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14 May 2012 | 182144 words | Work in Progress
Title: Warriors of Gondor
Author: Hel (email@example.com)
Pairing: Faramir/Boromir with various others
Warnings for these parts: explicit sex, chanslash, incest, het, slash, violence, blood, abuse, gore.
Notes: A vambrace is a piece of armor that covers the forearm.
Work in Progress
Part 1: BROTHERS
Waiting in his mother’s sitting room, Boromir tried very hard not to show any of the impatience he felt. For months she had been telling him that he would have a new brother or sister, and now the time had come. His father was in meetings, and would only come once the child was born, his time too important to waste on birthing pains.
Finally, the door opened and Boromir was summoned within. His mother placed the infant in his arms. “This is Faramir, your brother,” she told him. “He will need you to love him and keep him safe.”
The infant in his five-year-old arms was beautiful and precious to him at first sight. “Ah, mother, how could I fail to love one so fair?” he asked in all innocence. “I will always keep him close.” He placed a kiss on the baby’s brow, and smiled at its soft sigh.
At that moment Denethor entered the room, and heard the words of his eldest son. He looked down at his two sons. Boromir had an expression of such love and awe on his face that it twisted like a knife in his father’s heart. “You must not coddle him,” he said harshly. “There is no room for weakness in the men of Gondor. There is no need of it in any son of mine.”
Already defiant, Boromir held his brother closer. “I will not coddle him father, I will teach him to be the greatest warrior ever.”
Boromir walked with his little brother holding tightly to his hand. At the ten-month old Faramir’s waist was a sheathed sword, scaled down to his size.
“Look mother,” he called to her as she lay in her sickbed. “I have given Faramir his first sword.”
Finduilas smiled wanly at her two sons. “How wonderful, Boromir,” came her faint voice.
“I’m taking him with me to my riding lesson. Father will see that he will be a great warrior,” he added, picking him up and placing a kiss to his brow, smiling at the toddler’s soft sigh.
The Rohirrim horsemaster smiled at the precocious six-year-old and allowed him to spend half his own riding lesson teaching his younger brother how to ride. Boromir had found a small saddle in some old tack and cleaned and repaired it himself just for this purpose.
When he returned his brother to his wet nurse, she gasped in horror at the very real blade in the sheath.
“He must get used to wearing it,” Boromir assured her. “I will keep it with me since it frightens you and put it on him whenever I have him. He is already learning how to use it,” he told her. He smiled at her, and then kissed his brother’s brow, hugging him when he sighed.
Watching his mother’s maid put neat stitches in the gash in his arm, Boromir held his three-year-old brother on his lap. Faramir watched her progress with tears in his eyes, his bloodied sword in his hand.
“I will be all right, brother,” Boromir said, trying to comfort him. “Nelda has made it all better, now it doesn’t hurt at all. I should have blocked you quicker, it will happen sometimes.”
Not quite believing his words, the younger boy brought the blade across his own arm. He gasped in surprise at the sharp twinge of pain, but Boromir was right, it wasn’t nearly as painful as when he’d skinned his knees.
“What do you think you are doing?” Nelda said sternly, taking his arm and examining the wound. “It is not a good idea to start cutting yourself up. Before you know it, there will be plenty of others willing to do it for you. Your father would take your sword away if he knew you did that.”
The threat of their father subdued both boys. “I’m sorry, Nelda,” Faramir said, his words very clear for one so young. “I won’t do it again.”
She looked at them, both so brave and solemn. “There are bad times coming, my little loves,” she told them for the millionth time. “You need to be strong warriors to keep our people safe. So use your weapons wisely, don’t make your father take them away for carelessness.”
They nodded at her words and agreed to be more cautious. The cut on Faramir’s arm was shallow, so she just put a little salve on it before sending them off to clean their weapons.
She almost felt guilty for encouraging the boys so much, but her visions had always led her true. They would need every advantage they could get.
