Denethor discovers what Faramir is holding.
Chapter 9: The Steward’s Fury
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“Come on Faramir,” Tirion muttered in his ear, “I’m trying to help you here.”
“I would rather spend the night with an Orc!” Faramir lashed out angrily, as Denethor strode up towards them.
“Well, where is he? Tirion where is your general?” Denethor’s mood was surprisingly jovial, “Tell him his father is here to join in his celebration!”
And then his eyes fell on Faramir and the rangers and he frowned.
“Captain, your men seem to have strayed from their little cave,” he said snidely, even as the rangers bowed to their lord.
“My lord,” Faramir murmured, going down on one knee, the horn still held in his hands.
“Why are you not in Ithilien?” Denethor asked sharply.
“My lord – I –“
Denethor’s face darkened, “And what do you hold there?”
Pulling Faramir up roughly, he grabbed the horn from his hands, “why do you have this?” he asked sharply.
“I – I”
Denethor began to shake his younger son angrily, “Speak, fool! Where is your brother? Why do you hold his horn?”
The rangers watched with growing concern.
“My lord!” Anborn stepped forward, before Mablung could jump “Lord Boromir is in his tent. He is er- slightly indisposed.”
“Father!” Boromir had by now staggered out of his tent, looking fairly sick but also quite happily drunk, “Did I hear you say you came to join in the celebration? Tirion, more ale!”
Denethor took in the situation in one glance and seeing that his heir looked in danger of playing a drunken fool in front of his men, let go of Faramir and stepped forward.
“Yes! More ale! Let your men, celebrate. Meanwhile I would speak to you, my sons. Boromir, would you keep some mead ready for me?”
Faramir glanced at him worriedly while Boromir happily went to do as he was bid. He realised his rangers had walked up and stood by either side of him. Denethor gave him a hard look, “Return the horn to your brother who is its true owner. Send your men back to Ithilien now, Captain. You will not be returning as yet. I have some errands for you.”
Faramir stared at him in dismay, and then at his rangers who looked a little uncomfortable.
“Now, Captain! I wish to speak with you and unlike you I have not the time or the inclination to be dallying about!” he barked out.
Faramir did as ordered, and quietly asked the rangers to return to their post.
“We would rather not leave, Captain,” Mablung said truthfully.
“He has ordered it, Mablung. And if he has other errands for me, it would be pointless for all of you to wait.”
He bade them farewell and returned hastily to Boromir’s tent. Tirion stood outside.
“I can still help you,” Tirion said calmly.
“I do not need your help,” Faramir replied.
“You deserve the Orcs then, you miserable whelp,” Tirion lashed out in anger.
Faramir ignored him and walked in. Boromir lay sprawled on his bed half-asleep, humming an old love song.
To say Denethor was furious was putting it mildly.
“You left your post in Ithilien *and* you dared to bear your brother’s horn? What is your explanation for this? And why is he in such an inebriated state? What did you give him?”
“I gave him nothing!” he protested wildly, “I just – Boromir brought me here by force – he said it was tradition to – for a new captain, so we – I -,” he stammered as he stood in front of his father with his head bowed and his heart beating wildly. He was about to reveal how his rangers had taken the horn when he realised he would be getting his men into trouble.
“So I thought I would take his horn in retaliation,” he said miserably.
There was silence for a second and then Denethor stepped forward and struck him. Faramir staggered back at the force behind the blow and losing his balance fell on his already sore backside, involuntarily yelping at the pain. He frantically looked to Boromir for help but his brother’s eyes were glazed and he realised he was too drunk to even notice.
“You miserable, accursed creature!” Denethor’s voice stayed low and soft but full of anger and venom and Faramir found himself cowering in fear as he had done always in front of his father. Perhaps he should have listened to Tirion. Then he wouldn’t have to spend the next few days recovering from the beating that he knew was bound to follow. He felt his eyes well up with tears and suddenly realised how utterly exhausted he was.
“How dare you touch an heirloom, sign of the heir, and treat it as a plaything? It has been a symbol of this house, of the Stewardship, something you can never attain and you dare taint it with your hands!” he slapped him again and Faramir cried out this time, “Ever have you pained me by your very presence, by your skulking, secretive nature. Now I know what you truly have in your heart. You will be punished for this but before that you deserve a strong lesson, I can see!”
“P-please, father. I meant no ill… it was merely-“ Faramir stammered, but Denethor would hear none of it. He struck the younger man again rendering him half-dazed.
“Boromir, tell him” he cried out, but his brother simply giggled, then hiccupped and giggled again.
“How dare you try to drag your brother in! As if reducing him to this condition is not misdeed enough!” Denethor said harshly, and slapped him again. Faramir staggered back, and Denethor caught him, and pushing him over the table, pulled down his pants, even as he undid his own belt. Faramir couldn’t hold back the tears as his already sore backside was exposed to his father’s eyes.
“Who did this?” There was surprise in Denethor’s voice and disgust too. He felt himself being pulled up again and turned to face his father, his pants slipping down his hips.
“I did,” Boromir slurred from the bed, “He was being rude and silly, father so I spanked him.”
He giggled softly, “You should have heard him squeal like a maiden.”
“I can imagine,” Denethor said drily. Boromir nodded grinning and then went back to sleep.
Denethor made Faramir lean over the table again and gave him ten lashes with his belt ensuring that each stroke landed on the reddest and sorest parts of the younger man’s buttocks. When he was done he made the younger man pull on his pants before speaking.
“And now there is this issue of the penalty you must pay for thieving an heirloom,” he said smirking at Faramir’s miserable countenance, “It is a very serious crime as I’m sure you are aware and the penalty is quite - severe.”
What happens next?
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