Ten Thousand Years will not Suffice
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26. Third Age - 3018
“Is there no report yet?” Denethor bellowed.
His guard ran forward. “None yet, my Lord.”
“Then send a rider. I must know!” He flung his goblet against the wall
of his study as the guard saluted and hurriedly left the room. The door
stood open and Denethor paused. He had only left It an hour ago; he was
still exhausted from struggling with It, and yet, he must know. He
climbed the stairs, opened the door, and stood before It. Gently,
giving thanks again to the Elves who had gifted It to his people, he
removed the covering, stationed himself so that he faced West and
placed his hands on It. It awoke to his touch and showed him Osgiliath,
burning. His sight swept across the bridge and into the eastern section
of the fallen city. The army stood before a vast horde of beasts,
Uruks, Haradrim… But that was not what caught his attention, pulled a
horrified gasp from him.
Staggering, he saw before him horror unimagined; Denethor struggled
to hold onto the globe. The men were in disarray, running this way and
that, as black riders rode towards them. The rest of the Enemy’s forces
stayed back, waiting, it seemed, for the terrors on horseback to give
them the advantage. There must have been some terrible sound
accompanying the horsemen, for many of Gondor’s finest ran with their
ears covered. Denethor tried to calm himself and look with discernment
upon the scene he was presented. He must ascertain what was happening
and discover what he could do to help. Needless to say, there was no
sign of Boromir nor Faramir. They could not be in the midst of the
battle, for the stone never showed him any place where his sons were
present. So – where were they?
Faramir would be where Denethor had sent him – at the front of the
attack, but hidden amongst the woods that fronted the eastern city.
That left Boromir. He should have been in front. For even though
Denethor ordered him to stand at the back of the army and direct the
battle from there, he knew Boromir would not. ‘My son thinks himself
indestructible,’ Denethor thought helplessly, ‘that naught can touch
him. How did I raise such a fool?’ But he quickly chided himself.
Boromir was no fool, but a good captain who would not let his men go
into battle whilst he remained safe at the back of the troops.
He watched as the black riders rode through his army, not being
stopped at all, not slashing with swords or anything. They did not need
swords; the horror of them seemed to slay men before them. They crossed
the bridge, and rode into West Osgiliath. The reaction from the men of
that garrison mirrored those men the riders had just come through.
Denethor shuddered and the globe went black.
Boromir needed more men! Reverently, he placed the covering back on the
stone, ran from the room, and locked the door behind him. Hirgon stood
at the foot of the stairs, looking up and holding a missive in his
hand. Denethor ran down and motioned for the Rider to follow him into
“A missive from Captain-general Boromir,” he stood silently by as Denethor read it.
The Steward devoured the note, then rang for his aide. When
Belegorn entered, he sent for Húrin. “Get yourself some food, Captain,”
he told Hirgon, “Return in one hour’s time.” Hirgon saluted and left
him. ‘Four hours ago,’ Denethor thought, ‘Boromir yet lived. That is a
consoling thought. And Faramir too; Boromir would have noted…’ He did
not continue with the thought. Húrin entered moments later. “They need
more men. Send the Second and Third Company to Osgiliath.”
“My Lord Steward,” Húrin blanched, “that leaves only the First Company to guard the Citadel.”
“Boromir comes against a foe he cannot battle with the forces he
now has. Send the companies and do not question me further.” Húrin
saluted and left. Five minutes later, Denethor heard the horns calling
the companies to arms. He steeled himself against returning to the
Tower room. Another thirty minutes passed and he heard the horns again
calling – this time to march. His heart lifted. They were well trained,
the best of Gondor’s knights. Not many a company could assemble and
march inside an hour’s time. He could only hope they would be enough,
be in time. It would take them six hours to cross the Pelennor, another
hour to reach the battle itself. He should have sent them before.
Taking his cloak and wrapping it about him, he crossed the Court of the
Fountain and stood at the tip of the parapet. At times like these, he
wished he had the famed Elven sight. All he saw was smoke lifting from
the desolate city. “Boromir. Faramir,” he whispered. “Take care of each
He began to second-guess his orders. He should have put his sons
together. They seemed to draw strength from each other. But Faramir had
to take the Rangers to the perimeter and harry the enemy before they
attacked the city. Boromir had to remain with the main body, waiting
till the Rangers and Faramir’s archers had dealt the first blow to
them. Cursing furiously, he clenched the top of the wall, fighting
desperately not to run back to the Tower room, for he knew It held no
answers for him. It would not show his sons.
Húrin stood next to him, holding out a goblet. “Take the brandy. It will keep you warm.”
“How is it,” Denethor wondered aloud, “that it is so cold in the midst of July? Some trick of the Enemy?”
Húrin made no answer.
“I have you, Faramir. Take a deep breath. Mablung, hold him
steady!” Boromir worked furiously, stripping his brother of the mail
that he had insisted Faramir wear and which had almost cost him his
brother’s life, pulling him down into the River. Boromir then tore the
shirt open. “Breathe, Faramir, for Elbereth’s sake, breathe! Damrod! Do
you see any of the others?”
“Nay, Boromir. They are all lost.”
The Captain-general of Gondor sobbed. “Faramir. Open your eyes,
please, Faramir. I have you.” Another sob. “Please, Faramir, open your
“He is gone, Boromir,” Mablung sobbed wretchedly.
“Nay!” Boromir bellowed. “Faramir!” he screamed and pulled his
brother close, “Do not leave me, do you hear!” He beat on his brother’s
back, trying to get the water out of his lungs. “Breathe!” he screamed
At last, he felt a movement in his arms. Beating Faramir’s back again,
he whispered in his brother’s ear, “I have you, Faramir. Do not leave
me.” He was shaking so badly that Damrod had to hold his arms.
“Faramir,” he whispered again.
He felt the boy’s body shake and held him close as Faramir began to
cough and choke. “Good! Good! Now take some breaths, Faramir. You are
safe now. Take some breaths. Slowly, I have you.” He clenched his teeth
tight to stop his jaw from shaking.
“I have you, Faramir. Safe. You are safe now. Just take it slow and breathe a little. Do not breathe deep, just shallow.”
Faramir continued to cough; Boromir patted him on the back. “You are
safe,” he kept whispering, “you are safe.” He felt Damrod’s arms about
him and leaned into the man’s body. “Thank you, Damrod,” he sighed.
“Boromir. My men?”
“All dead, Faramir. As are my own. The bridge. I do not know what happened; it collapsed too soon. Poor Elatan is dead, too.”
Faramir shook in his arms, but Boromir could hardly hold him for
the shaking his own body was doing. Damrod still held him tightly.
“Mablung. Go to the bridge and find someone. Bring some help back?”
Boromir ordered. Mablung nodded and ran up the bank of the Anduin.
Boromir looked about him, trying to figure out where they were.
“We are about a league south of the bridge,” Damrod understood his
concern and Boromir was grateful for the soldier’s answer to the
unspoken question. “You have been with me too long, old friend.” Damrod
smiled and held him tighter. Boromir sighed. “Faramir?”
“I think he sleeps, Boromir. I can feel his breath; he only sleeps.”
Boromir nodded and hung his head down. “I thought we had lost him.” He felt Damrod’s nod. “I cannot stop shaking.”
“I know. I will start a fire. We are all freezing.” Boromir felt
Damrod’s body shake. “The attack is stopped. I know not why,” the
soldier said. “The fighting has stopped.”
Boromir looked up and towards the east side of the River. Damrod
was right. The fighting had stopped. The enemy had withdrawn. “Why?”
Damrod just shook his head as he went about collecting dead wood
from the banks of the Anduin. “Mayhap something else happened. The
Steward might have sent more men. I know not.” He flung the wood down
near Boromir and began to tear up the dried grasses from the top of the
bank. Quickly, he brought two handfuls down and put them on the ground,
then piled the wood on top. Pulling his flint from the wax-soaked box,
he struck it and lit the grasses. They caught immediately and soon a
fire was blazing.
Boromir moved Faramir closer. His brother began to shake. Boromir tore
the clothes off him and moved him even closer to the fire. “Can you
find anything we can cover him with?” he called out to Damrod.
The soldier scoured the banks of the River, but found naught. “There is nothing here, Boromir.”
“Never the mind.” He pulled his own sopping tunic and shirt off and
pulled Faramir tightly to his body, hoping he had some heat left to
share with him. “Do you hear anyone coming, Damrod?”
“Nay. Yes! I can hear feet running. Over here!” he stood and waved
furiously. Within moments, Hador, Galdor and a full company of knights
“Blessed Eru!” Hador cried. “We thought we had lost you.”
“You will soon if you do not find something to cover me with. I am freezing,” Boromir smiled through chattering teeth.
A blanket was thrown over his shoulders. Galdor stooped low and tried
to take Faramir from him. A hand, strong as steel, encircled the
captain’s wrist. “Do not touch him,” Boromir whispered. “Do not touch
Galdor stepped back in surprise. “I…”
Mablung knelt at Boromir’s side. “He needs to be clothed, Captain, else he freeze to death.”
Boromir looked up in surprise. He swallowed hard. “As do you and
Damrod.” He moved his hands from Faramir and watched as a shirt was
thrown over Faramir’s head and a blanket then covered the rest of him.
Mablung and Damrod too were given dry clothes.
“We best move you to the garrison, Captain-general,” Hador said
quietly. “The healers should look at all four of you. Where are the
rest of your men?”
Boromir bowed his head. “Gone. Any who did not make it across the bridge are gone.”
Hador nodded and put an arm under Boromir’s to help him rise.
Damrod stepped over, having now dry clothes upon his back, and moved
the captain away. “It is my duty, Captain Hador.”
The captain of Cair Andros moved away as Damrod helped Boromir
stand. Mablung, now also fully dressed in warm clothes scooped Faramir
into his arms. “Lead the way, Captain. We will follow.”
“I want to carry him, Mablung,” Boromir stood close.
