Burden of Guilt

Fall from Grace

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and New Line Cinema with the exception of Caranthir who appears by kind permission of Evendim. This story was written purely for pleasure and not for profit.

Warning – This chapter contains violence and from now on the story takes a dark turn with violence,gory injuries and angst, so please only read if you enjoy this type of story.

Arwen grasped her husband's hand. "If anything should go wrong, "She faltered. "I want our child to be saved."

"Much as I want our child, my Love, it is you I adore! I regret now that I ever got you in this condition to take such risks with your life!" Aragorn protested, his nightmare returning with a frightening clarity. "Your life comes first, but do not think of such things and distress yourself!"

" It was my choice as I want a child as much as you do, you need an heir, Gondor needs an heir." Arwen said firmly. "I love you so much, Estel!" They exchanged a lingering kiss and only broke apart when another contraction hit Arwen.

"Come, Lady Elfstone!" Ioreth ordered. "We need to prepare you for the birth!"

Aragorn took Eowyn aside." Take care of her please!" he begged." I am so worried!"

Eowyn gently patted his arm, it was rare she saw the usually self-assured King in this mood "Please try not to worry, we have taken every precaution just in case." she said quietly. "But I think you have no need to fear, as she is strong, broad hipped and I know the babe's head is in the right position. You will soon be holding your first child in your arms and telling Arwen, how proud you are of her!"

"Thank you, Eowyn, I know she is in good hands." Aragorn tried to force a smile. but there were tears in his eyes as Arwen was led away. He feared he would never see his beloved wife again in this life.

"You need to keep busy, all expectant fathers are the same!" Ioreth chuckled.

"Farewell, my Love!" Arwen called as she disappeared down the stone corridor.

Aragorn returned to bed and tried to go back to sleep for a few more hours but found it impossible. He could have sent for Faramir to keep him company but was loath to disturb his Steward just yet when he would still be sound asleep in his own apartments.

He had every intention of inviting him to stay with him, though throughout the coming days, as since their ordeal at the Hunting Lodge they had become truly comfortable with each other and apart from Arwen, the only other person that Aragorn felt he could share his innermost hopes and fears with.

At daybreak, he abandoned any further attempt at sleeping, as he was just too concerned about Arwen. It was now daylight and he supposed he should eat breakfast, though he had little appetite and then attend that day's Council Meeting. Duty must always come first, however he was feeling, as Lord Elrond had taught him all his life. Faramir would understand this, as he too had been well schooled in duty, albeit more harshly by his late father

As he dressed, his hands shook as he fastened his elaborate tunic. Maybe he should have sent for his valet, but he disliked having others clothe him and usually dispensed with their services unless it was some state function, for which a second pair of hands was essential to secure all the finery in place.

He paced the room restlessly, knowing he could not spend most of the day like this .It was so hard to concentrate as his every thought was with Arwen, wishing he could ease her pain. A servant brought him breakfast on a tray and he picked at his food before making his way to the Council Chamber.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and Midas Tirith was alive with citizens bustling through the streets. Across the courtyard, he could see Faramir already mounting the steps to the Hall of Kings. The Steward paused as one of the Nobles came to speak to him. Everything in the entire city seemed at ease with exception of her King.

Suddenly loud shouting and the clatter of hoof beats on stone shattered the peaceful atmosphere.

"Horses are not permitted in the Citadel! You are not allowed here!" A hapless guard protested, only to be pushed aside as Eomer King of Rohan and his personal Eored stormed into the courtyard, scattering alarmed guards and citizens in their wake.

Women and children screamed while the horses neighed wildly in the unaccustomed environment.

Aragorn raced outside to try and calm the commotion.

Eomer, a grim expression on his face, dismounted, and handing his horse's reins to one of his Eored, looked around him as if searching for someone.

He suddenly espied Faramir amongst the Counsellors and strode menacingly towards him.

"Come here worthless scoundrel, how dare you insult and dishonour my sister!" Eomer raged in the common tongue, as he waved a sheet of parchment under Faramir's nose

"I know not of what you speak, brother!" Faramir, looking totally bewildered, backed up the steps towards the Council Chamber's entrance. " There must be some misunderstanding. Come inside and let us discuss this calmly."

"How dare you call me brother, when you treat my sister without honour! How many times have you beaten her? What cruel humiliations have you forced upon her, a Princess of Rohan, How many of your friends have you forced her to lie with? "

"Only one and she was not forced and there was no impropriety as he was near death." Faramir replied blushing as he recalled the events of six months before. I have never abused nor ill-treated my wife! I have no idea what you mean."

