Lords of Gondor
Boromir awoke slowly from a sound sleep to find himself once more in
the shade; the sun had moved beyond the tops of the hills on the
western shore, and the shadows of the trees by the lake stretched out
to cover him. The coolness was pleasant now, after the strong warmth of
the sun; but it would be cold in the open as the sun set. He would need
to have Legolas help him back to the shelter of the stone landing
before darkness fell.
But that would not be for some hours yet; in the meantime, Boromir
passed the time by trying to discern landmarks upon the opposite shore.
There was little that could be seen in the darkness of the woods which
advanced to the very edge of the water on the far shore, but the
eastern hills were stark and bright in the light of the westering sun.
Amon Lhaw stood out sharply against sky, and the remains of the outpost
that stood on the crown of the Hill could easily be seen. Even from
here, he could see the shape of the high seat that stood up clearly
against the greying clouds behind.
Legolas approached and offered Boromir some water to drink; the Elf
gazed silently at the far hilltop until Boromir handed back the skin.
Capping it tightly, he laid it aside and sat down next to Boromir.
"What do you know of the high seats of Numenor, Boromir?" he asked.
"Aragorn spoke with you of the Hills of Hearing and Seeing, and of the
Seats of the Kings, but said little else."
"Yes," agreed Boromir pensively, recalling the lengthy argument that
had taken place on that occasion, over which road to take with the
Ringbearer. "Aragorn intended to stand in the high place, before he
decided his further course -- but I do not know if he had the chance,
before his course was decided for him."
Boromir fell silent; after a moment he shrugged, in an effort to dispel
the melancholy that threatened to engulf him. Two days it had been
since his own course had been decided, and the pain of his failure
still troubled him when he could not distract himself.
Legolas smiled at him fondly.
"You should try not to do that," he said gently.
"Lift your shoulders in that way," Legolas explained. "You should be
careful not to dislodge the leather patch sealing the wound in your
shoulder. Your breathing is much better, and the bleeding is well
stopped, but that wound was severe, and may still need the care of a
healer before it can fully repair itself."
Boromir shrugged in response, then laughed when he realized what he had done.
"Indeed," he replied, "it does pain me when I do that; but I can no
more stop that habit than I can keep a hobbit from smoking pipe-weed!"
They laughed together at the thought of that futile venture.
"The Hill of the Eye of Numenor," mused Boromir after a moment. "I know
something of it, and the other, which is the Hill of the Ear; I studied
such things in my days of being tutored in the military history of my
people. Each hill was an outpost of Gondor in the days of the ancient
kings, where there was a watchtower and a garrison to guard the
northern borders of the kingdom, and perhaps even a beacon. The high
hill was a lookout point for the garrison, and commanded a wide view of
"What of the Seat Aragorn spoke of?"
"It was said in the old lore that one sitting in the Seat of Hearing
could hear what passed in the land, as if all sounds were being
magnified and whispered in the ear. One sitting in the Seat of Seeing
could see for many miles -- even as far south as the Sea -- images
small and clear, as if laid out upon a table."
Boromir hesitated and frowned.
"I know little enough of these matters," he continued. "It is hard to
believe such things could be so -- yet, I have learned of late there is
much that passes in this world that I do not understand. In any case,
the view from the Seat would be far, even without the aid of any magic."
He paused once more, and a look of sorrow crossed his face.
"I... I wish I could sit there, Legolas, to look out over the valley.
Perhaps there is nothing to be seen, beyond empty plains with the River
laid out below; yet there might be something -- the movement of troops,
incursions by Orcs..."
He sighed heavily. "I would know what is happening in the world, while I sit here weak and useless!"
Legolas shook his head as if disagreeing with Boromir's assessment of himself, but he said nothing.
"I wonder if one could see Minas Tirith from the Hill?" Boromir went
on, as if to himself. "I am tempted to try it, for I yearn to see my
City again -- so much so that it is a constant pain in my heart! I wish
to see the Tower of Ecthelion catching the rays of the sun, and the
Fields of Pelannor laid out green before the Gate! I wish... I wish to
know if Minas Tirith still stands..."
