Boromir gazed up at the dark tumbled heights of the mountain that towered above him, and sighed heavily. "More climbing!" he muttered. "Not that I expected anything less...."
Glancing down, he grimaced ruefully at his torn and bloodied hands and the remains of his leather gloves. The gloves had given some protection against the sharp stones -- but they were nothing more than tatters now, shredded upon the rocks of the high pass he had been forced to scale to reach his destination. It had been less of a viable pass than he had remembered from his youth, when he had explored the mountains bordering his homeland with an eye to hidden entrances and secret forays. He had made special note of that particular spot for future need, for it had seemed relatively remote and thus possibly less guarded, yet still scalable for a man strong and determined.
It had indeed been scalable -- but only just! He had been strong enough, in spite of his great weariness; and when his strength began to fail, he had still been determined enough. But at the last, even determination had not been sufficient to keep him from faltering, and only sheer desperation and utter fear at the thought of failure had lent his fingers strength to keep on clinging, and his feet the will to keep on seeking a foothold, and his arms the power to keep pulling him forward and upwards, up and over.
His strength had returned somewhat since then, and the closer he came to seeing his task completed, the more his determination was renewed. Yet how was he to manage that climb again, when the time came to escape back the way he had come? He knew he would not have the strength for it again so soon. Perhaps it did not matter, when all was said and done; likely there would be no returning once it was over, either by that path or by any other! If that was the case, then so be it. That was part of the price, and he was willing to pay it. But not until he had finished what had been laid upon him, and done the deed he had set out to do!
Boromir looked back towards the nameless pass which he had conquered with such difficulty, but smoke and cloud and murky fumes closed the land about him into shadow and there was nothing to be seen in any direction. It was a discouraging sight on the one hand, but on the other, it gave him some hope; if there was nothing to be seen, then there was also no one to see him, and thus the possibility remained of staying hidden awhile longer. How he had gotten this far without being waylaid or discovered and taken, Boromir could not imagine. But he did not question it. His part was to take what chance or fortune offered and to press on while he had the strength and opportunity.
Looking up at the black mass of slag and stone that faced him, Boromir sighed once more, and shrugged away his dismay and weariness. There was nothing for it; he had to go on, torn hands or no. He was so close to the end of the journey now, and another mountain to climb would not keep him from his goal.
No, not even this one, the mount that had overshadowed his life and the lives of so many for hundreds of years -- Orodruin, the Fiery Mountain; Amon Amarth, the Mount of Doom.
Before attempting his ascent, Boromir took his rest under the lee of a pile of jagged boulders, where he was well hidden from sight. He knew he would need to garner as much strength as was left to him, and as much courage as he could muster to face the ever-increasing pressure to turn back, to give up, to not finish -- to take the easy way out. He no longer had the desire to listen to the Ring's whispering; it had been after him for some time now with its cajoling tempting. He laughed at the persuasive arguments that filled his mind and beat upon his heart; but there was no denying he was weary of it, and he knew it tired him even more than wielding his sword for hours in the heat of battle. Even so, he knew what the result would be if he turned aside; he knew the outcome if he listened and obeyed, giving in to the whispering suggestions. He would not go there, and that was all there was to it.
Not this time would he yield; no, not ever again!
Touching his hand to his breast, Boromir could almost feel the heat of the Ring upon its chain through his layers of clothing -- mail and tunic, surcoat and Elven cloak. The Thing seemed to throb with power and persuasion, now that it was so close to the place of its forging. It was draining and burdensome, but he did not fear it, nor did he fear his strength to resist its temptation. His only fear now was that of discovery, and of failing to finish his task of undoing the evil that was the Ring and thus repairing the evil he had himself caused.
It was the height of irony that he should be the one here in this place, carrying the burden of the ages to the place where it would be unmade -- of all people, the one who had once succumbed most easily to the lure of the Ring. Boromir still cringed at the memory of his weakness and inability to withstand the golden trinket, and the knowledge that he had sought to harm the one whom he had vowed to protect, in order to obtain it. Yet his succumbing had also been the key to gaining the strength he now had to abjure it, for his fall had brought about the searing of his desire and the death of his ambition to be victorious for his people at all costs. Since the moment he realized what he had almost done to Frodo and how that desire had been accomplished in him, he had known that price to be far too high, and his loathing of the Ring knew no bounds. Even his fear that the Dark Lord might regain it were the Ring to be taken to Mordor could no longer dissuade him from his determination to see it destroyed.
