The Son of Gondor

by Linaewen

Chapter 36

Leaping forward with a mighty cry, Boromir met the surging mass of orcs with a crash of shield against sword and axe. He drove his shield hard into the snarling face of an orc, and then killed it with his sword before it could recover its footing. He twisted this way and that, stabbing and slicing with his sword on one side, and battering at orcs with his shield on the other. The horde was all around him. Boromir fought furiously, but he tried to remain aware of where the other members of the Company were fighting, lest he accidentally strike one of his own in the heat of battle. He glanced about him now and then and saw that even the hobbits had entered the fray, and were holding their own in the fight.

The orcs fought fiercely, even recklessly, and Boromir was hard put to defend himself in the press of enemies around him. He fought with grim determination; if they could beat back this attack quickly, there might be a chance of escaping through another door before reinforcements could arrive. He had not forgotten the presence of the cave troll he had seen in the hallway; if it were to join in the battle, their situation would be grave indeed. Even as the thought crossed his mind, Boromir heard over the sounds of battle a resounding roar at the door. With a crash, the huge form of the cave troll forced its way into the chamber, bringing down part of the doorway as it entered. It was led in by two orcs who tightly gripped a chain that was attached to an iron collar around its neck. Boromir looked up from the orc he had just felled, and stared at the monster before him. More than twice the height of a man and brandishing a heavy hammer, the troll was a formidable enemy. So, there will be no quick escape, Boromir thought fleetingly.

The troll roared a challenge as an arrow from the bow of Legolas struck it in the shoulder, and it jerked back, pulling itself loose from the orcs who held the chain. It put up a massive hand to the arrow, briefly, but continued to advance. The troll raised its hammer high and aimed a blow at Sam, who was standing frozen in place beside Boromir. Sam cried out and dived between the troll's legs, just as the hammer came down hard, in the place where he had been standing. Boromir parried a blow from an orc even as he watched from the corner of his eye to see what the troll would do next. It was infuriated that it had missed its target and turned this way and that, seeking the hobbit that had gotten away. Boromir could see that Sam was still on the floor after his dive. Afraid to take his eyes off the threatening monster, Sam scrambled backwards in an attempt to put some distance between them. The troll swung round, and catching sight of the hobbit, raised an immense foot with the intention of crushing him. Boromir shouted, and quickly sheathing his sword, he grabbed up the end of the troll's chain which was dangling loose; Aragorn saw this and jumped to assist him, grasping another section of the chain. Boromir wrapped a length of the chain around his wrist for better leverage, and the two of them yanked hard, pulling the troll backwards and off balance. They could only hold it for an instant, but it was long enough for Sam to scramble to his feet and get away.

The troll quickly regained its balance and turned to strike out at those who had kept it from its prey. He swung his hammer in a wide arc, missing Gimli, who still stood upon the tomb of Balin, and narrowly missing Boromir, who ducked quickly to the side to escape the blow. Aragorn dropped the chain and leaped aside, as the hammer struck the stone floor with great force, sending shards of stone flying in all directions. The troll then swung with its fist, but missed again.

That was too close! thought Boromir, as he straightened. He moved to draw his sword again, but suddenly realized he still had the troll's chain wrapped tightly around his wrist. He stared at it in dismay, as he realized the danger he was in. The hand that held his shield dropped helplessly to his side.

Oh, no! he thought as he stared at the chain around his arm, but his lips only mouthed the words. He looked up slowly and his gaze met that of the troll. With a gesture almost of contempt, the troll grasped the chain and swung it to the side with mighty strength. Boromir was flung through the air as if he weighed no more than a child's plaything. The chain jerked free of his arm with a snap as he slammed against the far wall with such force that his breath was driven from him. Collapsing in a heap at the base of the wall, he lay stunned and breathless.

Boromir struggled to remain conscious; blackness threatened to close in on him as he gasped for breath. He tasted blood in his mouth and his head swam; he shook it in an effort to clear it, and was immediately sorry. He drew his breath in shakily, and the blackness began to recede. He blinked his eyes open, still dazed and uncertain of where he was.

As his vision cleared, Boromir saw with a shock that an orc stood over him, ready to strike. There was no time to react, even if he had been alert enough. He could only stare at the knife in the orc's hand. Is this the way it is to end, then? he thought.

The knife in the orc's hand flashed and Boromir steeled himself for the blow, but it did not come. The knife fell to the floor with a clatter as the orc collapsed with a gurgle, a dagger protruding from its throat. Boromir blinked in amazement. Where did that come from? he thought, still dazed and slightly confused. He looked up and caught the gaze of Aragorn. It dawned on him slowly that Aragorn had thrown the dagger that had saved his life. He gazed in silence, but his gratitude must have shown in his eyes, for Aragorn gave a slight nod, before he turned back to the battle.

Boromir struggled to his feet and looked around for his shield. He had been holding it when the troll had flung him aside; it must have dropped from his hand. Ah! there it was, not far away, near a short flight of stairs that went up to the upper level. Boromir stepped forward cautiously; he still felt a bit winded after the jarring he had had, but his legs did not fail him. He quickly retrieved his shield, and drew his sword. He was ready to fight again.

As he met the enemy with renewed determination, he smiled to himself, remembering a conversation he had had with Faramir many months ago, on the eve of a different battle. "Did you not know? I am indestructible!" he had said, and Faramir had laughed. Because of Aragorn's quick thinking, he had escaped death once again.

I remain indestructible, he thought, for the time being. Let us hope, little brother, that my luck continues to hold!