Friday the 13th Onlist Challenge

Middle-earth Superstitions

11. The Believer

"Our time here has been well spent," Aragorn said as they walked between the towering mallorn, back toward their pavilion. "But we cannot delay our departure much longer. The road grows more perilous every day we linger here."

Boromir looked about with the frown he had worn since they had entered Lothlorien. "I will offer no argument to that."

Aragorn smiled. "I thought not. I shall try to speak with the Lord and Lady tonight. If their counsel agrees with ours, we may leave tomorrow."

"No," Boromir countered with a peculiar sharpness, stopping in his tracks. Aragorn glanced at him curiously, and the other man ducked his head to avoid his gaze. "Not tomorrow."

"Why not? I would have thought you ready to set out this very moment, if you could."

Boromir hesitated, but Aragorn did not soften his gaze, willing him to speak of whatever new oddness troubled his mind. When he did speak, Aragorn's confusion did not abate. "Tomorrow is the second day of the second month of the year."

"Yes...?." Aragorn was surprised that Boromir's time sense had remained so keen while in the Elven wood. Even he had to concentrate to remember the date in the outside world. "What difference does this make to our plans?"

Still Boromir would not look at him. "In Gondor, the second day of the second month is considered highly unlucky."

"I have heard that tradition, yes." Aragorn shook his head, still puzzled. "Boromir, forgive me, but of all the men I have known in my life, I would have counted you among the least likely to hold with such beliefs."

"I am not such a man by nature." Boromir did look at him then, brows drawn as though defying any possible mockery. "I deal with swords and men, not the prattle of the oldsters in the market. My brother, however... he knows much more of these things than I, and when he was small, he believed such tales very strongly."

Such tales often held as much truth as swords and armies, but Aragorn only nodded an encouragement to continue. "But you did not. So how did you come to believe that tomorrow is unlucky?"

Boromir hesitated, and a moment later Aragorn understood why. "Faramir cursed me."

Aragorn's eyebrows rose. "I beg your pardon?"

"I told him there was nothing different about this particular day, that bad things were no more likely to occur than on any other day, but he was young and would not be comforted. So I told him that he needn't fear it, for I would protect him, and any ill luck would have to go through me to reach him."

He trailed off, but Aragorn was intrigued now by this strange glimpse into his companion's life. "And?"

Boromir's lips quirked, belying his heavy sigh. "And it did. That very day, I fell down two flights of stairs and broke both my arms. The next year, our arms master struck me by accident in the head, rendering me unconscious for three days. The year after that, my father's elderly hunting dog bit me several times on the face while I was asleep. I still have the scars."

Aragorn fought back a laugh as Boromir indicated the scar on his brow; he had assumed it was a battle scar. No wonder Boromir had never mentioned it before.

"... that winter I had left to take up my commission, and I thought that once I was away from Faramir, whatever ill luck plagued me would cease. But in the early morning of the second day of the month, we skirmished with a small band of Southron deserters. They gave us more trouble than they should have, and I received a wound that kept me abed until high summer."

The litany went on, delivered as a solid military report in strict chronological order, and Aragorn felt his eyes blink convulsively. He snapped his mouth shut when he realized it was slightly agape, and fought off his sense of creeping horror as Boromir's recital wound to a close.

"... and then sparks blew into my field tent, setting the maps and bedrolls ablaze, and three-quarters of the camp was in ashes before we could put out the fire. That was a year ago tomorrow."

Aragorn cleared his throat and met Boromir's eyes with a carefully neutral gaze. He did not know whether to laugh or cry, but he suspected that neither reaction would be welcomed by the other man. "I see."

"Yes."

"Under the circumstances," Aragorn said slowly, calculating Boromir's possible recuperation time for falls, arrow wounds, food poisoning, and anything else that could conceivably happen to him in Lothlorien, "I think perhaps we will need more than one day to prepare for our departure. Perhaps next week."

Boromir cocked his head, but at last nodded, and they continued on their way to rejoin their companions. Next week would do. Aragorn only hoped he was not being overly optimistic.

****

--Cori Lannam

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: HA Writers Group

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Rating: General

Last Updated: 09/07/03

Original Post: 06/15/03

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