3. Home At Last
Boromir sat in the healer's cart next to his little brother, holding his hand and whispering words of comfort, but Faramir did not respond. Traveling for hours did nothing to allay Boromir's frustration, but turned it to concern. He hesitated before he spoke to Siriondil. "He has not woken, nor spoken a word, nor even blinked since we found him. You say he will live, yet I cannot believe this."
"He will live. I know not if he will ever wake."
Boromir opened his mouth, trying to catch a breath. His mind reeled at what Siriondil meant. At last, he burst into tears. "You saved him only to have him lie forever in darkness?"
'I saved him in hopes that he will awaken. It is the best I can do, Boromir."
"Is there any hope?"
"Very little. What happened to him, to his brain, I know not. He has obviously been beaten, besides the... the other things, yet if he his brain is bruised, which it appears must be or else he would have roused by now, then I do not hold much hope for his awakening."
Boromir sat back on his heels, sorrow piercing his heart. "He would rather die," he whispered at last.
"Will you take your dirk and make it so?"
Looking at the healer in horror, Boromir sobbed. "I cannot. Not yet."
"Then speak not of such things. Especially in his presence. He might yet hear you and be taken with despair and not fight against this thing."
Boromir nodded. "Mithrandir," he choked. "The Wizard may yet be able to help him."
"Yes." At last Siriondil felt a rush of hope. "The Wizard might be able to help. Is there any way to make contact with him?"
"Father must know of a way. Yes, Father must know how to find him." Boromir leaned forward and whispered to Faramir, "Hold on, little brother. I will save you, I promise."
Others winded their horns for Boromir of Gondor was too preoccupied with stilling the thrashing that began but moments before they approached the Great Gate.
"Hold him still, Boromir, else he injures himself further," Siriondil cautioned.
"He has the strength of a kine. Where does it come from?"
"Fear." Siriondil leaned forward and blew a powdery substance into Faramir's nostrils. The boy quieted immediately.
"He has naught to fear now. I am at his side."
"He knows that not, I am afraid. He is still in the darkness of his captivity."
"Where were you, little brother? Who took you and did this to you?"
His brother did not respond. The frenzied breathing slowed to an almost imperceptible rate.
Siriondil sat back and sighed. "He should never have been sent to Ithilien. Too young and the dangers too great."
Boromir looked up and growled. "He is seventeen and has completed his esquire training. He is a lieutenant in Gondor's army."
"But to station him in Ithilien!"
"Stationed with tested warriors! One can lay no fault on Father's part nor the men of Faramir's company. Besides," he whispered, "most have paid with their lives."
Denethor greeted them as they stopped at the entrance to the Houses of Healing. One look at Boromir's face and the Steward near fell. "Does he yet live?" Denethor whispered.
Siriondil stepped from the cart. "He does, but barely. There is much yet to be done." He took Denethor aside. "Take Boromir from here. He has not slept since he was recalled upon the news of Faramir's disappearance and this day's grief is wearing."
"I would see my son first."
Boromir outstretched his hand to his father and helped him climb into the cart as Damrod tried to talk the man into letting them take Faramir out.
"One moment only is what I ask. Let Father see him."
Damrod stepped back.
"Faramir," Denethor gasped at the empty eye socket. "Oh Faramir, what have I done?"
"Naught, Father," Boromir's voice held firm and hard. "You sent him out as part of his training. The same as all new lieutenants receive. Hold yourself not accountable for this."
Denethor did not speak further, but Boromir could see into his father's eyes; guilt skewered Denethor's heart.
Damrod stepped forward again. "Boromir, we can wait no longer. Siriondil has a room ready for Lieutenant Faramir. You must let him go."
Boromir nodded and helped hand down the litter to the guards who quickly took it and strode into the Houses. Boromir made to follow, but Denethor laid a hand across his chest, effectively stopping him. "Come with me."
Boromir meant to disobey, but the grief in his father's eyes stayed him. "I will, Father. Let me see that Faramir is settled and I will meet you in your study?"
"Within the hour."
Boromir went into the Houses and Denethor walked slowly to the Sixth Gate.
Not finding Faramir in any of the patient rooms, he stopped an attendant and asked, "Where is Master Healer Siriondil?"
"He is in the operating chambers."
Boromir ran. Pushing open the door, he stared in horror. Siriondil stood over his brother, once again cutting parts of Faramir. Damrod and two of his men pushed him out of the room.
"What has happened?" Boromir demanded.
"Naught. There are small things that must be corrected. Things that are not life-threatening, that the healer put off until he took care of Faramir's greater wounds."
"His leg needs stitching; a dirk wound. His foot is crushed. Siriondil is attempting to straighten the toes and bind them together so they will heal rightly. There is no cause for concern, Boromir. Let him do his work and go to your father. He has need of you."
Boromir rubbed his hands over his eyes and sobbed. "You speak the truth?"
"I do. Go now. Siriondil will be done soon. I will come and fetch you when Faramir has been settled in one of the patient rooms."
"I will do as you ask. Remember, Damrod, I trust you."
"I know, my Lord."
Boromir turned and left the room and Damrod leaned against the wall in anguish. His turned to him, "You misspoke."
"I could not tell him what further had been done to his brother. Not now. Captain Boromir is close to exhaustion; what good would it do. Hopefully, his father will persuade him to rest, at least for a time. When he returns, he will be better able to accept... Nay, not accept, never accept this, but at least not succumb to despair."
"I cannot see Captain Boromir giving in to despair, Damrod."
"You do not know the love between the brothers."
"Come and sit down, Boromir. The cook has prepared stew for you." Denethor released him from the strong embrace that welcomed Boromir into his father's study. "Fresh, warm bread and butter. And ale."
"I cannot eat, Father." The young man sat in a chair near the fire, held his head down and tried not to weep.
"Boromir," Denethor said gently, "Your brother is young and strong; the blood of Númenor flows through his veins. He will survive - and recover."
At the gentle reprimand, Boromir's tears fell. "He is wounded in more ways than you know, Father."
"I have been a soldier all my life, Boromir," Denethor spoke without rancor. "I have seen the bodies of untold men who have been Orc-tortured. I know what they can do. I know the heinous acts they suffer upon men. I know your brother did not lose just an eye."
By this time, Denethor stood at Boromir's side. His son rose and threw himself into his father's arms. "It is unbearable," he sobbed. "I should have been with him. I should have known. He was not ready. He is too young."
"Cease this, Boromir. As you said to me, not an hour hence, it is no one's fault. He has been trained well. None could have known of the Orcs in the area, not even me. My spies have failed us."
"Father," Boromir withdrew from his father's arms, "will you send for Mithrandir?"
"Why?" Denethor almost shouted, but quickly controlled himself.
"Siriondil does not... Faramir's wounds are too... He does not stir, Father, and Siriondil is concerned."
"Eat and then we will go to the Houses and I will listen to Siriondil's report. What say you to that? If... If Siriondil does not think he has the skill to save Faramir, then we shall see what we shall see."
Boromir ate quickly, then jumped up and took his father's arm. "I am done."
A smile graced Denethor's face. "Then let us go."
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.