A Simple Sword
Boromir looked down at the bow in his hands, twisting it to and fro,
holding it gingerly as if it might burn him.
“Na, na, Master Boromir,” said Ingem, the arms master. “There is no
need to twist your face as if you were eating spinach; it is only a
“I find it distasteful,” said Boromir flatly. “I do not wish to train
“Distasteful, lad? Are ye out of your mind?”
As much as he disliked being called lad at a perfectly full grown
age of fourteen, Boromir did not respond to that. “It is not the sort
of weapon that I would use,” he said.
“But why, Master Boromir, unless this be another of your strange
“I do not have whims,” scoffed Boromir. “I see it as dishonorable
to stand at a safe distance and pick off your opponents like flies.
Give me but a sword in my hand, and I will show the enemy that I can
defeat them with no more tricks to me than a newborn babe. Face to
face. Man to man. Simple. Fair.”
Ingem sighed, and put a hand on the young man’s shoulders. “Ai,
Master Boromir, but you are full of ideals, as was your father before
you when he was in my care. But there is a difference between using
every advantage and showing dishonor. The enemy uses bows, and he
expects that we shall use them. Would you not also see it as folly to
stand back and let men be slaughtered from a distance when the odds
could be evened at least.”
Boromir shook his head. “I do not deny that they are useful things,
these longbows. But I am no clever man, no scholar; I do not fight with
detailed strategies. Let others train with these weapons, but I wish
only for a simple sword in my right hand, and enemies of Gondor that I
may defeat. I wish for nothing more.”
“Na, but you are strange, Master Boromir,” said Ingem, with an
illusive smile. “I would say that you would die with that simple sword
in your hand, for lack of understanding how all parts of an army work
together, even if you do not choose to use them—but, I cannot keep from
saying that you are the greatest swordsman who has trained beneath me.
Perhaps, for you, a sword will be enough.”
“Well, I will not train with a bow, in any case,” responded Boromir
lightly but firmly. “And if I die in the service of Gondor because I do
not understand warfare, let it be so.”
“You would train with a bow if I demanded it of you,” said Ingem
huffily. “I am your teacher, and though you be Steward’s son, you will
do what I say.”
There was a pause, as Boromir met the gaze of the arms master with
equal amounts of determination and wheedling in his glance.
Ingem sighed. “But, you need not train with a bow. Put on your
armor! I may not have you shoot today until your arm detaches from your
body, but a sword will do as well as a bow in that matter.”
And with a grin, Boromir ran eagerly and in a manner not quite as
grown-up as he would have wished to find his favorite weapon.