Long Live the King !
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien .This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain. Some lines are taken directly from the book.
For Susan W who requested a story set in this time frame
A New Beginning
The King had survived much to his joyous relief, despite his nightmarish visions to the contrary, Sauron was defeated and the One Ring destroyed and today Faramir's brief tenure as the twenty seventh and last ruling Steward would draw to its close when he handed back the White Rod and resigned his office to the King as he entered the City.
He felt humbled and amazed that the long awaited task of handing back the White Rod to the King should fall on him, Faramir, as Gondor had waited almost a thousand years for this moment.
He had never desired to rule, nor indeed been born for it, as his brother Boromir had been the heir, though he would consider it an honour to serve the new King in some capacity but it was most unlikely that Aragorn or Elessar as he must remember to think of him as now, would want any member of his family to hold high office, after Boromir had succumbed to the Ring and Denethor had taken his own life after losing his reason. If the King required a Steward, he would surely choose one more suitable, maybe Prince Imrahil or one of his own kindred from the North.
He had grown up hearing tales from his Uncle about how much his father had hated the mysterious Captain Thorongil who had served under his grandfather and been the apple of his eye. It now turned out that he and the new King were one and the same.
Maybe that was why Denethor had always spoken of the lost heir to the throne in such contemptuous terms as 'an upstart from a ragged house long bereft of honour and dignity'.
No, King Elessar would not want the son of Denethor anywhere near him, though he hoped he could still serve him in some way. Already he loved the King and had done so since he first beheld those warm and compassionate eyes looking into his.
He planned now to move to Ithilien on the far side of the river as not to trouble the new King with his presence and there build a home for himself and the Lady Eowyn as soon as they could be married.
His heart beat faster at the very thought of the beautiful Lady of Rohan. He still could hardly believe that he had been bold enough to ask her to be his wife and was amazed that she had accepted him as she was the by far the most beautiful and desirable woman he had ever set eyes upon and it had been love at first sight for him during those dark days when he feared that their world was about to be destroyed.
It seemed that they had so much in common, both having lost loved ones and been brought back from the very brink of death by King Elessar's hand. There was so much yet to learn about his bride to be as he had only known her six weeks but he was certain he had found the woman of his dreams.
If only her responsibilities in Rohan did not mean that they would have to wait so long to be married! He was longing to be a husband and a father too, as he greatly desired children, a large family of sons and daughters that he could bring up in a completely different way to the cold and rigid manner in which he had been raised.
He knew Eowyn had once loved the King, but it did not trouble him for how could anyone fail to do so?
He dressed carefully for the coming ceremony. It had been a problem knowing what to wear, as his father's ceremonial robes had perished with him and in a time of shortages after the war, it seemed extravagant having new robes made just for one occasion, however momentous.
He finally settled on an outfit similar to the uniform of the Citadel Guard, black breeches and a black tunic embroidered with the White Tree and Seven Stars, over that, he would wear a new cloak, especially made for the occasion bearing the same design.
At last his dream of meeting the King, when he was dressed in his finest clothes was coming true after the shame of being clad only in his nightshirt for their earlier encounters!
He shunned the services of a valet, apart from someone to check he was dressed correctly before leaving for the ceremony, as he disliked anyone seeing his scarred body. He flinched at the ever-present pain in his back and shoulders as he donned his tunic and undershirt.
The healers had done all they could, but their probing and prodding was even more painful than the wounds to endure. He had told them he desired no further treatments and they had left him alone, amazed that he could move the injured shoulder at all after such a severe wound.
He flushed at the memory of the King entering his room while the Healers had been treating his wounds when he had been bare to the waist with all the scars from his wounds, and even worse, from the repeated floggings he had endured visible to the Royal eye! Then instead of turning away, Aragorn had insisted on treating Faramir himself, which had been the most skilled, effective and gentle treatment, he had ever received.
Worse was to follow as he had committed another appalling breach of etiquette by weeping in the King's arms when too distraught to realise who it was that held him.
Today he was determined to finally make a good impression as hopefully after all that had happened since Aragorn would have forgotten. He had offered to treat Faramir's wounds again should he return but surely no King would take so much trouble over a servant? And even if he were so inclined, the shame and humiliation of removing his shirt and showing the shameful scars again to one he admired so much was too painful to even contemplate.
After being assured that he looked immaculate by his servants, Faramir took up the White Rod and made his way down to the barrier, which at present served as the Main Gate into the City, until a new one could be constructed.
Although Minas Tirith was still suffering from the aftermath of the Siege, repairs were already well underway and Faramir had done everything possible, working long hours despite his still frail health to prepare for the coming of the King.
The houses and streets were decorated with garlands of flowers and banners proclaiming a welcome to Elendil's heir and excited throngs of citizens lined the streets awaiting his coming.
It was a beautiful May morning and the city was bathed in bright sunshine, making the white stonework gleam like silver against the blue sky. There was a pleasant breeze, which made the banners flutter gaily in the wind as if they danced to welcome the one who was coming.
Faramir had arrived early trying to calm the butterflies in his stomach, he looked around him, noting that the plain white banner of his House was fluttering in the breeze as it flew from the White Tower for the last time as after today, the King's standard would fly there in its place. This was a New Age and Faramir rejoiced to be alive to see it.
The Steward felt a pang of sorrow for his father and brother whose shoes he now occupied, though he wondered if either would have handed over the rod so willingly. There might even have been civil war had Denethor still been in charge and Boromir had expressed a wish since childhood that he himself could be King.
Maybe it was the will of the Valar, that he should be the one standing here, though he wished at had not had to be at the cost of his beloved brother's life that he was now Steward.
