5. Chapter 5
Boromir, please listen to me for once, would you? The Ring must not come to Minas Tirith. No, I have not gone over to the side of the Elves, who to all appearances consider us an inferior breed—an inequitable judgment, for anyone who is at all acquainted with Elf-lore knows that they have been guilty of the same temptations and betrayals of our kind. I believe strongly in the valor of Gondor; yes, there is weakness, yes, there is frailty, but there is courage also, and honor to be found in Men.
However, when I say "Men" I am making Father an exception. He is mad, Boromir, stark, raving mad. You know this, I know this, Gondor knows this. How did the Lady Galadriel put it? "Your father is a chemically imbalanced loony." Can you imagine what could be wrought if the Ring were to fall into his hands?
Think, Boromir, of the forest fires. Ithilien. Fangorn. Mirkwood. Up in a blaze. Pyromaniacs and omnipotence do not mix well. Father is drunk on the power he feels when he sees visions in a glass-spun ball—can you imagine the kind of power that the Ring would exercise over him? Brush fires in Rohan. Edoras aflame.
No, Boromir, the Ring must not come anywhere near Minas Tirith. And yet… how do they mean to enter Mordor? How can they hope to pass undetected? It is a pity that there is no manner of approaching the Black Lands from above… but that is merely conjectural folly. Until the day that Men grow wings, we must fight our wars on land rather than air.
Please, Boromir, heed what I say. Come back to Minas Tirith, but do not come with Isildur's Bane.
Besides, was that not the reason you were sent to Imladris? To bring back the Ring for Father? And who would want give Father that kind of satisfaction? I can already imagine the "I-told-you-so" expression on his face as he receives his prize, and then reduces the nearest object into a pile of ashes.
And, knowing my general standing in Father's pecking order, the nearest object would probably be me.
You forget the influence that I hold over our Father, as his heir and—though I would not have it so—favorite son. I would see that the Ring never found its way into his possession, for my aim in bringing it to the White City would not be to surrender it to him, but to regroup, to replan, to strike out from a strong place. But it matters little—our speculation is all for naught. Aragorn will not see the Ring brought to Gondor, and Frodo would never go against his counsel.
I tried to reason with our would-be King, telling him what I have told you. I even threw in your little bit of eloquence about the courage and honor of Men. He answered coldly that there was no strength in Gondor, and that he would not see the Ring taken within a hundred leagues of my—my, not our—City.
That stung. I socked him in the eye.
Oh, fine, so I didn't. But I wanted to. Very, very badly. Have me tried for treason if you will, Faramir. He ought to have been born a bloody Elf; only the eartips are wanting. And the hygiene bit.
We are setting out again… I shall postmark this later.
Have been throwing Aragorn nasty glares from my boat. I don't think he's noticed. Damn him. Maybe I should try a friendly hand gesture… ah, but there are the Argonath, and it would be shockingly irreverent to do that in their presence…
We have at last reached Parth Galen, and stopped for a brief respite while the members of the Company choose their course. Aragorn and I are still due to journey to my city, and though he would not have the Ring come to Minas Tirith, it is down to the Ringbearer to decide for himself. He appears distraught, and has declared that he must go off alone to ponder his choice. This is madness—we should not linger here, not with Orcs on the opposite bank…
I think that I will go collect firewood. Who's to say we might not need to build a cooking fire in the middle of the day just because we're on a mission of extreme stealth and speed is of the essence and Orcs hell-bent on killing us are on the other side of the River?
I have done a very stupid thing, Faramir.
Very, very stupid.
I tried to… oh Eru's blood, are those Uruks?
Faramir, you would not believe what justaaaargh…
Faramir stared at the letter, hands trembling.
"Damrod?" he called across the cavern. "Damrod, will you come here a moment?"
The Ranger plodded over to the wooden trestle table, littered with papers and stubs of candles, where Faramir sat, brooding. "Yes, Captain?"
Faramir gestured at the parchment before him. "What do you make of that?"
Damrod read. "'Faramir, you would not believe what justaaargh'?"
"Yes, that. What do you suppose it means?"
Damrod shrugged. "Maybe he died while writing it?"
Faramir's face turned the color of sour milk. For a moment, his countenance was contorted in a paroxysm of terror; then, a frown formed between his eyes, and confusion replaced it.
"Yes, but why would he bother to write 'aaaargh'? He'd just say it!" He blinked, and his expression cleared. In another instant, it was troubled once more. "Well, this is Boromir we're talking about…"
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