Letters from Faramir

by Agape4Rivendell

X.  From Faramir, Pippin relates regarding Caradhras...

The wind has finally changed direction and it's getting warmer. I’m so very glad. I don't like the cold. Especially without a nice warm fire and a good pipe to help ease the pain. My feet hurt and I am so tired. I definitely think I've made a mistake. Merry won't even talk to me. He's off with that dwarf, Gimli. They seem to be enjoying themselves something awful. Every time I look at them, they are laughing. Gimli is telling him about the mountains. Who wants to talk about mountains anyhow when one's stomach is rumbling? And speaking of food, have you ever seen a dwarf eat? Every crumb falls onto this one's beard and he just lets it lie there. Pretty soon, the whole meal ends up on the beard. Then he drinks and spills that and it goes onto the beard too. I can't continue – it’s not a pretty picture, let me tell you. Every time I look back at the elf, Legolas, he seems to be in another world. He just gazes ahead and I hear him humming. It’s not the Common Tongue. When I try to talk to him, he just smiles down at me and goes on with his humming. It's disturbing. So I guess I must do with Boromir. Oh, don't tell him I said it that way. I do so very much like him, but I wanted to spend some time playing with Merry. Just some little Shire game to remind me of home. It's been a long time since we've been home. Perhaps if I could smoke, the longing in my heart would go away. Frodo and Sam just plod. Yes, that’s it; they just plod along. They don't even seem like Hobbits anymore. No singing, no laughing. I’m ready to turn around myself. But Gandalf says we will stay here in Hollin for the entire day and night and tomorrow also and that is a good piece of news for we will have a real fire and hot food and I am very excited.

Breakfast/supper was splendid and the fire felt wonderful. Afterwards, Merry and I pitched stones into a nearby creek. It felt so good. Like being home. Later we sat with our pipes, even Gandalf joined us. Strider says elves used to live here in Hollin and you can still feel them. Perhaps that's why Legolas looks so content. They’ve all left here though and gone to the Grey Havens, past the Shire. Sam looks so sad. Well, I will sleep well here, guarded by elves and dwarves and men - and Gandalf.

Sticklebats! As old Bilbo used to say. No, even stronger words are needed - a plague and a nuisance! That is what it is. Strider says we must move as quickly as possible, that he has seen spies. It was only a pack of old crows. How can he be afraid of birds after those Black Riders! Bitter news too - no fire and no hot supper and no pipe! And no sleep this night. As soon as the sun goes down, we must pull everything together and head up the mountains. They look very cold and these fur cloaks Elrond gave us will not be enough to keep us warm on those heights.

Boromir is supposed to be a great warrior and leader, yet I am continually surprised by how he treats Strider. He offers advice to him. I remember exactly what he said because I find it so very strange. 'I will add a word of advice, if I may." Now why would he say it like that? He asks Strider if we might bring wood and kindling for this part of our journey. He says he is used to traveling in mountains and we might very much need it. Strider agrees but I don't think Gandalf is happy at all with this decision. Boromir says that if it is between being seen by spies of the enemy and being dead, that death might not be a good thing. I agree but no one seems to notice or to care.

Strider is pushing us at a fast pace and we are getting further and further up the mountain. We have come to snow now and it is wet and cold and I am hungry. I can hardly see Gandalf or Strider for the fat flakes that are falling. I would like to just sit here for a moment and rest. Gandalf is not happy with my speed. So up I get again and on I go. Boromir is laughing at me. I am sure of it. He has this grin on his face and, though he would turn his face from me, I truly believe he is laughing at me. Suddenly, he puts his hand on my shoulder and offers to carry me. I don't need to be carried nor laughed at. But he starts to truly laugh out loud and it’s a wonderful sound, so I join him in laughter and Gandalf scowls at the noise we make, but it feels so good to laugh again! And the strength of Boromir is heartening.

