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(A Hero’s Return)

By Ean Ceoil:

Setting: On the road to the Shire Fourth Age
[She - Alynialla He - Boromir].

Who is he? She wondered, I know not even his name. She
looked around and saw him walking away from the horses
towards her. He carries himself as one of royal blood. She
smiled. As if he were the Lord of Gondor, in place of King Elessar.

He sat beside her and quietly took what she handed him.
They ate in silence for a few moments.

“Are you always this silent or are there
many thoughts on your mind?”

“I have had much to think about since I returned,
so my thoughts are many.”

She looked at him, “Returned from where?”

“The sea.” The tone in his voice indicated this was not
a matter he wished to pursue.

“Well, tell me, stranger, have you a name or shall I be
forced to call you stranger till we part? Perhaps
shall I give you one myself.”

The corners of his mouth quirked in amusement,
“What would you have me called if you chose?”

She laughed, “Better that you tell me your name, rather
then allow me to think one up for you.”

He thought for a moment. “Boromir.”

“You carry the name of a Steward of Gondor. He was a great hero.
Many a song has been sung of his valor and tales continue to
be told of how he gave his life for his companions. Though this
I have little doubt you already know.” At her words, he went
strangely silent, so she changed the matter. “Have you ever
been to Minas Tirth?” At this she saw his eyes shine and the
smile once again return to his face.

“Yes, the white city. It is my home.”

“I have heard tales of its great splendor and beauty, though
I have never been there. Perhaps one day I shall go and see
for myself.” She stretched her shoulders, wincing slightly and
placed a hand over the wound as the fabric of her garb brush
against the burn on her arm.

“Is there much pain?”

She shook her head, “It is but a small matter.
Tell me of your home.”

He let the matter drop, instead focusing on an answer to
her question. A smile crossed his face as he thought of his home.
“ Ah, Minas Tirth standing tall and proud, her white walls gleaming
crimson in the morning light. Banners standing high on the
parapets and dancing on the morning breeze. Her trumpets
ringing…even the birds dare not sing, lest they sullying the beauty.
She sings…” He said looking at the darkening blue sky and for a
moment his voice grew somber. “…forever calling her sons home.”

“Much time has past since you where last home.
How long has it been?”

“Years and yet I can still see every detail, smell every
smell, hear every sound.”

“What errand holds you so tightly and keeps you, for so great a time,
so far from the home you love?” She looked at him curiously.

There was a growing need to ease the burden he carried
on his heart. Since his return he had kept his identity hidden
and from the time he had awaken the guilt, pain, anger, and
helplessness had threatened to consume him. Now Boromir,
the Steward of Gondor, He who had needed no man, longed for
the companionship and friendship of another to share his burden
without reproach. He feared he could not wait till he reached
Hobbiton to know of the welfare of his companions. He felt would
go mad if he did not find out soon. He wanted to know, he must
know what happened to his comrades. He lifted his eyes to meet
hers, dark liquid brown. He watched them soften with compassion
as they touched his pain. The walls were loosened and he would
find no condemnation with her, he would forsake his cursed pride,
“Mine was an errand to protect, in a moment of weakness, I betrayed
my companions…I did not know…I did not see. The anger in my
heart and my longing to protect and lead my people to victory
against the Dark Lord led to my downfall. Though I struggled to
regain control, it was in that moment my companions
where overtaken in battle.”

Her face disclosed her confusion. Who was this man, that his
story would seem so familiar to me? She waited for him to
continue. What he is saying cannot be.
There is so much pain inside him.

Bitterness filled his voice. “ He went on. “I fought against our
attackers. All that I could do, I did.” His eyes grew dark, “That accursed
horn! In lore it was said to bring aid to all who laid their lips to it while
in need. Yet none came! Orcs, that hated race of Mordor spawn! They
came one after the other,” His voice choked, “The halflings…” Tears
began to stream down his face, “…they took them.” He stood quickly
turning his back to her. “I know not if they perished.”

It took her a moment to realize what he was saying and she
trembled with shock as she stood. If this was truth, a living legend
stood before her. Questions flooded her mind, but she pushed them
aside. There would be time to ask later, but now here was a man in
need of a friend to listen and help share his story.

He was angry, at his past, at this weakness that that had revealed
him. He had seen it in her eyes shock, disbelief, fear…He had seen
the same look in Frodo’s eyes when he attempted to forcefully claim
the ring. It was a glimpse in to his past and he could not bear to see
that pain again. It would have been better if the arrows had put an end
to his life. It would have been better if he had said nothing. There was
a movement to his side and he felt a hand on his. He buried his
emotions behind their wall and raised his eyes to hers. He saw
no condemnation or disgust lingering in those pools of liquid brown,
only compassion mixed with confusion.

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