The Vampire Faramir
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Author’s note – Yes, yes. I know it’s strange. But after seeing David Wenham playing my beloved Faramir in The Two Towers, and being a Vampire Groupie, I naturally (although you’re welcome to question the ‘natural’ part of this statement) envisioned him deathly pale, with fangs and the whole caboodle. I just thought it would be cool to have sweet ‘lil Faz drinking warm blood by the light of the moon over Gondor. There is the fact that if Faramir was given the Dark Gift at this point in the LOTR story, then everything else would pretty much be thrown into chaos. And, er…Marius wouldn’t have existed then etc. But, there you go…
Disclaimer: I have nothing whatsoever to do with Tolkien or Anne Rice. These are their characters, not mine. I’m simply borrowing them for a while, and I promise to put them back in their correct boxes when I’m finished.
Starring: Faramir, Boromir and Marius.
I look into it and it’s black.
Why can’t I feel?
My skin should crack and peel.
I want the fire back.”
Soft leather boots made no audible sound when they brushed the damp, lush grass carpeting the endless hills and vales of Faramir’s childhood. Such a triumphant, vibrant green would forever colour his dreams and make a lasting, untouchable spring flourish and blossom inside of the youthful steward’s private mind, closed to the probing of the uncaring father, who fitted the title in nothing but the most basic way.
The playful clack of wood on wood called a host of other carefree, precious moments of mirth to the surface. The soothing warmth of the early summer sun lent life and nourishment to cool skin, kept for too long as prisoner behind the walls of towers and halls of stern courtiers. The sun would have the most spectacular effect on his hair in the summer. From a dusky autumn russet, it would awaken in the light and warm to shades of gold and copper that would shine and shimmer like flame. And as he charged, laughing until tears streamed down his cheeks and he could speak no more, after his elder brother who had rapped his knuckles with a stick, the curls would bounce around his face and catch the light beautifully.
Calling out a list of rude names up to his brother who stood chuckling at the top of the hill, Faramir struggled up the steep slope, stick in hand, poised for revenge. Faramir recalled how wonderful the dirt smelt that day, and how he’d felt the very undignified urge to smear it all over his face like a barbarian. It’s dark, natural, underlying scent mingled with that of the honeysuckle growing boundlessly nearby, and the air clear of smoke or any fume. Yes, thought the youth. This is my Gondor; no tower or chamber will ever contain me while these fields survive. Getting his hands terrifically dirty, he threw a clod at Boromir, who dodged and called out,
“You’ll have to do better than that, little boy! If I were a cave troll, mud would hardly stop me stomping on you.”
The younger man reached the top of the hill, muddy, panting and grinning impishly.
“Now, dear Boromir, you know I can always avoid your temper tantrums.” He wielded the stick mock-threateningly and adopted a voice deeper and sterner than his youth would yet allow. “Now defend yourself, sir. For I have come to defend my honour.”
Boromir snorted a laugh and played along. “I tremble, lord, I tremble! Have mercy on this cave troll and his family!” The elder brother was grinning broadly and his green eyes were twinkling with such a manner of joy that Faramir seldom saw within the walls of Minas Tirith. The sun had lightened his hair also, straighter than Faramir’s but with the same tinge of copper within darker blonde. A tiny, familiar pain shot his heart. Why could he not laugh with his father as he could his beloved brother? And why had death claimed his kind and beautiful mother when he was too small to even take up a sword?
But he forced the pain away, as habit required, while he tripped Boromir’s legs from under him and stole the flask of water from his belt.
“I’ll have that, brother troll.” He said jauntily, the stick to Boromir’s throat. But as he took a messy slurp and wiped the dribbles from his chin, Boromir caught him unawares, sprang up and knocked him over backwards, catching the flask as it fell from his fingers.
Standing over the spluttering, giggling Faramir with one boot firmly on his chest, Boromir proceeded to empty the remaining contents over his brother’s head, and with a hard shove sent the slighter body rolling down the hill in hysterics of laughter.
When Middle Earth had stopped spinning and his clothes were grass-stained beyond all hope of cleaning, Faramir was aware of his brother running down behind him, chest heaving with mirth and short breath. Exhausted, he flopped down beside his little brother with a thud, but not before receiving an affectionate punch on the arm.
