Though the path was wet and treacherous from the spray of the Falls, Boromir descended the Stair with little difficulty, and reached the outpost before darkness fell. The men encamped there were overjoyed to see him. They had known of Boromir's journey north on an important quest that might bring help for the inevitable war with Mordor, but that had been so many months ago that all of Gondor had begun to despair of his return. Gathering around, the men plied him with questions which Boromir answered as well as he could without revealing the full nature of his journey and the burden he had inherited.
His request for a boat to travel south by the Great River was granted gladly, especially when it was learned that three Elven boats waited above the Falls, replacements for the craft Boromir would take. Gethron, the captain in charge of the border guard stationed at the Anduin outpost, promised to do all within his power to aid Legolas. He did not require further explanation or many details concerning what had taken place to leave Boromir's companions in such dire straits; one steady look from his Captain-General had been sufficient to warn Gethron that there were secrets involved that could not be discussed. It was enough for him to know that his lord Boromir lived and had a duty yet to fulfill, and that Boromir's trusted companions were in need of succor. Gethron sent two men immediately up the North Stair, carrying with them all that might be needed for Legolas, Sam and the wounded Frodo to pass the coming night in comfort. Boromir, satisfied that his friends were well-cared for, settled down to ask his own questions concerning news of Gondor and the brewing war. He slept well that night, for the first time in a very long time.
Boromir set out early the next morning, refusing Gethron's offer to send a man with him as guide and guard.
"It is true I have not yet had occasion in my journeying to travel this part of the Anduin by boat," he admitted as he set his gear in the bottom of the small craft. It was not as light or sleek as an Elven boat, but it was sturdy and well-suited for navigating the River whether on open water or reed-choked fen. "I have journeyed on foot in these lands, however, and I am familiar with those difficulties I will surely encounter upon the water -- not the least of which is the danger of arrows from the bows of orc archers upon the eastern bank! Do not fear for me, Gethron. The nature of my errand is such that it is better that I go unaccompanied -- and all the men are needed here to keep watch on the borders, for we do not yet know where Mordor will choose to strike or attempt a crossing of the River. Let that man who might have gone with me remain here for that time when Legolas and the halflings are ready to be escorted to safety. That would aid me more than anything else!"
Gethron, seeing the wisdom in this, sighed and acquiesced, though not without first offering lengthy advice concerning the state of the River and the areas where Boromir would most likely run into difficulty or danger.
Boromir's intention was to travel by River as far as the fortified island of Cair Andros, a journey of several days; from there he would go by foot to the hidden outpost Henneth Annûn where he hoped to meet with his brother, Faramir.
I told the Fellowship that I was against bringing the Ring to Minas Tirith, for fear it would work its evil there, especially with my father, Boromir thought as he steered his boat into the swiftest part of the current. As much as I hate to admit the truth, I know that Father would not hesitate to use the Ring if it came to his hand. He is like me in this, he will see things as I once saw them before I was drawn away from that folly. Faramir is another sort of man, however. He has his own struggles and despairs, but never has he sought to rule over others with power -- I see that now more clearly than ever before. He will be quick to understand this situation, for did he not have the same dream as I, that told us of Isildur's Bane? It will be fitting to have his guidance and wisdom in dealing with this matter; I can trust him to understand the danger of the Ring and the need to destroy it. He will be of great help to me as I seek to reach Mordor and the Mount of Doom.
Boromir made good time at first, for the current was strong and carried him quickly forward so that he hardly needed to set paddle to the water. But very soon he was caught up in the more difficult parts of the River, where the Mouths of Entwash flowed in, creating a many-channeled watercourse that wound its way through islands of long grass and sedge. The fen was vast, spreading for miles inland on both sides of the River, and visibility was poor, as mist hugged the water and clung to the grass-choked banks.
Here was where the danger was greatest, for the current became treacherous; in some places it was swift, flowing through narrow channels surrounded by tall rushes and reeds that rattled in the faint breeze. At other times, the main channel was smooth and broad, and Boromir was forced to paddle as the current turned slow and meandering. Boromir was grateful for his Elven cloak, for not only did it protect him from the dampness of the mist, he was certain it also hid him from the eyes of any enemy that might be lurking upon the eastern shore. As it was, there was no sign of anyone, and the only evidence of life was the creak of insects in the grass and from time to time, the call of a bird in the distance.
Some miles north of Cair Andros, the River widened and broke free of the fen, and Boromir was able to make good progress once again. Catching the current, Boromir's boat sped forward swiftly.
The boat landing he sought was well-hidden in a narrow inlet on the western side of the River, just north of the isle of Cair Andros. The island keep was vital to the defense of Gondor, for it guarded one of the few places on the River Anduin where an army from the East could safely cross in strength. It was therefore kept well-fortified on all sides, and heavily garrisoned with fighting men. The ramparts were tall and strong, the watchmen upon the bastion well-placed and alert, and the men-at-arms were there in force. The approach to the landing was also guarded closely, watched by many archers stationed along the banks; no boat could draw nigh without being seen. But Boromir was observed and identified long before he steered his boat towards the shore, and the commander of the regiment in charge of the landing was waiting for him on the jetty when he landed.
He was welcomed in a manner befitting the son of the Steward of Gondor, and escorted quickly before Beregar, the captain in charge of the garrison at Cair Andros.
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.