Tongues of Men and of Angels|
I don’t own LOTR. I borrowed some
of these characters from Professor Tolkien because I love his stories,
not to make money. I promise I’ll put them back unharmed.
Rating – PG13
Summary: Unexpected problems arise
for Aragorn when Faramir desires to learn the language of Harad from
Aragorn stretched out his long
legs and sighed as he picked up yet another document requiring his perusal
and signature. He was interrupted by a knock on the door of his study.
“Come in,” he called, expecting
a servant with refreshments he had asked for. To his surprise it was
“May I ask a favour of you,
sire?” said Faramir. He respectfully dipped his head.
“How might I help you, Faramir?”
Aragorn pushed the papers to one side. He stood up to stretch his cramped
limbs. “Sit down and be easy, I have sent for refreshments.” He
gestured towards the couch on the far side of the room. “They always
send me sufficient to feed a Hobbit or two!” He sat down again.
Faramir sat, but failed to
Just then a servant arrived
bearing a tray laden with food and drink. Aragorn helped himself to
tea and cakes and gestured Faramir to do likewise.
“You have travelled to Harad,
have you not sire?” said Faramir.
“I have indeed. It was a
strange land, colourful and brutal, and above all, hot! But I doubt
that it is the weather you desire to discuss with me?”
“My uncle told me, sire,
that you can speak the language of Harad.”
Aragorn nodded and looked at
“I was wondering, sire, if
you would be so gracious as to teach it to me. As you have invited an
Ambassador from Harad to dwell in Minas Tirith. I should like to be
able to greet him in his own tongue.”
“That is a gracious gesture,
Faramir, but I expect the man will be able to speak Westron.”
“I understand if you are
too busy to teach me, sire. I will detain you no longer.” The Steward
pushed aside his half eaten slice of cake and rose to his feet.
“Stay, finish your cake at
least,” Aragorn protested. “I did not mean that. It is simply that
it is a near impossible language to master, unlike any tongue we speak
in Gondor, and that is only the spoken form. The written language is
even worse. Have you not enough to master with the tongue of the Mark?
Your Uncle told me you were determined to become fluent in it before
Lady Éowyn arrives, which is most commendable.”
“My studies are progressing
well, sire,” Faramir replied. ”I enjoy learning languages.”
“Come to me after the Council
meeting tomorrow, then,” said Aragorn. “I will begin your lessons.
I warn you, though, you will find it very difficult.”
Thank you, sire. I am most
grateful.” Faramir finished the cake, bowed low and took his leave.
Aragorn sighed again when the
door shut, this time in exasperation. He had only been king a few months,
but already he was weary of all the bowing and scraping. He had told
his Steward only to do it in public, but the man seemed deaf to his
plea. And now this request to learn the tongue of Harad! Aragorn could
only assume that Faramir was over diligent and eager to please in his
duties. He could but hope that the young man would at least be able
to get his tongue around a few simple phrases of greeting without embarrassing
himself. He thought back to his own attempts to learn from a friendly
trader who had roared with laughter at his pupil’s early mispronunciations.
It seemed that instead of saying “Greetings, fellow traveller, where
might water be found?” Aragorn had said, “Be gone, you louse, I
am a fountain.” Aragorn still blushed at the memory. He inwardly vowed
not to laugh at all the mistakes his pupil was likely to make. Why,
he would even tell the young man about all his mistakes to put
him at his ease! At least it was not a matter of life or death that
Faramir should master the language. Aragorn had endeavoured to listen
rather than speak during his time in Harad. When speech had been needed
he had introduced himself as a merchant from Umbar to explain both his
grey eyes and any mispronunciations he might make.
How blessed they were that
it was now possible to learn the language for pleasure and not as a
Aragorn decided to be a diligent
but kindly teacher to his Steward. He would gently correct Faramir’s
mistakes and bolster his confidence by praising him if he managed to
pronounce any of the difficult phrases correctly.
