Banjoverse: The Full Epic
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Laughing Oliphaunt, The: 7. The Captain (Boromir)
He would speak with the Steward tomorrow. Tomorrow. But now, now he had a few hours of freedom, a few precious hours.
Amidst all the noise and blurred movement, Boromir leaned against his brother. Faramir turned to him, and Boromir smiled.
“Well?” Faramir returned, “Well what?”
“’Tis been long since we have seen each other.”
“Aye, it has. Three years.”
“What of Ithilien?”
Faramir shrugged, his gaze somewhat distant. “The Shadow grows and we fight against it. Little has changed.”
Boromir downed his brandy, placed the glass heavily on the table, began to pour himself another. His arm was jostled slightly by one of Eomund’s grander gesticulations, and the blond Man apologized immediately with a giggling, Ah, f’give me, m’lord…, before turning back to his own conversation. In truth, Boromir cared not for the spilled drink. He simply poured a little more, recapped the bottle, leaned back with full glass in hand.
“You are not in the mood to talk, brother,” Boromir rumbled with a sly grin. He took a long swallow.
“Nay…” Faramir mused absently. He was clearly only half-listening.
Boromir watched him for a moment, dizzy with drink, and eventually shrugged his acquiescence. Let his brother have his silence. He was too weary and too intoxicated to consider pressing for more details. Instead, other needs focused his attention. Nudging Faramir aside, Boromir squeezed out of his seat and stood. On his feet, he swayed, feeling considerably more drunk. He braced himself against the back of a chair, squinted against the blur, and began to make his way clumsily through the crowd.
A few people recognized him as he passed – at one point, he found himself embracing a burly Man from Pelargir – later he stumbled and nearly fell – but soon enough he was out of The Laughing Oliphaunt and into the silent street. A warm, summer wind blew through the alley, carrying away some of the stale smell of alcohol, refreshing Boromir and clearing his head. He went reeling towards the far side of the alleyway. Dark cobblestones, uneven and illuminated only by the light from the houses above him. He caught his foot on something, nearly stumbled, swore harshly, carelessly.
Up ahead, he saw a figure approaching. Young Iorlas. The young Man’s dark, curly locks clung to his brow, and he smiled blearily as Boromir neared him.
“Captain.” Iorlas bowed his head slightly.
Boromir laughed, grabbed the younger Man by the neck and kissed his brow. He then shook him by the shoulder affectionately.
“Good Iorlas… Your brother desires to return home.”
“Aye, ‘tis – ‘tis late. I shall go with him.”
Boromir cupped his cheek, clapped lightly. “Good boy. Off to bed. A good night’s rest, it’s what we all need.”
Iorlas chuckled, nodded. And as they parted, both stumbling in opposite directions, Iorlas called back to Boromir:
“Watch yourself about a hundred paces off, my lord. There is an unpleasant site.”
Boromir nodded, raised his hand to show he had heard the warning.
And soon enough he found himself leaning lopsided against the alley’s wall, one arm propped up to hold him steady, relieving himself. And once he was finished, he leaned forward slightly, swallowed back a wave of nausea, felt the sweat on his brow, worked to close his breeches with one hand.
And that stubborn image, persistent:
Arrows clattering; a sickening crunch. Orcs – hurtling over walls, crawling along the spires, ululating harsh commands – earning a response from their leader – from Boromir’s main foe – the Nazgûl cries, screaming loud, its screeching wail – piercing the heart. And the sword, Boromir hurtles it around, turns, sprints, pumping his thighs until they burn sweet fire and the sweat pours down his face and into his armor, dampening everything, so that the grip on his sword slips – and and and…
Go! Go! To the bridge!
Swarming figures, indistinct. Arrows clattering against his armor. An arrow wedged into the gap under his arm – he rips it away – it has not torn skin. On and on, go! Go! Run! And he sprints on, urging his Men forward, sometimes turning, ducking, dodging, thrusting his sword deep. And Ithilien arrows burning past him – saving him from a quick death – and there! There it is! Another wail! Sweet Eru, run!
Crumbling bridge, it cannot support the weight of these Men. Running across it, slipping forward, as the Anduin explodes around him with misfired catapult projectiles. Soon soon soon one will hit and this will all be finished – and and and…
And he has just enough sense to grab young Iorlas by the shoulder and push him into the water before the entire bridge collapses in on itself.
Boromir forced himself away from the wall with a snort. An uneven step backwards, and then wheeling around, back towards the glow of the tavern.
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