2. Questions, Answers and More Questions
For a moment he simply gaped. His messenger had been dispatched about mid-afternoon two days ago. He should have arrived at Great Smials yesterday evening which meant - "Good heavens! Tookland to Brandy Hall overnight? It must be a record!"
"You said it was urgent." his cousin reminded him, pulling off his riding gloves.
"Yes but I didn't mean you should kill a pony getting here!"
"Blanco's fine, just a bit winded and footsore." Pippin said impatiently. "What is it, Merry?"
"The Old Forest has been acting up lately. Trees pressing against the Hedge, strange sounds, you know the sort of thing."
Pippin grimaced. He surely did.
"So two days ago I went into the Forest with a score of Shiriffs to see if I could find anything out. I was trying to reach Tom Bombadil, I figured he'd know what was going on if anybody did."
"What did Tom have to say?"
"I never got to him. We stopped to rest in Bonfire Glade and - " Merry paused to swallow. "Boromir was there. Alive but hurt."
Pippin's mouth worked for a minute before he managed to get any words out. "Merry, Boromir's dead."
"You think I don't know that!" his cousin shouted. "I was there remember? How could I forget!" He stopped himself. It wasn't fair to yell at Pip, after all he had the same terrible memory; watching a friend die before their eyes, unable to help.
By now Pippin was genuinely alarmed. Old Merry wasn't himself at all - what had happened to him in the Forest?
"I haven't lost my mind." his cousin said, wearily. "Come and see for yourself."
"Are you a giant?"
Out in the passage Merry smiled involuntarily at his little daughter's solemn question.
Boromir's voice answered equally seriously. "No, giants are much taller than I am."
Pippin froze in his tracks, round eyed with shock.
"Told you so." said Merry.
"Your father fought a giant once." Boromir continued. "In Moria it was."
"Actually that was a Cave Troll." Merry said stepping through the round doorway into Brandy Hall's largest guest bedroom. Boromir was sitting on his pallet, left arm splinted and in a sling, right arm and side bandaged, with a shawl draped around his shoulders.
Little Wyn and her brother, Merry's oldest, were also sitting on the floor. They turned to stare at their father.
"If a cave troll isn't a giant, what is?" Boromir asked reasonably. Then saw who was behind Merry and broke into a smile. "Pippin?"
And the Thain of the Shire stumbled forward, threw his arms around his old friend and burst into tears.
Merry quickly herded his childen out of the room. "Yes, Uncle Pippin is all right - you can talk to him later. Borry take your sister to Mummy." and closed the door firmly behind them.
"Borry." said Boromir with a glint in his eye, patting Pippin on the back while he blew his nose.
Merry blushed and shrugged. "He hasn't grown into the whole name yet. I hope you don't mind."
"I am honored." was the gentle answer. "And no doubt the Lady Eowyn is as well."
"Never mind all that!" from Pippin, "Didn't you die? Where have you been? and what are you doing here?"
Boromir took a deep breath. "Yes I did die. It's hard to explain what happened." a wry smile. "especially since I don't understand it very well myself. As for where I've been....the last few years at least I've been in Avallone."
"Avallone!" Merry interupted exitedly. "Did you see Frodo?"
Another smile. "Indeed I did. He gave me a message for you two and Sam. He says the pain is nearly gone and the dreams are much better and he's sure that someday they will go away altogether."
Merry blinked back tears and Pippin blew his nose again. "It's a good thing he went then. Sam'll be glad to hear he's getting better."
Boromir turned to Pippin. "And Mithrandir tells me I owe you my brother's life. Thank you."
Pippin blushed. "Actually it was Gandalf who saved Faramir, and Beregond too of course."
"But they would never have known he was in danger if not for you." Boromir pointed out.
"Denethor was very kind to me." Pippin said earnestly. "He - he wasn't himself, he didn't know what he was doing."
"I know." Boromir agreed sadly. "Losing both his sons was more than he could bear."
"Why are you here?" Merry asked bluntly.
"To fight an evil left over from Sauron's fall." Boromir answered and looked worried. "Glad as I am to see you two I am not at all happy to find myself on the borders of the Shire. I was expecting some remote spot in Rhun or maybe Harad not the heartland of the Northern Kingdom."
Merry swallowed. "I've sent for Strider. He's King now."
"I know." he smiled. "Mithrandir and Frodo told me what had become of you all."
"Well that'll save some explaining anyway." from Pippin. "What kind of evil are we talking about here?"
"I don't really know." Boromir answered slowly. "You remember the wargs who attacked us when we came down from Caradhras?"
"The ones who weren't there." Pippin nodded.
"That's what I fought in your Forest, Merry, great wolves. But in the morning there were no bodies and who or what sent them I do not know."
"That explains the tooth marks." Merry said, glancing at Boromir's bandaged side and trying not to shudder.
In all the time they'd known him Boromir had never once told a direct lie, Dunedain didn't, but they could misdirect and hold back. Merry was certain Boromir was holding something back now. He might not *know* what had sent the wolf wraiths but he had suspicions - which he was not prepared to share.
Merry thought about pressing him on it but, after all, a guess is just a guess and Boromir wasn't like Old Strider or even Faramir. He didn't know much more about this sort of thing than Pippin or Merry himself. He probably wanted to run his notion past Aragorn first, in case he was wrong.
"Strider will be here soon." Merry said aloud. "He'll know."
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.