Split in Two - The Faramir Story -Chapter 4

The students watched in awed silence as Boromir, Heir of the Steward, bested their weapons instructor time and time again. Whether with the bow, sword, or hand axe, Boromir was the better man. It was only after he sustained several scrapes and cuts and had sweat rolling down his face, chest, and back that the trainer finally conceded defeat.

"Well done, Boromir," he wheezed. He had a glint in his eye that Sanorë found she didn't like at all. He looked as though he would pounce on Boromir and thrash him soundly if he thought he could come out of it alive and intact. "You have become a fine soldier. Your father will be proud."

Boromir nodded graciously, sheathed his sword, and unstrung his bow. He disliked archery as much as he disliked the instructor, but he had exercised strong discipline over that aspect as he had the other areas of his life and mastered it well. "It was a good fight, Dorel."

Dorel started unpleasantly. That was the first time Denethor's son had ever called him by his first name, and he wasn't entirely sure that he liked it. He was used to 'Lord Dorel' or 'Master Dorel'. No, he was certain he didn't like it. In his mind, it was a complete lack of respect.

"So it was," he answered grudgingly. "So it was."

"Well, then, I believe my task here is complete, so I bid you and your students good day and good fortune. Farewell!"

Boromir wiped the tiny beads of sweat from his brow and removed the belt that carried his weapons as he walked away from the training ground to join Sanorë and Faramir, whose grin was broad and triumphant.

*

Dorel watched him go and stand for a moment with the girl and his brother. Nice, he admitted to himself with much bitterness. He preferred blonde hair on women, but this girl that was walking out of the gates with Boromir was very pretty indeed. He did not even know her name, but he stiffened involuntarily when Denethor's eldest son held out an arm suavely and the girl took it.

He forced himself to turn and face his pupils, many of whom were grinning with savage delight in his defeat. He knew he was not well-liked, not admired, but this could not be borne.

"Well then!" he said roughly. "You have seen this day a fine example of combat. You are dismissed for today, but reflect on how you saw Lord Boromir conducting himself before you sleep, for I will want you to began emulating him when next we meet. Good day!"

With that, the young boys dispersed, trickling away by twos and threes until none remained. It was only then that Dorel allowed himself the privilege of cursing the son of the Steward with every foul word he knew.

*

"So," Boromir said dramatically. "Did you enjoy watching the downfall of Dorel the Dreadful?"

Sanorë laughed. "Yes, very much. Your ability with the blade was pleasant to see, but I fear you have made yourself no friend in Dorel, as you call him. He looked angry and badly embarrassed."

"Ah, yes, so he did. But I dare say he will get over it in time. He must be getting used to watching his pupils best him by now. He has been in that position for nigh on to five years, and as Faramir says, he has never yet won a fight with any man that we know of."

"Poor man," Sanorë said. "But I think you shamed him worse than he is used to."

"Perhaps, but he deserved it. He challenged me, not I him. He knew that I would best him before he asked me."

Sanorë smiled. If Boromir didn't have any pity in his heart for the homely Dorel, she wasn't going to force it there.

"Do you enjoy your work at the House of Healing?" Boromir asked, mainly to make conversation.

"Well, I have only been there a couple of days, but yes, I like it. I like it much more than I thought I would, anyway."

"Good. We have need for more healers, that is certain, and I believe you will make a fine one."

"That is kind of you to say so, though I am less confident in my abilities," Sanorë said modestly.

"Ah, nonsense. Faramir seemed in much better spirits after you came this morning, and he did not look to be in any pain. That was your doing, and it was a fine accomplishment."

Sanorë let it drop. The Steward's eldest son seemed stubborn, and the kind of man whom she could argue with all day and never reach an end. It was better to let him win on a personal level, but he was of a higher class than she, and to continue to argue would just be disrespectful.

They walked quietly for a moment, and finally the silence got to Sanorë.

"You and your brother seem very close," she said.

Boromir smiled. "Yes, we are. He is.. well, I could not ask for or imagine a better friend or brother."

"That is a fine gift then, to have a brother such as yours. I have only one brother, but he is many years older than I am, and became a Ranger when I was just a child. I have not seen him in a year."

Boromir raised an eyebrow. "That must be hard to bear."

"Not really. I worry about him like any sister would, but he and I never were very close. But I regret that," Sanorë said, sadly.

Boromir nodded silently. "Perhaps one day your brother will come home, and you will have another chance."

"Maybe. But look, we have arrived!"

Sanorë gestured to the looming House of Healing and slipped her arm out of Boromir's grasp. "I appreciate you taking the time to walk back with me, Lord Boromir," Sanorë smiled shyly. "I have enjoyed it."

"I have enjoyed it as well," Boromir said, bowing. "I hope we will meet again very soon."

Sanorë smiled again with a hint of promise. "I would like that. And now, farewell."

* *

Boromir watched her walk the rest of the way to the House's stairs, and then ascend them swiftly, with agility. He liked watching her, and he liked her company. He knew then that this was a girl that he would certainly want to see more of, and he hoped he could make that happen.

This had indeed been a productive morning.

**

When Boromir got back to the citadel, he found the courtyard emptied, excepting the two customary guards at every entrance.

He went past them without a word and straight up to Faramir's room. Barging without bothering to knock, he found his brother reclining in a chair, his nose in a heavy, dusty book that was fascinating, evidently.

"What're you reading, Far?" Boromir asked, taking a seat next to his brother.

Faramir looked up, surprise written on his face. "You're back," he said. "I didn't even hear you come in."

"Stealth is a prized quality in a Ranger," Boromir grinned. "You should develop it."

Faramir raised an eyebrow. "How was the walk? You seem in.. exceptionally high spirits."

"The walk was very nice. There was a good breeze, old Malorin's chickens and turkeys were in their confines, and the company was superb," Boromir said grandly, trying to joke.

Faramir caught on to the mood and joined in. "Good, good! I am assuming that the Healing House will be seeing much more of you.. Am I right?"

Boromir grinned. "It is a very good assumption."

Faramir laughed. "Well, just don't abandon this one as quickly as you did the others. And by the way, there's something you ought to know." His voice grew serious at the end.

Boromir sobered. "What is it, brother?"

"Dorel is gone. He only told Father that he had finished playing nursemaid to the children, and that he would have no more of it. He took his things and a horse and rode out shortly after you and Sanorë left."

"What direction did he ride in?"

"When last we saw him, he was heading towards Isengard."

Boromir frowned. "He will find no welcome there, I'll wager. He has nothing that the White Wizard could make use of, and if history is any indication, Saruman does not host guests for nothing."

Faramir shrugged. "Who can say. Father seemed very angry."

"Ha! This is a cause for celebration, not sorrow! I will talk to Father later when his temper has had time to cool."

* *

It's a little shorter than last time, I know, and later than usual, too, but I went through a short stage of writer's block and lost my inspiration temporarily. :

At any rate, here it is! Thanks to all who read, and special thanks to those who review!

-Alassë

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