As he ran, Boromir loosened his sword in its sheath, preparing himself mentally and physically for possible battle. He kept his ears open as he moved forward for any sound of the Halflings or of enemy pursuit. He remembered Aragorn's warning of Orcs on the eastern shore, and wondered if they might have managed somehow to cross the River without being seen. If so, then the danger to the Company was very real -- particularly to heedless Halflings bent only upon finding their missing friend, who might not realize an enemy was close until it was too late.
The terrain grew rough, even as the trees thinned. Boromir's legs were long and strong; he ran swiftly, covering much ground, yet he also went with great care, watching for signs of the Halflings' passing. He was not the exceptional tracker that Aragorn was, but he was not without skill, and could read the signs easily enough. The little ones traveled quite silently, but their feet still left a mark on twig and leaf that could be read by one experienced in the wild. Someone had definitely passed this way, not so long ago -- and by all signs it was someone small and lightly built.
Boromir went more carefully now, watching for further traces. Before long he come upon a footprint in the soft earth beneath a tree that assured him beyond a shadow of doubt that one of the Halflings had come this way. Following the trail, he soon realized it was turning back in a wide circle towards the shore.
As Boromir bent over the track, wondering if he could be reading it aright, he heard a sound on the wind, coming from the direction of their camp by the lakeside. Had that been a cry for help? Boromir stood up sharply, and strained to hear over the roar of the Falls -- yes, the shout came again, but it was cut off suddenly by a hoarse clamor and the sound of weapons clashing.
Boromir leaped forward and dashed swiftly back the way he had come, drawing his sword and gripping his shield firmly as he ran.
Boromir retraced his steps in half the time it had taken him while searching; before long, he heard the sounds of battle drawing closer, off to his right. He turned and ran towards the sound. Yes, there were Orcs ahead of him, among the trees; Boromir could hear them crashing about in the underbrush as he drew near. The fight was ahead of him -- he was almost there....
He broke through suddenly into a clearing and there they were before him: a band of Orcs, large and well-armed. Sam was there, too, drawn sword gripped tightly in both hands as he grimly held the Orcs at bay. He stood over Frodo who lay on his face upon the ground, clothing covered in blood.
The Orcs were caught off guard, surprised at the arrival of a tall warrior, approaching at a run. They had been so intent on their prey they had not even heard him approaching. He gave them no time to recover their wits. Without checking his forward motion, Boromir crashed into the group. Those Orcs not knocked to the ground fell back at the unexpected attack -- all but one. This one raised a heavy black sword and aimed a blow at Boromir, but before he could strike, Boromir slammed his shield into the Orc's face, forcing it back. He swung his sword in a wide arc and the Orc fell headless at his feet.
Boromir turned quickly and attacked again, before the stunned enemy could react. A stab and a thrust were sufficient to kill another, and a backhanded swing of his blade found the throat of a third. An Orc knocked down by the first attack now rose to its feet and came at Boromir from behind, but Boromir was ready. He ducked and turned sharply, parrying the Orc's blow. Ramming the hilt of his sword into the Orc's face, he then reversed his sword and stabbed downwards, and his foe fell heavily. Boromir twisted the blade free and turned to meet the next attacker.
Only one Orc remained, wielding an axe. Boromir barely had time to raise his shield to ward off the blow. Axe struck shield with a heavy thud that sent a shock of pain up Boromir's arm. The axe blade stuck fast; the sudden added weight of the shield threw him off balance, and he stumbled. The Orc growled in triumph, but Boromir turned his fall forward into a lunge and he and his enemy fell together. Rolling aside, Boromir scrambled to his feet and drove his blade home before the Orc could recover his footing. The brief skirmish was over.
After wiping his sword clean on some grass that had not been trampled in the battle, Boromir sheathed his sword and looked urgently about for Sam. The Halfling had wisely taken himself out of the fray as soon as the Gondorian had arrived, and was tending the fallen Frodo.
"Sam!" he cried as he knelt beside the two hobbits. "Are you hurt? Frodo -- does he live? I came as quickly as I could…."
Sam shook his head as he bent over Frodo. "No, I'm all right. Nothing but some bruises, I think. They were trying to take us without having to fight or hurt us, seemingly. Though I guess they know now that Sam Gamgee don't stand for that kind of thing! But Mr. Frodo, he...." Sam choked on his words. "He ain't dead, no. But his head is hurt bad, that's what all the blood is. And his leg -- it don't look natural. It's broken, I'm sure of it."
