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23 June 2008 @ 06:35 pm
Fic for sarasrati34  
Title: Gondor's Rejuvenation
For sarasrati34
By kaleidopy
Characters: Faramir, Eowyn, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Beregond
Rating: PG
Genre: General

sarasrati34 had requested: a fic about problems that could have happened in Gondor or Ithilien, like terrorism or natural disasters.



GONDOR’S REJUVENATION


Kaleidopy



In a half-sleep daze, Eowyn rolled on her side and reached across the bed searching blindly for the familiar shape of her husband’s body. Finding nothing, she discovered she was alone in the bed.

Her eyes opened and with the full moonlight to guide her, she searched the large bedroom for her missing husband. She checked Faramir's side of the bed, attempting to learn how long he had been gone. Judging from the coolness of the sheets she determined he must have been up quite awhile.

She tossed the bed covers away and grabbed her robe as she hurried to the door. She knew exactly where she would find Faramir. Since being crowned Prince of Ithilien and establishing their home in Emyn Arnen, her husband's private study had become the place to discuss anything involving Ithilien. Lately, every citizen in the new fiefdom demanded Faramir's attention, no matter the hour.

Not that she blamed anyone who desired to live in Ithilien - it was simply breathtaking. Growing up in Rohan, Eowyn had heard tales of Ithilien's isolated beauty, but not until Faramir took her to see some of his favorite landmarks did she truly appreciate the land that would become her new home.

She loved Ithilien and Ithilien loved her. It seemed as if the land itself thrived under her care. Gardening had become second nature to her, surprising not only herself, but her husband and Legolas as well.

With Ithilien’s unmatched beauty and a well-respected and loved prince to govern it, the fiefdom was becoming the desired place to rebuild war-torn lives. Almost daily, Faramir was petitioned by friends or family members to relocate them to Ithilien. While Eowyn never heard him deny anyone passage to their land, problems surfaced with a growing and diverse population.

With the war over, many men faced the harsh reality that Gondor no longer needed their services. Having no means of support or any skills, angry inhabitants quickly turned on the new arrivals to Gondor. They blamed the dwarves and elves for taking jobs and lands way from those dismissed from the military.

Faramir and King Elessar quickly prevented the problem from escalating by brokering several secret trade deals with the powerful fiefdom lords. In return, the lords offered generous sections of farmland to the thousands of former soldiers and their families.

Both king and steward believed they had solved the problem. A large population had amalgamated into Gondorian society, and the fiefdom lords appeared patriotic by rewarding their countrymen who had served Gondor heroically.

The king quietly negotiated another deal with the homesteaders and farmers who had returned to the Pelennor Fields. In return for accepting the dwarves as temporary neighbors, they were given tax breaks.

Everything went back to normal, or what Gondorians considered normal, until the day Faramir announced he was granting a group of Mirkwood Elves permission to establish a new settlement in Ithilien. The decision was expected, knowing the growing friendship between Legolas and Faramir, but resentment grew when the Lord of Emyn Arnen expanded the settlement to reach the Crossing of Poros.

Many considered the decision a sacrilege, dishonoring the tomb of Folcred and Fastred at Haudh in Gwanur, until Legolas revealed that the elves desired to restore the place of honor to its former glory. Apologies were accepted, but once they were alone, Legolas revealed to the Ithilien prince and princess that he felt hatred from some who had only moments before begged his forgiveness. The Prince of Mirkwood predicted trouble in Ithilien's near future.

It did not take long for Legolas' premonition to bear fruit.

A week later, a fire destroyed several structures being built by the elves. A month later, a nearby dam was destroyed, flooding a different part of the new settlement. Nearby residents were questioned but no one had seen anything suspicious, and the lack of a suspect, or as Legolas firmly believed, suspects, quickly strained the fragile relationships between the residents and their elven neighbors.

Now with Faramir inside his study at such a late hour, Eowyn couldn't help but wonder if something else had happened at the elves’ settlement, and if so, were the elves threatening to retaliate?

As she approached the closed oak door, Eowyn could hear voices coming from inside the sealed room. One she recognized as belonging to her husband, but it was a second voice, one that was angry and unknown, that alarmed her. She started to reach for a dagger that was kept hidden under a potted plant until she detected Legolas' voice advising the stranger to calm down or face banishment.

