27. Questions Still Unanswered
The elf-lord studied the maps on the table before him, consulting with his captains as to possible areas of vulnerability in their defences, and the speed at which warriors might be re-directed at need to reinforce those at the point of attack. Most of the garths had been emptied; the dairy cattle and fowl bought to pens inside the clearings of the golden wood, but many of the flocks had probably been sacrificed to the orcs by leaving them in the fields. The Walnut Garth was strongest, based around three huge trees in the middle of the walnut groves; it was well defended, though the force was not great. Apple Garth was the largest, the oak grove that supported the dwelling-flets at the centre of its orchards also retained a force of elves; the nearby garths of Cherry, Plum and Almond had been evacuated completely. The outlying Pear and Hazel garths were yet to be reported on…
Boromir was admitted to the Great Chamber by one of doorwardens. Lord Celeborn was not within sight immediately, but Boromir walked unerringly in his direction, to an alcove at the far end of the enormous room. The elf-lord looked up before the man reached him. They stared at each other without speaking for a few moments.
"You are welcome to stay. Tasarion, my chamberlain has brought refreshments; perhaps you could fetch some for us?"
Celeborn nodded to the side of the room were an elf with an air of bustling authority was organising half a dozen other galadhrim to fill and dispense beakers of hot teas of various sorts. At his nod, the two other captains at the table withdrew a little way; Celeborn beckoned Boromir to him.
"Doubtless you have many questions…?"
"I am… sometimes confused by what I see, places I know that somehow seem a little strange. Sometimes I stumble in waking dreams… at least, that is what they feel like."
Celeborn nodded slowly "I hope we will have time to talk at greater length later, in the meantime, is their anything you would ask of me?"
Boromir considered his words, "At times… I am you… and then it is 'we' that that plan, that see my land's enemies... At different times I catch glimpses of the others you know intimately, and although I do not see their minds… I know… we… you do… and yet, I am not as they are, as you are… I am… different." Boromir trailed off in confusion. "How can this be?" he finally whispered, half to himself.
Celeborn laid his hands lightly on the man's shoulders, speaking gently as one would explain a problem to a child. "You have been a part of me, your fea was ready to flee from you and I caught it and took it into my own – you slept within my fea. To keep your body, some of my spirit entered yours, and some residue remains within you still. You were so badly wounded… there was no other way."
Boromir faced the elf-lord in rapt attention struggling to understand, finally murmuring,
"My Lady saw in you a role not yet fulfilled. She would say no more than there was some great importance that she sensed. She saw in her mirror a coming peril, and we agreed Haldir should travel to warn the Horselord of your plight… Ah…" Celeborn looked deep into his eyes, "… you do not see him in your thoughts."
Boromir shook his head. "I have restless dreams, that I do not understand… but I should understand them. I try… and I did go to someone… to him… Yes! I did… and then the haze became worse… and there were dark things creeping at the edges of my vision…" Boromir stifled a shudder.
Celeborn gripped his shoulders, "You made a valiant effort to save him, your companion, and you did, but in doing so you travelled paths not yours to walk… You drifted farther from your own self… and now… we do not know when you will come back to being… you. Do you know who you are?"
Boromir frowned, "We… are… We are…" A moment of panic entered Boromir's eyes.
"We… that is right, let that be enough for the moment" Celeborn clasped the man to him in a brief hug of comfort before releasing him. "Come – look at the maps with me."
In the meantime, Tasarion approached the elf organising the servitors, realising it was the same person that had escorted them to their quarters; he asked for tea for Lord Celeborn. The elf nodded and prepared it himself. Tasarion watched in horrified fascination – for the first time he saw that the elf had two fingers missing from his right hand, which meant…
The chamberlain looked up, "I can no longer fire a bow..."
Tasarion looked down at his feet.
"…But I serve my lord in other ways no less useful."
"My apologies," Tasarion mumbled,
"No need. Do you find your place satisfactory?"
"Yes, very comfortable …"
The chamberlain paused, still considering his house-keeper's role, and Tasarion made his escape carrying the small tray of beakers.
A messenger spattered with mud rushed into the chamber.
