Steward's Sons, The: 1. The Steward's Sons

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1. The Steward's Sons

A Steward's Care

They would not understand. Even my Boromir could not school his doubt, and Faramir… his certain condemnation is of no consequence, but it would mirror my own had my father dared this tool. I am the first, and if I do not use it and prevail, I will be the last.

I know my struggle with the Dark Tower costs me dearly. I am not so wrapt that I do not mark the weariness of mind and limb that passes slowly. I endure these as I do my mail shirt, that I will be always ready. I must, for Gondor.

~*~

Familiar

Its vividness stuns me: darkening skies, a sword, and stranger things, bewildering images made familiar a little from your words and letters since you first dreamt before Osgiliath. Remembering, I let your wonder and excitement calm me, marveling an unnumbered time how unalike we are.

So why comes it now to me? Unless...

Dread fills my belly as it has not since that other letter, years ago: "Dear brother, I am a soldier, too, now."

I will rise, and arm, and lead my men, and hope against my fear, as I must always, that we will speak
of it again.

~*~

Hope

Our men jostle about us, ranger brown mingling with battered silver. Soldiers, they know our time together as brothers is precious. They attend to their own welcomings and heed us not.

The awkwardness of armor is familiar as you embrace me, voice pitched for my ear alone. "Your dream, little brother. It came to me, as well."

I pull back, searching your face although I know you would not mock me.

"It gives me hope that there is something beyond the strength of arrows and armies."

Of custom our gazes seek the West, but maybe we are now also sought.

~*~

Enough

I reveal but little. Boromir sees no guile, accepting discretion as my right. But as I turn, his brother darts a look at him of such exasperated fondness to set my teeth.

I use each after his talents. Boromir is a greater captain than was I for those very things he will not see. His brother I sent to skulk in Ithilien. In him I see myself, but weak, and I would not have myself for ally, nor send that wizard's pupil in embassy to Elves. Thus I risk what I would keep, hold what I would more gladly lose.

~*~

To the West Gate

They do not waste time on old arguments, 'I should be the one' or 'Even if he were wrong, he is our Lord'. Boromir's hand rests on his brother's shoulder as they descend the circling street in silence. His duty requires that he be single purposed, and he is glad to feel Faramir's strength.

Suddenly, "When you find Imladris you will meet Elves! Oh, Boromir, see everything and remember it for me. You must!"

Boromir laughs as the years fall away and for a moment they are boys again, the younger jealous of the elder's adventures. "Of course I will."

~*~

Separate Duties

I climb the streets again to watch you dwindle down the Great West Road, the early sun drawing dull glints from your great shield's boss as you glance back. I would stay until the last speck vanishes and dare the luck. But I have been dismissed and suddenly I care only to re-cross Anduin and join my men. Your beloved White City has long been less home to me than fair Ithilien. Without you it is none.

I have not dreamt since Father fixed our courses, west or east. I hold this knowledge in my heart to shield my hope.

~*~

Imladris

When you cried, "Remember all for me!" I laughed, recalling other sights recounted to you, my brother. But finding this place lifted my heart, took my breath, erased all the stony beds and hungry days. If you could have felt what I did entering this enchanted vale!

Yet now the strangeness of the Elves lends unease to beauty. They see too far, remember too long, making alien even men who call them friends. Not your wizard. He is as you would remember, and strange enough. But this Ranger, like us yet unlike, I know not what to make of him.

~*~

Undivided

I know how each would urge me, were they here, my father scornful, my brother passionate.

"The wizard has no care for Gondor."

"All Arda is Gandalf's care. How will we stand if all else falls?"

"What purposes our stewardship if Gondor is destroyed?"

Yet, alone in this strange Council, I must be undivided.

"Elvish concerns touch us little. Learn what you need but do not let wonder distract you."

"As you trust me, trust Gandalf!"

"You are Captain of the White Tower, the Steward's heir."

Perhaps my brother could embrace this quest, not merely consent to it. I cannot.

~*~

Speechless
'Boromir smiled… But Boromir did not speak again.' -The Two Towers

There were but two. I would tell you if I could. I am sorry. You look so sad. It does not hurt now. I was weak. You have comforted me.

They are gone. What will become of them?

My king has forgiven me. Will my brother? What will you tell him? Our father was wrong. I am the weaker. He would not have been weak. I do not breathe now. Would he have died, too? I tried to protect him.

I tried to protect them.

Do not weep. You have brought me peace. I am glad you are my king.

~*~

News

No summons brings me gladly nor holds me long in Minas Tirith, not since you rode north. But I may not always make report through messengers.

By chance I was taken to him where he did not expect me. I thought Father shunned that courtyard with its dead tree, though you and I played there often, heedless. A while we stood silent, startled from our customary unease.

Into that stillness came your great horn's call, faint as imagining though he heard it, too. In fearful knowledge I turned unthinking to my father, but found the Steward bidding his Captain's secrecy.

~*~

Strong and Wise
'I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway.' -The Two Towers

Friend, for my part, he says. Frodo Baggins - the hafling of our dream has a name now - thinks me nobler than Boromir. Wiser. Stronger. He knows so little.
But I know... knew my brother. I knew his honor, his care for Gondor and pride in our House. His skill.
I know my worth, the more because that knowledge shone from him, overpowering Father's dark glances. His strength inspired me. His understanding drew me into full manhood when Father's dismissal seemed a boon. Yet even the Sword of Gondor fell to this... heirloom.
I will take the coward's way.
~*~

Footsteps

Never have I seen such a company: Men, Elves, Hobbits. And the Dwarf, of course. He and Éomer have much in common. Often he leaves his Elf to stump along by Firefoot, taking no notice when we smile at the contrast. This journey has seen much mingling, though Elf keeps most with Elf. The Rohirrim are still wide eyed as children when they pass.

My king rides most with me. He points out Edoras, gleaming on the mountain's rib, and we speak of Éowyn, and of one other we both loved, who traveled this road from my life into his.

~*~

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: marilyn

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/22/03

Original Post: 12/20/03

Go to Steward's Sons, The overview

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