Author Name: Linda Hoyland
Summary: Faramir is troubled by a sense of foreboding.
Warnings: Mention of injuries.
Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate. No profit has been, nor will be made from this story.
A revised version of a ficlet I wrote back in 2008 for the AA list and then forgot about.
Faramir had awoken that morning with a nagging feeling of unease, which he could not account for. There was nothing he had planned for the day that had reason to cause him any apprehension. He intended to spend the morning working in his study and accompany Aragorn to a public audience that afternoon then dine with the King and Queen that evening. It promised to be a very ordinary day.
The morning had passed without incident and by the time the noonday meal was concluded Faramir was beginning to feel more at ease. He concluded his earlier disquiet must be because he was missing Éowyn and his children, who were at home in Ithilien. The Steward stifled a yawn. The audience seemed to be endless today.
Instead of the high seat atop a slight of stairs, the King used a throne on a low dais for his audiences and usually either Arwen, Faramir, or Prince Imrahil sat a chair beside him and acted as an advisor when needed.
Faramir was starting to understand why his father had discouraged public audiences as much as possible. The people often brought problems which were mainly either trivial or absurd, which only the occasional one worthy of their lord's attention. Aragorn accepted this fact, but strongly believed that the King should be willing to help as many of his people as he could and not be a remote figure seen only by lords and ladies. Faramir wholeheartedly agreed, though sometimes he wished that his lord's subjects were not quite so eager for the King to solve every trivial quarrel that arose between them.
Within the past hour, Aragorn had patiently listened to two farmers from the Pelennor disputing the ownership of a cow; a drunkard who had spent all his money at the tavern, who now wanted the King to punish the innkeeper for letting him spend so much, and a woman who objected to her male neighbours hanging their underwear on the washing line where she could see it.
Aragorn had awarded ownership of the cow to the farmer who best described the animal, sternly admonished the drunkard before dismissing his case, and suggested that the woman would be far more offended if her neighbours had no clothes that needed washing.
Another woman was now requesting that Aragorn stop her husband from spending his evenings in the tavern with his friends rather than at home with her.
It was warm in the Great hall and Faramir started to feel his eyelids growing heavy. To keep himself alert, his eyes wandered round the vast room. Guards in the black and silver livery of the Citadel Guards were stationed at the doors, keeping a watchful eye on the crowd. Most of the folk looked bored. A few looked anxious as they waited to be heard.
Faramir's gaze fell upon a man. The fellow seemed to be fiddling with his boot. The Steward recognised him as the fellow who had squandered his money in the tavern. Strange that he had not left once Aragorn had dismissed the case like the other supplicants had done. A glint of steel suddenly caught Faramir's eye. The man had a knife!
Swift as an arrow, the Steward leapt from his seat and threw himself in front of Aragorn. The Guards raced to seize the man, but acted too slowly. He had already hurled the blade at the King. It flew through the air and struck Faramir. Several women screamed in terror.
Aragorn reacted swiftly. His years as King had not blunted his Ranger reflexes. He caught hold of the Steward before he could hit the ground. "Faramir!" he cried. "Are you much hurt? Guards, seize the miscreant and then clear the Hall. The audience is over for today."
The people needed little urging to leave. A couple of burly guards grabbed hold of the knife thrower. He shouted, "You rulers are all alike, you always favour the rich! A plague on you all!"
The innkeeper shouted after him. "It's all I can do to pay the rent thanks to the likes of you who don't want to pay their bills!"
Aragorn ignored the commotion. He gently eased his friend down on the cushioned throne, his eyes filled with concern and horror.
"Are you harmed, mellon nîn? Did the blade strike you?" Faramir asked, seemingly unperturbed by the knife embedded in his shoulder.
"I am unhurt, unlike you. You took the blade meant for me!" Aragorn replied. Tears glinted in his eyes.
"Shall I fetch a healer, sire?" enquired a Guard.
"I shall tend, Lord Faramir myself," Aragorn replied. "But send for Master Aedred to assist me. I require some hot water and my healing supplies."
The man hurried off. Aragorn supported the weight of the knife in his hands to prevent it causing further harm to his friend.
"Strange indeed that I should be sitting upon your throne!" mused Faramir, trying to take his mind from his pain.
"And on it you will stay seated upon it until Master Aedred and I have tended your wound," said Aragorn.
Once Aedred arrived and the healing supplies were brought, Aragorn dismissed everyone from the room, leaving the Guards stationed outside.
"Can you not even hold an audience without some ill befalling you?" said Aedred. "What has happened this time? Did you trip over your robes or knock yourself out with your crown?"
"I am perfectly well," said Aragorn. "Lord Faramir has been injured taking a would- be assassin's blow that was meant for me."
Aedred's usual composure was shaken at these tidings. "You are fortunate, my lord that the Steward is a man of such loyalty and valour."
"I am," Aragorn said simply. "Now help me remove this knife from his shoulder."
Faramir gritted his teeth and managed not to cry out when Aragorn and the healer removed the blade, albeit as gently as they could. The King quickly staunched the bleeding, Aedred assisting with a supply of clean cloths.
Once the bleeding had slowed, they eased Faramir out of his tunic and shirt. Much to their relief, the cut was not as bad as it had first appeared. Faramir's thick woollen tunic had somewhat deflected the blow.
"You should not take such risks!" Aragorn gently chided as he cleaned the wound. "No great harm has been done, but you could have been killed!"
"As could you!" Faramir replied, gasping in pain when Aragorn smeared the wound with honey. "Did you think I would just sit there while my friend and King were slain? Not while the sun and the moon travel across the sky, mellon nîn!"
"I am blessed to have you," said Aragorn, patting Faramir's good shoulder. He stitched the wound closed. Then Aedred carefully bandaged it. He wrapped Faramir in his cloak and sent a servant to fetch a clean shirt for the Steward.
A few moments later Arwen hastened into the Hall with a bundle of clothing.
"Estel, Faramir, what has happened?" she demanded. "I have just heard that you have been attacked."
"A miscreant threw a knife at me during my audience," Aragorn explained. "I was unaware of the danger until Faramir threw himself in front of me. He saved my life."
"We owe you a debt we can never repay, Faramir," said Arwen.
"It is reward enough that I was able to save my King," said Faramir. "Strange but I awoke this morning with a feeling of foreboding."
"You have the foresight of your forebears," said Aragorn. "It is a gift, which you use wisely."
"Do you feel well enough to have something to eat," asked Arwen.
"I believe so," said Faramir.
"Then I will ask the cook to prepare something nourishing and light," said Arwen.
"He deserves a meal fit for a king," said Aragorn and smiled at his Steward.