With a heavy sigh of relief, Eowyn decided to make her presence known. She knocked on the door, calling her husband’s name.

The door opened quickly and her husband stood before her, concern deeply etched across his face. “Eowyn, are you ill? Should I send...”

“Be at ease, my husband. All is well,” she said, easing his fears. Since announcing her pregnancy two months ago, Faramir worried constantly about her safety and made sure she wanted for nothing. The house staff had been doubled to make certain her requests were met as quickly as possible.

Eowyn glanced at Legolas, smiled briefly at the elf that had become almost like a brother to her husband, and then turned her attention to the stranger.

"This is Galion, my father's personal butler," Legolas said, introducing the older elf to her. Galion bowed slightly in her direction as Legolas continued. "He brings news of another attack on our settlement."

"There are injuries," Galion replied bitterly, surprising everyone in the room. The elf was unlike any other Eowyn had met before. Galion appeared to have a chip on his shoulder, almost hostile towards those not born of elven blood. He turned to Legolas. "None were killed, but several are demanding retribution against those who attacked our settlement."

"Galion, I have my suspicions as to who is behind these acts, but without proof arresting them is impossible." Faramir pleaded with the hostile elf. “I need time to gather evidence and then I will bring these men to justice.”

"You have had three weeks, Prince of Men. I believe the reason you have yet to find a suspect is because you have no desire to find one," Galion replied vindictively. The elf turned his hostilities on the Prince of Mirkwood. "King Thranduil, your father, will not be pleased when he receives my message. While he gave consent for this settlement you desired, he never would have approved if he had known the danger you and our people face in Ithilien."

"You are quick to misjudge an entire race for the actions of a few, Galion. You have done this in the past. Need I remind you of the consequence then?" Legolas asked in an accusing tone.

Galion turned away, knowing the prince was referring to the incident that happened in Mirkwood many years ago. While drunk, several dwarves had escaped under his watch. He had foolishly believed dwarves were not intelligent enough to outsmart him.

The mistake caused the proud elf to be ridiculed for years, resulting in his developing a deep-rooted resentment towards non-elven races. Legolas did not need Galion’s bigotry now. Too much was at stake. He placed a gentle but firm hand on the butler’s shoulder. "You are my father's most loyal servant, but not even you will insult my friends. I value their loyalty as my father values yours. Have I made myself clear?"

Galion bowed in understanding. He turned to the two humans and in a humble voice apologized. "Forgive me. I reacted out of anger and fear. If, Lord Prince Faramir, you still desire my help, I offer my services to you to find these renegades."

"Apology accepted, Galion,” Faramir said, offering his hand to the elf. Galion clasped it and the tension in the large room quickly eased. "I would welcome your insight. Legolas tells me that you have the eyesight of an eagle. Perhaps with your gift we may capture those who have become a thorn in both our sides."

The elf nodded. "Prince Legolas exaggerates. I, however, accept your offer to help."

Eowyn folded her arms against her chest. "Now that you men..." the two elves glanced at her, either feigning or actually insulted by her choice of words. With a hearty laugh, she corrected herself. "Now that you males have decided to call a truce, I shall return to my bed." She turned to leave only to have her husband take her hand gently. Eowyn smiled, knowing what Faramir was thinking. "You need not accompany me to our room, my husband. However, I do request a favor."

"You have only to ask, my lady," he responded, squeezing her hand affectionately. “What is it that you need?”

"Should another incident occur and you are unexpectedly taken from my bed, please inform your wife." She reached up and caressed Faramir's cheek. "I found no joy in awakening to discover my beloved husband gone and with no knowledge of where he went."

"I did not wish to disturb you, Eowyn. You need your sleep, especially in your condition." No sooner had Faramir spoken the last word, he realized his mistake. Eowyn requested not to be treated differently because she was pregnant. If they were to have that discussion again, Eowyn would not hesitate letting others know her feelings as well. He wisely relented. "Very well, it will never happen again, my lady."

Legolas attempted to hide a smile, finding amusement at Faramir’s expense. Eowyn was determined to teach the witty elf a lesson as well. “Legolas, when I discovered you were the one who had disturbed my sleep, I expected you had found the elusive black emperor butterfly. I see you do not have it.”

