Dark clouds gather and build into massive shapes stained with red, rolling across the sky, closing over like a lid. It is come, then. A clear cold voice sounds suddenly, a clamor in his ears, a thrum on his nerves. But then the words sort themselves and the message becomes known.
Directly from sleep he springs up, ready to set off at once, until he considers: whence? Where, or what, is Imladris? Within the cocoon of dream he knew, or thought he knew; now upon waking he does not.
He steps out into the wider dark—each step away from his resting place pulling him further from the dream, so that he stops and thinks to go back, to remember. But no, that would not help. He should tell his brother. Tell him what? It is a command, an answer, he feels sure. But—the question?
Faramir stands and looks up at the clouded sky. No stars will guide him this night.
"It came again, brother?"
"Yes." A pause. "How did you know?"
"By now I know each time you come marching toward me directly from your bed."
This earns a wry smile, and Boromir is glad to see it. But it fades all too quickly.
"I must go."
He looks at his brother, set square and determined before him. Younger though he may be, he is now a man full-grown, a doughty warrior in his own right. Yet doubt sinks in.
"We must ask Father for counsel on this dream of yours."
Boromir watches their father's face as Faramir tells him of the dream. He thinks he catches a glimmer in the Steward's eyes at Isildur's Bane, but he remains silent for long moments once the words are out. He does not immediately scorn his sons for troubling him with nonsense, their shared, unspoken fear; yet his silence is more foreboding.
In the hour after sunset Boromir stands in the court below the Tower. He catches sight of a light, pale and flickering, coming from the highest windows; something he has seen before, as have others, yet something of which he does not speak. He turns from it now, strangely dismayed. He wishes his father would come down and speak with him of what is to be done.
It is no wonder that his brother should be the receiver of this dream—Faramir is, by nature, a dreamer. He has left himself open to such portents, or imaginings, always reading old texts and listening to old tales. It must be the wandering wizard's influence. He begins to scoff at this influence, and at notions of messages borne in dreams, and foretellings, and anything other than the wisdom his own senses bring. Is that not enough to know that their situation is dire?
His eyes have turned unwillingly to the East. The black night is deeper there, and he imagines that he can see a red glow against lowering cloud.
The onslaught they have barely survived... it was not a chance mishap, he knows, and not the last. The first snapping of wolf's jaws at a foundering buck. How long can they withstand? How many lives of men must be given? How many are left to give? Anger rises in him, and fear. How long?
Something is needed to sustain them, some aid unlooked-for, some weapon untried.
Later as he lies near sleep his thoughts drift. The words of the dream come to him. He knows them well. They take shape in his mind, the images clearer with each repetition.
Running—he is running. They are close behind. He tries to call his men but his voice is lost, ripped away by the wind. He falls down a bank and seems to tumble far too long.
Suddenly he stops, not at water but on a sea of grass. A clear cold voice calls to him.
Seek for the Sword that was broken...
Boromir thrills to the sound, knowing it instantly. Eagerly he listens, hoping for some further words beyond the rhyme, but it ends as sharply as it began.
I will go. This pledge he makes, though there is no one there to hear it, the plain of his dream empty and meaningless.
As a door slams shut, he wakes. He rises and begins to pace, thinking back on the voice, the words, hoping to glean some new meaning, but feeling torn from the dream, further away every moment. He stops and sits upon the bed. Did I hear the message truly, or did I bring it upon myself?
He lies back down. Perhaps it will come again, if he is meant to receive it.
Water—a pool of water, clear and calm, its surface smooth as a mirror—eyes—watching him, limitless as the sky, seeing into him—he tries to turn away but cannot—sky—fathomless blue, turning, drifting slowly above—black branches frame deep stars—he hears the sound of water lapping—weight of regret—rest—deep calm comes over him, and he ceases to fight.
Bright sunlight and a lily in the garden
white banner floating with sable
slight but sturdy Tree
He sees his brother as if from above, walking in the sun.
old stones put back in place
Fare you well, little brother
With the dawn he wakes slowly, still half in dream for long moments. He grasps at the images in his mind and turns his head against the light from without.
Bells sound and reluctantly he opens his eyes.
Upon entering the court he sees his brother standing there, by the fountain, and dim memory prods him.
Fare you well
They walk toward the chamber where the Council is assembled. Just before they reach the door Boromir tells him: "I dreamed as well last night."
Faramir turns, and his fervent look almost sways him.
"Now do you understand?"
Again he nods, slowly. "One of us must go."
As he steps past and opens the door he does not look at his brother's face.
By the end Faramir has already accepted, has quelled his flash of anger and feeling of betrayal. He can be simply glad that one of them will go. But Boromir feels compelled offer an explanation, and perhaps a benediction.
"You were meant for other things, brother."