Their special place was a secluded garden that few knew about. It was here that Boromir brought his brother to practice the new fighting techniques he’d been taught. Their father refused to let Faramir be trained with his older brother, so Boromir cajoled and bribed the teachers to at least allow him to watch. It was not as if it was forbidden; Denethor just claimed that Faramir was too young.
“You are not too young if you can do it,” Boromir insisted to his brother as he guided him through a complicated serious of moves in the sword dance he was learning. The five- year-old was graceful beyond his years, having been constantly urged by his beloved older brother to practice his swordsmanship. They moved together gracefully, both enjoying their time alone.
When they were finished with the exercises, they wrestled and played for a while, making good use of their private time. Soon they would have to visit with their mother, who barely spoke or even opened her eyes any more, followed by seemingly endless hours with tutors. Then they ate with their father in the formal dining hall and spent most of their evening listening to adult conversation, learning the ins and outs of court life.
Boromir worked as quietly as he could, cutting through a piece of paneling that separated his room from Faramir’s. The angry yelling of his father still ringing in his ears, as he had ordered him to send his brother back to his own room. It had been over an hour before he’d felt it was safe enough to sneak into Faramir’s room and hold the five-year-old in comforting arms. That it had been the older brother who wept most was not a mystery to either of them. Faramir had always had the love of his big brother, never really knowing their ailing mother who had just died. Boromir missed her terribly, and Denethor’s lack of understanding was hard on the ten-year-old.
So he sat here secretly making a hidden passage between their rooms, ensuring that they’d never have to sleep alone again.
Faramir sat at the knee of the old woman as she described the new servants that had been brought in to work in the White Tower. He listened to her carefully; he didn’t want to see his brother upset by another gossipy maid. From now on all those who looked after Boromir and him would be loyal to them alone, not their father. Nelda had looked after them when their mother was still alive and it was only their father’s forcing her into retirement that had left them vulnerable to the new maid.
Nelda had come to Minas Tirith with Finduilas, but had married into the family that was amongst the oldest of retainers of the House of Hurin. Her many children and in-laws also worked in the White Tower, so she came every day to consult with them. Faramir had come quickly to her summons, for she had always taken care of his brother and him.
“Your brother doesn’t even see anyone but you and your father,” she told him. “You are the center of his world and your father is the one who controls it. Everyone else is just background.”
Faramir smiled at the thought of his brother. Boromir was his world, the one he adored. “I will see them for him, Nelda,” he said. “He can be the great warrior and I will watch his back.” Pausing thoughtfully he added, “Someone will have to clean our rooms this afternoon; he made a mess cutting up the wall. Maybe they could even make it into a real hidden door, so that father can’t find it.”
“A good idea, my little lord,” she agreed, proud that, once again, he had proven himself wise beyond his years.
The brothers listened to the wizard with round eyes as he told them tales of dwarves, elves, dragons, orcs, and brave adventures. Though orcs were all too common a problem in Gondor, the first three were so rare as to never have been encountered by the sons of the Steward. They were not sheltered children and at seven and twelve, had watched battles from a distance, at their father’s side. This was the first time Faramir had seen Mithrandir, and Boromir’s recollections of him were hazy.
Their father’s stern frown and caustic remarks chased them away from the wizard’s side.
Faramir snuck back into the room as soon as the coast was clear and approached the gray figure. “Are there books that tell of these stories?” he asked. “I can read quite well, and share them with my brother when father isn’t around.”
Mithrandir smiled at the boy and took him through the great archives and grand library, explaining how the books and scrolls were arranged. Or at least how they were supposed to be arranged, as such things never stayed straight for long.
Faramir took two books with him that the wizard recommended. Later, he kept his brother awake late into the night reading some of the stories aloud.
The next day, after fighting practice, riding practice, archery practice, finishing his lessons with his tutors, and Boromir’s final approval that his time would be his own (right after a formal supper with their father), he sought out the wizard amongst the great archives. He coaxed him into more stories by assisting him in finding the documents and records he was looking for.