The smile quickly faded from Legolas’ face. “Eowyn, you ask much. I have not had the time to visit Mirkwood, nor the chance….”

“Eowyn, careful. Legolas believes you are serious,” Faramir said, raising her hand to his lips. When their eyes met, he kissed her hand, and Eowyn felt her cheeks burning. How this man, raised in the harshness of war, could display such open affection and gentleness amazed her. He treated her with such tenderness that she often wondered if she were living a dream. If so, she hoped never to awaken from it.

“If you would excuse me,” she said, smiling at the two speechless elves as her husband escorted her from the room. If she permitted it, Faramir would have taken her back to their bedroom. “No, my husband,” she said, turning to face him. “You are prince of this realm. Our people’s needs come first.” With a quick embrace, Eowyn headed back down the hallway.




Faramir waited until his wife had disappeared down the hall before he closed the door and returned to the business before him. Legolas had arrived an hour ago, but before the Prince of Mirkwood could announce the reason behind the unplanned visit, Galion arrived, disturbing everyone within earshot with accusations against the realm of men.

Legolas had tried unsuccessfully to lure the elder elf back to the settlement, and it wasn’t until the elven prince threatened Galion with banishment did the butler realize he was treading on dangerous ground.

Faramir desperately wanted to speak with Legolas in private, but Galion’s arrival made that impossible now. A plan to uncover the rebels was already in motion and he had only to await news from one of his most loyal officers to enact it.

A knock interrupted his thoughts. Believing Eowyn had returned, Faramir hurried to the door. Beregond stood in the threshold holding a piece of paper in his hand. "Enter Captain," he instructed, stepping aside to allow the officer in the room. "You have news?"

"Aye, my lord," Beregond answered, quickly giving Faramir the paper. "Damrod's messenger just arrived. As you instructed, I have delivered it with the most urgency."

Faramir read the message and then tossed it into the burning fireplace. "My thanks to you, Beregond. Provide the necessary supplies for the courier, and give him my thanks for a job well done.”

“As you ordered, my lord prince.” Beregond bowed and then started to leave.

“Captain Beregond,” Faramir called after the guard. Beregond turned and faced him, a look of seriousness on his face. He walked across the floor, meeting the loyal captain. “Send a message to the king. I have sanctioned more land for the elves.”

“Aye, my lord. I shall instruct a courier immediately.”

“After the courier has been sent, you may take a leave of two weeks,” Faramir said, smiling at the stunned captain. He had known Beregond’s younger brother had arrived a few days ago on a two-week leave in Ithilien. “Perhaps now you may enjoy your brother's visit. Six months is too long for two brothers to remain apart."

A smile quickly spread across the captain’s face. “Thank you, Prince Faramir. There is much about which Iorlas and I must reminisce."

As Beregond closed the door, Faramir walked to his desk, pulled out a map and beckoned the elves closer. He pointed to several locations surrounding the outskirts of the elven settlement. "Several of my seasoned rangers have posted small groups of men in these locations. If anyone moves into these areas, they will alert me of their whereabouts. We have set our trap, now we must wait for the prey to arrive."





The Next Evening

Beregond stared across the River Anduin watching as night descended upon Minas Tirith. The tower of Ecthelion, now engulfed in moonlight, appeared as a white marble beacon, guiding those towards the white city.

Though he could only see two of the seven towers, he knew the nightly ritual of the lighting of the lamps had begun.

After he became captain of Faramir’s elite guard and moved to Ithilien, Beregond thought he would miss the activity of Minas Tirith. Upon his first night in the newly declared princedom, all doubts were dispelled and Beregond realized he had become part of history and the rebuilding of Ithilien.

Behind him several guards moved across the newly built courtyard that now connected the white house with other structures. The sounds of building were nonstop, even at this late hour. What was happening in Ithilien, especially Emyn Arnen, was miraculous.

A cool gentle breeze blew in from the river and Beregond glanced upwards and stared at the constellations. How things had changed in just a short time. Had he remained in Minas Tirith, he and his two sons would have spent much of the night stargazing. However the war had changed his sons’ priorities.

