Boromir's Ride

by Onóno Laivindur


Prologue:

It was decided by Denethor the Steward, father of Boromir and Faramir, that Boromir should seek council from the Lord of the Elves: Elrond who dwelt in Imladris. The war against Sauron and the orcs was long and drained Gondor of life and spirit.
Plans were made and the mission set.
Boromir's love for his father and brother were equally measured by his love and devotion to the realm of Gondor and it's people.
The evening came before he would set out and he chose to spend it with his brother.
They sat silent in the darkened hall; brazier light moving across the ceiling and walls: both staring at the roasted pig and side dishes: more than they could possibly consume, but lavished before them, drinking only the ale and stabbing at the chesses.
“You should not travel alone.” The younger muttered under his breath, thinking aloud.
The elder was condescending in speech but honest of heart: “I have my horse: you must take command, father will need your courage and the army will follow you, before all others. I have never….”
“How far have you ridden into the West? How will….”
“The Riders of Rohan will certainly aid me across their lands and the Great Road still directs the way there, I shall be...”
“You will ride alone then?”
“It seems.” The elder toppled his bier stein as he reached across the table and laid his hand on his brothers forearm with a firm grip, not noticing the spilled ale or caring: “I love you brother!” His voice echoed in the arched stone hall, for the both of them.


Chapter One: "To Isen"


"Thank you I shall! Farewell! Till our next meeting then, Farewell!" Boromir bowed in the saddle as he spoke.
"Click, Click, c'mon Gwynn let's make haste!" Boromir said riding away, waving his free hand to Eowyn, Eomer, Théoden, Hama and the crowd that had gathered to see this prince of Gondor.
"The Rohirrim are a gracious people and the lady Eowyn is beyond fair to be sure." He thought to himself. "If I ride unhindered I should reach Imladris in two months, following the mountains feet west to the Gap of Rohan, over the Isen River to the Old North-South Road, northwest up to the ruins of Tharbad and then follow the Loudwater Road northeast."
"I hope Théoden was right and the way is clear of Orcs, at least during the daylight." He said to Gwynn, his chestnut mare.
"What a beautiful land this is, I should come back here with Faramir, he would love to run the horses over these lands," He laughs aloud. "He would surely out race me again, no one rides as well as my brother." and he turned in the saddle to wave back again, finding only Eowyn watching and waving as he made his way to the foot of Edoras. Gwynn stopped and whinnied, reared up as if to answer the calls of the other horses that watched, wanting to follow, to run free.
Turning to the northwest Boromir leaned forward in the saddle urging Gwynn to a quicker gate. "Lets go girl we have thirty miles ahead of us this day and keep your eyes and ears open too, we don't need any guests along the way."
"The summer grasses are full of life Gwynn, look at the Grouse Hens and look a Pheasant, oh that we had time to hunt and perhaps little brother was right and I should have brought Beleg the Falcon at least he could serve me quick to gather these fowl for supper. I pray father is kinder to Faramir now that I am out of court. He is too short of temper with him and too long in zealous expectation."
"The morning sun truly shines warm and strong today and by mid-day I shall rue these leathers, if not for the chance meeting of orc I would ride unencumbered and soak the sun up as the Haradrim do. I shall loose the mail and jerkin in an hour as I walk and rest Gwynn. The birds have aplenty here, I don't think I have ever seen so many crickets and hoppers...what's that!" Gwynn startled, pulled up short and stopped.
"Whoa Gwynn, easy girl, it is only a snake nothing more, for a battle horse you are skittish my dear, please be careful I wouldn't want to fall off and break my neck out here, father would never forgive me."
Three hours pass and nothing more interesting than two small foxes and a badger mark the passing of two friends in the wild, riding and walking together amidst the golden grass of the Rohan Plain, old forested hills, to the southwest, covered in Oaks and Myrtles and higher up the greens of the Firs and Pines, where they end marked the snow line of winter.
The pale blue sky at the horizon deepened into azure as Boromir looked up watching the moon race the sun across the sky. He lay resting by a small stream tinkling it's way down from the wood, wandering, searching for some greater water to make its end. Throwing a twig into the brook he wonders if it shall meet the Deeping-Stream and the Isen before he and Gwynn would.
Feeling his bare back to the grass he knew the journey ahead would not always be as warm and peaceful and let himself dream of quiet days without war and strife in these lands. He then rolled and pushed himself up, stretched and walked slowly to gather Gwynn, pulling on his blouse he whistled thrice and she jerked up her head, leaving the green grass by the stream and met him with a wet nose across his cheek.
Placing the bit back in place and cinching up the saddle Boromir spoke softly to his friend and once all was in place, didn't even mount, but walked on awhile singing to her the songs of victories past, women he had loved, and one song he made up for his mother. He had missed her since she died when he was ten years old, but still could hear her voice and smell the scent of her hair as he sat upon her lap.
"Mother, you had me, but I never had you...
I needed you, but you had to leave me..
Oh I have to tell you, that I love you still..
Mother I have to tell you, that I love you still...
Mother I loved you, and you loved me...
Fari and me, Fari and me, it always shall be...
We always shall be....
We always shall be..."
Taking up the reins in his left hand and placing his foot in the stirrup, he mounted quickly and spurred Gwynn to a gallop, racing against his memories, his fears, and pain.
The late afternoon sun warmed his face as he later walked Gwynn to rest her. "Sorry girl I shall not again put you to the spur, lest not of my accord." The soft brown chestnut mare nudged him with her shoulder and turned to snuff at him. He laughed and found again the joy of being on the road with his best horse.
The sun as it hurried west sent shafts of light torn by the mountain tops over their heads and the high wisps of cloud started to blush into the hues that only nature know the names of.
Turning away from the wood line to the safety of the open field Boromir and Gwynn found a small outcrop of rock a little higher than the plain and set camp. "Sorry Gwynn but these hobble ropes you are going to have to get use to, I can't afford you running off at night or worse." Looking back from where they had come Boromir studied the landscape for the return home journey, remembering every terrain feature in case he had to find his way back even at night.
The eastern sky was darkening and thunderheads were forming. "See Gwynn, aren't you glad we made good time today and won't get wet tonight?" The horse pulled and tested the ropes tied above her fetlocks, she was not hearing him, but knew things were different tonight, she could sense his uneasiness and wondered why out here alone there might be danger.
"We can have a small fire tonight Gwynn" He said as he rolled out his bedroll nearby and opened the sack given to him by Eowyn. "Look what we have here, Salted meat, I hope its not horse." He said jokingly to Gwynn. "Ah, and black bread and a flask of oil. That should fill the void I feel tonight. "As Boromir drew his eating blade and prepared the meat and sliced the bread a faint noise came from the wood, feet crushing sticks, and then quiet, then the whispers. "Gwynn, we're not alone." He hushed; Boromir covered her nose with his hand and gently but firmly let her know to kneel. They both listened and waited.