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Boromir stirred. Éomund locked the door again and hid the key under the cot's leg.
Théodred had woken as soon as he felt Boromir move. He looked up, hopefully, to Éomund. "Is he waking?"
"Oh!" Another moan, then Boromir's hand moved, ever so slightly.
"Boromir," Éomund called softly, but before the boy could respond, the door opened. Éomund cursed quietly. 'Too late.'
"Move, else I move you myself," the churlish voice called out from the door. "Back away from the boy, now!"
Éomund took Théodred's hand and, pulling the struggling boy with him, moved towards the other end of the cell. 'I cannot let him take Boromir,' he thought furiously. 'But how can I stop him?'
He watched as the man walked into the room. Ideas flew through his head. Then he heard a noise by the open door. Three more men stood outside. He had not noticed them. It would have been hard enough, with his wounds, to take one; he could not take three. He placed Théodred behind him; else they might consider taking him also.
"You're a smart man," their captor noted as Éomund moved away from him. "We will take this one and bring food in his stead. Now doesn't that sound nice?" The men in the doorway laughed.
"Leave him here. He is still drugged. He is of no use to you."
"Nay," the man laughed again, "The drug wears off. He is waking. I know how to give just the right amount. I am a wizard, you see!" And the men at the door laughed uproariously at the joke. He picked up Boromir, threw him over his shoulder, and walked out. The door was closed and locked behind him.
Éomund slipped to the floor in despair.
"You are ready to see your brother, now?" Amandil asked him.
Boromir's head hurt and he couldn't remember having put on new clothes. Yet, here he stood with his good black tunic on emblazoned with the White Tree, and clean hose and dress boots. When had he changed? His mouth tasted horrible. The last thing he remembered was drinking some wine. What was the man saying to him?
"I said, you are ready to see your brother, now?"
"Oh! Yes! Please! Where is he?"
"First, we have that favour you were going to do for me, before I let you see your brother."
Boromir looked at him in confusion. "I do not understand."
Amandil smiled. 'It will be most easy to have the lad speak the words I want,' he thought. 'He can hardly remember his name!' He took Boromir by the shoulder and squeezed it lightly. "You remember. You promised you would speak to the Lords of Gondor about our arrangement."
Boromir stood for a moment, dazed.
"Do not be concerned, Lord Boromir. I have written the words you are to say. Now, would you be so kind as to come with me to the Council's chambers? They are waiting for you."
Boromir followed the man down the hallway and into the Great Hall. Turning to the left, they entered the Council's chambers. Boromir stopped for a moment, trying to get his bearings. Before him sat many of Adar’s friends. He did not understand. How could they let this man take his Adar's chair?
Amandil pushed him forward. "My Lords," he said graciously. "Have I not told you that Lord Boromir would speak with you? Here he is, ready to answer your questions, but first, he has prepared a speech. If you would give him the courtesy to listen." He thrust a sheet of parchment into Boromir's hands.
"Lords of Gondor," Boromir started haltingly, "friends and counselors of my father." He stopped for a breath and felt a knife's point in his back as Amandil leaned over, pretending to show him his place on the sheet. "It is my right and privilege," Boromir continued, "as Heir to the Steward, to do with the Rod as I will. I deem myself too young for this position, and also, not willing to take it upon myself. Therefore, I have asked the Lord Amandil, counselor and friend of my father's, to assume the Stewardship and all the rights and privileges that belong to it." Boromir choked on the words and started coughing violently. The knifepoint dug deeper. He put the paper down and spoke. "My father loved many of you. I hope you will remember that in the days ahead. Thank you." He bowed, turned and walked back through the door.
"I am so very sorry, my Lords, but it seems that the Lord Boromir has been taken by grief and will not answer your questions. Please, come to me with any questions you might have and I will do my best to answer them. Thank you for coming today. You may now leave." With that, he turned and followed Boromir out the door.
As soon as he reached the hall and the guards had closed the Council's door, Amandil grabbed Boromir by the shoulder and swung him around, slapping him soundly across the face. "Do not ever say anything unless I say you may! Do you understand?"
Boromir nodded, but his heart felt lighter. He hoped someone on the Council understood his last words.
"Stand straight!" Faramir swayed a little to the left and the man struck him on the back.
"Ow!" Faramir cried out. "Please, my shoulder."
"When your brother arrives, you will not move. Do you understand me? You will sit very tall and straight in this chair and answer all his questions with a yea or a nay." He took Faramir's chin, tilting it so the boy was forced to look at him. "Do you understand?"
"Aye." Faramir sat before he fell.
"Ah! That is a good lad. Now remember. You feel fine. You took a stumble in Rath Dínen and hurt your shoulder. But you are fine. You want to visit your uncle, but you will miss your brother."
"Good." The man signaled to the guard. "Tell Lord Amandil that we are ready for him."
Faramir swayed a little in the chair again, but the man’s back was turned and he did not notice. The boy put his hand on the arm of the chair and closed his eyes. A tear slid down his face. He batted it away with his sleeve. He could not cry. They said they would kill Boromir if he cried. His head hurt terribly and his tongue clung to the top of his mouth. "May I have a glass of water?" he whispered.
The man whirled about, anger evident on his face, but Boromir stepped through the door at that exact moment.
He saw Faramir immediately and started to run towards him when a hand grabbed him, hard, and pulled him up short.
"You must remember. Your brother was hurt before we found him and must stay seated. You may approach him, but do not get too close. He had the fever and we would not want you to sicken also."
Boromir nodded his head and walked slowly towards Faramir noting the ugly wound on his brother's forehead and his arm in a white sling. "Little brother," he said. "I have missed you. Are you well? Are they taking good care of you?"
"Aye, Boromir, I am well." Faramir’s guard took a step forward and Faramir jerked.
"I have seen you look better, Faramir. That was a nasty fall, was it not?"
"Aye," Faramir said, his eyes shifting towards the guard. He saw the knife behind the man's back and his breath hitched. "I want to go to Dol Amroth," he blurted out quickly, "to live with Uncle Adrahil."
"Of course, Faramir," Amandil broke in. "You will be leaving this afternoon."
"He looks too weak to leave so soon!" Boromir protested.
"We have arranged for a cart. He will sleep on the way and arrive refreshed and well in Belfalas."
"Faramir?" Boromir tried to read his brother's eyes, but they were too full of pain and fear for him to know what he was thinking. "I bid you farewell, my brother. I hope to see you soon. I will try to come for your birth celebration, if I may?"
"I would like that very much." Faramir's mouth began to quiver.
Boromir knew he must leave, else he would start crying, too, and then Amandil would carry out his threat and have Faramir killed. "I will leave you now. Give my regards to our uncle." He bowed, turned and left the room. Biting his inner cheek so hard it bled, he walked as fast as he could away from Amandil.
"Stop, young Boromir," the man said pleasantly. "You have done well. In fact, you have done so well that I have decided to allow you to return to your own quarters. There will, of course, be a guard on your door, but you may rest there and recover from your ordeal. When I need you, I will know where to find you."
Boromir ran out of the Great Hall and stood, retching miserably against the marble wall. A guard had followed him, pulled him from the wall and pushed him towards the Citadel. Boromir ran up the stairs to his own rooms, locked the door behind him, and fell to the floor, sobbing.
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