Burning: 1. Burning

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1. Burning

Rath Dínen is cold but it cannot break the fever that consumes him. He is burning, and soon I, the city, all of Gondor will follow him into the flames. I have seen it; the palantír cannot lie.

If I could speak with him one last time, I would tell him that I regret my severity at our last parting. Poor lad, too much like his father! We were strategists, he and I, and what use is strategy against such an opponent? From his earliest days, I could see he had my preference for study and forethought, and his mother’s for gentleness. I tried to train him out of the weaknesses he inherited. Have I not fought all my life with those same weapons, only to lose more land and power with every year? And that tenderness killed his mother, who was not made for such bitter times and choices. I would have been remiss if I had not tried to correct those faults, but I need not have been so harsh. The war was already lost before he learned of the halflings. I know that now.

Boromir was cut from different cloth, and I hoped he might do what I could not. He understood expedience from birth. If all our strategies were doomed to fail against such a foe, then perhaps sheer force of arms could save us. But that path failed as well. The palantír has shown me the forces arrayed against us, and they were always too strong, even had we the halfling’s treasure. Our enemy so far surpasses our strength that Faramir’s foolish idealism turned out to be no more futile than the most cunning stratagems I could devise.

Oh, why can they not keep a decent silence in the houses of the dead?

The oil is cool as I pour it into my hand. His fever heats it before it has a chance to soothe the tense flesh of his face. I stroke more oil over his hands and fold them across his chest. The callus left by his pen is barely visible now, supplanted by hardened skin on his palms where he gripped the bow and sword. Did he grieve to see the marks of a scholar fade from his skin? I never asked, and now....

He has gone beyond suffering, but the power that laid the Black Breath on him could as easily remove it. The few who survive this battle will count themselves accursed that they did not die, and none more than Faramir. His deeds are known in Mordor, and the Enemy will delight in tormenting him for his defiance.

That, at least, I can prevent. Faramir is mine, and I will not let Mithrandir or Sauron or both of them together steal him from me. I wish I could tell him that I love him, have always loved him, but I will have to let my actions speak for me.

How long can it possibly take to fetch that torch?

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.

Story Information

Author: Salsify

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 07/06/03

Original Post: 05/08/03

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