this conversation does not directly concern me. I beg your leave, though if the King is amenable to what you propose, Nephew, I would speak to you of it later, for we are in dire need of lumber,” Imrahil said, looking to the King.

“You have my leave,” Aragorn said curtly, nodding at Imrahil and dismissing Valacar.

Faramir stood and for once wished that Valacar would not leave him and Aragorn alone. He feared that without the others present, the conversation he was to have with Aragorn could be taken in too intimate a direction. Faramir sat back down, again locating a source of calm within him before looking at Aragorn. The look on the other man’s face nearly shattered him. Now Aragorn no longer tried to hide anything he was feeling. The distress he read in Aragorn’s eyes angered Faramir, who perceived such vulnerability in this context as manipulation.

“Aragorn,” he said sharply, “do not be distracted. We are discussing the Kingdom’s business now.”

For the second time that morning, Aragorn looked thoroughly taken aback. “Again, I see a ghost,” he muttered, looking unnerved. “And I heard his voice, as well. By what name did you just call me?”

Faramir again felt deeply unsettled as he guessed whose ghost Aragorn was seeing. “I called you Aragorn. Why? What name do you think you heard?” Both men stared at each other warily, and Aragorn did not answer.

“Aragorn,” Faramir said distinctly, “there are three issues at stake here. First is the issue of my sovereignty as Prince. I hope that you will become accustomed to the idea that on some occasions I will have to make independent decisions regarding Ithilien, just as Prince Imrahil does for Dol Amroth and its territories. I do not think you would speak to him as you just spoke to me now.”

“You did not just make an independent decision, Faramir. You made a promise in direct violation of one of my commands!” Aragorn said, placing his hands on the arms of his chair and thrusting his chest forward.

Faramir’s blood chilled. It was a mannerism that reminded him very much of his father. “Now I see the ghost, too,” he said quietly, and Aragorn blanched. Faramir’s stomach began to sour again and he felt a clammy sweat break out on his skin. This is all going quite wrong, Faramir thought in dismay.

“My Lord,” Faramir said, but did not like the taste of the words on his tongue. “Aragorn,” he tried again, “I have not disobeyed you. I simply had a conversation setting out the proposed conditions for the guild’s re-establishment in Ithilien. The Woodcraft Master has yet to present it to his guild, and no contracts have been signed.”

Aragorn broke away his gaze from Faramir’s face and leaned back in his chair again. His brow was furrowed and Faramir could tell his thoughts were elsewhere.

“Second is the issue of the harvest limits. I ask you to let me exert my sovereignty in this matter. You should trust that, as your Steward, I will set my policy in accord with the interests of Gondor. However, as Prince I should be the steward of resources coming from my own lands.”

“Do as you will, Prince Faramir,” Aragorn said bitterly, still not looking at him.

Faramir gritted his teeth, annoyed by the childish tone. “Do not speak so quickly, Aragorn, for you know not what you agree to.”

Aragorn looked back to Faramir, his eyes pleading Faramir to return some sign of their intimacy.

Faramir shook his head. “No,” he warned, “let us finish this.” It was all the acknowledgement he could allow himself of the emotions running just below the surface of their conversation. His nerves were fraying and his heart pounded in his chest, so he stood and paced across the room to calm himself. “Here is the problem: when I raise the harvest limits, with your permission, of course, how shall I determine the source of the harvest? Who do you think owns these lands, Aragorn?”

Faramir went to a shelf and pulled out the map he had worked on earlier. He placed it in front of Aragorn, warily keeping his body well apart from the King’s. “Of about 800 square miles of healthy, forested land in North Ithilien, approximately one third is currently claimed by five minor houses. There are four more houses that might yet make a claim, and six houses that no longer exist or have established themselves in other lands.”

Aragorn looked up at him in surprise.

“These calculations are still preliminary,” Faramir continued, “but if there are nine likely claims, two are here, northwest of the crossroads. However, those houses left so long ago that they probably do not even remember that their deeds exist in the archives. Four of the claims are to lands located here,” he pointed to the area just east of Cair Andros. “Another three are more scattered, but larger,” and he indicated three more locations further north and east.

Aragorn’s brow furrowed. “And?”

Faramir looked at him, trying to convey both his love and his determination. “And where do you want to put the Elves, Aragorn?”

Aragorn looked down at the map and did not answer.

“What did you promise Legolas?”

Aragorn sighed. “I asked him to tend the forests.”

“Which forests? What did you say, exactly?”

Aragorn thought for a moment. “I said, ‘come dwell in the forests of Ithilien, and bring with you those of your kindred who would live among men. Do what you will to make the land a place of great beauty…’”

Faramir waited, expecting Aragorn to continue, but he did not, instead staring out the window, seemingly lost in thought.

“It was not right to make that offer,” Faramir said gravely. “First the land belongs to its lords, then to me, and only after that, to you. If you do not reconsider, you will rouse the wrath of many, at your peril.”

Aragorn’s eyes challenged his again and he said in a low tone, “my Lord Steward, do not tell me of my rights as King, or pretend that I may not command that my will be done in Ithilien. I may yet risk even your wrath if I deem the cause worthy.”

Faramir felt chilled by his words, wondering why Aragorn felt he had to make such a show of his power when Faramir was just trying to do his duty. It struck Faramir that perhaps Aragorn’s talents as King lay more in commanding troops than running a realm, but in either case, his job was to assist with the latter. “I am your chief advisor,” Faramir said, assuming again a humble demeanor, “and it is my duty to warn you when your rights are not upheld by custom or when your decisions are unwise.”

