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Once Indis had recovered her composure, she sent for Boromir and Faramir. Her heart ached as they ran into the room chattering about the cakes they were helping to make in the kitchens. Faramir jumped up onto the bed. She wondered who had taken them, and blessed whoever it was for keeping them busy and out of the way of voices, whispering horrid tidings in the hallways.
Boromir sat at Indis' feet and Faramir cuddled into Listöwel' arms. "My sweet little ones," she crooned. "Thou art happy?" She lapsed into the tongue that their mother used when she would lullaby them to sleep.
They smiled at her, not saying a word. Boromir, after a moment, asked when they might return to the city. "I miss Adar, Amma. We have had a wonderful time here. I have learned much, but I miss him. Too soon and I will be leaving for training. Only three more months. I want to spend the time with Adar."
She wanted to weep. 'Only three more months,' she thought. 'Only never, my poor Boromir.'
"I am ready to go home anytime now, Amma. I feel perfectly well." Faramir's eyebrows had lifted in enthusiasm. "I very much like it here, but I am ready, too. Please may we go?"
She smiled. The lad had assumed they stayed because of him. He had had a fever a fortnight ago and had lain in bed for three days. Denethor had decided to let him rest a little longer before he brought the boys back to Minas Tirith. He had left Indis and Listöwel with them, and three companies. Indis shuddered at the thought. Mayhap if he had taken his entire army, he would still be alive; Arciryas would be alive. Another thought sent chills through her; the boys would be dead if they had accompanied their father.
She had, at first, decided not to tell them. She had vowed she would leave them with Théoden King and return to Minas Tirith herself, until things had settled down. But she knew now that that would be impossible. If she left them here, they would discover their father was dead. They would be alone in their grief, bereft of any family. She could not do that. She would bring them with her and tell them on the road, as they neared the city. Give them a few days to absorb the news whilst they traveled and to mourn in private.
She walked to the bed, climbed into it and beckoned them to join her. As she looked at them, she realized she had no time to keep such things secret. Leaning against the soft, billowing pillows, she held Boromir on her right and Faramir on her left. Listöwel sat at the end of the bed. For a moment, Indis laid her head back against the great oaken headboard and prayed to the Valar for words. None came.
"I would remind you that you are kin to warriors. Your ancestors were such; you have been told their stories, like your namesake, Boromir, strong and fierce and brave. And like the great sea captain that your Ada loved so, Vëantur. You remember the stories he told of the voyages the captain took?" They nodded. "Do you remember how he went forth to the lands north and was attacked?"
They both looked up at her, smiles upon their lips as they waited for the beloved tale of the brave captain.
"You remember, he did not return. And all of Gondor was sad." She sat for a long moment and the boys started to stir. "Boromir. Faramir. Your Ada was attacked on the road home. The Orc proved too strong and too many for his company. He fell."
She would not coat the telling by offering platitudes of how brave he had been, how fierce he had fought, and how their names were on his lips when he fell. Great tears streaked down her face. She wanted with her whole heart to tell them these things. But she could not. He fell. That was the beginning and the end of it. The only thing they needed to know, at this moment.
There was stunned silence as Boromir, now eleven, and Faramir, just six, tried to comprehend what she had said. This was no story.
Boromir clutched her arm. "You are… Ada wilt not return? He is dead?" Tears streamed down the defenseless face. "It cannot be, Amma. Someone has lied to you. Please do not say this." He flung himself away from her, sobbing and hiding his head under the pillows. Faramir clutched his knees to his chest and began to wail. Indis clasped him to her, stroking his hair and whispering his name. They stayed as such.
Night came. No one lit the candles nor stoked the fire. None moved. At last the chambermaid came into the room, humming a lively folk tune. She stopped short as she looked about her, the light from the hallway illuminating the forlorn family before her. She bowed quickly, left the door open and ran down the hall.
In a few moments, Éomund, Third Marshall of the Riddermark and friend of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was at the door. He quietly went to the fire and stoked it, then to the sconces on the wall and lit them. He pulled the drapes on the windows closed, then walked to the bed. Sitting next to Faramir, he took the lad gently into his arms. Faramir had fallen asleep, but his body shuddered now and again. Tormented moans escaped his lips. The sound, for Éomund, became almost unbearable.
Indis turned to Boromir. He had ceased sobbing, but his hands still clutched the bedclothes. She saw blood on the coverlet and tried to pry his hands open. He clutched it still tighter. She kissed his forehead and spoke. "Please let me see thy hands, Boromir." He pulled them to his chest. She stroked his arm. "Thou art bleeding." She managed to pull one hand free and saw blood seeping from four little moon-shaped wounds. "Oh!" she moaned.
"I do not care," his muffled voice whimpered. "I want Ada. I want to see him. I want to touch his face. I want him to hold me, Amma." He gulped and the tears came again. Angrily, he hit the pillows. "I wilt not cry," he moaned, "I wilt not."
Éomund stood up, passed Faramir to Listöwel and walked to the other side of the bed. He touched Boromir's hand; the boy pulled away. "Boromir, it is I Éomund. Would you sit with me for a moment? Here on the settle by the fireplace?"
Boromir flung his arms about the warrior's neck. Éomund picked him up and took him to the chair. As Boromir's sobbing slowed, then stopped, silence once again filled the room.
"All Rohan cried today, Boromir. Not one soldier, not one rider, not one warrior did not mourn your father's death. He was most loved. I too loved him. You know that, Boromir. I would not have you hide the memory of him. We have many tales to tell and much remembering to do. Would you join us in the Golden Hall tomorrow night? Would you share with us some of the times that you spent with him? Some of the adventures you had?"
Boromir looked up in wonder. "They will tell tales about Adar? Like they do with Captain Vëantur? Was Adar as important as the sea captain?"
"Aye, Boromir, your father was more important than even the great sea captain."
Boromir sat still for a long moment. "I will go to the hall and I will tell some tales." His chin shook a little. "Nay, I cannot."
"Why, Boromir, why cannot you do this?"
"I will weep like a babe and shame my Adar's memory." Tears slid down his cheek.
"I will be crying too, Boromir, and many others with us. It is no shame to mourn someone we love."
Boromir turned his face into the crook of Éomund's shoulder. "May I sit by you during the telling?"
"I would be honoured, Boromir."
The lad lifted his face to the warrior's and Éomund kissed his forehead. "Now sleep, Boromir, and dream of your father. He will always love you; will always be in your heart and in the hearts of all good men everywhere."
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