Bergil at one time had wanted to become an herbalist, but now had chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the White Company when he came of age. When the family moved to Ithilien, Borlas discovered the lure of the water. Beregond smiled to himself. His youngest would prefer to watch ships moving along the Anduin than eat.

“Enjoying the night?” he heard his brother ask. Beregond turned. Iorlas stood with a glass of wine in each hand. He offered him one while staring at their surroundings.

Beregond took the glass. “Now you understand the reason I moved to Ithilien.”

“I assumed it was your devotion to Prince Faramir,” Iorlas answered. He glanced across the river looking at the white city. After a long moment of silence, Iorlas said, “You cast a long shadow in the citadel, my brother. Many still speak of your bravery and courage against Lord Denethor’s madness.”

“I did what any loyal Guard of the Citadel would have done,” the elder brother said, recalling the last moments of the late steward’s life. “Lord Denethor was not himself. How it pained me to witness his descent into madness. If Faramir had perished in those flames, Gondor would have lost everything.”

At the mention of Faramir’s name, Iorlas’ demeanor changed. “Beregond, I know how well you respect Prince Faramir, but there are rumors…” he paused, glanced over his shoulder, and then lowered his voice. “Have you heard what happened during the last fiefdom council?”

“Last council was six months ago, my brother,” Beregond declared. “What troubles you over a council…”

“There were accusations leveled at Prince Faramir,” Iorlas answered. “Some accused him of being bewitched by the elves.”

“Who dares make such an outrageous statement?”

“Outrageous? Lord Denethor made such a statement. Thus the reason the captain-general was sent to Rivendell.”

“It’s a slanderous lie! Boromir made the decision, not the steward! The captain-general believed the journey to be long and dangerous; therefore, he demanded the task himself. As heir, Boromir claimed it was his right.” Beregond angrily paced the length of the balcony’s railing. “For as long as I can remember, Faramir’s courage has always been questioned. He was never judged on his own merits. How quickly they forget his bravery during the war.”

“None question his bravery, brother.”

“Then why should jealous idle gossip concern you?”

Iorlas sighed deeply. “Beregond, I will not hide my feelings. I do not like these strange beings living in Gondor and taking our lands.”

“Taking our lands?” Beregond asked, surprised at his brother’s absurd statement. He wasn’t sure if he should laugh or be angry. “These strange beings as you call them are the king’s friends and have offered their services to Gondor. We should be thankful for their generosity instead of finding fault.”

“Our lands are being seized. You have only to look at Ithilien to realize this. Only this morning, you said the prince wants to give more land to the elves. Why? Do they need another settlement so quickly?”

“Prince Legolas and the elves have been Ithilien’s salvation. If you were not so judgmental, you would realize how much they have accomplished here in such a short time. The same has been said of the dwarves working in Minas Tirith. None in Gondor could match their success in such a short time.”

“The dwarves and elves could take turns making the white tree grow in Mordor and it would not matter to some, especially to those who mistrust them. Many remain resentful over the decision to give away our lands to these creatures.” Iorlas then revealed what had taken place in council. “King Elessar abruptly ended the meeting because of the outrage.”

Beregond was stunned. Faramir had not told him. Then again, Beregond had not asked, and the prince was not the type to gossip. Iorlas, on the other hand, could never keep a secret. “What happened?”

“Remember, I mentioned someone had accused Prince Faramir of being bewitched by the elves?”

Beregond nodded, wanting to know the origin of the vicious rumor.

“Lord Golasgil said it. He accused Faramir of being under an elven spell. He also demanded every elf and dwarf expelled from Gondor. Had Lord Duinhir not held Prince Imrahil, the prince of Dol Amroth would have struck Lord Golasgil for the insult. King Elessar was so outraged that he threatened sanctions against anyone who insulted his friends, their people, or their families.”

“Golasgil insulted the elves! In the king’s presence!” Beregond asked, shocked that a powerful fiefdom lord who bravely fought in the war would speak such ignorance in public. Golasgil had known the king’s relationship with them. What was the man thinking? “Has Golasgil become a fool?”

“Fool or not, Golasgil’s opinion is shared by others,” Iorlas admitted. “When the dwarfs were given a parcel of the Pelennor Fields and the elves given Ithilien land, they believed the descendants of the rightful owners were slighted.”

