Faramir says: "No, I think Damrod's right. Get twenty men together tomorrow and bring him in."
Chapter 2: An Unexpected Visitor
At daybreak the next day, Faramir sent out a party of twenty rangers that were headed by Damrod to bring the stranger to Henneth Annûn for questioning. The lord Steward has already made a new law that any who trespassed into Ithilien were to be taken to Minas Tirith for interrogation, a law which Faramir disliked intensely.
«When will it be enough?» Faramir thought to himself as he watched the search party depart and vanish into the surrounding woods. «Will he order me to kill trespassers next? It is true that we must be vigilant, but are we not to be compassionate as well?»
Damrod walked softy on the ground, trying not to disturb the forest floor with his steps. He had been watching the stranger for over an hour, as well as waiting for the others to get into position before they could safely overtake their intended target.
A birdcall sounded the readiness of his men, and Damrod answered with a similar call while motioning his party forward. Hopefully there would be no injuries or bloodshed this day, but if there was Damrod would make sure it would not be on the ranger’s side.
“Halt!” He shouted sternly as he quickly stepped into the trespasser’s view. The man took a quick step back and put his hand on his knife, before a strong hand from behind him held his wrist immobile. Whipping around to face this unknown assailant, the man took in the seven others now facing him and stopped fighting.
A wise decision, Damrod thought grimly to himself, as he removed the man’s weapons from him. “Are you aware, stranger, that it is against the law of Gondor for anyone to be in Ithilien without the Steward’s express consent? You have broken that law, unless you can explain your presence here today.”
The man’s face was obscured by the cloak but his voice was clear and rang out among his captors. “I would speak with your captain, and with no one else. It is with him that I shall discuss my reasons, for it concerns him. Bring him to me, if you would.”
Angry whispers flowed from the rangers hidden in the trees by the man’s arrogance. Who was he to order their captain as if he were a common dog?
Damrod swallowed his outrage and restrained his anger. “My lord does not come to the beckoning of strangers. We will bring you to him, and then onwards to Minas Tirith where you will be questioned by the Steward.”
“I will not.” The man contradicted firmly.
“You will,” Damrod argued, gesturing for his men to bind the stranger’s hands behind him. “Whether you will it or no.”
It was sundown when the party returned, twenty rangers and a figure with hands bound that walked between two armed guards. The captain stood stonily as he watched his men walk quietly back into the caves and waited for Damrod to come to him.
"Did it go well, Damrod?" Faramir asked quietly, his eyes still on the incoming men.
"Aye sir. We captured the trespasser without any harm to either party. He was unwilling to come in though, we had to bind his hands and take his weapons."
Faramir nodded and turned from the cave entrance to face the group of men that had been waiting for his presence.
"So, show me this man who had decided to grace Ithilien with his presence." Faramir ordered, and the men stepped aside.
The stranger had on a large dark cloak, and the hood obscured the trespasser's face from view. Kneeling down to meet his captive eye to eye, Faramir reached out and took down the hood. The captain gently took the prisoner's chin in his hand and titled it upwards to look at him.
Grey eyes met grey as the two men looked at each other, and it seemed that to Faramir the man staring back was a strange version of himself. Dark haired and pale skinned like any who came from Numenor and yet there in the line of face perhaps was more of a similarity than a stranger would have.
Questions ran through the Captain's mind and the longer he stared the more there were.
How did he come to be here, and why avoid the rangers? And for what reason was he here at all?
"Who are you," Faramir asked.
What happens next?
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