They lay there for a long time on their backs, their feet making the north and south of the compass. Occasionally Boromir would remark that certain clouds looked like their teachers in the stronghold, or particular distant family member’s oversized facial features. Since they had both been small children, the older boy had been talented at reducing the younger to uncontrollable fits of the giggles at the most inappropriate of times. Once, at a council called for the discussion of a memorial for a bad-tempered, sorely disliked, and overpaid captain of the guard who had died comfortably in retirement, Boromir had sat at the table strategically so that the brothers had an unobstructed view of each other, but the distinguished council present could only see the younger son. Using a quill pen as a moustache, and a natural gift for pulling faces, he had forced Faramir (much to both his and Denethor’s embarrassment) to laugh out loud at several key, and painfully serious, points of the meeting. And to add fuel to the Lord’s fury, the boy had to be escorted, flushed and choked with hilarity, out for air by his brother half way through the proceedings. Even after the strict telling off and hard thwack across the knuckles they both received, it was worth it.
It seemed nothing would break the stillness of that moment out in the gentle sun, lying flat on cool grass with nothing at all that had to be done. Heaven cannot be sweeter than this, thought Faramir. No elf could write a ballad so calm or soft as this. He opened his lips, and taking a deep, clean lungful of cool air, gazed into the miles and miles of perfect blue sky above him. He tilted back his head and could just see the dark red of Boromir’s long hair glinting in the light. He was considering putting dirt in it while his guard was down when he saw something that suddenly made him shut his eyes and groan.
“Faramir?” Boromir rolled over behind him and peered at his brother protectively.
“The Tower.” he murmured with a disgusted curl of his lip. He moved so he could no longer see the white steeple looming over him like Lord Denethor, menacing and heralding the end of all the freedom he had found that day over the hills of Minas Tirith.
“Faramir,” He heard Boromir say, and felt him touch his arm. “Have I ever let them harm you?”
“No, brother.” He shook his head with complete trust. “Never have you allowed me to be hurt in any way. You’ve been here all my life when no one else has.”
“And I promise you, little brother,” Swore Boromir, staring him deep in the eyes with his usual steady, reliable sincerity. “I always will be.”
The chill awoke him in the dark. He couldn’t remember climbing into bed, nor could he recall the reason why there was an instinctive barrier in the way of any memory before that beautiful dream…
Oh no. No, he could remember why. Oh yes, yes he could. And oh no, no, he did not want to. If he could only have another hour inside that scene, where the green of the hills and the blue of the sky were not the eternal reminders of certain twinkling eyes that would once watch over him like a guardian angel ready to lift him up and rescue him from peril. Eyes now closed.
The sheets were wet around his face. He had never cried alone, Faramir. Not even in one instance, for all his short life had he ever known what it was to lie on his bed, shuddering and cold with no one to comfort him as his eyes went blind with tears and the world became alien and wrong to him. Always there had been one other who cared enough to guard him in those nights, now gone to comfort him no more.
The candles had burnt down to stubs and gone out leaving him in the gloom, but he cared nothing for light. That was for everyone else now – For Denethor in his stately grief and for the candles that never ceased to burn in the tomb of Finduilas. There would be no candles for Boromir. There would be no tomb.
And there would be no more steady, reliable, sincere brother. And no more family. Denethor – so harsh sounding a name – had not come to his young son to comfort him in his mourning. Had he even wept for his favourite child? Did he curse his youngest for not taking his place? Had the remaining son crossed his mind at all?
Shocking Faramir out of his deep, sorrowful reverie, the shutters on his window burst open with a bang and the dark green curtains billowed out in the wind. He succumbed to a fit of coughing as he rose stiffly to close the shutters, and realised he would be bedridden with sickness before the week was out. Always he had been able to tell when he would be ill, and the weary ache of his limbs and throbbing head courtesy of tears heralded flu.
Pulling back the wooden window frames and grabbing handfuls of curtain, Faramir caught sight of familiar hillsides in the distance and stopped as a sob rose like an explosion in his chest. He barely noticed the wind blowing his curls into tangles as he stared broken hearted at the very slope he and Boromir, the only family he had, had played on as children. To the Men of Gondor, Faramir still was a mere child. The mid-thirties were nothing to elders who had seen centuries roll by and gathered wisdom therefrom. Faramir caught his breath. It could be centuries before he would be reunited with his dear brother! Even if a merciful blade brought the end to him in battle, it could still be decades. Decades of loneliness in the white Tower. The thought brought another to the young man – how much had Boromir suffered at the moment of death? The very question made new tears roll down his cheeks in despair - But had he? Had the end been so terrible? Had Boromir thought for the last time of his young brother left behind to care for Gondor before he closed his eyes? No. Unbearable, he thought. The end would not have been frightening for Boromir. Nothing ever frightened Boromir. The halflings claimed he fought bravely, but what could they have meant? Bravery counted for nothing when hopelessly outnumbered, alone in some foreign land.
