Prelude to a Journey

by Linaewen

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 as yet, but Boromir knew they were coming. He had sent scouts with keen eyesight to watch in secret the eastern road coming from 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; those preparations were almost complete, and the time drew near for them to take up their positions on the eastern bank. Boromir wanted to be in place and ready by the time word came from his scouts of the approach of the enemy forces.

Even as Boromir descended the terrace, 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."

Boromir frowned.

"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 frowned, his voice sharp with irritation. "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 sighed and shrugged helplessly. "There will surely come a day when I am not here to lead, and then he will be forced to realize you are more than ready to take my place."

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 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, then! 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 inspected the work that had been done on the bridge, the last link to the other side of the Anduin. It had borne the brunt of many a battle and was scarred and weatherworn; it had not been too difficult a task to cut away at the stones in such a way that the bridge remained useful until it became necessary to destroy it.

When he was satisfied, he turned to Faramir.

"Good! We are ready, I think. I will lead my company to join the others on the eastern edge of the City."

"Are the other commanders in position, then?" asked Faramir.

"Yes," replied Boromir. "You and your Rangers shall stay here at the bridge; I suggest you deploy your men on both sides of the River. If things should go ill, I will gather the others and retreat here, and we will make a stand together. The bridge must not fall into the hands of the enemy. It must be cast down if the field is lost."

Faramir nodded in agreement.

"You expect the worst, then."

Boromir gazed doubtfully into the gathering darkness.

"I have heard rumors...rumors of the Haradrim and men of the East allying with Sauron. Things will go ill with us if this is so. We could very well be outnumbered."

"That seems to be the case of late," said Faramir with a sigh. "Always we are outnumbered."

"But we fight nevertheless," said Boromir grimly. "We can do nothing else."

He turned to Faramir and held his gaze solemnly.

"Be safe, brother, until we meet again."

"Be safe, brother! Return to me whole; remember that you are indestructible."

"I am relying on it!"

The brothers clasped hands and parted.

****************************

"Indestructible!" thought Boromir desperately to himself. "Remember, you are indestructible!"

With his shield, he parried the blow aimed directly at him by the grinning Orc and beheaded him with one sweep of his sword. The headless body was thrown aside by more Orcs swarming up behind. Boromir drove forward with his shield before him, knocking the Orcs backwards; before they could regain their balance, he dispatched them, trying not to think about how many more there might be. All around him the fighting was fierce: men with pikes and swords, men on horseback, battling Orcs and Men from the East and the South who had allied themselves with Sauron.

Though the attack had been expected, when it came, it came suddenly. The moon was still low, and its brightness helped only a little to pierce the darkness that hindered the soldiers of Gondor and aided the enemy. Many keen-eyed Orcs were there, and Mordor's ranks had swelled with the coming of Easterlings and the Southrons of Harad. Boromir's heart sank as he looked upon the surging masses before him. He could hardly distinguish between his own men and the enemy.

Wiping blood and sweat from his eyes, he paused briefly to catch his breath in the midst of battle and to take stock of his situation -- it was not going well, for he and his men were indeed surrounded and outnumbered. He struggled vainly to quell the fear that rose in his heart at the thought that it might be too late to retreat back to the western shore.

Suddenly, Boromir was knocked aside by a blow to the head, and his sword flew from his hand. As he lay momentarily stunned, a huge form loomed up and a spear glinted in the moonlight. A Southron spearman towered over him, poised to strike. Boromir rolled to avoid the blow of the spear, and the Southron fell sprawling atop Boromir, the weight knocking the breath from his lungs. Mailed hands were suddenly at Boromir's throat; he grappled with the man as he gasped for air. Boromir kicked out furiously, and his boot made contact with flesh. The Southron grunted and his grip shifted, just enough that Boromir was able to pull away and roll free. As he rolled he felt his sword under him, and grasped at it desperately. He thrust the blade upwards as he came out of his roll, and the Southron, leaping to grab at his foe, fell full on the sharp blade.

Boromir rolled free of the body and wiped his blade clean on the robe of the dead man.

A hand under his arm pulled him to his feet at the same time that a voice in his ear spoke; it was Grithnir, his lieutenant. Boromir felt an overwhelming sense of relief at the sight of him alive, and in his heart, a little hope returned.

"My Captain, I fear we are outnumbered!" Grithnir gasped. "We are losing ground, even as fresh reinforcements arrive to swell the enemy's ranks! Shall we stand or fall back?"

Boromir had already made the decision; he only needed enough breathing space to give the order.

"Fall back!" he cried. "Fall back to the bridge at Osgiliath! I will sound the retreat! Get you away and tell as many as you can to make for the bridge with all speed; I shall follow directly. We will regroup and make another stand there! There is still hope that we can delay them long enough to defend the bridge and throw it down."

"Yes, my lord!" cried Grithnir, and he sped away, even as Boromir raised the Horn at his side and sounded the retreat.

