Boromir sat alone, dejected and utterly spent after a long bout of weeping. He felt empty and confused, unable to reason or form a coherent thought. The Ring... Gondor's fall... his father... He heaved a sigh as the tears began again; the breeze blowing through the mallorn trees was cold on his wet face.
Caught up in his own anguish, Boromir did not hear the soft footsteps from behind, until he saw Aragorn appear in front of him. Though in his heart he had been crying out for someone to help him, Boromir kept his head down, hoping he would not have to speak with Aragorn. He did not want to appear weak and foolish, and he hated for anyone to see his tears. And yet...it would be a relief to be able to tell someone what had happened, what she had said to him; maybe then he could put it aside...forget...
"Take some rest," said Aragorn as he passed by; he had not noticed Boromir's tears. He stood at the edge of the hollow and looked out into the trees below. "These borders are well-protected."
"I will find no rest here," said Boromir hoarsely; his voice betrayed his agitation, and Aragorn turned, startled. Boromir lifted his head to look at Aragorn; then he dropped his eyes and stared at the cloth that wrapped his wound. He fingered it unconsciously, frowning.
"I heard her voice inside my head," he confessed, drawing in a deep breath, and letting it out again shakily. "She spoke of my father and the fall of Gondor."
Boromir regarded Aragorn’s face solemnly, and saw mirrored there the same shock and disbelief that he himself felt. His own grief at the revelation was still fresh, and he could not bear it; Boromir dropped his gaze and wrung his hands as they lay in his lap. A tear glistened on his face as he spoke again, haltingly.
"She said to me...even now there is hope left!" He bit his lip and drew a shuddering breath. "But I cannot see it!" Boromir closed his eyes for a moment, and shook his head wearily. "It is long since we had any hope."
His mouth set in a straight line as he looked at Aragorn again. I will not give in to weeping, he said to himself. I will not! Aragorn came and sat down nearby; he said nothing, but Boromir felt a little comforted. Please, he thought; let him understand...I need him to understand! Boromir sniffed and attempted to regain his composure.
"My father is a noble man," he said, struggling to put his feelings into words. He glanced back briefly, but he could not look at Aragorn for long, not yet. He looked down at his hands with a sigh. "But...his rule is failing, and our...our people lose faith." Sorrow threatened to overwhelm him; Boromir pressed his lips together to hold it back, but he could not stop the tear that slid down his nose. Father...
He went on with difficulty. "He looks to me to make things right, and I...I would do it! I would see the glory of Gondor restored!"
Boromir felt Aragorn stir behind him. Yes, he thought, Aragorn does understand. He knows about Gondor...its importance... The thought of Gondor at the height of its glory was soothing, and a faint smile lit Boromir's face, even in the midst of his pain.
"Have you ever seen it, Aragorn?" He swallowed as a lump rose in his throat. "The White Tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver...its banners caught high in the morning breeze..."
Blinking away tears, Boromir gazed off into the distance. A vision, a memory of his City came to him; almost he could see the White Tower and hear the horns blowing...
"Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?" Boromir asked wistfully, as he focused on that vision, straining to hear the distant horns.
"I have seen the White City," answered Aragorn quietly. "Long ago."
Hope flared, and dark whispers were forgotten; Boromir turned to Aragorn and grasped his shoulder.
"One day, our paths will lead us there," he vowed, his voice low and full of passion. "And the Tower Guard will take up the call: 'The Lords of Gondor have returned!’"
Aragorn smiled slightly, but gave no answer. After a moment, he looked away uncertainly. Boromir felt suddenly embarrassed.
“Forgive me,” he stammered. “I have overburdened you with my troubles.”
“No, no!” cried Aragorn. “Do not apologize! It is not that..." He paused. "I, too, am in some doubt. It is difficult to know what to do...”
His voice trailed off. Boromir felt suddenly very tired, and he bowed his head, and rubbed his face with his hands. Aragorn reached out and touched Boromir’s bandage.
"Does it pain you?" he asked.
"Pain me?" Boromir stared at the cloth on his bandaged hand; he had forgotten it. "No...it is nothing. It does not pain me."
"Remove the cloth when you sleep," said Aragorn. "The wound needs fresh air to heal properly."
Boromir nodded. “Thank you,” he said, and his glance indicated that he meant more than simply Aragorn’s care for his wounded hand. Aragorn touched him briefly on the shoulder, before rising to go.
"Get some rest," he said once again. "There will be time enough for talk about our road. For now, we remain here, to heal, and recover our strength."
Rest! thought Boromir sadly, as he watched Aragorn move away. If only I could! I am weary...very weary...but I fear I shall not be able to rest in this place. No, it is because of what I have seen here that I am wounded; how then can I find healing?
Sleep came slowly to Boromir. He tossed and turned, as he thought back on what he had shared with Aragorn. He had thought he would feel better for it, but he did not. What was happening to him? Why did he feel such grief?
Why did he not look at me? came the sudden thought. I spoke of our return to Minas Tirith, and he looked away. Has he indeed changed his mind? Is he not coming?
Nooooooo.....said the wind, sighing in the trees. Not..... coming.....
No! He will come, thought Boromir angrily, trying to ignore the whispering; I know he will! He is a Man; he will not forsake his own kind...his own people...
Boromir sighed heavily. Please, Aragorn... do not forsake me...
Do not forsake me....echoed the wind, but the voice stopped abruptly as the sound of singing drifted down from the trees above. The music was haunting, disturbing, but less so than the whispering. Boromir did not understand the words of the song, but even so, something about them made him feel sad. It is a lament of some kind, he thought. I would sing a lament of my own if only I had the words...
He sighed again and laid his arm across his eyes. A tear slipped out of the corner of his eye and dropped down onto his pillow. "When will I see you again, my City?" he murmured. "My White City...so far away..."
He began to drift off, as words half-formed came into his mind and took shape. He slept, and he dreamed. In his dream, Boromir stood atop the White Tower, overlooking the City below. The wind whipped his hair about his face, and the banners above him snapped in the stiff breeze. His heart leaped for joy as the sound of trumpets rang out, and he heard the call of the Tower Guard below in the Court of the Fountain. There was a sound behind him, and he turned -- slowly, slowly -- hoping against hope to see someone he knew...his father...Faramir...
But there was no one there.
With bitter disappointment Boromir realized he was caught in a dream; none of what he had just seen was true. He still stood at the top of the Tower, and the wind buffeted him and brought tears to his eyes, but he knew it to be only a dream. He sighed in his sleep, and another tear trickled down.
If only it were true! If only I were there! Ah, my brother! Boromir sighed in the midst of his dream. How I wish you were here with me! You would know how to advise me... you would understand... I miss you so much! Will I ever see you again?
Never...came the whisper, in a voice like the wind.