Death of a Ringbearer

by Varda

Boromir ran to a halt and leaned against a tree, trying to get his breath back. The winter sun had
already sunk behind the hill but from the woods below he could still hear the sounds of pursuit. He looked
towards the shore and the landing place and saw dark shapes bounding through the thick leaves. Uruk-hai,
rushing through the forest like wild boars, shouting at each other, fierce on the chase. Boromir smiled;
they would never find him. He opened his hand and gazed at the bright gold ring on a broken chain lying
on his palm.

He could always disappear.

He clenched his fingers on the shining circle. No-one must see it. It was his now, at last. He thought of
what he had done to gain it, and for a moment a chill ran through him. He thought of Frodo, and the terror
in his face as he was overtaken and seized. But then Boromir shrugged. He had only done what had to be
done. He had to save his city, Minas Tirith. None of the others understood. He had to take the Ring for the
sake of Gondor….

The crashing through the brushwood grew more faint as the orcs disappeared into the forest. Already Boromir
was aware of a greater power of sight gifted to him by the Ring, and with it he perceived that the Uruk-hai
had seen Merry and Pippin, and were hunting them down. For a moment remorse pierced his heart, and he
remembered the fencing lesson he had given the little pair on the sunlit hillside not so long before. Now he
was abandoning them to captivity and death. He opened his hand again and gazed on the golden thing bright
under the shadows of the forest; he forgot Merry and Pippin. Let them go to their fate, and he to his…..

A twig snapped behind him and Boromir whirled round; Aragorn stood there, his face bone white, his eyes
‘What have you done, Boromir?’ he said in a voice as cold as rain on ice.
‘I?’ stammered Boromir, unable for all his power to hide his shame. ‘What do you mean….?’
‘Where is Frodo?’ asked Aragorn in a low voice. ‘I know you found him. What did you do with him?’
Boromir’s face grew stony; he felt the Ring cold now in his grasp. He looked Aragorn in the eye and
answered boldly; ‘I did what had to be done.’

Aragorn gasped as if he had been struck. ‘What do you mean? Where is the Ring?’
‘The Ring is mine now,’ said Boromir gaining courage.
‘As it should have been all along. I will take it to Minas Tirith to save my people…’
‘Boromir!’ shouted Aragorn. ‘The Ring is altogether evil! It will destroy your city and you too! It belongs to Sauron
and only he can wield it….’

‘Those are the lies of Elves!’ interrupted Boromir ‘It is a mighty gift which will deliver Gondor from her
enemies. That is why you want it, to gain power yourself. You never intended to destroy it!’

Aragorn was shaking his head. He said in a pleading voice;
‘Boromir, think! When you reach Minas Tirith, and your father asks you for this thing, as he must, what will
you do? Will you open your hand and yield up the Ring of Power to him?’

Boromir hesitated, and for a long moment there was silence. Emotions chased each other across his face.
Aragorn continued in a quiet voice. ‘Do you see what a hold it has over you already? You could not give it up now
whoever asked you, not even your father.’

Boromir looked down, his face dark. Aragorn said; ‘Do not break your oath, Boromir. To me, and to all the Fellowship…’

An oathbreaker! There was nothing more vile, thought Boromir, and tears came into his eyes. What had he
done? But even as his heart sank like a stone remembering Frodo, the Ring in his hand whispered to him….
’He is lying. He only wants it for himself. He is a pretender to the throne of Gondor, who will depose
your father and rule in the place you should inherit…’
Rage surged up in Boromir. Without warning he drew his sword and rushed at Aragorn.
‘Liar!’ he shouted…

The two men were the same height, but Aragorn was of lighter build and Boromir charged into him and knocked
him down like a hound bowling over a hare. Then he raised his sword in both hands to slay Aragorn as he
lay winded but the Ranger twisted out of the way of the blade and aiming a kick at Boromir’s knee that
sent him staggering back he leaped to his feet and drew his own sword, Anduril.

The dim forest light glinted on the blade as Aragorn raised it to fend off Boromir’s attack, but when the
swords clashed a shock ran down the steel into Aragorn’s hand, almost causing him to drop his weapon.
Boromir smiled grimly, and hewed again at the Ranger, and again when the blades grated together, striking
sparks, a shock, followed by a tingling numbness paralysed Aragorn’s hand.

The Ring, which had destroyed Frodo's strength as he sought to resist its power, gave strength to Boromir,
who had bent himself to its will….feeling capable of defeating anyone, Boromir pressed his attack fiercely,
hewing and hacking at Aragorn, knocking a long sliver out of Anduril’s edge and at last striking down
Aragorn’s guard to wound him, drawing blood from his shoulder and then his arm.