“Another vicious rumor, Iorlas. The descendants of those who did not wish to return to Ithilien have been richly compensated. The dwarves are only temporary residents on the Pelennor Fields. Master Gimli desires to return to the Glimmering Caves once the work is completed in Minas Tirith. Those who live nearby know this.”

“Perhaps it is you, my brother, who has heard rumors. When I traveled to Ithilien, I overheard a conversation between two men. They were plotting to drive the dwarves and elves from our lands using any means possible.”

“They speak treason,” the former guard of the citadel declared.

“They believed they are being loyal to Gondor,” his brother countered.





Minas Tirith

Aragorn paced the length of the throne room, turned, and then slowly retraced his steps. To say the king was angry was an understatement, and those standing nearby knew better than to speak while he paced.

He still wore the same singed clothing he had worn when he had helped clear the debris that once had been a tool shed.

The dwarves had built the shed near their small community to store their tools and materials. Last night, an explosive device had destroyed the shed, sending debris flying through the air.

Though nobody was injured, the attack broke the last of the dwarves’ resolve to remain in Gondor. While the debris was being cleared, Aragorn sensed something different in Gimli’s demeanor and asked the dwarf to meet with him in the throne room.

After several attempts to avoid the inevitable, Gimli entered the throne room, asked Aragorn to dismiss the guards, and then reluctantly told his friend of the dwarves planned departure.

The news had infuriated the king.

Gimli stared after the king, wisely waiting until Aragorn had a moment to collect himself. When that moment arrived, it was Aragorn who spoke first.

“My friend, long have you fought by my side. Never have you retreated from a fight.”

“Aragorn, we have fought orcs, men, elves and even Sauron himself, but these are blatant cowards. They strike when none are near to witness their cowardice. We cannot fight a foe who does not have the courage to face us.” Gimli straightened his back. “It is not my choice to return to the Glittering Caves so soon. If I had my way, I would teach these gutless men a lesson they would not soon forget.”

“I shall give you that opportunity,” the king vowed. He moved across the large room and lowered himself to Gimli’s level. “Faramir has a plan. We must give him and Legolas time to set their trap.”

“Bah, what do two wet-behind-the-ears princelings know of such matters?” The dwarf placed his hands upon his hips. “Here, we are rebuilding your city and those two are across the river playing in trees and planting flowers.”

Aragorn smiled, shaking his head at the dwarfs attempt at humor. “Will you stay, my friend?”

“Aye, but only if after those that are responsible are captured, I and the elf are allowed to handle their punishment.”

“You and Legolas?” Aragorn raised a brow surprised that Gimli would suggest an alliance with the much lenient elf. “Would he agree to such a suggestion?”

“The elf would agree.” Gimli began to chuckle. “I promise they will beg you for retribution when they learn what I have in mind.”





Ithilien, a week later,

As Legolas led Faramir through the burned remains of a nearly-completed flet, the result of yet another fire, the rain started falling harder, turning the scorched ground into a slippery muddy goo.

Seven members of Faramir’s elite guard stood nearby, listening as several elves explained their whereabouts during last night’s fire.

"The rainstorm prevented further damage," Legolas commented. He jumped to solid ground. Faramir followed and Legolas led him to a large section of thick trees. "When my people left these lands, these trees were only seedlings. They have opened their branches to our flets. While the decision to build flets is new to our people...."

"Flets? Why not build homes like the humans, Prince Legolas?” Galion said, approaching them from behind. “After all, you have lowered yourself to become their gardener."

Legolas spun around, infuriated at the insult. "Your presence has become tiresome, Galion. Around you, our people flourish. In Gondor, two of the most powerful men are considered friends. Yet, you find only fault.”

"I speak the truth," Galion declared bitterly. He glared at Faramir. "Prince Legolas states you are a friend. You are no friend of the elves. Why have you not stopped the attacks on us? The answer is very clear. You, prince of men, are their leader."

Faramir made a move towards the arrogant elf, but Legolas anticipated the action and grabbed his arm.

Wide-eyed from shock, Galion retreated a few steps to distance himself from the human prince.

