As Sam began his search for wood suitable for splinting Frodo's leg, Boromir unslung the horn he wore and lifted it to his lips. The sound of the horn's blast echoed among the trees and not even the loud thundering voice of Rauros could drown it out. Boromir waited until the echoes had died away before sounding the horn a second time, and then again a third time. At last satisfied, he knelt beside Frodo once more.
"Among my people it is said that help will always come to the one who sounds the Horn in dire need," Boromir explained as he tended the hobbit's cuts and bruises. "I have no doubt that my call will be answered quickly by the rest of our Company. They cannot have gone far; they will be here soon."
"I hope they haven't also met with battle," Frodo said with concern. "There are likely more orcs about than just these that attacked us. What of Merry and Pippin? Did you see them at all while you were searching? Are they safe? They didn't run off on their own, did they? It would be just like them..."
"I do not know, Frodo," Boromir replied, unable to disguise his own fear and foreboding. "They ran into the forest together to search for you. Aragorn sent Gimli and Legolas after them. He told me to look out for them as well, but to concentrate on finding you. I did not see them as I searched, though I was careful to look for any and all signs. I am sorry... it is my fault they are in danger...."
"Don't start taking all the blame to yourself, Boromir," Frodo cautioned. "We all make choices, and those choices all work together to affect what happens. As much as any one person is responsible for a bad choice and its outcome, things can never fully be laid at his doorstep alone when all is said and done. Once you've asked for pardon and been granted it, it's best to move on and not keep looking back at a bad choice."
"You are very wise, Frodo," Boromir smiled.
"It's not my own wisdom," Frodo replied, though he seemed pleased at the comment. "It's actually something Sam's Gaffer often says, and Sam repeats it to me whenever I need to hear it. I, too, have a tendency to look back with regret...."
"I have never been one to look back before this," Boromir answered. "But I have also never made such a poor choice as the one that has brought us to this pass. It is hard to leave it be -- but as you suggest, to keep fretting is to not accept forgiveness. Therefore, I will endeavor to take to heart your advice -- as I gratefully accept your pardon and the wisdom passed down from Sam's Gaffer." He smiled at Frodo and laid a gentle hand upon the hobbit's forehead. "Now then, as grateful as I am for your wise advice, you must rest and talk no more for a time."
Sam had just returned from gathering an armload of wood when Aragorn appeared at the edge of the clearing. Taking in the scene in a single glance, the Ranger gave a cry of dismay and ran immediately to Frodo's side.
"What has occurred here, Boromir?" he asked urgently. "Is Frodo the only one injured? What of you, and Sam?"
"I am unhurt," replied Boromir, his relief at Aragorn's coming evident in his voice. "Sam has only a few cuts and bruises. I came upon the battle after it had already begun. Frodo seems to have fallen during a struggle with an orc soldier, and I suspect that is when he was badly injured. I have done what I could for him, but he needs more care than I can give him. He has a concussion, either from the fall or a blow to the head, and his leg is broken; possibly his ankle, as well. There are other hurts, but those are the worst."
"That's about the size of it," Sam agreed. "I didn't actually see what happened to Mr. Frodo. One minute he was alongside me fighting, the next minute he was down and hurt. Mr. Frodo must have twisted his leg or something to have it break like that. If he hadn't fallen, he might not've been hurt so bad, I'm thinkin'. Those orcs were trying to capture us instead of kill us, seemingly, else it might've gone a lot worse."
"That seems likely," Aragorn nodded, the look on his face grave as he examined Frodo carefully. "Very well, let us see what I can do to ease your hurts, Frodo. It appears that Boromir has already done much to help you and that will make my task easier! As soon as possible, we should move you away from this place, but first I must bind your head and splint your leg."
"Is there anything you need for that?" Boromir asked. "Sam has brought wood for splinting, but we will need cloth for binding both the splints and for Frodo's head wound...."
Aragorn nodded. "I have a small bit of cloth for dressing in my pouch here, as well as healing herbs; but there is more in my pack, which is at our campsite by the boats. Go now and bring that back for me, Boromir, while I do what I can with what I have here. Bring some water, as well, and a blanket for warmth. Frodo should not be allowed to grow chilled."
"I will return quickly," promised Boromir. Retrieving his sword and shield, he set off at a run.
When Boromir returned with the supplies Aragorn had requested, he saw that Legolas and Gimli had joined the Ranger in the clearing and were helping him care for Frodo. Boromir's heart sank when he realized that the young hobbits were nowhere to be seen.
Where are Merry and Pippin? he thought fearfully. Surely Legolas and Gimli would not return without them, unless....
As he approached, Legolas rose to his feet and took the water and pack from Boromir. He was silent as he sorted through the contents of the pack, laying out what Aragorn might need for Frodo's treatment.
"What news of the little ones?" Boromir queried. "They are not here. Have they been lost? Are they...?"
Legolas shook his head sorrowfully. "We searched everywhere, but could not find them. But there were signs -- signs that indicate they have been taken alive as captives. We followed the orc trail far enough to realize which direction they were traveling...."
"They make for Isengard," growled Gimli angrily.
"Isengard!" Boromir cursed. "So the wizard Saruman is involved in this as well."
"So it would seem," answered Aragorn. "Gandalf suggested as much early on, which is why we avoided the Gap of Rohan in our journeying. Alas, it seems to have made little difference, for Saruman has followed us here and set his own orcs upon us. That is what I surmise, at least, from what Legolas and Gimli tell me of what they discovered."
"There is more to tell," Legolas continued. "Even Aragorn has not yet heard this piece of news. As we were searching, we came upon the creature Gollum, slain by a sword stroke."
"Gollum is dead?" Frodo exclaimed. "I am... well, I am sorry to hear that. Gandalf told me that even Gollum might have a part to play in this matter, and I was beginning to wonder if it might be possible to help him somehow. But now it is too late. He is gone."
"And good riddance to him, I say," muttered Sam, shrugging apologetically at Frodo. "Only you, Mr. Frodo, would think of trying to rescue that pitiful creature!"
"It is ironic that his death comes at the hands of orcs," commented Aragorn, "when it was orcs who freed him when he was a prisoner of the Elves in Mirkwood. But if this band of orcs answers to Saruman rather than Sauron, then I can see why they might not want any interference from the Dark Lord's minions -- even one so small and seemingly insignificant as Gollum. But Gollum was not insignificant; he was in league with the Eye, and no matter how much he might have been seeking to regain the Ring for himself, he was also working on behalf of Mordor. Our Quest will definitely be safer with Gollum dead."
"And what of the Quest, then?" Gimli demanded. "How soon will Frodo be able to travel, so we can move forward? And what of the captive hobbits?"
Aragorn looked troubled. "I will know more how to answer both questions after I have finished binding Frodo's wounds. But I fear we have some extremely difficult decisions to make very soon!"
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.