The loud call of the Horn rang out over the clash of sword on shield and the din of battle, and all the forces of Mordor stopped still for a moment, so fierce was the sound of the echoing blast. But when they saw that the Men of Gondor were turning to retreat, they sprang forward in pursuit with shouts of triumph and renewed vigor.

Boromir ran as fast as he could in the darkness towards the River. As he ran, he saw others running beside him, but it was only a small remnant of the great force he had led to the Crossroads. So few! he thought in despair. Where are the others? He fought as he ran, slashing and stabbing as he went, helping soldiers to their feet, gazing as he sped by into the face of many a fallen comrade. He sounded his Horn at intervals to alert those who had not heard the signal to retreat.

The bridge at Osgiliath was several leagues from where they had been fighting at the edge of the old City; Boromir began to wonder if he would reach the bridge before he was overtaken by the hosts of Mordor who pursued him. Even as he began to tire, a knight leading a horse galloped past. He reigned in quickly when he recognized Boromir.

"My lord!" he cried, flinging the reins of the riderless horse to Boromir. Boromir gave a shout of thanks to the knight as he sped on ahead. Slinging his shield over his shoulder, Boromir leapt onto the back of the steed, and spurred him forward.

Boromir rode through the ruined city to the River and dismounted, handing the reins to a man who was limping slowly along the road.

"Take this horse, soldier, I have no more need of it. Ride on to the Rammas and the Causeway Forts if you can, and hold there, if your wound allows it."

"I will, my lord!"

As Boromir approached the bridge, he saw Faramir striding towards him. At the sight of his brother, Faramir gave a glad cry and ran to him.

"You are safe! When I heard the Horn's cry, and you did not come, I feared the worst."

"The road was long in the darkness, even when spurred on by the hordes of Mordor!"

Boromir quickly took stock of the men gathered behind Faramir.

"How many won through to the bridge?"

"Enough to make a stand, but barely. I sent those on ahead to the Rammas that were not fit for another battle, as well as some of my archers and another company to guard the western shore and our retreat, if it should become necessary."

"Well done, brother!" said Boromir, then he sighed. "It pains me to admit that we must prepare for retreat, but this battle has not gone our way. Come, they are hard on our heels! Let us array the men as best we can for the defense of the bridge. Do we have pikemen here?"

"Yes, some are in position on the bridge to dislodge the keystones at your command, and the others are forming a phalanx with spearmen at the front line."

"Good! The moon is now high enough to give us some light. I will see to the ordering of the front line, while you arrange your archers behind them as you deem best."

They had barely enough time to set their defenses before the horde was upon them. Orcs ran screaming through the ruined streets of the city and fell to the line of pikes and spears, and then to the archers, yet more came behind them. Rank after rank of tall Men followed and broke upon the beleaguered defenders with a fierce cry.

"Gondor!" cried Boromir, leaping forward to battle. He gave a loud defiant blast upon his Horn, and his men shouted in answer. Though they were weary and wounded, the defenders of Gondor fought grimly, and after a time, it seemed to Boromir that they were gaining the advantage. Their foes were beginning to fall back and lose heart, when suddenly there was a change in the air.

Sudden dread smote the men of Gondor as the ranks of Orcs parted to let a rider through. A shadow loomed under the moon, in the shape of a great dark horseman. Boromir's men gave way and fell back in terror, and some fled, but their foes were filled with madness and renewed frenzy. They were pressed back towards the bridge. With an effort, Boromir mastered his own fear and turned to his company.

"Stay!" Boromir shouted to the men that stood by him. "Do not give in to fear! We must hold the bridge until it can be cast down!"

His men leapt back to the attack, giving Boromir a few moments free of fighting to give orders to the men manning the bridge.

"Faramir!" he called urgently. He had not seen his brother since he had sent him to order his archers.

Faramir appeared from out of the mass of battling armies. He was unhurt, but his face was white with fear of the dark horseman, who still stood silently while the forces of Mordor fought all around him. Boromir sighed audibly at the sight of Faramir, and clasped his shoulder briefly.

"Gather what men you can and pull back to the western side of the bridge. Give the order for the pikemen to begin the removal of the stones. This foe is too much for us, we cannot hold any longer!"

"What of you?" asked Faramir, as he turned to obey.

"I will follow, but someone must keep the foe at bay until passage to the western side is blocked."

Faramir ran into the night, and Boromir returned to the battle. He had little hope of being able to hold the enemy for long, but he had to try. He and the men who remained fought valiantly, but slowly, surely they were pushed back, back to the River. Even as the dark rider came forward slowly and approached the bridge, Boromir heard from behind him a shout from Faramir.

"Fall back!" Boromir cried, sheathing his sword. "Over the bridge before it falls!"

As the remnant of his company retreated over the bridge, Boromir cast one last look at the menacing shadow before him. The rider had halted his advance. He stood tall and ominous against the moon and the hordes of Mordor behind him screamed their hatred of Gondor and the West. Then Boromir turned and sprinted over the bridge, and the enemy surged forward behind him.

