2. White Lie
Boromir was already in the chamber with the others. His brother nodded to him, but would not meet his gaze.
“What is it you wish, my sons?” Denethor asked.
“I seek the wisdom of the council – about Imladris.”
“Imladris?” Denethor asked, surprised. “What of it?”
Faramir could feel the eyes of the other lords on him, no doubt wondering that he would speak of this when there were more pressing matters at hand. Still, he pressed on. “What is it?”
Denethor looked at his younger son with a keen eye. “It is nothing. A tale of ancient days. Even if it be true that Elrond Half-Elven dwells there still, there is no hope to be had from the Elves.”
“It truly is a land?” An Elf-land! Faramir's heart leaped and he looked eagerly to his brother.
Boromir's face was stricken.
“It is the Elven name for a fair vale far in the North. Why do you ask, Faramir?”
“I have been summoned there.”
“Summoned?” Denethor was indignant that anyone would dare to summon his son without his leave. The lords murmured in surprise. “By whom?”
“The night before we lost the bridge of Osgiliath, I had a dream. Clouds were gathering to the East, as though before a fierce storm. But in the West, a pale light lingered, and I heard a clear, distant voice bid me to seek Imladris.”
“A dream?” Denethor said scornfully, and though he did not say it, Faramir knew the word “Coward” was on his father's tongue.
“The Dream has come to me oft...”
“I have dreamed it as well,” Boromir said, and both Faramir and Denethor looked to him sharply. “Last night. The voice said 'Seek the Sword that was Broken, in Imladris it dwells.' I too have been summoned.”
“The Sword that was Broken?” Denethor whispered, paling.
Faramir cast a dark glance at Boromir. He had purposely omitted the Sword, for he was only certain to find counsels at Imladris. He did not wish to give his father false hopes nor false fears.
Denethor shook his head, dismissing the revelation. “I say again, the Elves have no hope for Men. The strength of Elrond is in wisdom not weapons, and all the wise words of the Elves will not slay a single orc.”
A ghost of a smile played on Faramir's lips. “There shall be counsels taken...”
“Stronger than Morgul-spells,” Boromir finished, satisfaction in his voice.
Faramir wondered at that, but Denethor sighed wearily.
“What else did the dream tell you?”
Boromir quickly answered “There shall be shown a token that Doom is near at hand. For Isildur's Bane shall waken and...”
Faramir knew the truth when his brother hesitated, having forgotten the last phrase. He knew. The dream had not come to Boromir. “The Halfling forth shall stand,” Faramir finished quietly. What would cause Boromir to lie?
Denethor shook his head in doubt. “It is gibberish.”
“It is a riddle,” Faramir answered. “This much has been made plain. I must depart these lands for a while and seek Imladris.”
Boromir stood suddenly. “I too have been summoned. The way is far and full of doubt and danger. I am the stronger and hardier. Send me.” At Denethor's doubtful look, he added, “One of us must go.”
Faramir watched his brother closely. Whence came this wish of Boromir's to go in his stead? Only last night, Boromir had urged against pressing their father too hard. It was doubtful that Denethor would give leave to Faramir, but even more doubtful was that he would permit his heir to abandon Gondor in her need. Perhaps Boromir thought to sway their father by offering a choice worse than parting with Faramir. Still, it troubled Faramir deeply that Boromir would speak an untruth, even if it were to aid his younger brother.
Prince Imrahil stood, and Denethor nodded permission to speak. “Boromir, you are the chief of Gondor's captains. We shall be hard-pressed to find another such as you.”
“Then send me,” Faramir eagerly answered.
“But if there is help to be had from Imladris, we must send the one most likely to reach it!” Boromir said firmly. “Let me go.”
“Boromir, your duty is to Gondor,” Imrahil insisted.
“And if the doom of Minas Tirith is indeed at hand, then as the Heir of the Steward, it falls to me to protect her!”
Faramir's heart grew cold as Denethor wavered. “Are you certain this is no mere dream?”
“I would not see you on a fool's errand, Boromir.”
“I take it upon myself, Father.”
Denethor nodded slowly. “Then go with my blessing, my son.”
Boromir clasped his father's arm, bowed his head, and left the chamber. Faramir followed on his heels. They walked in silence for a while. “When do we leave?” Faramir finally asked.
“Have you forgotten all our words last night?”
“I took this quest upon me because it is folly for you to go, and you swore to heed the summons, with Father's blessing or without. If you recall, no words of mine last night could dissuade you.”
“The Dream came to me.” Faramir could not bear to place the name of liar on his brother. “First,” he added reluctantly.
“What other choice do you leave me, little brother?” Boromir stopped in the middle of the corridor, exasperation in his voice. “Is it your desire to find the Sword that was Broken?”
Faramir searched his brother's eyes. Was the Sword why Boromir suddenly desired this quest? “It is my desire to answer the summons.”
A wry smile played on Boromir's face. “Who pulled you from of the Anduin at the bridge's fall? Father did not want to risk both his heirs on this fool's errand, and I am the hardier. It is better that I should go in your stead than for you to fail or for Father to send no one at all.”
“I need your blessing even less than Father's. I am heeding the summons.”
Boromir was angry now. “Not if I broke your leg before I left.”
Faramir grimaced in disgust and a flash of fear. It had been years, decades, since an argument had come to blows, but Faramir remembered well the last time. His resolve still did not waver. “You shall have to break it, then.”
“And what of Gondor? Do you think so lightly of her that you would cast both her heirs into the hazard, when the Enemy is moving against us? Father has chosen me, and your duty to him and to Gondor is to stand in my place until my return.” He pulled a face. “You are my steward.”
Faramir frowned thoughtfully. Where threat of violence could not sway him, an appeal to duty would. Boromir knew him too well.
“The summons was mine,” Faramir insisted, and he sounded sullen even to himself. Too many times he has been my savior. Too many times my protector. He does not believe this task was appointed to me and speaks a lie to go in my stead.
“Are you going to abandon your duty then?” Boromir demanded.
Faramir's eyes were hard. “No.”
Boromir shook his brother's shoulder lightly, grinning. “Take heart, then, and do not dwell on this day. Look rather to the glorious day when next we meet. I shall bring home to Minas Tirith the Sword that was Broken!”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.