Letters from Faramir

by Agape4Rivendell

XVIII: 
Parth Galen as described by Peregrin Took

Brother,

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 Brother.

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.

Hullo, Boromir,

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 beginning.

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.

Brother,

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.

Faramir