It should have been me.
He closed the window shakily, and turned his back on the lush green hills and the honeysuckle, turning brown now in the autumn night. Sobbing painfully and caring nothing for the pitiful sounds of his distress, Faramir’s legs gave way. But if his eyes were not closed as he slumped to the floor, he would have seen the watery outline of the intruder.
For some moments, there was silence in the grand chamber, touched only by the harsh breathing of the mourning one. But as he faltered, tired and ill, another sound came from the darkness. Faramir had tensed instantly, and with his natural inclination towards less earthly abilities he had shown even as a small child, he reached out in the darkness with the silent call – Boromir?
“Faramir,” answered a voice, a real voice in the room with him.
Faramir gasped and jumped to his feet, blue eyes wildly searching in the black for a figure. “Who – who is that? Where are you? Father. Father, is that you?” he stammered, feeling very vulnerable in his weakened state.
“Jewel…” murmured the voice, softly and thoughtfully. It filled the room and gave no clue to where it came from. “Faramir, his mother’s jewel…yes, indeed.”
Faramir trembled at the mention of Finduilas. “Show yourself, where are you? Why do you speak of my mother?” he demanded. When there was no answer he asked again, “Where are you?” In the silence he fumbled at his bedside for the candles but in a panic found nothing to ignite a flame.
That very moment, in a puff of invisible energy, a candle lit itself in the far corner of the chamber and illuminated half the room.
“Your name is in Elven tongue.” Said the voice, matter-of-factly.
Faramir stared horrified at the flame, frozen to the spot. When he could finally answer, he could only manage a whisper, his eyes still fixed on the blazing candle. “I – I know it is. Please, sir, show yourself. I fear as I cannot see you. How is it that my candles light themselves now?”
But the intruder ignored his pleas and carried on in its melancholy tones. “The Elves live for all eternity, Faramir. Do you know that in your innocent youth?”
Faramir still could not move from where he stood in the shadows and could do nothing but answer the strange, abstract questions for fear of angering such a spectre. “I know that, yes. Will you not show yourself?”
Even as he asked, a cool, hard hand enclosed his shoulder. Faramir gasped and leapt back out of the gentle grip in terror. His lower lip trembled with his wild emotions, and for a moment he felt he would faint and leave himself to be murdered by this mysterious visitor in the dark. But bittersweet hope filled him at the thought. He could be again with Boromir! He could die now, and be forever free.
“No!” cried the voice, and it sounded shocked and genuinely stung. Faramir’s trembling fright deepened. This man could hear his thoughts.
In that case, he could not let whoever this was in his private chambers know he was afraid. Boromir’s death had been valiant, and so would be his own. “Show yourself, sir!” He commanded bravely. “So that I may see who it is I am to fight.”
“Fight…” whispered the voice, sadly. “To fight…? I do not wish to hurt you, Faramir. You cannot fight one as me.”
Grateful that he was still wearing his trousers and tunic rather than a thin sleep shirt, the young captain of Gondor gauged his options. He could run for the door, as the path was unobstructed and he was quick. But then he would go crying to the guards, and have to face the ridicule of his father for being afraid of his own shadow. No. It would be better to die here, and to end it all that night.
“You think so much of this ‘dying’.” It said. “And it saddens me. Why, you could die in any way. A fall… by the sword … poison …drowning … so many ways for you to perish so young. So fragile a thing you are. I cannot bear to think of it.” Frightening as it was to hear a disembodied voice echoing out of the dark, the voice sounded kind in its sadness, and Faramir could for a moment feel comfortable in its ghostly company. He slid to the floor with his head in his hands.
“And I would take any one of them tonight if you are here to offer them.” He whispered brokenly, not caring if or not he would be heard. His copper curls had cloaked his face from view, and beneath the tangled tendrils, hot, salty, uncomfortable tears that burned his pale skin dripped down his nose and chin carelessly.
