When you cried, "Remember all for me!" I laughed, recalling other sights recounted to you, my brother. But finding this place lifted my heart, took my breath, erased all the stony beds and hungry days. If you could have felt what I did entering this enchanted vale!
Yet now the strangeness of the Elves lends unease to beauty. They see too far, remember too long, making alien even men who call them friends. Not your wizard. He is as you would remember, and strange enough. But this Ranger, like us yet unlike, I know not what to make of him.
I know how each would urge me, were they here, my father scornful, my brother passionate.
"The wizard has no care for Gondor."
"All Arda is Gandalf's care. How will we stand if all else falls?"
"What purposes our stewardship if Gondor is destroyed?"
Yet, alone in this strange Council, I must be undivided.
"Elvish concerns touch us little. Learn what you need but do not let wonder distract you."
"As you trust me, trust Gandalf!"
"You are Captain of the White Tower, the Steward's heir."
Perhaps my brother could embrace this quest, not merely consent to it. I cannot.
NAZGUL OVER ANDUIN
What does he think? What did he make of that chilling shadow more than any of the others, that he would almost speak of it? Gimli felt only its darkness not its breed, but Frodo knew more. How? How could a Hobbit recognize the overwhelming power that pressed us to the ground in Osgiliath? Fear that can freeze the strongest warrior should have no purchase among these folk. Can he know this evil and yet go on?
Aragorn says nothing that would frighten the others, nor would I have spoken first. But I must know what Frodo knows.
I have long known grief, for things lost and things now in peril: family and heritage, battles and friendships. Gondor.
I do not know how this thing took me, nor when. At the Council my oath was good, and I took comfort in honor until the Lady showed me the end of all comfort.
But I abandoned my honor on that accursed hill. Forsworn and grief-stricken, I sink into grim misery.
Sharp words rouse me. “Boromir! Help now!”
His suspicion cuts deep, yet the discernment comforts me, too. His command draws me back into the Fellowship and gratefully I obey.
There were but two. I would tell you if I could. I am sorry. You look so sad. It does not hurt now. I was weak. You have comforted me.
They are gone. What will become of them?
My king has forgiven me. Will my brother? What will you tell him? Our father was wrong. I am the weaker. He would not have been weak. I do not breathe now. Would he have died, too? I tried to protect him.
I tried to protect them.
Do not weep. You have brought me peace. I am glad you are my king.
No summons brings me gladly nor holds me long in Minas Tirith, not since you rode north. But I may not always make report through messengers.
By chance I was taken to him where he did not expect me. I thought Father shunned that courtyard with its dead tree, though you and I played there often, heedless. A while we stood silent, startled from our customary unease.
Into that stillness came your great horn's call, faint as imagining though he heard it, too. In fearful knowledge I turned unthinking to my father, but found the Steward bidding his Captain's secrecy.
STRONG AND WISE
Friend, for my part, he says. Frodo Baggins - the hafling of our dream has a name now - thinks me nobler than Boromir. Wiser. Stronger. He knows so little.
But I know... knew my brother. I knew his honor, his care for Gondor and pride in our House. His skill.
I know my worth, the more because that knowledge shone from him, overpowering Father's dark glances. His strength inspired me. His understanding drew me into full manhood when Father's dismissal seemed a boon. Yet even the Sword of Gondor fell to this... heirloom.
I will take the coward's way.
He wandered in the dark alone, weary and defenseless, until a shape appeared. A tall man it was and though his face was shadowed he was familiar. His voice commanded and comforted at once.
"The King is here, seeking you with all his strength. His voice and hands that held and eased me will lead you from your dark paths if you will heed him. Brother, for me."
Because his brother bid it he opened his eyes and saw the King's waking form. And where he had obeyed for his brother's love he now loved for his own.