For the next couple of weeks, he spent every spare moment with Mithrandir, happily pursuing the histories of Middle Earth.
When the wizard departed, he thanked Denethor for the excellent help of his youngest son and was surprised to see the boy blanch at his words. The tightening around the Steward’s eyes and mouth told him that he had made a serious mistake. The Istari pretended not to hear the harsh words Denethor said under his breath as he walked away, knowing that any interference on his part would only make things worse.
When the three reached the father’s study and the door was closed, Denethor hit Faramir with a blow that knocked him across the room. Shocked by his father’s actions, Boromir went to his brother’s aid.
“No,” their father told him. “Leave him, he should be beaten for defying my wishes.”
As Denethor began to remove his belt, Boromir turned and stood between his father and brother. “Then you need to beat me, I allowed him, nay, encouraged him to help the wizard.” He was unwavering as he confronted his father.
“Do not cover for him, it will only make him cowardly,” Denethor said angrily.
“There is nothing that Faramir does that I do not know about,” he replied firmly. “He is my responsibility, I am to blame if he does wrong. I thought you wanted the wizard gone as quickly as possible, I didn’t know there was any harm in helping him,” Boromir stated firmly.
Faramir sat on the floor, bleeding from his nose and mouth. He’d taken worse on the practice field, but those were to be expected. This was beyond his understanding. He’d always felt his father’s coldness toward him, but had no idea it could erupt into violence so easily. He fought to hold back his tears. He loved his father and yearned for him to care for him. Now he felt with certainty that he never would.
Denethor backed down at Boromir’s words. He knew his older son was right, and could only turn away from the accusing glare. “Then I will leave it to you to make sure that he stays in line. I suggest he avoids the wizard in the future, their kind always makes trouble, especially that one.” He walked away without apology, leaving Boromir to care for his brother.
Faramir hid behind the tapestry that concealed the door between his room and his brother’s. He watched his brother slowly remove the clothes from the man before him. It had even been Faramir’s suggestion that he would be a good choice from the myriad of women and men who sought his brother’s bed.
As the favorite son of the Steward of Gondor, and the champion of the yearly tourney, Boromir was very popular. Even though he was only fifteen, and had yet to be tried in battle, he was considered an adult and would soon be sent to learn warcraft in the field. In the past, manhood was judged at an older age, but with the death toll growing yearly, and the great need for more warriors, that had changed. The brothers had been having a most interesting week. Each night Boromir had taken up a different offer, all under their father’s approving eye.
The man went to his knees and began taking Boromir’s cock in his mouth. His technique was very good and Boromir was soon gasping in pleasure. He pulled him up and moved him onto the bed. It didn’t take long for Boromir to mount him and begin long, slow thrusts. When he was finished, he rolled to his side to catch his breath.
“My father always checks my room before he goes to bed,” he told him. He has warned me not to have anyone in here.” It was a blatant lie, but there was only one person he wanted to spend the night in his room. Of course, it was the one person his father didn’t want there, Faramir.
With a reluctant sigh, the man dressed quickly and left. Boromir locked the door behind him, and held his arms out to his brother. Faramir was in his brother’s arms before the man’s footsteps had receded down the hall.
“You could have kept him for a couple more rounds,” he admonished. “He had a quite nice ass.”
“His breath stank,” Boromir replied. “And father kept me away from you all day.”
Faramir kissed his brother’s lips. “You will have to ride out to battle soon, Boromir. I don’t think father will let you take me with you.” He kissed him again. “Unless, maybe I dress as a camp follower and come along that way?”
“No, I will miss you terribly, but I would have you safe at home until you can ride at my side as a fellow warrior,” Boromir told him. Kissing his brow, he smiled at Faramir’s soft sigh. “Come to bed, we have to be in meetings all day tomorrow.”
“We?” Faramir asked, walking with his brother to the bed.
