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aka "I've been writing Faramir fic again." Actually, the idea was to write dark!Faramir, but it's more like "slightly less restrained Faramir."

Gríma had long disliked Faramir of Gondor: of Gondor, he always said, stiff and haughty, as if he had not been a fosterling in Thengel’s court from boyhood, as if he stood beside the chair of his father rather than the throne of Théoden, as if he never set his foreign songs and scrolls aside to fight among the Riders. Always Gríma had thought him a poor substitute for Théodred, hale and strong even at fourteen, when he had been sent to dwell in Mundburg.

It was only in recent months, however, that dislike had deepened to hatred, as Faramir’s influence with the King grew. His own task would have been quite easy without him—perhaps he would already enjoy a position of honour under Saruman, and the Lady Éowyn, too. Instead he was but one counsellor among many, scarcely regarded by the king he had so long served. It was not Saruman but Gandalf Greyhame who came and went as he pleased, and Éowyn had plainly ceased to regard Faramir as an eccentric older brother.

Of course, Gríma had not merely accepted these indignities. But he had been able accomplish little through the king, while Éomer, like so many, thought nothing of any man who did not fight. If Éowyn took his words to heart she said nothing of it, but her eyes turned cold and steely whenever she saw him, and she often rode out with her brother and Faramir. He would have liked to know what passed between them, but he was no horseman, so he could only attend to her movements within Meduseld. In the end, he decided to accidentally encounter Faramir himself.

He had already searched through Faramir’s bedchamber, trying to find any advantage, but there was nothing to aid him, nor even worth claiming for his own. He had rather hoped to find the glowing red gem set on a silver collar that Faramir sometimes wore, a gift from the Steward on the occasion of some trifling heroics—one of the minor treasures brought from their sunken homeland, Faramir said—but he must have taken it with him. There were no valuables at all, nor any weapons, and as Faramir stood well over six feet tall, his clothes were not worth stealing. Papers and scrolls were scattered over a table near his bed, but though Gríma read the language of Gondor very well, he did not recognize the characters. It must be the language that Faramir used to speak with Queen Morwen, and sometimes still did, when he thought himself alone.

Gríma left in disgust.

He did, at least, manage to stumble into Faramir away from the rest of the household, muttering profuse apologies, then smoothly shifting to polite enquiries as they headed back towards the king’s hall.

"I hope your kin are well, lord," he said meekly.

Faramir’s eyebrows rose. “As do I. Have you heard otherwise?"

"Heard? oh—no, no. We hear little but through Théodred, or—I forget what your people call him."

"Gwaithor," said Faramir.

"A fine name," Gríma said, glum.

" ‘Tis his own, in our language, and that of Théoden-King’s mother. Thus is he welcomed in Gondor as a kinsman, not a house-guest from other lands."

Gríma seized on his chance. “Yet you, Lord Faramir, have not taken a name in the tongue of the Eorlingas."

"I am not a kinsman of the Eorlingas: except perhaps from afar, before my forefathers and foremothers crossed the sea," he said coolly. “I have not been given any name but my own."

"Perhaps you would earn another in the lands of your fathers."

"Perhaps," said Faramir, “but I dwell in Rohan. It is far indeed from Minas Tirith and Ithilien, and Belfalas where the people of my mother and Queen Morwen dwell. And it is further still from whatever circle of the sea where the tip of the Meneltarma rises above.the waves, perhaps, though none have found it." He seemed scarcely aware of the man to whom he spoke, gaze clouded, tone low and almost pained.

"Have you no wish of returning?"

"There can be no return to Atalantë," Faramir said. Then he frowned, his grey eyes sharpening once more. “And I will remain in Rohan as long as my lord father wishes it."

"You do not miss your kin? The Lord Boromir, at least, comes often enough to our lands, and our prince with him to greet Théoden-King and his cousins. But it has been long indeed since you met any others."

Faramir stopped in his path and looked down at him. "You take a great interest in my affairs, Gríma son of Gálmód."

Gríma stepped back: the better to see him, he assured himself. He was small for a man of the Eorlingas, and Faramir tall for one of Gondor.

“I interest myself in the welfare of all the king’s household."

"So I have heard," said Faramir. He did not move further, threaten like a true warrior would have, but simply considered him, his grey eyes as bright and cold as the sword at his waist, like Éowyn’s. "Think you that if I return to Gondor, all will be as you wish? that you will have the King’s ear—and the Lady’s hand? that I stand in your path and not your own mean grasping spirit and craven heart?"

Gríma flinched. But he said: “I know not what—"

Pain exploded in his head.

"You cannot deceive me," Faramir said softly.

"What dwimmercraft is this?" cried Gríma, clutching his forehead.

"Not all the gifts of Númenor are gone, nor were they confined to the building of the walls of Minas Tirith and Orthanc." Then Faramir’s eyes narrowed. “You know Orthanc well. How often have you gone there? How recent was your last journey? Answer me now!"

Some instinct kept his eyes fixed on the ground. His mind was clear once more, and he felt rather like a mouse-hunting cat who abruptly finds himself pursued by a boar. Gríma darted a glance over his shoulder. If he ran now, perhaps—

"Look at me."

Despite himself, Gríma raised his eyes to Faramir’s, which were fierce and unrelenting. All thought of running fled, though his heart still pounded in his ears and throat.

"When went you last to Isengard?"

Gríma swallowed. “It was … not that long ago. I went for help. I thought there was some chance—"

"Did Curunír—Saruman—put you to any torment?"

"No," said Gríma. His shoulders slumped. “He talked to me. That is all. But he spoke truth. Rohan and Gondor alike are doomed! We can hope only for—"

"You need not say it." This time, It was Faramir who looked away, but before Gríma could fumble for his knife, the other man had his arms behind his back. “I assure you, his words would be far less convincing in your mouth than his. Come along; I can drag if you must, but I hope you will face your fate with dignity. Now it lies with the King."


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2013 05:39 am (UTC)
Ooo, interesting. How different things might have been.
Jul. 20th, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Originally I was just trying to think of a scenario where Faramir would come out harsher, but once I stopped to think of it, it was really tempting to go further with this one--there's lots that could go on.
Jul. 20th, 2013 08:26 am (UTC)
Not dark, but more ruthless than Tolkien canon good guys. Which is, I guess, exactly your point. I was thinking recently about Denethor/Faramir (doesn't matter which, right?) as a proper Kantian, acting according to their sense of what's right regardless of personal gratification.
Loved your previous essay to the end, btw. Come back to the only true fandom!
Jul. 20th, 2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
Yup, 'more ruthless' is pretty much what I was thinking.

That's very much my idea of both Denethor and Faramir--the sternness of purpose they both have.

Thank you very much--I hoped you would! And I kind of have--I've already thought of three more fics, whoops. It started with making a whiny one-off post about movie!Elrond over on Tumblr, and apparently there's an active Silmarillion fandom there, and a few of them came over and started writing long posts in response and we all ended up chattering happily about Tolkien and friending each other and there's also this meta and fic I'm reading. It's really, really nice to be in my first fandom and dust off my Tolkien books and try Sindarin again. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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