The Conscience of the King

 The Conscience of the King

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.

Aragorn had expected that as King he would be called upon to make some difficult decisions, but not so soon. His heart told him what was the right thing to do concerning Beregond. His head thought otherwise. If he were to gain the trust of his people, he must rule according to their laws and customs. But what if the law did not provide justice, what then?

The edict was clear "He who sheds blood in the Hallows must die." A righteous law surely, but what if that blood were shed to save a life? No less a life than that of Faramir, faithful Captain, and beloved hero of his people. The man was now his Steward, and Aragorn had come to love him too. He would need and value his counsel. A life well worth saving indeed.

But what of the Porter's life? No doubt to those who loved him, his life was worth as much, or more than Faramir's. Alas, that the unfortunate man had so blindly obeyed Denethor's crazed orders!

Beregond had a son, a worthy lad of but nine years. How would the lad fare if his father were executed according to the law? Had not enough children already lost their fathers on the field of battle? Maybe, the porter had children too? Killing Beregond would not bring back his victim, though.

The accused had fought bravely at the Black Gate and been wounded there. Pippin both praised his valour, as had many of Prince Imrahil's men. Perhaps Beregond had sought an honourable death in battle to atone for his crime?

Aragorn studied the scroll of law again. There appeared to be another choice; that of exile. A kinder fate, surely? Maybe Éomer of Rohan would take the man to serve at his court? Men skilled with the sword were always needed. A pity, though to have to send a good soldier to Rohan when Gondor had need! Then what of young Bergil, who would be forced to share his father's banishment?

Aragorn sighed and buried his face in his hands. He could not, would not deal so harshly with the man who had saved his Steward from being burned alive! Without the son of Denethor, his reign would have got off to an ill start indeed, and maybe not even been seen by many as legitimate! He would see Faramir was richly rewarded for his service to Gondor. Aragorn was minded to give him the Princedom of Ithilien.

Ithilien! A separate fiefdom with Faramir as its lord. Beregond was devoted to Faramir. An idea started to form in the King's head. Smiling, he wrote down his judgement in keeping with the spirit of the law, if not the letter.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Make a free website with Yola