14. Strange awakenings
“Boromir…? Boromir, can you hear me? Do you know where you are?”
The man looked past Théodred, and said, “Mae govannen.”
Théo stared. ‘…Boromir doesn’t speak Sindarin.’ He rolled over to see who he spoke to; Lord Celeborn had entered the room.
“Gil sila erin lû e-govaded vin,” the Elf said with a formal nod. He walked over to the bedside, “Man eneth lin?”
Boromir bowed his head in greeting, before looking puzzled, as if he searched for a phrase but could not find it.
“Anirach i dulu nin?” asked Celeborn.
Boromir frowned, perplexed; he stared at Celeborn for several moment then nodded.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” Théodred was afraid to hear the answer.
“I asked him what his name is, and then I asked him if he wants my help – it seems he does not remember who he is.
“Is this some sort of trick? Boromir doesn’t speak your language.”
“It would appear he does now.”
When Boromir said it, it sounded like an experiment for his tongue, almost as if the word were a surprise to him. Haldir had entered unnoticed behind Lord Celeborn; he bent to pick up the water jug from a tray and poured the remains into a goblet, handing it to Boromir
Without thinking, the man said, “Le hannon,” as he took it eagerly and drained the cup.
Théodred did not know what to think – ‘this was madness…’
Celeborn raised his hand and interrupted anything the Rohir might be going to ask,
“We have other news for you, Prince… The Ents, the tree-shepherds you saw brought us grave tidings…”
And he told Théodred of the news the Ents had brought them – that Saruman was discovered to have long been a deceiver; he had unleashed an army of orcs against Rohan; that King Théoden had evacuated the city of Edoras and the surrounding settlements for Helm’s Deep. There they had been besieged, only to be saved on the brink of destruction by the arrival of the White Wizard and the Riders commanded by Éomer.
Théodred was appalled - ‘…he should have been there! He should have been fighting at his father’s side! He should have… He should not be here!!’
“I have to go there!” The Prince leapt out of his bed. “Where are my clothes? My armour?” he demanded.
“They will be brought for you,” said Haldir, “But pause and think – where do you go first?”
“To the Mark, to my people.”
Lord Celeborn nodded, “And we, to ours, and Boromir must come with us.”
Théodred felt as though a great weight was crushing him… they were right. He couldn’t manage a sick man; he would have difficulty enough himself – no horse, no men…
“We will find you a horse, Prince, but first you must hear all we know. Sauron prepares to attack Gondor, for he knows that if he takes Minas Tirith, eventually, the rest of Middle-earth will be his. There will be nothing but Darkness in all of Arda. Gondor looks to its allies, and Rohan rides to their aid…”
“Where? Where do they muster? I must return to my éored, my King needs me!”
“The Riders are on their way south – they are calling all the men that can bear spears to meet at Harrowdale. In two days the Host will take the Great West Road through Anórien, to Minas Tirith.”
“Dunharrow! – but we must be fifty leagues from Dunharrow. Even with a fast horse it will take me two days at least to get there – and they will not stay. Always they will be hours ahead of me!” Théodred paced the floor – ‘…this was disastrous! He should never have listened to the Elves in the first place… but if he had not… Boromir would be dead… Yes, dead… but what was he now?!’
“And we are fifty leagues from Lorien – we also must return, and although that way is equally perilous, and we must take Boromir with us. You cannot hope to protect him, neither can you ride two to a horse, whereas we…”
“I know, I know… it is impossible for me.” Théodred paused in his pacing. He turned, the Prince once again… “Boromir is my life, but the Mark is my country. I am Second Marshall of the Mark and if my Father-King goes to war – then my place is at his side!”
Celeborn nodded solemnly, “We shall aid you as much as we can – and we will take care of him. He will have sanctuary with us for as long as our realm stands free from Sauron’s darkness. You have my promise.”
Théodred bowed his head, ignoring the incongruity of binding oaths taken when he was still bare-legged in a night-shirt.
“Your armour will be brought to you. We will give you a small escort. We can send you down the river at a speed that will match the fleetest horse – four Elves in a light craft can paddle day and night. It is ten leagues beyond the junction of the Snowbourne before the swift current falters, and from there, another 10 leagues to the West Road.”
“But I’ll have no horse.”
“Do not worry – I will call, and I will see that a worthy horse shall be waiting there to bear you.”
The rohir was puzzled for a few moments before he understood the elf-lord’s offer.
“A Mearas? You will have a Mearas wait for me?” Théodred’s eyes shone – ‘…to ride a Mearas!’
Celeborn smiled at his enthusiasm, “He will allow you to ride him, but he will not be yours to keep, for they are their own masters.”
A foot stamped politely outside the curtains before a healer with a tray of food entered.
“You will both eat.” Celeborn made this a command. “Lindir shall bring your gear, and Haldir will arrange for your escort. All will be ready well before noon.”
He made to leave, but Théo boldly touched his sleeve, “You will look after him?” he said quietly.
Celeborn placed his hand over Théodred’s, clasped it once and nodded. The Elves left.
“Am… I… a burden?”
Théodred whirled around; he had forgotten Boromir was awake and heard all of this… He went to the bed immediately and clasped Boromir’s hand in his.
“No. Never!” He said with fervour. “Never that.”
Boromir’s eyes were fever-bright, but unfocused; he stared hard at Théo, seemingly struggling to make sense of things… “Do I know you?”
Théo's head drooped in near despair, he did not know which was the worst way to lose his love… to death, or to… this.
“I feel perhaps… I do know you.” Boromir said finally, “But I am tired and my memory… is clouded. His voice faded. Théodred fingers gripped the other man’s hand convulsively, as if he could hold onto him and pull him back by his strength alone. They sat in silence for a little before Boromir spoke again, “…you talked to me before, I think. I seem to remember your voice…”
“Yes!” Théo said eagerly, “I spoke to you all day and last night”
Boromir shook his head, unsure, “Did you? Yours was not the only voice – it was difficult to hear them all.”
Théodred felt lost. He sat on Boromir’s bed and searched Boromir’s face with his eyes, “We…” he began, “…were – are – the greatest of friends. Our lives have been entwined for so long that I can not imagine my life without you - it would be like a light had gone out forever.”
He paused to make sure Boromir was listening. The man was rapt in his attention, staring hard at Théodred, as if making a huge effort to pierce the veil inside his mind. Théo took Boromir’s hand and laid it between his two hands, swearing aloud a private oath of fealty as he did so.
“We are friends, companions, comrades in arms, confidantes – and most of all, we are lovers…” Théo watched Boromir’s face, “We have been – we are – and we will be. Do not doubt me. I will wait for you to come back to me… never doubt that I will wait. And though we must part now, I will return for you. I will return!” Théodred said the last with such fierce conviction his voice shook.
Slowly, Boromir freed his hand and took the other man’s hand between his two. He held it pressed firmly in his for a few seconds before he spoke. “I accept your promise.”
They sat in silence, staring into each others faces, one looking for recognition, the other for something to recognise – both of them seeking to imprint a memory for themselves – in case… in case… but neither could face what ‘in case’ might mean.
After a while Boromir sank back onto his pillow. He gave a great sigh and his eyes slipped closed; his hands released Théo’s, and he slept again. Théodred sat for a moment, then leant forward and kissed Boromir on the forehead, then on each cheek. He whispered very softly in his ear,
“I will not say goodbye, my love; there will never be anything that final between us.”
Then he rose and dressed in a fresh shirt and his borrowed leggings, pulled his boots on, and walked out without looking back.
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.