The windows faced west, toward Minas Tirith. Which was well and good, except that it meant no morning sunlight to roust a sleeper out of bed. Over the years Faramir had become accustomed to waking without benefit of the sun to aid him. Éowyn always woke with the dawn whether she saw the light or no. Usually she nudged him, occasionally going so far as to pull the covers away despite his protests, but at present she was away. Their son Elboron and his wife Anwen were expecting their first child, and Éowyn had insisted that she should be there for the last month of Anwen’s pregnancy. Faramir had pointed out that even the most dutiful daughter-in-law might not enjoy having company for so long, but Éowyn had brushed his most well-reasoned arguments aside. He smiled, remembering the stubborn set of her jaw as she overruled him. Loving his wife did not blind him to her faults, though he had to admit that life was far less interesting, if more restful, when she was not present.
He swung his legs off the bed and walked over to throw open the shutters, the stone floor cool on his feet. The sky was lightening to a cloudless blue and it looked to be a glorious day. Abruptly Faramir decided that he would hurry through his duties this morning, putting some matters off until tomorrow, and take the afternoon for a ride. The hay-harvest was mostly in, and he wanted to see how the other crops fared. It had been a late spring, but the warmth of this summer appeared to be making up for it.
Shortly before midday he was in the stables, swinging up into the saddle, with a parcel of bread and cheese and a wineskin slung across his back. He rode through the Emyn Arnen and down into the flatter lands edging the Anduin. The sun was warm on his head and he stopped to eat his nooning on a rise of ground, under a convenient tree. Spreading the soft cheese on the bread with his belt-knife, Faramir bit into it and gazed over the fields spread broad before him. The wheatfields were still green, with only hints of the ripe gold they would later bear. Here and there sheep or cattle grazed on the stubble between haystacks. A village, two crooked streets of small neat cottages, lay to the south near the river. It was all so very different from the Ithilien he had known as a young man.
Faramir leaned back comfortably against the trunk of the tree, remembering. The land then had been fair but wild, under threat from the east, and it was the Pelennor across the Anduin which had supplied Minas Tirith with her grain and other crops. He remembered going berrying with his brother Boromir in the thickets near the river, competing to see who could fill his bucket first. Boromir was quicker and had the better reach, but ate half the fruit he picked, while Faramir’s smaller frame could squeeze through the thorny branches to where Boromir could not reach. Disputes over who had won usually ended in a friendly wrestling match.
One memory led to another. Faramir’s plans to inspect the tillage of his lands faded as he mused. He recalled time spent with Boromir in Dol Amroth, visiting their uncle Imrahil, who looked so solemn but had a wicked sense of humor behind his stern visage. Faramir had never ceased to be amazed that his brother-in-law Éomer had married his cousin Lothíriel, whom he recalled as a little terror in the household from his visits in his later teens. Thinking of Éomer brought to mind one autumn, when they had gone hunting in Ithilien’s hills and been trapped in a cave by rising flood waters. That had been a year or two before Elboron was born. He still recalled the incredulous joy he had felt when his son was placed in his arms for the first time, and he had counted each tiny perfect finger and cradled him close. More recollections followed: of Elboron growing up, of Éowyn, of the triumph of seeing Ithilien brought back to productive beauty, of the honor he had had from King Elessar at his successes.
The sun slipped down the sky as Faramir sat looking back over his life. At last the light in his eyes recalled him to himself, and he untied the reins of his horse from the tree branch and rode slowly home. He had just ordered the gates to be closed for the night when a rider was seen cantering along the darkening road. He bore a message from Éowyn.
My Faramir – Anwen has borne a son, a healthy child for all that he came to greet his parents three weeks before his time. Elboron has named him Boromir. I will return to you in a fortnight. Love, Éowyn.
Succinct and to the point as always, his wife. Faramir smiled and told the messenger to join the household for supper, but he himself went up to his rooms to put the scrap of parchment carefully away in a box of lebethron inlaid with horn. He looked out of the westward window once again, at the stars now gleaming against the velvet sky and the crescent moon hanging low on the horizon. It was a beautiful night, a perfect night for the memory of his brother to be thus honored by his son.