He looked up suddenly and saw Legolas gazing at him, a worried expression upon his face. Boromir smiled faintly and sighed.
"It is but a foolish fancy, Legolas," he said with shake of his head.
"I know I cannot manage the climb to the Seat, for I am still weak and
weary, and it would undo all you and Aragorn have done to try to save
Legolas laid a hand on Boromir's arm.
"I understand why you desire to do this," he said. "Who would not want
to see their home after a long time away, if such an opportunity
presented itself? But what you say is true, you cannot manage this now.
Let me go then, in your stead. It is wise to see what lies ahead, if
there is anything to be learned from what passes on the plains. Perhaps
there will be something to be seen that will be of some use to Aragorn,
Boromir's face brightened.
"Indeed, it would comfort me to know if there is anything to be seen
from the high point -- even if I cannot see my City for myself." His
smile broadened. "Who knows? It may be that you will see some of my
people coming to rescue me!"
Boromir laughed suddenly, a short sharp laugh that was both hopeful and tinged with doubt.
"If I am to speak truthfully," he said with a shake of his head, "I
have little hope of that possibility. I fear I will remain a burden to
you, my friend, until I am well enough to travel. I am sorry, for I
know you wish to return to Aragorn."
"Do not despair, friend," Legolas responded. "I believe someone will
come -- and not because I would be rid of you, so that I may go about
my other business! Aragorn was confident that someone would hear the
call of the Horn of Gondor; he believes there are those in Gondor who
would have heard that call, and will stop at nothing to come to your
aid. Do you not believe it? You were the one who urged us to go after
the Orcs because you were confident someone would come."
"I was eager to convince you to save the little ones," said Boromir
sadly. "And I did believe what I said... then. It seems not so likely
to me now, for some reason."
"Do not look too far ahead when you are weary and ill, Boromir. The
future indeed looks grim if seen through eyes that are dimmed by
despair. Remember your confident words and trust in them -- you spoke
more truly than you realize, I believe. Remember? Just now, you said
there is much that passes in this world that you do not understand.
Your people are searching for you even now; I am certain of it. I will
go to see if they draw nigh, so that you might be comforted."
"Very well," Boromir said, his voice betraying his relief. "I will not
give up hope of rescue just yet, then. Indeed, if there is anything to
see at all, your Elf eyes will see it from that high place."
Legolas rose to his feet.
"I will go now, before the sun descends any further. Will you be well here alone until my return?"
"By that you mean will I promise to refrain from doing anything foolish
while you are gone?" Boromir laughed. "Yes, friend nursemaid, I will
behave, and not move from this spot. But do not tarry!"
It was Legolas' turn to laugh. "I will return swiftly with news."
Legolas retrieved his bow and his quiver of arrows, and with a wave of
his hand disappeared into the trees. Boromir watched him go until he
could turn his head no further, then he laid back with a sigh, to begin
It did not take Legolas long to reach the top of the hill, though he
took a longer path around to avoid as much as possible the dead and
decaying Orcs that still lay all about the hill. There was no sound to
be heard among the trees but the roar of the Falls; if any birds called
to one another or if any creatures moved in the underbrush, the sound
was drowned out by the thundering waters of Rauros.
Though the sun had passed its zenith and was descending now into the
west, it still shone brightly upon the summit of Amon Hen, for the
crown of the hill was barren of trees. Atop the hill was an ancient
outpost of Men, now fallen somewhat into ruin, but still impressive. A
crumbling battlement surrounded a wide flat area of flagged stones, set
in a circle; in the midst of the paved area stood a high seat set upon
four carven pillars.
Legolas ran lightly up the many steps that led to the Seat on its high
platform. The thronelike Seat was carved of stone in the shape of
eagles facing north, south, east and west, commanding a wide view of
the lands below. There was no need for Legolas to sit upon the Seat;
with his Elven eyesight -- far keener than that of Men -- he could see
for a great distance in all directions.
