To Heed a Dream
This tale is derived from several of my
previous inklings that touched on Boromir, Faramir and the dream they
shared. It seemed fitting to rework this story, on the eve of Faramir
Day, and in light of the imminent release of the Extended Edition of
TTT featuring the brothers and the Quest that is given them.
TO HEED A DREAM
Boromir gazed out over the ruined city from his vantage point atop an
elevated terrace of burned and crumbling masonry. The city of Osgiliath
was vast, and lay on both sides of the river, joined by a great stone
bridge across the Anduin. Gondor held the western bank; the eastern
bank was veiled in shadow. The clash would come here at this strategic
spot. His father had foreseen it, and so they were preparing to defend
their fortifications and the bridge that linked the east to the west
and gave passage into the heart of Gondor.
There was no sign of the enemy yet, but Boromir knew they were coming.
He had sent scouts with keen eyesight to watch in secret the
Crossroads; they would alert him when they saw the army of Sauron on
the move. Boromir's company had been working feverishly on the bridge
so that in the last event, it could be thrown down to prevent the enemy
from crossing over; it was now time to take up their positions on the
eastern bank. They would meet the enemy head-on before they could reach
Even as Boromir descended, he saw his brother Faramir approaching.
"How goes the work, my brother?" Boromir asked.
"We have done what we can," replied Faramir, looking doubtfully at the
eastern shore. "If we must fall back to the bridge, we should be able
to prevent the enemy from crossing."
"They will come tonight."
"Yes," said Faramir wearily. "We should cross over soon, and form our defense."
Boromir looked at his brother sharply.
"What is it, Faramir? What is wrong?"
"You always know when something is amiss with me!" Faramir said with a
smile. "I had a dream last night, and it troubles me still."
"Not the sea dream again?" he queried, his brow wrinkled in worry. "The
vast wave that engulfs us all? I would take that as a bad omen, indeed!"
"No, not that," replied Faramir, shaking his head. "It was a dream I
have never had before. I will share it with you, but perhaps now is not
the time; I would ponder it further before I speak of it."
"It must have been very troubling, then. Will all be well with you?"
Faramir drew himself up.
"Do not fear, I will not be distracted from my duties."
"You?" Boromir scoffed affectionately. "Distracted from your duty? May I live to see such a thing!"
Boromir's smile changed to another frown as he looked at his brother closely.
"I was serious when I asked if it is well with you. You know these
dreams trouble you, and you have not slept well these past nights."
"Speak for yourself, my brother," retorted Faramir. "As the
Captain-General leads, so the men will follow. When was the last time
you slept well, may I ask?"
"I do not remember," sighed Boromir. "Too long. But it is hard to close
my eyes when constant vigilance is needed. The enemy is everywhere, it
seems, and we are hard pressed to guard all our borders."
"Vigilance!" Faramir looked at his brother with fondness. He shook his
head. "You sound like Father when you say that! Yes, vigilance is
needed, but there is more to life than constant battle."
"I do not forget it," replied Boromir, "though our father may."
He looked at Faramir thoughtfully.
"Father drives you hard," he said. Faramir's only answer was a weary shrug.
"You have shown yourself more than capable as a captain and leader of
men, and yet he still holds your abilities in contempt!" Boromir cried,
suddenly angry. "I do not understand! Why does he not see, why does he
not realize your mettle?"
"It matters not, Boromir," said Faramir. "I can bear it; he will see it one day."
"He sees so much, knows so much of what is happening in the kingdom,
yet he cannot see that the future is as much with you as it is with
me!" Boromir's anger was suddenly spent, and he shook his head sadly.
"There will come a day when I will not be here to lead, and then he
will be forced to realize that you are more than ready to take my
Faramir stared at Boromir in surprise and fear.
"What is this talk of taking your place?" he growled, almost angrily. "You are the heir and our Captain-General, no other!"
"We must be realistic, Faramir; if I should fall, you will be Captain and heir."
Faramir ducked his head, but not before Boromir caught the swift look
of pain and denial in his eyes. He gripped Faramir's shoulder.
"Now it is my turn to say, 'Do not fear!'" he said firmly. "Father will
see your quality, and acknowledge it. As for the other thing, it is
practical to think of of the future; but I am not lost to you yet, and
I do not look to be! You will wait long for the captaincy, I assure
you! Did you not know? I am indestructible!"
Faramir laughed. "So that explains it! That is well! I have no desire
to take your place just yet; being Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien
is enough for me."
"Then if that is settled, come! Let us go down to the men."