“I told father that you needed to attend too. You are his son as well and have just as much need to know all this useless stuff.” He pulled him up into the high bed with him.
“I already know more of that ‘useless stuff’ than you do,” Faramir said pressing soft kisses to his brother’s face.
“Then he will see how smart you are. He will have to start acknowledging your existence,” Boromir told him, wrapping his arms around him.
Faramir became still and gave him a serious look. “I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to force me down his throat.”
“Nonsense,” Boromir said. “You are my brother, and worthy of every consideration I receive. He will come around when he sees how good you are.”
He knew his older brother was wrong, but forbore to tell him. Their father had never liked Faramir. He could feel the anger radiating from him when he saw Boromir giving attention to him. This could easily turn into a disaster, but he would keep his silence. They played and wrestled for a while before Boromir used his larger size to pin Faramir to the bed.
“It is time for sleep now. We have to rise early tomorrow,” he said, pulling his little brother into his arms and covering them both with the blanket. He kissed Faramir’s brow, and waited for his sigh, before continuing. “Sleep my love, let us dream together.” And as simply as that, the younger boy fell asleep, Boromir following soon after. Both of them safe and warm in the place they most wanted to be.
Waiting until Boromir finished and rolled off Maran, Faramir entered the room and walked to the bed. He had sent her to his brother to tighten the bond between her family and his, as Nelda had instructed him. Maran, her granddaughter, was of the oldest family of retainers for the House of Hurin, and this had been part of that bond for centuries. Any child born of such unions would be raised in status and keep alive their fealty.
“What are you doing here, Faramir?” Boromir asked, surprised that he hadn’t waited until he sent the young woman away.
“Maran doesn’t mind me, brother,” he answered, climbing into his brother’s bed. “Besides, she will mind cleaning the bedding less if she gets to sleep in it.” He cuddled up next to him, pushing sweaty hair out of his face.
Boromir was uncomfortable with this change in their routine until Maran rolled against him and put her arm across him and her hand to Faramir’s cheek. “He is right, my lord, I enjoy his company and would love to sleep here,” she said.
Deciding to accept the situation, Boromir kissed his brother’s brow and pulled them both closer. It made the bed much warmer.
Two weeks later, Faramir knocked on the door to his father’s study and entered when he heard his father’s permission.” Is there anything you wish me to do today, sir?” he asked, keeping his face as neutral as possible.
“I don’t think you need change your schedule because your brother is gone,” he answered. “Except there is no need for you to join me for this afternoon’s meetings. I think you can stick to attending to your lessons unless I call for you.”
“Yes, sir,” he answered. “May I be excused, sir?”
Denethor studied his youngest son intently for several minutes. The boy met his gaze levelly, without a hint of emotion. There was no sign of the weakness that he had convinced himself was there. “You are dismissed, for now. But I may send for you later,” he told him, even though he had no intention of doing so.
“Thank you, sir,” Faramir replied and then, bowing respectfully, left the room. He waited until he was in a private anteroom before he allowed himself to breathe easily for a few moments. So far his father had given him no surprises, but he might do anything just to catch him off guard.
Now he had to hurry to the stables to apologize for not restabling his horse that morning when he’d returned from seeing his brother off. The horsemaster was understanding and urged Faramir to hurry so he wouldn’t be late to weapons practice. Boromir would only be gone a few days, and Faramir intended to avoid any trouble in the interim.
That night as he lay drowsing, he heard his brother’s voice. It was clear as if he were lying next to him. He allowed the dream to pull him under completely. Boromir’s arms enfolded him, his loving voice in his ears. He sighed as his lips kissed his forehead, and fell asleep as he was told.
The next morning he woke with a smile, sure that he had heard his brother in his dreams.
