Letters from Faramir
XVIII: Parth Galen as described by Peregrin Took
I fear we are coming to a part of Pippin’s telling that I do not want
to hear. I have sent him off to find a snack and hope that the kitchen
is still open. The fever is still upon me and I know the Warden would
have Pippin’s head if he knew we were both still awake, but tomorrow he
leaves with Aragorn for the Black Gate. I must know what befell you,
even though it makes my blood run cold at the thought. That perhaps
your honor was saved, that you had a moment to redeem yourself – this
is my only hope. I cannot believe a lifetime of honor, bravery and
courage could be wiped away in one moment. I need this time to collect
my thoughts before the telling of your last moment. So much has
happened since I met Frodo and found that my life had changed forever.
His warm regard for you did not hide the fear in his eyes. Though he
spoke of your valor and your friendship, I knew tragedy had befallen
you. Now I will hear it from Pippin’s lips and my heart quails at the
thought of your fall. Frodo has told me you tried to take the Ring. His
kindness and his mercy towards you fill me with joy and grief. He did
not judge you.
Why did the ring not whisper to me? Why did it wreathe itself around
your heart and your mind and not mine? I have no answer and I surmise
that Pippin will have none either. And what am I to tell Father about
this moment? Ah, Boromir – would that you had listened to me. Would
that Father had listened to me and sent me on this quest instead of
you. I would have done anything to spare your life, and yet – that is
why you went. To spare mine. If Father only knew – he still believes it
was your pride that drove you to take this on. I know better, dearest
Pippin returns with a satisfied smirk on his face – he has found food!
I will let him continue his tale - I pray I have the courage to listen.
Your kitchen is quite fine. I found wonderful cakes and tarts and am
quite full, for the moment, so I will continue. I’m very glad to have
had a moment to rest before my thoughts go to that day - the day we
lost you. I try constantly to remember you as you were to me on
Caradhras, in Hollin, and Moria, but all I see....I must start at the
We have reached Parth Galen. Sam is pulling out his pots and pans and
starting to prepare our meal and Gimli is starting a fire. Boromir and
I are off for firewood. It is a beautiful day, finally, and I sing one
of Bilbo’s old songs about the man in the moon and Boromir laughs and
that makes me happy. It is the same song that Frodo had sung so long
ago in Bree – the one that almost got us all into trouble. I should
have told Gandalf about that one – that time it wasn’t my fault! Poor
Gandalf – that thought ruined my day. The look on his face – his cry to
us to flee – how I wish I could hear him call me fool one more time!
I can’t sleep and I don’t think anyone else is either. I hear Strider
pacing and Frodo has drawn Sting. My heart stopps – for there is the
faintest glimmer of light upon it. I can see it from where I lay. Now,
how am I supposed to sleep? They had given me early watch, but now that
is wasted. The beauty of the day has been lost to me twice now.
Somehow, I fall asleep for it is all too soon that Merry is shaking my
shoulder and calling to me. I don’t want to wake up. I feel so
incredibly tired. I try to tell Merry about Sting but he has gone off
to breakfast. Something must be wrong with me – I am not hungry! Well,
I don’t want to frighten Merry so I must eat. Ah, Sam is cooking
sausages. I didn’t think there were any left. Home – it feels so far
away and yet, to my nose, it seems so very close. It also makes me
hungry and I eat with a Hobbit’s appetite.
Strider has called us together. He looks worn and as tired as I feel.
He says we must decide what we are to do. Will we all stay together,
will we go with Boromir to Minas Tirith, or will be turn East. I want
to go back to the Shire. I want to sit by the Brandywine with my pipe
and Merry and my fishing pole. But I want to go with Boromir to his
White City. And I want to go with Frodo.
My arms are cold yet the air is warm. Strider speaks of going East, of
fear and shadow. Those words fill my mind with the sight of the Balrog.
A shiver runs down my spine and my arms feel wind blowing on them –
though they are covered by my coat and the Elven cloak. It’s not the
wind – it’s fear. Merry looks so confident. I wish I could.
