Characters: Faramir, Frodo and Sam
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s world, Tolkien’s plot… just a tiny internal monologue from Kortirion
He held his hands out in front of him… nails broken, dirt ingrained into his calloused forefingers and thumbs, palms like leather, smooth and tough. He curled his fingers into fists, clenching them until the knuckles whitened…
The voice disturbed Faramir’s thoughts.
“Captain Faramir, there are intruders, two small people of a strange kind; a third unwholesome creature travels with them. There are Southrons too, the strangers are about to blunder into their path. Do you think they might be spies?”
“Where do the strangers come from?”
“The north, Captain”
“Then we should meet them, face to face.”
The skirmish was soon over; a small squadron of Southrons… that they’d Oliphants rigged for war was worrying, but what wasn’t in such times? Faramir scrubbed his fingers across his face, rubbing his stubble pensively. The two creatures in front of him, bound firmly at his orders, looked harmless enough, but is anything as harmless as it seems?
They stared back; the one glowered, his face like thunder… the other gazed openly, wary but not truly fearful… What was that about his neck?
As Faramir reached, the angry one stepped forward, “You leave ‘im alone!”
The guard knocked him sprawling.
Faramir raised a hand before the guard followed through with another blow. This was the first time the one’s face showed fear, bringing his bound hands up to his throat – fear for his companion, not himself?
Faramir stood back… there was a key to this. He lunged forward quickly and caught the chain around the creature’s throat.
“No!” they both shouted. The one attempting to twist out of the man’s grasp.
“Hold them fast!” commanded Faramir.
“Don’t…” the one cried, fearful for the first time.
“Don’t hurt ‘im! Please Mr Frodo…”
Faramir lifted the chain free… and saw… a ring.
The golden ring glinted in the torchlight. It turned slowly in a circle, seemingly gathering more light into itself than just reflections from the hearth and torches. All the world seemed to freeze; there was just Captain Faramir and the winking, golden ring…
The strangers stood still open-mouthed, his troops were poised, grim-faced, but didn’t move… nothing moved save the golden circle flickering faster as a voice crept into his thoughts…
Captain Faramir… you could finally prove yourself. Take me, he’s weak! Take me to your father. Take me for yourself! You could have a crown, YOU could be King!
Faramir reeled back as if he’d been struck, and the scene before him burst into life.
The one called Frodo had twisted away, the ring falling from Faramir’s fingers. The other one hollered, attempting to charge at the man, before being restrained by the guards, who grasped both of them roughly forcing them to their knees.
Faramir felt as if he was surfacing from deep water, he shook his head to clear his mind, raising a hand – to stay the rangers or ward off a further strike; it was hard to say…
He gasped, “Hold…” and took a deep breath.
Faramir turned his back on the strangers, unwilling to let them, or his men, see the consternation that must surely be playing across his features. What was that? What power it had!
He reached for the jug of spring-water; as he poured he saw his hands shake. As he drank slowly, the icy water cleared his head; he could turn back, his face composed again.
“Let them stand,” he ordered. “You’re here at my mercy. That you have secrets is clear, whether for good or evil is for me to judge… Tell me all, and let your fate be decided.