Men with pikes had loosened the stones in the middle of the bridge and were now tearing at them frantically. The bridge shook and the stones groaned as Boromir's men passed over, their Captain following.

As the dark rider's horse stepped on to the bridge, the first stone tumbled into the water, and then the arches crumbled, and with a roar, the middle section of the bridge collapsed into the River, sending up a tremendous cascade of water. Some of the company were lost in the collapse while others were caught on the wrong side. The men who remained fled before the terror of the rider and the danger of the collapsing bridge.

Boromir fell to his knees as the remaining portion of the bridge swayed and sagged. He scrambled away from the crumbling edge. He felt a hand grasping his collar and pulling him forward. It was Faramir.

"Go!" Boromir shouted hoarsely. "Get away while you can!"

"No! I stay with you!"

"Go, I say!" Boromir shouted again, as he struggled to his feet.

"No!"

The bridge swayed, and the two brothers grabbed at each other to keep their balance.

"Then we go together!" cried Boromir. "Jump!"

He leapt into the River as the stone crumbled beneath him. The water closed over his head. He came up sputtering, cursing his armor, in time to make a grab for his shield before it could float away. He swam as best he could, dodging the stones and debris that continued to fall around him, and gained the shore with difficulty, for the current was strong. From the safety of the Western bank he turned to look upon the opposite shore. He had been swept downstream some distance, but he could still make out the broken bridge against the moon. The dark rider was gone, and the host of Mordor was turning back.

"Faramir!" he called. "Where are you? Faramir!"

"I am here, my brother," he heard Faramir say from behind him.

He swung around to see Faramir coming through the reeds on the edge of the water. They fell into each others' arms. They stood there together for a moment, still panting from their ordeal in the River, amazed at their escape.

"So!" said Faramir at last. "Once again, Boromir the Brave has cheated death and proved himself indestructible!"

"Yes," answered Boromir, "but I must remember next time not to cut it so fine!"

***********************

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 must immediately assume there is something amiss?" asked Boromir with a smile.

Faramir returned the smile.

"No, of course not," he responded. "You never hesitate to seek my counsel nor to listen to my advice when I give it unsought. But I know that look! You cannot hide from me that you are troubled. What has happened?"

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 words."

"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 saying.

"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, I will bring the matter up with the Council of Elders. Perhaps it would be prudent to look into the matter, though the journey will be long and hard."

Boromir stirred.

"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! Even those who sit on the Council are beginning to tell you as much. You see far and know many things -- 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 opportunity."

"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 trouble here?"

"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. "I will bring this to the Council, and if it is agreed, you shall 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 face.

"So, my brother," said Faramir. "It is likely that you are to go, and I am to stay. You have convinced our father, so I have little hope of convincing the Council to send me in your stead. If that is so, than so be it! I do not begrudge you this task if it is given you; I only hope you will find what you seek, and return to me safely. When the time comes, I shall be Captain in your absence, and your faith in me will be justified -- but my hope will ever be for your speedy return."

"They will give the quest to me, they must!" Boromir sighed and put an arm around his brother's shoulders. "I fear my journey will be long, and my return delayed, but I will come as swiftly as I may. 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 again, then gave his brother a little shake.

"Come, we can begin preparations for the journey, at least. One of us will be chosen if the Council hears and sees the urgency of the matter. Whether they choose you or me, I want to be together until the last moment. Who knows when we shall see one another again?"

**************************

He ran over in his mind the inventory of his pack as he tightened the straps of his saddle. It would do, at least for this first part of his journey. He knew not what would be his situation once he passed out of the lands of his knowledge, but for now his supplies were sufficient for the task. Satisfied, he mounted and rode out of the courtyard. He had said his farewells to his loved ones and was eager to depart before they thought of more reasons why he should not go. It had been a difficult task to convince them that the quest not be given to another; it was his alone. He would allow no one else to attempt such a dark and uncertain journey.

He rode out from the city just before dawn. The guards at the gate saluted him as he passed, as was their custom. They knew little of his errand, but then, he knew little enough himself; only that it could prove to be a hopeless journey. His heart thrilled in anticipation of the adventure. Hopeless, perhaps, but worth the attempt. Unknown dangers lay ahead on a long, lonely road, but he was not afraid. He would find that road if it could be found.

He paused briefly at the outer defensive wall and looked back across the field at the city behind him. The light of the rising sun was beginning to warm its walls and high towers. He turned in his saddle and put his hand to his belt. Lifting the horn that hung there to his lips, he gave a great musical blast, as if to signal to friend and foe alike that he was setting forth on his Quest.

Boromir son of Denethor, was riding forth, determined to seek in the distant North the answer to a strange riddle and to bring aid to his City, or die in the attempt.

The sun rose behind him as he spurred his steed to a gallop and passed into the mist on the road to the West.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Portions of the following tales were used in this version of Boromir's story:
To Heed a Dream
Shadow Under the Moon
A Blade for the Battle
Prologue to 110 Days/Son of Gondor