Letters from Faramir

by Agape4Rivendell

XVI: 
Partings as described by Peregrin Took

I’m better now, Faramir. If you’d like, I can continue. All right, we are all feeling it is time to leave Lothlorien. I don’t know how many days we have been here, but we are brought before Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel and told that we should start out once again. The Elven Lord is kind. I think he is trying to help us decide which way to go – Minas Tirith or Mordor, but he knows he must leave the decision to us. Good news, though not for Sam, they are going to give us boats to go down the Anduin in. That sounds very good to me for I am not afraid of boats and Merry is very eager to show Strider how well he can manage one. But Sam is deathly afraid of boats. Frodo doesn’t say a word; I wonder what he thinks. After all, both his parents drowned in a boat on the Brandywine. But he looks distracted; he doesn’t seem to be listening. Strider also has a scowl on his face. I fear it is getting closer to a decision for him and he still doesn’t know where to go or what to do. Gandalf’s loss has been very hard on him. Boromir seems very excited and anxious to be off. He fidgets, just like me and I’ve not seen him do that before. Finally, I see a trace of his old smile and am gladdened. I truly hope Strider decides to take us all to Minas Tirith.

After we leave the Lord and Lady, we gather together, the Fellowship, and each of us gives our own thoughts. Boromir again, as he did twice with the Lord and Lady, says he will be going to Minas Tirith. He will stay with us until we reach the parting place, whether after Amon Hen or before depends upon Strider’s decision. I don’t think it’s Strider who has to make the decision. Legolas and Gimli also want to go to Minas Tirith. They know what is happening there, Boromir has shared it with us all, and they want to help this great man and the battle against the Enemy. I am very tired and disheartened and want only to sleep now. Sam is already asleep; the fear of the boats seems overcome by his need to sleep.

The elves have given us clothes to wear, beautiful cloaks. They say they were made by the Lady and her people. They are soft and smooth and feel Elvish, if you get my meaning. There almost seems to be a magic about them. The color keeps changing as I move. Merry swishes his cloak around and sometimes it almost seems I can’t see him. They also gave us a clasp made in the shape of a leaf. It is very beautiful, green with silver running down, like they’re the veins in the leaf. Never have I had a finer gift. I will treasure it forever. There is also some kind of food, made by the elves, little cake-like things. Gimli eats a whole one and the elves are astonished and laugh heartily at Gimli. ‘No, no,’ they say, ‘these cakes should provide even a tall man from Gondor a full day’s meal.’ Dear Gimli, I’m very glad it was him who at the cake so quickly, though it smells delicious…something like honey.

There are three boats before us in the water. They are strange craft. Beautifully made. Legolas runs his hand over the gunnel of one and his face shines and a huge smile comes over him. I don’t’ think there is anything an Elf cannot do. But, it is time now to get into the boats and leave this place. I don’t want to leave and yet, for Boromir’s sake, I want to get to Minas Tirith as quickly as possible. Perhaps the love he feels for his city will be able to heal him of whatever has wounded him so deeply here. Sam is holding onto the sides of the boat for dear life, but Merry is singing some tune about boating and the Brandywine.

Wishes for a day so grand
That as I look upon this land
A fairer scene I have not seen
Except perhaps the Anduin.

Ah, nothing fairer to my eyes
But river sweet and river wide
The Brandywine my heart abides
And ever towards her go my cries.

So many memories of that fair river, yet Boromir has told me so many memories of your river, Faramir, of the Anduin. So great a river, much greater than the Brandywine. I know somewhere our river must flow to the sea also, but no great ships sail upon it as sail upon the Anduin. It must be a mighty river to hold such large ships. How many times did you sail down to the sea on your way to visit your uncle? Those must have been great times with Boromir and your father and mother. All going for happy holidays. Prince Imrahil sounds like a very nice man, according to Boromir. He loved his sister, your mother, very much. Boromir says that is where he learned about real love, the love of a brother for a sister. I feel so sorry for your mother and the love she had for your father. It seemed almost doomed from the beginning. Boromir speaks of it with a bitterness in his voice. I almost sense he wishes the two of you had lived with your uncle after your mother’s death. But there is also a sense of guilt from Boromir to even think of deserting his father and his city for peace in a place away from Minas Tirith. Where did he learn such devotion, such duty, such giving up of everything he would want for himself and place his father, his city and his people above it? Also for you, Faramir, he would give up everything. Tears come to my eyes as I think of this great man. I don’t understand anything about him. It all seems so different from what I know and love and hope for as a Hobbit. But I love him for it and I hold him true and fine. I know the rest of the Fellowship feels the same way, even if Sam is a little afraid of him.

