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Written for B2MeM 2015. For Alphien and Illyrien for their birthdays.
A Place to Work and Work to Do
Faramir opened the heavy door and gestured within. The ceiling was high—that was the first thing Frodo noticed as they entered the room, with a layer of windows high above them and another waist-height to the Steward and rising an arm’s length above Faramir’s head on the southern wall. “I often worked here alongside my father until Boromir must go northward,” Faramir said. “To think that this is now my own office I find rather daunting. I am now the Steward of Gondor, second only to the King himself, as he has told me! I still can little believe that it is true! I will be glad to have you here working alongside of me, my—Master Frodo. They are looking for a desk or table that would be of a more appropriate height for you. I do not believe that the high chair our Lord King has had made for you to sit at in the Hall of Merethrond would be appropriate here, or comfortable for any length of time.”
“I am afraid that you are too correct, Lord Faramir,” the Hobbit returned. “Although as we are to be working together to learn what thought your father and his forebears took for those wounded or lost in battle and their families, I would prefer that you simply call me by my name as would any friend. Frodo will do nicely from you.”
Faramir smiled down at him, saying, “And you need not call me by my title either, Frodo—Faramir is the name given me by my parents, and is how those I honor as my friends call me. Certainly it is how our Lord King addresses me, and how odd that feels also!”
Frodo laughed. “I am glad that Aragorn is indeed our King, but how strange his new title feels as I try to utter it!”
“Not considering as strong a tie of fellowship as he feels with thee,” Faramir said, his eyes wide as he examined his small companion. “I doubt he will ever accept mere titles from you, Master Baggins.”
“I suppose not,” Frodo said, sighing.
There was a knock at the door, and at Faramir’s call to enter it opened, the Seneschal for the Citadel peering within. “We have found a table and chair that we believe should do well for Master Frodo as he works beside you, my lord,” he said. “I suspect that you shall recognize them well enough.”
He moved within and to one side and gestured for those behind him to enter. Three pages came after him, two carrying a low table with a parquetry pattern to its top, and the third with an elaborately carved chair onto which had been tied new cushions of spring green and gold velvet into which patterns of leaves of many kinds had been pressed. These were set to the right side of Faramir’s desk where light from both the clerestory and lower windows should fall across Frodo’s shoulders as he sat there. Then with low bows, the boys withdrew, and the Seneschal stood, clearly awaiting the reactions of both the Steward and the King’s Friend.
Frodo moved close, the light from the upper windows falling upon his hair as he leaned over to finger the carving of the chair’s back. “How exquisite!” he said. “My father could not have done better!”
“Your father made furniture?” asked Faramir. “I did not know.”
“And when have we had time to talk of what I remember of him?” Frodo asked, looking up to meet his eyes, smiling through the softly swirling motes of dust floating lazily in the summer sunlight. “But he did, and he would have loved these. He was better with such arabesques as this than he was with faces, but I love all of his work that I possess and that I see as I move about the Shire. The Thain sits in a chair Dad carved for Cousin Fortinbras when he held that office, and I smile every time I see Uncle Paladin seated on it.” He turned to try it out, and smiled as he leaned back against the upper cushion. “And it is so comfortable! I doubt I shall wish to quit it at the end of the day! How is it that you are expected to recognize it, Faramir?”
“These sat in my schoolroom when I was a child. I suspect that my father and grandfather sat in that chair and at that table in their own days as children. We keep to old traditions here in Gondor, and here in the Citadel. And one day I suspect that my own son and the King’s son shall sit together at that table and hear how it was once used by the Ringbearer, and they shall treat it with that much more respect.” Faramir turned to the Seneschal and smiled. “You may tell all who helped in making Master Frodo comfortable here how successful your endeavors have proved and how glad we both are for your thoughtfulness and care. Thank you so, Belstador.”
Master Belstador smiled in full satisfaction as he made his own bow and withdrew.
“And now,” Faramir said, “shall we to work? Here, through this door are the records my father always kept to hand….”
So it was that Frodo Baggins and the Lord Steward Faramir began working together to advise the King as to what measures had already been put into place for the needs of those wounded in battle and for the succor of the widows and children of the fallen.
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