Autor notes: The following chapters will describe the same event from different points of view. It will begin with Drogo's POV.
I sigh as Primula stands up and goes to Frodo, who is looking questioningly at her. Kneeling down she looks intensely to where Frodo is pointing. I close my eyes again and listen to some birds that twitter merrily. I hadn't liked boating very much until the last summer, when Primula showed me how to handle a boat. Ever since, I share her fondness of the river although I never will be able to measure up to her love for it. I relish the constant rocking of the boat. Dimly I'm aware that the rocking has gotten a little stronger since we started our journey, but I do not care much.
Suddenly I find myself thinking over what Frodo may has seen for I have not yet heard Primula answering. I open my eyes to find my wife turning around with a frightened expression on her face. She is pale and a fear is in her eyes, I do not dare to think of. Something must be terribly wrong.
"The current!" she shouts. "We've come too far south! Paddle or we shall be driven to the rocks!"
I do not hesitate and grab a paddle quickly to drive it into the water. I hear Primula instructing Frodo to sit down and grab hold of something. She has already gripped the second paddle and we are soon paddling in unison with all the strength we have. I remember Rory warning us of the current.
"We won't go that far."
Primula's words still ring in my head. Have we really gone that far already? I now realise that we are drifting very fast towards the current we didn't even intend to reach, although we have not lessened our paddling. From the corner of my eye I can see white foam lashing against sharp rocks. The gurgling of the water, which was so comforting some time before, now seems ominous.
"Mama, why aren't we moving?" Frodo's voice is full of fear.
"Paddle," I tell myself, "for his sake!"
For one short moment my eyes meet hers. I see panic in them but she doesn't show her fear. Instead she is soothing Frodo with her words, although it doesn't seem to help much, for he is looking around frantically, always glancing at the rocks that are moving ever closer.
Her appalled face is in my mind as I dive the paddle into the rushing river once again.
"Papa?" he looks at me, his eyes wide with fear.
But my strength lessens. The current is too strong. Yet I go on, ignoring the burning pain in my upper arm. Distraught, I recognise that we are still not moving forward but backwards. The boat is turning, no matter what we do.
"Go on!" I shout. But Primula has no strength left in her arm and neither have I. I grab her paddle anyhow and begin paddling all on my own, clenching my teeth as I do so. The ever-rushing water rings in my ears.
"The rocks are moving closer." Frodo's voice trembles.
I almost beg for a miracle to come, as I plunge the paddle down one last time. My strength has forsaken me. One of the paddles slips out of my grip.
"No!" I try to catch it, but fail.
Turning around I look at my wife and my son sitting side by side, holding each other tightly. Their faces are full of fear and desperation. It grieves me to see them like this knowing I can't do anything to help them.
The water rushes. The boat is driven swiftly towards the rocks.
"I'm afraid," Frodo murmurs, tears streaming down his cheeks as he squinted towards the sharp rocks which were moving closer.
"Me too," I whisper, wrapping my arms protectively around the two of them.
Rubbing his back I try to calm him, as he begins to sob. I know he must feel how scared I am though I try not to show him. Primula squeezes my trembling hand. Unshed tears glitter in her eyes. I admire her strength. She has always been so very strong. Never did she show any of her fears in front of Frodo, even when he has been very ill. But now her eyes speak volumes. We have been too careless all afternoon and she knows about that as well as I do. Slowly I lean in to kiss her brow. She closes her eyes and so do I.
I can hear nothing but the rushing water and the quiet sobs of my son. The merry hours in the afternoon are almost forgotten. Within seconds everything has changed. We are no longer content; our faces are now marked by fear. A fear that is almost unbearable. I find myself thinking about the current again. It will be difficult to get out of it, if we ever get out. I abandon this thought instantly. No, we will make it, all three of us.
Squeezing Primula's hand and pulling her and Frodo more closely, I open my eyes again. White foam lashes against the boat and the rocks. The water rushes. I feel the boat grating stone. The wood bursts with a cracking noise.
I sway, stumble and fall, Frodo still in my arms. He is screaming in desperation and I can also hear my wife's distraught cry. Cool water is touching my toes and legs. A cliff suddenly emerges in front of my eyes.
"Frodo!" I cry and in order to protect my son I turn around so that my back instead of Frodo's head would hit the sharp rock.
I hear him call for his father, as I release my grip of his shoulders and push him away. Something cold hits my temple. The water rushes and darkness falls upon me.
It is terribly cold. I still hear the ever-gurgling water, rushing all around me. I'm freezing and all my body is wet.
I would not be able to open my eyes if not for her soft voice, choked with tears.
"Primula…" I whisper, unable to say any more, for I do not have the strength to even speak. My lids are too heavy. I can't keep my eyes open, but I can imagine that she is smiling.
"I'm… here," she whispers through trembling lips.
I feel water splashing on my face. It is cold and the river rushes. But I'm content, for she is with me. Suddenly another thought hits my blearing mind. "Frodo?"
"He is safe," she assures me.
I would have smiled, if I had the strength to do so. But I don't have it. My eyes flutter open. I see her face, wet with water and tears, but still beautiful.
I do not know that it is the last time I will ever see her or anything else. I feel tired and weak. My head swims.
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.