Standing upon one of the many bridges overlooking the great waterfalls of Imladris, the Man of Gondor saw naught of their beauty, blinded as he was by the anger and frustration in his heart. He had left the Council meeting with a myriad of concerns buzzing through his head like the gnats that come to the Citadel in the spring. Slowly, using all the tools of a warrior and leader, he analyzed each argument and action of those assembled that morning. He could not agree with the outcome.
"You are weary, Boromir," a familiar voice spoke behind him. "Perhaps you should rest instead of chewing your lip till it bleeds."
The man did not move nor reply.
"You are angry with me?"
The shoulders straightened, but there was no response.
"What exactly are you angry about?"
"There are so many things that I can hardly think." Boromir turned and faced the wizard. "You deceived me. I had hoped..." His brow furrowed and Gandalf read the pain in them.
"You expected me to go back to Minas Tirith?"
"I had hoped that you would be there for Faramir." His cheeks blazed. "I would not have left him alone if I had thought you would... I told him to turn to you for help."
"For that, I am grateful, Boromir, but do you not think my presence here is more important? Does not the Ringbearer need me at his side?"
"Nothing is more important than Faramir," he whispered, the words spoken slowly and painfully. "I thought he was your friend."
Gandalf walked to his side. "He is. As are you. Boromir, he is a fine man. You have raised him well."
At this, Boromir turned. "I... He does not have the support he needs. Not with me gone." He took a deep breath. "But it is as you say, he is a fine man and a good warrior."
"What else?" queried the wizard gently, sensing further resentment.
"Why did you not defend Gondor when they maligned my father and my people?" Boromir struck his chest as he said 'my people' and Gandalf grimaced. "You listened as the Ranger spouted his words of contempt. Well you know how my father fights the enemy and yet you said naught. Your lack of words condemned him."
"The Council's were not words of contempt, Boromir, but of explanation. Too long have you thought you battled alone. Others have waged war against evil in other places. Aragorn and his Rangers are some of them. Legolas and the Elves of Mirkwood are others."
"None," Boromir's tone was harsh, "None fight against the very forces of Mordor, against the Nameless One. They fight skirmishes in the backwaters. We fight the real foe who lives at our doorstep. You could have said that. You could have acknowledged my father's valor."
"All know of Denethor's valor. And of yours, Boromir. However, just because the enemy you fight seems more powerful because he is closer, know that the foe Aragorn and Legolas fight is just as deadly. Boromir, the size of the foe does not matter."
"We fight Ungoliant!"
"Yes, you fight an evil beyond imagining. The foe that Aragorn and Legolas fight would seem smaller, but does that mean its venom is not as deadly? Look at the spiders of Mirkwood. Or at their smaller brethren, the wandering spiders of Ithilien. Their poison is the most toxic in all Middle-earth, yet they are not the size Ungoliant was."
Boromir turned away, facing the falls once again. "A spider is a spider?"
"It is," the wizard said quietly. "I would not have you give into despair because you think Gondor fights alone. The spider's web is wide. Anything that fights it, whether in Gondor or in Arnor, weakens it."
Tears fell from the Gondorian's eyes. "Yes. But it is lonely, fighting in Gondor."
A/N - There is no mention of spiders in Ithilien itself, but since Tolkien just seemed to love the little creatures, I gave them a nasty one.... Phoneutria not only has a potent neurotoxin, but is reported to have one of the most excruciatingly painful envenomations of all spiders due to its high concentration of serotonin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_wandering_spider
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