One Hundred and Ten Days

by Linaewen

Chapter 17

On the third day after meeting Erestor and Soronume in the woods, Boromir came upon the East Road. Here the Road bent southwards to follow the river for a few miles, before it turned away slightly, and plunged back into the dark pine woods, hiding the river from sight. Boromir was content to leave the river behind for a time; it was good to be back on a road again.

After some miles, Boromir emerged suddenly from a shadowy ravine into the sunlight; a long flat incline was before him, leading down to the ford. The water was wide and flowed calmly over the stones of the ford, but there was evidence on both sides of the bank of a recent heavy flood. He wondered at that, for he had seen no evidence downstream of floodwaters swelling the banks of the river.

Boromir stopped Nahar at the edge of the water; he felt strangely reluctant to go forward. Was it really safe for men to pass this way? If the river was indeed in the control of Elrond, would it rise up against him, a mere mortal? Then he chided himself for being a fool. Erestor had directed him here, even assured him he would be welcomed. Surely it was safe! He was an honorable man and an ally against the Enemy, sent here by a dream on a special errand.

It was rumored in Gondor that there was Elvish blood in the line of the Princes of Dol Amroth. They counted themselves descendants of a prince who had wedded an Elf maiden. He shared that bloodline, through his mother. Boromir wondered briefly if it could be true, and would it make any difference to these Elves of Rivendell? He pushed the thought aside. No matter! It was enough that he could claim his heritage as a proud son of Gondor and a faithful servant of the White City and her Lord. That had always been enough for him. He touched Nahar lightly and the horse moved willingly forward into the water.

He crossed the ford without mishap and took the steep winding path that led up onto a high moor. The Misty Mountains rose sharply beyond, brightly lit by the westering sun. He followed the path along a ridge and came suddenly to the brink of the deep valley of Rivendell. Looking down into the valley, he saw among the haze of autumn colors the house of Elrond nestled between forest and river. The sun still glinted on the tops of the gabled roofs, but lower down in the valley, lamps were twinkling as dusk approached. Everywhere there was the sound of water flowing, rushing under the houses themselves and falling musically over stones to the river below. A faint scent of flowers wafted up from the valley to freshen the air.

The path led down to a great stone bridge that arched up and over the ravine through which the river tumbled and roared. Nahar carefully made his way down the narrow path; there were shallow stairs at intervals, easily traversed by a horse and rider, but treacherously slippery in spots because of the fine mist from the falls that blew over the pathway. As they drew close to the bridge, Boromir passed several groups of travelers; Dwarves were there, and a group of Elves. He nodded to them as he passed. He crossed over the bridge and heard the rushing waters echoing in the valley. Nahar whinnied and pressed forward, as if glad to return to his home.

Boromir rode in under a great arch and into a wide courtyard. He reined in, and sat back in the saddle, staring in amazement at the scene before him. The city of Rivendell was like no other place he had seen before. He saw high gables and spiraling columns, stone terraces and graceful arches, statues and fountains, and filigreed screens. Trees grew everywhere; the houses seemed to be built around the trees rather than the trees being placed beside the houses. It was beautiful and peaceful and very strange.

Boromir felt a pang of loneliness; the desire to see his fair white city of solid stone was suddenly very strong. He bowed his head, and after a moment he felt calm again. He looked up and saw Elven stewards approaching to greet him, so he dismounted and waited beside Nahar. His moment of doubt had passed and he felt confident again. He would return one day to Minas Tirith and the Tower of Ecthelion, to his brother and to his father. Now, however, was the time for seeking answers. He had traveled one hundred and ten days through danger and despair. One part of the quest was now accomplished; he had found Imladris of the riddle. Yet there remained many questions to be answered. He was eager to begin.