Faramir rose from his chair in his study. "Let us do it now, "he said.
"Are you certain?" Aragorn enquired. "You do not have to do this."
"I must," Faramir said simply. "One day Gondor's future could depend
on my use of the Seeing Stone. I failed miserably when I tried to use
it before. This time, I am determined to master it!"
Aragorn sighed. "Very well, then," he said. "I will just tell Arwen
that we are going up Ecthelion's tower."
Rather to her husband's surprise, Arwen agreed with Faramir. "He is
your Steward and as such, should be able to use the palantír," she
said. "Stay with him, as long as he needs you, though, it will not be
easy for Faramir, I fear. Éowyn told me yesterday he was planning to
do this and wanted me to discourage him, but I fear it will haunt our
Steward if he does not overcome his fears."
Determinedly, King and Steward climbed the steps to the tower room,
pausing only when they reached their destination. The room was
bitterly cold. Aragorn stood by the window for a moment to catch his
breath. Faramir joined him, trying not to think about the covered
object upon the table.
"It cannot harm you," said Aragorn sensing his thoughts. "Now Sauron
is no more, the Stone is harmless. It was not the palantír that
destroyed your father's mind, but rather the malice of the Dark Lord.
This too, is the Orthanc Stone, which he never touched."
Faramir nodded, wishing he did not feel so nervous.
"Are you ready?" enquired Aragorn.
Faramir swallowed hard. "I am," he said quietly.
Aragorn approached the stone and cast aside the cover. The orb seemed
to be filled with swirling coloured light.
"Where would you like to see?" Aragorn asked him. "It is best to
begin with somewhere nearby."
"What about Mistress Tasariel and the people of her village?" Faramir
"A good choice," Aragorn smiled. "I often look to see how they are
faring." He placed his hands upon the palantír, frowning in
concentration. The mists cleared and he smiled. "Place your hands
over mine," the King told Faramir, "then look into the Seeing Stone."
Faramir hesitated only for a moment before doing as he was bidden. To
his amazement, he could see Tasariel and her daughter law walking
through the village. The younger woman was carrying an infant. For a
few minutes he watched enthralled.
"That must be Mistress Tasariel's grandchild!" he exclaimed at last.
"A little girl that the good lady is already besotted by!" Aragorn
smiled. "At present you are seeing what I do, now you try." He guided
one of Faramir's hands to touch the stone directly, while keeping the
other as before. Almost at once, the landscape started to blur and
dissolve in a mass of swirling colours. Faramir's head started to
spin. "Concentrate!" Aragorn said in a firm yet kindly tone. "Your
will is strong enough to master the palantír."
Faramir struggled to focus his gaze. The shapes dissolved and he
could again see the village in Lossarnach. "I see clearly now!"he
Aragorn gradually withdrew his hands. For a moment, Faramir continued
to watch the village, then everything blurred again. His head began
to swim. He swayed and would have stumbled, had Aragorn not steadied
him. "Easy now," said the King. "That is enough for today, ion nîn."
He threw the cloth back over the Seeing Stone.
Still supporting his friend, Aragorn led Faramir over to a couch at
the side of the room. "Put your head down," he advised, sitting
beside the Steward. "The dizziness will soon pass." He gently rubbed
"I failed again!" Faramir exclaimed miserably. "I could see clearly
for a moment and then..."
"You made excellent progress for a first attempt," said Aragorn. "You
simply need practice. I am proud of you today! If you let me continue
to teach you, you will soon master the Stone."
Faramir's head had stopped spinning. "I will try again on the
morrow," he said resolutely. "I feel better now."
"It will be much easier next time," Aragorn promised. He got up and
went back to the window. "Come and look, this is the finest view in
Faramir looked out over the gleaming white stone of his beloved Minas
Tirith. He could see the Court of the Fountain with the thriving
White Tree, the streets beyond, and beyond that stretched the
Pelennor shimmering under a silver coat of hoar frost. For a moment
he felt sad, thinking of all the times, his father must have looked
upon the City and the despaired .
Sensing his mood, Aragorn squeezed his shoulder. "The past is gone,"
he said gently.
Faramir studied the beauty of the scene outside in silence for a few
moments, then suddenly smiled. "You gave me a future," he said. " I
am determined to use it wisely."
The two men descended the tower. Their wives and a warm fire waited
to welcome them below.