"My Lord! My Lord! The Ents…"
And he rushed out a tale of how the Ents had come from Fangorn and Isengard to attack the remaining bands of ravaging orcs. They, not finding any entrance to Lorien, had charged south looking for easy pickings in the Wold of Rohan. There they had been completely annihilated by the Ents, who still enraged from the discovery of Saruman's treachery and the destruction of the Isengard's woods, were not of any mind to give quarter.
Lord Celeborn listened in silence, before nodding approval at what he heard. He asked the messenger some questions about the deposition of his fellows, and were they in their places to be able to send and receive communications swiftly – being assured they were, Celeborn dismissed the elf to find refreshment before he returned to his post in the wood.
Boromir had relaxed and now stood to one side, sipping his tea, watching and listening intently. It was very late when Lord Celeborn decided they had done enough and should take a few hours of rest before continuing again after the sun had risen, when, hopefully, there would perhaps be more information brought back by the scouts and messengers.
Celeborn beckoned and Boromir and Tasarion followed him back to his quarters. As they reached the flet, he pointed that they should go inside without him.
"I want to consider, and if the night is reasonably clear, it would please me to admire the stars."
Brushing aside their offers to accompany him, he took Boromir by the shoulders, turned him and looked squarely into his face.
"Can you tell me of the place of your birth?"
"A city hidden among the trees…" Boromir replied instantly, then paused and furrowed his brow in thought. "…But …it was against the mountains, and there were many levels… I do not think they are the same place." He frowned.
Lord Celeborn clasped his arms and spoke encouragingly. "Things will become clearer for you soon. And your name?"
The man smiled, "I am Celebmir. At least… I think I am… but …I believe I used to be called by another name…" he shook his head as if the action would clear his thoughts.
"No matter. Sleep. Tomorrow, it may be good practise for you to exercise your sword arm with some sparring."
"Yes, Lord – my shoulder heals, but the muscles are stiff, and I tire easily."
Celeborn smiled, "Tomorrow then, or rather later today! And when there is time, we will talk again."
Then he left them and continued climbing the stair to the very top-most flet that had clear sight around it in all directions; above him the night-sky remained dull and covered by masses of sullen swirling clouds. Two sentries were posted there, but Lord Celeborn waved away offers that they should leave there posts to give him privacy. Settling himself in his cloak, he faced towards the west; his thoughts were for his Marchwarden at the far border.
The following morning, Boromir rose to find Tasarion already washed and just finishing dressing. The elf fumbled his laces hastily closed as he saw the man's eyes flutter awake. Boromir yawned and murmured, "Don't worry on my account…" meaning the elf need not be concerned about matters of protocol and appearing formally dressed, but Tasarion quickly finished tightening his tunic laces before he turned to face the man.
"There's water for you to wash with, then we'll eat downstairs. The chamberlains are busy…"
Boromir nodded 'of course'. He threw back the covers and stood, stretched, and scratched his stomach absently with both hands as he went through to the wash-room. Tasarion blinked at the sight of the rather more than flaccid member that jutted from the dark curls that trailed up the man's belly. The elf took a deep breath and made a determined effort to banish the sight from his mind… to scarce any avail.
Washed, dressed and breakfasted, Tasarion, as previously instructed, took Boromir to the sword-masters and left him in their charge. Boromir was fitted with padded armour and a practise sword and found, to one part of him at least, a surprisingly complete knowledge of elven techniques, not only with their long, curved swords, but with their deadly, fine-bladed halberds. His own sword had been cleaned and sharpened, but when brought to him the swing felt a little …alien in his hand at first. But as he practised, first on a dummy and then against one of the sword-masters… he felt his own well-honed skills returning. That they were 'well-honed' he knew without a doubt – it was the precise instances that still remained vague in his mind.
The day went well; the routine of fight and practise were familiar and his hands knew what they were doing without his having to think about it. He felt better in himself, when he acquitted himself well against the elven warriors – even getting several contests to a draw. He dedicated his waking hours to regaining the strength he knew he had once had.
Tasarion observed him unobtrusively, calling him away to eat or rest briefly when he felt the man was pushing his limits too quickly. But Boromir's time to recuperate was cut short. On the third day, messengers brought tidings from the east – Dol Guldur's army was marching upon them.