1. this and that....
The Courtyard of the White Tree sparkled in the brilliant sunlight. The cheering of the crowd seemed to shake the very stones beneath his feet. The Steward of Gondor took a deep breath and closed his eyed for a moment. The sight of his people, happy and at peace, was almost too much to bear.
A moment later, he thought. If Aragorn had come crashing out of the trees a moment later, had not caused the Uruk captain to turn and drop his bow, he would have been a dead man. He would have died dishonoured and unforgiven. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes.
Then, a moment later, Boromir stepped forward and set the crown on Aragorn’s bowed head. “My King,” he murmured, for Aragorn’s ears alone.
All had gone except Arwen. Aragorn, full of years, and as full of wisdom and glory as of years, had laid himself down on the bed prepared for him in the House of Kings. She touched his face gently. “My husband, would you go before your time and leave all who love you?”
He smiled. “You know I do not leave all who love me. Be at peace. One waits for me who taught me much, of courage, duty, and of love. He taught me how to die.” Elessar closed his eyes and gladly left the circles of the world.
The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm
In silence, they stood by Balin’s tomb. “They are coming,” the book whispered. The stones beneath them suddenly thrummed like the skin of a great drum. Doom, doom.
The clatter of many feet running. Orcs. With a sibilant, ringing caress, the Company drew their swords. Desperate howls of defeated enemies.
Doom, doom grew louder. Shadow and flame grew in Gandalf’s mind. On the bridge, it came, a creature of the depths and of nightmare. Thunder as the bridge broke asunder. Falling, the whip cracked and coiled, pulling the wizard into the abyss.
Tears fell on the stones, outside Gandalf’s tomb, in silence.
Valour with Honour
Pippin felt insignificant. The vast hall was filled with shadows. The Steward, hunched over, grey hair veiling his face, looked up. His eyes burned with a loss too great to bear and hatred for all those who still lived. Yet Pippin glimpsed a shadow of Boromir’s nobility and passion in the wreck that was Denethor.
“You saw my son die?” Pippin’s throat closed in panic. How could he speak of it? His eyes fell to the horn in Denethor’s lap. Boromir, on his knees, had looked into Pippin’s eyes, pain mingling with love, courage with hopelessness. Then he had struggled to his feet.
Pippin stood up straighter and spoke through his fear. “I honor your son’s memory, for he was very valiant....”
Maggot didn’t like the looks of him and liked him trespassing on his land even less. Big and black he was, like his horse, and covered in a dark cloak with a hood that hid his face.
The voice came from out of the depths of the hood. “Have you seen Baggins?”
Suddenly he was terrified. The voice was cold as death and dark as the night that surrounded them. Maggot wanted to throw him off Frodo’s track. He thought of his wife, his sons, his farm. He heard a voice he barely recognized as his own say, “The Ferry….”
(Note: this was written for a challenge –what if someone had been honest or told someone something that they didn’t know in the original books. What might have been different?)
