The long summer day had ended and at last the sun had retreated into the west to give way to the pale light of Ithil and the shimmer of stars. Late was the hour, and the greater part of the guests at the Golden Hall of Meduseld had retired for the night. Yet some few tarried to speak softly around the table in the flickering firelight and keep company over the last of the wine. Éomer King lingered with them in quiet speech with his sister Éowyn; often both their eyes strayed to Faramir, the Steward of Gondor, who sat with his kinsman Prince Imrahil and Gandalf the White. King Elessar remained also, smoking a pipe in the company of the hobbits, though Queen Arwen had withdrawn some time past with her father and her brethren. Legolas and Gimli also kept company with them.
"That was the last we saw of the fair river-daughter," Frodo was saying. "She waved to us still from the hill top west of the Barrow Downs; and then she was gone."
"Well, my dear hobbits, you've had many adventures since you left the Shire, and have met many strange creatures. But you'll have to go far indeed before you'll meet a greater wonder than Tom Bombadil, farther even than if you walked east of the sun and west of the moon," Gandalf said, with a twinkle, turning from his conversation with Faramir and Imrahil.
"Say you so, Master Gandalf? I would rather say that we have found wonders enough at the very doorstep of Rohan," Éomer said drily. "I for one shall not easily forget encountering the Ents of Fangorn, or the day that the Forest itself came to Helms Deep, or the diverse folk we have seen gathered in this Hall tonight, seemingly borne on the winds of tale and song from the mists of legend."
"For our part, Rohan seems quite wonderful to us, King Éomer," Frodo said. "This very hall is like something out of the stories we hobbits were told as nurselings. Your people too seem marvellous to us, especially the bond you share with your horses. Is it true that many among you can speak with their mounts in their own language?"
Éowyn laughed. "No, indeed! That is only a matter of legends and tales by the fireside. We do not speak with our horses, much as we prize them, unless it might be the mearas
, who understand the speech of men."
"Still, horse-friends we are in truth, Master Frodo, and dearly we love our cattle; they are oft as dear to my people as kin," Éomer said.
"All this talk of horses minds me of my Bill," Sam exclaimed suddenly. "Poor lad, he ran off when we were at that horrible pool outside Moria, and came to a bad end, I shouldn't wonder."
"He might have found his way home to Bree, Sam," Pippin said. "He was a clever enough beast, in his way. I think we ought to include him when we number our Fellowship, you know - after all, he set out with us from Rivendell too. Nine two-legged walkers, and a four-legged one. If Bill were here, we could count the Fellowship complete! Except for..." he faltered to a halt, looking stricken.
"Except for Boromir, you would say, Master Peregrin?" Faramir said softly into the sudden quiet.
"Yes," Pippin said in a sad voice. "Except for Boromir. I'm sorry, my Lord, that was not well said. I wasn't thinking, I'm afraid."
And now all the company were solemn and silent, looking at the man who so resembled his dead brother.
"Come, do not regret speaking his name, my friend. Indeed, I have long wished to speak of him with you and your companions. And now that the time is apt, I would have you tell me of his last hours."
Peregrin and Meriadoc exchanged glances and looked unhappy.
"Do not fear to cause me pain; already I have guessed something of the manner of his passing. In Ithilien, I told Frodo and Samwise of how I looked my last upon my brother. Grief there was in it, and yet some comfort too. In the moonlight his body came floating down Anduin, in a grey elven bark nearly filled with clear water. He had been arrayed for his last journey by loving hands, and a pale light shone about him. Though he bore many wounds, his face was calm as one who has accomplished some great purpose. Fairer he seemed in death even than in life. My heart was moved with grief and yet I sensed this was a blessed omen. I pray you, tell me all you know."
"I too would hear this tale. I beg you, speak," Prince Imrahil said.
"As you will, my Lords," Peregrin said, and Meriadoc also bowed low. In turn the two hobbits spoke, and told the tale of Boromir's final battle:
"We were separated from the rest at Parth Galen, and overtaken in the woods by a band of orcs. They would have taken us captive at once, but Boromir came upon us and fought them off. He slew many of the brutes, and got us free. Then he bade us run, and guarded our retreat. But soon we were cut off and surrounded by a great crowd of shrieking goblins, a hundred at the least. They taunted Boromir and shouted that they they would spare him if he gave up the halflings. But he defied them and would not yield us. He sounded a great challenge on his horn, and he looked so fierce that the Orcs were daunted, and fell back outside the reach of his sword."
"Then they shot many arrows at him from afar. Though he was grievously wounded, he fought on and made a great slaughter of the frightful creatures. At least a score of them fell by his hand. But at last they got past his guard and seized us. He cried out our names, and leaned against a great tree, and sounded his horn again. But his strength was failing, and the call was fainter. And that was the last we saw of him, before we were carried off. We hoped that he had escaped, but to our sorrow, we discovered otherwise at Isengard."
"That is all our tale, and it is a sad one, I'm afraid," Meriadoc sighed.