He didn’t have to look up to know that the stranger had emerged and was crouching beside him. There was no more fear in his heart, and he could almost have lain on the mysterious shoulder and cried in its company. Timidly he opened one of his large, reddened eyes and for the first time saw the owner of the mournful, omniscient voice.
And the first thing he noticed was his skin. Before him crouched a man in his forties, athletic of appearance and certainly not Gondorian. He was tall and graceful, certainly over six feet, although it was hard to tell when he was crouching. His long hair was too icily fair, like the Men of Rohan, only it shone unnaturally and curled at his shoulders, framing the serene face in gold with complete and effortless perfection. His cool blue eyes were so piercingly clear that they were frightening to look upon, and Faramir looked away. But his skin! Faramir had never seen anything so white – probably not even the snow on the mountains was this pale, so vividly glowing like marble. And not a single flaw was visible. It was as though all wear and weather passed by this man out of respect. Faramir would have recognised the man as Elven, if it were not for his human ears holding back the white-gold locks. He was clad warmly in a cloak of red velvet with the hood pushed back, and his pale pink lips were set subtly in a paternal (although this was something Faramir did not recognise so swiftly) and decidedly protective, affectionate smile. If Faramir had been in anything other than a state of utter heartache and grief, then he would not have imagined this man as one of the Valar. But skin so white…
“I am not your God, Faramir,” he said softly, minus the booming and frightening tones of his earlier speech. “I am something so far from Divinity that that Orcs of Mordor have a fairer chance of salvation than I.” He seemed to smile wistfully, although with all of the expressions on the beautiful face of the stranger, what Faramir may have seen, he equally may not have.
The young man was faintly startled to feel so disappointed. Only the Valar could tell him of his brother’s welfare now, beyond the bonds of Mortality. With a valiant effort, Faramir swallowed the lump in his throat.
The man peered at him, as though at an exotic, fragile creature in a cage. For a moment it looked as though he would reach out and touch him, but then he did nothing and only continued to stare thoughtfully with the vibrant, wise blue eyes.
“Jewel.” He said again after a lengthy pause of contemplation. “The end of your name is the Elvish for Jewel. And once mined, a jewel will exist to walk all the halls of eternity. Oh, precious young thing, how you lament for Boromir…”
Faramir caught his breath and fixed on his face with wide eyes. “You know of him? You know of Boromir, you know his name!” he sat bolt upright, his heart thumping dangerously in his chest beneath the tatty beige cotton tunic, not befitting for the son of the mighty Steward. “Sir, please,” he begged as the man stood slowly with grace away from him. “If you know of my brother then tell me, please. I am wracked with grief for his loss and your kind words may be of some small comfort to me. Please, sir, I beg of you!”
The stranger was greatly distressed by Faramir’s forlorn face, and shot back with unnatural speed from his touch as the son of Denethor tried to take hold of his crimson cloak. “Please, Faramir, I have already told you I am not your God, and I come bearing no messages from a side I shall never in my existence see. I take only his name from your mind as it blurts out these lonely images forcing me to see him. Do not beg of me.”
Faramir was poised on his hands and knees at the elegantly booted foot of his strange companion. For a second his stared up at him with desperate tear-filled eyes, until all hope finally died inside his heart and he fell to the hard wooden floor in a shivering heap. His weeping was so pitiful and full of despair that the stranger himself could feel tears of his own on his lashes, and edged a tiny step closer to the youth.
In a fit of bereaved rage, Faramir’s face shot up accusingly at the man in red and hissed, “What is it that makes you so much more damned in your existence than I in mine? I would welcome death with open arms than to live another second more! Why do you think yourself so far from the safety of the Valar when you live in your world of beauty and peace?”
The body of the stranger stiffened, and Faramir did not have to see to know this. The very air in the room changed around them. He looked up from his ball on the floor to see the man crouching stealthily in front of him. The sight before him held his wonder without even having to move. The pale pink lips, like rose petals to Faramir’s sight, were drawn back tightly to reveal two perfect, ivory white, razor sharp canines like those of a deadly Warg, and yet at the same time like the daggers of Elves, they were so dainty. And the eyes, the piercingly sharp blue eyes, were filled with bloody red tears that coursed down his perfect snowy cheeks like ruby red wine over frozen glaciers. A terrible awe filled Faramir, at the sight of the most beautiful being he had ever beheld in his life.
