1. Warmth for the White Lady
ROTK: The Steward and the King
A muffled, "My lord?" and a scratch at the door and the lad's hands twitched on the strap he was buckling across his lord's wrist.
"Thank you, Bergil." Faramir smiled mildly at the young boy so recently assigned as his squire.
The youth's face flushed at the gentle reminder to attend to his task. He bobbed a quick bow and stepped back, watching his lord from beneath the fringe of hair over his brow as the man shifted the vambrace into place.
"Shall I get that, my lord?" he asked, jerking his head toward the door.
In the solitude the squire left behind, Faramir lifted his cloak from the bed.
'And when would he become unable to perform even that small function,' he mused, his smile twisting wryly.
Chill air awoken by the dawn flowed from the open casement bringing with it a small shiver, and the Steward shrugged into his wool wrap.
'Something to warm the White Lady,' he thought, gazing into the lightening sky and snicking the clasp closed, for, indeed, the White Lady was as bright and beautiful as starlight on the frozen peaks of Mindolluin.
The day and its duties spread before the Steward with the rising of the sun. Small time for pleasures, indeed, with the King and his company riding the road to the Black Gates, leaving his city's defenses to other hands to restore. But, surely, the Ephel Duath would nowhere be best viewed as from the walls of the Houses of Healing. A small smile twitched at Faramir's lips and his eyes gentled. And nowhere would the company be as pleasing.
"Where would you like this, my lord?"
Faramir turned and started forward. "Here! My lad!"
In a few steps he reached the boy and together they eased the cedar chest to the floor. Covered in a fine dust, its top bore the youth's hand-print as well as those who had searched the Steward's family attics for it. Faramir remained kneeling before the trunk.
"Give me a moment, if you would," he commanded softly.
The youth bowed. "Aye, my lord."
The scuff of his feet left behind a hush that settled through the room. Heat stole over the Steward's jaw as he hesitated to draw a finger over the leather binding. He felt all of five years of age again, a child sneaking through his mother's things to discover the secret of her elusive beauty and the warm strength that held the dark things of the shadows at bay.
Sinking to his heels, Faramir nudged at the latches and lifted the trunk's heavy lid, touching it as little as possible. Whether he was afraid the wood might crumble beneath his fingers or of the sound of his nurse's footsteps beyond the door, he couldn't say, but the chest was open.
Taking a breath, the Steward lifted books and scrolls aside. He thumbed a smooth pebble into a shine that brought a smile and memories of seagulls, waves, and a salty breeze that sent his mother's long dark hair whipping against her face. But, that too, and more were set aside until his hands pressed into a yielding softness.
"Ah, yes!" he breathed, both relieved at the trueness of memory and fearful of what he might unmask.
Lifting it gently, Faramir set the linen-wrapped bundle upon his bed, staring at it before, in a rush, he threw aside its covering. Silver threads glittered in the morning sun.
'Aye,' he sighed, his heart an ache within his chest for the woman whose eyes had first outshone the beauty of its rich needlework. It was as memory had told.
His fingers brushed velvet pile a blue no less of a dark gloss than his mother's hair and no less soft than her arms when she held her young son to her chest.
"Aye," he repeated aloud, a slow smile warming his face. It was as memory had told, and would be again.
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.