"No Merry, that is not all the tale," Aragorn said. "It falls to me, and to Legolas and Gimli, to speak the rest."
"Then it was you who arranged him in the boat as for a funeral?" asked Faramir.
"Yes, that is so. But there is more to tell. For Boromir was yet alive when I came upon him in the woods. It was as Merry and Pippin have said: he rested against the side of a great tree, and bodies of Orcs lay piled about him. He was pierced with many black arrows, and his sword was broken in his hand, but he had won a great victory, I deem. For even at the end, his enemies had fled before his wrath and none of his foes lived to oppose him." He paused, and his eyes were dark with sorrow and memory.
"I went to him, and he spoke to me. His last words were of Minas Tirith and his people. I swore to him that I would not fail his cause, and he smiled at me. And thus he died, with his hand in mine."
"Then he died at peace, " Faramir said. "You ease my mind."
"We could not bury him in the time we had," Gimli said gruffly, "Nor raise any memorial worthy of him. But neither could we leave him to the carrion. So we laid him in a boat that the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood had gifted us, and gave him to the river and the roaring falls. Would that we had the means to do better!"
"We tried to lay him out as his kin might have wished, and indeed he was fair in death as the heroes of old, with his long hair about his shoulders and tokens of the battle laid about him," Legolas said. "Then we sang him farewell as he drifted away from us down the swift-running stream."
"His kinsmen do thank you for your pains, my lords, and in your place none of us could have done better," Prince Imrahil said, and Faramir nodded his grave assent to this.
"What did you say of him, in your songs?" Faramir asked.
Now Aragorn and Legolas sang again the words that they had recited that afternoon, rowing on the river between the glowing cliffs of Tol Brandir. First Aragorn sang of the West Wind, and and then Legolas of the South Wind that came from the sea, and at last Aragorn ended with his call to the North Wind:
"From the Gate of Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls;
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
'What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the Bold? For he is long away.'
'Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought.
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.'
'O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.'"
"We did not care to sing of the East Wind, not then," Gimli said. "And we saw the wild waters bear him away from us, down the Great River toward the Sea."
"So it was that his horn was borne home to us, and thus it was given me to gaze upon his beloved face one last time," Faramir said softly. "It was fairly done, and fairly said, my lords."
Very grave he looked, and his eyes were sad. "And now, since even the East Wind has ceased to bring ill omens to us, I will finish your chant in my brother's honour." And Faramir sang these words:
"From the Sea of Rhûn the East Wind blows, across the lonely sands
Whispering tales of distant woes all through the Shadowed Lands
'What word from the East, O darkling wind, do you bring to me this dawn?
Have you seen Boromir the Brave, who from this realm is gone?'
'I used to see him laugh and sing, beneath the summer sun
He sang of deeds so high and proud, of battles he had won.
I seek him still in western lands, by sunlight and by starlight
No song I've heard since once he rode beyond the city's sight.'
'O Boromir! I call your name on the river's eastern shore
But to Anduin's fair banks, I fear, you never will come more.'"
On the last words his voice grew low and sad, and many of the company wept with him.
"Yet, it is not thus that Boromir would have us remember him, with bitter tears and sorrowful words!" Imrahil said. "For our hope has not failed, and all that he fought for has come to pass. Gondor will be renewed, as he dreamed."
"Take comfort, Faramir, for your brother made a brave end, worthy of the Captain General of Gondor, defending two innocents against the minions of evil. And much good came of it and led by devious ways to your present happiness," Gandalf said. "For he gave his life to save these two hobbits, and they in turn have requited the sacrifice. Had it not been for young Peregrin, Gondor might have no Steward today, and without Merry's help on the Pelennor Field, your Lady might have fared worse."
And on these words, Éowyn came to sit beside Faramir and laid her hand in his.
"Truly, you have the right of it, Gandalf, and my uncle also," Faramir said, and his smile was like the sun shining through rain.
Now he raised his clear voice again in song:
"Though seeking winds o'er many lands and waters now may blow
They bring no word of my brother back however far they go:
(O Boromir! You have gone before and I must still remain
Long shall be our parting, and my tears must fall in vain.)
I cannot see your resting place across the sundering seas
You will ride no more in Gondor's vales nor walk beneath its trees.
For you have sought that further shore and dwell in islands blest
Where all our loved ones live again and all our heroes rest.
On Middle Earth though seasons change, though long the years should pass;
Beyond these shores we'll walk once more in sunlight on the grass.
Though death and time divide us, hope now fills my heart:
In happy hour we shall meet again and never more shall part."
"May it be so indeed, kinsman," said Prince Imrahil.
"Thank you, my friends, for the telling," Faramir said, and saluted them all in turn. "A good end, for my dear brother, and now my memories of him will be the sweeter."
In later days, they raised a fair monument to Boromir on the banks of the Anduin river where his brother had last seen him. Gimli the dwarf hewed it marvellously in stone, and Legolas brought many lovely flowering plants to twine about it. Ever after, the minstrels of Gondor and the Mark sang lays of the last victory of Boromir the Brave, whose name shall not be forgotten.
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.