Faramir arrived promptly for
his first lesson. Aragorn decided to test his Steward’s aptitude for
languages in general by greeting him in the tongue of Rohan. Faramir
did not bat an eyelid but replied in the same tongue, with a perfectly
executed greeting and enquiry regarding King and Queen’s good health
and the health of his horses.
Aragorn smiled indulgently.
Maybe teaching Faramir would be easier than he anticipated. “I will
begin by teaching you some of the greetings they use in Harad,” he
said. “Elaborate greetings are especially important in their society
and are meant sincerely. I suggest you greet the ambassador with these
words, Greetings most illustrious guest. May the spirits of your
ancestors always walk in the shade of the oasis!”
Aragorn spoke slowly and carefully
expecting to need to repeat the phrase several times before Faramir
would venture to try it. Instead the Steward repeated it at once.
Faramir shook his head and
said “No, that was not correct at all, I mispronounced that.”
“You only stressed the second
syllable of ancestors when it should be the first,” said Aragorn
looking at the young man in blank amazement. He repeated the phrase.
This time Faramir spoke it flawlessly.
By the time the bell rang for
the midday meal in the Citadel Faramir had mastered all the greetings
in the tongue of Harad as well as enquiries about the weather and the
health of the guest and his family. Aragorn was relieved that it was
time to eat as he was finding it increasingly difficult not gape open
mouthed at his Steward. He supposed the young man simply had a good
ear. Learning and remembering the complex phrases was another matter
“Thank you, sire, I greatly
enjoyed my lesson,” Faramir said rewarding his lord with a rare smile.
“May I learn more tomorrow?”
“Will you not need time to
memorise the phrases you have learned today?” the King enquired.
“I assure you I shall not
neglect my other duties, sire.” Faramir looked a trifle hurt.
“I never thought that you
would,” said Aragorn. “I will see you tomorrow then,” said Aragorn.
“You have done well today.”
The next morning Aragorn greeted
his pupil in the full expectation that they would spend the hour going
over the same phrases but instead Faramir greeted him using one of the
phrases he had taught him the day before.
“May the sun never dazzle
your eyes, most esteemed lord!” said Faramir, pronouncing the
“Excellent, Faramir!” Aragorn
replied. “You have done well to remember one of the greetings.”
“I fear I have forgotten
the last phrase that you taught me yesterday,” said Faramir looking
rather displeased with himself.
“You are only human,” said
Aragorn, expecting that his Steward had forgotten more than one phrase,
but no, Faramir recalled them all perfectly and eagerly learned many
more. It seemed that the young man had a remarkable aptitude for languages,
which rivalled that of his King’s!
“You look sombre, sire, I
hope I have not displeased you?” said Faramir when the lesson ended.
“I shall try harder next time.”
“I am just a little tired,
Faramir, I am delighted with your progress,” Aragorn assured the younger
“I shall have to give Faramir
another lesson tomorrow,” Aragorn told Arwen after they dined that
“Why are you so gloomy at
the prospect? I thought you liked your Steward?” said Arwen.
“I do. I find him somewhat
too reticent, but he is a good man.”
“Then he makes a poor pupil?”
“Quite the contrary! He is
a brilliant linguist who only needs to hear a phrase once or twice to
master it. At this speed, he will soon speak the tongue of Harad better
than I do and I dwelled there for several months!”
Arwen laughed. “Why, Estel,
I do believe that you are jealous!” she exclaimed. ”You do not like
Faramir surpassing you.”
Aragorn glared at her. “Jealous,
of course not!” he protested. “Why should I be jealous? I was brought
up amongst Elves who surpassed me in all things!”
“But they were Elves, not
Men. You are used to excelling amongst your own kind,” said the Queen.
“I suppose I am,” Aragorn
“And you do,” said Arwen.
She moved closer to him on the couch and kissed him Eagerly, he returned
“No other kisses could be
so sweet from man or Elf!” said Arwen. “You should pity poor Faramir,
bereft of kin and yet to wed. He has only obscure tongues for company
tonight. “Are there not any Haradrim prisoners who remained behind
that Faramir could practise his linguistic skills with?”