***** A Gift Boromir sat by the fire, restless. The others slept. He idly picked up a piece of wood. “Just another day,” he had told an inquisitive Merry, who had somehow found out that today was his birthday. His fingers stroked the bit of wood. From the time Faramir had been quite small, he had always carved something for Boromir’s birthday. Boromir treasured each offering, from the first clumsy little wren to the last beautiful, fantastic dragon. Boromir took the knife from his belt. When Merry woke the next morning, his hand encountered something lying beside him. Lifting it into the light, he saw a perfect carving of their faithful Bill, pack, pans and all. ***** Thaw He had reached Rivendell at night, wet and tired, shivering in the unseasonable frost that rimmed the golden leaves and slicked the pavingstones beneath his feet. He never felt warm after that. When he reached for the ring, a thing of fire, the ice in their eyes had entered him. On Caradhras, snow and suspicion, Aragorn’s eyes colder than the snow. He pled with them to turn south, but they pressed on. The frigid water of the pool, the mines a winter of grey and silver stone. Now his blood seeped into the frozen ground. He was cold, so very cold. Then a hand, rough and warm, touched his face. Aragorn’s eyes, burning with love and grief, blotted out the sky above him. ***** A Touch Gimli had mistrusted the Man since first he clapped eyes on him at Elrond’s Council. Tall and lordly, too proud, needing help but unwilling to ask for it. They were often at odds on the journey, Boromir used to commanding and the dwarf always willing to take offense. The Man seemed remote and sad, not an easy companion. By Balin’s Tomb, all changed. Gimli sunk to his knees, mourning the shining realm of crystal and mithril turned to ash. His companions were silent. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder. Compassion, endurance, courage for the task ahead flowed into him from that silent touch. He had known Boromir then for what he was, and nothing that happened later changed Gimli’s love. ***** Midsummer It was the end of Midsummer’s Day. Elrond stood on the White Tower, looking West. The sun hung on the horizon, and one star shone in the sky. The wedding was the zenith of their triumph over the Shadow. All Middle-Earth rejoiced, full of songs and triumph. Now the sun was sinking. Elrond saw, yet again, the evening awaiting his daughter and all the race of Men. Midsummer would turn to fall and withering, their brightness going down to the another shadow. He heard a step behind him. Then Faramir was beside him, looking to the West. “I come here to speak with my brother. There is life beyond the shadows, though we cannot see it.” After a moment, they turned and went back to the wedding feast. ***** Mirrors of the Soul He looked down one last time upon his brother’s face. How he knew it was the last time he could not tell. He was not a visionary, like his brother. He had the practical intellect of a soldier. Yet he knew in his heart that he would never return to the White City, never look into Faramir’s eyes again. Before him he saw only darkness and death. So he looked down for one long moment, drawing strength from his brother’s eyes, alight with tears. Faramir’s eyes had always held his soul in them for all the world to see. From the moment Boromir had peered over the edge of the baby’s cradle and seen those eyes, he had loved Faramir was a fierce, protective passion. He remembered the day they had made paper boats to send off into the current of the Anduin, to freedom and adventures they had both longed to share. How Faramir's eyes had shone with delight. He remembered Faramir’s eyes the day their mother died. It was the same raw pain, the same desolation he saw now. He bent down a fraction toward his brother, wanting to say some word of hope, something to erase the pain in those eyes. The words died in his throat. He saw, reflected in his brother’s eyes, the vision of darkness and death that had come to him. He tore his eyes from that mirror and, turning his horse away, left the White City forever. ***** Withered They think that I am dead. Fools. I remember everything. They treated me gently, in spite of their insults. I saw they intended to plant that young usurper in my place. A spindly sapling, but not ill-favored. A promising sprig. I suppose it will survive its first winter in the courtyard. I rest in Rath Dínen. All that I saw in my long years hung about me like ripe fruit, but they could not pluck it. They pitied me. That small one, Pippin the Wizard called him, said I looked ‘mournful.’ Cheek. They were the ones to be pitied. ***** Vision Elrond could see many things. He had seen them on Cerin Amroth, seen Arwen’s doom sealed as they stood entwined, elanor and niphrodel like small stars scattered at their feet. Like stars themselves, clothed in white and silver, they plighted their troth. Did they see the darkness around them? Years had passed, that shadow gone. Now he joined their hands. Those who stood by saw all the stars of that midsummer evening blossom in the sky as Estel embraced his Evenstar, hope fulfilled. Elrond saw an abyss of time between them, a marble tomb and a green grave on Cerin Amroth. Beyond that he could not see. As he held their hands in that moment, Elrond saw many things. Yet he envied them. ***** Losses Plop. Another raindrop dripped off the end of Merry’s nose, falling onto the piece of lembas. He sighed. “Makes it less dry, at least,” said Pippin. “What do you miss most, Pip? Last night I dreamed about ale. Rosie had just put the mug down on the table when I woke up.” “Longbottom leaf,” Pippin said sadly. “I miss that. Being warm. Sausages. Hot water. Remember having a bath any time you wanted?” Merry nodded, then looked across the camp to where Frodo sat by himself, his face pale and his eyes closed against everything around him. “I miss Frodo.”
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.