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17 June 2008 @ 01:43 pm
Fic for arahiril  
Title: Afterthoughts
For arahiril
By lilan14
Characters: Faramir, Rangers
Rating: G
Genre: General
Warnings: None

arahiril had requested: a fic taking place either before or during the Ring War featuring Faramir as a Ranger/soldier, preferably in Ithilien.



Afterthoughts

Author’s Note: As my OC here, I have used a character I wrote in my drabble Respite, one of The Nine Drabbles. Also, I owe some of this story’s ideas to cressidarambles and her wonderful work The Fifteenth of January. Both can be found at www.fanfiction.net.
Many thanks to illwynd and cressidarambles, who were both so sweet that they agreed to be my beta readers for the story!


***
For the Rangers at Henneth Annûn, that night was more welcome than any other.

They had fought a short but fierce skirmish against a Haradric company; the Rangers made a successful ambush, and that allowed them to get off rather lightly. Ten of them were wounded, including their Captain, who was departing for Minas Tirith with a report on the following day. Faramir would join the escort of the three Rangers whose injuries needed care that could only be provided in the Houses of Healing; he himself had only taken a cut to his arm, not too deep.

Faramir was quite determined to get a good night’s sleep before departing, but that was not to be. He was apparently tired to the point that sleep evaded him.

After a while of tossing and turning, he got to his feet. Often, a walk would help in a fix like this. Or a friendly talk – surely that would not distract the Ranger who was the sentry at the entrance that night.

Faramir walked out onto the wide doorstep, and the man outside immediately turned around, hands reaching for his weapons. However, he instantly recognized his Captain.

‘Is…is anything wrong, Captain Faramir?’ he asked in an alarmed tone.

‘No, all is quiet,’ Faramir answered. ‘But wait…you are Andir, are you not? You joined us but a week ago.’

‘So I did,’ the Ranger replied, nodding. Faramir came nearer, barely able to see the sentry’s face in the scarce light of the crescent moon. Andir was the youngest of them all, a lad of twenty years of age, and in the week he had spent at Henneth Annûn, he had managed to win over every single older Ranger. He was as lively and bouncy as a young dog; however, when he needed, he could shame any cat with his silent steps and perfectly balanced moves. Andir was a born Ranger, young as he was.

‘But what are you doing here at this hour, Andir?’ Faramir asked. ‘I thought I had ordered for no one to be put on sentry duty after they have been in a fight…’

‘I offered to carry it out myself,’ the young Ranger replied quietly. ‘I cannot sleep anyway, so I thought I might as well make myself useful and let someone else rest.’

Faramir took another step and stood beside the lad, casting a sideways glance at him. ‘Because of the ambush?’

Andir nodded and sighed quietly.

‘I have fought before…there had been two smaller ambushes, but somehow…somehow they did not make me feel the way I do now,’ he confessed, looking at his Captain.

Faramir smiled with sympathy and gently put a hand onto the younger man’s shoulder. ‘I think I know the cause of your unrest this time,’ he said.

‘You do?’

‘Yes. Those two other ambushes…they were Orcs, right?’

The lad nodded.

‘And today…you had to fight Men. That is what makes the difference for you.’

Andir looked down, where the water was falling endlessly onto the sharp rocks. ‘That is true…’ he said almost in a whisper. ‘Men just like me…except that they chose the other side.’

They stood in silence for a while, until Andir spoke again. ‘Perhaps…perhaps thinking that makes me a worse defender of my land. After all, they are all enemies of Gondor, and we must fight them, whoever they are.’

‘Then I am just as bad a defender of Gondor as you are,’ Faramir said, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze. ‘I had these same thoughts when I had just become a Ranger, and they still revisit me quite frequently.’

‘That gives me hope, for certain,’ the young Ranger said earnestly. Faramir smiled.

‘I think such thoughts can only do you credit, Andir,’ he said. ‘Not everyone is born to be a warrior, and those who are not often suffer at times like ours. And still, we all fight. Some fight for the exhilaration of the battle; some for a reward; and others still because they know it is the right thing to do, even if they fear it or simply do not enjoy it.’
Andir nodded.

‘I think I understand, Captain Faramir,’ he said. ‘I hardly hated those Haradrim we fought today; I just knew they were enemies that we had to slay…or even Orcs, for that matter. Those are, after all, sentient creatures too; we only know that they have speech, but do they also have friends with whom they crack jokes? Do they have homes to return to? Do they ever look at the fiery Orodruin and enjoy the sight the way we enjoy looking at the starry sky at night?’
He sighed again.

‘Perhaps it is good we do not know that,’ he said. ‘Could we fight our enemies at all if we knew everything about them?’

‘I believe both you and I fight for that last reason I mentioned, Andir,’ Faramir said. ‘That is why we ask ourselves all those hardly answerable questions. They might be answerable at the time of peace…but we have war here. A long defeat, I have heard people say; but I daresay the defeat would be a rather short one if we never stopped to reflect in the midst of our actions.’

‘Many would not agree with you, Captain Faramir,’ Andir said with a faint smile.

Faramir laughed softly. ‘I should not be offended. There are many that I do not agree with.’

Andir produced a quiet laugh too, followed by a wide yawn. Faramir patted him on the shoulder.

‘See, your Captain has managed to talk you to sleep, Ranger,’ he said. ‘Go inside and wake the man who is supposed to be on duty here; I shall wait for him and then seek my own bed.’

