Chapter Nine -- Accounts
"Would you care to play the flute, Boromir?"
"Nay, Gannellas. I will try it again, later."
"I would like to give Faramir a concert when he returns."
"Think you I can learn in such a short time? I tried before."
"Yes. This is the new instrument. What think you of it?" Gannellas held out a long black instrument.
"It is beautiful. The fingering looks to be further apart."
"It is. Try it. The notes are the same on this flute as on the one you tried earlier."
Boromir took the instrument from Gannellas and held it to his lips. He breathed into it and a pure clear note sprang forth. Tears filled his eyes. "It is magnificent. I can easily touch the holes."
"And the time you used to learn the other is now well spent. Let us try the little song Mablung tried to teach you."
Boromir brought the instrument to his lips again and began to play. Gannellas plucked his harp.
Mablung came into the clearing and clapped when they were finished. "Wondrous, Boromir. I should have thought of the larger flute. You play it well. Given another hundred years and you will be proficient."
Boromir laughed. His sides no longer hurt. He knew he would be able to ride, once Faramir returned. In fact, he was chafing at the bit. He wanted Faramir here now. He wanted to leave.
"I would that I were here to hear you, Boromir. I am leaving on the morrow."
"Mablung. You have been a dear friend. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done. I will miss you." A terrible thought struck Boromir. "Gannellas? Are you leaving tomorrow? Mablung is your friend. Will you not go with him?"
He watched the sadness grow in Mablung's eyes. "My brother will not travel with me. Mayhap we will meet later."
"Your brother? Gannellas is your brother?"
Mablung smiled. "He is. My older brother. "
"How can you leave without him? Gannellas? Can you not sway him from this decision?"
"I would not, Boromir. As you would not sway your brother, if such a time came. The West calls to him and he must answer. We will have a feast tonight. The last one, I think. Many Elves will leave on the morrow."
"How many will stay?"
"Gannellas. You cannot mean to stay here because of me. Faramir will come. I know he will. Do not stay on my account."
"It is for my account that I stay, Boromir. Your laughter has swayed me. I find I cannot leave this land, yet. I love it. I want to see more. If you would allow me, I would like to spend the next years with you."
"I would allow it. I would be happy. Legolas and Gimli became dear friends while we were on the Quest. They spoke often, as we camped by the Anduin, of traveling the land, seeing the caves of Aglarond, and the forests of Fangorn. Legolas even talked about bringing Gimli to his own home, in Mirkwood, to meet his father. They might… If we ask politely, they may let us join them."
"I thought you wanted to be with your brother?"
"I do. But not at first. I have thought long on this, Gannellas, as I recovered. Faramir is Steward. I would stand back and let him be what he was meant to be. If I stay, he might look to me for counsel. I would give it, but would he rely on me too much? Aragorn would sense it and come to me with the issues of the land. I cannot let that happen. Gannellas, if I live when we leave this place, I would spend the next few years away from Gondor. Let Faramir grow. Father never let him grow. It is the right thing to do."
"I understand, Boromir. But Faramir will not be happy."
"He will be happy that I am alive. And we will see each other. I just will not live in Minas Tirith. Not yet."
"Where will you live, brother?"
"Faramir!" Boromir jumped to his feet. "When… I did not hear you arrive."
"We came over the ridge but an hour ago. I was surprised when no one greeted us."
"There are not many Elves left in Edhellond, Faramir. Most will leave tomorrow."
"I am sorry to hear that. Though I would have you come home with me. Tomorrow, if you are ready."
"I am more than ready. Faramir. Wait! How went the wedding?"
"It went well and all are happy. I came here as soon as Estel and Arwen left for Edoras. You have missed the Hobbits and they are put out with you. They expect us to join the entourage as soon as possible."
"They go to bury King Théoden?"
"They do. And then on to Isengard. Once there, they will bid each other farewell. The Hobbits insist you meet them before they leave Edoras."
"Would we take the Paths?"
"I think it best. I have not much time. I must return to Minas Tirith, but you could go on. Return after they depart Isengard."
"Yes. I would like to see them again. Do Legolas and Gimli go with Aragorn?"
"They do. I think Gimli promised Legolas he would accompany the Elf to Fangorn. They will probably leave Isengard and head for the forest."
"Then on the morrow, we will leave for Erech. Gannellas will join us."
"Gannellas?" Faramir asked.
"I wish to stay a bit longer, here in Middle-earth. Might I accompany you?"
The evening went by quickly as Faramir told of Aragorn's wedding, the Hobbits trouble making, and the fireworks that Mithrandir set off for the happy couple.
"It is time you retired, Boromir." Gannellas stood. "We have a long ride ahead of us and you will need your strength."
"Yes, Gannellas. Faramir, will you join me?"
"And watch the stars with you?" Faramir yawned.
"And sleep." Boromir laughed and clapped his brother on the back. "Let us go watch the stars. Good night, Mablung. Will you be here in the morning?"
"Nay. We leave before first light." He stood and Boromir embraced him. "I will miss your flute, Boromir. Keep it close and practice every day."
Boromir smiled. "I promise. Safe trip to you, Mablung. I do not think we will meet again. Know that you are dear to me and I will not soon forget you."
"I will not forget you, Boromir, Son of Gondor. Take care of my brother."
"I will." Boromir turned and followed Faramir. Faramir fell asleep as soon as he lay on his cot. Boromir stayed awake for hours, the shadow of the task before him running through his mind.