My sister by Galadhmorn
He walked into her room. Now the War was over, he had the chance to visit it every evening.
“Who lived here?” a voice asked. He whirled around. “I’m sorry.” Aragorn?
“There is no need to apologise, my lord.”
“How many times, Faramir? I am Aragorn, and Aragorn is me! Who lived in this room, Faramir?” he said softly, sensing that he was upset.
“My sister, Caranaelin.”
“I didn’t know that you had a sister. Her name sounds Elvish.”
“Caranaelin isn’t really my sister. My father loved her, almost as much as he did Boromir, he wanted to name her in a fair tongue.” Aragorn wanted to hear more. Faramir sighed and remembered.
““Stay out of trouble, Boromir. And get back before Theoden arrrives, I want you to be washed,” our father instructed.
“Yes father,” Boromir said.
“Stay out of his way, Faramir!”
“Yes, my lord.” I bowed.
“Faramir, he’s your father,” Boromir chided, I just glared at him. Surprisingly, the fearless Boromir stepped back. He didn’t know that I’m beaten and yelled at at least once a day! Yet, I immediately regretted it…he didn’t know.
Father insisted that we take two guards with us, to make sure that we didn’t get lost. The soldiers, I’m glad, had a sense of adventure, so they let us go deeper into the forest than the other guards did. Boromir and I found a hidden pool, a lake in fact, that seemed to glow red in the morning sunlight. The soldiers looked nervous, which I thought strange, until I realised why. My brother had come to the same conclusion, we were being watched.
Beleg took out his bow and shot high into a branch, he could hear the breathing because his family were elven. A shape swung down and hit the ground lightly, and stared at us with wide green eyes. Boromir slowly approached the black haired girl and she took his wrist, pushed back his shoulders and flipped him onto the ground. She put a knife to his throat and threatened “You fire arrows at me!” She pointed to Beleg, who tensed. “Try it and I’ll cut his throat! Put it down.” The soldier obeyed, she turned to me. The way she looked at me wasn’t like anything else, it was like she could see my innermost thoughts and secrets. She didn’t look, she analysed. If it turned into a fight, she knew exactly how to take us down.
“You are in charge, yes?”
“Actually, I think Boromir was in charge before you attacked him.”
“You are not lying,” she determined. Boromir took his chance whilst she relaxed. He disarmed her and dug the point into her neck. “What is your name?”
“Boromir! She is just a girl!” The other soldier shouted. The girl stiffened and stared daggers at him.
“What is your name?” my brother repeated.
“She cannot answer with a knife at her throat.” I muttered.
“Boromir! We will take her to Lord Denethor,” Beleg decided. My brother took away the weapon. “I kinda like her!” he said lightly.
The ride back to Minas Tirith went quickly, even with the girl fuming on the back of Boromir’s horse, she’d refused to go on Beleg’s so she had to ride with one of us. She wasn’t thrilled about that either. For the first time in my life I was properly scared, I was afraid that she would find out my secret.”
“What secret?” Aragorn asked. He noticed Faramir’s panic. “I’m sorry. Carry on.”
“Everyone was staring at her as we walked up to the citadel. They were thinking, what are the sons of Denethor doing with that? She was quite dirty, she’d done her best to clean up outside the main gate but to no avail. Her raven black hair was caked in mud and her green eyes were shattered, she was terrified of meeting the grand Steward of Gondor. I knew that look, I saw it on the faces of every person who looked less than immaculate when they stood in front of my father. Boromir had suggested that we take her to the Houses of Healing before taking her to the Steward, until I pointed out that we needed permission from father to enter, he would find out eventually, he always did. His brilliant response was, “Ah.”
As we walked up to the gate, with several guards this time, Beleg had told them that she was smart and could fight. The girl got smaller and then it clicked: the forest was her realm, this was an unfamiliar city, she was at somebody else’s mercy. Of course she’s afraid.
The gate opened, the girl’s hand shot towards my brother’s and her green eyes widened in fear. At the other end of the hall my father smiled, I hadn’t seen him smile properly in ages, he was smiling with his eyes as well. There was another man as well, it must have been King Theoden of Rohan. Boromir spoke softly into the girl’s ear and she untensed, still not letting go. Boromir turned arouned and winked at me. I scowled, I had no idea how the tough, strong brother turned into a comforting influence. “You’re late my son!” He was still smiling. Theoden frowned, he must have noticed the son not sons. “Who is this you have brought?” We most likely had a minute of happy dad left.
