3. A Revelation
"I apologize for my family, you'd think they'd never seen a Man before."
"I gather they haven't seen all that many, at least not to talk to." he replied. "Naturally they're curious. I don't mind."
"Well I do! It's very bad manners to pester a guest - especially an injured one."
The Man settled back on his pallet. Merry crossed the room to help with the blankets, still grumbling. "Can't imagine what's gotten into them.... Educated gentlehobbits not a band of wandering tramps!..." suddenly he realized he was all but tucking Boromir in and looked at him in embarrasment. The Man looked back, eyes twinkling, and they both laughed.
"Don't mind me, I'm going all paternal in my dotage." Merry said when he could talk again and patted Boromir's knee. "It's good to have you back, my friend."
Surprisingly the Man looked distressed. "Merry. I-" he seemed to be having trouble finding the right words. "I am not going to be here long."
Merry's heart chilled."What do you mean?"
Boromir took a deep breath. "I was sent back for a purpose once that is achieved -"
"What? You vanish in a puff of smoke? I don't believe it. I know wraiths and you're no ghost."
A smile flickered across the Man's face. "No, I'm not a ghost but I did die. I have been allowed to return as a special grace, to atone." very quietly. "You see I tried to take the Ring from Frodo."
"I know." Boromir blinked and Merry explained. "Frodo told us, not that he meant to. It slipped out accidently one day when he was telling us about his latest nightmare. He didn't blame you, you know."
"I do know. He's told me the same." he shook his head. "I am grateful for his forgiveness but I should have been stronger."
"So you're here to kill whatever's lurking in the Old Forest to make up for that? And then what happens?"
Boromir looked unhappy. "I don't expect to survive the fight."
Merry was trembling. "So Pippin and I get to watch you die again, is that it?
"Merry..." Helplessly. "I'm sorry, I didn't expect to find myself among friends - It makes it harder for me too."
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.