As we drift down the river and get used to handling the boats, a swan, a great white swan approaches. Never have I seen such a large bird. No, it’s not a bird – it’s a boat and the Lady is on the boat standing behind Lord Celeborn. Elvish magic again in this beautiful boat. It pulls alongside Strider and Frodo’s boat. I can hear her speaking. She invites us to a feast. That is wonderful news. We won’t have to leave quite yet and to celebrate a feast with the elves! There food has been wonderful – what will the food at this feast be like!

After the feast, the Lady gives us a cup to drink; she calls it the cup of parting and it is very good, whatever it might be. Lord Celeborn tells us more of the way down the river and someplace called Fangorn Forest. The Lord seems nervous about the forest and my mind goes back to Tom Bombadil’s forest and the terror there. But, if it weren’t for that, we would not have our nice shiny swords. I would so miss my sword, especially now that Boromir has spent so much time teaching Merry and me how to use them. Boromir doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about this forest. His mind is totally fixed on getting to Minas Tirith.

Mathoms! I think they are going to give us mathoms. Yes, Strider is given a sheath for his sword, jewel-encrusted and with Elven runes on it. It is most beautiful. The Lady and Strider speak of a treasure, but I don’t think it is the sheath. Then she gives him a brooch with a stone, green and beautiful. It catches the light and flashes like the sun and Strider puts it on his chest. I don’t know exactly what I saw, Faramir, but suddenly, Strider is not Strider- I don’t know how to explain it. He seems greater than men – almost Elvish, high and mighty. And I wonder why I thought he was old, when now he seems young and lordly. I look at Merry and Boromir and I can tell by their expressions that they see what I see. Is this some kind of Elvish magic?

She turns to Boromir next and gives him a beautiful large belt made of pure gold. She smiles as she gives it to him and I am glad to see the look of astonishment on his face. Perhaps she is finally winning him over. She gives Merry and me small belts and she gives Legolas a bow with a quiver of arrows. It is longer than the bow he has been carrying. He is very happy with his gift.

To Sam she gives a small box with dirt inside – dirt from Lothlorien. She spent a long time explaining to him what wonderful dirt this is. I particularly like the box – it has a pretty silver ‘G’ marked on it which she said could stand for Galadriel or garden, but I think it is perfect, for it stands for Gamgee. And won’t the Gaffer be happy to see such a fine thing in Sam’s possession? Sam has done him proud on this journey and I have learned many new things about Sam, leastwise not his remembering of long songs.

She asks Gimli what a Dwarf would want, but I couldn’t hear his answer. The Lady is very happy with whatever Gimli says for she lifts her head and a smile is on her face. She raises her voice and says, ‘Let none say that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious.’ She turns to him and once again asks what gift he would like. He looks very shy, not like the Gimli I know, and mutters something to her. Whatever he asked for must have been very important or valuable, for the Elves heard his reply, raised their eyebrows and just looked at each other in astonishment. To my surprise, the Lady unbraids her hair, cuts off three strands, and gives them to Gimli. His face is shining. I think I see tears in his eyes. She then turns to Frodo and gives him a glass filled with something. I didn’t hear what, but Frodo holds it up and it suddenly shines quite brightly. More Elven magic.

It’s time to leave. We get into the boats, Frodo and Sam with Strider, Merry and I with Boromir, and Legolas and Gimli with the supplies the Elves have given us. They push our boats out into the water and we turn to watch as the shores of Lothlorien slip away from us. It feels so very sad to leave. Merry has tears in his eyes. Suddenly, a beautiful voice lifts up in song and I see the Lady singing and it near breaks my heart. I don’t know what she sings; it is in Elvish, but it seems very, very sad. With that tears come to my eyes. Even Boromir has tears in his eyes and my heart leaps with hope that a healing has come to him this last day. Gimli is broken-hearted and weeps loudly. What a change from our first day. He will never need fear being blind-folded again. There is now a love and respect between the Elves of Lothlorien and this Dwarf.