6. To What End?
"He sleeps, but it is not from the potion."
Boromir wondered whose voice that was. He sighed; at last, the ache in his head had stopped. Someone had heard him and was moving towards the bed he lay upon. Though puzzled as to where he was, his last remembrances flooded him and he tried to hide, as a child, in the bedclothes. Finally acknowledging the futility of it and snorting in disgust at himself, he flung the covers back. "Have done with me, you wretch!"
Soft, gentle laughter filled the room. "And what would you like done with you?"
"Théodred!" Boromir tried to stand but the king's son placed a hand on his shoulder and bid him stay.
"Though you are much better than the last time I saw you, I deem it best if you wait a moment before standing."
"Théodred, it does my heart good to see you. I thought I was dead."
"Not yet, though if it had been but six months ago, you would have been. That is when we discovered that the malady that was afflicting the people of Meduseld was deliberate poisoning. Hence, we knew what your symptoms were and how to treat you. The difficult thing was getting you away from them. But you managed very well on your own."
"Nay. I do not know what would have happened to me if you had not sent Háma to the tunnel. I am shamed, I was so weak."
"I will not even tell you, Boromir, how close you were to death."
"What was that foul stuff you forced into me?"
"Crushed alfalfa and charcoal. One of our leeches remembered the remedy from of old. We were fortunate that he had not been sent away with the others. He is so old, he was forgotten."
"Wormtongue sent all the leeches of the Mark out with the éoreds. He argued that they were needed there more. Then, he brought in others, his own, and the deaths began."
"I am sorry. And I thought Gondor alone suffered from the Enemy's wiles."
"We have no proof," Théodred shook his head, "Therefore, we have been unable to do anything against the snake. Father holds him in great esteem."
"Now that this Hathawyn has made a further attempt on my life, will she pay?"
Théodred sat at the foot of Boromir's bed. "I am afraid not. I cannot say or do anything against her until I have further evidence. She is a favorite of Wormtongue's."
"Am I not proof enough?"
"Boromir. There is only your word against hers."
"But... " Boromir stopped. "You have greater knowledge of these things. I will bow to your will. I think the Men of the Mark are in great danger."
"No more than you are. We must get you away from here as quickly as possible. I leave for the Westfold in two days time. I would know you are safe before I leave."
"I will away this very night, if possible. Is there a way out, without anyone seeing me?"
"You cannot leave tonight, dear friend. You have only awakened after many days of potion-filled sleep. I think it will be difficult for you to even stand."
Boromir pulled himself up on his elbows and looked at Théodred. "Beside the fact that I must be away from here for safety's sake, I am on a mission for my father; I must be away. How long have I been here?"
"It is now almost a fortnight."
Boromir shuddered. "Too long. Has a missive been sent to Gondor, warning my father to watch for traitors?"
"Nay. I would have such a message be in your own hand, Boromir. I do not believe your father would accept any such dire message from me."
There was a small commotion at the door and a Rider entered the room. He quickly saluted. "Théodred! They are searching house to house. We must send Boromir away now, tonight, else they find him."
"Nay. We may yet hide him in the tunnel."
"Nay!" Boromir's voice, though low, held the two men. "I leave tonight. I will put no one in further danger with my presence. Point the way, and I will be out of here."
Théodred laughed gently. "If only it were that simple." He turned to the Rider. "Where are they now?"
"They started at the main gates with four patrols. We have some time."
"Write your missive to your father, Boromir, and I will see it sent. Grimbold, your company was to leave this morn. Do so now. Your men are ready?"
"They are, my Marshal."
"Good. Leave within the hour and ride towards the Westfold, but keep a slow pace. After you cross the Snowbourn, make for the paddock on the west side. Make some excuse: a horse has thrown a shoe or some such, just so that you and only a few men are left behind. Send your éored ahead. You may join them later. Wait at the compound. I will make sure Boromir is there when the sun sets. Take him with you to the Isen. Do not leave until he comes," Théodred looked long and hard at the Son of Gondor, "but if he does not come by the time dawn breaks, ride hard for the Isen."