“You can hardly walk,” Damrod whispered. “Let Mablung carry him. Faramir knows not the difference.”
“But I do.” Boromir willed himself not to sob. “Let us go then.” He
clutched Damrod’s arm and struggled to reach the top of the bank. Hador
moved behind him and gently pushed on his back, helping him up the
steep slope. When they reached the top, Boromir was grateful to find
horses waiting for them. Damrod jumped upon one and Hador cautiously
helped Boromir mount in front of Damrod. Mablung did the same. The
company moved out, with Boromir and Damrod, Mablung and Faramir, in the
Within fifteen minutes, they were at the garrison. Strong arms helped
them down. Men ran back and forth, shouting orders, telling all that
the Captain-general was hurt and must be tended to. Boromir pushed
aside a helping hand and bellowed, “I am not hurt; leave me be.” Then,
he strode towards his quarters, smiling as he hubbub behind him
subsided. Someone yelled, “Hail, Boromir!” He did not stop, but waved
nonetheless. Damrod ran to catch up with him. “Damrod, bring Faramir
with you.” The soldier nodded and ran back to Mablung, directing the
man carrying the sleeping Faramir to the captain’s quarters.
Once inside, Boromir collapsed. Damrod, seeing his captain’s knees
buckle, caught him just in time. “You are stubborn!” he hissed. “You
might have hit your head and done what the enemy could not.”
Boromir smiled as he pulled himself up Damrod’s arm. “Thank you. Now, Mablung, put Faramir on my bed.”
Damrod sat Boromir in the bed. “You will lie down here. Another bed
has been sent for. Mablung can hold Faramir for another moment or two.”
Boromir nodded in agreement as Mablung sat in a straight-backed chair
by the table. He watched as Faramir still slept. “Are you certain he is
“He sleeps, Captain,” Mablung whispered. “He took in much water. The struggle to reach the surface has taken all his strength.”
Just then the door was flung open and another bed was brought in,
followed closely by the garrison’s healer and Captain Isilmo. The
healer strode towards Boromir, but the Captain-general waved him to
Faramir’s side. Kneeling by the now reposing Faramir, the healer did a
quick examination. Then he walked to Boromir’s side. “He is well. The
lungs sound clear. That is a good sign. And he must feel comfortable to
sleep so soundly. Now, if I may look at you?”
Boromir growled, but did all that the healer asked. At last, the
man stepped back. “You have survived again. The men call you
indestructible, but do not believe it, my Captain. No man is safe from
death.” Boromir nodded and gratefully accepted the drink the healer
offered. “This will help your throat. The water of the Anduin is not
pure, what with the filth that fell into it this night. I will return
in the morning.” He turned to Damrod. “I want this tea given to both of
them before they sleep.” He smiled, “That is, if Faramir wakes up. If
either have need of me, send for me.” Damrod nodded and walked the
healer to the door.
Boromir leaned back in the bed. Isilmo stepped forward. “The attack has
ended. The enemy disappeared into the night, once the bridge was blown.
That was brilliant, destroying it like that. They had no chance to
“It was not the destruction of the bridge that caused them to pull
back. I know not what it was, but it was not that.” Boromir shivered,
but not from the cold.
Damrod stepped forward. “Captain Isilmo. I believe you may give your
report to the Captain-general on the morrow.” He took the captain’s arm
and moved him towards the door. Boromir smiled. “Good night, Captain.”
Within moments, he too slept. He would have smiled if he watched Damrod
stand guard at the door whilst Mablung stood guard over Faramir. He
slept and did not see, but slept in peace because he knew his men.
A/N - If you have any questions/concerns regarding the Battle of the Bridge, please see A/N's from Chapter Nine.
Sunrise would soon be upon them; Damrod rued the
fact that the garrison would soon be awakening. Boromir and Faramir had
only had an hour’s sleep, at best. He was startled, in the middle of
the short rest, when Boromir began to thrash about. He took a step
closer and looked towards Mablung, noting concern on his friend’s face
also. “Faramir!” Boromir’s scream caused both of them to jump.
Faramir woke. “Boromir?” he called plaintively.
“I am sorry, Captain. Your brother had a nightmare. He is now resting
comfortably. The healer left you some tea. He asked that you drink it.”
Faramir grimaced, but when he tried to sit up and take the cup, he
found he could not. Mablung knelt beside him and held his head up,
pouring the tea slowly into Faramir’s mouth. At last, the entire drink
was gone and Mablung lowered Faramir back onto the bed. “You are warm
to the touch,” but Faramir was asleep again. “He is hot, Damrod. Should
we send for the healer?”
Damrod stepped to Faramir’s side, lightly touching his captain’s
brow. “Not overly. It cannot be the fever again! Let us wait another
hour and see if he cools. Mayhap it is just from the River.”
“He would be cool to the touch if it was the River. The water flows from the mountains. It is cold.”
Damrod laughed despite himself. “I remember that well, Mablung.”
“Then I think we should call the healer.”
“What is wrong?” Boromir’s sleepy voice questioned.
“Faramir seems a bit warm. We were considering sending for the healer.”
Instantly, Boromir was at his brother’s side. He touched Faramir’s forehead and winced. “Morgoth’s breath. Is it the fever?”
“We wondered the same. He should be cool,” Damrod touched Boromir’s skin. “Yours is warm, too. Mayhap it is the blankets?”
“Send for the healer,” Boromir lowered his head into his hands. “Hopefully, it is nothing.”
“Boromir, lie back down. There is naught you can do, for the nonce.”
Boromir shook his head. “I did not rest well. I dreamt of Faramir
in the River.” He shook and Damrod took the blanket from Boromir’s bed
and wrapped it around the Captain-General’s shoulders. “I have wondered
too about the bodies of our dead. Those who fell in the River are lost.
Or… Mablung, after you find the healer, send an errand-rider to the
Harlond. Ask them to keep watch for the bodies and take them from the
River, have them brought back to the City. If they have already passed,
have a rider leave the Harlond and go to Pelargir. I do not want my
men’s bodies going to the Sea. They should be buried, if we are able to
Mablung saluted and left them.
“Damrod, the bodies of those who died in East Osgiliath. I would send a
detail to bury them, but we would need to send them over in boats. We
have not enough. And for that matter, I wonder if it is wise. The city
is no longer ours and they would be in grave danger.”
“Boromir,” Damrod said gently, “they are Orc fodder now. It is too late. It was too late the moment they died.”
Boromir lowered his head again and began to weep. Damrod knelt at
his friend’s side and held him. “We must hope they all died in battle.”
Boromir shook. He saw before him the hundreds of bodies strewn across
the old city, and prayed to the Valar that none had been taken captive.
A moment later, the healer entered the room with Mablung at his side.
He strode towards Faramir’s bed and knelt at Boromir’s side. “Has aught
“He is warm to the touch. Captain Faramir was afflicted with
undulant fever late last year. Could this be a reoccurrence?” Boromir
moved so the healer could examine Faramir.
“It very well may be. He should be sent to Minas Tirith immediately. I cannot care for him, if thus is his condition.”
Boromir nodded and watched as Damrod ran from the room.
“Did you drink the tea I left?”
“I remember no speech of tea.”
“Ah. You were still battle-shocked. I left tea for you and
Faramir.” The healer stood up and walked to the table. “I see Faramir’s
is gone. He must have drunk it. That is good. I would have you drink
yours. It is cold, but that matters not.”
Boromir accepted the cup and drank it quickly, grimacing slightly at the taste. “Will you ride with us to the City?”
“I cannot. There are too many wounded here. I need more healers, my Lord, if you could ask the Steward to send them?”
“Of course. Will Faramir be… should it concern me that we travel with no healer?”
“Nay. He is warm, but not truly hot. I think we should stem this before
the fever heightens.” The healer put his hands to his eyes and wearily
“Have you had any sleep this night?”
“Nay. Too many wounded.”
“But you have at least five healers and a dozen assistants.”
“My Lord Boromir,” the man sighed as if he spoke to a child, “there are hundreds of wounded.”
Boromir turned his back on the man, holding in his tears. “I understand. I am sorry I questioned you.”
“Nay. When Faramir wakes, give him some of this.” He handed Boromir
another cup of tea. “It will help give him strength for the journey.
Take it slowly, Captain. Putting him through a strenuous ride would be
worse than the fever rising.”
“Thank you. Go now and take some rest. I order you an hour’s sleep.”
The healer smiled. “I will, my Lord. May the Valar be with you and your brother.” He saluted and left the room.
Boromir sat tiredly at the foot of Faramir’s bed. His brother looked so peaceful that he almost envied him.
Noises from the courtyard drew their attention from Faramir for a
moment. Mablung quickly strode towards the door, opening it to a
cacophony of sound.
“More men from Minas Tirith, Boromir!” The man’s voice held stunned
surprise. “It is the Second and Third Companies of the Tower Guard.”
Boromir sprang up. “Watch Faramir,” he ordered and ran out the
door. He found Beregond standing guard outside. For a moment, he was
startled, then a deep smile creased his face. “You live, you
scoundrel,” and Boromir grasped his aide in a heartfelt hug.
“I dare not die; I have a surly Captain-General to care for. Though
getting past Mablung and Damrod last night was more than this poor
soldier could accomplish. I stationed myself here instead.”
“Thank you. Go in and relieve them. They have not slept. Faramir’s fever has returned. Sit with him?”
“Of course. I am sorry to hear it.”
Boromir turned at the shout of his name. “Gwinhir! What brings you here?”
The Captain of the Second Company strode forward. “The Steward
Denethor sent us to help in your hour of need, but it see we are not
needed. Not oft is the Steward wrong.”
“Nay. Not wrong. The enemy cut off the fight; I know not why, but
let us to the mess. Faramir yet rests. We inadvertently went swimming
“The destruction of the bridge went ill?”