“We found her in the forest, father. It would have been cruel to leave her.”
“Indeed. What is your name?” he asked the girl.
“I don’t know, my lord.”
“How did you get here?” father still used a kind tone. He could read people, he knew what they were
feeling, and could read more than what a person told him.
“My father sent me away, our village was being attacked by creatures, horrible creatures. There was screaming and burning everywhere. I was young, my brother never used my name, I was just sister and he was just brother. When I was five I was taught to handle a knife, when I was ten, a spear. He went out hunting once, and never came back. I didn’t know where we were. I quickly learned how to survive. I’d occasionally come across a town. What must be years later, your sons found me, so now I’m here, my lord.”
“You seem to know my title around here. How?” The girl was staying awfully calm for someone who may have just experienced their sorrowful life again My father seemed to remain oblivious. She was able to keep her emotions secret, I wish I could do that.
“I listened to others, my lord.”
“Do not call me my lord, a daughter you shall be to me. Call me father.”
“Yes,” she stopped herself, “father.” She smiled. The Steward smiled back.
“Go and get cleaned up. Boromir, take her to the Houses of Healing, tell them to check for illnesses.”
“Yes father,” Boromir was elated that the girl was allowed to stay with us.
“Faramir, find… Caranaelin…yes. Find Caranaelin some clothes.”
Caranaelin, red lake, how appropriate! “Yes father.” My father surprised me and carried on smiling.
I didn’t even have to bow.”
“Faramir, whilst telling me this, you seem to have gone into a trance. Are you all right?”
“Elrond said that it may happen. Whilst looking back, not forward.” Aragorn didn’t seem slightly tired. Faramir was feeling as though he was putting a heavy load onto the ground, telling somebody.
“Please continue, Faramir.”
“I was standing outside the Houses with a silver and emerald dress for when my sister came back. I didn’t have to wait long. “Faramir, over here, hey!”
“I see you, brother…and sister!” Boromir and Caranaelin were laughing and grinning. Caranaelin had had a bath and for once, you could see how dark her hair was, she was almost glowing like an…
“Sister, are you an elf?”
“Ioreth thinks distantly. She said that my name was Caranaelin and I was thirteen years old. That makes me older than you, Faramir.”
I turned to Boromir, who was grinning like an idiot, “Do you think-”
“-related to Uncle Imrahil. Maybe.” He finished my sentence, and said “Nice dress, is it for you?” Caranaelin snorted.
“In fact, it is for Caranaelin.”
“How does it go on?” My sister asked incredulously.
“You’d have to ask Fari.” She burst into more laughter.
I began explaining how to put on a dress, ignoring the teasing of my brother and the giggling of my sister. Boromir showed her inside and to a room she could use to change.
“Boromir, I swear to Eru, one more taunt and I will have to kill you.”
“You wouldn’t harm me in front of a Lady!” he said with a mock gasp.
“A Lady? What Lady?” my menace was ruined in my confusion.
“Fari, we’re lords. We now have a sister, I thought you were clever, brother. That makes her Lady Caranaelin.”
“A Lady who could beat you in a fight,” I retorted. It had no effect on his mood.
“A Lady who is smarter than you!” He laughed.
“I said before, Boromir, one more-” our argument was broken by Caranaelin.
“Faramir, is this on right?” I jumped, much to Boromir’s amusement. She had moved silently behind me. I will become better at it than her, I promised to myself. She looked beautiful, I’m sure my brother was thinking the same.
“Yes, exactly right.” The last part I muttered, there was no need to give Boromir more ammunition than necessary. Unfortunately he heard.
“I’ll leave you two lovebirds, I’ve got target practice.” He sprinted down the hill before I could demonstrate the inventive words that I’d picked up from the guards.
“What was that about?” Thank the Valar, she didn’t hear.
“I’ve no idea,” I lied.
“Yes, Caranaelin, the name’s quite long, can I call you Carana?”
