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Son of Gondor

by Lineawen

Chapter 44

Boromir threw himself down on the flet with a weary sigh. What a day it had been! Had it really only been this morning that Gandalf had fallen? He felt bone-tired, both physically and emotionally; a rest where he could actually sleep would be so welcome! He had not slept well in Moria for some reason; the darkness had bothered him, perhaps, or the emptiness...or perhaps the constant whispering that had plagued him since...since...he cut off the thought abruptly. No, it was nothing more than the emptiness in my ears, he thought. Nothing more than that.

The wooden floor was hard, but not uncomfortable; he was used to sleeping on hard surfaces, though he had never before slept in a tree. A breeze was blowing steadily, but it was not cold; he would be comfortable enough without his cloak. He had left his cloak in Moria, in Balin's tomb, where he had removed it just before the fight. He had not thought of it again, though there would have been time to retrieve it if he had remembered. No matter, a cloak was a cloak, nothing more than clothing; he still had with him the things that mattered: his sword and shield, his dagger, and the Horn of Gondor. He fell asleep thinking of familiar things, and he was comforted in the midst of strangeness.

The morning was still young and cold when the Company set out again, guided by Haldir and his brother Rumil. They returned to the path that went along the west bank of the Silverlode, and followed it for some distance southward. There were prints of orc feet in the earth. Soon Haldir turned aside into the trees and halted on the bank of the river. He gave a call like the low whistle of a bird, and an Elf appeared out of a thicket of trees on the opposite bank; his hair glinted like gold in the morning sun. Haldir hefted a coil of grey rope in his hand, then cast it out over the stream, and the Elf caught it and bound the end about a tree near the bank.

"The Silverlode is already a strong stream here," said Haldir, "and it runs both swift and deep; and it is very cold. We do not set foot in it so far north, unless we must. But in these days of watchfulness we do not make bridges. This is how we cross!"

He made his end of the rope fast about another tree, then proceeded to attach two more ropes in like manner, one shoulder-high, and another half-high; holding these ropes, the Company would be able to cross with care. Haldir and Legolas led the way and the rest followed, some cautiously and slowly, others more easily.

Boromir waited until the others had crossed before he set foot on the slender bridge. He tested the spring of the rope gingerly with his foot; it had sagged a bit when Aragorn had crossed, and even more under Gimli's weight.

"Do not fear," said one of the Elves who waited with him; "the rope will bear your weight."

"I am not afraid!" replied Boromir shortly. "It will not break, of that I am certain; but will it bear me up out of the cold river? I am no lightweight, and my gear is heavy."

He settled his shield more firmly on his back, then turned and walked quickly across, holding on with only one hand. Though the rope sagged down almost to the water at midpoint, he did not hesitate or look down.

When at length the Company and the Elves who went with them were gathered on the east bank, the ropes were untied. Two were coiled and stowed away and the third was drawn back and taken away by an Elf who was remaining with the guard.

"You have now entered the Naith of Lorien, the land that lies like a spear-head between the arms of Silverlode and Anduin the Great," said Haldir. "Few indeed are permitted to set foot here. So little faith and trust do we find now in the world beyond Lothlorien, unless maybe in Rivendell, that we would rather remain here alone, an island amid many perils, than to risk danger to our land by allowing strangers to enter."

As I expected, Boromir thought. These Elves have been cut off from the rest of the world too long; they will not dare to help us. Why should they? They care nothing for our trouble.

"Yet you are to walk free," went on Haldir, with a bow and a smile for each one of them. "Yes, even the Dwarf! Word has just been given me; a message from the Lord and Lady of the Galadhrim: the Lady knows who and what is each member of your Company, and you are to be welcomed."

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It was a journey of two days through the forests of Lorien to reach the Elvish city of Caras Galadhon. The Company filed along the paths in the wood, led by Haldir and his brother, while other Elves walked behind in a long line. Though it was midwinter, the leaves on the trees had not changed color, and the moss that covered the path and the hills under the trees was green and soft. Boromir walked in the midst of the group; he turned often to look at Frodo, who was walking as if in a dream, head down, barely noticing his surroundings.

Frodo must have been very close to Gandalf, Boromir thought sadly. It will take him time to get over the loss. As it will for all of us! For my part, I was not so close to him, but his death is still a blow, and a sorrow. He was someone familiar at least, in all this land of strange and new things! Do not carry the weight of the dead, I said to him...I fear I must heed my own advice.

The path eventually led up a steep hill, and then along a ridge from which the whole valley could be seen. They stood on the edge, looking out over the land of Lorien that stretched out before them.

"Caras Galadhon!" said Haldir reverently; "the heart of Elvendom on earth, realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, Lady of Light!"

Before them they saw a great hill of many mighty trees that dominated the landscape; it was still some distance away, yet because of the immense size of the trees, it looked close enough to reach by simply stepping off the edge of the ridge. The trees glowed in the golden light of the setting sun. Beyond the hill eastward, the land ran down to the pale gleam of Anduin, the Great River. Boromir's heart leapt at the sight, for it was the same river that flowed past Gondor and his City of Minas Tirith.

Soon, my people! Boromir sighed as they turned aside and began to descend into the valley. I shall return to you soon!