What Once Was, Is Again
The melancholy lament for Gandalf continued well into the night, and the soft, sweet voices of the unseen singers were as whispers amongst the golden leaves of the mellryn, caressing the mournersí ears with a gentle touch that soothed aching hearts. A peaceful silence enshrouded the weary members of the fellowship, as one by one they settled into the welcome oblivion of much needed sleep. Not all succumbed to the mournful lullaby, however. Two restless spirits, Man and Elf, remained awake, each lost in their own private little worlds.
Legolas was sitting somewhat apart from his friends, resting his back against one of the ancient tree trunks as he added his voice to the song, his ageless eyes bright with unshed tears. Such grief was new to the immortal Elf who, for all his centuries of life, was still an innocent when it came to death. Legolas found that whilst understanding that Gandalf was lost forever was difficult, bearing the pain of his friendís death was even more so.
Boromir, too, had chosen to sit apart from the others, and was simply staring the ground, wringing his hands, seemingly lost in his own less than comforting thoughts. After a time, the Man of Gondor became even more restless rose and began pacing, mumbling to himself and carelessly dragging his hands through his hair as he became more agitated. Galadrielís invasion of his mind had left him both disturbed and even a little afraid. He knew she saw how dearly he loved his city and his people, how their hopes were fading and how much he felt honour bound to put that to rights. He knew also that she had read his initial doubts about Aragorn, yet would willingly offer his loyalty to the King, should he return to Gondor as such. What disturbed him, though, was that she also knew of his reluctance to see the ring destroyed, of his hope that it could be used to keep the White City safe. And even though he tried to resist acknowledging his darker side, the side in all men that was open to temptation, she easily saw his deeply hidden thoughts of taking the ring from Frodo if need be. Good and evil warred within the noble warrior, the battle allowing him no peace of mind and no chance to rest. He turned sharply to face Legolas when he felt eyes trained on him with curious concern.
ďAre you well, Boromir?Ē Legolas had seen the haunted look in the Manís eyes as he paced nearby and had stopped singing in order to offer what comfort he could to his companion. Although they did not know each other well, the sense of comradeship, and even some friendly affection, that had developed among the nine walkers, drew them together. Legolas was making to stand when his movement was stopped by a simple hand gesture and silent shake of the manís head, followed by an apologetic half smile.
ďForgive me, Legolas, I did not mean to disturb your mourning. It seems sleep has forsaken me this night. Perhaps a walk will ease my restlessness. I will leave you to grieve in private,Ē Boromir said with sincere compassion for his companion and making it was obvious that he did not wish to discuss the cause of his angst.
ďMay you find the peace you are seeking,Ē Legolas said, nodding silent thanks for the apology and accepting Boromirís need to be alone, he turned his eyes away and resumed his song.
Yes, the Golden Wood was a place of tranquility and safety, Boromir thought, as he wandered aimlessly among the trees of the ageless forest, but he knew there was really nowhere he could go to escape from his inner turmoil.
Now, not only was Gondor at constant war with the forces of Sauron, but the Elves of the once great Greenwood had been forced to the caves in the north by the return of darkness to Dol Guldur, and the Men and Dwarves of Dale and Erebor were also under threat. Isildur had much to answer for and Boromir could almost understand Aragornís fear of having inherited the same weakness.
Duty and honour had always part of Boromirís noble character and he found himself wondering how, when holding the power to defeat Sauron in his hand, Isildur had failed to do as duty and honour demanded, had failed to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom as Elrond had begged him to at the time. The battle had been won, but victory was snatched from them by the evil that remained in the ring, the same evil they now faced so many centuries later. It was not surprising that the Elves of the Last Alliance had felt betrayed, and, as Legolas had said when he, Boromir and Aragorn had spent an evening discussing their shared history, so many, Elves and Men alike, had died all but in vain.
However, that was in the past and the present battle is to save Gondor, an evil inner voice whispered, slowly but surely seducing him into believing the ring would be of more use if it could be wielded against the armies of Mordor. Had Isildur been right to keep it after all? To destroy it without doing so would be a mistake according to Boromirís increasingly clouded judgement. To keep his city safe, the ring needed to go to Minas Tirith, of that he was becoming ever more certain, just as he was beginning to believe it was his duty to see that it did.
After some time, he came across a grassy clearing, and decided to rest by the side of the small stream that flowed through it. The night sky was hidden by the dense canopy of the mellryn, but Boromir foumd he could easily imagine he was in Osgiliath, seeing the stars reflected in the smooth inky blackness of the water disturbed only by the occasional ripples of the current that swept the Great River towards the sea. This small stream would also become part of the Anduin, Boromir realized as he knelt on the bank and scooped some of the cold water into his hands and tasted its sweetness.
Looking about, he found a some twigs and a few large leaves, and proceeded to fashion a toy raft, as he and his brother had often done as children. He set the tiny craft afloat and watched it drift away, letting his mind follow the journey he knew it would take. First it would be carried by the current out into the Great River itself, then south to the rapids of Sarn Gebir, passing through the Argonath before moving on to the Falls of Rauros. Boromir felt a cold shiver down his spine as he thought of the power of the mighty falls, and he knew his little boat would not survive beyond them. It would not reach the slower moving waters to float lazily past Osgiliath, its passing to the sea to perhaps be sadly watched by someone standing on the bank.
This little boat would never see Minas Tirith, and a sense of foreboding enveloped Boromir as he wondered if he ever would see it again either. They had already lost Gandalf, and if the orcs were emboldened enough to try and battle the wardens of the Golden Wood as Haldir said they often did, then their journey south would be even more fraught with danger. The increasing possibility of their party being attacked could not be denied by the warrior Boromir was, and he knew Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli would be well aware of this also.
Such thoughts only served to increase his agitated state and keep rest further at bay, so shaking his head to dispel such an unwelcome notion, Boromir allowed thoughts of home and the warm welcome that awaited him from Denethor, and the even warmer one he could expect from Faramir, to flood his mind. There would no doubt be a wondrous feast of welcome with music, dancing and laughter before thoughts turned to the dark days ahead, but with the King returned wielding the Flame of the West, and Isildurís Bane in Denethorís possession, there would be great hope for the future. He and Faramir would lead their army to a well deserved victory.
Ah, Faramir. Boromir wondered briefly how his beloved brother was coping with the responsibilities that were placed on him in his elderís absence. With unswerving loyalty, he had no doubt that Faramir was showing nothing but the bravery, intelligence and skills as a leader and a warrior that Boromir knew he possessed. The Captain of Ithilienís Rangers is a formidable foe, he thought proudly, and will protect the city well in his brotherís absence. With these light comforting thoughts to chase the darker shadows away, Boromir lay back on the soft grass and closed his eyes as his bodyís need for sleep finally overwhelmed his restlessness.