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Steward and Thain  by Agape4Gondor

“Why did not you go with Gimli and Frodo, Master Thain?”

“I wasn’t invited.”

“Has that stopped you before?”

Pippin, a sad smile upon his face, spoke very quietly. “Naught much has ever stopped me from doing anything. And now, Gandalf lies dead at the bottom of a hole.”

They had begun walking, far too soon after their grief, but Aragorn had urged them forward, taken the lead, given no thought to anyone’s state of mind. Inwardly, Boromir fumed, then willed himself calm. ‘‘Tis not the time to dwell on hard thoughts. Later, mayhap, when we have time to regroup, then I will speak to Aragorn. He did well, leading us away whilst others would have lain about, mired in their grief, but I find it hard. I must speak with him, but not now; now, Pippin needs me.’

“Gandalf chose to do what he had to do. None other could stand against that creature, not even our Elf. I have fought many beasts of the Enemy, but never have I seen such a thing.” He shivered.

“What will we do without him?”

“We will do as he asked us. We will follow Frodo until the time to split is upon us.”

Pippin looked at him in shock. “You wouldn’t leave us?”

Boromir stopped. “I came for help for my City and my people. Do you not remember that, Master Thain? I agreed to go with Frodo until my time to part. Aragorn is going to come with me, too. I know he will. You could join…” He saw the look of horror in Pippin’s eyes. “I have to save my people,” Boromir moaned.

“Is that what a Steward does, Boromir?”

“I confess I am not sure what a Steward does, not since joining this Fellowship. Before, it was all cut and clear as glass. I would fight the evil as I do now, I would govern my people, and I would help Gondor grow strong again. As my father has tried to do. But now, the world is larger to me.” He looked about him quizzically. “Now, do we have duty to others besides? Do I have duties to Elves and Dwarves? I had not thought so. I took care of Gondor, and helped Rohan, when the need arose, but now… How can I continue as I once was? There are alliances forged now that cannot be sundered. And now I see that others have fought the evil; others besides Gondor. It is a strange lesson to learn. Never have we, during our dealings with other men like those in Dale, and Dwarves like those in the Lonely Mountain, given thought to a duty towards them. Trade was our only thread. But I see now that that thread is long and not strong. If Gondor wants to remain strong, I think… I am sorry, Master Thain. I have gone off spinning in another direction. Let me tell you this, my brother had hoped to have Gandalf at our side when the final battle came. What will he think now? He will be distressed to know his hope has fallen.”

“You speak bitterly. I know you didn’t like Gandalf, Boromir, but…”

“I never said I did not like the man…”

“He wasn’t a man, was he, Boromir?”

Boromir looked at the Halfling in surprise. “I do not think so. And you have more wisdom than even I thought.” He smiled at Pippin’s embarrassed acknowledgement of the compliment. “Mayhap Faramir was correct. Mayhap there was more to the wizard than my father discerned. But I cannot believe that.” He shook his head, confusion filling it. “My father knows all things. He is a great man, Peregrin.”

“I feel the same way about my Da, but I know he makes mistakes sometimes.” Pip bit his lip. “I don’t love him any the less for it. ‘Fact, I think I love him more, knowing he struggles and such. There are many times when he works well into the night, trying to figure out what to do with the Hobbits that have moved into our land since the evil times have come. They come from the south, Boromir, frightened and telling tales of war and such. Our lands are not big enough for all of them. Most of them are poor and have fled with only the clothes on their backs. They need shelter and food and a way to earn a living. I don’t know what my Da is going to do with them. I wish I were with him, now, so that I might help. I think, now, I could help, Master Steward,” He smiled shyly. “ I think you have taught me something of what it is to be a Thain. I want to be like my Da, when I’m Thain.”

Boromir smiled warmly. “You will be the best the Shire has ever had, Master Thain. You are already the best friend I have ever had. I too wish I were with my father now. He also is hard-pressed, as is my brother.” Boromir’s brow furrowed. “The quest is important, but so are our people. I am grateful now that Aragorn urged us on. Time is too short.”