“A handful of the wounded
remained in the City,” said Aragorn. “I shall enquire as to their
whereabouts. Yes, I do feel sorry for Faramir, he has endured things
that no man should and he does not have such consolations as I do.”
He kissed Arwen again and forgot everything save the joy of being in
The next day Aragorn sent for
the Warden of the Houses of Healing and enquired of him as to what had
become of the prisoners from Harad. The Warden informed him that a few
still remained within the Houses, their wounds having left them too
severely crippled to travel home and having no place to go within the
“I am hoping that the new
Ambassador will do something to help these poor fellows, sire,” said
“So am I,” said Aragorn.
“I hope first that at least one of them might help Lord Faramir in
his desire to master the tongue of Harad.”
The Warden laughed. “Rather
our Steward than I then! I find it an impossible language to learn,
but Lord Faramir has always been something of a scholar.”
“Lord Denethor was a great
lore master. He must have been pleased that his son followed in his
footsteps,” said Aragorn.
The Warden shook his head sadly.
”Alas, no,” he said. “Though he loved lore himself, the old Steward
wanted his sons to be warriors, not scholars. Maybe he grew to distrust
lore, as nothing was able to save the Lady Finduilas. Given the times
we were living in, I can understand, but I always felt we had to use
more than weapons to fight against the Dark Lord, otherwise we would
end up no better than the Orcs we fought against! I believe that Lord
Faramir could see that while Lord Denethor could not. I rejoice that
we now live in happier days where a fine young man with a love of lore
like our Lord Faramir might flourish.”
“Indeed,” said Aragorn.
“I am well pleased with my Steward.”
“Well if you will excuse
me, my lord, I must return to my patients,” said the Warden. ”I
fear I am letting my tongue run away with me as much as our good Dame
Ioreth, but Lord Faramir’s welfare is dear to my heart. I will always
be grateful to you for saving his life, sire.”
“Too many good men perished.
I am glad that I was able to save one of them,” said Aragorn.
“You saved the very best
of them, my lord,” said Warden. He bowed and took his leave.
Aragorn picked up a document
from the top of the pile as soon as the man had left and stared at it
unseeing. How could he resent Faramir’s aptitude for languages? He
was as bad as Denethor! Aragorn thought of his childhood. A loving mother
had raised him and Master Elrond had been the kindest of foster fathers.
Not only had he been taught to fight as soon as he was old enough, but
encouraged to learn the healing arts, as well as the vast lore that
the libraries of Rivendell contained. Poor Faramir had been bereft of
a mother at an early age, denied his father’s love and the scholarly
pursuits that he craved. He had lost the brother he loved in the war
and freely given up the rule of Gondor to Aragorn. Yet despite knowing
all this, Aragorn still felt a nagging resentment that his pupil threatened
to surpass him.
Faramir received the suggestion
that he visit the prisoners of war from Harad with more enthusiasm that
“I will be pleased to have
a chance to practise my pronunciation,” the Steward said. “Also
I will be causing you less trouble.”
“You are a pleasure to teach,”
Aragorn assured him swiftly. “I shall continue our lessons until the
Ambassador arrives next month.”
Faramir continued to pick up
the language of Harad with amazing speed while Aragorn endeavoured to
teach him with as much enthusiasm as he could muster. Faramir had been
visiting a native of Harad who had lost both arms and a leg during the
battle for Minas Tirith. From what the King could gather of these visits
from his Steward’s account, the man was unsurprisingly, angry and
bitter. Aragorn wondered if Faramir would anything from him. Of the
other prisoners who lingered in the Houses of Healing; one had lost
his wits while another refused to converse with his captors. The young
man who had agreed to talk to Faramir appeared to be so doing out of
boredom rather than any desire to improve relations between the two
If this was how those they
had tried to heal reacted, Aragorn wondered if it were a good idea after
all to invite an Ambassador. But how could relations between Gondor
and Harad ever improve if there were no contact between the two peoples?