"As you can see, my friend, your race is not unique. We too have fools,” Legolas said, glaring at Galion. Before he could reprimand the butler further, laughter erupted from the nearby trees.

Three elves climbed down from the oak branches, mocking Galion and calling him a coward. Furious over the embarrassment, Galion turned and left, unable to escape the growing laughter.

Legolas was unable to contain his laughter. “I must thank you, mellon nin. You have done the impossible. You have sent Galion home with his tail between his legs.”

“It was not my intent to insult him.” Faramir moved to go after the disgraced elf. “I will apologize.”

Legolas grabbed his arm and shook his head. “Forget Galion. To ask him to return would be most unwise.” As the laughter died down and the elves returned to their duties, Legolas pointed to the burned flet. “Your plan worked well. The false rumor of giving us more land attracted the troublemakers. They mistook the flet as another settlement, not the ruse created to capture them.”

“Are they heading towards the river?”

Legolas nodded, pointing to the wet footprints that headed northeast. “When they set fire to the flet, the wind shifted and the rain fall quickly. Fearing capture, they fled. However, they did not anticipate their footprints would remain as evidence of their involvement.”

“I must compliment your people for their restraint. I doubt my people would have allowed such vile individuals to escape unscathed.”

“Had Galion not been occupied, he would have ruined the plan,” Legolas stated. “Have you heard from the rangers? The arsonists were heading in their direction.”

“Damrod and Mablung should arrive shortly. They have been watching the riverside for suspicious activity.”




Half an hour later

Damrod and Mablung entered the false elven settlement, lowered their weapons as they walked towards where Legolas and Faramir stood.

“There are five men, Captain.” Damrod said, preferring to address Faramir by his military title. “They boarded two boats and headed towards Anfalas. Mablung recognized one of the men as Ingold.”

“Ingold?” Faramir asked. Surely he had heard wrong. Ingold was a war hero and a family friend. When Mablung and Damrod nodded, the prince felt heartsick.

Legolas sensed his young friend’s distress. “You know this man, Faramir?”

“Ingold was a friend of the captain-general,” Mablung answered instead.

“More than a friend, Legolas. Boromir was his mentor,” Faramir answered. The prince turned to the ranger. “Mablung, where does Ingold reside?”

“Rammas Echor, Faramir. He is overseeing the repairs.”

“Inform one of the guards to send a message to my wife. Tell her that I am going to Rammas Echor.” Faramir glanced at his two most loyal rangers. “Until we have captured the saboteurs, I want the guards doubled at the house.”

As the two rangers went to relay Faramir’s message to the small division of the prince’s elite guards, Legolas grew concerned over Faramir’s increasing anxiety. “This man, Ingold, does not concern you as much as another. You believe Beregond is involved with the conspirators?”

“No. I refuse to believe my friend would do such a thing. Beregond is a man of honor.

“What of his brother?” Legolas asked. “You do not have the same regard for Iorlas as you do for Beregond.” When Faramir didn’t answer, the elf apologized believing he had misspoken. “Forgive me. Perhaps, it is not my place to ask such questions.”

“You may ask me anything. I could not answer because I have none. I do not know Iorlas that well. Though he is closer in age to me, Beregond and I have always been friends. He seemed to resent our relationship. Beregond tried many times to involve him in our activities, but Iorlas had other interests. I could never reach him. To judge him now would be wrong and without proof or….”

“You have ways of learning what dwells in the hearts of men, my friend,” the Elf replied, offering Faramir his support. “If you have no objections, I will accompany you to Rammas Echor. I wish to look upon the face of one who hates my people.”






Several weeks later

Aragorn tapped his fingers on the armrest as he glared down at the man kneeling before his throne. A few steps below, Faramir squirmed in the steward’s chair. It was a position the young man was learning to accept. “Lord Golasgil, I am within my rights to charge you with treason. However, after considerable discussion with my steward and our mutual acquaintances, I have decided to grant you leniency.”

Golasgil heaved a sigh of relief but remained kneeling. He was afraid if he moved he would anger the king further. “Thank you, your majesty.”

“I want more than your thanks, Lord Golasgil. After I have accepted your resignation as fiefdom lord, consider yourself banished from the realm of Gondor.” The king glanced at the elf and dwarf standing in between two large statues. Even in the shadows, Aragorn could see their smirks. He turned his attention back to the disgraced lord. “Have you anything to say, Lord Golasgil?”

