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"Is anyone else with us?" Éomund asked.
"Nay. It is just Théodred and I. We have been here for hours, according to Théodred. I was not awake most of the time."
"Are you injured?" Éomund cried in concern.
"My head. I was struck by something before they carried us here. But it is just pain and a big bump. I will be all right."
"And you, Théodred, are you all right?"
"They told Father I was dead," the boy whimpered.
Éomund laughed. "He will not believe them!"
"We think not," Boromir said. "But the men told us they took the King to the cave where the Orc attacked. They said they put bodies that looked like ours around the entrance. They…"
"They marred the faces?" Éomund spoke when Boromir did not continue.
"Aye," Théodred began to cry. "They told them we were all dead." He sniffled and then said, "Boromir says Father will not believe them."
"I believe Boromir is correct. Your father is wise, Théodred. And – he is your father. He knows you. He will not believe them. Now, we must find some way to escape. Has it been this dark the entire time you have been here? Have you heard nothing?"
Théodred spoke up. "Aye. Dark and cold. There has been the sound of doors opening and closing and some laughter, but I have heard no voices speaking."
"Have you seen any of our company?"
"Nay. Baldor is dead. I saw him fall. I never saw Grimbold once the battle began."
"Aldor is dead too," Éomund said sadly. "The Lady Indis was dragged away. I was hewn down as I tried to reach her. I know not if my hand will ever hold a sword again."
"We are in the dungeons of the Citadel," Boromir offered. "I think the bottommost cells."
"That is not very good, is it? Well, somehow we will find a way out of here, I promise."
The door opened again and this time a tall, burly man could be seen in the light from the hall. He walked to Boromir and lifted him easily by the scruff of the neck.
Éomund lashed out with his legs trying to bring the man down, but the man just growled and kicked Éomund in the head. Éomund still tried to move, though stars burst before his eyes from the pain. He thrust out his leg again, but the man was already past him, dragging Boromir behind him. Éomund could see the lad kicking and heard his screams. Théodred's voice joined Boromir's. The door closed and Éomund fell back, listening to his nephew's sobs.
An object was flung in and the door clanged shut again. Indis held her breath. She could hear nothing. 'What is it?' she thought. She stood up, making her way through the darkness of the cell, and felt her foot touch something. She drew in an unsteady breath and bent down. Touching it, she discovered a child lay at her feet. 'Dead?' She shook.
"Please let it not be one of the boys," she whispered.
Moving her hands across the face and down the small shoulders, she knew it must be Denethor's youngest. No sound issued from the boy's mouth. A sense of dread filled her as she tried to listen for some breath of life. His body seemed unnaturally cold. She knelt and held him, sobbing uncontrollably at the feel of the unresponsive body in her arms. Despair, fear and pain filled her.
Hours passed and the child still lay silent. She clung to him, rocking back and forth slowly, whispering his name over and over. 'If only I had some water,' she thought distantly, 'something I could wipe his little forehead with.' In her delirium, she started to hum a little lullaby the boys' mother had sung so many times.
Tears fell again as she remembered the quiet evenings when Finduilas allowed her to share their nightly ritual. After spending an hour with their father, Denethor would then bring them to the nursery. After hugging and kissing him goodnight, they would run into the wardrobe, returning in their bedclothes; then, Firieth would scrub their hands and faces. Bringing them back into the main room by the fireplace, they would sit before it, waiting for their mother, Finduilas, to come. Once a week, the Steward's wife would invite the boys' aunt to join them. A large wing-backed green chair was where Indis would sit and watch as both boys jumped up and climbed onto the settle next to their mother. Finduilas would bring out a book; the boys accompanied the discovery with squeals of delight. She always seemed to know which one they were interested in that night.
At least, that had been Indis' thought at the time; now, she realized the children did not care which book she read, they squealed in the delight of seeing their mother. She almost choked on her tears. Bowing her head, she cried out her sorrow.
Boromir was dumped upon a marble floor. It was not the Great Hall, he knew, but the floor reminded him of it. Groggily trying to remember this room, he tried to stand.
"Good!" he heard a voice say. "At least this one seems to have some wit about him."
'What did the voice mean? This one. Which one? Who else has been brought before him?' Shaking his head, he looked forward and stopped in fear. Blood spotted the floor.
"Well, come forward," the voice called.
Boromir stood up and recognized the man. This was Lord Amandil. Now he remembered him. Huge and very ugly. He was very rich, if Boromir remembered correctly. 'So, this is my enemy,' he thought. 'I must be careful. He must have some power to have taken the Chair so easily.'
"I said come forward."
Boromir felt a hand hit him hard on the back of his head, but he stood his ground. He slowly moved forward. "Forgive me. I am still addled from the earlier blow that I received from your men," he said softly.
"Ah! So you have manners? I am glad. You know then who I am?"
"Aye. I was told you are the Steward of Gondor."
The man laughed uproariously. "This one indeed has wit," he chortled, shoving the other man in glee. "I like you, boy. Would you like to know a secret?"
"If it is your wish, my Lord Steward," Boromir spoke quietly again, hoping to allay any suspicion. He knew he must spend this time learning all he could as to the state of Gondor. This man had the answers.
"Ah ha!" the man laughed again. "I truly like you, boy. It would not please me to see you dead." The man raised an eyebrow as he spoke. "Do you understand?"
"Of course, my Lord Steward."
"Good. Now, I will tell you this. I have been named Steward by the Council and the people obey me. But it would be most beneficial," the man almost pleaded, "if you would stand before the men of Gondor and bow to me." He stood and walked to Boromir. "Could you do that, little man?" he said as he grabbed Boromir's chin.
"Aye, my Lord Steward," Boromir almost whispered, "on one condition." The hand holding his chin began to tighten. "It is a little thing, my Lord Steward," Boromir said quickly.
Amandil let his chin go. "What is this little thing you ask?"
"Let my brother go free. Send him to Dol Amroth. I will write a letter to my Adadhron," Boromir rushed on before the man could stop him. "I will tell Prince Adrahil that you are my guardian and that you wish him to be Faramir's guardian. It is a little thing, my Lord Steward. It would cause you no harm or distress. And you would not have to… dispose of another body. And – Prince Adrahil would accept you as Steward without question."
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes wary. "You would write the letter yourself?"
"Of course, only putting down the words you tell me to."
"I like this idea. Faramir is no use to me anyhow. You, I will keep near. Just in case any have a thought to usurp my claim."
"That is most wise, my Lord Steward," Boromir said, "But how are you going to say I am alive? I was told you claimed me dead, along with everyone else in our party?"
"Humph," the man belched, "I was misled, told an untruth by an unscrupulous knight. We will hang someone as proof of this. Then all will be right."
"Very good, my Lord Steward," Boromir bowed. "One other little thing, my Lord Steward," he smiled gently, "Might I see my brother before he goes?"
Amandil looked at him, ever suspicious. "And what would you do if you saw him? What would you say?"
"I would say my farewells is all, my Lord Steward. After all, he is my brother."
"I will arrange it, after you have written and signed the missive. You do know how to write?"
"Thank you, my Lord Steward. Of course I do." He was shown to a table where he was instructed to sit. Parchment and a quill were brought to him.
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