On the day of the Ambassador’s arrival, the King confided his apprehensions
to his Steward and Faramir admitted that he shared them.
Aragorn sat on his throne to
receive their guest with Faramir seated in the Steward’s chair. Guards
kept a watchful eye on the proceedings.
The ambassador entered alone.
He was a tall man with a black beard, olive skin and brown eyes. He wore flowing robes of purple and
dark blue rather than the scarlet warriors' garb with which Aragorn
and Faramir were both painfully familiar. The man prostrated himself
low before the throne.
“I bring greetings
from the exalted and esteemed Lord of all Harad to the most excellent
High King of the Western Realms,” he said in heavily accented but
fluent Westron. “I am your most humble servant, Naim, son on of Nasih,
of the tribe of Wakil.”
“May the sun never dazzle
your eyes and stars light your path,” Aragorn replied. “Rise friend
and be welcome. May this day herald a new era of peace between us.”
“This is an auspicious day
as glorious as an undiscovered oasis,” said Naim. “The spirits of
many I loved dearly now dwell in eternal shade. I would have my sons
know peace, not war.”
“I should like to invite
you to dine with me tomorrow and the fair blossoms of your garden to
dine with my Queen,” said Aragorn.
“I gladly accept your most
gracious invitation, esteemed Lord King,” said Naim. “Like you,
I choose but one fair flower.” He bowed again and prepared to take
“May the sun never dazzle
your eyes, most excellent one until our next meeting!” said Faramir
in the tongue of Harad.
Naim smiled and returned the
“He seems a much more agreeable
man than I had expected,” said Aragorn as soon as he was alone with
the Steward. “I was surprised that he spoke our tongue so well and
he does not appear to keep a Harem.”
“Maybe I should not have
spoken to him in his language then?” said Faramir.
“I believe the gesture pleased
our new Ambassador,” said Aragorn. “It will be interesting to see
if our favourable impressions persist when we have a longer conversation
with him on the morrow.”
In order to avoid any possible
embarrassment to either side over the food being served, the dinner
for the ambassador was an informal affair. The guests were served from
dishes on a table at the side of the room and then sat in groups at
Together with the Ambassador
came several of his entourage, while Aragorn and Faramir were discretely
accompanied by guards. Several lords and captains had also been invited
to meet the Ambassador Meanwhile in the royal couple’s private quarters,
Arwen was entertaining the ambassador’s wife, aided by a woman from
the Houses of Healing who spoke some of the Harradic tongue.
Aragorn was glad of the catering
arrangements he had chosen when he saw the Ambassador eagerly consuming
large quantities of a spicy dish, which Aragorn recalled only to well
from his travels. A single bite sufficed to set his mouth afire. King
of the West instead of a lonely traveller, Aragorn smiled and quaffed
some wine to cool his throat. The Southrons enjoyed their pepper even
more than he remembered. He was glad to be able to turn his attention
to the cold meats served in the Gondorian fashion. Faramir was doing
likewise after a discreet word of warning from the King concerning the
more exotic dishes on offer.
“My fair flower was very
much looking forward to meeting your esteemed Queen,” said the Ambassador.
“These past weeks have been hard for her, needing to travel as she
nurtures my seed and grows greatly.”
“I hope your fair lady will
soon be safely delivered,” said Aragorn. “The midwives from the
Houses of Healing would be happy to assist her.”
“We plan to give our latest
blossom a name from your fair land,” said the ambassador. “He or
she will bear a lasting token of the new peace between us.”
“The Houses are currently
home to some of your countrymen,” said Aragorn. “We captured them
during the war. They have long since been free to depart, but are too
crippled to do so as result of their wounds.”
“I will pay for them to continue
to be cared for here,” said Naim.
“Would they not prefer to
return home?” Faramir asked.
The Ambassador laughed bitterly.
“By taking them prisoner, gracious King, you saved their lives. In
my homeland, if a man is badly injured in battle, he falls on his own
sword, or a comrade despatches him if he can no longer fight for his
country. Lord Sauron demanded a heavy tribute and those that could not
pay him service forfeited their lives. I fear it will take time for
things to change.”
