You Know of Whom I Speak

by lilywillow

As he climbed out of the elven boat, weary from the uncomfortable position in which he had been sitting for many hours, Frodo pulled his cloak about him, suddenly chilled by more than the late winter air. He sensed that Boromir's eyes were on him in a way that did not bode well for the fellowship. "He will try to take the ring from you. You know of whom I speak," had said Galadriel; and Frodo did know. He glanced behind him and could see that Boromir appeared shaken and pale of face and shuddered a little as he climbed out of his boat.

As Aragorn directed that the boats be pulled safely up on the shore and the others began unloading their packs, Sam looked with concern at his master. Frodo seemed worn, his face somehow translucent. Sam pulled Frodo aside. "You seem tired, Mr. Frodo. Sit over here against the cliff and I'll soon make a spot of tea for you."

Frodo protested, "No, I'm fine, Sam," but he put up little resistance to being led and settled in a hollow out of the wind. He sat with his head leaning against the rock and closed his eyes without comment. He felt Sam tuck a blanket around his legs and, as if from afar, heard the comfortable sounds of the boats being unloaded as the others set up camp, and the chatter of Merry and Pippin as they debated whether they would survive if the boats were to go over the waterfall. Frodo let the voices drift off into the distance. He was wearier than Sam could imagine, but it was not a physical weariness. He was weary with the torment of the decision he knew he had to make. He was weary with the fear of facing what no one should have to face.

He was also deeply saddened, distressed by the knowledge that the ring he carried was beginning to exact so great a toll on his companions. Ah, Boromir. Boromir was a noble man, a man he had come to love and trust, a man of great heart and courage. It had not passed Frodo's notice that Boromir had at first thought of the hobbits as children but had over time come to show them respect and then affection. He appreciated how Boromir had taken Merry and Pippin under his care; this made him feel more ease about these carefree young hobbits being here, with him, going further from the comfort of the Shire and deeper into an unknown and perilous world. If this strong man were to falter, what then of all the others? "One by one it will destroy them all," Galadriel had said, giving him the foreknowledge of what would come to be.

Frodo gradually became aware again of the actions of those around him. Sam was busily building a fire with Gimli, the master fire starter. Merry and Pippin were wandering along the edge of the lake, picking up dry wood to feed the fire in hopes, of course, of being fed themselves, still arguing about the possible consequences of going over the Falls of Rauros. Aragorn stood silently, looking toward the south and then across the water, as if facing a decision. Legolas beside him had a look of intensity on his face as he looked inland, toward the west. Frodo glanced sideways at Boromir. He was sitting beside his shield, his head on his knees, his arms around his legs, his shoulders shaking slightly. And Gandalf - Frodo looked around for that comforting beloved face and once again, as if he had spent no time healing in Lothlorien, the grief hit him anew. He gasped with the shock of sudden sorrow, and found his eyes had filled with tears. Without making a conscious decision, Frodo rose and slipped quietly from the waterfront and disappeared into the woods beyond.

He climbed slowly up the hill leading from the water's edge, thinking of two things. Gandalf was no longer here to help him, and he must decide on his own what next to do. "To bear a ring of power is to be alone," she had said. He had never felt this to be true more than at this moment; he had never felt so alone. How could I have allowed it to come to this, he cried to himself, near despair. How could I have brought them this far. I knew I would have to leave them. I should have slipped away when they were safe in the woods of Lothlorien. Again he felt tears behind his eyes, but he stood erect and tightened his jaw, swallowed to prevent them from coming.

It was not that he did not know what he was about to do. He knew. But it was so hard to start. To leave all behind and go alone into the darkness of Mordor. A shudder shook his slight frame. "It is folly," Boromir had said. "Not with ten thousand men could you do this." Yet he must do it, and do it alone. He could not risk taking those he loved into the horrors that might befall any who accompanied him. He could not bear to see the other hobbits, especially Sam, fall to the power of the ring or suffer other tortures that they might face. I should do it now, he thought, as he found himself wandering beside fallen statues of an ancient race. Still his feet moved slowly, reluctantly.

He had paused and leaned against the stone statue deep in thought, willing himself to take that first step, when he heard the sound of someone else on the hill. He wished not to speak to anyone now, especially now, and turned to slip behind the statue. But Boromir stood close, too close. "None of us should be here on our own," he said, "You least of all." Frodo looked into Boromir's eyes and saw that he was smiling as was his wont, but that the smile did not reach his eyes; his face looked darker, somehow, intense and restless. He could hear his pulse rushing past his ears, he heard the conversation they had, he heard Boromir's words, sweet at first, but then strong, impatient and finally angry, trying to persuade him of other ways. "Lend me the ring," he cried, "It would have been mine. It should be mine."

Afterward he could never remember exactly what had been said, but he did remember the distressing emotions seared into his brain. The fear – Boromir loomed above him, twice his height, many times his strength, growing with each angry word he uttered. The grief -- that the fellowship should come to this, that this man should become so lost to his own sense of pride and honour. "Gondor will see it done," he had said, but Gondor had failed. The anger. Later, this was the feeling that most caused him regret. The anger that arose in him when the thought came that someone might take his ring from him.

Turning quickly, Frodo ran in numb terror, ran to save himself, to save the ring, to save the fellowship, to save Boromir. But he could not escape the strength of the man who was under the power of forces beyond his control, could not escape save by using the ring. With it on his finger, he fled through the half world of shadow and mist up the hill, to the top and the Seat of Seeing at Amon Hen. His heart pounding, Frodo reached the top. He stopped, catching his breath as he listened, but he could hear Boromir's cries no more. Unwillingly but inexorably, Frodo felt his gaze called to look toward the dark skies of Mordor. There, on the top of Amon Hen, he could see as if distance mattered not, the Dark Tower. A well of darkness opened before him and his eyes were drawn upward to the consuming fire of the lidless eye looming over him, drawing him toward it. He felt the ring grow heavy on his finger and the eye searching for him, drawing closer. "I will diminish and go into the West, and remain Galadriel," he heard in his mind, and he knew at that moment, that he could yet remain Frodo. With all his strength and will, he pulled the ring from his finger. Then he slipped down the hill, silently as hobbits can, toward the boat that would carry him across the lake to Mordor.