“And now you see why I am damned.” It said.
There was not a word he could think to utter in response to this deadly, angelic being with it’s fang teeth and blood tears that lamented for him. It was almost an honour to be wept for by such a heavenly, hellish creature.
“You -” breathed the young man after gathering scant courage for words. “Your name… you know my name, and I would long to know yours…”
The creature stretched out a long, slender white finger to Faramir’s cheek and captured a teardrop on its tip. The fingernail flashed in the light as though they were crafted out of glass and added to a beautiful white marble statue in the halls of Lothlorien. It gazed for a moment with wonder at the transparent tear on his finger in front of his serene face, always with the same expression of fascination and curiosity. “My name is Marius.” He whispered sadly, and let the tear drop to the floor like rain.
“Marius…” Faramir repeated the name and felt the way that it tripped off his tongue. “Mar-i-us…” he pronounced childishly. “That is an uncommon name. Is it Elvish?”
“Elvish? No. But I am in my own little way, like the Elves that you speak of. And I have lived among them for centuries in secret.”
“But…” Faramir began, and then had to rephrase his words so that they did not sound impudent. “But it is a mystery to me what you truly are. I have never before set eyes on one such as you…”
Marius did not seem offended. “Do you see my tears, Faramir?” he asked, kindly. When Faramir nodded, he continued, “I cry as you do, and was once a young mortal man as you are. Warm and vulnerable as you are. But these tears that you see with such innocence and wonder…they are the blood of evil men, dear Faramir. This,” he demonstrated, scooping up one of his own tears and offering it to Faramir’s lips. “is the blood I consume to survive. And this darkness that cloaks your Gondor for the hours of sleep…this is my day.”
The blood on the finger offered to him touched his lips, and Faramir licked them and the crimson liquid cautiously. “A drinker of blood…” Faramir murmured reverently, and was suddenly forced to roll onto his back with the sensations of the blood inside his mouth and throat, and the way the tiny droplet coursed through his entire body setting his skin alight with its intoxicating effects. He burned with its power. He burned with its ecstasy! His head swam with delirium and visions of colours and lights and he thrashed helplessly on the wooden floorboards. When he slowly came down from the tiny sip and opened his eyes, the sights that greeted him made him sure he had died.
The darkness was no longer an opaque curtain of black that hid the creatures of night from his eyes. He could see as well as by the light of the sun, and look! There was a mouse scrabbling away in the far corner of his chamber in the shadows that he would never have seen without the beams of the day. His eyes were wider than they had ever been as he stared, mystified at the sights he saw and ignored every day of his life. Marius was standing now, and the red of his cloak was truly alive and leaping out of the fabric – of which he could see each individual fibre – calling to him to be touched, to be marvelled at.
Suddenly, the Tower was ridiculous. All the halls, the corridors, the chambers and receptions – they were hilarious! Nobody else could see the cracks in the bricks; no one would notice the faults in the beams that held the ceiling above their heads. Faramir shook with laughter at the audacity of the masons who had built such a comic monstrosity like a huge chess piece in the middle of a field. And Denethor! Faramir couldn’t catch his breath he laughed so hard at Denethor. He was probably hunched up in his rooms now, grumbling to himself over the Palantir everyone knew he possessed, and yet to him it was such a closely guarded secret. And he didn’t even know he would die within the year! What wisdom! Faramir hiccuped between spasms of giggling, and passed out.
It was some time later, yet still in the dead of night, when he returned to consciousness on his bed. At first, he was unable to recall any detail from the past hours, but as he awoke fully and rubbed the sleep from his eyes, he remembered a name.
“Marius?” he whispered. There was no answer. Could he have been dreaming in delirium? He felt ill, very ill. And soon he would be unable to rise and be taken under by fever. Faramir had always been the sickly one of the two sons.
That triggered something. Two sons…?
“Boromir!” he cried out weakly. How could he have forgotten! His brother was dead, his brother was gone. And he had fallen asleep even in the knowledge of it. How could he have been so heartless? Faramir used his arms to push himself up from the bed, but fell back again with a fit of coughing that wracked his chest and hurt his throbbing head. He closed his sore eyes and moaned sadly.
The voice made them fly open. “You are expected to take your brother’s place, Faramir.” It said, in its usual detached matter-of-fact tones. “Have you thought of that?”