“It did. We lost Elatan.” The remembrance caused Boromir to stop
walking. “Captain Isilmo,” he called out. The captain ran to his side.
“Where is the other engineer? Meneldil?”
“I know not. I thought he had also perished when the bridge collapsed.”
“I think not. Have all but the guard returned from the bridge?”
Isilmo nodded, turned and began shouting orders.
Boromir and Gwinhir entered the mess. Mugs of whiskey-laced coffee
were brought to them. Boromir nodded his head in gratitude as he tasted
“You and your men should return to the City as soon as your horses are
rested, Gwinhir. A company will be leaving with me within the hour. I
am handing command of Osgiliath to Isilmo in my absence.” He lowered
his voice. “Did the Steward tell you aught of the battle?”
“Nay. I did not speak with Lord Denethor, but with Warden Húrin. He gave the order to reinforce your ranks.”
“We faced a foe I hope never to see again. They rode through my men
as hot steel through butter. They did not stop, but continued here and
then northward. I sent missives to Cair Andros. Has there be any word
from the island garrison?”
“Not to my knowledge, Captain-General.”
Boromir sighed. “No news, hopefully, is good news. I will leave you
now; eat and rest while you may. Then, return to the City as quickly as
you are able. I do not take pleasure in the thought that the Citadel is
left guarded only by one company.”
Gwinhir saluted and Boromir gulped the last of his coffee and left,
looking for Isilmo. In the distance, he saw the captain striding
“Meneldil was injured; he is being cared for.”
“Take me to him.”
As they walked, Boromir transferred the command of Osgiliath’s garrison
to Isilmo. The captain understood and accepted it, until Boromir’s
Shortly after, they entered the garrison’s own version of the
Houses of Healing. Boromir stopped at each cot and spoke with each man.
At last, he stood next to Meneldil’s cot. A deep gash was being tended
by one of the assistants; it had already been stitched closed.
“My Lord Boromir,” the young engineer sobbed, “Elatan is dead.”
Boromir knelt and took the man’s hand in his. “I know. How were you injured?”
“I saw the bridge collapsing. I had yet to order the last cut.
Elatan was still on it, just walking back. He must have felt the
tremor. He lunged, but… I tried to catch him.” The man wept bitterly.
“Why did the bridge collapse,” Boromir asked gently.
“I know not. We had cut precisely. You yourself inspected it. It
was strong enough to hold your retreating forces.” The young man shook
his head in obvious bewilderment.
Boromir touched his shoulder. “Take you rest; you did what you could.”
“It might have been those…” The man shivered. “It might have been
the passing of those horses. The bridge shook as they rode past.”
Another shiver. “I did not note much.” The blush that covered the
engineer’s face was heightened by its pallor. “I hid my face in the
ground as they passed.”
Boromir’s brow furrowed. “It is as you say. They were fell beast.”
A brow rose. “Rest now and return to the City when you are released
He stood and looked about him. A hush descended upon the room as
the men felt his regard. “This night, we were assailed by forces no
other men could endure,” Boromir began, loud enough for all to hear
him. “You carried yourselves well. All of Gondor will sing your praises
for your stalwart defense of Osgiliath. We will reclaim the eastern
city,” Their cheers interrupted him. He smiled, motioned them to
silence, and continued. “I leave you with my deepest regard and
respect. When I return from reporting to the Steward, we will rebuild
the bridge and take back our city. It has been done before.” The men
cheered again. “For Gondor!” The men took up the call; Boromir saluted
them and left. He smiled as he listened to the excited hubbub he had
left behind him.
Isilmo beamed. “You give them new courage and hope. I will be hard-pressed to hold them down till you return.”
“Is everything ready for our departure?”
“The horses are saddled; the company assembles as we speak.”
“Good. I return to Faramir’s side. As soon as the company is ready,
bring our horses to my quarters. Also, I will be taking Mablung and
Damrod with me. Of course, Beregond will stay at my side.”
Isilmo saluted and left him on the doorstep of the captain’s quarters.
Beregond opened the door. “I heard your step.”
Boromir laughed, then sobered. “How is Faramir?”
Nodding, Boromir walked to his brother’s cot. Taking Faramir’s hand
in his, he sat on the edge. “Take some rest and food, Beregond; we will
be leaving shortly.” The soldier saluted and left them.
“How do you feel?” He touched his brother’s forehead. “You seem cooler.”
“I think I am. Boromir,” the seriousness in Faramir’s tone caused
Boromir to kneel at his side. “I had a dream, the night before the
battle. I gave it little thought, though I found it disconcerting.” He
shivered then swallowed convulsively. “I had it again, just before I
woke at the sound of your voice. It chills me to the bone.”
“Tell me of it,” Boromir said quietly.
Silence filled the small captain’s quarters,
once Faramir had related the details of his dream. The youngest son of
the Steward closed his eyes with some relief. It had been a heavy
burden upon him, this unsettling dream, and not having anyone to share
it with had not helped.
Boromir, on the other hand, was concerned. His little brother had
always been one for dreams. He remembered being awakened many a night
by a frightened little boy begging to sleep with him after one of the
‘wave’ dreams. ‘Mayhap ‘tis only the fever.’ But he threw that thought
aside; the first dream had come before the battle. He pulled on his lip
for a moment. “Tell me, you have studied so much more than I, is there
aught in any of your reading that has mentioned Imladris? I have never
heard of a Halfling. I am assuming it is a people like unto men, unless
it be some creature that stands.” He breathed a heavy sigh. “Let us
wait another night or two, see if the dream comes to you again, and, if
it does, then I will go with you to Father. He knows more than any of
us of the lands beyond Gondor.”
“I would wait also,” Faramir frowned. “It was so real and the very
same both times. But you speak rightly. The wave dream that woke me
when I was a child spoke the same to me as this one does. Real and
“Does this dream terrify you?” Boromir asked in concern.
“Nay. It is more disconcerting for it speaks of things that wander
just out of the reach of my thoughts. I have not heard of Imladris
before, but the Sword that was broken – that I know. Isildur, of
course, is well-known to me, but I know not what Isildur’s Bane might
be.” He mirrored his brother’s sigh. “I will wait and see if the dream
comes upon me again. If it does, I will find you and we will go to
Father. In the meantime, I will search the Library for anything that
might mention this place.”
“It is the note of Doom that bespeaks an urgency, especially after
what we fought last night. Morgul spells. What can they be? Though I
would swear I had been under a spell when the Black Riders rode past
us. My own men also were thusly affected. I would deem this a dream of
some importance. But, now, let us go home. I am tired and you are still
fevered,” he touched Faramir’s forehead, “though not as warm as you
were earlier. Are you able to walk on your own?”
Faramir smiled and pulled himself upright. “I would not have been
last night, but I believe the teas I drank have helped. I do not feel
quite so wretched today. Just give me a hand to stand up and I will do
Boromir reached out and placed a hand under Faramir’s right arm and
helped his brother to his feet. His brow rose in alarm as Faramir
swayed for a moment, but his brother steadied himself with a smile.
“I think I can manage the rest of this.”
“There is tea here for the journey. The healer bids you drink it, then you will ride with me.”
“Nay, Boromir. I would not have the men see me helpless.”
His brother shrugged, “You are.”
Faramir cuffed him lightly on the arm, then drank the odious tea. “Give
me a moment to gather my strength and let this tea works its magic,
then I must ride on my own horse.”
“I do not think Mablung nor Damrod will agree to such a plan.”
“Hang them both!”
“Who, Captain?” Damrod asked as he entered the room. “Hang whom?
“He is suggesting that he ride alone.”
Damrod’s brow lifted. “I do not think that wise. Can you even walk?”
Faramir swore lightly. “I can do more than walk,” He fidgeted for his sword.
“Calm down, Faramir,” Boromir laughed. “You would kill Damrod outright for he would not return the fight.”
Faramir blushed. “I am sorry. I do not want the men seeing me weak;
the night’s battle has been difficult enough, that they would be
concerned for my well-being is too much.”
Boromir leaned forward and laid a tender kiss on his brother’s
forehead. “The fever has abated. I understand your concern for the men
and I will bow to it. I ask this vow from you, if you falter or feel
yourself unable to ride, you stop immediately and join me on my horse.
Else we will not leave here.”
“I will so do it. I swear.”
Boromir nodded. Damrod helped Faramir put on his over tunic and
strap his scabbard-encased sword to his belt. Taking one of his
captain’s arms, he led him to the door. “Captain-General. When we leave
this room, I will let go Captain Faramir’s arm. I will stand close to
his side and help him mount his horse. You need not fear. Go and speak
your last words to Captain Isilmo. We will wait for you to rejoin us.”
“I will be but a moment, Damrod. Thank you.”
He stepped past the two and walked into the sunlight.
Denethor listened attentively as his oldest gave his report of the
Battle of the Bridge, but his sight was repeatedly drawn back towards
his youngest. That something was very wrong with Faramir was easily
discerned; what the cause was, was not. When Boromir was done with his
report, and Faramir finished his own report, Denethor stood. “Come with
me to my study.” He strode quickly past them and through the Great
Hall. The Chamberlain barely had time to rap his staff on the floor and
declare the session ended. The Lords in the Hall moved back, but
Denethor distinctly heard the low whispers and knew them for what they
were: fear. It had encompassed his own heart as he listened of the
Black Riders. Thankfully, Cair Andros had been spared, but where did
they head? Were they riding to Rohan? Had Theoden’s loyalty finally
been lost to Gondor? Or perhaps they were in league with the Elves of
the North, the Mistress of Magic of Laurelindórenan?’ His mind hurt at
the thoughts and questions that spilled over and he cursed himself for
spending the entire night in the Tower room.
When Faramir and Boromir entered the study behind him, he bid them
sit, but he himself paced up and down before the great fireplace that
dominated the room. The oaken panel behind the fireplace that bore a
carving of the White Tree rose to the ceiling. Denethor looked upon it
and ceased his pacing. “There are those who would take Gondor from us,”
he whispered. “Not only the Enemy, but one who was a friend.” He turned
and faced them. “Faramir,” he strode forward and knelt on one knee
before his youngest. “What ails thee? Wert thou wounded?”