“Of course, would you show me around?”
“Well, it’s either me or him,” I nodded in the direction he left in, “first, we should go watch Boromir, he’ll be heartbroken if he can’t show off!” We chuckled at his expense.
“Carry on, telling me this will make it better. My guess is that the other servants do not feel it is their place to speak of her. They think you are the only one with the right to tell.”
“Aragorn, you must be getting tired. It’s late, if I stayed awake this long, Eowyn would probably scream at me for double the time I’d been up.”
“Please, carry on.”
“We went to visit Boromir who was, as I predicted, showing off. Caranaelin asked to be excused so that she could apologise to Beleg, the archery instructor, and came back, blushing furiously. For the rest of the session she kept glancing at Boromir with a confused expression on her face. When Boromir returned he also was red faced, either embarrasment or anger, it could be either, he was approaching twenty and had just spoken to father. When he noticed our curious faces he immediately wiped all emotion from his features, save happiness. He was as good at this as our father. It was so frustrating.
“Er…Bori, I was just going to take our sister to the gardens, er… do you want to come with?” His pause suggested that the conversation with father may have included Caranaelin.
“Brother, as I mentioned before, you are clever. Do you not think that I want to spend the day with our sister!”
“What’s left of the day, you mean. The dinner bell will be going soon. It will be quiet, probably best for Carana.”
“Urm, Faramir, father did tell you, the King of Rohan is here. You’re not really living up to your name as Faramir the Genius. Sister, what do you think of a feast?”
“A feast?” asked Caranaelin, puzzled.
“A feast, my apprentice-” Boromir started.
“-is a special meal to celebrate the arrival of somebody important,” I finished.
“Not what I was going to say, little brother. Anyway, there’s not enough time to show her the gardens, at least, when there are important things to look at.”
“Like what?” I challenged.
“Where she’s sleeping, where to go in the morning, where her lessons will be, the armory.”
“The armory is not important. Anyway, she won’t be having lessons.”
“Stop arguing!” Carana shouted, “Is this what all siblings do? What will I be doing, if not learning?”
“That will be answered by the Steward, and no, not all siblings argue this much. Theodred and Eomer are just fine, and they’re closer than brothers.”
All three of us spun towards the calm voice, to our suprise it belonged to King Theoden. I thought, Please, mercy, let nobody sneak up on me, for the rest of today at least! Despite this, I bowed with my brother, my sister was a bit late, but Theoden took no notice. “There is no need to bow, sons…and daughter…of Gondor. I wished to simply introduce myself to Lady Caranaelin, you all may be seeing a lot of me in the coming weeks.”
“If I may ask, why?” Boromir enquired.
“Your father does not wish for me to tell you this.” He gave in at Boromir’s pleading expression, “How does your brother ever win an argument with you, young man? Ah, I suppose you at least should know. If you want to know, please come with me.”
“Why, my lord, him alone?” Caranaelin interrupted. “Boromir’s going to tell us anyway. Aren’t you, Boromir.” She paused as if remembering that Theoden was a king. “Forgive me, my lord,” she said queitly.
“The only thing to forgive is that you called me my lord, twice,” the King said kindly. “I think that you will be a good friend to Eowyn, she is two years old, but she will almost definitely have a temper like her brother’s. And yes, I suppose that Boromir will.”
“Will you tell us, then?” I asked, hopeful.
“No,” he said firmly. “To make up for your dissapointment, next time I visit, I will bring Theodred. Eomer as well if his mother lets me.” As if father could hear our speech, the bell went. I’d always hated it, it was earsplittingly loud, why could it not be quieter.
“I guess we should go,” I said.
“As always, little brother, you are right.” He over emphasised the word little, he knew I hated being youngest. Even with Caranaelin I was still the smallest. It was, in a way, rubbing salt in the wound.
On the way back to the hall, Boromir, Theoden and I jokingly tried to prove that our country was better, my sister mostly listened. All she said was, “Rohan sounds beautiful!”
“Betrayal!” Boromir exclaimed. I sniggered.
“What! Am I not allowed to think other places are beautiful!” she argued. “Argh, you’re impossible.”
“Wow, where did you pick up the extra syllables!” her voice dripping with sarcasm.
