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These Scribblings will have
1. Canonic pairings.
2. All genres.
3. All characters.
4. Rating as high as PG-13 (but not completely likely).
5. Chapters of varying lengths.
6. Characters from entire Tolkien Legendarium.
The word ‘fledgling’ was an insult.
It was an informal term for newly recruited Rangers, just as ‘raven’ was the word for an experienced Ranger. The man passing in front of Faramir and his comrades was sprightly for someone in his fifties. He was also spewing insults at every man he passed by until he reached Faramir.
It took everyone in the Citadel and beyond by surprise when Faramir decided to join the Rangers. Usually the sons of the Stewards of old went on to knighthood. But Faramir opted for the Rangers. Denethor was surprised, wary but not displeased. He didn’t say it, but Faramir thought he didn’t need to. His father was a man of few words. He managed to convey his thoughts to those around him just by varying degrees of silence. In the case of his decision, his father’s silence was more thoughtful.
“It isn’t what most Stewards choose in their youth,” his father had said at last. “But if your heart desires then by all means, do so. Maybe it will be for the best. But remember it will not be easy. Men will resent your for your higher rank, and it will take you time to befriend them, just as it took Boromir time. And remember in the end, you are their leader, not their friend.”
Sometimes Faramir wondered if his father ever heard himself give advice. A part of his advice sounded like it came from him as it would come from a father, the other part sounded like it came from a ruler polishing his sword for battle and power. Still his father loved him and that was the best way he could show his love.
“And you,” the man sneered, bringing his face right in front of Faramir’s own. The man smelled of smoke but underneath it he had a clean earthy scent of the forest. “If you think you could grace yourself with your high presence in our low lot then remember this, fledgling, everyone has the same level underground.”
Faramir made no reply but held his eyes. He kept strength in his gaze, but no challenge. Boromir often wondered how he knew the best response but to Faramir it came simply as instinct. The man finally broke his gaze and stepped away.
It turned out later that the man was a raven who cowed even the hardiest of Rangers, but held in great respect among the high officers. He never became an officer, nor did he want to for his own reasons, but Faramir’s manners around him were legendary. He was fond of the cane that he used to whack fledglings on tardiness, foolishness and everything else in short. But the man grudgingly kept his hand off his cane when it came to Faramir. They all knew Denethor had nothing to do with it. The Steward kept a disinterested and impassive air when it came to whatever punishment the officers handed out his sons.
The months passed and they found a wolf cub abandoned from its pack. It was vicious for a thing so small. It snapped at anyone who came close, bit hard on an unsuspecting Ranger’s body where it hurt the most. It was wounded, so it could not survive the wild without help and they decided to kill it.
“Don’t,” Faramir said, stopping a comrade’s longbow from releasing. A familiar cane hit him hard on his knuckles but Faramir refused to let go. “Let me try.”
The cub snarled at him, bit his fingers and scratched him till it drew blood. So it went on till it grew into a bad-tempered wolf, but now the teeth and claws were meant for anyone Faramir deemed enemy.
“Well, I’ll be,” this was the first time Faramir heard wonder in the raven’s voice who mocked him the first day as a Ranger. He tapped his cane on his boot. “You have a way, fledgling, with man and beast. It is a skill I have not seen in my entire life but was spoken of in history.”
“Father possesses the same skill,” Faramir said mildly, ignoring the wolf curled about his waist on the ground. He bent his knees and wrapped his hands about it. The man scoffed.
“The Lord Steward possesses the skill with only men, but not with beast.” The raven picked up his cane and Faramir momentarily tensed. Sensing his mood, the wolf emitted a low warning growl but the man only pressed the end of his cane against Faramir’s chest, right on top of his heart. “Take care of that heart, boy.” The man said. “That heart is the reason why man and beast love you.”
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