Tribute by wtiger5

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The night breeze whispered softly through an open window as two cloaked figures moved through the darkened halls. Their booted feet made no sound in the stone corridor, their way guided by a single lantern, the younger of the two held. They paused by a cracked door and swiftly slipped inside. An aged woman looked up from her work at their entrance.

“Forgive the intrusion my lords.” Ioreth said quietly, dipping her head in deference. “But he is fast fading and as he had no family…” her words trailed off as one of the men lifted his hand.

“Peace Dame Ioreth.” Aragorn Elessar murmured as he pushed back his hood. “I was a healer long before I was a king. You were right to call me.” He knelt at the sick man’s bedside, smiling gently at the occupant. “Are you in pain?” He enquired.

“Nay, my lord.” The young soldier replied his eyes widening slightly as he recognized the one comforting him. “My liege, you should not be here. You must have more important things to do than nursemaid me!” His voice was hoarse and faint, his breathing becoming more ragged with each passing moment.

Aragorn smiled again. “Nay, for nothing is more important than comforting one who has been gravely injured in my service.”

“Is there anyone we may summon for you?” Faramir came to the king’s side. “A family member perchance?”

“No, Lord Steward. My mother passed this past winter and I have taken no wife. I am alone.” The soldier answered with unshed tears evident in his grey eyes.

“Then if you will permit us, we shall remain at your side until you are safely in Mandros’ care.” The king took the soldier’s hand and laid his other on the man’s brow.

“Thank you my lord.” the dying man whispered. “Your presence does bring me comfort.” He closed his eyes and seemed to relax. The silence in the room increased as his breathing grew harsher. Suddenly he stirred and glanced over at the king with a hesitant expression. “My lord, may I ask a boon of you?”

“Certainly mellon.” Aragorn answered. “What is your request?”

“I was but a lad of ten when you were crowned and I recall you sang a song that seemed to bring peace with it. Will you sing it again?”

A faint reminiscent smile crossed the weathered face and silver eyes shone. “It would be my honor.” he murmured softly.

Faramir took the young man’s other hand as the king’s baritone wove the melody. The dying soldier closed his eyes as his face relaxed and a look of peace crossed his visage. The steward watched the boy, remembering him easily as he had served a short while with his White Company. He felt a sudden pang of guilt that one so young would have his life cut short. The other must have sensed his thoughts for his eyes abruptly opened.

“You must not blame yourself, Prince Faramir. I am proud to have served you and King Elessar. I am honored to have been able to give my life to Gondor and for her people. This was my choice. Do not weep for me.” His words were becoming more and more difficult to hear and it was obvious he had precious few moments.

“And I am honored to have received your service.” Faramir replied. “Let your heart be at peace this night.”

Aragorn had paused in his song but now resumed it as the soldier again closed his eyes. The two men held vigil until finally the patient’s chest slowly stilled and did not rise again.

 

“Be at peace Son of Gondor. May Mandros receive you with all due honor into his halls, for we send you forth as a hero who will be greatly missed.” Aragorn leaned forward and kissed the soldier’s brow. “Farewell, valiant one, Farewell.”


Chapter End Notes:

A/N: This story is written to honor the memory and life of Sgt. Allen "Goob" Smith. He was a 28 year old Veteran of the US Army and a dear friend. The song says that "the good die young." Allen and I were bonded as friends through heartbreak and difficult times. On Aug 9th, God called him home and he will be greatly missed. Although his life was cut short by cancer, I believe that all things work together for good and that somehow there is a silver lining. Allen, my friend, my brother: Rest in Peace for you have finished your course and have obtained the highest prize. "Called to Duty, Boots on the Ground" "This We'll Defend" (Mottos of the US Army)



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