"The Steward wishes to see you, my lord," said the servant, placing
another enormous sheaf of papers on the newly crowned King's desk.
"Tell Lord Faramir that he may enter," said Aragorn.
The Steward entered the room and approached Aragorn's desk. He bowed
low and shuffled his feet nervously. The King wished fervently there
were some way of putting the man at ease. He supposed that
considering his former liege lord had tried to burn him alive, it was
small wonder he was apprehensive.
"How may I help you, Faramir?" Aragorn asked kindly." There is no
need to bow save on formal occasions."
Faramir cleared his throat. "I am sorry, to trouble you my lord I
have come to ask a favour. It concerns Beregond."
Aragorn struggled to recall the name before remembering that Beregond
was the guardsman who had killed the Porter, trying to prevent
Denethor's last act of madness. Since then, he had fought bravely at
the Black Gate.
"And what would you have me do?" Aragorn enquired."His case will be
dealt with fairly."
"I ask you to show mercy to Beregond. I know he acted wrongly in
deserting his post and shedding blood in the Hallows, but he did it
only to save my life."
Aragorn regarded Faramir shrewdly."So, my Steward, you would have me
pay no heed to Gondor's ancient laws. Will not my new subjects then
think me weak?"
Faramir dropped on his knees."I beg of you then, my lord, to punish
me instead! Let the full weight of the law that should fall on
Beregond descend to the one for whom he broke it. Let my life be
forfeit instead of his or exile me far from your lands!"
"I do not think that would please the Lady Éowyn," Aragorn said
dryly. "A headless bridegroom would be of little use to her!"
"It would pain me deeply to wound the lady to whom I have given my
heart," Faramir replied."Nor would I wish to leave the land of my
birth, which I hoped to help rebuild and looked forward to seeing
prosper anew. Beregond, though, risked both life and honour to save
me and for that I owe a dept of gratitude. You can surely understand
that I could not enjoy my newfound happiness if it were bought by his
Aragorn suddenly smiled. He reached down and raised Faramir to his
feet and embraced him."If there is one quality I admire above all
others in a man, it is loyalty," he said. "Your loyalty to Beregond
does you great credit. I ask you to trust me that I can both deal out
justice and show mercy."
Faramir looked Aragorn straight in eye. "Do you think I would have
yielded the White Rod to you if I did not believe you worthy of trust, my
lord? I knew it from the moment you led me out of the darkness. They
say you are Elven wise and I trust in that wisdom in all difficult
decision you will make."
"Put your heart at rest," Faramir," said the King. "I shall not harm
one hair on Beregond's head."
Faramir rewarded him with of his rare, shy smiles. " I thank you, my
lord," he said. "We are indeed blessed now that you are our King."
"I too am blessed," Aragorn replied. "What greater treasure can a
Ruler desire than a loyal and wise counsellor who will not suffer
injustice that he could have prevented."