They found themselves waiting by the fire Gimli had made as Aragorn ministered to Sam and Frodo. Boromir asked Pippin the question he had asked while they were still in Moria. “Tell me, what kind of trouble would such a stellar thain get into?”

Pippin laughed while he brushed off the dirt and loose pieces of bark from firewood collecting; Boromir was glad to hear it. He was grateful that they were away from those dark mines, though he found, to his surprise, that he missed Gandalf, too. However, the air of sorrow was choking. The others looked at Pippin and Merry made his way over. “Are you getting into trouble again, Pippin?” Merry asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“I am not. I was just trying to remember one time when Da and I had words.”

“I can tell you that straight out,” Merry said with glee. “The time you tried to dam the river. He and his family were visiting mine,” Merry began turning his full attention to the man, “And he did a right good job of it too. It was spring; there were a lot of fallen limbs about, peeping out of the snow. But the river was running pretty furiously itself. Pip had talked some of the other tweens into helping him and they were soon covered with filth from the forest and wet as could be.”

Boromir looked at Pippin who was squirming uncomfortably.

“Would you believe that the whole thing went flying away and dragged a couple tweens with it? ‘Course, enough of us older ones were around, watching them make fools of themselves, and we were able to save them, but the Thain was quite put out, to say the least of it. How long were you grounded, Pip?”

“I wasn’t grounded. I was thrashed.”

“Your father hit you,” Boromir asked, incredulously.

“Of course. With a switch. It didn’t hurt much and he knew it. It was the shame of it. Knowing that I’d almost hurt folk by my not thinking.”

“You still don’t think, Pip,” Merry said kindly.

“Too much curiosity and courage,” Boromir said.

“Curiosity I’ll give you, but courage?” Merry laughed.

“I see it everyday we walk this path. I am proud to be amongst men of such courage.”

“Wait a moment, we’re not men!” Pippin cried. “We’re Hobbits.”

Boromir bowed his head in salute. “I meant Hobbits.” He smiled warmly.

“What about you, Boromir?” Merry asked. “Were you ever in your father’s bad graces?”

“If I told you all the times, we would never reach…” His heart fell as he thought of his City, but he had already decided to lighten the mood of the company, so he tried to think of the worst offense. “My brother and I were both always in trouble, it seems.” His brow furrowed. “I was the older, so my brother did much of what I asked of him. He was seven, I think. I wanted to see the world. I was to be made esquire in a month and knew my freedom would be curtailed. So I decided to explore the land near my mother’s people, Lossarnach. It was easy enough to get away. We walked to Harlond, no small feat in itself, and then proceeded past the docks towards Lossarnach. I had no idea how far it was. My father’s guard found us and returned us to him. He… I never saw my father so angry. Once he discerned the plan was mine, he sent Faramir to his bed, without supper for foolishly following me, and then… he thrashed me.” Boromir’s face grew red.

“But were you lost?” Pippin asked in surprise.

“We had been gone since early morning. My mother had passed some short time before. Father was… He thought we were lost, or taken, or worse yet, dead. I deserved every stroke of his hand.” Boromir wiped his brow. “I should not have asked this question. You are finding that I am not the stalwart warrior you think I am.”

“Nonsense!” Boromir shivered and looked about him. ‘Twas Gandalf’s voice he heard. But Gandalf was dead. He turned towards the sound.

“Nonsense,” the man said again. “You were a child, Boromir,” Aragorn said as he strode towards him. “It sounds like it was a good plan, a good adventure, one worthy of a warrior of Gondor.”

“You do not know my father, Aragorn.”

Boromir could not discern the meaning of Aragorn’s look. “Have you met him? Of course you have not. He expects only the best of his people. Especially his sons. I failed him.”

”I see it not as failure, Boromir. ‘Twould have been wiser to ask, but children think not of such things. As Pippin thought not to ask his father about building the dam. A child’s ways are different from an adult’s. Sometimes the path is glorious and sometimes it is fraught with danger. Nonetheless, a child should not be punished for ingenuity and curiosity. Especially the Steward’s own sons.”

“And the Thain’s,” Boromir answered quietly. “I had not thought of it in those terms.”

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