Imladris Interpreted: 1. Imladris Interpreted

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1. Imladris Interpreted

In a great Hall,
on the lesser throne,
sits Denethor
mouth spread wide
crinkling bullfrog smile
and heavy-hooded eyes
(like Boromir’s).
He says:

“Ah, my son, my eldest son,
most favored and preferred,
brave, strong, victorious
my light and my joy,
the good-bad son of Gondor: Boromir.

It is on you that I depend,
not useless-Faramir,
that minstrel runt of a second son.
We would do good to feed
him to a passing oliphaunt
in exchange for some Haradrim spices
and a truce.


Nay, do not squirm, Brave-Boromir,
I know you would defend him,
but save your energies
and defend your City instead.
For we all rely on you,
our Captain-General and my first, my best.
You are our sword.”

“Every day I spend defending the White Tower,
my lord.”

“And yet the Shadow grows,
it looms dark over us, growing growing
ever larger, ever blacker,
ever fouler
covering the land killing the land
forcing the people to flee.
You must rally our forces,
and make savage bloody war,
it is our only hope.
War for peace, my son.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Now, what did you need?”


“I have dreamt…
…something strange…
it comes to me
it comes to runt-Faramir
and we are much beguiled by its drone-commands.
It says:

‘Imladris holds broken sword,
Counsel fair and wise,
Also there a token stored,
And Halflings up shall rise.’

This dream it screams
and on the word ‘token’
cries ‘Isildur’s Bane!’
Father, what does it mean?”

A lengthy pause.

Heavy, slow breathing.

Denethor thinks.

Impatient as he is,
before Brave-Tall-Bold (and everything else) Boromir
can restrain himself:

“Do not ‘well’ me!
I am thinking.”

Eyes averted, mumbled apology.

Silence like a tomb,
echoed breathing
and audible blinks.
Finally, Denethor looks up:
“You say your brother has dreamt the same?”

“Aye, my lord.”

“Bring him in. He is waiting outside.
I will hear his story out.
And you: go, sharpen your sword,
flex your muscles
and wait for us by the door.”

Boromir bows, exits, scuffing boots.
In walks Faramir,
not a runt,
but as Tall-Brave-Bold as the other,
except by misfortune and circumstance,
seen poorly in his father’s eyes.
Faramir’s voice is soft,
like a warm breeze on an autumnal afternoon
like a patch of green grass by a winding stream
like thoughts that bring a smile.
He asks:

“You called, father?”

“Tell me, Faramir,
your elder, your better, brother
speaks of a dream
beguiled by it
swears curses thinks of it
and seeks my counsel.
Tell me what it says.”

Without hesitation, and closing his eyes,
Faramir squints shudders repeats:

“Imladris holds broken sword,
Counsel fair and wise,
Also there a token stored,
And Halflings up shall rise – ”

“That is enough, boy. Bleagh! I hate poetry.”
Denethor interrupts at the end
(Faramir is no boy, he is a Man…)
“So it is true, then, both my sons
hear the same call.
Bring in your elder.”

Boromir back.

“I, Denethor, am greatest of lore-masters
in the world of mortal Men.
I know, I see, I read, and I am wise.
You are my sons, my only sons,
on the receiving-end of this mystery call.
And so I tell you this:
Imladris was called of old
home to Elrond, Halfelven.
Far it is, and hidden
among perilous paths northern dale.
Quasi-certain death.”

Faramir cuts in
(he is so fair and wise,
but hated by his father):
“Aye, then it is a warning,
and we must heed the call.
Send me to Imladris, father,
and I will bring back whatever aid may lie there.”

Denethor pauses.
(Mayhap this is a good way
to finally rid himself
of the runty one?)

Boromir will not allow it.
“Nay, my lord, nay, the road…
‘tis perilous, long, arduous, villainous.
Near death, you say?
I am the stronger,
I am the taller,
I am the bolder,
(so you say, father; sorry, brother)
and though I know little of elfish-kind,
send me instead.
If there be counsel or helpful-weapon,
leave me to take it, wield it, bring it forth.”