Standing upon the edge of the platform, he gazed outwards at the world
that lay before him. Remembering first the desire of Boromir, he looked
southwards, and beheld in the distance the proud, white towers of Minas
Tirith, gleaming brightly against the darkness of Mordor looming in the
nearby East, as if to overwhelm the City of Guard -- but it was not yet
overwhelmed. Boromir would be comforted to know that his City still
stood, awaiting his return.
Legolas then turned his eyes to the view that lay at his feet. Far
below, the sun glinted on the mist that hung over the Falls of Rauros,
and the River Anduin flowed away swiftly from the foaming pit at the
foot of the cascade. He looked further on, following the winding path
of the water to the fens and marshlands of the Mouths of the Entwash,
in hopes of seeing a sign that might indicate a party of Men searching
for their lord.
Yes, there was movement! There, amidst the myriad streams and rivers
that crisscrossed the great slough. Legolas shaded his eyes to help
sharpen his focus, and saw five tiny horsemen moving slowly northwards
across the marshlands; even now they were approaching the northernmost
stream of the Entwash where it flowed into Anduin, some twenty miles
south of the foot of the Falls. If this was indeed a search party
coming to seek the whereabouts of Boromir, they would likely arrive
soon -- perhaps even tomorrow. Boromir had not been forgotten.
Before descending the stairs once more, Legolas turned his gaze to the
West, where lay the grassy plains of Rohan like a vast sea of green
stretching for many miles, north, south and west; here, also, there was
movement on the plain -- a large group of horsemen riding north at a
Beyond the plain on the very edge of sight was a great black cloud like
smoke hovering over the Vale of Isengard in the foothills which lay at
the very end of the Misty Mountains; in the darkness under the cloud
Legolas thought he could discern the sharp spike of a black tower.
Trouble is brewing in Isengard, he thought, and a great sense of
urgency gripped his heart. Saruman prepares for war and is certain to
strike soon, in Sauron's cause -- or his own! I must follow as quickly
as I may, for Aragorn may soon have great need of me; Boromir cannot be
left until his people come, but once he is in their care, I must make
Turning away, he descended the stairs and hurried down the hill through the trees to tell Boromir of all that he had seen.
Henderch rode ahead with his fellow scout, Dirhavel, sometimes leaning
forward, sometimes sideways in the saddle to peer at the path ahead. He
knew his way through the maze of streams and rills that snaked through
the bog, and though progress was slow, it was steady. Grithnir and the
others followed behind, guiding their horses to follow in the steps of
the two scouts who rode ahead.
Grithnir gazed up at the bluffs of the Emyn Muil rising up before him,
growing steadily closer as the riders made their slow way north. The
light of the westering sun shone upon the heights, and upon the bare
crown of Amon Hen before him; he thought he could see stonework against
the sky that suggested the presence of battlements and a watchtower.
"How much further is it, Henderch?" asked Grithnir, drawing his horse
up beside the scout. "Will we come to the watchers' camp on the Anduin
"I believe so, sir. It is not so much further, and I think we will soon
be able to pick up the pace. There is an upthrust of underlying stone
in this part of the fen on which the horses can tread, which will
greatly increase our speed -- if I can find the path."
"Very well, then. Lead on as quickly as is safe."
The River Anduin flowed swiftly, swollen by the waters of many streams
and rivers which joined it upon the way. The current was strong and
carried its small burden quickly along. The shard of horn floated
lightly upon the surface of the water and followed the current wherever
it led; the setting sun shone upon its whiteness, brightening the
silver that tipped it. Now and then, for a moment, the horn was stayed
briefly in its progress, as it bumped against an outcropping of rock,
or a branch floating in the water. But it moved rapidly onwards,
following the path of the relentless current, coming ever closer on its
journey to the hand destined to lift it from the water.
Some of the description and history
of Amon Hen and the Seat of Seeing come from the FOTR chapter "The
Breaking of the Fellowship," as well as from Chris Smith's book
"Weapons and Warfare."