1. Morning Vigil
Boromir stood atop the tallest rampart of the fortress of Cair Andros, the early morning sun warming his back as it rose above the trees that surrounded the garrison. The wind blew from the north and carried with it a fine spray from the foaming waters of the Anduin that broke upon the prow-like rocks at the northern end of the island.
The sun glinted upon the River as it flowed past below the walls, brightening the fields of Anórien that lay beyond the far shore. Boromir followed with his eyes the ribbon of road that lead away from the River towards the Great West Road and the beacon hill of Amon Dîn. There was no sign of movement upon the road, nor on the plain through which it passed.
Voices from below signaled a changing of the guard at the beginning of a new day. Boromir's attention wandered briefly from his vigil on the wall to listen to the sound of his men going about their well-disciplined routine. He was pleased with the ready state of the defenses at the fortress of Cair Andros. The ramparts were tall and strong, the watchmen upon the bastion well-placed and alert, and the men-at-arms were there in force. The island keep was vital to the defense of Gondor, for it guarded one of the few places on the River Anduin where an army from the East could safely cross in strength. It was therefore kept well-fortified on all sides, and heavily garrisoned with fighting men. But today, Boromir was not thinking of the garrison he currently commanded, nor was he standing watch upon the walls in anticipation of an enemy attack.
The scrape of a foot on stone caused him to turn, and he saw Grithnir mounting the stair from the lower reaches of the keep.
"My lord Boromir," Grithnir said in greeting. "Captain Beregar wishes me to inform you that the men have received their orders for the day, and all goes well. Also, the morning meal is prepared and you are expected. Will you come down?"
"Allow me a few moments more, Grithnir," Boromir replied, turning his gaze back to watching the road. "He may yet come. This will be my one chance during this busy day to watch for his coming, for once I leave my post here, there will be little opportunity to return."
"You must be eager to see Captain Faramir and hear his news of the City," remarked Grithnir, coming to stand at Boromir's side to look out over the wall. "You have kept this early morning watch now for several days, in hopes of seeing the captain returning."
"I am indeed eager to hear my brother's news," Boromir nodded. "My hope is that he will come in person, instead of sending word by the hand of a messenger; to come in person would mean a successful outcome to his business in Minas Tirith. As you know, Faramir is in the City to have his command at Henneth Annûn confirmed by our father. He only held his first post there as captain for seventy-five days; that hardly seems sufficient time to prove himself as a capable leader, at least to my father. I do not doubt his ability in the slightest, of course! I felt he should have been given command outright, without this need to justify himself after a short tour of duty. But I am not the one he must satisfy! My father will be the one to make the final decision as to whether or not Faramir returns to Ithilien."
"Yes, seventy-five days is a short time for the captain to command such a key outpost," Grithnir agreed. "But I have heard nothing but praise from those who had opportunity to serve under him or who observed him at work, though the time was short. I trust my lord Denethor has heard the same and will judge accordingly."
"As do I, Grithnir," Boromir sighed. "It would be a great encouragement to me if Father could see Faramir's quality at last, and profess his confidence in him by allowing him to return to command the hidden outpost. Henneth Annûn is of vital importance to our defenses, and Faramir is needed there. Gondor will be in safe hands if he is the one leading the Rangers of Ithilien, keeping our borders secure. Father must see that!"
"He will, my lord, I am certain of it," Grithnir said stoutly. "Let us wait awhile longer for the captain, then. He may yet come today!"
They did not have to wait long. The morning was still pale when they saw a company approaching.
"They are here at last!" cried Boromir.
"Captain Faramir leads them," remarked Grithnir, leaning over the wall for a better look. "It would seem he has been given permission to return to Henneth Annûn, as we hoped. There could be no other destination if he comes by this road."
"Unless he comes to inform me that he is here to take my command!" Boromir chuckled. "That I will not allow. No matter how capable he may be, I am not yet ready to hand over Cair Andros to another, even to my brother. However, I agree with your assessment, Grithnir. Not only has my father confirmed him, but from the size of the company traveling with him, it would seem that Faramir has also been given authority over more men. My father must be content with his command and his plans for the garrison! Come, Grithnir, let us go down to meet them and see if our suppositions are indeed correct."
"It will take time for a company of that size to make the river crossing, my lord," Grithnir said as he followed Boromir down the stair. "Time enough for you to partake of your morning meal...."
"Yes, yes, Grithnir!" laughed Boromir. "You are right, of course. I will eat, then. But afterwards, I shall await my brother's coming at the western gate!"
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.