“You two! Boromir may be a warrior! You may be a survivor! But I’m the one who, apparently, has to stop you killing each other! I’d rather I don’t need to pick up the pieces!” I yelled. At this point, Theoden was trying hard not to laugh. Finally he said: “Your personalities contradict the other’s, please, calm down.” By now, they were glaring at one another, my sister looked so outraged I was surprised that Boromir didn’t step back. Reluctantly he stuck his hand out. Caranaelin was quick to catch on, I could swear he said “Duel tomorrow noon, get Fari to choose the weapons.” She replied, “Deal.”
My sister won, knife against sword.”
“Your sister, what happened to her? Why do you come here?” Aragorn asked.
“Are you sure you would want to know, it doesn’t have a happy ending,” Faramir warned.
“If you wouldn’t mind, I would like to know.”
“Over the years, we three had picked up a pattern; she would watch us train, later Boromir would teach her what he’d learned, in the evenings I would teach her lore. When Mithrandir came, he would tell us about the outside world, always after much begging.
Fifteen years later, Boromir proposed to her; it was funny when he did, I was watching through a hole in the hedge. She was a little bemused at first, only when she remembered that they weren’t siblings, did she agree. The ring was the fairest I had ever seen, silver, with a single emerald. Boromir hadn’t asked my father at all, for fear of him saying no. When, however, he found out he was overjoyed. So happy, that he was nice for a week and a day. Boromir would have ignored him, I’d wager.
I’d made my brother promise not to tell Caranaelin that I was mistreated. Once, she walked in on me being beaten. She had a shouting match with my father and wouldn’t speak to him for days, just glare. It broke his heart to see her angry, he made sure she never saw it happen again. When Boromir was killed, it got worse: father started looking deeper into the palantir.
A month after that, Caranaelin was taken, the Enemy wanted to snap my father’s spirit. All we heard was a scream, all that was left three dead Uruks. She killed them with the gift Boromir had given her, a knife, cleverly concealed in a hairpin. After that, my father finally cracked.”
Faramir couldn’t speak. The sorrow was overwhelming. A comforting hand on his shoulder made him realise that his sister wouldn’t want him to grieve, she would want him to finish her story. “It’s all right if you would like me to leave, Faramir.”
“No! Sorry, but, I’d like to finish, if you will stay.”
“Of course, believe me, it will be better if you tell someone.”
“Ever since she died, I’ve heard her voice, in my head. Scolding me if I lose a fight, or make a mistake I shouldn’t have. Other times, her voice is giving me advice. When I learned that Frodo had the Ring, I was afraid that I would take it. Sam wasn’t the reason I didn’t. It was her.
When the tutors refused to take her in, she often joked that she might leave, dress up as a stable-boy and change her name to Idril. I now wish she had done that.” Aragorn was right, Faramir felt much better now he had told someone.
“Did you say, a stable-boy called Idril?”
“Yes, why?” Faramir’s eyes were shining with hope. Aragorn said nothing but, “Come to the hall at ten o’clock tomorrow morning. Goodnight Faramir.”
“Goodnight Aragorn.” Faramir’s brow was creased, resembling Elrond’s.
After Aragorn left, Faramir tried to sleep, but couldn’t. He was good at reading people, he couldn’t help but notice recognition in his King’s voice. Could it be possible that she was still alive, working as a stable-boy? He asked himself this question again and again until sleep found him.
Aragorn had similar trouble. It was only two days ago he had asked Idril to take his horse to the stable, he knew that Idril had had a secret. Was Idril Faramir’s sister? He pondered this until he fell into blackness.
The next morning was slow. Faramir was waiting for his appointment with Aragorn, and possibly his sister. When ten o’clock struck, he dropped everything and raced to the hall. Standing next to Aragorn was a familiar face. The dark hair, longer at the front than at the back, the bright green eyes analysing everything that I did. “Carana?”
“Faramir, you’ve grown so much! You’ll be getting married, being responsible-”
“I’m very responsible, I’ll have you know. I’m Steward of Gondor.” Faramir grinned despite himself. The King smiled at the reunion. It was amazing how the most miraculous thing you’ve seen in your life, could turn into the most embarrassing. All in the blink of an eye.