“Nay, Father. The fever returned. But I am better now.”
Denethor stood and rang the bell. A servant entered and was immediately
sent to fetch the Master Healer. Faramir tried to stay his father, but
Denethor would not be swayed. “You look ill. I will not have you
“It was the dunking in the river, Father, I am sure of that.”
“We will see what the healer says. I do not quite trust your
judgment, Faramir. You showed no sense when the fever near took you
from us last year. I will not discuss this. You do not leave this room
until the healer tells me this is not a relapse.”
Faramir nodded, not saying a word, but rolled his eyes when Boromir gently nudged him.
“These Black Riders. Tell me more.” Denethor sat and motioned for
Boromir to describe in further detail the Enemy’s newest weapon. When
Boromir was done, Denethor sat in thoughtful silence. “They do not seem
so fierce. They took no lives.”
For a moment Boromir shivered. “They took no lives because some of
our men took their own in unbridled fear.” Another shiver assailed him.
“I truly saw them not, for the reports told of more than one, but I
felt such evil, and then a black despair enveloped me. It took all my
will, Father, to follow them or it.” Boromir paused in the remembrance.
“I do not think they were Men. Definitely not Orcs or Uruks.”
“Well, we will leave that for the nonce. They have passed Gondor’s
borders. We need not concern ourselves further. But tell me, Faramir,”
and the Steward turned towards his youngest with such a look that he
might have laughed at Faramir’s dropped jaw, if he did not sense
something disturbed his son, “what have you seen?”
Faramir gasped for a moment, then blushed furiously. “I had a
dream.” He too shivered and Boromir ran and brought back a blanket,
covering Faramir’s legs.
The Steward did not move or say a word.
At last, Faramir, outflanked spoke quietly. When he had finished
telling of the dream, Denethor sat back. “Get your brother a glass of
A week went by, and every night, Faramir was tormented by the dream.
Some times it came two or three times in one night. At last, Boromir
could stand it no longer. His brother’s eyes were dark-circled and red.
He followed Faramir into his rooms. When his brother looked at him in
surprise, he said, “If I sit by your side as you sleep, mayhap the
Valar will give you one night’s rest.”
“Thank you, though I deem it not necessary. The dream will come whether I will it or no.”
“Be not so down-hearted, Faramir Rest while you may. I brought a
book with me, one of the Dagorlad. I hope to find something of Isildur
in its passages. Sleep now.” Boromir pulled a chair up to Faramir’s bed
and sat on it, steaming brandy in one hand, the book in the other.
Faramir looked upon him with some skepticism, then shrugged. “If you
insist on being stubborn, then I will debate you no further.” He
shrugged off his outer clothes, took a clean night robe from the press,
donned it and crawled into his bed.” After a moment’s hesitation, he
spoke. “Would you read me some of it?”
Boromir smiled, remembering days gone by. “It will keep you awake.
You will question everything I read and we will be up till dawn.”
Faramir snorted, rolled over and pulled the covers over his head.
“At least you could leave only one candle lit,” he said testily.
The battle raged for seven years. Boromir read well into the night,
once in awhile noting that Faramir seemed to sleep peacefully. Often
his mind was fortified by the daily skirmishes noted in the book, but
too oft did his mind wander as the details took some joy from the
reading. At last he found his eyelids heavy. He thought upon returning
to his own rooms, his own bed, to sleep, but he had promised Faramir he
would not leave. After a bit, his eyes burned. He closed the book and
laid it on his stomach, leaned one leg against the arm of the chair and
He could smell the Orcs! He could hear the screams! How awful. How
terrible it was to watch Elf after Elf fall, to see Elendil himself
fall, and, oh! To see Isildur cut the Ring from the hand. The dream was
vivid. He woke, startled, an exclamation just loosed, but, thankfully,
Faramir did not wake. Boromir picked up the book and put it on a nearby
table, stood and stretched. He looked down upon his sleeping brother
and smiled. There was a hint of the child he once had been in the way
the lips lay slightly open, the hair tousled, the hands twitching in
some dream world. He hoped it was not the sword dream.
He walked about the room for a few minutes, heartened that he was fully
awake, then sat back down and picked up the book. Within moments, he
slept once more. This time, he felt it, in the very marrow of his
bones. The eastern sky, above Mordor, was growing dark, but it was not
from the loss of Anor; it was a malevolent darkness that spread out
from it and over the Ephel Dúath, slowly coming closer and closer to
the Pelennor. His breath hitched as growing thunder shook the room. He
tried to turn away from the horror of it and finally found himself
facing westward. To his delight, there was a light there still,
lingering as if it was fighting some force; it brought a smile to his
face and a moment’s peace. But the light shimmered as if alive and a
voice came from it. At first, Boromir could not understand the words
and he chafed at his ineptness. He strained further and the voice
cleared, though it still seemed far off. He heard the words and
shivered in his sleep. Doom. It was the only word that he really
understood. Imladris and Halfling were unknown to him, but Doom. He
knew doom and what it meant. The book fell from his lap and he stood
Faramir still slept, but Anor was awake and tingeing the window with a
reddish light. ‘Rain today,’ he thought to himself. Boromir stretched
and walked over to it. A shiver ran down his spine as he looked at the
Shadow Mountains and remembered. ‘I must leave – and soon. I must go to
Imladris and find this sword and this Halfling and turn this Doom to
victory for Gondor.’
“I am awake. Did you sleep well?”
“I did. No thought of the dream. I feel rested at last. But, Boromir… You had the dream?”
His older brother chuckled. “You have Father’s gift. I had the
dream. When we go to Father to break our fast. I will ask him to send
me to this Imladris” Faramir’s face fell. “You do not think I would let
you go? It is dangerous.”
“And serving in Henneth-Annûn is not?”
Boromir felt the sting in the words. “I am heartier than you, Faramir. I only take this because of the fever.”
“It is long gone,” Faramir snapped. “Do not use that as an excuse!”
Boromir bit his lip and turned his back to his brother. “We will let Father decide. I will speak of it no more.”
Faramir threw his covers back, laved his face, and put on new
clothes. He spoke not a word and grimly left the room. Boromir
A/N – 1) Faramir calls Galadriel the ‘Mistress of Magic’ in TTT:
Book 4: Ch. 5: The Window on the West. 2) FoTR: Book 2: Ch. 1: The
Council of Elrond - "In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark
and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered,
and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:
Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.
Of these words we could understand little, and we spoke to our
father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith, wise in the lore of Gondor.
This only would he say, that Imladris was of old the name among the
Elves of a far northern dale, where Elrond the Halfelven dwelt,
greatest of lore-masters. Therefore my brother, seeing how desperate
was our need, was eager to heed the dream and seek for Imladris; but
since the way was full of doubt and danger, I took the journey upon
myself. Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered
by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had
heard, but few knew where it lay."
“So it comes to this,” Denethor said quietly, “ I must send one or the other of my sons on this quest?”
“It appears so,” Húrin smiled sadly. “Of course, you could send me. I have had the dream also.”
“Though you are a great warrior, Húrin, the journey will be long and
arduous. Boromir speaks rightly; he is the one fit for such a mission.”
“You cannot send Gondor’s Captain-General.”
The Steward watched as his eldest son shifted in his chair. He knew
Boromir did not like them talking about him in such a fashion, as if he
were not in the room, but this was too serious a matter to be overly
concerned about hurt feelings. Faramir did not seem to understand that.
His youngest squirmed. “I had the dream first and more oft than
either Húrin or Boromir. I am familiar with finding my way in strange
places. My woodland skills are beyond reproach.”
Faramir spoke quietly, but Denethor could feel the tension flowing
from the boy. “You only want to see another Elf,” he gently chided.
“That is true, Father! Besides Faramir, most of what you speak of
you learned from me.” Boromir laughed and Faramir’s eyes rolled
“And it would be true also, Father” Denethor noted Faramir’s taut
jaw line as the boy spoke in his low, quiet voice, “But Lord Húrin is
correct, Gondor needs her Captain-General. Better I should go.
Besides,” and finally Denethor noted a twinkle in his youngest’ eye, “I
have a better sense of direction.”
Boromir made to protest but Denethor stayed him with but a gesture.
“The matter has been placed on tomorrow’s Council agenda. You are both
invited. We will listen to the Lords’ thoughts and we will decide.” He
watched Faramir’s shoulders sag and noted Boromir’s concern. Obviously,
both thought the other would be sent. He sighed and stood, walking to
the window. “Would that I had had the dream.”
Húrin’s brow rose. He saw the strong back of his Steward
straighten and asked in alarm, “You would not consider going yourself!”
Denethor turned back and looked at the three men in his chambers.
Húrin was a great warrior indeed, but his time had passed for wandering
in the unknown reaches of the world. Boromir was Captain-General and
most needed at this time. Faramir, though not a child, did not have the
stamina for such a long journey, though he did have the heart and, it
seemed, the right.
That very morning, he and his sons had poured over what maps could be
found. The archivist were told to continue the search as there was
almost nothing once one crossed the River Gwáthlo, the Greyflood as the
Rohirrim called it. Tharbad, if he remembered correctly, had been
flooded so badly during Turin’s Stewardship that the port finally
closed and the people dissembled. The bridge had been washed away or
collapsed; he could not remember which. A few scratches on paper,
showed a river or two, and a town or two sprinkled across the paper,
but naught of note. If this Imladris was near Fornost, it would take at
least two months time to travel there. None knew how populated the
North was; the Palantír would not see that far. Then another two months
to return. Denethor could not hope for such a speedy trip; at the least
his son would be gone four months, more likely five. December. Mayhap
he would return by Mettarë, or earlier.
“Boromir,” his eldest stood next to him in but a moment’s time, “This blackness came from Mordor?”
