The Son of Gondor

by Linaewen

Chapter 48

The Company remained for some days in Lorien, or so it seemed to them; it was hard to keep track of the passage of time in that land. Gradually, they were healed of hurt, weariness, and grief. Boromir found it a bit dull, though he was glad for an opportunity to rest; his weariness was slow to pass. The others seemed to thrive in the quietness and the solitude, but Boromir found it difficult to keep his thoughts from wandering on paths he was not yet ready to take.

The Elves took away their clothing to be cleaned and mended, and gave them soft, grey garments to wear in their place. Boromir felt uncomfortable in the strange clothing, and slightly ridiculous; he was used to his own things and had been reluctant to give up his clothing, even for cleaning. He kept his mail shirt and wore it under his Elven garments; in spite of Aragorn's assurances that the borders were well-protected, Boromir was not going to be caught unprepared. It was not fitting for a warrior to lay aside his armor while still on duty. He did not wear his sword openly, but kept it close to hand; it was comforting to know it was there if he needed it.

Legolas did not sleep with the other companions after the first night; he now spent much time with the Elves of Lorien, often taking Gimli with him when he went abroad in the land. The others wondered at this change.

From time to time, when Legolas and Gimli were present, Aragorn would bring up the subject of their forward road, but there was no real conviction behind it; he had no firm plan in mind. Frodo seemed content to leave the decision to Aragorn.

Boromir began to feel restless and frustrated at their indecision. He chafed to be away, back to his people, and away from this strange land where he felt so uncomfortable. Now more than ever he missed Gandalf, for the wizard's loss had changed the plan: Aragorn now led the Company, yet he made no decision on where he would lead them.

I was afraid of this! fretted Boromir. I wonder now, will Aragorn keep his promise to come to Minas Tirith? And what of Frodo? Will he agree to come to my City? It is the only sensible way, they must see that! Why do they spend so much time wondering and worrying about it, when the answer is so obvious?

At first, Boromir took part in the discussions, urging the Company to come to Minas Tirith; but after a time, he no longer took part. He took to sitting on the edge of the circle when the Company was gathered together, and said little unless spoken to first. Aragorn knows what I think, he said to himself. If he wants my opinion, he will ask for it.

One day, in frustration, Boromir stood abruptly and walked away from the group. He wandered for some time among the trees until he came to the green wall at the edge of the Elvish city, near the Great Gates. Overlooking the deep moat that surrounded the hill were several high flets used by the Elves who served as watchmen for the city. Boromir sought permission to climb up onto one of the flets, and it was granted. Seeing that he wished to be alone, the Elves who stood guard there withdrew and left him in peace.

Boromir climbed slowly to the top and looked out from the high place to the southwest, hoping to catch a glimpse of the outside world. All was hazy and uncertain; beyond the borders of Lorien, there was only darkness. His heart sank, and he felt a sharp pang of loneliness and longing for his home. He had been gone far too long! What was happening there? Was it true what Galadriel had showed him, that Gondor was lost; that his City would fall?

Looking out over the long dark valley, Boromir strained to see beyond the haze; in his yearning, he began to imagine he could see on the very edge of sight his City, Minas Tirith, glowing in the soft light of the westering sun. He reached out his hand towards the vision and sighed longingly.

"If only I could be with you!" he cried aloud, "but you are so far away!"

His words recalled to Boromir's mind the lament that had come to him in his sleep the night of their arrival, and he began to sing; softly at first, then with growing intensity:

"So far away! When will I see you again?
My White City, set upon the knee of Mindolluin.
You face East and do not shrink
At the shadow of the Dark Land opposite;
Rather, you glory in the fire, and in the brightness
That glows from your walls and towers
When the dawn breaks.

So far away! When will I see you again?
My White City, like a ship, a ship of stone;
Strong and enduring are you,
Foremost in the defense of Gondor!
I stand like a mariner on the battlements
And look out over your walls and your gates,
My feet feel your strength, and I stand firm.

So far away! When will I see you again?
My White Tower, standing tall on the heights of stone,
Like a spike of pearl and silver that glitters in the clear air;
My heart leaps when I hear the silver trumpets ring out,
And the snapping of the banners in the breeze,
And the calling of the Guards of the Citadel
In the Court of the Fountain.

So far away! When will I see you again,
My Father? You are strong, yet I fear for you;
So stern, so proud, so old before your time!
I know you are troubled, though you speak naught of it.
How I wish to be able to set things aright!
How I long to see your face again, before the end!
Father of mine, I am coming; may it be in time!

So far away! When will I see you again,
My Brother? I miss your presence by my side!
Younger you are, yet wiser in many ways,
Reader of hearts, gentle in bearing,
But ever courageous and fearless in danger.
No rivalry between us, only love;
Brother of mine, I wish you were with me!

