Now he watched him for a moment before raising his feet which met Aragorn's ribs, the ranger cry out from the pain, his hands soon clutches his side, trying to protect his ribs from more beating.
Denethor smiled, and then called to his second in command, Daren, "Chain him, hands and legs, remove his clothes but the pants he wearing."
Daren smiled, understood of what his lord asked for him.
Daren called for the guards, and told them about their lord's order. He watched them as they torn the clothes he wore, but they left the pants on him.
The guards led Aragorn outside the palace, found some place to chain his hands and legs. Minas Tirith peoples who saw it happen, wondered what was going to happen, and why Thorongil, the man that assisted the king, now was in this situation.
The second in command walked to the gear that he left on the horse, and he put it in the room where his lord asked.
His hands shifted the long leather lethal whip as a smirk covered his face, as he said to himself, that now the man would suffer upon his hands.
He took it and walked to the area where the guards chained the man, noticed his lord watching them, and noticed the bruises that covered Aragorn's body. He smiled.
"There it is, my lord," Daren handed it to him, and then he added, "And if I may also whip him?"
Denethor took the whip with pleasurable grin, as he watched Thorongil's form and muttered to Daren, "Later."
Daren sighed heavily and hoped that his lord would give him some fun as well.
Denethor decided to walk first to Aragorn, to speak to him face to face before he whipped him with no mercy, and that after all the pain he caused him, the man would pay.
But before Denethor opened his mouth to speak, Aragorn asked first with cracked voice, "Where is your father?"
Denethor smiled, "He was sent elsewhere."
"What have I done to you?"
"Well, you get the answer in every lash I give to you," Denethor replied, and sound of a whip crushing the air was heard., "How many lashes could you take, Ranger?"
Denethor walked around Aragorn, stepping back a space, and then he started to whip Thorongil.
Aragorn could feel the sting of the first lash cut into his skin, he clenched his jaw, not wanting to scream as the heat burned in his body. Then he could hear the blurred voice of Denethor's, "The first and the most hurtful reason, for taking my father from me."
Aragorn had no idea what he was speaking about and the pain inside bothered him, and the heat, he could feel that his body was set on fire, he could swear upon it.
Then the second lash tore his skin closer to the bone, which made Aragorn close his eyes, clench his jaw tight as he could, but not dare to scream. He figured that if he screamed it would cause Denethor and his men to whip him harder, and he did not wish it, that would be too painful, and he was not sure if he could make it through the next lashes.
After the second lash, Aragorn could not bring himself to hear whatever Denethor was saying. He only tried to concentrate on how to bear the pain, and how not to show his weakness, how not to scream.
It was getting harder, as the third lash tore through his skin; he could feel it, how the blood dripped down from his burning skin, it was too much to bear. But more than anything, he did not want to let the Steward have the pleasure of hearing him scream. Every lash only showed his victory over his screams.
"Are you listening to anything I said, Ranger?" Denethor sneered at him, as he raised the whip and hit the battered body in front of him, smiling as he watched the blood dripping from the cross mark he made.
Daren glanced over at the crowd and now noticed the Steward's wife with their child, watching in worry at the man, and her husband.
He immediately walked to the Steward, and told him, "Denethor, your family is here. Is it there something you need me to do?"
Denethor stopped lashing against the now helpless ranger and stared at his wife, noticing the fallen tears, and his two-year-old child, Boromir, crying.
He turned to his second in command and answered, "Yes, there is something that I need you to do: Take the whip and spare no mercy. Give him at least a dozen stripes, then throw him into the dungeon, and do not allow anyone to see him."
"That will be my pleasure, my Steward." Daren nodded, taking the whip, and stood in the Steward's place before the Ranger.
Denethor hurried to Finduilas' side and taking the child into his arms, he led her back inside the great hall, away from the scene she just saw.
Once they were there, Finduilas turned to ask him what all this meant as she had always thought well of the ranger, "Why are you hurting him?"
"I have my own reasons. Why?" Denethor asked her, as he stared at her.
"I thought that you loved him like a brother." She replied, and tried to hold the new tears that threatened to fall.
"Well, you thought wrong, my dear wife." Denethor said to her, and caressed the child, who was starting to cry again.
"Boromir, child, why are you crying?" Denethor asked his child softly, running his finger down his soft cheeks, seemingly ignoring his wife's question and turning his attention over to the child.
"Why do you think your child is crying?" Finduilas asked, and then added, "Where were you whenever he asks for you?"
"I was elsewhere, where I felt that I was needed." Denethor replied, noticing how she flinched and the pain crept like a shadow in her eyes.
"And what about us? You do not think we need you as well?" She asked him, trying hard to fight against the tears.
Taking matters into her hands, Finduilas reached for Boromir. As soon as he saw her hands close to him, he reached out and cried for her.
"Where do you think you are taking him?" Denethor asked, as he felt the pain piercing his body at the sight of his own flesh and blood, and the one he truly loved, turning away from him because of this wretched ranger.
Denethor was angry at his wife, but he knew it was all because of Thorongil. He was the main reason behind all this happening.
"Away from here, anywhere away from all the madness that crawls in your mind." Finduilas snapped at him as she tried to sooth her child while he cried in her arms.
Now fuming with stronger rage, Denethor left the great hall and walked outside, taking the whip from Daren, and began to vent out at that accursed ranger who caused all this trouble. He did not care how the man had already lost conscious with every one of the lashes hitting at his battered body with so great force.
Then he suddenly stopped at the sound of his friend calling him.
"Denethor, Thorongil has lost consciousness. You need to stop." Daren said, looking at his commander, having already noticed how angry he was after he had returned.
Denethor, now feeling the exhaustion, dropped the whip, letting it fall onto the floor. He was tempted to simply give in and collapse on the floor, but gathered himself, and staring at the hung form in front of him, he turned to Daren and asked, "Why is he not in the dungeon?"
"Well, that is because you kept whipping him. But now we can throw him there as you command." Daren replied, a hint of a sneer in his seemingly pleading voice.
At his silence, the second-in-command scanned the steward's face and asked, "What is it, Denethor?"
"It is not for you to know." Denethor snapped at him, now feeling the anger spreading within him.
Before long, the guards took Aragorn's battered body, and bringing him to the dungeon, they threw him towards the wall and watched as he shuffled like a leaf on the cold floor.
Then they slammed the cell door and locked it.
'Where am I?' Aragorn's mind flew with that question.
He could feel the cold floor under him, and shivered at the chilling effect it had on his body. And even without opening his eyes, he knew he was in the dungeon.
His back was still livid with the pain that burned with the hottest fire from the lava deep in the depths of Mordor, a fire that sheered through any muscles or bones.
How he wished that his Adar would tend to his wounds as he always did. But now, he could only hope that they would not get infected, because if they do, he might give Denethor just what the cruel man wished for.
Even so, Aragorn could not understand why Denethor hated him so and the pain from the unmerciful lashes only ensured he could not follow what the Steward was talking about.
"My Lord Elrond…" he mumbled the words in the cold cell, wishing his foster father could be there to attend to the injuries he was receiving from his very kin.
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.