There was a long silence, but Faramir kept his eyes cast down. He tried to appear calm, but he was agitated, confused, and on the brink of exhaustion.

“Faramir, Ithilien should be sacred to us,” Aragorn said at last, his tone still haughty. “It was the seat of my forefather Isildur, it served as our bulwark against Mordor, and it is the land our people vainly fought to keep for a thousand years. The reclaiming of Ithilien is an important symbol for our Kingdom…”

Faramir’s emotions at last burst through. “What you would call the sacred ground of Ithilien has been anointed with my blood, and that of my brother and father, and of the men I commanded unto death,” he said angrily. “Do not presume to lecture me on what Ithilien means to Gondor. Would you make it into a symbol? Well, I would not. I would honor the value of Ithilien by making it a home for men again, and let the Elves have what the men do not claim. Let Ithilien be green, the most beautiful of our lands, let her gardens and orchards flourish, let her trees grow tall, let her be the cradle for the future of Gondor, but do not make her a living monument to the past. The Elves would cherish her in this manner, but such is not the stewardship of men. And it is to men we are responsible, Aragorn.”

This time, Aragorn did not rebuke him. He reached for Faramir’s hand, and looked up at him tenderly.

It seemed to Faramir that this gesture was meant to distract him, and he wrenched his hand away. Aragorn recoiled as if he had struck him. The fear Faramir saw in the other man’s eyes pushed him over the edge, drawing him down into the undercurrent of their interaction. He gripped Aragorn’s shoulder with his hand and gave him a gentle shake. “Why must you be so afraid? Have I shown myself to be so fickle that you think I would abandon your love over a disagreement such as this? Have you no faith in me?” Faramir hissed. Or do you seek to sway me by means of my love for you? He wondered, but did not speak it aloud. He stood upright again. “Would that I did not wound you so easily, and would that you did not always show me this clearly when I do so!”

Aragorn’s voice shook when he replied. “Please do not say so, Faramir. I need you and I know it makes me weak, but I welcome it. Do you see? Always before I had to deny myself, always to conceal myself. I want you to be my weakness because I have faith in you, because I trust you with my need and my fear. Please do not ask me to be strong and hide these things from you.”

Aragorn looked up at him, his soul bared and his love utterly unconcealed. Faramir’s heart felt squeezed inside his chest, and he was moved by his beloved’s anguish. Faramir’s hand moved from Aragorn’s shoulder to his face, and his thumb caressed Aragorn’s cheek. “No, love” Faramir said softly, shaking his head. “I will not ask that. I will gladly bear being your weakness.”

Their eyes locked for a long moment, this time in compassion, then Aragorn stood and pulled Faramir to him, kissing him deeply. “I love you so,” Aragorn whispered, moving Faramir backward until he was up against a bookshelf, pressing hard into him.

Faramir’s arousal was instant and almost painful, his need for release was so great. Likewise, his heart ached with longing to overcome the separation he felt from Aragorn, and he held the other man tightly and kissed him with wild intensity. All his anger flowed out of him and was replaced by a crashing wave of love, both tender and passionate.

Faramir pulled Aragorn into an alcove that was less visible from the door. “You know Valacar is lurking right outside,” he warned.

“I do not care,” Aragorn groaned.

Faramir kissed Aragorn again, and ran his hands all over the other man’s body, fumbling to get under his clothes, his hands hungry for the touch of bare flesh. He wanted to soothe and arouse, to be comforted and to find release. He ached all over with the longing to merge, to experience the elation and relief of giving himself fully to this love. Aragorn’s lips were on his neck, biting and kissing, and Faramir groaned out loud, his arousal flowing up through him and clouding his thoughts, sundering his will. He held Aragorn’s head in both his hands and caressed his face with his own nose, lips, cheeks, breathing in the other’s scent, almost forgetting, almost losing himself, almost letting Aragorn subdue and consume him…

“I need you,” he gasped, and kissed Aragorn’s forehead. “Oh, how I need you! And it makes me weak,” he whispered, holding still, staying his kisses. “But I do not welcome it,” he said, shaking his head, “I do not.” He took a deep breath and took a step backwards, straightening his clothes. Aragorn was panting, disheveled, and dismayed.

“Aragorn, I cannot…I need to be strong now,” Faramir said hoarsely. “Clearly, I cannot discuss these things with you when we are alone. You will hear my proposal at the Council meeting.” Faramir held Aragorn’s gaze for a moment longer, and left.

To Valacar, who was indeed waiting in the hall, Faramir said, “give him a minute before you go in.”

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/the-prince-of-ithilien. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

3 Comment(s)

This was an excellent piece. Once I started reading, I could not stop. This story made me think and I could feel Faramir’s confusion about his roles. Interesting take and probably spot on. Also, loved the idea of the bracelet and especially how it tied in at the end. Gave me warm fuzzies.

— Escribej    Monday 11 June 2007, 12:05    #

Very sweet, and having the politicians of Gondor involved with actual politics—what is Arda coming to? Interesting and well done. I now need to go back and read the beginning to this, as it has been too long.

— Bell Witch    Tuesday 12 June 2007, 5:33    #

A wonderful read and very well written: just the story I had been waiting for for so long… I look forward to seeing more from you.

Thank you so much for sharing!

— HU    Thursday 21 June 2007, 17:51    #

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