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Branwyn's Baubles  by Branwyn

Note:  A pauldron is the piece of armor that protects the shoulder.


"Who mended this for you, my lord?" the grey-haired armorer asked with an incredulous look. "A wandering tinker, the patcher of leaky pots?"

Faramir’s solemn eyes widened slightly in surprise, but then he shook his head and laughed.

"Well, I will soon set it to rights." The armorer placed the battered helm on a low work table cluttered with bits and pieces of harness. As he straightened up from this task, he stepped quickly forward, asking, “My lord? Are you ill?” He steadied the young lord, grasping his arm. Then he followed his gaze to the table and sighed. "I see, then. Yes, he brought those here, the day before he left."

He picked up a huge, fluted pauldron, handing it to Faramir. "The best work I have ever done; I will make nothing like it again." The leather lining was stained with salt and still breathed the faint musk of sweat. The curved steel was etched with twining branches and eight-petaled stars and, almost hidden, a hunting horn.

"There is none in the City who could wear them now," the armorer said with a catch in his voice. "Forgive me," he whispered when he saw that Lord Faramir wept.

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