Poor Frodo – Strider has said it is his decision – no one else can make
it. I know I am taller than Frodo, but suddenly he looks so very much
smaller and quite forlorn. Sam looks like he is ready to cry and yet
ready to go forward. I think Sam has already decided where we should go.
So Frodo is going to go off by himself to decide. How can Strider let
him go alone? There are Orcs about. Doesn’t he remember Sting? But off
Frodo goes and I sit here – miserable. Boromir – I can read his face so
easily now. How is it that this great man has accepted my friendship so
readily? I walk over towards him – but am startled by his face. There
is more than anger and frustration in his eyes. There is something
there that frightens me and I back away. Oh, how I wish I had put my
fear aside and spoken with my friend. Mayhap he would be alive today.
If he had someone to share his distress with – his fear! He is so tired
and feels no one will come to Gondor’s aid – the times he has shared
this with me. Should I have told Strider? I know Strider wants to go to
Minas Tirith with him, but he is our leader now that Gandalf has
fallen, and he has put aside his own wants. I don’t know what to think,
but I must follow Strider – no matter what. This means I must say
good-bye to Boromir. He is definitely going to his home. How I wish I
could go with him. I feel like I’m deserting him. Right now, I feel
that I am his only friend – especially after Strider has deserted him.
What I would give to go back to that day, Faramir!
We sit and wait and finally the talk goes back to what we should do.
Legolas wants to go to Minas Tirith and my heart rises. So does Gimli,
but he says he will follow Frodo. So will I, of course, but I do so
hope he chooses Minas Tirith. I want to see Boromir’s city, to see the
White Tower and hear the horns blowing. It sounds so beautiful. Frodo
would be a silly old Hobbit to even think of going to Mordor. He
wouldn’t go alone – would he? Of course not, we’ll go with him. Sam
says we’re all silly to even think of going to Minas Tirith and begs
Boromir’s pardon. But Boromir is gone. He’s left us without saying
good-bye. Tears fill my eyes. How could he leave without a word? Mayhap
we will never see each other again! I want to sob, but I hide my face
from the others. I would so dearly like to tell him that I would have
gone with him – it is only our friendship that has me going with Frodo.
I know he understands and honors this.
But now we must stop Frodo. It is folly to go to Mordor. He is only a
Hobbit after all and what do we know of fighting evil? But if he
decides to go to Mordor, I will follow. I grow more anxious and wonder
where he is and wish he would hurry his decision so we can get on with
it. The faster we go to Mordor, the faster we get home!
Something has happened. Boromir has returned. My joy turns to fear as I
feel his disquiet, his sadness. My skin crawls. What has happened?
There are tear streaks on his face. He is sad beyond belief and my
heart goes out to him, but he shies away from me and sits a little way
from the fire and me.
Strider questions him and his answers only make Sam very upset –
something about an argument between Boromir and Frodo and Frodo
disappearing. Sam runs off yelling Frodo’s name. Merry and I look at
each other and fear and panic grip my heart and we are off shouting for
our dear friend. All thoughts of leaving with Boromir have fled my mind
– my friend is lost and I must find him. We rush headlong into the
forest – holding each other up and trying not to trip on the roots of
the trees. I am shouting as loud as I can and I can’t even hear if
Frodo answers, so loud are our feet and our breathing as we run to we
know not where. What has happened to our quiet Hobbit feet – to good
Hobbit sense? I am driven and I don’t know by what – yet a nameless
fear grips my heart and I continue to run. We can’t find him!
We have run right into a band of Orcs. Gandalf would surely say we were
fools. Merry pulls out his sword and I follow. We will never survive
this. But Boromir comes crashing through the trees, a great shout on
his lips, and his mighty sword flailing in the air. He shouts to us to
use what he taught us in Hollin. The Orcs are dead. He has made short
work of them. We have killed many. Well, Boromir has killed many, but
we did help. We start back towards the river, but we are attacked
again. There are so many. My heart stops and plugs my throat. My body
is stone and ice, but Boromir yells and I am again swinging my sword.
