Kortirion (kortirion) wrote in tolkien_weekly,

Flower challenge - Poppies - 'Poppy Dreams: Redux' : Kortirion

Title: Poppy Dreams: Redux – a drabble set of three... because I said I would
Author Kortirion
Character: Faramir
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Tolkien’s characters, Tolkien’s Middle-earth – Kortirion’s just visiting.

Faramir remembered his childish delight in the Pelennor’s jewel-studded meadows: ruby poppies, sapphire corncrake, ox-eyes mithril bright, shining from the gold-greenness before it was cut and dried into sweet hay. Poppies fascinated him, so vivid, so fragile, so short-lived... ‘Ah... poppies’, she’d said ‘The battlefield flower,' but didn’t elaborate, just sniffed and turned away, claiming the grass made her sneeze.

Once, he’d accidentally discovered vacant-eyed men slumped in an inn’s darkened tap-room. ‘Poppy-smokers’, Amah muttered disdainfully, before hurrying him to safer, more suitable places.

‘But why do they want to lose themselves?’ he’d asked.

Amah shrugged, ‘You’ll know one day.’


Over the years he’d discovered Poppy’s value for himself, when the mighty blow from a battle-axe broke his shoulder, when an Easterling’s arrow pierced his thigh right through, so that the tip nicked his… He was very glad to take the poppy-dreams’ oblivion then! Later, the other rangers joked about how he’d nearly got the sort of body-piercing for free that some paid good money for in Harondor.

The healers knew its proper uses, but... one dreadful hurt had taken him to infinitely darker places. He’d drifted there... far beyond the deeps of poppy-juice visions... until He called him back.


Later that summer, memories were still raw and the piled earth over the many hummocky graves still brown but for the barest cover of thin, new grass... the poppies bloomed again; bitter-sweet, bloody reminders of carnage... Vivid crimson, fragile, easily damaged... yet the seeds grew and flourished; soon the fields were studded with rubies, almost as they’d been in his childhood.

He came across some damaged men in a back-street inn, soused with drink and poppy-dreams... but this time he understood. Sometimes, his dreams were still fever-dark. And the temptation to banish memory by whatever means... Now... he knew why.
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