Four days later, Faramir waited beneath the outer wall of the city for his brother. His last dream had told him that Boromir would be arriving in the gray light before dawn. He was out of sight from the main gate, about a mile north on the Great West Road, when he heard the sound of a lone horse approaching at speed. Loosening his sword (just in case) he watched the rider come round a bend in the road. There was no doubt in his mind from the first glimpse that this was his beloved brother.
As their horses came next to each other, Boromir pulled Faramir off his horse and onto the front of his saddle. Their arms went around each other. “We have about five minutes before the rest of the company gets here,” Boromir said. “I’ve missed you so much, if it wasn’t for the dreams I wouldn’t have made it.”
“I’m so glad that you have them too,” Faramir replied. “They have kept me sane.” They held each other, speaking quietly until they heard the others approaching. Faramir whistled for his horse and slid into the saddle when it was close enough.
They fell in next to the company commander as the troop reached them. “So, your brother was waiting for you,” the older man commented.
“As I knew he would be,” Boromir answered.
The ride to the White Tower was long. Most of the company leaving them near the main gate, more at each gate after that. They rode through the slowly rousing city, until they finally came to the seventh gate.
Only the commander was with them now, as they handed their horses over to the waiting grooms. He left to report to his own commander. When Faramir made to leave for his own morning duties, Boromir grabbed his arm.
“You will stay with me, little brother,” he smiled. “It will be all right to upset your schedule for one day.”
Faramir resolutely walked with him into the tower and to their father’s study.
Denethor was pleased to see his oldest son, and angered by the presence of the youngest. He tried not to show his conflicted emotions, but no one was fooled. At his father’s invitation, Boromir sat in a chair in front of the huge desk to give his report. Faramir stood beside him, and Denethor pretended not to notice how Boromir stroked his arm.
When he had finished, Boromir sent Faramir to prepare his bath, so he could have a few private words with their father. “So, how did Faramir do at council meetings while I was gone?” he strongly suspected that he wouldn’t like the answer.
“I’m sure he’s told you that I excused him from attending in your absence. I don’t have time to tend to a child during them,” was the almost defensive answer.
“He is no mere child,” Boromir said. “He has never done anything for you to have such distrust and animosity towards him. While I’m sure he can find other ways to profitably use his time, it makes quite a negative statement about our family if you suddenly exclude him. We had agreed that he continue going to the meetings while I was gone. How can I concentrate on my own duties in the field when I can’t be sure how my brother fares?” Boromir was becoming angrier as he spoke, making a great effort to calm himself he continued. “He did not tell me that you had excluded him. He never complains, but I was sure of it from his very lack of anything to say on the subject.” He paused again and drew a deep breath before continuing. “Why, father?” he asked, pain clear in his face. “Why would you break faith with me and cast my brother aside like this?”
Denethor had no answer for him. He turned his face away in shame, unable to put into words what drove him to make such decisions. “It is difficult for me,” he said at last. “Let us start again. Spend the rest of the day with your brother; tomorrow we will discuss our future plans.”
Boromir rose to his feet and looked at his father with concern. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
There were many thoughts that ran through Denethor’s mind at the question, but none of them suitable to share. “I just need to think about things,” he said.
Faramir had the bath water just the way his brother liked it. Towels, oils, soap, and other supplies were arranged within easy reach. The oversized tub was almost a permanent feature in Boromir’s room. Both brothers liked being clean and it was only fitting that the younger serve the elder in this manner. Even Denethor approved.
Locking the door behind him, Boromir made his way to the armor stand in a corner of the room. Faramir began undoing the buckles and ties, then lifting the heavy plate armor from his shoulders. He removed the rest of his armor and his boots. After pulling his padded under tunic off, he carefully began checking his brother’s body for bruising and galling. Boromir tended to ignore minor sores, so Faramir checked for them often.
Soon he had his brother naked and in the tub. He loved washing Boromir, running a soapy cloth over his skin, touching him everywhere. After thoroughly washing his brother’s hair, Faramir climbed into the tub and sat on his lap.