Faramir repressed a shudder.
Friendly and eager to please Naim might be, but he came from a land
whose invading warriors Faramir had fought since he was old enough to
wield sword and bow. He had lost many good comrades to the warriors
of Harad. An image of one of his Rangers cleft almost in twain by a
Southron sword swam before his eyes. “I think I will have some dessert,”
“What shall I fetch you,
my lord?” a hovering servant enquired.
“I think I will stretch my
legs,” said Faramir. The Steward wandered over to the table piled
high with exotic fruits, custards and syllabubs. Faramir felt slightly
nauseous at the memories that been stirred within him and was loth to
eat any more just yet.
Two of the Ambassador’s entourage
were by the table chattering to each other in their own tongue.
“Is your dagger sharp?”
Faramir ignored them, assuming
they were concerned about slicing fruit, but both men chose custards
“Be careful,” said the
other. “We are not alone.”
“The fools do not understand
us,” said the first man. “I brought two blades for good measure.
The conqueror’s days are numbered. Tonight he drinks his own blood!”
Faramir realised to his horror
that these two were planning to murder Aragorn. Trying to appear as
nonchalant as possible, he picked up a peach from the table and made
his way back to his place, never taking his eyes from the would be killers.
“Shall I slice that for you,
my lord?” asked a servant.
“No thank you.” Faramir
brushed the man aside. Just then one of the Haradrim reached inside
his flowing robes.
“Guards, arrest those men!”
The guards raced to obey Faramir’s
“This is an outrage!” the
ambassador protested. “Release my companions at once!”
“They plan to kill the King,”
Hearing the commotion, more
guards raced to the scene. They seized the ambassador and the remainder
of his entourage.
“How dare you?” said Naim.
“We came here in peacefulness. We offer not harm to your esteemed
“You call this no harm?”
A guard held up a long handled curved dagger with a serrated blade.
“It is punishable by death to carry a concealed weapon in the presence
of the King.”
“Explain yourself, Ratib,”
said the ambassador sternly.
“The enemy of the Lord of
Gifts deserves to choke in his own blood!” said Ratib in his own tongue.
“Let him perish as my brothers were slain!”
“A curse upon him and all
of his kind!” cried the second would-be assassin, while a guard relieved
him of an equally evil looking blade. He spat in Aragorn’s direction.
“Mercy, most gracious and
esteemed Lord King!” Naim managed to break free from the grasp on
the guard who was restraining him. “Let not your wrath fall upon my
fair flower and fruits. Shave my beard and tear my robe, do with me
as you will, but harm not them! Shame not my fragrant flower and let
my sons live! They are but babes.”
“What do you take me for?”
Aragorn asked angrily. “We do not harm innocent women and children
in my realms. They will be shown more courtesy than you have shown us
with your wicked plot.”
“I plot nothing. I want peace,
between our lands friends. “ Naim’s Westron became increasingly
broken in his agitation.
A sudden horrible thought struck
Aragorn. The ambassador’s wife was with his Arwen! What if her pregnancy
were but a pretext and she was concealing weapons beneath the flowing
robes that the Haradrim wore? “See that the prisoners are taken into
custody,” he ordered Faramir. With that he ran from the room, calling
for more guards to join him.
Aragorn drew his sword when
he reached his apartments. “Wait there,” he ordered the guards.
He flung the door wide and went within calling his wife’s name.
“Whatever is the matter Estel?”
Arwen appeared from her private sitting room.
“Where is the ambassador’s
wife?” Aragorn demanded.
“Lady Johara? She is resting.
The poor woman should never have undertaken so long a journey in her
“Her condition? She may not
be with child at all, but instead be concealing weapons.”
“What nonsense, Estel! She
permitted me to feel the baby kicking as well as Dame Miriel from the
Houses. She was curious about my Elven abilities and I was able to tell
she was carrying a strong healthy child who was eager to be born. Whatever
is all this about? You will frighten the poor lady bursting in like
“She might well be frightened,”
Aragorn said grimly. “Her husband and his companions were planning
to murder me!”