“It did. From there.” He pointed to near where they both new Minas Morgul stood.
“Father,” Faramir stood next to them, sensing that Boromir would be the
one chosen. “Send me. I beg you. I have seen the dream almost every
night. I know it in my very bones.”
Denethor turned, his face grim, his lips pulled into a taught line
across his face. “We will listen to the Lords,” he said patiently, “and
then I will give my decision.” He put his hand on Faramir’s arm. “You
will obey me.”
Faramir blushed and Boromir cursed. Denethor continued, “I have not
forgotten your last foray against my will, Faramir.” He walked away
from them and sat at his desk. “Have you met with Mithrandir?”
Faramir blanched. “He is not in Minas Tirith.”
“You have met him elsewhere in days past… perhaps he has been to Henneth-Annûn?”
Faramir drew his shoulders back. “I have not seen the wizard since last year.”
“Father,” Boromir interrupted what was surely going to turn into
another of the nasty ‘wizard’ battles that had become more frequent
since Mithrandir’s last visit. “Is there anything known of Imladris
besides the fact that it lies north? Faramir and I have spent the last
week with the archivists and have found not a word. Even the scrolls of
the Battle of the Dagorlad are vague about the Elves that fought
“Vague indeed. Yet, you looked in the wrong place, my son. Perhaps
if you had opened a tome of the men of Númenor you would have
discovered part of the answer. Tar Minyatur, Númenor’s first king, had
a brother. Faramir, you must know this! Elrond Halfelven, a renown
loremaster even to this day. Elrond is said to live in Imladris.”
Boromir shivered. “Another wizard!”
“Nay. Loremaster. An Elf.”
“So he will be difficult to find?”
“I think that assertion is correct. But we will discuss this no
further. Both of you, and you Húrin, join me for the breaking of the
fast on the morrow, then we will join the Council.”
The Council met and fruitless were its deliberations. It was still
undecided when the Steward dismissed them, for Denethor had despaired
of receiving a wise judgment from his Council. Most of the Lords of
Gondor were appalled to even think that their Captain-General would
desert them at this most difficult time. They had been badly frightened
by the attack at Osgiliath. Many had hitherto not believed Denethor,
though he had spoken again and again of the encroachment of the Enemy’s
forces and the need for more men. At least, because of this, the ranks
of Gondor’s army would be fortified; each Lord pledged another number
of their own men to Gondor’s main forces. The total came to almost a
thousand. ‘Yet,’ Denethor thought, ‘we lost almost five hundred at
Osgiliath, and they well-trained men compared to what we will be
getting from the fiefdoms. Never the mind,’ he thought to himself, ‘we
will have them trained quickly and out in the field before Yáviérë.’
Boromir was in Denethor’s chambers almost every hour of the day,
haranguing his father to give him the quest. Faramir brooded in the
Great Library whilst trying to find maps of better quality for the
journey. Húrin hardly knew what advice to offer his Steward and all of
Minas Tirith felt dread fall upon them. Many heard of the rumors of the
unknown assailant at the battle, and, as rumors go, the tale became so
embellished that it seemed four hundred riders on black horses with
flames issuing from their mouths and eyes red as the fires of Mount
Doom sought and turned the bravest knight into a mound of boneless
flesh. The riders’ cries, it was said, could be heard all the way to
Minas Tirith; many, Húrin said, told that they too heard the cries and
shuddered in fear. None however stated they were so frightened as to
hide under their cots, yet, they told of soldiers doing such a thing.
Even worse, and this was too true, that the cries turned soldiers
against themselves and each other, some falling on their own swords in
despair. Denethor shivered himself. The tales were beginning to
undermine his knights.
There would be one more meeting – three hours past midday. He would
make his decision sometime this morning and would speak it at the
Council. Faramir and Boromir were told to leave him; he needed time to
ponder this decision and their constant verbal sparring prevented him
from concentrating fully. He smiled at the thought, ‘They are almost as
when they were children. ‘Let me go. Me first, Ada. It is my turn.’’
But tears filled his eyes. How he wished they were still young and not
able to be sent on fell deeds such as this.
Finally, he went to the parapet and looked out upon the Pelennor. The
bow of the ship that was Minas Tirith was empty. Húrin, in his wisdom,
had ordered nuncheon served in Merethrond. Only his knights still stood
about, guarding the Court of the Fountain. He would send Faramir.
Boromir’s battle skills were desperately needed. Though Faramir was by
far the weaker, he would endure. The Steward decided he would send a
company with the boy… ‘Boy. Yes, still in my thoughts Faramir is a boy.
How can I send a boy into the wild?’ But Faramir was a Captain of
Gondor. Well-respected, loved by his men, and capable. The others who
had captained Henneth-Annûn had left the hidden fortress weak. Faramir
had brought it to strength. It was now a thorn in the Enemy’s side.
But he could not send Boromir. He made his way back towards the Hall
when he staggered and found himself slammed forcefully against the
Tower wall. More and more he was assailed by this weakness of body. He
must sleep; he could not remember the last time he had slept. But
keeping watch in the Tower, holding the Palantír and making it do his
will – this was what was needed to save Gondor.
Slowly, his breath returned to him. He opened his eyes and saw
before him the Anduin. His head spun as he watched, in horror, the
scene before him. Once again he saw it, Boromir in a boat – dead.
A/N - I wasn’t going to go with anyone else having the dream, but
the Muse thought it most appropriate. In HoMe VII, it even states that
Denethor had it. I couldn’t quite go that far!!! “A dream came many
months ago to the Lord of Minas Tirith in the midst of a troubled
sleep; and afterward a like dream came to many others in the City, and
even to me. Always in this dream there was the noise of running water
upon one hand, and of a blowing fire upon the other; and in the midst
was heard a voice, saying: Seek for the Sword that was broken:” HoMe:
VII: Verse VI: The Council of Elrond.
A blackness settled upon him, squeezed his
heart, and filled him. His chest hurt. His eyes burned. And yet, duty
still called. No matter that his body warred against him or that his
mind would leave him at times. Duty called.
The only thing these days that gave him surcease from the assaults
about him was the stone, the globe that constantly called to him. It
was the only thing that did his bidding. The only friend he had. His
brow furrowed at the thought. It was only a stone! It could not be a
But when he held it between his hands and plumbed its depths, he
found he had control. He had lost control of every other aspect of his
life, of the lives of his sons, but the stone would obey him. He could
wield it easily; had been able to wield it with ease for at least the
last ten years. It showed him what he needed to see, though it would
still not show him his sons. This Elven gift was the only thing that
kept him sane as horror and war loomed ever closer.
Sometime this past year, he had lost hope. He could not say the
precise day nor the hour when it was taken from him. But he knew it was
gone, and that knowledge left an ache in his heart that at times bled.
Especially when he looked upon Boromir. Had his dreams or visions or
whatever the hated things were, been true? Would Boromir die? And soon?
He closed his eyes as the memory engulfed him, caused his knees to
betray him. With eyes still closed, he leaned against the Tower wall.
Boromir lay in a boat – of Elven make, of that he was sure – with his
sword clasped to his breast, his eyes shut in death, as the boat took
him, flowing down the River to the Sea. Denethor bent over in horrified
grief as agony once again assailed him through the vision. Sobs choked
him, but he could not stop the sight. He saw Boromir’s beloved hands
clasped in a death hold on his sword; hands that oft clasped his own in
joy-filled greetings. He saw the face, deathly pale; the same beloved
face of his eldest that consistently lit up with such a smile that Anor
itself hid in shame. He saw the arrows at Boromir’s feet; arrows of his
enemy laid in homage of a valiant deed. Boromir’s face lay serene and
at peace as the vision brought it closer to him. But he was dead.
Boromir was dead!
“My son is dead!” He wept aloud as his chest felt pain like unto the
thrust of a sword piercing it. “Nay! Nay! Not dead. This is but a
dream. It can be changed. This must be changed!” He would do as Boromir
asked. He would send him to Imladris, to the Elves, and as far away
from the Anduin as east is from west. And Boromir would bring back to
him the weapon the dream spoke of. The sword that was broken. Denethor
would have it re-forged and the Enemy could once again be vanquished.
But this time, with Boromir wielding it, this time the Enemy would be
soundly defeated, destroyed, and Minas Tirith would be safe. He could
go to his final rest in peace. Boromir would sit upon the Chair of his
ancestors and rule Gondor. Faramir would stand at his side, freed from
the wizard’s wiles, and all would be right. Gondor would be saved. He
could rest in peace.
He fell to the ground, totally exhausted, and wept. It was there
that Boromir found him, raised him to his feet, and held him close. “I
am taking the Quest, Father, Whether you will it or no. Gondor
desperately needs help, but if no help will avail us, then at least I
will return with answers. You need this, Father. Faramir is too weak;
the fever comes and goes. We know the journey will be long and arduous.
He could not endure it.”
Denethor tried to speak, but Boromir put two fingers over his lips.
“Hush. Let me take you to your chambers. There is still some time
before the Council reconvenes. You will have time to regain your
strength. You must be strong when you tell them I will be taking the
Quest. They will whimper and whine and say Gondor can ill afford the
loss of its Captain-General, but you will tell them Faramir will take
my place. He is worthy of it, Father. I know you have thought upon this
long and hard. I know you agree with me. I can see it in your eyes.”
He moved his arm around Denethor’s waist and began moving his
father forward, towards the Tower. Denethor let him lead him, exhausted
in his grief. When they reached Denethor’s chambers, Boromir motioned
the servant away. He brought his father to his bed and sat him upon it.
Kneeling, he removed Denethor’s boots, then he helped him to stand. He
removed his cloak and tunic, took off the heavy mail amidst Denethor’s
protests, and gently pressed his father to lie upon the bed. Covering
him, he bent low and kissed his forehead. “If it is not too unpleasant,
I would sit with you for a bit?”
