Young Boromir

by Varda

Chapter 19:   Friendship and Revenge

The fall into the icy water stunned Faramir and drove the breath out of him. He struggled upwards to the surface in terror, but his arms were numb from t he cold and his hands battered by the ragged edges of the ice floes. He reached the surface but almost at once his clothes and his injured leg began to drag him back under water. He fought upwards again, but then he began to lose all feeling and the cold dark depths of the river began to draw him inexorably down….

It was Abartha who saw him sink for the last time. The scout was cantering along the mud flats below the headland, his tall powerful roan shattering the thin ice between the reeds with its great iron-shod hooves.

‘Dánach!’ he shouted at the leader of the Rangers, standing up in the stirrups and pointing
‘There he is! There is Faramir! He is in the river…..’

And without waiting he spurred the roan out into the deep water and swam the horse, himself slipping off into the water and holding onto the saddle, out into the stream, to where he saw Faramir go down…

Other Rangers braved the slope and urged their horses out into the ice-bound river. Abartha surfaced with one hand gripping Faramir’s tunic, desperately holding him above water. Partly swimming and partly towed by their horses, the Rangers eased the boy into the shallows and pulled him up onto the bank. Abartha stood shaking with cold and looking round. Where was Boromir….?

Relief surged through Boromir. Faramir was alive! Nothing else mattered, now he could bring his little brother home to their father and it would all be as it had been before….but as Boromir ran through the sloping stunted willows to the riverbank he suddenly stopped.

At the spot where he had left Galán a figure was kneeling in the snow by the dead Ranger. It was Siamsa. He had taken off his cloak and spread it over his comrade, and had taken his cold hand in his own living one. He seemed oblivious of the search for Faramir, heedless of the fleeing orcs, mindful of nothing but his dead friend.

No, thought Boromir; all would never be the same. Not for him, nor Faramir, nor Siamsa. Nor even for their father, fretting uselessly at home awaiting news. Boromir could hear from the shouts that they had rescued Faramir from the river; he should go to him but he could not. He took a step towards Siamsa, who raised his head and looked dully at him.
‘We swore to avenge Cianda’ he said in a dead voice. Boromir replied;
‘And I swore to kill both of you, when we got back to Minas Tirith, for what you did to my brother...’

A ghost of a smile passed over Siamsa’a face. He said in a bitter voice;
‘Then your vow is only half attained; finish it….’
Boromir answered sadly;
‘Orcs, not I, killed Galán. He threw his life away…’
Siamsa bent his head and a tear fell onto the snow.
'He feared disgrace' he said. 'we were to ride down upon the orcs together, but I....' Siamsa paused ' courage failed, and I left him to go alone. I left him to die alone.'

‘I’m sorry…’ Boromir started to say but the young man looked up quickly, his grey eyes lit with hate.
‘Don’t pity me! You’ve only come here to gloat. All you want is revenge, Boromir! I will be hanged when I go back to the city...’
Boromir held back his anger and said quietly;
‘I did not come to gloat, and I do not want revenge. There will be no hangings....'
‘Then what do you want?’ cried Siamsa. Boromir gazed at him for some moments then said;
‘I want a truce.’

Siamsa stared at him, and Boromir himself was taken by surprise by his own words. After he had killed the orc leader all resentment and desire for revenge had seeped out of him. Now he wanted only to return to the city with Faramir and for this feud to end…he held out his hand to Siamsa and said;
‘I know you lost a friend and a brother today. But if you take my hand you will have another friend….if you wish it…’

He spoke awkwardly. It was not Boromir’s custom to entreat, but to command. He began to see the truth of something Faramir had said to him; that a leader needed more than just strength….Siamsa got to his feet and after a moment’s hesitation he took Boromir’s hand in his own and nodded stiffly.
'Let it be so, then, Lord Boromir. Friendship, not revenge...'

Just then two Rangers galloped up with Galán’s horse in tow and dismounting began to tie the dead boy’s cloak around him to prepare for the long ride back to the city. Siamsa watched with a sickly pale face. Boromir said to him;
‘Galán will be given all the honours of a Ranger.’ When Siamsa did not answer he asked;
‘Siamsa, is this over?’ Siamsa replied in a low but decided voice;
‘Yes, Boromir, it is over….’

The second bitter night was wearing on to dawn and the snow was falling thickly on the seven levels of the city of Minas Tirith. Denethor was chilled to the marrow, and his eyes blurred with gazing upon the dark orb in hopes of a sight, a sign, anything of his missing last a flicker ran through the dark glass. Denethor gasped and leaned closer, staring into its depths. He watched things unseen to all but him for a long time, then gave a great cry of joy and sank back into his chair and covered his eyes with his hand. The fires in the orb died away and the glass grew black.

Long the Steward sat, then looked up and seemed to rouse himself to get to his feet and leave. As he did so he heard a voice, although it seemed to become from within inside his own skull.....
'So, my lord Denethor, your sons are safe...'
'Yes!' cried Denethor, beset now with regrets that he had ever meddled with this great power....the Voice spoke;
'Thanks to me, your true friend and ally....'
Denethor said nothing.
'Now...' the voice went on, smooth and treacherous as a deeply running river.
'..for my reward...'

'You said you wanted nothing in return!' cried out the Steward. There was a swirl of sudden light and the voice, smooth and dark as black silk, answered;
'Of course I want nothing. Nothing but your friendship, Lord Steward.'
Denethor listened with a sinking heart. The Voice concluded;

'This is not over, Denethor...'