What kind of a question – “Marius! Oh, why must you do that to me? Warn me of your arrival in future.”
The blood drinker seemed faintly amused by Faramir’s surprise at his presence, but carried on seriously nevertheless. “The talk of Minis Tirith is that the youngest son of the Ruling Steward is to take the place of the one who will not return. They will force you away, Faramir. They will drive you into war after war until you die.” Marius looked truly terrified, and clutched Faramir’s limp hand. “You could die…”
The hard coolness of Marius’ hand enclosing his own felt wonderful against the throbbing heat that enshrouded his fevered body. For a moment, Faramir felt extremely dizzy and had to shut his eyes. “What is this obsession you have for my death, Marius?” he whispered with a touch of deathbed humour as he concentrated on not being sick. “You claim you are not here to kill me, much to my disappointment. And since you have arrived, I have not felt the need to weep for my dear brother, and I am ashamed.” He gagged, but held back from disgracing himself in front of such an ethereal creature who surely would not appreciate his vomit.
The eyes of Marius darkened at the demonstration of illness before him. Urgently, he whipped off his cloak from around his shoulders and covered the shivering young man with it.
Faramir felt no better for the velvet, and smiled up inanely at Marius. “It doesn’t seem funny anymore, does it? I cannot see the fibres…” he murmured softly. But then as if awaking for the first time back into hell, he wailed aloud, “I want my brother back, Marius…”
The tall, narrow blood drinker could bring himself to say nothing in comfort, but found the wild tangle of reddish curls on Faramir’s pillow a breathtaking sight in the candlelight and could only stare.
Finally, the man on the bed spoke again. “The Elves can die of broken hearts,” the young steward sighed, eyes closed, red and weary. “But the world of Men must endure! And I was so much happier when I took that evil drink you offered me.” He seemed to think for a few silent moments. “Marius?” he said eventually, and tilted back his head on the pillow. “If you thirst for blood, sir, I offer you my undefended throat.” He waited without care for the end. But when no pinprick came, no darkness or bright lights, Faramir opened his eyes irritably. “I am going to die one way or another, sir. By a fall, the sword, poison or drowning as you so kindly said. Let me die as a sacrifice to you in your beauty.”
“I -” Marius was dismayed, and shrank away from the pale offering. If possible, he looked a shade or two whiter than before. “I cannot. I must not!”
“Do it, Marius and I shall be forever indebted to you. Drink all of my blood and enjoy it, every single drop, and then leave me dead and white on my bed for my father to find in the morning. It will be a nice surprise for him. You may take it from my wrist if you would prefer.”
Marius retreated a few steps and covered his face with a hand. “Stop that, Faramir, you play in dangerous ways…”
A hard, determined look came over Faramir’s youthful face, an expression that was cruel and alien to him, as he managed to prop himself up on his elbows. His hair fell around his shoulders and his eyes were dark and dry. All innocence, all charm and sweetness vanished from Faramir in this last wish. “Kill me, Marius.” He commanded. “Or I will do it for you.”
Beautiful, mysterious Marius had taken himself as far from the bed as the walls permitted, and his face was stricken and distorted. “I will not watch you die! And I will not be the cause of it.” he cried. Horrified, as Faramir fell to spasms of coughing, he added, “But I will not allow sickness and death to touch you.” A single blood-tear trickled down his ivory cheek and he hung his head. Slowly he approached the bed where Faramir lay, deteriorating. The candle at his bedside lit up by itself.
“This is the only sun that you will ever see again,” he whispered as he knelt down to Faramir’s eye level. “but a millennia of nights will be yours to see light as no mortal has ever seen it, to snatch it from the distant stars as if you were Prometheus, an endless illumination by which to understand all things. Do you take this gift I offer to you? Would you walk with me into eternity, where disease and death cannot follow?”
The tear of blood dropped onto Faramir’s waiting lips, and he groaned at the rapturous burning. “Yes,” he gasped. “Yes, I will follow you. I want you to take me away from this place. Please, Marius. Do what you must.”
Seeing the complete trust in Faramir’s eyes, Marius could prepare him no more for what was to follow. His tempting young throat was bare and vulnerable, and the vital vein throbbed beneath the alabaster skin, waiting patiently for his use.
