Ragnor remembered the water flooding his nose and lungs. He remembered the river’s current pulling him away from the battle. He remembered clinging to a lifeless orc, thinking it was another Man, until realizing what it was and letting go, splashing away, disgusted. He remembered crawling out of the Anduin, very far from the ruined remains of the bridge, so far that he could but dimly see the fires of Osgiliath, could just barely hear the cries of battle.
The terror of that foul beast remained with him still, though, and so when he crawled out of the river, surprised and exhausted to find himself alive and relatively unscathed, he had taken a moment to press his face into the mud and scream. Scream from the absolute fear, and the desperation of the situation, and that horrible Nazgûl cry still ringing in his ears.
Once he had emptied his lungs of all the water and all the horror, he had begun to half-walk, half-crawl along the riverbank, trembling, moving quietly for he had no sword, searching for any who may have survived with him. Whispering quietly, calling the names of his companions. Nearly hysterical. Hi, hi… ho, speak, if you can… Lord Amlaith? Ho… ho, if you live, speak now… Lord Boromir?
After hours of searching, he had found none and had despaired. He had become disoriented. Nausea. And just as he had begun to panic, not knowing what to do or where to go, whether to return to the burning city, or whether Osgiliath had fallen and it was useless to return, he had heard a low moan.
An inarticulate sound replied. A Man’s voice. Familiar.
And so Ragnor had gone forth, stumbling, frantic, searching for the sound. For the sun was hidden away completely, and all was dark, and Ragnor had lost all sense of time completely. He had followed the sound and, feeling around in the dark, found a Man lying against the river. When his fingers touched a smooth, cool surface – lightly curved – moving down, a baldric – he had immediately recognized the shadowy figure.
Boromir now sat beside Ragnor, moving silently to his sixth ale. The Captain had spoken little in the hours they had spent in The Laughing Oliphaunt
, even as the others’ tension was increasingly relieved as the night wore on and the alcohol flowed.
Red-haired Ragnor, Ragnor the Jesting they called him. And so, feeling the need to talk, but not knowing what to say, just anything to dissolve the silence at his elbow, anything to rid himself of the vivid flashes, Ragnor perked up.
“Know you the story of the iron-smith from Belfalas?”
Heavy eyes warming. “Nay, I do not.”
“Ah, it’s a good one, though perhaps Lord Faramir should not hear this, ere he will blush…”
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.