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X. Wings of Summer (Faramir, Aragorn)
In another time, one that seemed as distant as the shores of Elvenhome, Aragorn reflected, he would have been fishing. He would have sat on a bank in Eriador or Rohan or in the Ered Nimrais, cooling his toes in the water, listening to the wind blow through the trees, concerned only with catching his repast and not being caught by his foes.
It had not been so long ago, Faramir remembered, that he would have spent such a morning as this out-of-doors, leading his men through the forest to scout the Enemy’s movements in Ithilien.
Aragorn looked around the chamber, noting piles of rolled parchment, scattered pages, chests not yet opened, and one weary Steward.
Faramir lifted his eyes from Steward Turgon’s modifications of King’s Laws Concerning Tariffs to Gondor’s new lord, who now stared glumly toward the narrow window high above them. The air was warm, close and filled with dust that surely went back to the days of King Meneldil.
The eyes of King and Steward met in mutual misery.
“Can that window be enlarged?” Aragorn asked.
“I see no reason why not, my lord.”
“Much larger, then. Perhaps two windows, closer to the ground so they can be more easily opened.”
A bird began to warble outside the window.
“A blackbird,” noted Faramir, envying the creature its merriment on this fine summer day. The bird’s song continued, a low-pitched query that rose and fell with gentle insistence.
The King sneezed. “Cursed dust!” He exclaimed as he sought, found, and used a kerchief. “Faramir,” Aragorn asked; “Are we not, as King and Prince-Steward, the highest lords of Gondor?”
“That is true,” Faramir answered, half-smiling. He could still find his fortune hard to believe, for he had become not only Steward to a King out of legend, but lord of a fair new princedom himself.
“Then I say, since we have labored so mightily in our quest to distinguish the subtleties of kings’ and stewards’ laws, that we not only deserve a brief respite, but bear the authority to permit it.”
Faramir found this premise quite tempting. Duty had long ruled them both. Should that duty hold sway over all aspects and hours of their lives, even in these bright new days of peace? He rose.
“And I weary of this dust!” finished the King, pounding his fist upon the worktable and sending up more still more dust-clouds.
“I have naught else that must be done this day, my lord;” Faramir said, after the King’s sneezes subsided. “And these scrolls, having awaited your return for hundreds of years, can surely wait another day or two.” The next official Council would not sit for another two months, plenty of time to sort the old laws on tariffs and more besides.
The King smiled ruefully. “I would hope so. My lady complains that I saw more of her during all the years of my wandering than I have in these weeks since we wed.”
Faramir thought instantly of his own lady, writing him joyful letters from Rohan, and the shared anticipation of their reunion. The duties of lover to beloved, husband to wife also held merit. And it was his duty and honor to look to his king’s needs, when possible. This need, for freedom and sunshine and a wife’s comfort, could and would be met!
“A valid complaint, my lord;” Faramir answered. “Let us leave this place.” He stretched his legs, stiffened from sitting so long, and felt the taut muscles contract.
A fierce grin flashed across the King’s face. He clapped the younger man’s shoulder heartily. Faramir held his stance and grinned back, thinking of similar touches from Boromir, and, long ago, from their father.
“Come with me, Faramir,” The King urged. “We can draw bows on the archery range, explore the gardens, and take lunch with the Queen. Arwen has told me that she wishes to know you better.”
“I am glad to come, Sire;” Faramir replied. He desired to learn more of Aragorn’s bride. Arwen Undómiel was not only his Queen, but a great lady of a storied line. He wondered whether any of the hobbits or elf or dwarf or wizard, would join them; then recalled that all seven had left the City to explore the Pelennor, carrying provisions for a day’s journey.
The summer air smelled sweet when they emerged from the Hall of Archives. Faramir thought of new winds blowing through the timeworn stones of Minas Tirith, stirring parchments and men. Aragorn took a deep breath, clearing his throat; then shook the last of the dust from his hair. A soft warble sounded from the windowsill. Faramir and Aragorn looked up to see the blackbird cock its yellow-billed head at them. Both men smiled; and quickened their step as the blackbird took wing.
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