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Originals and CopiesRated G

The characters belong to Tolkien and his heirs.

A tournament is held in Ithilien



The tip of the sword pressed into his throat. His opponent’s arm pressed down forcing him to drop his own blade.

“I yield,” said Faramir.

“The winner of the tournament is Aegnor son of Adelard,” cried the herald. The watching crowd cheered.

Aegnor sheathed his sword and Faramir held out his hand and gripped that of the other man. “You fought well,” he said with a smile. “My congratulations to a worthy winner.”

“You fought well too, you almost bested me, Lord Faramir,” said Aegnor. He beamed with pride and happiness. “Well I recall watching Lord Boromir take this prize when I was a lad. How Lord Denethor smiled that day! Little did I think I would one day win it myself!”

“My brother would be happy you remember his victory,” said Faramir.

“We won’t see the like of Lord Boromir again,” said Aegnor. “He was my hero when I was growing up.” He shook Faramir’s hand then went receive his prize from the King with the crowd’s applause ringing in his ears.

000

Éowyn strolled through her herb garden with the King. The tournament over, the spectators had dispersed to avail themselves of the excellent refreshments the Lady of Ithilien had provided.

“You see the athelas is growing well here,” said Éowyn.

“The Ithilien soil obviously suits it,” said Aragorn. “Your lands here are thriving.”

“I was glad we could hold the tournament here rather than in the City this year,” said Éowyn. “It means a lot to Faramir.”

“He fought well today,” said Aragorn.

Éowyn looked around here. “Where is Faramir?” she mused. “I saw him last after the prize giving. He said he was going to bathe but that was hours ago now.”

“We came for a walk here so the common folk could enjoy themselves more freely in our absence,” said Aragorn. “Maybe Faramir has done likewise or gone riding? Some exercise would benefit me, so I will go and seek him.”

“Thank you,” said Éowyn. “I should go and help the nanny put my little one to bed.”

000

Aragorn went first to the stables where he questioned the grooms. Three of the men shook their heads when he enquired if they had seen the Steward but the fourth had seen him ride away, though he knew not where.

Declining their offers of assistance, Aragorn saddled Roheryn. He enjoyed the opportunity of putting his somewhat neglected tracking skills to good use. He soon found the prints of Faramir’s house leading away from the fields surrounding the house and towards a nearby hilltop.

He discovered Faramir sitting on a large boulder staring at the surrounding countryside. His horse grazed nearby.

“Faramir!” he called.

The Steward started and got to his feet. “My lord?”

“I do not wish to disturb you.” Aragorn dismounted and settled himself on the boulder.

“You do not,” said Faramir. “I just sought some time alone.”

“Your lady was concerned about you as she had not seen you since the prize giving ceremony. You look troubled, my friend.”

Faramir remained silent for a few moments then said, “I wanted you to be proud of me today, Éowyn too.”

Aragorn raised his eyebrows questioningly. “But we are proud of you. Éowyn and I were saying how well you fought in the tournament.”

“Boromir would not have been defeated, not even by so worthy an opponent as Aegnor,” Faramir said bleakly.

“Boromir was a fine swordsman, but you are not Boromir.”

“No matter how hard I try, I can never measure up to my brother!” said Faramir sadly. “I know I am being foolish but today’s events brought back memories I thought were long buried. Every year, Boromir would win the swordsmanship prize until one year he was away fighting the Southrons. Then I took his place and reached the final of the tournament just like I did today. I can still see the scorn in my father’s eyes when he handed me the runners up prize. He told me I could be the man my brother was.”

Aragorn looked thoughtful. “And why should you be troubled that you are not Boromir?” he said. “You are Faramir and I like you just as you are. There was only one Boromir and there is only one Faramir. You are yourself, not a pale copy of your brother. I heard he could never beat you at chess. I doubt any man could beat you in an archery tournament. You are one of the finest swordsmen in Gondor too. On another day, you would likely best Aegnor and me besides.”

Faramir laughed ruefully. “You are near impossible to best, sire.”

“Only because I was taught by Elves with millennia of experience. Besides, you have beaten me in practice bouts.”

“When you were somewhat distracted, sire!” The Steward smiled at the memory. “Your lady was looking out of the window.”

“As I expect your lady will be now.” Aragorn rose to his feet. “It is good to see you smile again this day. Come now or we will be late for the feast.”

“Tonight, I shall toast my brother’s memory,” said Faramir as he followed the King to where the horses were grazing.

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