Boromir began washing his brother. It made him happy to be able to do this. He’d helped bathe him as an infant, and had completely taken over by the time he was five. “Who washes your hair when I am gone?” he asked.
“Maran, that pretty serving girl you brought up here,” he told him. “She asks about you a lot, I think she is besotted. But she does a good job of it. I think if I weren’t so young and innocent she might be interested in a little more.”
Boromir laughed at his feigned look. “Young and sweet you are, my brother, but innocence is not something I’ve left you. All too soon you will join me on the battlefield, where it would only be a burden.” He kissed his forehead, reveling in the soft sigh. “Maran is a good choice. Should I thank her for caring for you?”
“Yes, brother,” he whispered.
“Tonight then. Father has given us the rest of the day to ourselves. Let’s go eat and then to the practice field. I want to see how lax you’ve gotten in my absence,” he teased. He watched Faramir rise from the tub to get their towels, his movements graceful beyond his years. Then he looked away, realizing that the sight was making him hard, and he had promised himself that he would wait until his brother had reached the proper age before going any further than a few kisses or caresses with him.
The armsmaster eagerly turned the other students over to his second to marshal for the two boys. Although Boromir’s five-year age difference and heavier build made him practically loom over his brother, Faramir was fast and agile. The other fighters around them tended to stop their own practice sessions to watch them.
Boromir pushed his brother to his limits and beyond, never holding back. Faramir spent much of their sparring time dodging and diverting his brother’s heavy sword strokes. Their fighting styles differed greatly; the older brother, with sword and shield, used his considerable strength and the younger, with sword and long knife, used his quickness.
After nearly an hour Boromir finally let his brother rest. There was very little that could improve on his technique, all he needed was for his body to grow into his skills. Although Boromir hadn’t reached his full growth yet either, he was big enough and strong enough to overcome most men. In fact, it had been some time since any had been able to defeat him on a regular basis. They thanked the armsmaster and went to put their armor and weapons away.
In their private garden they spent an hour practicing the sword dances, followed by a few hours of playful wrestling. Knowing that soon they would be forced into adulthood in an ever more dangerous world, they took as much advantage as they could of the few remaining bits of their childhood.
Faramir’s anger nearly blinded him as he walked down the narrow alley. The girl he accompanied seemed unaware of his rage, as almost everyone else would be. He’d learned to conceal his emotions well, dealing with his father. The girl, no older than him, had been offering herself for sale to men who should have known better. His unexpected appearance had frightened the men off, for in Minas Tirith all knew the youngest son of the Steward of Gondor.
As they neared the end of the alley, they heard screams of pain and an angry man’s voice. The girl tried to pull away but Faramir wouldn’t let her go. Without knocking, he entered the house, releasing the girl when he’d closed the door. In a corner of the sparsely furnished room were several younger children whom she ran to huddle with.
With barely a glance in their direction, he continued through the next doorway. The painful welts on his own back spurred his anger as he saw the large man kicking the boy on the floor. Without a word or hesitation, he attacked. He drove his foot into the man’s stomach with all the force he could which, even though he was only eleven, was enough to knock the man off his feet. As he fell, his head caught the counter edge with a loud crack. Faramir leaned over him, noting the impossible angle of the man’s neck before turning to comfort the boy on the floor.
A short time later he sat in Nelda’s kitchen with the boy, who was a couple of years older than he was. The city watch had come and easily accepted his story of the man tripping, once Nelda had arranged for the evidence of violence to be removed. She finished cleaning the abrasions on the boy, who was named Garus.
“I think Garus would make a perfect body servant for your brother,” Nelda told Faramir. “Of course, you will have to train him. It would be best if you start right away.”
“Yes, Nelda,” he answered, holding Garus’ hand and noting the grateful look in his eyes.
Faramir followed his father into his study. He had been late that morning to a council meeting; his horse had thrown a shoe on his return to the White Tower after seeing Boromir off. Now he was trying to prepare himself for the punishment he knew was coming. The punishments had been getting progressively worse in the two years since Boromir had insisted that their father include him in council meetings.
