Boromir looked down from the balcony to the secluded garden below. A bare-footed child with tousled raven curls sat on the ground, his body bent in concentration over an unseen object on his lap.
The older lad's spirit lifted as it always did at the sight of his brother.
"Faramir!" he called. He expected to see a small open face look up at him, flushed with a welcoming smile. Instead, a quick furtive glance greeted him, followed by a look of utter terror.
"Why you little fiend!" Boromir yelled over the parapet. He threw himself over the balustrade and shimmied down a supporting pillar. Faramir had jumped to his feet and backed away from his brother, clutching the purloined object behind him.
"Whoa. Easy now," Boromir said, approaching Faramir slowly in a semi-crouching position. "Hand it over."
"Boys, what is all this?" came the soft, tired voice of the woman in the reclining chair under the adjacent balcony.
"Naneth, Faramir has the book of tales uncle gave me for my birthday. In the dirt. In the garden," Boromir whined. "He can't even read it. It has no pictures."
"Can too read it," the small boy protested.
"Show me then," Boromir said.
"Many songs are sung and many tales are told by the Elves of the Nirnaeth Ar-Ar-Arnoediad…" Faramir began slowly, but distinctly, in a clear piping voice.
"Well done!" Boromir said, his anger overcome by pride. "Come. Sit here with me and read some more. You may read any of my books you want. Only you must wash your hands first and do not bring them into the garden without asking leave."