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AUTHOR'S NOTE: There are several quotations in the story, indicated by italics. Unless otherwise marked by an asterisk, they are taken from LotR, the books; other sources are marked, and are taken either from the original story, or from the movie.
CHAPTER THREE: AT PARTH GALEN
Frodo heard the sound of heavy footsteps, heedlessly loud. Quickly he hid himself behind a nearby tree. But it was only Boromir--he started to speak out to his friend, yet something held him back.
The Man had such an expression of torment on his face--what was wrong with him? Suddenly, a ragged shout seemed torn from Boromir’s throat, and he sank to his knees, sobbing. “No!” he said, over and over. “No, I will not--I will not harm him again! Never again!”
Boromir put his hands over his ears, as if to shut out some voice that was speaking unwelcome words. “Not even to save him from himself, not even to save him from It, will I try to use force on him. If he will not come to Minas Tirith of his own free will, I will *not* try to make him! I will follow and protect him all the way to the Mountain of Fire, if I must. I will! No! Leave me be!”
With a shock, as though he had suddenly fallen into deep and freezing waters, Frodo realized what it was. The Ring! It had been calling to Boromir! That was what had been troubling the Man since they had left the Golden Wood!
Frodo had been exerting his will to protect Sam and his cousins from the Ring--but clearly, he had not been thinking far enough. He narrowed his eyes, and gathered his will. “Be still! Leave him alone!”he thought fiercely. It was a struggle, not only to make It draw back from Boromir, but to keep his own hand away from It. He could hear It laughing at him--“You cannot completely subdue me. I will have him sooner or later, or if not him, one of the others.”
He knew. Now he knew. He had not a strong enough will to protect everyone else from the Ring’s constant pull, not all the time. And It was growing stronger. He had to get away, leave them all behind--for It would keep at the others until It had torn the Fellowship apart.
He watched, as Boromir straightened up, and drew a deep breath. The Man rose, and shaking his head, he turned and walked slowly away.
Frodo heaved a sigh, and leaned back against the tree trunk. It had to be. He had to leave them all behind.
As he walked, deliberately slowly, to give himself time to recover his composure, Boromir forced his mind away from the Ring. Though It was the reason for their Quest, It was not his chief concern. He had lost track of that after they had left Moria, pre-occupied with danger and grief, and forgetting that his main worry should be Frodo himself. Frodo, who bore a burden that should never have been his…No!That was the trap that had nearly ensnared him before, thinking in his pride that he had more strength to bear the burden than Frodo. What madness had possessed him to even think of throwing his honor away so? How could he have ever guessed that he, himself, might be the greatest threat to Frodo?
His heart still heavy with concern and sorrow, he returned to the others, certain that by now Frodo would have come back with his decision. Grim and sad, he went and sat among the others.
“Where have you been, Boromir?” asked Aragorn, “have you seen Frodo?”
Glancing about himself, startled, Boromir realized that Frodo had not returned. He looked up sharply. “No--I went in search of him--I feared his being unguarded. But I did not see him anywhere, and thought that he must have returned.” He stood up far more quickly than he had sat down.
Sam leaped up. “He should be back! It’s been longer than you said, Strider! He should’ve come back by now!”
Merry and Pippin jumped up as well. “He should have! This is bad!” exclaimed Merry.
“But where did he go? Where is he?” cried Pippin “He’s been away ages now.”
“It has been over an hour,” said Aragorn grimly.
“An hour since he vanished!” shouted Sam. “We must try and find him at once. Come on!”
“Wait a moment!” cried Aragorn. “We must divide up into pairs, and arrange--here, hold on! Wait!”
It was no good. They took no notice of him. Sam had dashed off first, Merry and Pippin had followed, and were already disappearing westward into the trees by the shore, shouting: Frodo! Frodo! in their clear, high hobbit-voices. Legolas and Gimli were running. A sudden panic or madness seemed to have fallen on the Company.
“We shall all be scattered and lost,” groaned Aragorn. “Boromir! Go after those two young hobbits, and guard them at the least, even if you cannot find Frodo. Come back to this spot, if you find him, or any traces of him. I shall return soon.”
Aragorn sprang swiftly away in pursuit of Sam.
Boromir had scarcely needed Aragorn’s command--he darted off in the direction he had last seen Merry and Pippin heading. He could hear their frantic voices, crying out for their missing cousin.
But suddenly, the shouts changed to cries of fear, and Boromir heard the unmistakable sound of Orcs! He leaped through the trees, to see the two hobbits back to back, laying about, as best they could, with their small swords. He managed a grim smile as he saw Merry land a mighty blow and watched one of the creature’s hands go flying, black blood spurting! And it seemed that was not the only such blow his small pupils had landed!
Boromir drove among them, his mighty sword cutting a wide swath through the Orcs. He slew several, and then as some of them fled, he tried to lead Merry and Pippin away from the danger. But they had not gone far, when they were attacked once more, by an even larger force. He drew his horn, and blew several mighty blasts. This dismayed the Orcs, and they drew back, but when no answer came, they attacked with renewed fury.
He was engaged with a particularly large and fierce goblin--much larger than any he had ever encountered before--when out of the corner of his eye, he saw archers. He threw his shield up in time to catch the first of the arrows, but he knew his moments must be numbered.
Then he saw something flash through the air, and one of the archers fell as though pole-axed. Then another and another--but he had no attention to spare for that, and returned to fighting with his opponent, knowing that there were too many for him.
Suddenly, he heard again Merry’s and Pippin’s voices, crying out in fear. He dispatched his foe just in time to see the two being carried off in the arms of Orcs. Many of the creatures broke off the fight and followed, but not enough to allow Boromir to do so.
Just then, and not a moment too soon, Aragorn, with Anduril flashing, and Legolas and Gimli joined the fray. But now Boromir was engaged with two foes at once. He scarcely saw the blow coming--he deflected the edge of the foul beast’s sword, but the flat of it connected with the back of his head…
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