Chapter Two – Awareness
He smiled, opening his eyes, luxuriating in the sweet sound of cardinals. He sniffed and closed his eyes, hoping to catch the scent. Yes. It was the scent of daffodils filling the air, the kind of fragrant ones his mother kept in her garden. For a moment, he was overwhelmed with joy. He lingered in it, then opened his eyes. The sun appeared to be in the same place. Boromir sat up, aware the pain in his chest was lessened. He swung his legs over the cot and tried to stand but his mind still felt addled as dizziness won. He lay back on the cot and sighed.
"Another day and you will be walking."
Boromir's eyes flew open. "You return?"
"Why would I not? You missed the evening meal. I feared you would sleep another day away."
"The sun has set and risen twice since last we spoke."
Boromir bit his lip. "I did not know. How long…" He breathed in. "How long have I been here?"
"Only a few days." The Elf's laughter filled the glade. "You are a stubborn man and continue to fight the healing this place would give."
Boromir laughed. "I have indeed been called stubborn. More times than I care to remember. I will fight the urge to fight so that I may be healed." Boromir watched as the Elf's face fell.
"You will never be healed enough to return to your home, Boromir. Remember that. Ingrain it in your heart that you not be filled with despair. When you are able to walk about, and laugh without pain, the urge to leave will fill you. Then, truly, your fight will begin. I do not know what happens to those who try to leave. The mists cover them. There are screams."
The Elf shuddered and that alone was enough to frighten the wits out of Boromir. "I will fight that urge."
"And I will help you. When the battle for Middle-earth is over, we will arrange to have Faramir brought here so that you might visit. I do not believe he will be able to come quickly. He will have other duties."
"Steward." Boromir whispered the title. His brow arched. "Yes. My father will step aside. He could not live under Aragorn's rule. But Aragorn would be a fool to name other than Faramir." Tears welled. "My entire life, I have been groomed to be Steward. To follow in my father's footsteps. I did not think I really wanted it, but now that it is lost to me, I find I sorrow. Mind you," he smiled up at the Elf, "I am happy for my brother. He will make a good Steward. But I am sad for myself. What will I do here? In a place made for Elves?"
"You will heal and then we will talk. Might you be ready for a bit of porridge? It is filled with blueberries."
"Might you have another biscuit? I would share this day with the cardinals."
The Elf laughed and produced one. He crumbled it and the birds came, filling the air with their song.
"Your fingertips are hard, yet you have not the shoulders of an archer."
"I am a harpist."
"And so your name is?"
Boromir smiled. "A joy-filled harpist."
"You speak Sindarin well."
"I learned it at my mother's knee."
"Sindarin blood flowed through her. I sensed it in Faramir, when we met. You have a smatter of it yourself."
Boromir sighed. "Only a smattering? No wonder Legolas looked at me with disdain."
Gannellas' shoulders shook. "Thranduil's son? His blood is not the purest. A smidgeon of Noldor." The Elf held his nose.
Boromir laughed out loud. "I should have said much the same to him. I miss him. He is with Aragorn?"
"I believe he is. We are not aware of everything that happens in Middle-earth. I only know of Frodo because he carries It. It gives off an aura."
Boromir shuddered. "Forgive me. The thought of It makes my blood run cold. I could not resist Its voice."
A cardinal lighted at the foot of Boromir's cot. It gave a sweet warble.
"Vána sends her love."
Another shiver ran down Boromir's spine. "I have not spent much time on obeisance to the Valar. She would still love me?"
"She is wife to the Huntsman, he who carries the Great Horn. As the carrier of the Horn of Gondor would he not take some interest in you?"
Boromir lay back. "I am weary. I cannot take in all you would share with me."
"Sleep again, Boromir. I will be here when you wake."
A low rumble shook the ground. Boromir's cot swayed. He clutched the sides, eyes opened wide. "What is it? There are no volcanoes here,"
"I know not." The Elf closed his eyes and turned eastward. A smile lit his face. "There is a great disturbance in the East. Can you not feel the wind?"
The cardinals' song grew louder, triumphant.
"It is done." Gannellas looked with wonder at Boromir. "It is destroyed."
Boromir threw his arm over his face and sobbed.
When he composed himself, he found the glade filling with Elves. More than Boromir had ever seen in one place. He looked with wonder upon them. All kinds, he noted, some with red hair, some blonde, others silver. Some very tall and some of the height of a man.
They gathered in a circle around a fountain made into the likeness of a ship. Perhaps Amroth's, Boromir thought in surprise.
The Elves began to sing a low beautiful song. One Boromir was not familiar with. It had not been one sung in Rivendell or the Golden Wood. A sense of joy, more than what he had yet felt, filled him so that his eyes overflowed and his senses reeled. A great pain filled his heart. It felt near to bursting. He did not think he could endure such joy, such pain. It was beyond what a mortal man could take in. His eyes closed. A blackness engulfed him, but he was not afraid.
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