1. Amid the Ruins of Osgiliath
"Faramir!" Boromir ordered. "Back to the city!" Turning the Steward's heir caught two blows on his shield, hacking at the frenzied hordes of Mordor.
"You first!" the younger man replied, protecting his brother's flank.
"Not now, little brother," Boromir pleaded standing back to back with his kinsman. "I will not have father lose us both." He cringed to make Faramir seem a coward in retreat.
"Neither will I!" Faramir shouted back over the din of battle, fighting like a cornered stag.
"Across the bridge, at least," Boromir compromised beginning the careful retreat out of Osgiliath. "Berenion!" he called, spotting the lieutenant with his band. The middle-aged warrior turned to his lord. "Across the river! Fall back!" The main body of soldiers turned to retreat, the rear-guard harrying the orcs that flowed like the river around them. "Our turn, little brother," Boromir said, setting his feet on the last bridge standing in what was once the city of kings.
A complaining groan was the only warning before the far half of the bridge collapsed to the cheers of the orcs. Men and horses vanished beneath the white foam of the bridge's ruin.
"Swim!" Faramir called, leaping into the churning water at the side of the bridge. Boromir had no choice but to follow.
The angry river closed over his head, the waves battering at his body. Praying he chose right, Boromir picked a direction and began swimming. His head broke the surface halfway to shore and the Steward's son fell into a strong pulling stroke that ate the distance to safety. When cries of distress caught his ears, Boromir grabbed the floundering soldier. "Swim, man," the Captain spat water with his order, dragging the other man with him as they struggled onto the bank.
Boromir stood on shaking legs looking back at the river. New rapids showed where the bridge had collapsed. The orcs on the far shore were cheering and spending the last of their arrows into the river, picking off the few swimmers still in the river. He couldn't see his brother.
"Boromir!" In a heartbeat, Faramir appeared from behind what was left of the bridge and was embracing his brother. "You made it," the young Captain sighed letting go quickly. "Alcarin, are you whole?"
The elderly Ranger Boromir had towed to shore coughed up another lungful of water before answering. "Whole, yes. In body at least."
"Aid, in mercy's name." A young soldier, new to the guards clawed at the river bank, trying not to be swept away.
"Morgil!" Alcarin cried pulling the boy onto the shore. "Oh child, you live. I could not have returned to my sister otherwise."
"I'm fine, uncle," the lad murmured. "Twisted my leg in the river is all." The sixteen-year-old blinked at the other three men. "Are we four all who were saved?"
"We are," Boromir confirmed, looking back at the city now overrun with orcs. "The orcs are content, it seems, to have pulled down the bridge. We should return to Minas Tirith."
"Alas, how the flower of Gondor is withered!" Faramir lamented in a loud voice, fighting back his tears. "Who now guards the Tower of Guard?"
Boromir put his arm around his brother's shoulders, shivering at the hollow ring in Faramir's voice. "Her people," he whispered fiercely, squeezing the Captain of Ithilien close.
Alcarin nodded, accepting the charge on behalf of all the people. "Her lords," he responded, acknowledging the house of Stewards.
Faramir never took his gaze off the broken remnants of the one-time capital of Gondor. Eyes still lost in the dream he'd had the night before, he breathed the final benediction. "Her King when he returns.""Four only were saved by swimming: my brother and myself and two others. But still we fight on, holding all the west shores of Anduin; and those who shelter behind us give us praise, if ever they hear our name; much praise but little help." –The Council of Elrond, FOTR
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