1. The Eyes of an Elf
*All feedback is welcome – typos, canon glitches, writing weaknesses etc, etc. I think it suffers from a few spots of purple prose but I can’t quite harden my heart to chop them out yet so feel free to point out the squidgy bits ;-). Here I am and will remain so and evermore will be so, he seemed to say. would be a classic example. It wrote itself and even though my better judgement says 'red pencil time’, I need a push to make me do so. Other particular concerns – my description of the Elf: I wanted to try to capture the mysteriousness of them but I’m worried I may have slipped over the edge into that bad!writing thing of dressing everyone in turquoise gowns with silken blond hair ;-)
*Thank you to all the wonderful people who have provided feedback on this story – it’s much appreciated and I have been working on it.
It was as the trees along the edge of the track changed from pines to oaks and beeches that Boromir saw him. He stood beneath a tall and ancient oak, and there was the same air of timelessness about him that there was in the red rock walls of the pass and the deeply rooted trees. Here I am and will remain so and evermore will be so, he seemed to say. Boromir shook his head, half-bemused and half-angered by such foolish fancies. He was not the dreamer of the family! Tired and dirty he was from roads long walked, and gnawed to thin edge by the aloneness he had faced for more than a hundred days but he was – if not the son of a king – the son of a man who stood as king. Boromir straightened his shoulders and walked proudly towards the one who waited.
He was tall, the one who waited, slender in build - but a slenderness that spoke still of strength. He wore a tunic of blue, the soft deep blue of a midnight in summer, and pale leggings yet though he hid not he seemed constantly on the edge of vanishing into his background of brown and grey and green. If Boromir let his glance be drawn to a flighting bird or to a particularly rough-edged rut he struggled each time to find the watcher when he looked back.
Boromir was closer now, within loud hailing distance, but still he came on silently – a pilgrim to a strange land. His sword hung at his side and his shield on his back but he walked unarmed, hands turned out to show peaceful intent. The watcher was armed as well – a bow showed above his left shoulder and a large knife hung at his waist - but he remained relaxed against the tree, arms still folded with that air of timelessness. Boromir was struck by the absurd idea that if he sat down now in the middle of the track, made a fire, cooked a meal and ate it the other would simply wait for him with neither impatience nor curiosity. His eyes watched him even as they looked both through and beyond him. Under this …uninvolved… gaze, Boromir felt himself shrink to something as insignificant and impermanent as a mayfly. A faint foreshadowing of this feeling had come to him occasionally beneath Faramir’s beloved stars or when seeking for his brother amidst the dusty scrolls and ancient books of the great library - and even as he resented it now he welcomed the whisper of familiarity.
As he drew closer Boromir slowed a little, his eyes and ears searching for any sign that more than one waited for him. There was nothing and Boromir felt unease prickle him. Would he wait so unworried and alone at the gates of his city for a stranger to arrive? True that in his search for Imladris he had heard of this ‘Last Homely House’ and of the master who was as kind as summer; yet days were dark now and few lands welcomed strangers. Many, indeed, on his journey had grasped his hand in friendship whilst their other hand stayed resting on a sword hilt. Boromir had not resented it, proud though he was – but discomfort lay heavily upon him at this being’s evident unconcern.
Boromir stopped a few paces back from passing the one who waited. He inclined his head in the half-bow that compromise made from what honour demanded and pride denied. He was a supplicant here to seek a boon - but he would not beg. Stiffly, he forced his tongue to the syllables Faramir had taught him.
Solemnly the greeting was returned, but in a voice that rang with music and made even Faramir’s Elvish sound like wooden stumblings. Boromir looked up at the one who welcomed him. Beautiful was not a word Boromir had ever thought to apply to another man but his mind whispered it now. The beauty of a river in sunlight, the glory of an autumn wood and the distant coolness of a starlit sky were all in this being’s face. Boromir swallowed a little. So this, then, was an Elf, stepped straight out of legend.
For months Boromir the practical had travelled Middle Earth on this quest of dreams and hidden rhymes. As he’d trudged dispiritedly in the cold rain or slept uneasily in dangerous woods or saw disbelief scarce hidden in the eyes of those he questioned he had come to wonder if he searched for what no longer existed. Now, as he stood an arm’s length away from this silent watcher, not a flicker of doubt stirred in him. Though he saw and noted the leaf-shaped ears and the fair smooth-skinned face it was not this, nor even the beauty, which told him that he stood in the presence of the First-born. There was an enduring, endless strength about the other - an agelessness that could be felt; though in face and form he could have been as young as Faramir. Boromir’s soul shivered at the inhuman beauty of the Elf and he stumbled a little over his prepared speech.
The Elf stepped out from the tree-shade into the slowly brightening greyness of the morning and, touching Boromir’s arm, he interrupted Boromir’s speech of introduction.
“You are expected and looked for, Boromir, son of Denethor.”
Boromir stopped, frozen in the clear depths of the Elf’s eyes. Grey they were and as clear and bright as the moon on a smooth dark river – but that wasn’t what held Boromir there, scarce able to breathe. For the first time he understood why his father had once cursed Faramir for his ‘damned Elvish eyes’. These eyes, like his brother’s, looked through you, looked through any subterfuge or lies to the dark places of your soul. When Faramir looked at him like that Boromir had always felt that all his secret shames were laid bare – from the bird killed in Mother’s garden by a thoughtlessly flung stone to the comfort he’d found in a tavern’s back room on his first long campaign.
A small bird started with a burst of song from the undergrowth near them and, jolted back to reality, Boromir found himself standing in the chill dawn, one hand gripping his sword hilt and his breath coming fast. Fierce homesickness tore at him – for his brother, his father and his land – but what shook him was the feeling of shame that flooded him. Caught helpless in the Elf’s gaze, Boromir knew not what it was for - knew only that a darkness was found in his soul.
The Elf broke the silent minutes.
“Come, Elrond’s Council awaits you. Much will be revealed.”
Boromir nodded and fell in step beside him – even as a wraith of golden fire danced across his soul.
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.