Boromir, the First Son and Heir to the Stewardship of Gondor looked about him. Everywhere the hidden valley of Imladris glowed with the fullness of Autumn. The very air shone with a clarity he had never before witnessed, giving each tree in its chosen raiment of red or gold a particular glory. Even the fading brown and gray warning of winter seemed luminous here.
It displeased him greatly.
He had been an honored guest in the House of Elrond for nearly five days already, though the first few he had spent recuperating from his long journey North. Moreover, although he had been given a large room, well appointed and richly furnished, he left it as soon as he was able. Close by he had found a wealth in objects, comforts, and amusements fit to rival even the King’s House of Gondor in Minas Tirith, the city in which he had been born and had always lived; the city from which he would some day rule Gondor.
In every banquet room he discovered, every library, every hall he explored he had found Elves – Elves laughing, Elves singing, Elves reading, sporting, working, resting and sometimes just standing around. And though they always welcomed him, accorded him the respect of his heritage and station and often, even, invited him to join them in whatever past time they were occupied they gave him no ease.
Even the house itself made him uncomfortable with its airy passages, translucent ceilings, and walls that were often more openings than, well, walls. It quickly drove him outside. He found he missed the plain and confident stone of Minas Tirith, the square streets and quarried stairs, the orderliness of its seven circles, seven offset gates and crowning white tower; The White Tower of Ecthelion named for his forefather and for which the White City in turn was named, the Tower of Guard of which he was Captain.
Boromir found himself muttering the passwords to each gate and circle like a charm as he left Elrond’s house and searched out Imladris itself one morning. He had been loitering about the house too long waiting a summons from Elrond to discuss his mission, his reason for being there. It was a dream had guided him and like a dream, it seemed. Rivendell he soon discovered was well named: countless small vales, hollows and leas were to be found within easy distance of the Last Homely House, many with their own sparkling brook or stream chattering secretly to itself as it sought the Bruinen. He could only imagine it was all even more lovely even than glory that had once been Ithillen, the wooded land of which, as a youth, he had learned every tree though it had long before been spoiled by the Enemy.
In one, particularly broad vale Boromir came across a group of Elves contesting at some kind of sword contest of skill. Many were the dark haired and silver clad folk of Rivendell, but among them were the blond haired elves arrayed in green and brown. They all laughed as they sparred, teased and called to each other and for the some reason to observe their merriment finally caught Boromir, and he stopped nearby to observe them and their game. The joy and camaraderie with which they vied belied a fearsome competition, the Gondorian soon realized. Each pair took turns fencing against their selected opponent, dodging and parrying a hurling sword blade. It was clear to see who was winning, however; one Elf seemed to receive the most cheers and accolades. The elleth was tall, contrasting against elf women of smaller stature, but lithe and had very long vibrant flame red that fell to her knees, wearing a dark blue and black tunic. Boromir found himself familiar with the elf maiden’s alabaster hued face with hints of light vermilion in the cheeks on and ears, the blood coloured lips, the vivid emerald green eyes with golden glints in them, and her noticeable curves.
There was a burst of applause when the swordsmaiden succeeded in knocking the other sword clear in the air, and caught it as it fell. As all the players joined in the celebration, Boromir surmised that the game must have been won, but still he stayed leaning against his tree at the edge of the greensward as the victorious Elf was approached by a competitor in green and brown.
“Your skill with the sword is formidable, Narilvrin. I would not have said one of our kin of Imladris could best an archer of Mirkwood had I not seen it here today.”
Far from taking offence at this reverse compliment, the victor only smiled more broadly and gave a small bow as the others gathered around.
“Indeed,” spoke a teammate; “I hardly know why we let her play as she always wins.”
“You hope, Tatharhin (Willow child), that my skill will rub off on you as I continue to hope you will become more of a challenge.”
As the group laughed freely Boromir, from beneath his tree, noted that Elves seemed to delight as much in teasing and good-natured insults as in more fair conduct. Perhaps, he thought, there was something to like about them after all.
“Shall we have another game?” The woodland Elf of Mirkwood addressed the victor.
“By all means” she replied and then, much to his surprise, waved a graceful hand in Boromir’s own direction. “But look. Nearby I see our gallant visitor from the South. Perhaps he will join us and we will see what of archery or strategy can be learned from him for I hear he is a mighty warrior.” Then, as the others stood about loosely, the fair archer approached Boromir. “What say you, Man of Gondor, will you come and play with us?”
The Steward’s son straightened politely but sought to wave the archer off even as she neared. “Nay, I will not, though I must thank you for the invitation.”
“Have you found a surfeit of rest and amusement in the House of Elrond that you refuse our game?”
Boromir watched with some irritation as the Elf stopped scant feet from him and sheathed her bright curved sword inside a leather scabbard. He could see her ever-present laughter waiting patiently behind a small grin and her emerald golden flecked eyes glinted with a sharp fiery light of its own.
“I came here seeking neither rest nor amusement,” he replied brusquely.
However, the fair Archer would not be discouraged. “But you are unhappy here, that much is plain.”
At heart, Boromir bristled at her forthrightness. “I am idle, and idleness always makes me unhappy,” he growled.
But she only laughed in reply, a gentle rippling laugh like wine uncorked. “Come, Son of Gondor; there are many things in Rivendell to occupy the mind or body of any willing to seek them out. Let me be your guide. I have before met a Man from the South, but mostly Men of the North, and I would be glad of the opportunity to know you better. Will you meet me on the morrow? If I can find nothing to amuse you before noon you may discharge me and I will trouble you no longer. What do you say?”
Despite his black and restless mood, Boromir found himself rising to the challenge. Waiting for Elrond’s summons had been an irritation to him; perhaps he needed a change of strategy.
“I will. But who shall I ask for about the house tomorrow?”
The Elf laughed “There is no need. I will come to you. And I am called Narilvrin, which is ‘translucent brilliance of flame’ in your tongue, though I like Eldawingil (Quenya: Elf Nymph) better.”
With a grin she turned and gracefully loped back to the players waiting for her. Boromir did not stay to see the next match but stepped backwards until the tree he had been leaning on obscured his view. Then he turned and pointed his boots back towards the House of Elrond, a curious smile teasing the corners of his mouth.
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.