Young Boromir

by Varda

Chapter 8: Love is Treason

'Boromir! Your brother is missing….Boromir!’

But before the servant could get any further Boromir was running, as fast as
his long legs could carry him, away down the wide entrance hall of the White
Tower, to his father. As he ran he said to himself over and over…

‘Faramir! Please, not you, not you….’

He did not need details; a wall of fear suddenly blocked out all light and
he knew without being told that something had befallen his brother. And in
every beat of his heart, he knew it was something to do with him….

‘Father!’

Boromir burst through the doors of the audience hall before the guards could
stop him and panted to a halt in the middle of the wide marble floor. A long
cold beam of winter sunlight fell through a window high in the roof and
caught swirling motes of dust. Beyond in the gloom of the great hall
Denethor sat at the foot of the throne of Gondor, his long pale hands
gripping the polished black wood of his chair. Before him, as on the
previous evening, stood Gandalf. Denethor cried in a voice sharp with anger;

‘Once again you defy your father, Boromir! What means this….’
‘Faramir!’ shouted Boromir. ‘What has happened to Faramir, Father….’

Denethor did not answer. His face went white, its deeply etched lines
showing his struggle to control his fear for his youngest son, and his wrath
at his eldest…..Gandalf spoke, his voice calm and dark like a pool deep in a
forest;
‘Your brother has gone missing, Boromir. He was to attend me in the library
for his lesson and when he did not appear I made enquiries and it seems his
horse bolted and carried him beyond the city walls….’
‘His horse?’ interrupted Boromir. ‘Dorcha? Nonsense….it is a child’s horse,
a pet…..’
‘Not Dorcha’ said a voice behind Boromir. ‘Your warhorse, Tréan…’

Boromir whirled round; standing in the shadows of the massive columns that
divided the great hall stood Dánacht, Captain of the Rangers in Gondor. Not
a tall man, somewhat shorter than Boromir but weatherbeaten and wiry with
dark hair unkempt as if he had hurried from training and dark, almost black
eyes that gazed intently at the young prince. Dánacht had slain men in war
and peace and was more skilled in arms than any warrior alive in Minas
Tirith. In spite of his agitation Boromir noted that when his own family was
in danger his father did not send for the Guards but for the Rangers….

‘What do you mean?’ asked Boromir hoarsely, but his mind was already racing
ahead, grappling with the terrible possibility that Tréan could have borne
his brother into mortal danger….

‘For some reason…’ Dánacht’s voice was quiet but Denethor at that moment
lost his self-control and shouted;
‘He disobeyed me! I ordered him not to go riding….’ He stopped and after a
moment of strained silence Dánacht went on;
‘…he mounted your horse and for another reason we know not it bolted….’ He
paused to let this sink in, to let Boromir envisage the steep road down from
the gate to the plain…then he added;
‘..the gate sentinels could not stop him and the horse took flight. The last
they saw he had almost reached the Rammas Echor…’
‘Was he thrown?’ asked Boromir desperately.
‘No’ said Dánacht. ‘He managed to keep in the saddle…’ Then he took a breath
and said steadily, aware of the what his words meant;
‘But the guardians on the Rampart fort saw him pass the dyke then be lost to
view in the wild woodland along the river…..’

Boromir could think of nothing to say. Denethor got slowly to his feet and
said;
‘Your brother is missing, Boromir….’

Faramir had passed the Causeway road many times and knew every inch of it,
but now he traversed it in what seemed like only moments, the rough flinty
path flashing past the horse’s hooves, the sky lurching sickeningly from
side to side. If only he had the courage to throw himself from the saddle,
he thought, but the horse showed no sign of slackening its headlong flight
and he knew the fall would kill him….

Low trees and whins began to fly past and he understood he was approaching
the Rammas Echor, the great defensive dike built to protect the home fields
of the Pelennor. Faramir’s heart twisted in fear; what if the horse plunged
down the slope into the great ditch beyond the high rampart? Desperate
voices called to him from the guard tower but he was dumb and unable to
reply. He had a glimpse of a black-clad sentinel trying to seize the bridle
and being thrown aside by the career of the great horse. Then he was through
the archway and out into the wide land that lay between the Anduin and the
homeland of the Pale. The causeway fell away steeply, curving and sloping to
the North. Untiring the great warhorse flew down it, iron-shod hooves
skittering on the worn stones.

Faramir’s mind had gone as numb as his arms, strained by holding onto the
cantle of the saddle and a wisp of mane. He had lost all sense of time and
did not know how long the horse had been flying, only that he no longer had
any hope of escaping this wild gallop alive. Tears dried on his cheeks and
his long fair hair was damp with sweat. Now too there was the threat of the
unknown, as the horse plunged into unfamiliar woodlands along the Anduin.
Braes covered with willow and birch fell away in endless slopes to the
distant sound of running water. Once, before the orcs began to raid this
land there had been forts and dwellings here and their broken walls still
rose from the ferns. But the horse just hurdled them and ran on, endlessly
on, into the winter forest…..

The end, when it came, was sudden and violent; Tréan, beginning to tire,
stumbled as he hurtled down the slope. He recovered his footing but then
thrust one foreleg into the empty post-hole of an abandoned guardhouse. With
a scream of fright he was felled, somersaulting and flinging the boy out of
the saddle to fall awkwardly on the leaf-covered stones. The ground rushed
up to hit Faramir on the side of his head, and he was plunged into
darkness….

‘I put you in charge of this search for Faramir….’ Said Denethor to Dánacht.
Then he turned an angry look on Boromir and said;
‘You are not allowed to go….’

But then his father noticed Boromir was armed, wearing his sword, as was
forbidden in the presence of the Steward. Before he could speak Boromir
said;
‘Your pardon, Father, but I will go. No-one can stop me from looking for my
brother…..’

There was a silence for some moments, then a bell began to toll deep in the
Citadel, an alarm bell. Denethor sighed and nodded, appearing to Gandalf,
standing silently by, to be suddenly older and frailer.

‘Very well, Boromir, go then and find your brother..’