Denethor closed his eyes; tears slipped between the closed lids. “Faramir?” he whispered.
“He is in the stables. His horse threw a shoe. He will be here shortly, if you so wish?”
Denethor nodded. “Please. I would tell him myself. Before the
Council meets. He will be gravely hurt. I would spare him the
Boromir’s eyes burned with unshed tears. He pulled the chord and
the servant entered. “Please send for Lord Faramir. He is in the
stables.” The servant nodded and left. Boromir turned back to Denethor,
but his father slept.
The Steward’s eldest leaned against the bedpost and wept bitter
tears. Within the space of a what seemed like a heartbeat, Faramir was
at his side, cradling him, whispering words of comfort, for what,
Faramir knew not, only that Boromir’s sobs tore his heart into a
thousand pieces. At last, Boromir realized Faramir stood with him. He
looked at him in wonder. “You came.”
“I always answer a request from Gondor’s Steward.” He smiled as tears streamed down his own face. “Boromir, why do you weep?”
Boromir bit his lip, then clutched Faramir tightly to him. “I found
father by the Tower wall. He was distraught, almost mad with what
appeared to be grief. I had to help bring him home. I know not what
horrors assail him. Faramir, we must find out what it is that has
caused so many changes to him. Will you help me?”
“Of course. Here, sit.” He pulled a chair up next to Denethor’s
bed, waited until Boromir sat, then sat himself on the floor at
Boromir’s feet. “What is it you want me to do?”
Boromir’s chin shook. Should he tell Faramir or let Denethor tell
him? Nay, he could not. It would be a disservice to Faramir and to
Denethor. What could he say? Holding his hands out before him, he
splayed them open, then clenched them tight shut. Heaving a heavy sigh,
he spoke quietly. “I love you, Faramir. More than I have loved any
other. Would you please remember that?”
Faramir pulled himself closer to Boromir, knelt before the chair
and cried aloud, “Where are you going? Is father sending you to Mordor?
Or to Minas Morgul? Are we starting an offensive against the Enemy?”
“Nay. I am still Captain of Osgiliath. Faramir, it is just that my
heart has been heavy of late. Your dreams, and then the same dream
coming to me, have set my thoughts awhirl. Father’s decision will be
known to the Council this afternoon. I want you and me to be right with
one another before the decision is announced. No matter what he
decides, you will remember, I love you?”
Faramir looked long and hard at Boromir and suddenly, Boromir felt
as if Denethor looked upon him. Faramir’s brow rose. “He has decided.
He is sending you.”
Once again, Boromir splayed his hands, then clenched them. “He has
decided. He is sending me. You will become Captain-General until I
return.” Agony slammed against him as he watched his brother’s
shoulders slump. “Do not be angry with me, please.”
“I will not. If that is his decision, I will abide by it. How can I not? When will you leave?”
“Be not so cold. Scream at me. Throw invectives against me. Anything but this, Faramir. I cannot stand this iciness.”
“I am not being cold, Boromir. Pragmatic. I somehow knew, as soon
as the dream came to you, that father would send you. Why not? Are you
not the…?” He stopped; he would not go there. He would not let those
thoughts of inadequacy and failure pass his lips. He knew his father
loved him dearly; they just did not understand each other. He stood and
pulled Boromir to his feet. Embracing him fiercely, he whispered, “I
love you with all my strength. What can I do to help you? When will you
Boromir hugged his little brother tightly. “At first light, I
think. Father and I have not discussed it. I will go alone. Faramir!
Please. It is best this way. Secrecy is uppermost on this Quest. No
other should know. If I leave with a company, tongues will wag. I
cannot allow that. When I saw Father on his knees by the Tower, I vowed
I would go to save him. That is my only wish, Faramir. To save him and
you and Gondor… and our City. And I must go alone.”
“Faramir,” the strength of the voice surprised Boromir.
“Father. It is good to see you,” Faramir stood. “I am sorry I did
not come immediately, but my horse threw a shoe whilst I was riding,
and I took him to the smithy. Are you well?”
Denethor nodded. “Your brother thinks I am a child and has put me
to bed for a nap.” Denethor chuckled dryly. “I should have him thrown
into the dungeons for it, but I can be magnanimous today. Do I not have
both my sons at my side?”
“You do. Might I bring you some brandy?”
“Nay. Help me up, Faramir. I would speak with you.”
Boromir nodded, gripped Faramir’s shoulder tightly, then left them.
Denethor took a deep breath. “You have already discerned why I sent for you.”
“You are so like me,” Denethor said through clenched teeth. “I am sorry.”
“Why, Father? It is an honor to know you think me like you. You are
a great and wise Steward. I can only hope to support you the best I
“I would use some excuse as to why I send Boromir in your stead –
that the fever still harries you, that you are not as strong as
Boromir, that you are needed in Ithilien – but all these would only be
excuses. I will tell you outright and you help me decide if I have
Faramir sat in the chair Boromir had vacated. “I will listen,
Father. I cannot second-guess your choice. You know more than I of the
comings and goings of the Enemy, where the greatest need is, what
should be done. But I will listen, if you wish.”
“I wish.” Denethor looked down at the covers and smoothed them out.
Then, embarrassed, he looked up. “You have dreams, Faramir. You always
have. I too dream. I dreamt I saw Boromir in a boat, drawn down the
River by the current, past Minas Tirith and headed out to the Sea. He
was not sitting.” Denethor gulped back a sob. “He was dead, Faramir. He
lay dead in the bottom of the boat, with his sword broken in his
Faramir shuddered. He took Denethor’s hands in his own. “So you send him away from Gondor to spare him this fate?”
“I do. The time of the dream is now. He is of the same age as he is
now,” his brow rose in horror. “He must be saved, Faramir, at all cost.
Do you not agree?”
“I do. Remove him from Gondor, send him North, and he cannot ride the River to his doom. Have you told him?”
“Nay! And I will not. He must go with courage; not be afraid of a
fate that may not be, a fate we can save him from.” His voice grew
strong and fierce. “We can save him, Faramir.”
A knock interrupted him. Boromir opened the door. “The Council is
to meet in one half hour’s time, Father. Might I help you dress?”
“Come in, my son. Faramir understands and agrees with me. You will
take the Quest. I will tell the Council. When do you think it best to
“Tomorrow. At first light. The need is very great, Father. I think
it best I not wait any further. Besides, once I am gone, Faramir might
receive respite from the dreams. What say you, my brother?”
Faramir stood and pulled Boromir to him. “I say I will be with you at first light and send you off with a warrior’s fare well.”
“Thank you, Faramir. Thank you.” He choked on the last words. “I am sorry.”
“Nay! I fully agree with father. You are the one who can fulfill
this Quest, find the sword and bring it back to Minas Tirith. Find the
answers to the riddle the dream presents.”
“I will, Faramir. I promise.”
They let each other go, sorrowfully. Denethor pushed the bedclothes
back and stood up. “Now, if one or the other of you would help me with
the mail. It is a little heavy.”
Once he was dressed, the three men moved to the family’s dining
room. They ate quickly and quietly, all lost in thought. When they
finished, they walked down the stairs, Denethor in front and Boromir
and Faramir behind him. They walked into the Great Hall together,
Denethor in the middle, Boromir on his right and Faramir on his left.
The Lords of the Council stood and greeted them. Húrin stood next to
“We have discussed many things this day, but none more important than
the dream that my sons have had. I have decided to send Boromir to the
North to find this Elven stronghold and bring back answers to the
“How can you do this based only on a dream?”
“What will Gondor do with its Captain-General off on some misbegotten quest?”
“We will not send our sons to Minas Tirith while your son goes off on some lark.”
The last statement of all those thrown at them by the Council
incensed Faramir beyond his ability to hold his tongue. “Boromir goes
off on a dangerous Quest to find help for Gondor. He will be going
alone. He will be going to places we do not even have maps for. He will
be risking his life for Gondor. It is not a lark.” Faramir’s fury
quelled them all. Not often did the youngest son of Denethor speak at a
Council meeting. They sat in amaze and a few in some slight fear.
“Faramir speaks truly.” Denethor spoke so quietly, some did not hear.
“You insult my son by your words. I have told you before, you may
insult me, but you will never insult my sons. The Council is
dismissed.” He turned and walked out of the Hall, Boromir and Faramir
striding quickly to follow him.
“You were splendid,” Faramir said.
“Because I spoke the truth? I have warned them before, Faramir. I
will not countenance this lack of respect. Now, let us to my chambers.
The archivist has found one more map that I think we should view.”
They spent the next hour pouring over a map as old as the Citadel
itself. At last, Denethor sat back in frustration. “Naught! It is as if
none of our people ever rode beyond Calenardhon. At least the maps to
the Fords of Isen are complete; after that, my son, you are on your
own. Somewhere to the North lies Imladris. I have no further
“I could travel up the Anduin towards Beorn’s people...”
Boromir sat back in surprise at the vehemence of Denethor’s
response and the fear in Faramir’s voice as they both shouted at him.
He held his hands up. “Peace. I will travel through Rohan, if that is
Faramir sat back, eyes misting; Denethor stood, moved around the
desk, and held his eldest by the shoulders. “You will travel West to
Edoras, then to the Gap of Rohan and North, until you find Imladris.
You will return the same way. You will stay away from the Anduin.”
Boromir nodded, his face still open in shock and surprise. Denethor
realized they had almost let loose the secret reason for sending
Boromir on this Quest. “Stop at Meduseld. Be wary though, I have seen…
I have heard disquieting things about Théoden’s counselor. After your
audience with Théoden, send me a missive as to your thoughts. I fear
for the alliance between Gondor and Rohan; I must know Théoden’s
“Mayhap there are still settlements near the old port of Tharbad. I
will find others who will help me on this Quest, never fear, Father.”
“I know you will. I would have you ask a boon of Théoden. I believe
he will give it, if for naught but memory of the friendship we once
shared. Ask for a horse; a horse that is fit for a long journey.”
