7. An Attempt
Chapter Seven – An Attempt
A fortnight passed. Each day, for two hours, Boromir attacked the lute. It was not to be won over. At last, he gave up and went to Gannellas. He and Mablung were sitting in the dining pavilion. "I am sorry to say, friend Gannellas, I cannot make this thing sound better than howling wolves." He thrust the lute at the Elf.
Gannellas smiled. "I have heard you."
"Any Elf left in Edhellond has heard me. I am tempted to think they leave because of me."
Gannellas laughed. "Boromir. You are a strange man. Full of pride, yet full of humor. I believe the flute is better suited to you. Perhaps we might find a larger instrument than the one you tried at first."
Boromir sighed. "I could play a bell. I am sure I could play a bell. Just one. Perhaps with a small hammer."
Gannellas laughter exploded through the pavilion. "Mablung, have you ever met the like?"
"Nay, Gannellas. Boromir has brought much laughter to this place."
"Thank you, I think. I will try the blasted flute," Boromir snarled, "but I can guarantee nothing."
"Someone approaches." Mablung stood and ran from the pavilion. In a few short moments, he was back. "Visitors, Gannellas."
Gannellas stood and Mablung and Boromir followed him to the glade.
"Faramir!" Boromir shouted and ran to Faramir's side before his brother even had a chance to alight.
"I brought a friend, Boromir." Faramir jumped off his horse and ran to the horse next to his. "Your majesty," he said and offered a hand.
Aragorn smiled and dismounted.
Boromir stood back, hesitant, not sure how Aragorn would greet him.
Aragorn strode to his side and embraced him, holding him tight, and whispering his name, "Boromir, my friend."
A lump caught in Boromir's throat. "My lord," he said and wept.
"I am sorry we left you. If I had ever thought you were alive… Can you ever forgive me, Boromir? I am sorry."
"Aragorn, I was dead. I was as dead as the Valar would let me be. There is naught to be sorry for."
"You were not breathing. There was no sign. I waited, even, though the Hobbits had been taken. I had to make sure. All for naught. You were alive when we sent you over the Falls."
Boromir felt Aragorn's shoulders slump. "My lord, my friend. You did what was ordained for you. I am where I am supposed to be. Nothing was done by chance. Do not hold yourself liable. It is I who must ask your forgiveness. If I had not tried to take the Ring…"
"Chance. Nay, Boromir. I understood. I will let my shame and guilt wash away. But now," the King of Gondor and Arnor smiled, "you are returned to me. Merry and Pippin insist you come back immediately. They have stories to tell you."
"Faramir." Boromir looked on his brother with surprise. "Did you not tell Aragorn of my plight? Aragorn, I cannot leave Edhellond. My wounds seem healed, but Gannellas assures me they are not. If I pass from these borders, I will surely die."
"We have brought someone with us," Aragorn said, "who might be able to tip the scales in your favor."
Aragorn stood aside and Boromir saw the Elves around him bow. "Lord Elrond." Boromir could hardly speak for the surprise and hope that sprang into his heart.
"Boromir." Elrond walked to the Man's side and put his hand on Boromir's shoulder. "Estel has told me of your dilemma. If the Valar are willing, we will bring you back to Minas Tirith. Alive."
Boromir hung his head. "I…"
"I know what you have done, Boromir. Let us leave it at that. Now, Gannellas, might we bother you for some refreshment. Estel has had me riding since I met him in Erech."
Boromir fell in step behind the two Elves, next to Faramir and Aragorn. "Aragorn, I am grateful you came. I did not expect this. Are you not to marry the Lady Arwen soon?"
"Midsummer's Day. We have time. I was somewhat concerned until Lord Elrond suggested he use the Paths of the Dead. It took much time off his travels."
"The Paths of the Dead." Boromir shuddered. "How is that possible?"
"I will tell you more, once we are back in Minas Tirith. I expect to spend some time renewing our friendship, Boromir. Now, Faramir says there are shrimp here?"
Boromir entered the dining pavilion amidst much laughter.
When the party was sated, Elrond stood. "Gannellas. We are grateful for your hospitality, but we have come for a specific purpose. Might you have some quiet corner where my son, Estel, and I might take Boromir?"
"Of course, my Lord. Mablung, please take Faramir and his escort to Boromir's glade."
"Nay!" Faramir jumped up. "I will not leave him again."
"Faramir." Boromir went to his brother and embraced him. "I trust Lord Elrond with my life."
"As do I, but I will not leave you. Please, Boromir, do not ask this of me."
"Boromir. Let your brother join us." Elrond turned and followed Gannellas from the pavilion.
Aragorn took Faramir's elbow. Boromir took his other arm.
After a short distance, Gannellas stopped. "Will this suffice?" He stood before a small pavilion and pulled back the drapes. Inside, a cot was set up along with two chairs.
"We will need more than two chairs," Elrond said. "Would you join us, Gannellas? Have one of the Elves fetch your harp. We will also need water, hot and cold, and bandages. A goodly number."
Gannellas nodded and sent for his harp and the other things Elrond asked for.
Boromir entered, his heart in his throat. As much as he wanted to believe he trusted Elrond, he knew the extent of his injuries. He also recalled the shudder that had accompanied Gannellas' mention of the screams of those who attempted to cross the mists. He lay on the cot, taking in deep breaths.