“My husband is no assassin!”
A foreign sounding voice called.
Aragorn gripped his sword hilt
tighter as its owner appeared, an olive skinned woman who waddled across
the room in great agitation.
“What have you done with
my husband?” the woman asked. “Who are you?”
“I am the King,” Aragorn
replied. “Your husband is under arrest, my lady.”
The woman gave a cry in her
own language and sank senseless to the ground.
Aragorn bent over her, looking
concerned. Dame Miriel together with a woman who appeared to be Lady
Johara’s maid came running at the sound of her cry. The maid, oblivious
as to who Aragorn was, started screaming curses at him in her native
tongue. Dame Miriel tried vainly to calm her.
“She has fainted,” said
Aragorn. He scooped the woman up and carried her to the couch in Arwen’s
solar. While the other women fussed around her, Aragorn took Arwen to
one side and explained to her all that happened.
The Queen listened gravely,
her eyes wide with horror.
“It was when the so called
ambassador mentioned his wife that I feared you might be in danger,”
he explained. I shall send the woman and her children back to Harad.”
Dame Miriel approached them
looking grave. “ I believe the Ambassador’s wife might be about
to give birth, my lord, my lady, though I would need to examine her
properly to be certain,” she said. “She has started to have strong
“I will bid the guards carry
her on a litter to the Houses of Healing,” said Aragorn.
“Your pardon, sire, but I
do not think she should be moved, ”said Dame Miriel. “I doubt she
could reach the Houses in time and the journey would be most unpleasant
for the poor lady.”
“She shall stay here of course,”
said Arwen before her husband could answer. Her tone permitted no argument.
“I must return to the prisoners,”
said Aragorn. “My guards will remain in case of any threat to you.”
“Well, they can wait outside,”
Arwen said firmly. “Whatever her husband might have done, Lady Johara
deserves some privacy for the birth.”
“I ask you only to be careful,”
said Aragorn as he took his leave.
Arwen returned to the solar
where Lady Johara lay on the couch .She was trembling.
“There is no need to be afraid,”
Arwen said kindly. “Your baby will soon be with you.”
“Then what will become of
us?” cried Lady Johara. “I be shamed before my husband ere we die,
and my precious jewels enslaved! My lord never hurt yours!”
Arwen grasped the woman’s
hand. “The King would never abuse women and children thus, and your
husband will be given a fair hearing. I place you and your children
under my personal protection.”
“You are most gracious, esteemed
Lady Arwen.” Lady Johara managed a faint smile.
Meanwhile Faramir had personally
searched the ambassador in deference to his rank and found no weapons
on him. Neither had the guards found any further weapons on members
of his entourage. Faramir told the guards to take the two would be assassins
to prison, but felt loath to send the others there until he had consulted
with the King.
He now sat with Naim in an
anteroom near the reception hall. A guard was stationed outside, but
the two were alone together. “I desire peace, I would not harm your
esteemed Lord King,” said Naim yet again. He was less agitated now
and was speaking fluent Westron.
“For my part, I sense no
deception in you,” said Faramir. “But if you desire peace, why bring
two companions who would rob Gondor of her lord?”
“I chose them not, exalted
Lord Steward” said Naim. “My lord commanded I bring fourteen companions,
two from each of our seven great tribes. I come from the tribe of Fatin,
as does my fair blossom. Those contemptible sons of dogs are born of
the Suhayb tribe. Maybe their leader want war within our lands as well
as your esteemed lord’s kingdom?”
“I see,” said Faramir thoughtfully.
He knew all too well that there were rival factions within Gondor. Maybe
the same was true of Harad? They still knew very little about their
former enemies. When the Dark Lord had been overthrown, there had been
a rebellion in Harad and the ruling lord had been slaughtered and replaced
with one of his former captains. It was with this new leader that a
treaty had been signed. “What tribe was your former leader from?”
