Letters from Faramir

by Agape4Rivendell

XIV:  On the Road to Lothlorien, as described by Peregrine Took

It is still day – how can this be? I feel so drained, as if I have wept for a hundred years. I would weep longer but Strider is pushing us onward – away from that hated place – a place of doom. Never, ever will I go willingly under a mountain, even though Gimli would say it is the most beautiful in the world. Somehow I stumble along and even though we are walking, the tears flow and I can’t stop them. The guilt grows larger and larger. I hang my head in shame.

Suddenly, Boromir is beside me. There is nothing spoken between us. It feels as if he is listening to my mind as it berates me of my folly. Can he hear it in the silence of the Dale around us? My mind is screaming at me, ‘Why did you throw that stone?’ He stands in front of me and I can’t go on. ‘What is it, little one? What has your heart so broken? It seems more than the loss of our friend.’ I try to speak, to tell him that I caused Gandalf’s death, but I can’t. Always, words come easily to me, but now - now. He frowns and I realize I miss his smile. ‘Pippin, you are burdened. Please, tell me what hurts your heart so?’ I fling myself into his arms and he holds me and the torrent of words are let loose in his kindness and I tell him of my failure, of my part in Gandalf’s death. He doesn’t push me away. He holds me tighter and I am able to cry freely – for everything – Weathertop, Caradhras, Hollin, Moria. I’ve gotten the hiccups and he laughs. It is a gentle laugh and there is no scorn or condemnation in the laugh. He offers me water and I realize I’m very thirsty. After I finish, he takes my head in his great hands. He looks into my eyes and I see love there – the same love I have for him. ‘You did not cause Gandalf’s death, little one. How many times had he told us we have choices? On the bridge at Khazed-Dum, Gandalf had a choice. And he took the one that would cause the greater good. It was his choice, Pippin, just as it was your choice to leave the Shire and support your friends. You fought well in the great hall and you obeyed Gandalf in all that he asked of you. I was very proud of you. Yes, you caused him to snarl and growl at times, but you also caused him to smile and laugh. You showed him courage, too, and perhaps that is what helped him to make the choice to sacrifice himself for Frodo and the Quest. Do you trust me, little one?’ I nod through my tears. ‘Then trust me in this. There is no cause for you to burden yourself with this guilt. What you are listening to is whispers of lies. Don’t listen, my friend. Listen instead to me. You are a very important part of this Fellowship and you are destined to do great things. I feel it. You have courage. Now is the time to pull it out and use it. Your friends, this Fellowship, need you strong. Shake off this guilt and help us continue on our path. Can you do this?’ I nod my head again and fall back into his arms. He ruffles my hair and stands me up straight. I wipe my eyes on my sleeve, take a deep breath and look around. It feels good to look around.

Sam and Frodo have gone off with Gimli. Merry and Legolas are chatting and Strider – Strider is standing close by. I know he has heard, but there is a smile upon his lips. His eyes are kind. ‘Come Pippin, Frodo, Sam,’ is all he says, ‘time to be on our way.’ I feel foolish but I hold Boromir’s hand and the earth feels good under my feet. I’m hungry.

Here’s a beautiful spring in front of us and I want to drench my feet in its beauty, but Gimli stops me. ‘It is icy cold,’ he says. So we go on. The spring runs into a stream and as we look, Legolas jumps on a rock and starts telling us all about trees and golden leaves and a place called Lothlorien. His face is beautiful in the telling and I know I want to be there as fast as possible.

But something is wrong with Frodo and Sam. They are far behind us. Legolas shouts for Strider who runs back to them, calling Boromir to follow. I am so addled with my own self – what kind of Hobbit am I that forgets his friends? I remember now that poor Sam and Frodo were hurt during the battle by Balin’s tomb. And I remember how Frodo seemed to struggle for breath on the steps. Boromir and Strider carry Sam and Frodo. We finally reach a little sheltered dell and Strider stops. He is tending them and Gimli has lit a fire. The pure sweet smell of athelas fills the air. They are not seriously hurt. Strider says something to Frodo about Bilbo’s mithril shirt. I start to laugh, for a tune has entered my head from what he says. I start to hum. Gimli wonders what I am singing. ‘Well, I will share it,’ says I.

‘Here’s a pretty Hobbit skin
To wrap an elven princeling in
In Moria did save his life
For Mithril ‘twas the fine device

The dwarf was shocked
The elf was mocked
And Hobbits to the sight did flock

A grander thing ‘twas never seen
By this young Took just past his tween – ses!’

I giggle and am happy again. The others look at me as if I have suffered some fever. But Frodo, dear Frodo, claps his hands in delight. Not as good as one of Bilbo’s but it was fun making it up!

We are off again – with nary a thought of food. Doesn’t Strider know a growing Hobbit needs food? What’s this? Where does Boromir keep finding these apples? It’s as if he has an unlimited pantry stuck under his cloak. His smile is very bright and I walk along a little lighter for it.

We have been walking forever it would seem, and it is very dark now; the wind is cold. I am starting to miss my nice little Hobbit hole when I hear in the distance a lovely remembered sound. It is the sighing of the wind in the trees and it reminds me of warmth and safety and quiet Shire nights. Legolas is very happy and so is Strider. Boromir is very disturbed. He doesn’t want to go into the woods. He speaks of this to Strider and asks if there might be another way. But Strider won’t listen to him and says something about bringing evil there. Boromir is right though. He didn’t want us to go up Caradhras and we were almost all killed there. Then he questioned going into Moria and there we lost Gandalf. Now he is concerned about Lothlorien and suddenly, so am I. What doom awaits us there? But we press on.