Grimbold saluted and left. Théodred turned to Boromir. "You know the land to the west of Edoras from our days as youths. I will take you to a hidden door near here where you may leave the city. Once outside, hide against the wall, there is an outcropping of rocks to the right, and wait till an hour before sun's set. The light will be in the guards' eyes and you will be able to move, in secret, west to the paddock. Remember you where it is?"
"Very well indeed. I believe you speak of the one where you first taught Faramir how to ride and shoot at the same time?"
A sad smile filled Théodred's face. "Indeed, the very one. Those were wondrous days, were they not, my friend?"
"There will be many more of the like, Théodred. We will hold strong till then and drink ourselves under your father's tables."
"Well said, Man of Gondor." Théodred pulled Boromir to him. "How long will your journey take?"
"I do not know. I had hoped to garner some information from someone here at your court, but I see now that is impossible. I hope six months." Boromir returned the embrace. "To what end we all go, I do not know. I will miss you, Rohir!"
"As will I. Come at least have a last meal, then I will take you to the door. There are things for writing on that desk. When you finish, the meal should be ready."
Boromir sat and wrote quickly.
I have been poisoned. If not for Théodred, I would now be dead and buried in some unmarked grave in the foothills of the White Mountains. As it is, I am barely recovered, but Théodred says I must leave tonight. He has kept me hidden for over a week now in a room in the back of a smithy, nursing me until I was well again. I am not quite well, but rumors fly that I am still in Edoras and I must be away. He is sending me with one of his marshal's, Grimbold, to a paddock on the west side of Edoras. There we will be able to procure me a horse and I can be on my way. Grimbold will ride with me to the Fords. I will be most happy to be away from this place.
I should have known though, and chide myself thoroughly! I tried to be careful, once I saw her, but... I speak of the Rohirric healer who tried to murder me last year. She is now healer to the snake who advises Théoden. I was concerned, as soon as I saw the high status she now has. Théodred is most distraught after his promise that she would be punished. She has been exalted instead, but there is naught he can do.
Father, you asked me to assess Théoden's condition. Though I only spoke with him for a little while, I was appalled at what I saw: he looks as if death sits on his doorstep; he is enfeebled and seems to be but a puppet, giving orders offered by a worm of a man, you remember him! Wormtongue, Théodred calls him. I cannot blame poor Théoden. He has lost his wits. I fear Gondor will receive no aid from Rohan, but Théodred has vowed that he and his men will answer our call. He said Éomer is of like mind.
There is treachery here and the one who poisoned me told me there is treachery planned also for Gondor. She specifically stated that Faramir will... There is treachery, Father.
Théodred has promised to place this missive in the hands of a trustworthy rider. I will write again, once I reach Théodred's forces at the Fords of Isen.
Faramir - watch over Father for me; I know he watches over you.
Your devoted son and brother,
Within the space of two hours, Boromir, Son of Gondor, was hiding in an outcropping on the west side of Edoras, awaiting the sun to set; Grimbold, Marshal of the Mark, rode to a paddock on the plains of Rohan; Théodred, beloved son of Elfhild and Théoden, waited for his orders to return to the Fords of Isen; and Grima, son of Galmod, rode to Isengard.
A/N - 1) Finally - This is the blasted missive from Boromir to Denethor in 'Ten Thousand Years Will Not Suffice' that has caused this tale to be written. I do so hope the Muse is satisfied! (Changed slightly due to the changes wrought to Chapter Three. - see A/N's.) 2) Measurements - 1 league = 3 miles; 1 mile =8 furlongs; 1 furlong = 40 rods; 1 rod = 6 paces (which in later days to provide consistency among surveyors was quantified as 5-1/2 yards); 1 pace = the length of a grown man's stride. However, Hobbit measurements are entirely different: 1 nail = 1/2 in. 3 nails = 1 toe. 6 toes = 1 foot. 3 feet = 1 step. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/mar/24/nation/na-tolkien24
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.