Rocks are falling all around us and I am frightened. The big folk argue about what's causing this. Gimli scares me even more. He says the mountain is angry with us and it is trying to kill us. With all we have seen these last few months, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, but it does nothing to make me feel better. The snow is up past my knees. They are all talking at once and Boromir now adds his voice and says it might be the enemy causing this. They have seen many strange things in his country, but Gondor is so close to Mordor. Gimli doesn't think so, but Gandalf says his arm has grown long. I wonder who he means. Soon even Boromir is struggling to go on. I can't keep up and I can't stop shaking. I don't care why this is happening; I just want it to stop. I yell at them, 'What can we do?' Strider finally decides that we will stop here, under an overhanging ledge that he says will protect us; but if not for Bill, the Pony, we would freeze to death. He stands in front of us and stops some of the wind and snow, but not much. I would, if I could, just go up, make him lie down, and then snuggle next to him. I think this is a good idea and I might tell Gandalf. No, he'll probably say something I'm not ready to hear. And I’m sure Sam won’t like the idea at all. He loves that pony. I am so very tired though and I just want to sleep.

Boromir is shouting. He has pulled Frodo up into his arms, uncovering him from the snow. Frodo was asleep and this seems to have upset Boromir very much. There is a look of fear on his face. He says something about this will be the death of the Hobbits, but I am too tired to understand. I just want to sleep. He says we must light the fire and Strider agrees, but try as they might they cannot start it. I am so bitterly cold and I can't seem to move my feet. Gimli keeps saying dwarves can light any fire anywhere, but I don't see any flames yet. Gandalf is muttering to himself and suddenly there is a bright light from his staff and the fire is lit. Boromir helps me up and we stand around the fire with our hands held out to that blessed flame.

My back is very cold, but I am content - at last a little warmth is upon me. Gandalf gives us a tiny drink of some Elven stuff from Elrond. It warms me all over, even better than Bilbo's Old Winyard. Boromir stands next to me and I am at peace. If not for him, we would all be dead. I even told one of your soldiers, Faramir, at the stone wall when first Gandalf and I reached Gondor, that Boromir had saved me in the snow. And that I would be forever grateful to Boromir the brave. I miss him so.

Finally, the morning is coming and none too soon. Strider says the snow is slowing and I would have it so, as Boromir is so fond of saying. I am beyond tired and the snow lies well above my head. We have stood the entire night; Boromir will not let us sit or sleep. I know now the fear that I saw on him. He tells me that if we had fallen asleep we would have died. The shivering is not from the cold alone. He sees it and smiles and tells me he will let no harm come to me. Where did such a friend come from? Is this what Strider meant when he said Boromir is valiant?

The big people have decided that we will go back. I don't care where we go as long as it is to somewhere warm where we can eat and sleep. I look to my left and the path back. I can't see it. Huge drifts of snow cover everything. The snow looks higher than Strider in places. There is no way we can go that way, but the only other way is further up the mountain. I don't want to go that way, either. Boromir says it would be nice to have men with spades, but he will get the job done. He points out the path to Strider and they start off. They are using their bodies and flailing their arms about with Boromir in the forefront, moving the snow as they progress. I find there are tears in my eyes. If we weren't with them, it would be so much easier. We are a nuisance. But neither of them speaks a word nor murmurs against us. I am not used to men; if all men are like this, men must be great indeed.

The fire is long gone. It's over an hour now since they left and I am growing colder and I am getting worried. We haven't seen snow in the Shire like this in a very long time. Heaviness and the depth of it surprise me. Gandalf is muttering to himself now, and Legolas has gone off to find the sun or so he says. Gandalf laughs at that. I don't know what they are talking about, but I certainly hope that Legolas can find the sun and bring some back to us. Where can Boromir and Strider be?

At last they come back and they are smiling. That is a good thing. They have battled the snow and they have won. Legolas is back also. I cannot walk the path they've made, though. It is still too high. 'What are we to do,' I cry. Boromir smiles and the weariness leaves his eyes. He picks me up and off we go. I feel like a sack of the Gaffer's potatoes. He has me cling to his back and I won't let go. The top of his sword touches my feet and it is very cold, but I am very happy. We are still going through deep snow and he keeps pushing it aside as we go, but there is a joy in his heart and he makes me laugh. He has so much strength and courage. Strider follows with Merry. There is a huge drift ahead that juts out into the path and I am stunned that they were able to get through it. Boromir tells me that Strider saved his life here. The path they had made suddenly fell back upon them with more snow than ever. And Boromir was trapped under it. My heart freezes and would break in half at the bravery of these two. This drift would have stopped a Hobbit cold, but then again, Gimli says I am small. Has he looked at himself lately? Oh, I am so sorry. I’m tired and I’m hungry and I want to go home, but I can’t leave Frodo.