Boromir stood in the Embrasure of the Citadel and faced East, gazing
out over the city of Minas Tirith. Below him, the city below rose from
the plain of the Anduin, tier upon tier, until it towered above the
river valley, a strong and durable fortress that stood against the
threat of the East. Smoke and shadow hung over Osgiliath. Several days
had passed since the battle for the bridge; it had been hard fought,
and many good men had lost their lives, but in the end, they had held
back the enemy. Their borders were secure once more.
He heard a footstep behind him, and turned. It was Faramir.
"You were asking for me, Boromir?"
"Yes, I have need of your counsel."
Faramir looked at Boromir sharply. "What is it? What is wrong?"
"Is it so strange that I should seek your counsel that you assume there is something amiss?" asked Boromir with a smile.
Faramir returned the smile.
"No," he responded. "It is not so strange, perhaps, but when you do, I must assume something is amiss!"
Boromir sighed and looked out over the wall to the West.
"I dreamt last night, Faramir," he confessed. "My dream was the very
same riddling dream that has come to you for so many nights since the
eve of the battle under the moon."
"So!" replied Faramir heavily. "It means something. I feared it was so."
He shook his head wearily.
"I have been searching for something in the archives that might shed
light on this riddle, but there is nothing there that makes sense to
me. I had thought to find something that would confirm an idea I had,
but it is all still unclear..."
"We must tell Father," said Boromir, with a sigh. "He will be angry
that we have kept this from him, but there was no other way. He would
not have listened to you, even if you had found an answer; but now..."
A look of resignation crossed Faramir's face, as he nodded his assent.
"Yes, now... now he will listen, because you have dreamed as well."
Boromir made a quick movement as if to gainsay Faramir's statement, but Faramir shook his head and smiled sadly.
"I am not angry, Boromir," he said, gripping Boromir's arm. "You speak
the truth, he would not have listened. 'Just another one of Faramir's
dreams,' he would think, 'of no importance'."
An eager look crossed Faramir's face suddenly, and he shook his brother's arm emphatically.
"But now you have had the dream as well, he will have to listen! It means something, something important!"
"Yes," replied Boromir. "It means something. Let us hope Father may
have some answers for us. If he cannot help, then I fear one of us will
have to seek the answers elsewhere. Come, let us have it done!"
"Seek for the sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand."
Denethor's eyes glittered, but he did not speak, as Boromir recited the words of the dream that had come to Faramir and himself.
"We had hoped you might be able to shed light on the meaning of the
dream," said Boromir, in the silence that followed his recitation.
"Faramir has searched the archives for answers which might aid us, but
to no avail. We cannot interpret the meaning of the dream."
"You are wise in ancient lore, Father," added Faramir. "We thought you
might have some knowledge which would help us decipher the strange
"You surprise me, Faramir," Denethor answered coldly. "I should have
thought that with your knowledge of the archives you would have found a
clue to this riddle. Unfortunately, its meaning is dark to me."
Faramir fell silent, and after a moment, Denethor relented. "I do know
this, though the knowledge may be of little use: Imladris was of old
the name of a valley in the North. It is said that Elves dwell there,
and with them their lord, Elrond the Half-Elven."
Faramir's face brightened and he stepped forward eagerly.
"This proves the dream to be true, then! If only we knew the meaning of
the other words! Isildur's Bane...the sword that was broken..."
"A broken sword," mused Boromir aloud. "Could the dream be speaking of
some kind of weapon that will help us in our need? Though I like not
the reference to 'doom near at hand'! What do you think, Father?"
"A sword that is broken!" scoffed Denethor, and Boromir was surprised
at the sharpness of his tone. Denethor's eyes glittered again, and
Boromir wondered if his father knew, or guessed, more than he was
"A broken sword?" Denethor repeated. "Useless! Absurd! This riddle is
of no help to us! You will do well to forget your dreams and think more
of the need of your City and your father."
"We do think of our need, Father, and you are wrong to dismiss this so
quickly!" argued Boromir. "It is clear that this is important. Faramir
has had this dream many times, and now I, too, have had this vision. It
must have some meaning. You know I am not one to rely on such things,
but this is different. We need to learn more of this matter."
Denethor frowned fiercely and sat glowering at Boromir. It was not
often that Boromir opposed his father, but he stood his ground.
After a time, Denethor nodded reluctantly. "What then do you propose?"
"Let me go seek out this place," pleaded Faramir. "I will find the answer to this riddle!"
Denethor looked at Faramir, considering, then shrugged.
"Very well, if you wish it. Perhaps it would be prudent to look into the matter, though the journey will be long and hard."
"No!" he said suddenly. "The way will indeed be difficult. Therefore, it is for me to do this. Faramir should not go."
