Lords of Gondor
Curse you! Curse you and all Halflings to death and darkness!
It was his own voice shouting from out of the darkness that was his dream.
Boromir groaned and covered his ears to stop the sound of that horrible
curse, but to no avail; the words rang in his ears and echoed in his
mind until he thought he would go mad. Knowing it was all a dream was
no comfort to him, for he knew with cold certainty that even in waking,
there would be no release from that hate-filled voice. He could not
escape the harsh memory of his rage, nor the cold knowledge of his
Mist swirled, and the darkness changed; light grew and he saw before
him Merry and Pippin, staring with horrified expressions upon their
I am sorry! he cried, but he had no voice, and he could not make them hear. I did not mean it! Forgive me, I could not save you...
He reached out to them, but they drew back in fear, and he saw that his
hand was covered with blood. He tried to wipe it on his tunic, but the
stain would not come clean. Suddenly the hobbits lay dead at his feet
and he realized the blood on his hands was their blood.
You have failed, cried a voice
out of the night; he could not tell who spoke. Was that Gandalf? His
father? Or was it his own voice, angry and full of disgust?
Your oath to be of aid is broken, the
voice went on coldly, relentlessly. They trusted you! Frodo trusted
you, and you have betrayed him. The little ones trusted you, and you
failed them. They are dead because of you. Frodo has fled because of
you; he will go to Mordor and be taken. Gondor is doomed because of
you. The world is doomed because of you. Your hands are stained with
blood and your fingers with guilt...
I know it! Boromir moaned in his sleep. The blood of the world is on my hands...
Boromir moaned pitifully and shifted restlessly in his sleep; Legolas
was immediately at his side, murmuring quiet words of encouragement. He
laid a hand on Boromir's brow, and after a moment, the Man relaxed and
his muttering ceased.
"No fever," said Legolas aloud. "I am encouraged, Boromir. The athelas
is preventing infection in your wounds that might cause fever, and that
will surely aid you in your healing."
He did not know whether Boromir heard him or not, but Legolas noted the
Man did seem calmer when he spoke to him quietly. If the sound of his
voice and the knowledge of his presence brought comfort, then Legolas
was willing to continue talking for as long as it was needed, whether
or not there was any answer.
He felt Boromir's cheek and sighed.
"No fever," he repeated, "yet almost I would welcome it, if this chill
that seems to have settled in you might be driven away. You are cold
and clammy to the touch, though you lie close by the fire."
The fire was beginning to burn low once more; Legolas reached out and
put another piece of wood on the flames, stirring the fire until it
flared up again and he could feel its strong warmth on his face. He
knew he had to keep Boromir warm, to prevent the illness that could
come with the severe loss of blood he had endured. The bleeding seemed
to have stopped now, even in the wound to Boromir's midsection; even
so, Legolas knew there was still some danger of hidden bleeding in such
a severe wound, in spite of the great care taken by Aragorn in the
removal of the arrows. Legolas hoped that help from Gondor might arrive
soon, in the event Boromir needed more aid than his own skill could
provide. In the meantime, he would do what he could, even if it was no
more than speaking soft words of comfort and building up the fire.
Legolas glanced at the dwindling pile of wood at his side. Gimli had
gathered as much wood as he could find for Boromir's use; it had seemed
sufficient for several days' supply. Yet hardly more than a day had
passed since the attack and Boromir's wounding, and already the wood
was getting low. Legolas had been generous with the fire to keep
"I shall have to fetch some more wood soon," Legolas commented. "But
not until this restlessness passes; I will wait until you sleep more
Boromir stirred and cried out. Taking one of the Man's hands in his, Legolas clasped it firmly.
"I am here," he said soothingly. "Do not be troubled, Boromir. In a
while I will go for wood, but now I am here and I shall not leave your
side until you give me leave. Sleep in peace, if you can; may your pain
be forgotten and your dreaming be without fear."
He began to sing softly. Slowly, the tension left Boromir, and he began
to breathe more evenly as sound sleep enveloped him; yet the troubled
frown upon his face remained, and could not be soothed.
Pippin fought with despair in the growing darkness; he lay where he had
been thrown down, afraid to move, afraid almost to breathe, for fear
the Orcs would remember him and perhaps decide to kill him. He closed
his eyes and tried to imagine he was somewhere else, somewhere safe;
but he could not. All he could see when he closed his eyes was the
bowed head of Boromir, and the look in his eyes as he gasped for
No! Don't think it! he said fiercely to himself. Think of something else...
Pippin wished he knew what had become of the others. He hoped against
hope that someone would be following to rescue them, but it hardly
seemed likely. Surely they would have all gone with Frodo once he was
found. The others could not afford to follow the Orcs to attempt a
rescue, could they? No, that would throw out all the plans; they would
go to Mordor with Frodo...
He could not stop thinking about Boromir. What had become of him?
Surely he could not be dead; not Boromir! And yet, Pippin had seen him
fall, pierced by many arrows; not even a great warrior like Boromir
could live after that...
If only I could have helped him! he thought, choking back a sob. I wish
I hadn't run off into the forest like that, calling for Frodo. Boromir
had to come looking for us, then, and look what came of it! If only...
He looked around for Merry; he was close by, but his eyes were closed,
and his face was covered in blood. A moan escaped Pippin before he
could stop it, but it went unnoticed by the Orcs who stood over him.
Ah, Merry! Pippin thought, struggling futiley against his bonds. What
have I gotten us into? What good have I been on this quest? I'm nothing
but a nuisance, who brings trouble to others -- trouble and death. Who
will rescue us now? They've probably all gone with Frodo... I wish I
could get free!
