Character: Faramir, OFC
Source: 4th Age
Disclaimer: Taking a step or two after Tolkien’s world left off – not mine, only playing.
Looking up, Faramir smiled, the walls of the Citadel had always seemed like great cliffs to him, stretching high overhead; dark and daunting when storm clouds swirled above them, but solid and homely when sunset’s rays warmed the stones to rose and ochre.
He’d plenty of time before his audience with the King, time to stable his horse, and visit his mother’s secret garden. He found the old iron key, hidden behind its usual stone; it was covered with cobwebs and rust, unused for many a year. His heart dropped at the thought of the chaos that might be within.
The key turned with surprising ease, when he withdrew it, a film of oil proved the lock maintained – just the outside key then that wasn’t used. The door needed some pressure, but swung open to reveal a familiar vista… long triangle of lawn, rougher cut than he remembered, but obviously cared for. The flowers… less formal; what had been ordered now sprang up the walls, clambering through each other, a profusion of greenery sparked with colour. And the roses! Scrambled magnificently over the crenelated walls – planted, he recalled, to prevent him and Boromir dropping pebbles on the unsuspecting people below!
BUCKET & SPADE
Faramir took a deep breath; the heady perfume brought his mother instantly to mind… her rooms always smelt of rose. His smile dimmed when he also remembered how she’d seemed paler and paler, until… she wasn’t there. He’d searched her rooms, the garden… inconsolable, even when Amah found him curled inside Mother’s clothes closet, having sobbed himself to sleep.
He noticed the old bucket and spade and half-weeded patch of earth.
“My Lord Faramir… as you see, I’m already on my knees. ‘Bout time you got down here and helped me!”
“Amah!” Laughing, he flung himself down to hug her.
Their weeding was desultory, Faramir was more concerned to tell her his news; how the re-building was going, how the grain yields were rising… having taken his uncle’s advice about dredging river mud to top-dress the land… how the apples looked ready to give a bumper crop.
“And what of you? Do you work the garden by yourself?”
Amah shook her head, “The King has this place maintained… not as she did, but it’s kept.”
Her fingers found a scallop shell in the soil, “Look – your mother had these bought from Dol Amroth by the barrel to decorate this place.
Faramir helped his childhood guardian to her feet, though she swatted his hands away. “I can walk!” …but she took his proffered arm, to escort her to the bench inside the shallow grotto.
“See? The seashells framed these walls… until your father took at them with a pick-axe!” She sighed. “I shouldn’t blame him. That night she died… everyone was distraught.”
Faramir patted her hand.
Amah smiled. “I do what I can… Estel joins me sometimes. Our Queen finds the shells unsettling, reminds her of seas and ships she can’t take, I dare say…”
Faramir nodded slowly, his eyes distant…