Until We Meet Again

by Linaewen

Faramir sat upon the bank of the River, and sighed as he gazed out into the mist that drifted across the surface of the River Anduin. The stillness of the night was broken only by the lap of the water at his feet, and by the sad rustle of the reeds all around him.

His heart was heavy with foreboding. It had been now three days since he had heard the Horn of Gondor blowing on the edge of hearing; three days since he had heard the desperate call of his brother in need somewhere on the northern borders of his land. There had been no word of Boromir since he had left, so many months ago; nothing, until the sounding of the Horn.

Their father had sought for news of his eldest son by all the means at his disposal, but no word came to them. Both he and Faramir had heard the Horn's call, and now Denethor waited in the Tower Hall in Minas Tirith, in fear and desperate hope, waiting for Boromir to return to him. Faramir waited here, watching, guarding the shore near Osgiliath, and wishing he could be off northwards instead, searching for his brother.

Faramir stirred and shifted his position. He was weary, but it was fatigue borne of despair, rather than lack of sleep. If only Boromir would return, safe, and whole! If only there were something he could do to bring him back to where he was so sorely needed...

There was movement in the mist. Faramir stiffened, listening, but no sound reached his ears. There was only the silence of the River in the night. He drew his bow closer and fingered the bowstring. Reaching back, he pulled an arrow from the quiver slung over his shoulder, and put it to the string. Still nothing. He stood slowly, and stepped forward cautiously, looking out through the reeds into the grey swirling mist that hovered over the dark waters.

Out of the mist floated a boat of strange design. It was unlike any boat he had ever seen before, with a high prow of grey wood that seemed to glimmer in the darkness. Softly, silently, the boat came towards him, and a light seemed to shine from it, pale but startling in the darkness. Faramir stepped out into the water for a closer look; he felt strangely drawn to the small vessel, but he did not take his hand from the bowstring.

As he stepped forward and waded out into the stream, the boat turned towards him, and slowed as it passed. Drawing near, he saw that in the boat a dead warrior lay, as if asleep. A low moan escaped him as he recognized the face of his brother. Boromir's sword lay broken on his lap, and he was wounded with many wounds. His shield was at his head, weapons of the enemy were at his feet, and a soft cloak cushioned him as he lay peaceful and serene; about his waist, a linked belt of golden leaves glinted.

"Boromir!" cried Faramir in a voice filled with anguish. "What has happened to you? Why do you return to me thus? Where is your Horn?"

Boromir slept on, and gave no answer.

Faramir's throat closed with grief and unshed tears; then he cried out, as the boat turned on the current and pulled away from the shore.

"No!" he wept. "Do not leave me, Boromir! Please! Do not leave me!"

The boat seemed to hesitate for a moment, as it bobbed and tossed on the waves; a breeze came up, rattling the reeds and stirring Boromir's hair. The echo of a memory whispered, and Faramir heard Boromir's voice in his ear.

Farewell, my brother... until we meet again...

Faramir bowed his head, and the boat turned again; he made no attempt to stay its course. The boat cradling Boromir passed into the grey mist, and continued its journey down the River to the Sea.