Faramir turned quickly to face him. "No, Boromir! The dream came to me; I should be the one to go!"
Boromir gripped Faramir by both shoulders and gave him an earnest, searching look.
"I know the dream came to you. I am not disputing that; but it came to
me also. One of us must go; we have been chosen. But I am older and
stronger, better suited for such a long journey; this task is mine."
"Of course you are better suited, I know that," Faramir sighed. "But I,
too, am capable, and well able to take on such a quest. You are our
Captain -- your strength and your wisdom are needed here in Gondor! Let
me be the one to go!"
Boromir shook his head, and started to speak, but Denethor interrupted him.
"Your brother is right in this at least, that you are needed here,
Boromir. There is no question of you going; I cannot spare you."
"Why not, Father? Faramir is fully capable of leading here, but for
this journey, I am the better choice. I am the hardier, and I am the
eldest; and it is fitting that the Heir of Denethor make this embassy."
"This is not an embassy!" Denethor responded angrily. He frowned at the staff in his lap, then waved his hand dismissively.
"What need have we of help from the North?" he said shortly. "That
kingdom is no more, and if any still live of that line, they would
still have little claim here. The Elves remain hidden and have no
interest in giving aid to any of our race, should we even have any
desire to ask it of them. No; I have changed my mind. You must forget
this. It is not for us."
"Come, Father! I am the Captain General, I know what we need, and I
tell you, we need help! You see far and know much; surely you know that
we cannot go on much longer alone? Faramir is well able to take my
place; you can rely on him."
Denethor looked at Faramir coldly and shook his head.
"I doubt that he is ready for such responsibility..."
"I tell you, he is ready!" interrupted Boromir. "You do not see it, but
it is true. Do not fear for our war with Sauron. Faramir will lead in
my stead, and I shall go."
Faramir stepped forward and laid a hand on Boromir's arm.
"Boromir..." he began, then faltered.
"You are ready," said Boromir firmly. "You know you are."
He lowered his voice so that only Faramir could hear his words.
"What other chance will there be for you, my brother?" he said quietly.
"You know Father will always choose me over you, as long as I am here;
but if I am out of the way, you can show your strength as you take your
place as the Captain of our men. You should make the most of this
"I do not want you out of the way!" growled Faramir fiercely.
"I know that, dear brother! But this task is for me to do -- I know it in my heart! I must be the one to go. Do you understand?"
Faramir looked unhappy, but at last he sighed and nodded.
"I understand," he said heavily.
Boromir smiled encouragingly at Faramir, then turned back to face Denethor, who was watching the two of them closely.
"So, Boromir," his father said sternly. "You say not to fear for our
war with Sauron, and that Faramir is ready to lead. Perhaps you are
right; but again I say, what need have we of help from afar, offered in
a dream? We need Rohan and the help of our allies! We need men who can
fight, who are willing to lay down their lives for Gondor, who are
willing to obey without question! What will these strangers know of our
"I do not know," replied Boromir shaking his head, "but it is not good
to spurn help when it is offered, though it be offered in enigmatic
dreams. And why should we not seek such help? You have men who will lay
down their lives for you, and Rohan will come if the Riders can be
mustered. But it will not be enough!"
"He speaks the truth, Father," said Faramir. "We are hard-pressed, and
the men begin to lose heart. Help from any quarter would be welcome."
Denethor was silent, observing his sons from under lowered brows; then he stood abruptly.
"Do as you wish, since you will not be stayed," he said to Boromir. "Go
North and seek this Imladris. You know our need; bring me what aid you
can, whether it be weapon or army. Yet I fear your quest will be in
vain, for I fear there are none left who will deign to aid us."
He turned to Faramir.
"I trust your brother is right, and that you are ready for this
responsibility. We shall see. The fate of Gondor will be in your hands
until your brother returns. Do not fail me."
Denethor strode from the chamber. Boromir watched his father go, then
turned to his brother. Faramir was looking at him, a sad smile on his
"So, my brother," said Faramir. "You are to go, and I am to stay. So be
it! I do not begrudge you this task; I only hope you will find what you
seek, and return to me safely. I shall be Captain in your absence, and
your faith in me will be justified; but my hope will ever be for your
"I fear my journey will be long, and my return delayed, but I will come
as swiftly as I may." Boromir put an arm around his brother's
shoulders. "The truth is, we are both needed here. We are indeed
hard-pressed. Let us hope, Faramir, that my seeking is not in vain, as
Father suggests; let us hope that I find the weapon we need to end this
interminable war once and for all!"
Boromir sighed, then gave his brother a little shake.
"Come, help me get ready for the journey. I want you with me until the last moment..."