Chapter Five – Ally
Two days later, Boromir walked again to the top of the hill overlooking the valley. He settled his back against a tree and closed his eyes.
"Might I join you?" Gannellas' voice asked.
Boromir opened his eyes and made to stand, but Gannellas stayed him.
"I would welcome your company, friend."
"I am glad to hear you say that, Boromir. My heart has been heavy of late."
"Because the Elves leave Edhellond?"
"Nay. Because you are sad. I can feel it."
"I am sad, but that is a part of life, friend. Until I see my brother… Does he know I yet live?"
"I am afraid he may think you dead. Your friends sent you off in the Elven-craft bedecked as one mourned."
"As I thought." Boromir choked on the words. "If I might send a missive to him? Some token that I yet live. I lost my Horn. I know not when." He looked down at his hands and splayed his fingers. "My ring. I could send my ring."
"I do not think any would question the word of an Elf. A missive was sent."
"How long ago?" Boromir felt his heart clench.
"When the Ring was destroyed."
"And no response?" Boromir's brow rose. "They are busy. They must repair damage done to the city, bring in food from the outer farms, if any food is left. Bury the dead. There are many duties for the Steward."
"I agree. It must be a time of chaos for them, Boromir."
"If Faramir lives." Boromir clutched at the grass beneath him.
"If Faramir lives," Gannellas said. "How are your lessons coming along?"
Boromir looked at Gannellas and smiled. "Poor Mablung. I think he pulls out his hair as I did these blades of grass." He let the blades fall to the ground. "My fingers are large. They are difficult to move around the flute. I think it is not the instrument for me."
"Then we must try the lute. What think you of that?"
"You are bound and determined to have me wield an instrument." Boromir laughed. "I will try the lute. Is there an Elf here who can teach me?"
"I know the lute well. I will teach you."
Mablung ran up the slope. "Gannellas. You are needed in the glade." The Elf's eyes shone and Boromir wondered.
"You may remain here, Boromir, if you wish. I must be away."
"I would come with you."
Mablung ran down the hill and Gannellas followed his lead.
Boromir was sore-pressed to keep up with them. He stopped at the entrance to the glade. Horses, bearing the livery of Gondor, filled the area. Hope rose in his chest 'til the pain grew so great he thought he would fall unconscious.
Taking a deep breath, he scoured the area. And found him! There stood Faramir. His back to Boromir. But Boromir would know him anywhere. He stood still, waiting for Gannellas to greet his brother.
"Faramir! It is good to see you again. We met a few years ago."
"A few years to you, mayhap," Boromir heard the laughter in Faramir's voice, "but many, many years in my time." He watched as Faramir gave a slight bow to the Elf. "It is good to see you again. You sent a missive to Minas Tirith saying I was needed. I will tell you, my heart near stopped when I saw it was from the Elf I had met here."
"I think you heart will near stop in another moment, Faramir. I have someone I would like you to see." Gannellas turned and indicated Boromir.
Faramir turned and gasped.
Boromir flew to him, flew into his arms and held him close, muffling the sounds of Faramir's sobs in his shoulder, holding his own tears back as he always did when comforting his little brother.
"Boromir. Elessar told me you were dead." Faramir's eyes scoured Boromir's face. "I saw you in the craft they sent you in. How is this possible?"
"First. Who is Elessar?"
"Ah. You know him as Aragorn, Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North."
"Aragorn. He survived." Boromir's heart lurched. "And Frodo?"
"Both live, Boromir. Aragorn has been crowned High King of Gondor and Arnor. Had I known you were here, I would have come weeks ago. The duties of Steward…"
Boromir interrupted. "He made you Steward? I am glad. I knew he had some wisdom in him. I would have cuffed him well had he named another." Boromir slapped Faramir on the back. "Father stepped down without a scowl?" Boromir laughed, then stopped at Faramir's look.
"Come away with me, Faramir, to the little hillock that once was ours. I have made it mine own again." He nodded to Gannellas.
"One moment, Boromir. Your men would greet you." Faramir stood back and let his two companions move forward.
Boromir looked around. "Mablung! Damrod! It is good to see you. You came through the battle untouched, I see. I am glad. Forgive me. We will talk later. I would take your Captain-general from you for a time. The Elves will make you comfortable."
Boromir led Faramir up the hillock in silence. When they reached the top, Boromir sat and smiled at the look of wonder in Faramir's eyes. "You recall this place?"
"I do, Boromir. So many memories."
"Tell me of Father."
"He is dead, Boromir. He gave his life for Gondor, as he had hoped to do."
"In battle." Boromir's tears fell. "Before the Gates?"
Faramir looked away. "Nay. In the House of the Stewards. He was preparing me for interment."
"Faramir. You were dead?"
"Nay. But Father thought I was as near death as possible. I had been struck by a Southron arrow and suffered the Black Breath."
"Give me a moment, Faramir, to comprehend this. You were not dead and yet he took you to Rath Dínen?"
"Boromir, he was not in his right mind. He had been using the Anor-stone. He tried to burn me alive."
Boromir lay back on the grass. He wept, shoulders shaking. "Forgive me," he repeated, over and over.
Gannellas himself brought tea and biscuits. He sat next to Faramir and offered a cup. Faramir accepted it and drank.
Boromir stood and walked a distance from them. "Faramir. I am unable to leave Edhellond. I think it best you return to Minas Tirith on the morrow. When things have settled, return here. I will be waiting." He walked down the slope and into his glade.
He heard Faramir call his name, but he could not look back. Bad enough that Father is dead. Now he does not have a brother either. One that can be by him. One who can support him. I must tell him and yet, how?
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