Chapter Four – Puzzles
Faramir waited at the foot of the steps leading up to the empty Throne and listened as the errand-rider gave his report to Denethor. A report without a shred of hope. Boromir could not be found. Or would not. Frustration welled in the young man's chest, yet he stayed his tongue. Naught would be gained by ill words.
Denethor turned to his youngest. "You chafe at my ways. Yet I have done what is reasonable, Faramir. If Boromir does not want to be found, he will not be. There is naught more we can do. Get you back to Ithilien. When your brother returns, I will send for you."
Faramir saluted, turned and forced himself to walk, not run, down the long Hall. When he reached the doors, he clenched his teeth to keep from flinging them open. He succeeded for but a moment. He slammed them shut behind him and screamed into the winds off the Courtyard, then ran to the Fourth Level and The Inn of the Three Arrows.
"Three months," the Steward's youngest groaned. Beregond sat beside him, quaffing his sixth ale. "Three months, Beregond, and we know no further than the first day. How can this be?"
His friend shook his head. "I know not. I only wish I were with him. He needs his back covered. Too headstrong."
Faramir grimaced. "That is what has landed us in this predicament. If he had only come to me. I have heard no hint of trouble or loss of honor. No one seems to know what happened. Again I ask you, how can this be?"
"I think we should go to Rohan. Perhaps he fled that way."
"Fled? Why would he flee?" Faramir lowered his head in consternation. "What has happened? He cannot have fled. Father has sent him on some covert action. But to where?"
"The Steward would tell you, Faramir. He does have a heart, though it is oft hidden. We should go to Rohan. We have searched Ithilien from north to south."
"And we have searched Belfalas," Mardil chimed in. "There are no signs of him. Prince Adrahil would tell you, I know he would, if Boromir were there. If not him, then Prince Imrahil."
"We have searched Lossarnach and Lebennin," Mablung said as Damrod nodded. "Nothing. No word. It is as if he sailed into the West. I do not understand."
"Rohan." Faramir sipped his ale. "Walda arrived two days ago with horses for Father, but I have not been allowed to see him. We must find him, draw him aside, and question him. If he knows aught, he will tell us."
"Then let me go," Beregond said. "I am not on duty again for four hours. You are not supposed to be here, Faramir; you are supposed to be on your way to Ithilien. If your father or anyone else sees you…"
"Well I know it. Mablung and Damrod best stay with me. They are known to be my traveling companions. Are you able to do this alone?"
Beregond snorted. "The Rohirrim frequent The Black Horse. I will find Walda or his men. I will bring them here." The soldier left the inn by the back door.
Faramir took a room and washed himself. Mablung and Damrod ordered dinner. They waited long into the night. Dawn was breaking; the sound of a cock crowing woke Faramir. Startled, he stood and walked to the window, just in time to see Beregond, with Walda, walking towards the inn. He shook Mablung and Damrod and the three went down to the now empty common room.