Mournfully, Marius laid a soothing kiss on Faramir’s fevered forehead and whispered so quietly that he would not have been able to hear with mortal ears, “I am so sorry, my precious child…” And with that, he took Faramir in his arms, and plunged his fangs into his throat.
No amount of warning could have made him ready for such a feeling. No words could have captured the way in which he could hear his heart and that of Marius drum slowly in his ears. With every beat, it rushed another mouthful of lifeblood into the eager mouth of his unearthly companion, and drained him of his young life. Every time he swallowed, Faramir could feel his heart lurch as if dancing for Marius. The room became blurry and unclear. The embroidered details on the bed linen melted away, and the red of Marius’ cloak turned to black. He went limp in the blood drinker’s strong arms and became completely at his mercy. If Marius were to have tricked him into his death, there would be no struggle now. He witnessed and forgot all the details of his life as they flashed and sparkled before his half-closed eyes only to dissolve into darkness. Finduilas combing his curls one morning, singing soft Elven songs in his ear as the birds cooed outside… A nine-year-old Boromir flicking bits of grass at him in the summer heat of the palace grounds… Lord Denethor, escorting them to their mother’s funeral, all clad in black and chiding Faramir for crying … Young Boromir holding him steady with a reassuring hand on his shoulder, as they stood to say their last goodbyes … The sweet scent of honeysuckle underneath his window in the Spring …
All gone. All forgotten, as his heart could beat no more. And it felt so right to go now…to close his eyes and sleep in the softness, where a dear old friend awaited his arrival…
“Faramir…” called a distant voice, a million miles away.
Go away. He thought. Leave me here where I belong…
“Faramir!” cried the urgent voice, a little closer. “You must listen to me, Faramir!”
The sleepy softness of the womb-like darkness lightened harshly, and he found himself collapsed in the arms of a beautiful, golden haired stranger on a comparatively hard bed, peering at him with such extraordinary blue eyes.
“Drink,” commanded the stranger, and pushed his bleeding wrist up to his slack lips.
“So, you are bleeding too…” Faramir breathed dreamily. “Come with me back to that place…”
“Faramir,” he said again as the blood poured from his thin white wrist. “Drink from me and live forever.”
The blood dripped down into the gap between his pale pink lips, and coloured them a shocking ruby red. His tongue lapped lazily at the salty droplets being fed to him and his eyes fluttered closed with pleasure. But as he took in more of the fluid, his body demanded even more than he was given. Strength Faramir had never before possessed rose up inside of him and urged him to snatch the proffered wrist and bite it where the wound gaped open with profane greediness and want. His eyes flew open and stared heatedly, demonically at Marius who seemed flushed and yet weakened with every gulp of blood Faramir swallowed from him.
Blood, blood and blood! He craved it wildly from Marius, and tore savagely at the preternatural flesh with his teeth as it began to heal itself. He heard his Maker hiss with discomfort as he sucked and gnashed and fed with delight.
“That is enough, Faramir.” He ordered between gritted teeth.
No, never enough! I want more!
He held the wrist tighter and squeezed it mercilessly for every drop it had left to give. That’s it – more, just a little more…
“Stop, Faramir!” Marius tore away his wrist from Faramir’s desperate grip. He seemed to swoon and slump down onto the floor as Faramir licked his tingling lips contentedly with a smile. He glanced down at his Maker, who watched his own injured wrist heal up and return to its perfect, untouchable state.
Then the burning began, and Faramir cried out as the powerful blood that filled him so wonderfully took a hold of his senses, muscles and mind forcing him to writhe and buck helplessly, making Marius’ cloak slip to the floor with his uncontrollable movements. This was better than even the most powerful intoxicant – it took him so completely in that there was not a single remaining scrap of control left inside of Faramir, and his moaning and crying filled the room like an animal in pain. But there was no pain. There was only ecstasy and heat. He thrashed his limbs on the bed and howled triumphantly as the last of the changes took place.
But the idea that there would be no more pain disappeared instantly from his clouded mind as a massive explosion of agony ripped through his body and tore up into his head like a demon unleashed. He let out a strangled choke of surprise and gripped at the sheets helplessly with clawing fingers. He panted and struggled to breathe as his heart swelled suddenly only to shrink in size just as fast. Surely he would die now, and the promise of a life free of disease and death was the mere sweet lie of a supernatural killer.