The former lord of Anfalas slowly climbed to his feet. “If I am to be banished, then permit me to speak my thoughts.” Aragorn nodded and Golasgil cleared his throat. “When Lord Denethor died, I, along with many others, believed Faramir…”

“Prince Faramir,” Aragorn angrily corrected the man. “I am well aware of your difference with my steward and the claims against his age and inexperience. While it is true Prince Faramir has become steward at an early age, there have been others in Gondor’s history that were younger. Was there such an outcry then? I think not.” Aragorn rubbed his beard, contemplating his next move. “Speak carefully, Lord Golasgil. Admit this has nothing to do with Faramir. You have used him to spread your hatred against those you do not understand.”

“I understand more than you know, your majesty.” Golasgil admitted. “I regret I have caused Prince Faramir problems. Never was it my intent to injure Lord Denethor’s child. However, Lord Denethor never would have allowed these creatures…..”

“These creatures have aided Gondor longer than your ancestors have occupied the land.” Aragorn angrily jumped from his chair, rushed down the steps, and grabbed the frightened man from Anfalas. He dragged Golasgil towards the wall underneath the large stained-glass windows. Since his accession to the throne, Aragorn had ordered the windows to be kept opened during the day. “Tell me, what do you hear?” When Golasgil would not answer, Aragorn screamed, “I asked you, Lord Golasgil, what do you hear?”

“Ham….hammering,” Golasgil stammered, terrified of the king’s sudden violence towards him. “I hear hammering, my lord.”

“Yes, hammering. It is the dwarves. Master Gimli’s people have rebuilt the great gate, repaired our roads, and are now showing our people how to strengthen the white city’s great walls. And you have rewarded their generosity with sabotage.” Aragorn shoved the man to the floor and walked back to the throne. “You have caused great harm, Golasgil. It is my hope that you and your conspirators’ reign of terror has ended.”

Golasgil once again climbed to his feet. It was then he noticed the elf and dwarf standing nearby watching him. He turned to leave. “I shall render my resignation….”

“I have not given you leave,” the king said. He shouted for the door guards to bring in the other conspirators who awaited his judgment. Ingold, Iorlas, and four other men entered the throne room and stood next to Golasgil. None said a word as Aragorn sat down and gave each a stern glare.

When Faramir approached Ingold at Rammas Echor, he first denied having participated in any of the attacks. After intense questioning about his sudden wealth, Ingold finally admitted his guilt. He named his fellow conspirators, which included Iorlas, a disgruntled guard who had been posted at the great gate, and member of the white company, several bigoted ex-military leaders, and an angry farmer who bitterly opposed living next to a dwarf.

Lord Golasgil was revealed to have been their benefactor, paying them to drive the elves and dwarves from Gondor's borders. In exchange for this information, Faramir spoke to the king on Ingold’s behalf, promising nothing more than a reduced sentence.

Now the guilty stood before him, and Aragorn had no qualms about punishing them.

“Prince Faramir has yet to pass judgment for the damage caused his realm. When penitence has been paid to him, I shall expect the resignations of those involved.”

The guilty bowed and then turned to Faramir to await the young man’s decision on their future.

“Your punishment shall fit your crime. Lord Golasgil, step forward.” Faramir waited until the man had obeyed before he began reading from a document. “The elven settlement has need of building supplies, barges to ship them across the river, and people to carry them to the settlement. You are to pay for the manpower, supplies, barges, and anything else Prince Legolas deems necessary for needed repairs.”

“As you order, Prince Faramir. I shall make the necessary funds available upon request.” Golasgil bowed, and then stepped back in line.

“Captain Iorlas step forward.” After Iorlas obeyed, Faramir continued. “You are hereby stripped of rank and dishonorably discharged from the military. You are sentenced to work in the elven settlement under Prince Legolas’ supervision.”

The remaining men were sentenced to working with the dwarves.

“I believe Gondor is satisfied with this judgment.” Aragorn turned to his steward. “Is it not, lord steward?” Faramir nodded. The king glanced down once more at the five men. The former lord of Anfalas opened his mouth and with a roll of his eyes, Aragorn once again gave him a moment to speak.

