For the might-have-been challenge
Faramir was numb as he walked to the front of his new company and prepared to lead them out onto the Pelennor. He had been numb for almost three days, since Osgillaith was razed.
“Stand with me awhile. I have much thinking to do.”
“Of course, Father,” Faramir had replied, stepping up to the wall beside him. From there he could see the cloud of dust that rolled eastward across the Pelennor. “My Lord,” he said in a strangled whisper, “What… is that” Blood began to pound behind his eyes.
“I told you I would not yield the River and the Pelennor unfought.”
Faramir gripped the wall, his knees buckling beneath him. “Who leads them?”
“Since there was no captain with the courage to do his lord's will, they go without one.”
“My lord, every one of… my men… will die.”
“Yes, Faramir, I suppose they will.” Denethor smiled. “For Gondor…”