Without expression he leaned over his father’s desk, taking the liberty of grabbing the opposite edge. As the first blow from the long thin cane fell across his back, he went over the moves of the first sword dance in his mind. It helped him to separate himself from the pain and keep from crying out. That his silence would make the punishment last longer he suspected, but he couldn’t bring himself to give in. Each blow felt harder than the last, and they were placed randomly from his shoulders to his knees. At least his clothes would help prevent them from breaking the skin, though of course some would.
There were no words exchanged. The only sounds were the slight whistle of the cane through the air and the impact against his body. Denethor would occasionally grunt with the force he was putting into his blows. Faramir put all his concentration into keeping quiet and breathing evenly.
When his father finally stopped, he waited for him to leave the room before he moved. Experience had taught him that Denethor might start again if he didn’t wait.
He found he was having trouble unlocking his fingers from the edge of the desk. The sound of the door opening behind him almost made him jump in fear of his father returning.
“Faramir,” called the voice of Maran. “We saw ‘him’ leave, we’ve come to help you.”
Garus carefully put his hands to Faramir’s upper arms. “Help him free his hands,” he told Maran, seeing that the other boy couldn’t do it himself.
Faramir couldn’t restrain a whimper as she pulled his hands free and Garus helped him stand.
“Maybe if you cried out he wouldn’t hurt you so bad,” Maran said.
“My father loved to hear us scream,” Garus disagreed. “It was how Lord Faramir found me. Here, hold onto me, my lord,” he told him.
When they laid him on his bed, Faramir began drifting in and out of consciousness. Gentle hands carefully cut away his clothes and applied salve to his back.
“Someone needs to tell Lord Boromir,” Maran said, shocking him awake.
“No,” he said sitting up and almost crying out at the pain of his movements. “My brother must never know, it would break his heart. I couldn’t bear that. You must promise me,” he demanded.
“But, my lord, he could make him stop,” Maran entreated.
“What if they came to blows over me? I could never live with myself if that happened. Besides, he might find worse ways to punish me. You don’t think he sent your grandmother away just because my mother died? You would all be in danger of his wrath.” He gave her a pleading look, “With your help, I can deal with this, please don’t let my brother know.”
“I will say nothing, Faramir,” she whispered. “Lay back down and let us care for your wounds. Some of them are bad enough to scar.”
He hurriedly lay back down; Boromir had already questioned him once about a mark on his back. “You can both stay with me tonight,” he told them. “Your comfort is what I need most.”
Faramir looked at the older boy before him dispassionately. His back burned from the beating his father had given him for fighting with this new fosterling from the west. The stranger was a bully and had quickly picked up on the estrangement between father and son. But he had never met Boromir, and had no knowledge that he had specifically forbidden Faramir from allowing himself to be bullied.
“You think my father’s punishments will make any difference, Delomar?” he said quietly, advancing on the larger boy. “He can beat me every night and I will be here to defeat you every morning.” So saying, he came closer.
Looking for help among the others in the training yard, Delomar backed away. The only ones present were the other boys; even the armsmaster and his assistants were strangely absent.
Faster than could be dodged, Faramir kicked him squarely in the groin, dropping him to the ground. He stood watching, waiting. “Get up,” he said.
Slowly, the older boy regained his feet. Taking a swift step forward, Faramir punched him in the stomach. Pushing him upright with the other hand, he hit him again in the same place, bringing him to his knees. Faramir took him by the hair and turned his head so he looked into his eyes.
Delomar swallowed convulsively at the cold look in the younger boy’s eyes. “I gave you a chance yesterday and you wasted it. I’ll give you one more now. If this happens again, you won’t be walking away,” Faramir released him, pushing him to the ground.
“If you can’t keep yourself in line you’d better have your father send you somewhere else.” With that, he left the older boy crying in the dirt.
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