“But, Father, my horse…”
“Your horse is fit for battle, a true warrior’s horse. But you do
not go to battle, Boromir. You go on a long journey and must have a
suitable horse, one that is accustomed to traveling the grasslands of
Calenardhon. Further west, the forests of Enedhwaith are gone; you will
be traveling upon land west of the Isen that has been devastated for
more than an age.”
“I will do as you ask. I am sure Théoden will find a suitable mount. Now, if you will excuse me, I must finish packing.”
A/N – on why Boromir was sent. Besides the fact that many believe
Boromir ‘forced’ Denethor to send him, there is nothing that
substantiates that in the books. I have never found, either in any of
the Tolkien books, nor in fanfiction, a ‘binding’ reason why Denethor
sent Boromir. So, the Muse expounded this theory – that Denethor ‘saw’
his son dead on the Anduin, and – to protect him from such an end –
sent him as far from the Anduin as possible. Poor man – didn’t work! If
you have quibbles over this – I swear it is not NOT canon… however,
there is nothing mentioned of such an event that would make it
The mountain air was refreshing, after the
stench of Orc and the fear of the unknown assailants. Denethor had
named them Black Riders and so they would be known. But none of that
would be thought of this afternoon. The brothers Mir were saying their
farewells in the only place that ever really mattered to them – the
small copse above the City where they had always shared their grief,
their joys, their loves.
As they lay in the sweet-smelling grass, Faramir began to weep,
quietly, but not quietly enough for Boromir not to hear. “You hold some
secret in your heart that causes you pain?”
Faramir nodded, not even bothering to wipe the tears away.
“I will not ask, since you deem it unfit to tell. However, I would
ask you to have some hope, little brother.” His sad smile was missed as
Faramir turned his back to him. “This grief is beyond endurance?”
Faramir nodded again.
“Is there naught I can say to bring you comfort?”
Faramir turned back and leaned full upon his back. He bit his lip and shook his head.
Boromir’s own head bowed. After a small grimace, he looked up. “The
sky is beautiful here, Faramir. It takes my breath away sometimes. Do
you not ever wish to fly? I do. I sometimes see the peregrine and think
how wondrous it must be to spread one’s wings and let the wind take one
off. No duty to hold oneself to the earth.” He paused, knowing Faramir
understood duty, but then continued, “The view here is never enough for
me. I want to see it all, unhampered by mountains and such.” He pulled
on an unlucky eyebrow. “I think Nana felt the same way. Have you…” He
chuckled. “Of course you have read her poetry.” He looked over at his
brother, eyes lit in joy. “You did not think I read her tome?” Cuffing
Faramir on the side of his chin, he laughed aloud, “I am not as
dull-witted as you might think. I do, occasionally, read.”
Faramir’s smile finally broke and Boromir sighed in appreciation.
“That is better. Put these thoughts of grief from you for the
nonce, Faramir. If truth be told, I need a moment of joy, of peace. My
heart misspeaks this Quest, but I must be about it. If I dwell too long
in thought, I will quake in my boots. Do not tell Father,” he smiled
Faramir struggled to sit up; now understanding Boromir's need, he
pulled himself from the malaise that weighed him down. “I would be an
eagle, I think, if given the choice. Peregrine dwell too close to the
mountains. Eagles fly over the mountains, but also the plains, and far
over the sea. They can soar for hours. I think I would need more than a
few moments flight. Their eyes see far. That is another thing I would
like. To see as far as…” His chin shook and a sob escaped his lips. “I
would see to the ends of the earth.”
“You would follow me, high in the sky, as I trudged through the miles that lay before me?” A gentle laugh.
“I would watch you and laugh as you wandered, lost, amongst the plains of Rohan.”
“Rohan is not my concern, little brother. The road, though not
good, is still well marked. It is once I leave Rohan and enter the
lands beyond… Father says the Great West Road meets the North-South
Road and is called by some the Greenway, it is so o’er run with weeds
and grasses.” He cuffed Faramir’s chin again. “Besides, I would have
you stop this constant haranguing of my ability to read signs and
“You know as well as I that you have some small difficulty with
direction. I think, if Mindolluin were not at your side, you would not
know which way was east and which west.”
Boromir tried to look stern and failed utterly. “You have spoken
with Beregond?” His raised eyebrow at Faramir’s nod looked quite
comical. “He is an untrustworthy aide!”
“Be that as it may, remember – moss grows on the north of trees…”
The youngest brother had not a moment to finish his sentence ere
Boromir was on top of him, flailing at him in mock rage. The brothers
tussled for many long moments until Faramir’s kick landed a little too
harshly upon Boromir’s stomach. “I’m sorry,” Faramir quickly held his
brother close. “I did not mean it to land.”
Boromir sat still for a moment, collecting his breath, relishing
the feel of his brother’s arms. So warm and comforting. He had spoken
rightly: Faramir and Denethor were hiding something, and it did make
him quake. For these two to be afraid for him… What had they seen, his
kin that were so foresighted? “It is my fault; I did not duck.” He
Faramir let him go and lay back upon the grass, nursing a bruised thigh. “You landed a few kicks yourself,” he laughed.
“Something to remember me by.” Boromir’s laughter rang through the mountain.
Faramir sobered and lay back down to hide his face. “I would come with you. Would you change your mind and take me?”
“I cannot. Gondor does ill enough with my absence. And Father will have need of you.”
Faramir almost choked. “I think not. We are too at odds, these days, to be of much use to one another.”
Boromir turned to him, pulled him from his reposing position, and
held his arms tightly. “Then you must change that! I speak truly,
Faramir. It is Gondor’s weal we speak of now. You and he must converse
easily and with respect for each other. You cannot lose the love he has
for you, but you grow close to losing his respect.”
Faramir glared at his brother, then relented. “I have oft been
grateful for your mediation. I will do my best. I do listen and obey,
when I can. There are times, like the new order he has given of
trespassers, that I disagree vehemently.”
“You understand, do you not, why he has issued such an order?
Gondor is in the last throes of this battle. We must do everything we
can to protect her. Thus, keeping strangers from our borders is of the
“Keeping them from our borders is one thing: murdering them, once they are found, is another.” Faramir fairly shook with rage.
“You will obey him, whether you agree or not. Spread the word. Let
all who come close to our borders be told of the new order. That should
spare lives. Post signs. The Orc cannot read them, but those who can
will be warned and will keep away.” Boromir shook his head. “I
understand your reluctance. But anyone who enters Gondor’s borders
nowadays does so with an evil purpose in their hearts. Do not be swayed
by soft voices and gentle words, little brother. You felt the Black
Riders evil; they will sway others who seem fair to their ways. I would
not have you go out, innocent to these things.”
Faramir snorted. “Let us speak no further on this issue. I will
continue to speak with Father in its regard in hopes of having it
rescinded, but I will obey. And I will post signs.” He snorted again,
“But I fear the Orcs will pull them down as soon as I post them.”
“Then repost them. It is a little enough task to save a life. Now, what did you bring to eat?”
“Me? I thought you brought the basket!” He smiled at Boromir’s look
of chagrin, stood and walked to a nearby tree and pulled forth a pack
hiding behind it. “Only the best as a last…” He swallowed hard and bit
his lip. “It is a fine repast. Let us eat.”
“Beregond,” Boromir spoke quietly, “what am I to do with you?”
His aide smiled. “I could go with you.”
“Nay. As I have told the Steward, stealth and surprise are my
greatest allies in this. I go alone.” He paused, lay down the shirt he
was folding, and walked to his aide’s side. “I could make you a captain
“You know my feelings on that score, Boromir. I would serve in the
Citadel, if I might. Not one of the guards of the Fountain; perhaps
with the Third Company?”
“It shall be done, but this is against my wishes. Your loyalty has
been a gift for me, Beregond.” He walked back to his kit and began to
fold the neglected shirt. He dropped the shirt again, put his hand to
his forehead, scratched it, and looked up at his aide. “Damrod and
Mablung will be at Faramir’s side at Henneth-Annûn, yet I would have
him have a friend when he returns to the City for Council meetings and
such. I ask a great favor of you, Beregond. Will you befriend him?
Protect him whilst he is in Minas Tirith? Especially with my father?”
“With my life, Boromir.”
Beregond’s Captain-General sat at his desk and wrote new orders,
then handed them to his aide. “Give these to Húrin, after I am gone.
Now,” he stood once again, “is my horse ready?”
“Good. Let us finish this and leave. Faramir awaits me at the stables.”
“Did you see Lord Denethor this morning?”
“I broke my fast with him.” Boromir’s eyes grew moist. “He rues this decision. I fear there is something he is not telling me.”
Beregond folded and packed the shirt, then closed the kit. He began
dressing Boromir in his over tunic, then draped the Horn of Gondor over
his captain’s shoulder, and strapped the scabbard to Boromir’s belt, at
last, handing over the sword.
Boromir looked upon it with fondness. “You had it sharpened.”
“The smithy spent the whole afternoon on it yesterday. It could cut Mindolluin marble, if you were so inclined.”
Boromir laughed. “I will miss you,” he said fervently. “Take care of my brother.”
“My word is my oath, Captain-General.” Beregond hesitated a moment, “Boromir, you will ever be in my thoughts.”
Boromir grasped the warrior’s shoulder and tightened his grip, then
let go, swung his kit over his shoulder, and walked from the room.
As he passed through the Courtyard, soldiers greeted him. Some even
stepped forward to offer well wishes for success. The news had flown
through the Citadel, once Denethor had announced it to the Council. ‘So
much for secrecy,’ he thought wryly. ‘I wonder if the Enemy himself
knows of my plans.’ He tried to quell the shiver that threatened to
overtake him, but managed only to keep it from laying him flat upon the
marble stones of the Courtyard.