So far away! When will I see you again?
Gondor, my country! Land of stone standing as a bulwark against evil,
Guarding the Great River and the passage to the Sea;
By your valor are peace and freedom maintained.
I miss you, my City, my Tower, my Father;
My Brother, my people! So far away,
When will I see you again?"

Boromir's voice broke suddenly, and he fell silent. The vision of the White City faded and was lost in the shadowy darkness of the world beyond the borders of Lothlorien. Tears sprang to Boromir's eyes, but he dashed them away angrily.

Losssssst....came a faint whisper, as if from far away. Darknesssssss.....

We must go soon, he thought as he turned away, or all will be lost! I must convince them to come to my City, or there will be nothing left, and the world will fall into darkness!

****************************

When Boromir returned from his wandering, he learned that the Company had been summoned to the chamber of Celeborn. Their clothing had been returned to them, cleaned, mended, and pressed; the others had already changed out of their borrowed garments in preparation to answer Celeborn's summons.

"We set out again at last!" exclaimed Boromir, unable to keep the joy from his voice at the thought of renewing their journey.

"Soon," answered Aragorn.

Boromir laid a hand on his arm. "And do we go to Minas Tirith?" he asked eagerly.

"I do not know, Boromir," Aragorn said, shaking his head doubtfully. "It is not yet clear to me what we should do."

Boromir turned abruptly away to hide his disappointment from Aragorn. After a moment, he spoke haltingly. "I thought...I thought you wanted to return with me...that you wished for the House of Elendil to return to the land of Gondor."

Aragorn rose and touched Boromir's arm lightly.

"I do want to come with you, Boromir," he said sadly, "but things are different now, and I cannot say when I may be able to come to Minas Tirith. I must consider the needs of all the Company now, and the Ringbearer's most of all. It may not be wise to go there at this time."

"Not wise to go there!" Boromir exclaimed, jerking his arm away. "It is vital! If Gondor falls, the world will fall; you know this to be true!"

Aragorn shook his head, and did not answer for a moment. "The Quest comes first, and if that road leads away from Minas Tirith, then so be it. But I beg you, do not lose heart, my friend! We will go to Minas Tirith, though we go by the long road."

Boromir took a deep breath and let it out slowly. His face was set and his voice was steady when he spoke. "Then you will be too late," he said quietly. "I, at least, must return, and delay no longer. Even my vow to protect the Ringbearer cannot keep me from that duty. I will go on alone if I must."

Aragorn sighed heavily. "We shall see," was all he said.

******************

Boromir laid out his clothing as he struggled to calm his mind and his heart.

Do not lose heart, he thought, remembering Aragorn's words. But how can I not? I said to you, 'one day our paths will lead us there,' but you gave me no answer. I see now that I was mistaken. You will not come. You will go to Mordor, and the Ringbearer will go with you, and all will be lost! The Sword Reforged...the Ring....wasted! Taken by Sauron! I will return to my people empty-handed!

He touched his horn where it lay before him on the couch.

What will I say to you then, my father? he thought. How will I help you then, my brother? Do you even yet live?

Boromir began to tremble, and his hand jerked away from the horn. He clenched his fists, and after a moment the fit of trembling passed. He began methodically to change his clothes. He removed the Elven clothing, and folded it carefully. Taking off his mail shirt, he shook it out gently before laying it aside; the faint clink of the mail-rings was strangely comforting. He put on his breeches and boots, then his soft under shirt, and smoothed it carefully, fingering the embroidery on the sleeve. Over that he put on his chain mail again, and his outer tunic.

The familiar discipline of dressing for battle soothed him and calmed his heart. Over the tunic he put on his leather surcoat, worn, but clean. Around his waist he fastened his belt and his sword in its scabbard. He took up his dagger and ran his finger along its keen edge before sticking it into his belt; it had been a gift from Faramir many years before. Picking up his gloves, he inspected the fine stitching on the repaired cut, caused by the orc's knife. He flexed his healed hand as he put on his gloves; still somewhat stiff, but not painful, and only a pale scar to remind him.

Slowly, methodically, Boromir strapped on his leather vambraces: the soft leather piece over his forearm, and over that, the hardened leather bracer with the design of the White Tree. He traced the design lightly with a finger, then pulled tight the straps. Around his neck he hung the horn of Gondor on its baldric.

Boromir stood still for a moment, his head bowed, his hand on the pommel of his sword; then he sighed. He was calm again, ready to go on; though he knew not where the road would lead.

I will go on, he thought, without hope if I must. I do not need it! I have my sword, and my own strength; they have ever been enough. That will have to do, if I cannot persuade them to come with me.

Boromir shook his head, and picking up his shield, slung it over his shoulder. He looked out towards the fountain where the others were waiting patiently for him, then turned and walked towards his companions.

Folly...said the voiceless whisper. Make them see...

I must persuade them! Boromir thought desperately. Their course is folly! I must make them see that!