Boromir leaned forward and stretched out his hand to Frodo. "Let me have a look at him. I know some first aid, enough to see to his leg, and stop the bleeding of his head wound. I need to see if he can be moved...."
Boromir drew back with a sharp intake of breath as Sam unexpectedly slapped his hand away.
"Stay away from him!" Sam shouted. "I remember now, you tried to take the Ring from Mr. Frodo! I won't let you touch him, after what you did. How do I know you're not going to try again, now that he's hurt? Just stand back now where I can see you. You'll not have Frodo or the Ring if I have anything to say about it!"
The angry Halfling stood and confronted Boromir, sword in one hand and the other hand stretched out protectively across Frodo's body.
Boromir's eyes filled with tears, as he rose and meekly moved away from the hobbits.
"I do not want the Ring, Sam," he said in a low hoarse voice. "I know it is hard to believe that, but it is true. I do not want it! I desire only to see to Frodo's wounds and then take him to a place of safety. I mean him no harm, truly!"
Sam lowered his sword, but he did not sheathe it. He gazed at Boromir doubtfully, but did not move aside.
"I do not blame you for your distrust of me, Sam." Boromir sighed heavily. "You are right to be angry with me, and if ever you are able to trust me again, even a little, it will be more than I could possibly deserve. But put aside your doubt of me if you can and hear me out. I promise you -- Frodo is in no danger from me. Not now, not any longer. What I told you earlier is the truth; I am sorry for what I did, and I will do anything to make it right. I will give my life to save him, if that is what it takes."
Boromir slowly unfastened his sword belt and carefully leaned his sword against a nearby tree; next to it he placed his shield. He knew it was dangerous to be unarmed when the enemy was close by, but he had to do something to show Sam his sincerity.
"Please, Sam," Boromir pleaded. "Let me see to his wounds. If you wish, keep your sword out and strike me down if I make any move to do more than treat his injuries. See? I am unarmed now, and will not fight back if you see the need to defend Frodo with your weapon."
Sam hesitated, opening his mouth as if to speak, but just then, Frodo groaned and stirred.
"It's all right, Sam," Frodo said weakly. "Put your sword away. Boromir speaks the truth. I believe we can trust him."
Both Boromir and Sam stared at Frodo, at a loss for words. Sam dropped his sword and knelt at Frodo's side as the wounded hobbit tried to raise his head to speak.
"I saw him searching for me, high and low," Frodo explained to Sam, but his eyes strayed to Boromir as he spoke. "I heard him calling, and I knew he was truly sorry -- I could tell by his voice, and by his weeping. But... Well, I didn't think it would be good to reveal myself then. Too soon afterwards, and the Ring might have had the mastery again."
"You still shouldn't have gone off alone, though, Mr. Frodo," Sam grumbled.
"I know it was troubling to you, Sam, but I had to take the chance I'd been given." Frodo paused, as if speaking was an effort, but then he rallied and continued. "I didn't want anyone to find me, especially then. I didn't want to have to talk to anyone. You see, I'd decided by then to go to Mordor alone, but I knew I'd lose my chance if anyone saw me. But you figured that out, didn't you, Sam?"
"Yes, I knew it," Sam replied indignantly. "It's just like you to try to head out on your own like that, to spare us trouble. That's why I came back towards the shore, to stop you from taking a boat and headin' off alone. Good thing you had the Ring off by then, or I'd've missed you!"
"Perhaps it would have been better if I'd left the Ring on," Frodo sighed. "I might have escaped a wounding."
He struggled to sit up, but Sam quickly pressed him back to a prone position.
"Don't be sitting up just yet, Mr. Frodo," Sam cautioned. "It ain't wise with that head wound. Let Boromir see to it first, to make sure it's okay for you to be moving around. I... I don't mind, I guess. If you say it's okay to trust him, then I'm willing...."
"Thank you, Sam," said Boromir hoarsely, bowing deeply to the hobbit. "I give you my word he will not come to harm by my hand."
As he approached Frodo, Sam once more reached out a hand to stop him.
"Here," Sam said gruffly, holding out a handkerchief. "You'd best use this first. You can't see properly to help anyone with eyes as wet as that, Mr. Boromir, sir."
Boromir put his hand to his face in surprise, and it came away wet with tears.
"So it would seem," he replied ruefully, taking the offered cloth and drying his eyes before returning it to Sam. "I had not even realized…. But I thank you once again, Sam. I am much in your debt. Come now, help me with 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.