I did not believe my Warden of the Keys. I should have. He fought alongside me on the Pelennor; I know of his courage. Yet, when he told me where my Steward spent his evenings, I challenged him. He challenged me back. I like men of courage. I left to investigate.
And find myself here, in the remains of the House of the Stewards, listening for any sound that will tell me where Faramir is. There is dust everywhere. It muffles my own steps, but, truth be told, I have kept them light so that I might espy my Steward's whereabouts. But more than his whereabouts, his doings. Why is Faramir here, in this desolate place?
There! There is a noise ahead. Not the scurrying of mice, nor the soft tread of a cat, but the sound of a human in grief. Deep, o'erwhelming grief. I tread even lighter, for I do not want to intrude upon Faramir's grief. I came to ascertain his safety.
I snort in derision. I cannot lie to myself. I am here because my Steward, in these few short days of knowing him, has become dear to me. If he be in anguish, I would stand by his side. If he be in need, I would offer solace.
I turn the corner and find myself in the apse of what is left of this once awe-inspiring building. I came here but twice when I served under Ecthelion - for the interment of his Warden and then his sister. The edifice on a whole is unfamiliar to me; yet, I remember the clerestory windows and vaguely wonder if that is the reason the dome collapsed in the fire. Here and there are traces of the alabaster sheeting used for the windows.
I step over one of the richly carved pillars that lay strewn about this monument for the dead. As always, the White Tree looks back at me. I sometimes wish it would not. It reminds me of who I am - when at this moment, I would be my Steward's friend, not his King. Friend indeed, I laugh to myself. More than that my loins shout: lover!
There he kneels, before a crushed burial slab. His head hangs low and his shoulders shake. I turn, ostensibly to leave him to his grief, but my heart's pity is o'ershadowed by the swelling of my groin. I marvel that I, who am known for compassion, should be carnally moved by the sound and the sight of my Steward's weakness.
I bite my lip and stop at the sound of his voice. Aragorn. The spoken name holds a question. I square my shoulders and turn to him, grateful my tunic hangs low.
"Faramir. Hurin told me you were here. Is there any service I can offer to help your grief?" It is said in kindness, yet, I stifle the insane wish to laugh at the double meaning.
"Leave me be, my King."
His whispered words only heighten my wanton state.
"There are rituals that must be done. I must fulfill my duty to my father."
"Might I be of help? Of what rituals do you speak?"
"You are not of Gondor."
As he bites his lip, I lose control and sit hard upon a pillar - to keep from running to him, taking him into my arms, and feasting upon those lips.
"Forgive me, my King. I am ill-mannered. You know not the ways of Gondor and her burial rights. My father was denied them; I would right that wrong."
"Might I not be of assistance in such a formidable task? Would not your sovereign's presence diminish any damage done to him?"
Again, he bites his lip and I feel my groin's discomfort.
"I cannot find his bones."
His sobs tear at my heart, but stir my loins. I force myself to hold on tightly to the broken pillar under me.
"They must be honored. We build huge houses to harbor our dead, my King. We preserve their very flesh by ancient craft. Our bodies are considered blessed and therefore should be revered."
"If you have no bones..." Oh! If he sobs once more, I shall take him, here in the dust in the midst of his father's ashes! My mind sobers, though my body continues to parade its flagrant lust.
I take three deep breaths and walk to his side. "Let us take the ashes and place them in a container. I planned to have this building restored. Or another built. I have not quite decided. But whatever is done, we will take his ashes, once a haven has been prepared, and you and I will honor them in a special ceremony."
His whispered homage sends rivulets of ecstasy through me. I kneel at his side. "Come, Faramir, to my rooms. We will keep the ashes there for safe-keeping." My groin stirs mightily. I use every device that Elrond ever taught me to control my body. The lust fever diminishes.
Looking about, I find a marble bowl, possibly used for burial rites, and fetch it. I kneel again at his side and offer it. I can hardly breathe as his hand touches mine when he grasps the bowl. He notes naught but his grief. I will waylay his grief and thrust myself upon him till he forgets it. I find myself blushing. I push such thoughts aside.
He looks up at me, as he collects the last bit of dust and ash lying about the broken slab, and my heart stops; it is pure adoration I see. A small, small sliver of guilt slashes at my heart and I grasp his hand. "Faramir. I sorrow for you." I mean it. The lust fever subsides even further.
I take the bowl from his hands and we walk towards the entrance, upon the path of the Silent Street.
"I have no bones. I cannot find my mother's tomb. Boromir's bones are lost forever in the Sea. I have no bones."
Ah, the desolation on his fair face fills me with such love I can scarce speak. I would take his hand in mine and comfort him, but I dare not. If I touch him now, I would shove him over one of the fallen pillars and ravage him, plunder those lips that tremble in grief and make them tremble with delight. I am lost. He has ensorcelled me. My very bones ache.
A/N - Though Tolkien kept most illusions to 'religion' from his works, certain terms were used: Blessed - of course is used for the Blessed Realm; temple is used in the Akallabêth pertaining to the place on Meneltarma where the Faithful worshiped Eru.
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.