“Your majesty, the fiefdom lords do not meet again until next year. You demand my resignation a year from now?”

“I believe it will be a lot longer than that, Lord Golasgil. Once your penitence to Gondor has been completed, you and your friends will accompany Master Gimli to the Glittering Caves in Rohan and pay penitence to him and his people. When the dwarves are satisfied your debt has been repaid, King Thranduil awaits your visit in Mirkwood.”

Golasgil’s mouth dropped open. He was unable to form words to either protest or accept the unusual demand. Would the king of Mirkwood kill him for endangering his elves, or worse, his son? Then there were the dwarves in the Glittering Cave. There had been rumors of what their kind did to those they did not like.

As the five men were led out of the throne room, the heavy doors were shut behind them. Gimli and Legolas stepped out of the shadows and Faramir and Aragorn quickly joined them.

“Gentlemen,” Aragorn said addressing the elf and dwarf. “I believe you both enjoyed that performance.”

“Indeed I did, Aragorn. As did the elf,” Gimli admitted. When he had suggested the unusual punishment to Legolas, he was delighted at how quickly the elf had agreed. “Now, how long must we wait before I have that stuffy lord working in my mines?”

The elf, dwarf, king, and steward stared at one another before Aragorn started laughing. The laughter quickly became contagious.




The End




Thanks, kaleidopy!
 
 
 
sarasrati34sarasrati34 on June 24th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
In retrospect, this was a very hard prompt I gave you! I was watching the news and couldn't think of anything to send in for the exchange... but you have risen to the occasion greatly! I like the complexities you have brought in; the relations between the Elves and the Dwarves and the Men are very interestingly portrayed. And what a clever ruse to catch the rebels (but of course, who would expect anything less from Faramir). I enjoyed it very much, and thank you!
kaleidopykaleidopy on June 24th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
You are more than welcome. This was my first exchange and I must admit I was a little intimidated. I am pleased you enjoyed the story.

And honestly, your prompt idea was not hard. In fact, with the topics you suggested, the hardest part was deciding which one to write.

little_dwarf on June 24th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
Excelent story! I loved how well you handled the complex and difficult situation! After all, Middle Earth is not a perfect place, not even after the War...

Interesting plot idea, great characterization (one of the few fics where I honestly liked Legolas) and good writing! :) I would have liked to see Beregond's reaction at his brother being involved in the treason, and perheps the capturing mission itself, but I'm aware that the fic would have turned into a small novel... :))

Anyway, great work, and, as an obsessed Eowyn/Faramir shipper, I have to thank you for Eowyn's brief appearance - the tenderness Faramir showed her was wonderful! *dreamy eyes*
kaleidopykaleidopy on June 24th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
I had plotted a scene where Beregond discovered his brother's treason, but I had already requested two extensions and felt asking for another would not be right.

In the scene, Beregond confronts Iorlas, and his brother admits everything. Unabashed, Iorlas taunts Beregond with their family's reputation and how it will effect his nephews' future if Beregond tells Faramir the truth. As Beregond considers his next move, he is unaware of Legolas' presence. The elf had heard the entire conversation. And that is another story......

Thank you for your kind comments.

little_dwarf on June 24th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
How interesting! That would make another great fic! :) Perhaps you could write it someday... ? :) I would really like to read it!
enkemeniel: dave cheersenkemeniel on June 24th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! I love how you captured the fact that there will always be those idiotic group of people (men or otherwise) who resent those who are different from them. Nicely handled by Faramir too!

Well done!
kaleidopykaleidopy on June 24th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Faramir is a true diplomat. When faced with idiots in his own backyard, he handled the rabble-rousers with honor and granted them leniency. Perhaps out of pity? Who knows? The troublemakers have yet to face the dwarves and elves and their brand of punishment.



Edited at 2008-06-24 04:57 pm (UTC)
elaborate blue tentacles of hilarityvalis2 on June 24th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
A great story--I loved the characterizations and the mystery. Great dialogue, too! Very enjoyable!
kaleidopykaleidopy on June 24th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
lindahoylandlindahoyland on July 2nd, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
An enjoyable and gripping story.