Eowyn came to stand by his side as the time for the ceremony drew nearer. Elfhelm, her brother's Marshall came and stood on her other side, with many other Riders of the Mark, while Lord Hurin Warden of the Keys and other Captains of Gondor came to stand at his other side as the moment Gondor had waited for so long approached.
The bells rang out joyfully as the Royal procession slowly came into sight
He was coming! Faramir's heart leapt to again see the one who had called him back from the shadows and recalled him from the very brink of death. It baffled him still, why the King should have fought to save his life and not for the first time he vowed to serve him in any way he could for the rest of his life in whatever humble capacity Elessar might desire his service. He had faithfully discharged the duties he had given him ere he left and cared for Gondor and the Lady Eowyn and the Hobbit Meriadoc as he had been charged.
The King was walking slowly on foot preceded by his kindred from the North dressed all in silver and grey. He was clad in black mail girt with silver and he wore a long mantle of pure white clasped at the throat with a great jewel of green, which shone from afar. Faramir recognised the jewel as the one he had worn it at their first meeting. He was bareheaded save for a jewel like a star upon his forehead bound by a slender fillet of silver.
Beside him walked Faramir's uncle, Prince Imrahil and Eowyn's brother, King Eomer of Rohan and four small figures, not children as many in the crowd thought, but Hobbits, Frodo, the Ring Bearer, still looking very fragile after his ordeal, Sam his loyal companion, and Merry and Pippin, both of who Faramir had become very fond of.
There were also three of the First Born in the procession, two so alike that they had to be twins and a third with long golden hair, even more beautiful than Lady Eowyn's tresses. The glory of the past had indeed returned to Gondor now the Fair Folk were once again here, as Faramir had waited all his life to see one Elf, never mind three!
A hush fell over the crowd at the King's approach and Faramir accompanied by Hurin of the Keys walked forth to greet the King. Behind them came four guards of the Citadel in high helms and armour, carrying a great casket.
Faramir's heart was thumping so loudly he felt sure that everyone present would hear though he walked tall and proud as a Captain of Gondor.
When he reached the King he knelt and held out the White Rod saying, "The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office."
To his amazement, Aragorn raised him to his feet and embraced him. Lifting his head he looked into the compelling and compassionate eyes he remembered so well and had feared never to see again. Smiling, the King handed back the rod and said in a loud voice
"That office is not ended and it shall be thine and thy heirs as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!"
A loud cheer arose from the crowd, as Faramir was well loved in the City.
Faramir was so astonished that he almost dropped the rod. Not only had he been reinstated as Steward but also Aragorn had addressed him using the familiar 'thee' as one would a friend. Then he had spoken of heirs, however could he know that Faramir was planning to marry and produce some?
He struggled to compose himself and Aragorn asked quietly, "Are you well my friend?"
Faramir bowed again. "Yes Sire and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!" he murmured.
Faramir stood up and said in a clear voice," Men and women of Gondor, hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold, one has come to claim the kingship again at last, Elessar of the line of Elendil, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle whose hands bring healing. Shall he be King and enter into the City and dwell there?"
Surprisingly he was not so nervous now as it was as if the King's touch had given him confidence and he glowed with pride that it was he, Faramir, the most unlikely candidate on whom the honour of performing this task had fallen and he was determined to do it well.
He held his breath for an instant wondering how the people would react but to his joy all cried "Yea" with one voice, his own joining the affirmation.
Faramir then addressed the crowd again telling them that he had brought the crown from the Rath Dinen where it had lain since the death of the last King as unlike in the days of the Kings of Old, Elessar had not been able to receive from the hands of his father ere he died as was the custom of Gondor.
Faramir then opened the casket and took out the ancient crown of Gondor, its splendour undimmed by the passing of time. The crown had lain waiting a long time but here at last was a man truly worthy of it. It had been an ordeal for Faramir to go to the tombs, after so nearly losing his life there, and others had volunteered to spare him the task but it was only fitting that he should fetch the crown for the man who had brought him back from the very brink of death.
Its jewels sparkled in the sunlight as Faramir handed it to Aragorn, his eyes full of love, awe and respect for the one worthy to wear it.
Aragorn took the crown and held it up so all could see it and spoke the words of his ancestor Elendil. "Out of the Great Sea to Middle earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs unto the ending of the world."
The crowd then gave a gasp of astonishment as instead of placing the crown on his head, Aragorn handed it back to Faramir and said "By the labour and valour of many I have come into my inheritance. In token of this, in token of this I would have the Ring Bearer bring the crown to me and let Mithrandir set it upon my head, if he will."
Frodo then came forward and took the crown from him and carried it to Gandalf, then Aragorn knelt again to the amazement of all who watched for who could have expected such humility from a King? Then Gandalf placed the crown on Aragorn's head and said.
"Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!"
Aragorn then rose from his knees and turned to face the people. A change seemed to have come over him as he seemed to have grown in statue and a light shone around him.
Faramir cried in awe, "Behold the King!"
Then the trumpets were blown as Aragorn entered the City and the King passed through the flower-laden streets to the sound music and singing until he came to the Citadel. And then the banner of the Stewards was lowered and given to Faramir for safekeeping and the King's banner showing the White tree and the Seven stars was unfurled upon the topmost tower.
A/N I was planning to concentrate on my current story, "Burden of Guilt" but this one just jumped into my head to mark the day of Aragorn's Coronation. I must admit though that compared with the Coronation of our Queen, Elizabeth II, Tolkien's proceedings are rather a let down to one brought up on accounts of what happened in 1953.
When I was a child, I was allowed to look through my Mother's books about the occasion, which imbued me with a life long fascination for these ancient rituals.