1. The Path Before Me
The two lines in itallics are borrowed directly from The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition.
Thanks to my betas Liz, Marta, Lady Aranel and Gwynnyd!
“Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them.” ~ Galadriel; Lord of the Rings, Book II, Chapter VIII; Farewell to Lórien.
I lengthen my stride, matching that of the Elf who lopes easily beside me. Staring out at the horizon, my eyes fix upon that distant smudge of dust. Somewhere under that haze are two innocent hobbits. I push aside the lingering dread that they are dead, and focus on the ground before me, determined to avoid the rocks and holes my Elven friend so easily evades. Innocent? Yes. Helpless? No. They proved their strength in Moria. Their courage amazed me.
Risking a glance over my shoulder, I see the Dwarf some lengths behind us. His effort is valiant, his short legs pumping furiously to keep up. It has been a night and half a day since we left Amon Hen, and Gimli son of Glóin has endured much longer than I expected him to.
I turn back to the road stretching out before me. Gimli is one of only a few Aulë’s children I know and his stout heart has surprised me.
My thoughts drift, as I relax into an easy, ground-covering stride. What races do I truly know? Elves? Hobbits? Men? I swallow hard; the pain of Boromir’s death still swells within my heart. I thought I knew him. From the moment I first saw him in Imladris, I thought I knew everything about him. He was a Dúnedain of the south, I of the north, and the weakness to the Ring’s call ran strong in his veins, just as it does in mine. I ignore the fatigue in my legs as my thoughts linger on the Man from Gondor.
Yes, there is weakness. There is frailty. But there is courage also, and honor to be found in Men. At the time, his words blew through me like a spring breeze. I heard what he said, but I did not listen. He told me I was afraid. That I was scared of who and what I am. Resentment sparked from deep inside me and I lashed out at him, venting my anger on one who only pointed out the truth.
So strong in his convictions; so determined to help his people. Boromir had believed the Ring would be Gondor’s salvation. Yes, the Ring had taken him. But with courage and strength, he fought free of the Ring’s power. In the end, he had kept his honor. Glancing down at his vambraces, strapped on my forearms so few hours yet so many miles ago, a deep sense of respect wells up in me. Strength? Indeed. Orcs had littered the ground where he lay. Frailty? Perhaps, but what is strength, without frailty? How can one exist without the other? In my time, I have seen courage. I have seen my kinsmen fight to the threshold of death in defense of the innocent, and I have seen some of them step across it. To take action, even when one feels unable to make a difference, that is courage. To face death and do what is right, what must be done, that is courage. I have seen it in my kinsmen, and I saw it in Gondor’s brave son. He died well, if such a thing is truly possible.
I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall. Fatigue fades as conviction refreshes me, my pace once more matching that of Legolas. Boromir has entrusted me with the destiny of his city, of Gondor itself. Fate, it seems, has found me. As much as I have tried to escape it, my doom follows me, silently waiting for the moment when I will be forced to accept it. I will do what I promised. To Boromir of Gondor, I owe that much.
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.