Denethor watched from the window as the two
brothers met in the Sixth Circle below the Tower window. The morning’s
breaking of their fast had been stiff and stilted. Faramir and Húrin
came too, but Húrin left as soon as he was done with his meal. Faramir
stayed but for a short time; Denethor knew his youngest felt his
father’s need to speak with Boromir unaccompanied. Once they were
alone, they spoke quietly of the maps and the route Boromir would take,
a bit about Rohan and what might be expected; Denethor gave written
notes for Théoden and Théodred, then, at Boromir’s urging, spoke of
Faramir and his place as interim Captain-General. In fact, now that
Denethor recalled it, Boromir spoke almost exclusively of Faramir. He
chuckled. ‘He thinks I will denigrate the boy unto estrangement.’
Finally having reassured Boromir, the time to leave had come. He
embraced his eldest, his heir, for only a moment, thoughts of
Finduilas’ leave taking filling his very being. He held himself in
check as long as he could, not letting Boromir feel the shivers that
threatened to engulf him. Once Boromir left him, he walked slowly to
the Tower room, ignored the calling of the stone, and walked to the
After a few moments and recognizing the pain his two sons were
enduring, he turned in sorrow to the stone. Rohan spread before him:
endless plains still as the dead, summer winds failing them; lands
brown and scorched by the drought that was plaguing the horsemen’s
reign. It would not be a good harvest for the Men of the Mark. Hunger
would cause deaths this winter, deaths Rohan could ill afford.
‘Though,’ and the thought made him shiver in horror that he even gave
it a thought, ‘the children and infirm will die first. Rohan will still
have its warriors. But the roads are clear, though it is strange there
are no patrols on them. Yet, I see no Orc activity.’
Grief bubbled up inside him. ‘Children and infirm.’ The Houses were
overcrowded since the Battle and the orphanages were filled beyond
capacity. He would have to meet with Húrin this forenoon and make
further arrangements. There were at least four large, unoccupied
mansions on the Fifth Circle that would be suitable for orphanages. But
where to get those to care for the children? Then, there was the matter
of the memorial. The count of dead finally had ended at four hundred
and ninety-two. And most of them would be sorely missed. He shook
himself in anger. ‘Think not of them as warriors; think of them as
husbands and fathers and know the sorrow of their passing is more
grievous to those they leave behind.’ He bowed his head in wonder.
‘Nay. Their passing is more grievous for it leaves Gondor even less
prepared than before. And if Gondor falls, then what good is it for
them to have husbands and fathers? They will soon all face the Enemy’s
wrath. It seems all my machinations at defense are lost.’ A sob cut
through him. ‘Everything I do is for naught.’ His hands slipped from
the globe as his knees failed him. “Would that what I do for Boromir is
not for naught,” he cried aloud.
Faramir walked forward as he came out of the Seventh Gate onto the
Sixth Level. “Your horse is ready. There are a few choice gifts in her
bags. Treat her well and tell the Rohirrim to send her back to us. It
will be one sign that you have at least reached one stage of your
journey. Though I give it not much hope, Boromir. You have gotten
yourself lost on the Fourth Level.”
The laughter that burst from Boromir’s mouth caused many a guard to
look at him in wonder. “You are an impertinent brat, did you know
“I did. As you said, I learned everything I know from you.”
Another outburst of laughter greeted this witticism. “If I could, I
would take you with me,” Boromir said with a great smile, “for I am
sure I will need some laughter in the coming months.”
Faramir drew in a sharp breath. “I would come, if you would allow
it.” His throat tightened and Boromir felt the sorrow flow from his
“Is there aught you wish to speak to me about?”
Faramir shook his head, “Nay.” Boromir began to mount; Faramir’s
hand stayed him. “I would ask you to watch your back. You have told me
the same so many times that I wonder if you remember it yourself.
Boromir.” Tears welled in his eyes, “Come back to me.”
“What have you seen, Faramir?”
“I have seen nothing,” he gave a short laugh, “except for waves and
cloudy skies and heard only words of Halflings and banes.” He grimaced
in mock surprise. “I see you take the Horn of Gondor and yet, how am I
to be Captain-General if you take the guarantee of it, the very symbol
of the title?” He kept his tone light.
“You would give it back to me when I return?”
“Of course,” Faramir smiled. He sobered once again. “Take it with
you and wind it at every stage of your journey. I will hear it; you
know I will. Boromir,” he pulled his brother to him and hugged him
fiercely, “I love you. Come back to me.”
Boromir nodded, returned the embrace, and quickly kissed Faramir on
the brow. “I will hang Damrod and Mablung if ill comes to you. Remind
them of that.”
Faramir smiled through his tears. “Come back to me,” he mouthed as
Boromir mounted and rode off. The youngest son of Denethor ran to the
embrasure and watched his brother’s slow progress towards the Great
Gate. The Horn’s call echoed through the City as Boromir passed out
through the Gate and onto the Pelennor. Faramir bent his head and wept.
“He will return to us. We have cheated death, Faramir. I thank you for agreeing to this.”
He turned in surprise, “How could I not, Father! If this will save
Boromir, what matters it if I had the dream first, or fifty times, or
not at all. I have not had the vision you did. Are you sure?”
“Visions cannot be confirmed until the time of the event passes. I
know not if it is genuine; but I dare not tempt fate by keeping him
Faramir lunged forward and held his father.
After many moments, Denethor pulled him away. “It is time for you
to return to Henneth-Annûn. As soon as the first missive arrives, I
will send for you.”
I have been poisoned. If not for Éomer, I would now be dead and
buried in some unmarked grave in the foothills of the White Mountains.
As it is, I am barely recovered, but Éomer says we must leave tonight.
He has kept me hidden for a little more than a fortnight now in a room
in the back of a smithy, nursing me until I was well again. I am not
quite well, but rumors fly that I am still in Edoras and we must be
away. He is sending me with one of Théodred’s marshal’s, Grimbold, to a
paddock on the west side of Edoras. There we will be able to procure me
a horse and I can be on my way. Grimbold will ride with me to the Fords
and Théodred’s camp. I will be most happy to be away from this place.
I should have known though, and chide myself thoroughly! I tried to
be careful, once I saw her, but… I speak of the Rohirric healer who
tried to murder me last year. She is now healer to the snake who
advises Théoden. I was concerned, as soon as I saw the high status she
now has. Éomer is most distraught after his promise to you, Father,
that she would be punished. She has been exalted instead, but there is
naught he can do.
Father, you asked me to assess Théoden’s state: it is bad, very bad. He
looks as if death sits on his doorstep. His advisor is a worm of a man,
you remember him! Wormtongue, Éomer calls him. I cannot blame poor
Théoden for anything that has happened to me. He has lost his wits. I
fear Gondor will receive no aid from Rohan, but Éomer has vowed that he
and his men will answer your call. He said Théodred is of like mind.
I must be away now. Grimbold waits and even another moment may
prove a fool’s thought. Éomer has promised to place this missive in the
hands of a trustworthy rider. I will write again, once I reach
Faramir – watch over Father for me.
Your devoted son and brother,
Mettarë came and went and still there was no word from Boromir. Faramir
had returned to Minas Tirith, without being summoned, in hopes that
somehow Boromir had returned. But there was no sign of the eldest son;
the Mettarë feast was subdued and tense. At last, Faramir left for
Henneth-Annûn and Denethor returned to his lonely vigil in the Tower
Húrin had stopped asking where his lord spent his nights. The Warden
was appalled at the look of his Steward: gaunt, sallow-skinned, and
nigh unto listless. If they did not hear from Boromir soon, the poor
Warden wondered if Denethor would survive. How could the boy not send a
missive? What was wrong with him? There would have been ample
opportunity whilst he procured a horse in Edoras. Théoden would not be
disinclined to send a rider to the Rohirric garrison at the Mering;
then one of the riders of Gondor could have brought the missive here.
He did not understand. Mayhap he should send a rider to Edoras himself.
‘Nay,’ he thought, ‘I will send a rider to the garrison at Halifirien.
They will tell me when Boromir passed by. That will give me some idea
of when he might have entered Edoras.’ He shivered. ‘He must have
passed through Edoras, unless there was evil in that place. How would
he have known to keep his distance? Perhaps Éomer? The boy patrols the
Eastfold; mayhap he met Boromir and advised him to skirt Edoras? But
that makes no sense. Gondor and Rohan are still allies. I will send a
rider and ask for… I dare not ask for news from the Rohirrim at the
Mering. If Théoden is no longer Gondor’s ally, then it would be ill to
ask. If we have lost Rohan’s friendship, then darkness is truly upon
us.’ He swore a particularly vile curse and sent for Hirgon.
Characters: TA 3018:
Aerin – wife to Beregond and mother of Bergil
Avranc – Council member
Beldis – Hurin’s wife
Belegorn – aide to Denethor
Beregond – aide to Boromir
Brodda – Council member
Celebrin – Boromir’s horse at Osgiliath
Elatan – engineer
Galdor – Captain of Amon Din
Gwinhir – Captain of Pelargir
Hador – Captain of Cair Andros
Hundor – Council member
Isilmo – acting Captain of Osgiliath
Mardil – Captain of Amon Anwar
Meneldil - engineer
Oromendil† – Captain of Osgiliath
Ragorn – member of Denethor’s personal guard
Tarcil – Lord of Lebennin
FROM 3017 (and still around)
Amlach – Henneth-Annûn Captain
Amlaith – Denethor's third aide in three years
Argon – Master Warden of the Houses of Healing
Baranor – Aide to Captain Guilin at Amon Dîn; father to Beregond; Recalled to
Minas Tirith and made tutor for esquires.
Belegorn – Lieutenant under Mardil at Amon Anwar; recalled to Minas Tirith as
Beregond – Guard at the Causeway Forts; promoted to Captain of Amon Dîn; demoted
and made Boromir's aide.
Damrod – Ranger from Henneth-Annûn
Derufin – Of Blackroot Vale - Aide to Boromir
Dirhavel – Healer - Osgiliath