Boromir is definitely not happy, and I twist my mind trying to think of something to say or do that will make him laugh. I’ve just used my best song so far today - perhaps I should tell him about the time I fell into the Brandywine three times in one day. Oh, he might think me a fool. No, I know I can share it with him. He never thinks I’m foolish. I hope.

‘Boromir,’ I say to him, ‘did you know that one day I fell into the Brandywine three times? Yes, I did. Well, there was this day. It started out being a really beautiful day with the sun shining and everything. Oh, did I tell you I broke a rock with my head that day too? I’m getting ahead of myself. We went fishing. Well, of course it was with Merry – who else? We had made dough balls and cleaned our hooks and were really excited about spending the whole day fishing. As soon as we got there, I tripped on a root of a tree, it was my favorite sitting against letting the day go tree. You’d think I’d remember it was there. I guess I was so excited that I just was going too fast. So that was the first time. Of course, Merry was hmmm concerned….and didn’t quite laugh out loud. We weren’t there another hour when I got a little discouraged…the fish just were not biting much (not at all really – and this was our honey hole) - so I started to go down by a little clumpy area in the water near the edge – just to see what it might be, when a creature jumped up snarling and ran past me. I was so startled I fell back into the water. Merry came running. It was a fox. I haven’t seen one that close in a long time with a beautiful nose and a great furry tale. And Merry just stood there and laughed at me. It’s a good thing it was a warm day; I still hadn’t dried out from the first time. Well, it was now time for elevenses and we still hadn’t gotten even a nibble on our lines, so we stopped and pulled out our foodstuff - good stuff, Boromir, cheese and nice brown bread and some grapes. It was perfectly delicious. I wish we could have some grapes now. Oh well, on with the story. So after food, we decided to kind of lie down for a bit, just to fool the fish into thinking we were napping or something. The next thing I know, there is a great tug on my line – I must have fallen asleep. I jumped up quickly trying to pull it in and the line gets stuck on a log in the river. So I’m whipping it around, trying frantically to get it unstuck and I’m not watching where my feet are going and suddenly - slam – right into the side of the riverbed. There was a great stone lying there and my head hit it as I fell and then I tumbled into the water and there I was. Merry comes up laughing as if he would burst and I’m looking at him as if he is daft and he says that I’ve broken the stone with my head. I really think he is fooling me but he holds it up and it is definitely in half and it is definitely a new break. I won’t say I did it though. I don’t remember doing it and my head certainly doesn’t hurt – much. And I lost the FISH. At least I didn’t’ lose my pole. I lost my dough ball too. I have had it for the day. I am done. Merry and I pull up our lines and we go off to Farmer Maggott’s. Well that’s a tale for another day.’ Boromir has forgotten all about his upsetness over Lothlorien and we laugh and continue on our way.

We reach the Silverlode and Legolas is even happier. We cross it quickly as it is cold, but I love the feeling of its cleanness on my feet. I shudder as I remember the last water my feet touched – the water by the Hollin Gate – the place where Frodo was almost taken by the Watcher in the Water. But there seems to be a healing in these waters, for the memory of that horror seems dimmed. And at last! Strider says we will stop and eat! I am faint with hunger. A fire even! What a wonderful night. After we finish supper, Legolas tells us some more stories of elves and such and it is quite exciting. Gimli is growling through most of it. Slowly Gimli settles down and I lie back and can hear a waterfall flowing near me. Legolas starts to sing. It is a sad song of lovers parted. He can’t finish it. It is strange – he battles so readily and I would not want to be on the other end of his arrows and yet – he is so gentle.

It’s time to find shelter for the night. Gimli suggests sleeping in the trees. What a horrible thought! How can a Hobbit sleep in a tree? Legolas starts to climb one when a voice from above us speaks. Legolas tells us to be very still. Sam says they are elves and Legolas tells Sam they said, ‘You breath so loud they could shoot you in the dark.’ Poor Sam – he covers his mouth but it’s too late now. I’m glad it wasn’t me this time.

The elves speak quite a long time with Legolas and then with Strider. They take Frodo and Sam and Legolas up into the tree. And we sit at the bottom, like useless luggage, waiting to see what will happen. I am tired and I just want to go to bed. I’m sure Frodo and Sam will be all right. After all, Legolas is with them. Finally, one of the elves comes down and says we may stay. We will spend the night in the flet (whatever that is) and in the morning we will go meet someone. This elf wants me to climb this tree – yes, it is a very nice rope ladder, but Hobbits do not climb trees. At least not very often. Well, there is no discussing it so up we go. I don’t like this at all. Boromir and Strider have to go to another flet with Gimli and Legolas. The elves don’t’ seem to trust Gimli. I wish I were with Boromir. He started telling me a story about you, Faramir, and himself and a fishing trip you had.

Ah, they are bringing food and there are grapes. This is a better dinner than we had before. And some delicious drink. Well, I guess that wasn’t too bad. But now it's time to sleep and I will not sleep here. Frodo tells me this is where we are sleeping and to make the best of it. Sam is off already. It feels strange not all of us sleeping together. It’s been months now and this is the first time that we have been separated. I feel a little cold and a little afraid. And I am sure I’m going to fall off!