‘I shall do so,’ Andir said, nodding. ‘And…thank you.’

And with that, he disappeared in the darkness of the cave, leaving his Captain to reflect upon their talk with a smile on his face.

The End



Thanks, lilan14!
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
 
sarasrati34sarasrati34 on June 18th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Short and sweet! I liked it. :) Poor Rangers, glad they both got some sleep eventually!
Lilan: froglilan14 on June 18th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
*chuckle* It's funny I should get your comment today, because I didn't get any sleep at all the night before last one!! I guess the Rangers took their revenge on me for making them stay up in this story. :-D

Thanks for the feedback! I'm happy you liked the fic :)
lindahoylandlindahoyland on June 18th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much.It is very Faramir that he can understand the dilemma of killing men who just happen to be on the wrong side.Very well written and I liked the OC too.

Edited at 2008-06-18 04:30 am (UTC)
Lilan: pensivelilan14 on June 18th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Linda! I did go for something very Faramir, as you put it, and I'm glad you can read it that way, and I'm glad you like my OC! I've grown rather fond of him myself. ;)

I think this was also inspired a bit by a story by the wonderful Czech writer Karel Capek, in which God employed professional judges for the person's last "trial." He said He could not judge people personally because He knew all about them...
elaborate blue tentacles of hilarityvalis2 on June 18th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
A very interesting glimpse into the Rangers' lives, and into Faramir's thoughts--I enjoyed this very much!
Lilan: little_Faramirlilan14 on June 18th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'd only written one scene with Ithilien Rangers in another story, so I'm still only dipping my toe in the topic, but writing about them is really fascinating. I'm glad you liked this one!
NotThatGirl: faramir can be happy!alexajohnson on June 18th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely lovely!

There isn't much fic out there about this time in Faramir's life, and this was an excellent topic, for I'm sure new soldiers do feel differently about killing orcs vs. other men.

Your OC was incredibly likable, too!

All in all, a lovely read! =D
Lilanlilan14 on June 18th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for the comment! And also, thank you for your kind words about my OC -- I want to hug him myself. *chuckle*

I do feel good about the topic I chose, since it allows me to state in fiction mode that I don't see Tolkienverse as, well, racist. Actually, I'm not sure I'd think about that dilemma at all if it hadn't been for that story by Cressida!
little_dwarf on June 18th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
Wow. This was a very dramatic story! I mean, even if it doesn't describe the battle itself, it includes all the powerful and tragic feelings such a battle implies... It kinda reminded me of "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque... And your choice of title is perfect!

I liked your original character too, but I really loved your Faramir! Not simply warior!Faramir, but *the* Faramir we all know from the book, the one who said those words that I think synthetize Tolkien's own idea about war: "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend..."

Your fic was really deep and thought-provoking, I truly enjoied reading it! :)
Lilan: little_Faramirlilan14 on June 18th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you! This is a really nice comment. :)

I'm really fascinated with the Faramir you talk about, that's why I usually try to keep him in mind whenever I write him. I also wanted to give him a "companion" here, and I'm glad my OC works for you! And of course having someone refer to your story as thought-provoking is one of the nicest things you can get. :)

Thanks for the feedback!
Arahiril: Ithilien Mirarahiril on June 19th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Thank you soooooo much!! I love it!! It's a been a hectic few days, but I wanted to sit down and really enjoy it, instead of read it while I was distracted or in a rush. And I'm glad I did!!

Faramir is so - Faramir here. The characterization is wonderful. And I really like your OC... he just feels green, though I can't really describe how... but I guess that means you're just really good at portraying him.

But even more importantly, I love the issues you've brought up here. You get a great sense of Faramir's deepest principles, and how they apply in a situation that really has no happy answers. A soldier is taught to dehumanize the enemy - but it must be a hard lesson for a man who is not a born soldier to learn. Faramir recognizes that he and Andir are men of a special breed, who are not afraid to face deep moral issues, even if those issues do not help them sleep at night. I like how they take comfort in knowing that there are others with similar thoughts - there is some vindication in knowing that you are not alone in your thoughts.

The highlight, though, was definitely: "A long defeat, I have heard people say; but I daresay the defeat would be a rather short one if we never stopped to reflect in the midst of our actions." An excellent lesson that all would do well to learn, whether in war or in any other conflict, physical or not.

Thanks for a wonderful fic - I greatly appreciate it, and your participation in the exchange!! I can't thank you enough!! :)
Lilanlilan14 on June 19th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy you like it! I love that side of Faramir myself, and I really wanted to explore it -- and it seemed fitting to do it when he's out fighting. Those moral issues and the way book Faramir feels about them is what attracts me to him and what makes him such a cool guy in my eyes. And yes, I did want to give him company as well. :)

Your feedback is just wonderful...as is the idea of this community! You're simply great for starting it! :)
roh_wyn: mt2roh_wyn on June 19th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really like this, Lilan! I can sort of see the scene play out in my head, and I think you captured Faramir's mood and motivation perfectly.

‘I should not be offended. There are many that I do not agree with.’

Ha! So very Faramir.
Lilanlilan14 on June 19th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks! I'm really glad it works for you!

And THANK YOU so much for mentioning that line. I was so proud of it, but you're the only person who singled it out so far! *chuckles*