Beauty - Faramir had always revered and loved it. His mother had been beautiful beyond compare with her softly flowing hair and gentle smile. Most beautiful of all, were her gentle hands adorned with bright rings, and the tender caresses she bestowed upon her son.
He had thought his brother’s smile beautiful too even more so than his uncle's lively hound pups that played upon the hearth, or the cook's graceful green-eyed cat.
His world shattered into shards when his mother’s beauty was forever lost from sight. Faramir believed beauty had fled forever from the world, though he was too young to put into words what he was feeling.
Beauty gradually returned; little by little in a fair sunset; or some fragment of verse or lore that the growing boy discovered.
His father scorned such sensibility. Sunsets and poetry were for women to admire, or the bards to write about, not for a boy bred and born to be a warrior.
His brother laughed. Boromir had found beauty of his own in the bright sword he was now of sufficient age to wield. He polished it until it shone like a star and boasted how many enemies he would run through with his blade.
Faramir shuddered, envisaging bright blood pouring to the ground and the screams of the wounded and dying. When his time came to wield weapons, he liked better the bow than the sword. The arrow in flight had a beauty of its own when the bowstring sang to hasten it on its way.
There was no beauty in war, though, only in the land he sought to defend. The fair White City with her walls and battlements, which gleamed like pearl in the setting sun. Ithilien with her riot of lush greens and golds, and heady scents that could intoxicate him with their sweetness.
His fellows spoke of the beautiful girls whose kisses they sought, but Faramir’s heart remained untouched. How could he protect a wife and little ones in a land from which the beauty was draining, hour by hour, day by day, as the enemy drew ever closer?
The world grew dark indeed. Even the sun was blotted out for a time. Boromir had fallen in a far off place. His father’s heart turned to stone. Faramir walked, shrouded in deep shadow in a place where beauty was but fragments of memory scattered in the winds.
He was about to depart for that realm far beyond the world where beauty reigned supreme, save that one sought him out and plucked him forth from the darkness.
Fair as one of the Ainur did his rescuer appear. Yet, his true beauty was only revealed in the weary grey eyes that smiled upon Faramir when he could at last gaze upon his rescuer. Those eyes revealed a soul brighter than mithril and more precious by far.
Beauty was revealed again as Faramir’s strength returned, together with his hope. The sad lady of Rohan with her sun-bright golden hair and a daisy that defied the poisons of Mordor and grew defiant in the gardens. At last, the Eagle’s wings flashed golden in spring sunlight, bringing tidings of great joy.
Faramir now dwells daily in a realm drunk in love and beauty. What greater beauty than fair Éowyn riding to greet him upon her grey mare, or the merry laughter of his children as they look at him with loving eyes?
The King, the lord he loves, is come and the White Tree blooms each year. The land blossoms, each year more fruitful than the last. Beauty is no longer hidden, but present in every blossom and every child that gathers them.
Faramir is well content.