I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. - Sea Fever ��" John Masefield
W ith grateful thanks to Raksha
Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain
Aragorn frowned deeply at the letter he was perusing.
"What troubles you, my love?" Arwen enquired.
"There is more trouble in the coastal regions," Aragorn said grimly. "Last week there was a riot in Linhir in favour of restoring the Stewards' rule. Three people were injured; and a child almost trampled by the crowd. This week a group of farmers have refused to pay their taxes asking why should they pay tithes to a King they do not know if he really exists or not!"
"Maybe it is time you paid the coastal towns a visit?" Arwen suggested.
"We went to Dol Amroth when Lothiriel married Éomer," Aragorn protested.
"And how long were we there? All of three days, I recall. You had to hurry back to quell an Easterling attack on the borders."
"I cannot be everywhere at once!" Aragorn retorted.
"You have managed to visit realms outside your own borders," Arwen pointed out. "Why not investigate to the coastal towns while the Council is not in session and everyone is preoccupied with harvest? After the Council debate tomorrow, they will not meet again for several weeks. I would imagine you could visit most of the coastal towns and pay a call on Prince Imrahil within less than a fortnight.."
Aragorn looked thoughtful. The idea of leaving Minas Tirith for a while during the heat of summer was most appealing. "It would be a gruelling trip for you, vanimelda," he said after a moment's pause." And what about Eldarion?"
"I think it would be better if you took Faramir with you," said the Queen. "Let the people see that their King and Steward support one another. That would do more to quash future rebellions than any amount of decrees!"
"I would be glad of Faramir's company, but I will miss you so, my love!" said Aragorn.
"I shall miss you too," said Arwen, "but someone has to care for Minas Tirith while you are away! Eldarion is too young to travel for days on horseback, and I do not wish to leave him. You and Faramir can travel swiftly and light."
"I bless the day I insisted you should have the same rights as Faramir and Imrahil to rule in my place," said Aragorn.
"I have had far more experience than all three of you together," Arwen said rather smugly, thinking how she had been Lady of Imladris for the last five centuries. Presiding over the minor grievances of the citizens of Minas Tirith for two weeks would be as nothing to allocating places at table for stubborn Dwarves forced by chance to dine with arrogant Noldor
"I fear we must postpone the hunting trip we were planning," Aragorn told his Steward as they walked back to their apartments after the Council Meeting. "The coastal towns require my presence."
Faramir swallowed hard, trying to conceal his disappointment. "Please convey my warmest greetings to my Uncle should you visit him," he said.
"No, I cannot do that," said Aragorn solemnly, "not when there is a far more appropriate man to do so!"
"And who might that be?" The hurt in Faramir's eyes was evident.
"Why his nephew, of course!" said Aragorn, grinning. "We leave in a week's time, which should allow you to visit your lady first. That is: assuming you want to come with me?"
His eyes alight with joy; Faramir hugged his friend and King.
A week later, soon after sunrise, Aragorn and Faramir met at the Great Gate, together with their escort of six Tower Guards and six men of the White Company; and prepared to depart. They carried little apart from changes of clothing and gifts for the dignitaries who would be their hosts.
Although the King and Queen had made their farewells in private, Arwen had come to watch her husband ride away. It was not a duty she relished; but at least this time Estel did not ride to war. "Take good care of my husband, Faramir," she said to the Steward. " I trust you to protect him from danger."
"I shall guard him with my life, my lady," said Faramir.
"We shall return soon," Aragorn promised his wife. "Then I shall take you and Eldarion to Ithilien for the harvest celebrations. Until then, farewell, and may the Valar protect you!"
"May the stars light your path!"
Aragorn gave the signal and with Faramir at his side, they rode away, the horses' hooves echoing on the stone in the early morning stillness.
Arwen stood gazing after them; knowing that much could happen in two weeks, brief though the time was in the lives of Men.
A/N This is a version of a ficlet written for the AA Group Prompt "Travel" which forms the first chapter of a new series of adventures for Aragorn and Faramir as they tour the coast. The events take place two years after "A Time to Reap"