Faramir chokes spits disgusted,
“know you the way?
Know you the elves?
Know you anything save war
and battle and sword?
Stronger, bolder, taller? Ha!
Consider this:
While you have but heard
the dream-whisper once,
I have heard it many times over,
and examined it, over,
and turned it over in mind.
Over and over and over.
What awaits us there,
whoever should go,
cannot be wielded like a blade,
it is no physical device,
it is no sword, no spear,
no battle-strategy, no barracks,
and thus you – Brute-Boromir,
will have no defense
For what sits there in Imladris
is a mind-struggle, a higher thing,
ready to wrap around your tissue-thin spirit,
and squeeze it shut!
Spilling all the good-syrup out
and leaving only the acidic bad:
your arrogance, your pride,
your greed, your hard-head.
Father, do you not agree?”

Boromir offended, shocked, mouth hanging open on a hinge,
after all he was just trying to protect Faramir…
but surely father will –

“For once, for strange, for the first time and the last time,
perhaps in my life, in my mind,
Faramir: I agree with you.
Go, go to Imladris.”

“What? No!”
And now Boromir must use
the singular weapon he cannot wield
but for clumsy thrusts and battle-roars: his tongue.
Well? Say it. Say why you should go. We’re waiting.
Good beginning.
“Father, I should go.
These are dark times,
desperate times,
and I think –
mayhap, my lord, I can serve
the White City as well there
as here.
Faramir condemns me to a weak spirit
hard-head, easy prey for mind-weapons.
(And perhaps that is what lies at the end of my road.)
But, my lord, we cannot defeat Mordor
with brain-struggles.
We need a weapon, a real one,
something large something powerful
something to use against Sauron
and put a finish to all of this.
If Imladris holds such a thing,
then only I, not Faramir, could bring it back,
use it, free the White City
from Sauron’s black grasp.”

That was convincing enough.
Denethor looks first to Boromir,
then to Faramir,
then back to Boromir.
In his eye: from strong to weak to strong.
And he decides:

“My son, this is why I cherish you so,
you have the mind of a leader,
and you think for all of us.
Faramir, your brother is right.
A mind-weapon is of no use,
and if this is what dwells in Imladris,
then we shall have time wasted.
But if instead it is an arm
of such length and strength
that we may hope to finish off
the Evil,
I say only Boromir can take it.

And so it is settled.
Boromir, be off.
Find Imladris, find our protection and restoration,
we will await your return
every day from Ecthelion’s.
And you, Faramir,
make yourself useful
and be out of my sight.”

Slamming doors, boots on marble,
the talk is finished.

Outside: Boromir Faramir
glaring snapping bullying
like two great tigers-bulls-warriors
stalking the same prey.
A push, an insult, a curse,
a swing, a miss, another curse.

“Be-plagued, scoundrel brother,
are you not satisfied?
Favor, love, admiration,
preference, rule, victory,
all laid on your alter
grease on your lips
slaves at your feet
like a fattened Haradrim prince.
Praise, Boromir, praise him indeed!
Thick-headed thug…”

Bristling Boromir, burning
fists clenched,
fingers itching for the sword.
Why always thick-headed am I?
Because I am no bandy-legged
little minstrel poet
droopy puppy-dog gaze
singing to the stars
on my nights off? Bah! Bah!
Wails and songs and moonlit tunes,
you slippery sloppy dove,
with no place in this war,
get you to the library, elf-dandy!”

Swords, fisticuffs, brouhaha!
A thrust against the wall,
slam-punching in the stomach,
wheezy exhalation and a grunt.
Flit flit goes the sword,
clanging once twice and then flit
against a cheek.
Bloody, bruised, on and on,
(brothers do this, you know, fight)
and through falling teeth
red gums, eyes swollen shut:

“Mindless senseless troll,
arrogant bastard!”

“Useless whimsy runt!”



After a few more minutes
of skirmish,
final knee in the crotch,
last elbow crack jaw,
the brothers flop down, sit:
“Enough, enough,
you give me cauliflower ear.”
Faramir gasping, clutching his knee.
Boromir wiping blood from his nose.
The older, good-bad son of Gondor,
and the younger good-wise brother.
The elder stands, wipes his clothes,
puts out his hand,
helps the other up to his feet.
“Enough, then. I prepare my horse,
and leave before dawn.”

Goodbye, my brother.

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.

Story Information

Author: Aeneid

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Poetry

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/20/05

Original Post: 07/18/04

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