Faramir stifled a yawn. The King’s public audience seemed endless today.
Within the past hour, Aragorn had patiently listened to two farmers from the Pelennor disputing the ownership of a cow, and a woman who objected to her neighbours hanging their underwear on the washing line where she could see it. He had sternly admonished a drunkard who had spent all his money at the taverns, and now insisted King to pay his rent,
Another woman was now requesting that Aragorn stop her husband from spending his evenings in the company of his friends rather than with her.
It was warm in the Hall and Faramir felt his eyelids growing heavy. To keep himself alert, his eyes wandered round the vast room. A man caught Faramir’s eye. Unlike the others in the crowd, he seemed to be taking little interest in the proceedings. Faramir recognised him. It was the man who had drunk away his rent money. The fellow seemed to be fiddling with his boot. A glint of steel caught Faramir’s eye. The man had a knife!
Swiftly as an arrow, the Steward rose from his place and hurled himself in front of Aragorn. The Guards raced to seize the man, but too late. He had already thrown the knife at the King. It flew through the air and struck Faramir. Screams rent the air.
Aragorn caught him as he stumbled backwards. “Faramir, no!” he cried. “Guards, clear the hall. Hold fast to the miscreant and take him to prison,” the King commanded.
The King gently eased his friend down on the throne and looked at him, his eyes filled with concern and horror.
“Are you harmed, mellon, nîn? Did the blade strike you?” Faramir asked seemingly unperturbed by the knife embedded in his shoulder.
“I am well, you took the blade meant for me!” Aragorn replied in a voice choked with emotion.
“Strange that I should be sitting upon your throne!” mused Faramir, trying to take his mind from his pain.
“And on it you will stay until I have tended your wound,” said Aragorn. He sent a Guard to fetch healing supplies.
Faramir gritted his teeth and managed not to cry out when Aragorn removed the blade, albeit as gently as he could. When Faramir’s shirt was removed they were relieved that the gash was no worse than a flesh wound.
“You should not take such risks!” Aragorn gently chided as he cleaned the gash. “No great harm has been done, but you could have been killed!”
“As could you!” Faramir replied, gasping in pain when Aragorn smeared the wound with honey. “Did you think I would just sit my friend and King was slain? Never mellon nîn!”
“I am blessed to have you,” said Aragorn, patting Faramir’s good shoulder. He stitched the wound closed and carefully bandaged it.
Faramir relaxed, feeling the tiredness of worthwhile exertion. The nagging uneasiness of the morning was now fled.