“The accursed sons of Suhayb,”
“And the Lord who rules Harad
“He is of my tribe, his father’s
uncle and my father, may their souls dwell forever in the shade of the
oasis, were brothers, most esteemed Lord Faramir.”
“I see,” said Faramir.
Everything suddenly began to make sense. “Unless the King decrees
otherwise,” he said, “ I place you under house arrest until we ascertain
the full truth of this matter. I believe you to be innocent of plotting
against the King, but I will take no chances with my lord’s well well-being.”
“Nor should you, esteemed
lord,” said Naim. “May the sun’s rays never burn you.”
Three hours later, Lady Johara
was sitting propped up in bed in a guest chamber in the royal apartments,
clutching her tiny newborn daughter. The baby was a little early, but
strong and healthy.
“She is beautiful,” said
“You have been most kind,
gracious Lady Arwen,” said Johara. “Alas, that she will grow up
Just then a servant tapped
on the door “ The Ambassador asks if he might see his wife?” she
“Let him enter,” said Arwen.
“How is my fair flower, esteemed
Lady Queen?” asked the Ambassador as soon as he was allowed through
“She is well,” said Arwen
bristling slightly at the man. She had heard that the men of Harad were
unloving husbands who treated their womenfolk worse than their beasts.
“And the child?”
“You have a daughter,”
Arwen sounded rather defensive. “A fair and healthy child whom you
can be proud of.”
“A daughter!” Long have
a desired you a priceless treasure, exalted lady, but I am glad I was
not granted such until the days of peace where she can flourish and
blossom as she ought.”
“Naim!” cried Lady Johora
at the sound of her husband’s voice. Arwen turned to look at her and
perceived tears of joy were running down the lady’s cheeks.
“My dear love, fairest of
flowers! All is well. The exalted Lord Elessar believes my innocence.”
Naim ran towards his wife.
Arwen retreated to the far
side of the room and gazed out of the window for a few minutes while
the couple were reunited and chattered in their own tongue.
“Esteemed Lady Arwen?”
Johora called after a few minutes.
Arwen returned to the bedside.
Naim bowed low to her. “My fair flower and I would consider it the
highest of honours if you would choose a name for our child,” he said.
“The honour is mine.” Arwen
studied the infant’s features for a moment or two and then said. “I
name her Elwing after my grandmother.”
Lady Johora beamed. “The
name is pretty,” she said. “May your grandmother always dwell by
Aragorn was trying to decipher
an almost illegible document concerning levies on imported grain the
next morning, when a knock on his study door interrupted him.
“Come in!” he called.
Faramir entered and bowed low.
”I have completed the report you requested concerning yesterday’s
incident,” he said.
“I have not yet had a chance
to properly express my gratitude,” said Aragorn standing up and warmly
clasping Faramir’s hands. “You saved my life yesterday with your
quick thinking. I am in your debt.”
“It is my pleasure to be
of service, sire,” said Faramir colouring slightly at the King’s
“One thing surprises me,”
said Aragorn. “How did you know the words used in Harad for things
like “dagger” and “blood”? I taught you formal courtly greetings,
which are not remotely bloodthirsty!”
“I have poor Utbar in the
Houses of Healing to thank for the knowledge,” said Faramir. “He
was none too happy at being asked to talk to me and delighted in telling
me in gory detail what he would like to do to his enemies if his limbs
were sound. I could only pity the young man. He cannot have seen more
than twenty spring times and now he can never walk beneath the trees
nor embrace a sweetheart.”
“I shall see he is well provided
for rather than expecting the Ambassador to pay for his care,” said
Aragorn. “The young man has unwittingly done great service to Gondor.”
“I intend to continue visiting
him,” said Faramir. “By my third visit he ceased to curse and was,
I believe grateful for someone to converse with, even a former enemy.
I am so grateful that you taught me the tongue of Harad, my lord, it
has proved most useful.”
“You are a pleasure to teach,”
said Aragorn and this time he meant it from the bottom of his heart.
What did it matter if a pupil surpassed their teacher? Lore and learning
were treasures that should be shared.”