Sarn Gebir

by Agape4Rivendell

He had kept silent, as was his want, when Sam cried out, but when Aragorn did nothing, when their boats were swept towards the eastern shore, when the rocks clawed at the Elven boats, when the Hobbits turned their fear-filled faces to him, he could hold his tongue no longer. Was the man truly going to let them continue forward?

“Hoy there, Aragorn,” he shouted his frustration as his boat bumped into the leader’s. “This is madness! We cannot dare the Rapids by night. But no boat can live in Sarn Gebir, be it night or day.”

Finally, too late for Boromir’s liking, Aragorn responded, crying for them all to turn back. Straining with all his might, he found himself stalled in the water, the other boats making no more headway than his own. At last, he gave a great cry, dug his oar into the water as deeply as possible, and turned his boat. It did little good, as he strove against the mighty current.

“All together, paddle!” he shouted. “Paddle! Or we shall be driven on the shoals.” Even as he spoke, he saw Aragorn’s boat hit the river’s bottom and stop.

An arrow flew over his head. He looked towards the further shore. Orc! They were under attack. He heard Legolas cry out, then Gimli. He did not look again; gripping the oar tighter, he put his full strength into his oar strokes. Would that he had two more stout men of Gondor with him in the boat, they would have made the western shore easily. But the two Hobbits, struggling with all their might against the current, were little match for the river.

A hiss escaped his lips as an arrow struck and stuck fast in the gunwale of his boat, close to Merry’s hand. He had sworn to protect these little ones. With a roar, he turned the boat heading back north, passed the wicked rocks on his left now, and rode into clear water. The effort was cruel. He did not know how the Hobbits were even able to cling to their own oars, so swift and dreadful was the current. At last, they reached the middle of the stream; he turned his boat towards the western shore. Giving himself a moment, he looked back. Grateful, he noted both his companions’ boats were close behind. If the voices would only stop, he could smile.

According to Tolkien, Aragorn was still a man very torn as a leader. I found the quotes that Boromir speaks above in FOTR and had to write about his frustration, knowing full well, that Aragorn was probably as frustrated with himself as was Boromir. In fact, a few short words later, he says to Frodo, "I am out of my reckoning." How difficult it must have been for these two men, roles completely switched, to survive. Boromir, son of the Steward and believed destined to lead Gondor, for no king had, as yet, come forth, and Aragorn, a loner, accustomed to helping others by deed and in secret, destined to lead Gondor. I find it very sad.   - Agape