"Send for her then and let her speak!" Eomer snapped.

" I can not as she is attending the Queen during her confinement." Faramir said quietly.

"Will not or can not? Or is this some new insult to her, forcing her to act as the Queen of Gondor's maid?" Eomer snapped, drawing his broadsword and advancing on Faramir. "I demand satisfaction, arm yourself! Worthless cur though you are, I would not kill you in cold blood!" He threw the crumpled parchment down at Faramir's feet.

Faramir hesitated, unsure of whether or not to pick it up. He decided not to as Eomer advanced menacingly. Slowly and reluctantly he drew his sword.

"Stop this at once!" Aragorn, having arrived on the scene, shouted in a commanding tone, although somewhat out of breath in his haste to get there.

"This is none of your affair, save that you should have not let your Steward abuse my sister, Aragorn Arathornsson!" Eomer retorted. "I will avenge Eowyn's honour whether you like it or not!"

Aragorn tried to rush forward but found himself restrained by his own guards.

"Let me pass!" he ordered.

"Your life could be in danger, Sire and we are sworn to protect you." the Captain of the Guard replied. "You can punish us as you will, but we are not lending you face over a hundred heavily armed men, unarmed and protected by only four guards!"

"I order you, as your King, let me pass!" Aragorn roared.

Eomer rushed forward up the steps towards Faramir and lashed out with his sword, catching the Steward a glancing blow across the arm and side. Trying to defend himself, Faramir lunged at his opponent, aiming to disable his sword arm.

Eomer spun away from the blow, while Faramir was thrown slightly off balance and as result landed Eomer a blow to the chest.

Eomer, standing precariously on the top step, overbalanced as Faramir's sword pierced him. He fell down the stone steps backwards; landing with a sickening thud then lay there motionless, blood pouring from his head and chest.

His followers leapt from their horses, drew their swords and milled round him, loudly demanding justice.

Aragorn finally broke free from his guards and rushed to Eomer's side. The King of Rohan appeared lifeless and Aragorn bit back a cry of anguish as he bent over his stricken friend .

He held his hand over Eomer's nose and mouth and thought he detected a faint breath. Speed was the essence if he were to have any chance of survival.

"Take him to my apartments!" Aragorn ordered. "Carry him carefully!"

The Rohirrim pressed round Faramir, lances raised, demanding vengeance, while the Gondorian guards, who had come rushing from their various posts round the city, tried to hold them at bay.

A large crowd of citizens had also pressed into the courtyard on hearing the commotion. The horses, unused to the city, stirred restlessly, threatening to unseat their riders and stampede.

"Death!" chanted Eomer's men.

"For the white tree in the name of the King!" cried the Gondorians

Aragorn realised he must act quickly if war was to be averted.

"Take Faramir, steward of Gondor into my custody!" he ordered. He bent and stuffed the crumpled parchment into his tunic.

White with shock, the unresisting Steward was led away.

"He must die, he killed our King!" shouted the Roherrim.

Aragorn raced to the top of the steps, oblivious to his own safety.

"Put down your weapons!" he roared. "Guards, arrest anyone who desists! Good citizens of Gondor, return to your homes, you are under curfew for the rest of the day!"

He then called in Roherric "Men of Rohan, I myself, Aragorn Arathornsson will care for Eomer King and see justice done. Put down your weapons, your horses could easily be harmed in this confined space!"

Aragorn held his breath, hoping that war could yet be averted.

TBC

A/N

Welcome back to this story, I was touched that some of you missed it.

The events to which Faramir refers occur in chapter 18 of "Shadow and Thought" if anyone is unsure what he means.

My ideas for stories just jump into my head, usually when I am trying to sleep !

Tolkien said that the law of the eldest always succeeding had not been observed in the lands of exile. (Middle Earth) because they were ever troubled by war.

I am sure Aragorn and Faramir are familiar with the births of foals, puppies and kittens as well as the gore of the battlefield but when it comes to their wives and their own offspring, they find that very different!

As it is a modern convention of the last forty years or so that fathers are present at the birth, I have decided to stick to older traditions, though anything could happen!

I hope you enjoyed "A New Beginning" It was written on impulse but I hope it provides some relevant background about Aragorn and Faramir.

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