Young Boromir

by Varda

Chapter 16: 
A Message Of Ravens

Ignoring cries to stop Boromir spurred his horse forward and plunged down the slope after Galán. He left the band of Rangers behind as the lean grey, its head outstretched, reached the bottom of the hill in a shower of snow and began to ascend towards the headland, and the orcs.

For all his desperate courage, Boromir’s mind was in turmoil; he wanted to catch Galán and save him from death. But more than that, more than anything, he wanted to find Faramir, held captive by the orcs somewhere in the trees.. It was the thought of saving Faramir that drove him on into danger…

The snow was thin on the bare rocks, whipped away by the cold wind and, Stormwing flew swiftly across the broken ground. Behind Boromir the Rangers, desperate to protect the Steward’s son, commenced their charge at a shouted command from Dánach. Boromir did not look back, but kept his gaze fixed on Galán. He could see that he would not overtake the cadet before he reached the far line of willows marking the river’s edge. And Boromir could see the orcs running out in front of the trees to take aim with their curved black bows…

Giarsa stood below the circling flock of ravens and closed his eyes. In the darkness he could see an orb, a ring of flame, and inside his head he could hear a voice; the Voice of Sauron…

‘Servant of The Eye, you have done well…’
This time the Voice was not wheedling. It was full of grudging praise but stern and commanding. It said;
‘You, Giarsa, have accomplished every task I have set for you. No orc bred in Mordor has shown such loyalty…’

Giarsa did not reply. His head was on fire; always the Voice brought pain, as if some element of his long buried Elvish nature still lingered and caused him to recoil from the Dark Lord….

‘..but now I give you the most important task of all. The sons of Denethor are in your power. One you will spare, for he is headstrong and out of too much love and loyalty to Gondor I will make a snare to trap him…..’

Giarsa kept his eyes closed; the white hot pain in his head grew even more intense. The voice, harsh with command, went on;
‘.. the other son you will slay. Now hearken to me!’

Giarsa opened his eyes and looked up into the sapphire sky, the pain almost unbearable. The ravens were wheeling slowly with wings outstretched. Sauron ordered him;
‘The youngest son, Faramir, you must kill, for he is too wise and mild to be of any use to me. The eldest, Boromir, you will allow to live, even at the cost of your orcs. Even…’ and the Voice betrayed a hint of cruel pleasure;
‘at the cost of your own life…’

And then Sauron laughed, a sound like a hammer on an anvil.
‘For I can see the path down which I will lure this Boromir…..’

Despite the cold of the winter day sweat ran down Giarsa’s face; he felt invaded by some deadly poison; his very being was eaten away with fever. As always when Sauron commanded him he experienced again the torment of his possession by the Dark Lord. But through all his wretchedness some spark of Elven consciousness had not died and awoke now. He opened his eyes and looked up. The ravens were leaving, flapping slowly across the river to the East. Giarsa clenched his fists and the sickness seemed to ebb away.

Close at hand Faramir crouched in the snow, shivering with cold, the guards standing around him. In the distance Giarsa could hear the shouting of the orcs as they loosed their arrows at Galán and Boromir, but for now he ignored them. With uncertain steps, swaying as if he had fought a great battle, he walked over to Faramir and snarled at the guards to leave them. Unnerved by the killing light in their leader’s eyes they ran away through the snow. Giarsa wound his powerful fist in Faramir’s light tunic and lifted him up off the ground. The boy’s grey eyes looked up trying to show no fear, but Giarsa could feel Faramir’s heart beating like a trapped bird.

‘It seems…’ said Giarsa in a dead voice ‘..that my master Sauron has no further use for you….’

And with his free hand he drew out his long black-bladed knife…