Boromir moved restlessly. He had been sleeping soundly, but now the
soothing sound in his ear was gone, and he felt cold and alone. The
wisps of evil dreams that had been held at bay by that sound now
returned to plague him. He twisted and turned to free himself from the
mist that threatened him, but he could not get free...
He heard Pippin call, and suddenly, Boromir was awake. He struggled to
rise, but he was stiff and sore, and the pain was terrible. He fell
back with a groan and lay still for a time, his eyes closed.
Opening his eyes once more, he looked about him, trying to focus,
trying to remember where he was; memory returned, but slowly. Boromir
felt confused and anxious. Was he alone? Had they left him? Everything
was so hazy! Was he dreaming still?
Boromir cast about seeking something tangible, something solid that
would help anchor him in reality. He gazed upon the water of the lake
and heard the roaring of the Falls behind him; he saw the boats drawn
up upon the shingle and the fire beside him, burning low.
His eye then fell upon the Horn of Gondor which lay beside him at his
right hand; grasping it weakly, he drew it towards him. It was split
almost in two, barely held together by the cracking edge of horn and
carved silver. Blood stained both halves.
Your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with guilt...
He dropped the Horn as if it had scalded him, and searched his hand for
any sign of a stain. Nothing... no blood was visible, but he knew it
was there. The blood of the innocent was on his hands and on his Horn.
He must get them clean; he would not be able to rest until he was clean.
Spurred on by an odd sense of desperation, Boromir grasped the Horn
once more and with the help of a stave of wood he found laying beside
him, he struggled to his feet, making his way slowly towards the edge
of the lake. It was only a few steps away, but the distance seemed vast
to him in his weakened condition; the pain of his wounds impeded his
progress, but a growing feeling of anger lent him strength.
He waded out into the lake until the water was hip deep; he went
haltingly, for the current was strong, but he was determined, and
pressed on in spite of the pain and dizziness that assailed him. The
sting of water in his wounds was somehow refreshing and made him feel
almost awake. Yet he still was confused and disoriented, and knew deep
within that something was not right with him.
I must get clean, he thought. That is what troubles me... the stain of blood...
Determined to succeed in spite of his weakness, he tightened his grip
on the staff, and leaned against it to brace himself against the tug of
the current. Leaning forward slightly, he immersed the soiled Horn in
the flowing water of the lake, scrubbing at the stains with his thumb.
The blood was dry and hard, and it would not come clean.
He cursed angrily at his weakness and his clumsiness; the hand that
braced the staff slipped, and he stumbled. The force of the current
pushed against the Horn in his hand, and it was more than the cloven
heirloom could endure; the seam cracked, and one half of the Horn
floated away on the swift current.
An overwhelming sense of loss threatened to overwhelm Boromir as he
watched the shard of horn spin away from him; loss was replaced a
moment later by a fierce anger that rose up and choked him. He stared
at the half that remained clenched in his hand. The Horn had always
symbolized the Stewardship to him, the rule that one day would be his.
Had not the Horn been borne by each Steward's son since the days of
Vorondil the Hunter? And now it was lost, broken, never to be mended!
It would never be the same again. Nothing would be the same...
"Broken!" he wailed suddenly, bitterly, his voice ragged from the
effort it had taken to drag himself this far. "Broken and useless, just
as I am! My sword is broken... my oath is broken... my Stewardship is
With a strangled cry he flung the remaining shard from him; it splashed
into the water and was immediately taken by the current, bobbing and
spinning as it headed for the Falls.
Boromir felt a wrenching pain in his shoulder and stomach, and he
gasped, doubling over in agony. He staggered and knew he would not be
able to stop himself from falling.
There was a loud splashing behind him, and strong hands unexpectedly gripped him.
Legolas' voice spoke urgently in his ear. "What are you doing? You
should not be here; you will do great harm to yourself if you do not
"Legolas..." Boromir sighed; relief flooded through him. "How came you here?"
"I have been with you all along, do you not remember? You were sleeping
soundly and I went to gather wood. I thought I could leave you for a
moment; but I see I was wrong!"
"I had to rid myself of the stain," muttered Boromir. "But I could not..."
Legolas put an arm around him and gently began guiding him back towards the shore.
"Come, Boromir; let me help you. You are not yourself."
Boromir pulled back and stared at Legolas as if seeing him for the first time. The familiar words echoed sharply in his mind.
"Not yourself..." he replied slowly. "He... he said the same."
"Who said the same?" asked Legolas, but he thought he knew the answer.
"Frodo," replied Boromir, and his voice broke. Suddenly, all anger left
him; his face crumpled and he wept onto Legolas' shoulder.
"Come, my friend," Legolas said softly. "You must come up out of the
water. Lean on me, and I will help you. I can bear your full weight if
Boromir allowed himself to be drawn away out of the water. Before they
reached the shingle, he was leaning heavily against Legolas. He did not
know how or when he finally reached the fire, but at last he found
himself laying wearily back once more against the stone landing.
"Sleep now, my friend," said Legolas, covering Boromir with blankets
and tucking his cloak closely about him. "All will be well, though you
may not believe it yet. There is light beyond the darkness and you will
see that light. But first, you must rest and heal. Give me your word
you will rest now and attempt no more foolishness."
"I am not so good at keeping my word, I fear," replied Boromir weakly.
"You do yourself an injustice if you believe that. Rest now, and forget your fear. It will look less dark on the morrow."
"Very well," murmured Boromir, as sleep took him. "Perhaps I shall sleep, then... you may take my watch..."