There are too many. Boromir sounds his horn. If my hands were free, I
would cover my ears – the sound is so loud. The Orcs stop for a moment
as if in fear, or waiting for something to happen, but nothing does and
they come forward again. They are shooting at Boromir – not at us, even
though Merry has caused them harm and whacked off a few hands here and
there. I have tried but cannot hope to equal Boromir. His sword seems
to shine as it cleaves heads, hands and legs and I wonder when he is
taking a breath. There is a fire in him and I am singed by it as it
destroys the Orcs. My face is flushed from wonder at his strength, his
bravery. He winds the horn again and again and I suddenly feel the
desperation in its call.
I see the first arrow strike him – hard. He looks surprised and then
hacks at another Orc. There is a moment of peace – the Orcs seem
surprised that he is still standing. He turns towards me and smiles.
The size of the arrow, long and black and beyond thick, looms out at me
from his shoulder. He winds his great horn then and again the Orcs
stop. They look around but I don’t know what they are afraid of.
Another arrow strikes Boromir and he falls on his knees in front of me
and grabs my shoulder – the blood flowing freely from his wounds.
Through clenched teeth he tells me to take Merry and run. How can I run
with my friend hurt and in danger? He pulls me to him quickly, holds me
tightly for a moment, and whispers, ‘I tried to take the Ring from
Frodo, Pippin. I broke my vow. I must stay and make it right. I must
win back a little of my honor. Would you begrudge me that, little one?
Please, save yourself and Merry. Please run.’ Then he pushes me away
from him and stands up, just as another Orc raises its ugly sword. I
can hardly see for the tears in my eyes. My heart is broken. My brave,
dear friend. How can he endure this? How can I endure this? He sees
only betrayal and I see only his love for Merry and me.
I’m sorry, Boromir, I can hardly breath as I write this. I have lost
you and I cannot see even now for the tears in my eyes. My hand
trembles as I write this. You sacrificed yourself for me and for Merry.
What can I possibly do to pay you back? How can I uphold your memory?
Dear Faramir weeps with me. I haven’t been able to share this with
anyone since your death, Boromir, and now I have your brother to share
it with and I don’t feel like a silly old Hobbit, but like a brother to
you and to him. It eases my pain.
Merry is picking up stones by this time and hurling them at the Orcs. I
do the same. When the third arrow hits Boromir, he falls again to his
knees. I remember his words, his need for honor, and so I grab Merry
and yell at him to run. We turn away from Boromir and run. I will never
forget that sight. Another arrow has hit him and he is sitting by a
tree trying to pull it out. I can hardly see the trees in front of us –
tears are all I see. The singing of Boromir’s sword has stopped. The
silence hurts my ears. I know what this means. Desperately we run –
right into another pack of Orcs – and this time there is no one to slow
them down, no one to stop them. My sword's wild flailing does nothing
to keep them from picking me up and carrying me away. And I hear the
Uraks say they have killed the great warrior. I want to die myself.
Darkness falls and I know nothing more.
Faramir, Gandalf told me later how Boromir died in Strider’s arms. I’m
so glad they made up and were friends at the end. He told me how
Strider told him that he had not failed the Fellowship. How grateful I
am for Strider. How kind he is. How kingly he is. I believe I will call
him Aragorn from now on. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli put him in the
Elven boat and sent it over Rauros.
There is nothing more to write, to say. Except, I loved him very much,
Faramir. That’s why – when I saw your Father, I just had to do
something in Boromir’s name, in his memory. He saved my life time and
time again. But more importantly, he didn’t make me feel small or
foolish or useless. I will always miss him.
I hold this dear Halfling in my arms as he cries his heart out. My
tears join his. And yet my heart rejoices. You have been saved! Your
honor is intact! My brother has been returned whole to me. And I thank
Eru that this little one, as he says you fondly called him, has come to
me. He has healed my heart even more than the herbs of the Warden. I
will send him to his bed now. He has a grievous path ahead of him
tomorrow and my heart sickens at the thought. How strange – one moment
my heart is filled with joy and now it is filled with sorrow, fear and
concern for my newest friend. Eru protect him at the battle. He is so
small in frame, so large in heart.
I love you, dearest Brother. Be at peace now. My heart is.