Boromir had never originally intended to come to Mordor -- at least, not without an army of Gondor at his back! Rather, his had been a quest to seek answers to a riddle, to present the need of his people to the wise ones in Rivendell, to return home to Gondor with help for that need to strengthen the fight against the Shadow and perhaps even to win it. After joining the Company of the Ring, his quest had become one of protection -- guarding the safety of the Ringbearer until they might part ways -- and even more, to guard the safety of the Ring itself. For a time, his determination to keep the Ring out of the hands of the Nameless One had set him against even the good purposes of the Company itself, and had blinded him to the realization that he was laying himself open to claiming the Ring rather than keeping it safe.
But none of that mattered any longer; all purposes and plans had been changed forever that day upon Amon Hen, when the Fellowship had been broken, and the Ringbearer wounded, to the point that he could not continue his Quest. Boromir could still hear Frodo's voice, pleading with him, pressing the Ring upon him and with it the Quest to see to its destruction.
Take it! he had begged. You understand it now, even as I do. You know the touch of evil and what it can make you do, before you can stop yourself. The Ring's lies are laid bare to you, and you want It no more. I can see that clearly in your eyes and I can read it in your heart as if it were written with words. Therein lies your safety and your strength; now that you are warned, you will be on your guard. I trust you with this, Boromir -- please! Take the Ring while I still have the strength to let it go! Take it to Mordor and cast it into the fire and free us all from this burden!
In the end, Boromir had been persuaded, and he had taken upon himself the burden of the Quest -- not because he felt any desire for the Ring, or any unusual strength or confidence in himself to see it done, but simply because Frodo had begged him, and trusted him to do it. He made his vow before them all, to see the task through, to bring the Ring to the Cracks of Doom and to cast it in to be unmade. That vow would bind him, until the task was completed or death took him.
The Mountain of Fire rumbled and shook, disturbing his thoughts and bringing him back to the present. He was alone on the slopes of Mount Doom, and his task was not yet done. As yet, the Dark Lord seemed to have no idea what danger he was in, for he had sent no one against Boromir to wrest the Ring from him -- nor was the plain of Gorgoroth and the path to the Mountain even guarded. Perhaps he thought he was safe here in his own land; if so, then let him not learn otherwise! If all went well, the Nameless One would know nothing until the moment of his destruction and Boromir could not help but grin at the thought that destruction would come at his hand. All his life he had vowed to make the Dark One pay for the hurt he had done to Gondor and her people. Now was his chance to fulfill that other vow, made so long ago, when he was no more than a boy.
Even so, standing here in the heart of Mordor grinning at Barad-dûr will not fulfill any oaths! he thought ruefully. 'Tis more than likely the way to get myself killed! Time it is to be moving, then, climbing the mountain. It will be good to have it over and done, my vows fulfilled, the evil undone....
He did not expect the Ring would go quietly. It was likely there would be unimaginable chaos and upheaval when the Ring went into the fire -- in which case, Boromir would indeed pay for his foolish rejection of the power that had been offered him. Yet gladly would he pay that price, if it meant an end to such an evil that could turn and twist good people into hateful villains. He did not fear death, if it came as a result of success -- indeed, he would laugh as he welcomed it, if it came to that. Still, he did not plan on dying just yet. Not just yet!
"Come, my beauty," he said aloud, patting the Ring where it lay concealed under his tunic. "Beautiful you are indeed, but I want none of it, golden and shining as you are. I have a vow to fulfill, and you keep me from it with your tempting. I grow weary of your whispering and your beguiling. I would be done with it and with you! Let us go now to the Cracks of Doom, that place you know so well, that place where you were born. There we shall see who is the stronger. Once you almost mastered me, and still you believe you have wiles that can woo me -- but you are mistaken! It is you and your Lord who will pay the price in the end, I think.
"Come. Let us be done with it. My people, my friends are waiting…."
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.