Letters from Faramir
We are spread thin at the Causeway Forts. We
have lost Osgiliath and have pulled back. The day has been grim and I
have seen too much death. More than half our number were slain before
we ever reached Osgiliath. The wounded are left on the Pelennor in
mounds. I ordered a few of my stoutest to guard them while we tried to
reach the cover of the city – anything to gain time to regroup and
protect the wounded. Bring the battle off the field and into the city,
away from them.
The outcome was already known to Father. When
we met in Council two days ago, he knew this would happen. I would have
laughed if my horror were not so great. He hinted that there was no
captain present with the courage to obey him. And Prince Imrahil there
himself! The other captains urged patience, urged Father to keep our
forces in the White City to guard Minas Tirith. But Father will not
hear it. He sees himself Lord of the White Tower against the Lord of
the Black Tower. He sees something I do not and I fear for him!
Impossible, you would say, that Denethor, Steward of Gondor, would
fall, but my heart misspeaks this. There is something more here than I
am able to discern. Father’s will is to guard the river and so I took
my leave and received no word of encouragement. As always. Boromir, all
Gondor looks to me and I would see it done. But this path only leads to
doom. We are ten times outnumbered.
The enemy came in even greater force than I
first believed, with Southrons and mumakil. But grievous of all, the
Black Captain leads them. I know already the touch of the Black Breath
upon me; I know its fear. I have felt my heart turn to stone and my
limbs to lead at the sight of this Shadow. I rallied the men, those
with the strength and courage to stay and fight. A few ran – I could
not condemn them; hardened veterans as they are, nothing prepared us
for this. We fought in close quarters all day. We would hold for a
moment and our hearts would be lifted, then another wave of them would
crush forward. Boromir, our men fought bravely. If I had the time, if I
had the strength, I would have wept the entire day – to see one after
another of our comrades, our friends, fall. It is beyond bitter to me.
I can give no comfort to them as they fall, there is no time and the
press of the enemy is great. Arrows are useless here in the city. It is
swords, spears, daggers and bare hands that we rely upon as they press
closer – hideous visages, misshapen bodies, evil cries vomiting from
their mouths – they kept pushing against us. Finally, all hope of
holding Osgiliath was gone. I called retreat.
As I looked back over the Anduin, I
remembered how you and I survived our last battle together, how we had
to jump from the bridge, its collapse occurring just as you planned. I
thought I’d lost you at that time, the night was black; the river was
freezing. I barely made it to the other side, but you were in your
heavy armor. At last, after what seemed hours, I found you, laughing at
the look on my face. You are impossible. I almost think you remained
hidden to tease me. Almost.
That was your greatest victory, Boromir.
There was nothing that would have taken me from your side that day.
Watching you wield your sword and its sister-dagger; watching the
exultation that pierced the air around you as you fought the battle
gave me chills. My whole life we have been fighting against the powers
of evil, and I would not have it so, but on that day, Boromir, I sensed
to the highest degree the greatness that is in you. Would that you were
at my side now with that grin on your face! Then I would have hope.
We are now holed up at Rammos Echor, like
cave trolls during day. The enemy is bridging the river for their
mumakil, their war machines. We have one last moment. I fear this is
the last letter I will write. There is a sense of bitter joy in its
writing, knowing I will see you again soon, but at what price, dearest
Brother? Gondor will fall and men – what will become of men? I know our
people, Boromir; they will hide in the White Mountains. They will
continue to harass the one whose name we do not speak. And I would be
with them if I could, but I fear this is our last hour, our Rangers and
mine. If we are able, we will hold the Causeway Forts a little longer
and give Rohan the chance to come forth, to honor Eorl’s vow. Therein
lies my hope. I will perforce have to call retreat again and hope that
Father has prepared a sortie to help us span the distance of the
Pelennor, but I will not rely upon it.
Gandalf has appeared again, a sight that
brings uncalled for joy to my heart as he rides upon that great steed,
straight and tall for all his years. H e carries hope and strength with
him and I am refreshed for a moment. I want him to remain here, with
me, but I have sent him back to Minas Tirith along with the wains
carrying our wounded. He will make sure they arrive at the White City.
I am grateful for his taking this task upon himself – there is no need
to leave the wounded to die on the field. So few, though, are left to
guard his back.
Ah, Boromir, even at this hour, as all hope
would drain from me, I cannot lose hope. Our men make my heart swell
with pride. No people seem greater to me at this moment than those
assembled here with me. Not even the kings of old. I see the strain on
their faces, the weariness in their limbs, yet I have only to walk by
and their heads raise up and they nod and smile at me and I see their
quality. I can feel their trust, Boromir, and I would not fail them.
You did not tell me of this part of leadership, Brother, the crushing
weight of responsibility, the untoward love for our men and the
knowledge that they go to their deaths at my command. At least they
know that I will join them.
The enemy has breached the Rammos, Brother,
and I must go. Some devilry is being used against us. I hear mighty
blasts and see huge boulders flying in the air. What the cause is, I do
not know. They are coming.
Boromir, look for me.