Aragorn fell once to his knees but struggled again to his feet. Boromir laughed and said;
‘You cannot defeat me, Aragorn. You will fall, just as your ancestors Isildur and Elendil fell, to the power of the Ring…..’

And with these words he brought his sword down with both hands and broke Anduril in two and Aragorn was
thrown to the ground at Boromir’s feet. The fall knocked the breath out of him and he looked up as
Boromir raised his sword and quickly put his hand to his throat, to the Evenstar…and he heard an Elven voice say;
‘This dagger I give to you, a weapon of the Noldorin….’
Celeborn’s dagger! How could he forget it? Quick as a snake pouncing on a bird Aragorn snatched from his
belt the curved Elven dagger given to him in Lothlórien and he reached up and with all his strength he plunged it
into Boromir’s chest, under his ribs.

Aragorn rolled away and scrambled to his feet, gasping for breath, still wary of attack. But Boromir stepped
back with his arm holding his chest tightly and looking at Aragorn with a face deathly pale he smiled and said;
‘The Ring is not so powerful after all…..’

Then he stumbled forward and fell into the leaves. Hesitating for a moment Aragorn ran to him and turned
him over, but his eyes were closed and his breathing hard and shallow. Aragorn shook his head; this was a
bitter end. How could he go to Minas Tirith now, after slaying the Steward's son? Then Boromir opened his eyes.
‘I am sorry, Aragorn…’ he said in a voice barely above a whisper. ‘I have betrayed you all….’ He raised a
hand and Aragorn took it in his own. Boromir smiled and said;
‘You were right all along, I never saw it…go to Minas Tirith and save my people, Aragorn. Forgive me.....’

Aragorn went to reply but it was too late. The hand clutching his fell away and the sense fled the dark
grey eyes. Aragorn laid Boromir down on the leaves with a sigh and placed his hand on his heart in
farewell, then bowed his own head and for some time was lost in grief. That Boromir should perish and by
his hand….Aragorn knew he should return to what was left of the Fellowship, but he could not. He gave
himself up to darkness. After a while he looked down and saw that Boromir’s hand, relaxed in death, had
fallen by his side, and the Ring on its broken chain lay on the leaves, bright and deadly.

With a wildly beating heart Aragorn reached down to it, his hand hovering over it, when a voice behind him said;
‘Do not touch it.’

Aragorn leaped to his feet and stared, for some time unable to speak. Then he gasped;

The hobbit stepped forward, moving unsteadily. His face was pale and bruised, one eye closed by a blow.
Aragorn rushed to him and embraced him. Then he laid a hand on his shoulder and said in a shaking voice;
‘I thought you were dead…’
‘So did I’ Frodo said wryly. ‘But we hobbits are hard to kill…..’
‘But what happened?’ asked Aragorn.

Frodo sat down as if exhausted. His voice was strange, hoarse and low, and Aragorn noticed then livid marks
of a strong hand on the hobbit’s throat. Frodo rubbed them and said;
‘Boromir came to me where I was trying to decide my course of action. He said he wished to change my mind,
but grew more angry when I would not take his advice.’
Frodo turned his face to Aragorn and said;
‘The Ring took him, Aragorn, it was not Boromir, but some slave of the Ring. He attacked me, and when I
went to put on the ring and escape, he tore it from my grasp. And then….’ Frodo put a hand on his bruised
'He tried to kill me.’

There was a long silence. Frodo sighed. ‘I remember nothing more, just fighting for breath.
The Ring was taken from me, I could feel it even though I could not see it. But that was my
deliverance, for when Boromir had the Ring in his hand he did not care any more about me, and thinking I was
already dead he left me. Some time later, I awoke, and hearing the sound of battle I followed him here…..’

There was a long pause. Then Aragorn said, shaking his head;
‘This is all my fault! I should have seen Boromir was being drawn by the Ring, that it was taking him. I
should have….’
‘No!’ said Frodo, and Aragorn looked at the hobbit in surprise. Frodo said;
‘I cannot blame Boromir, for all that has happened. The Ring chose him and it conquered. Not even you,
Aragorn, could have prevented this. But I understand now what I have to do.’

Aragorn looked at Frodo in surprise. The hobbit went on;
‘One by one the Ring will attempt to conquer each one of us. I must go on alone…’
Aragorn went to protest but Frodo stopped him.
‘It is the only way. How do you know you too might not fall, Aragorn?’
And Aragorn looked down at the bright circle on the ground, and at Boromir lying cold and pale beside it,
and was silent.
‘I would have gone with you to the end, Frodo’ he said.

‘I know’ replied Frodo, and reaching down he gently took the Ring from under Boromir’s hand and put it in
his pocket….