Just as the accusation surfaced in his mind, the voice of Marius rang out like a clear bell as he rose from the floor. “Do not be afraid.” He sighed wearily. “It is only your body that dies. And it will be over soon. Enjoy the illusion of mortality while you still have it.”
As the last of the throws of death shook Faramir’s body, he leaned over the other side of the bed and threw up, hard, painfully and thoroughly. It felt like his body was ejecting any lasting hint of humanity and truly embracing the cold, marble perfection of a blood drinker. The cooling of his skin was like the lifting of a hot blanket into the cool of a spring evening. It soothed him and ceased his movements, lulling him into serenity. In a meditative state, Faramir felt two tiny, unfamiliar jabs on the inside of his soft lower lip on both sides. Delicately deadly little canines had grown! He ran his tongue over them experimentally, and thrilled in their sharpness. He gazed up proudly at Marius, who watched over him protectively, and indulged him in a mischievously evil, toothy smile.
Marius smiled back - although a more reserved expression - offered him a gentle hand up off the bed and led him to the mirror on the wall. “Come, Faramir. And see yourself for the first time with your vampire eyes.”
The sight that greeted him was almost as shocking and amazing as when he had first laid eyes on Marius only a few hours ago, when he was but a weak young mortal man. He drew breath sharply and clutched at Marius, who stood beside him patiently.
His skin was once again the first thing that jumped out at him. It was completely flawless, like the smoothest white marble, and shone unnaturally in the darkness like a spirit. His face was angelic. There was no other word for it. His hair had been transformed, more so even than the sun could manage. It was a vivid, lustrous golden-copper shining halo around his face, and the waves and curls had been enhanced and bounced around his cheekbones and shoulders, sinfully perfect. His eyes had now taken on the preternatural clarity of Marius’, only in a glowing azure blue-green framed with long golden eyelashes that he blinked slowly – first the left eye, then the right – just to see them glitter. For the first time, Faramir peered closely at his new glinting fangs, smiling at himself in the mirror, showing the dimple on his chin making himself look wickedly boyish and dangerous. The fine copper stubble on his chin and slight moustache looked wonderful against the stark white of his face, and helped to dispel the illusion that he was just a child. His full, soft lips were turned a pale rose tint and hid the devilish fangs beneath a deceptive angelic veneer.
He almost laughed out loud.
Turning to Marius, who still waited behind him, Faramir tried to speak, but Marius said the words before he could muster them.
“You are beautiful, my son.”
There was a strange, unfamiliar churning inside Faramir. He had a sudden and powerful desire to kill, and to take heavenly pleasure in it. Trying hard not to break the moment, but not quite being able to help himself, Faramir reached out for Marius’ wrist greedily. Marius moved so fast that it looked as though he momentarily disappeared and reappeared several feet away from him.
“But I am hungry!” Faramir whined, a little surprised at his own audacity.
“You might be, but I am weak thanks to you, and besides, you do not come to me for blood anymore. Ever. Together we hunt the evildoer.” He held out his hand for Faramir to take, but when he noticed him staring hungrily at his upturned wrist he thought better of it and beckoned to him instead. “Say your goodbyes to Minas Tirith, my son.”
There was no hesitation on Faramir’s part. He grabbed his cloak with fingers that flashed with glass nails from where it hung on the door, slipped on his boots and belt and made for the window where Marius was climbing out. Almost there, Faramir suddenly hesitated and turned slowly to look for the last time on his childhood rooms. The rooms where he had grown up from a little boy, first into a man, and then into a monster. He wondered what, if anything, his father would say on finding his remaining son vanished without a trace in the middle of the night. Would he cry? Probably not, he was fairly sure. There was a tiny pang in his heart that suggested otherwise, but it was so tiny that Faramir could not feel it.
Now, there would be no undoing of the Dark Gift; he knew this. But he would now undo all the sorrow of his mortal life. The candle that was his last glimpse of the sun still burned at his bedside. Faramir cautiously stepped up to it, took a last glance around the chamber, and with a supernatural breath, put an end to its light.
Without another moment to spend in the home in which he had spent his youth, Faramir, no longer the son of Denethor but the Fledgling of Marius, ran to his window to hide away forever.
But despite the power of the blood rushing in his veins, the young captain did not stop to listen to the familiar, reliable voice that called to him urgently from the distance where it had been waiting for him. And as he climbed down the white tower he failed to hear its last mournful cry…
~* The End. *~