Black and Gold
None knew how long they had been fighting
Saruman’s manufactured monsters. Shadows had grown long, then faded to
the last rays of sun and still they came. Legolas had long ago
exhausted his supply of arrows and been reduced to pulling them from
fallen bodies to pierce another black hide anew. Gimli had given up aim
and gone with sheer fury, which was, in fact, just as effective; as
many parts of orcs as whole bodies littered the ground.
Boromir and Aragorn held the high ground,
sometimes appearing to work as a single unit, slashing and attacking
tirelessly. Each had saved the other’s life so many times, it had
become meaningless to count. Aragorn fought with precision, his actions
fluid, even as his fatigue grew. Boromir fought with an edge of
desperation that Aragorn recognized as penance- he was determined to
regain the trust of his comrades that he feared he’d lost forever.
Finally, finally the black flow lessened –
then stopped entirely. The last line of orcs paused, and turned their
faces back towards the Anduin, like dogs on a scent. There was silence;
even the dying stopped their moaning. Then a long, low blast sounded.
Then again. The orcs turned and ran, sprinting down the bank, crashing
through the underbrush towards the river, leaving everything behind. In
moments, the land was empty.
The remaining members of the fellowship
looked at each other uneasily, “I don’t like this,” said Boromir,
shading his eyes against the light. Aragorn stared after the retreating
orc’s dust. He turned. “Legolas…” he started, but the elf was already
gone, running on swift and silent feet through the trees.
Gimli grunted and sat down on the ground
with a thump. He removed his helmet and rubbed his head tiredly.
Aragorn still watched the east, wiping his blade with a scrap of cloth
and Boromir crouched, staring down at a particularly large orc. With
his knife, he pried away the armored clasps and examined the chestplate
closely. As if in a trance, he traced the design with a gloved finger,
all the while staring into the dead, glassy eyes. “Boromir!” said
Aragorn, sharply. When he didn’t respond, Aragorn crouched down beside
him and he too, looked upon their foe.
Before Aragorn could speak again, Boromir
said “Do you think giants such as this storm already the walls of
Osgiliath? Do you think they have reached Minas Tirith? His voice was
dreamy. ”Do they even now stand before the seventh gate, jeering, while
the women and children of my home cower in fear?” Aragorn sighed, and
stopped Boromir’s hand in mid movement. “I do not know, my brother.”
Boromir looked at Aragorn, and tears filmed
his eyes. “How can Gondor stand against monsters such as this? We are
men, and men only. We cannot compete with sorcery and machines, against
an Istari! Our only weapon against magic is gone, dragged to the bowels
of the earth by an ancient demon, never to be seen again!” He rocked
back on his heels. “What can we do, Aragorn? We have already failed the
Ringbearer and now we may fail an entire race as well…”
Gimli, looking up, bristled. “ Mind how you
speak of failure, human! You were not the only ones fighting this long
afternoon, and I’ll wager that dwarven axes and elven arrows did as
much damage as men’s swords!” Aragorn held up a hand to forestall
Boromir’s angry answer. ‘Peace, friend Gimli. It is true that this
cause would have been lost if not for you and Legolas. No man ever had
braver-hearted companions than these.” Gimli, somewhat appeased,
muttered something under his breath that was not lost on Boromir. “What
did you say, Master Dwarf?” His tone was tense.
Gimli got to his feet and looked Boromir
directly in the face. “I said…it was not US, who failed the ringbearer.
It was you, man of Gondor. You set out to take that cursed object from
someone half your size…by might! You, along with all of us, heard the
Elf Lord say it was not for any to wield. But you did not listen, no!
No rules apply to you, eh? And now”, Gimli’s face was red with anger
“now, we do not know where the ring IS, or where the one who bears it,
is! All thanks to you!” Boromir, furious, lunged for Gimli, and would
have dealt him a severe blow, but for Aragorn who swiftly interspersed
himself between the two. Both collided off the Dunedain and stumbled
backwards, but were held fast, one in each iron fist. “Stop,” said
Aragorn. And that was all. His tone was deadly, and both parties
thought better of protesting.
He let go, giving each a brief push away from
each other. Gimli glowered, his cheeks cooling, but still flushed.
Boromir turned away, his anger evaporating as he realized the truth of
the dwarf’s words. Despair washed over him.
None of them said anything more, but sat,
each waiting and fearing in his own way. Until a shadow fell over them
and they looked up expectantly
Legolas stood there, trembling, his usual
composure lost. He tried to speak, but could not find words. Aragorn
rose hastily and taking the elf by the shoulders, said “Mani naa ta,
“Morierea, Aragorn… they have taken Frodo!”
“He is badly hurt; Sam is with him. They are
taking him to Isengard, to Saruman himself. They’re moving fast…if we
are to follow, we must go now.”
Boromir’s face was white. Gimli was on his feet once again, his axe at the ready.
Without another word, Aragorn let go of his
friend, and swiftly retrieved his own bow and belt, sheathing his
knives. He turned to the others.
“We have time to make up…Let’s hunt some orc!”
(With apologies to Peter Jackson)