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A Malady In Meduseld  by Agape4Gondor

Chapter Four - Treachery of A Friend

Boromir tried to open his eyes, struggling against the pain in his head, and wishing that someone would close the hangings on the windows. The light was too bright! He felt a hand under his neck and a gentle pull towards sitting. Forcing his eyes open, he gasped to see Théodred on the bed next to him, holding his head up. His friend’s face was filled with grief; tears fell upon his cheek. He wanted to tell Théodred about the potion, but when he felt a cup lifted to his lips, and tasted the familiar smell of the poison, he tried to recoil, but his body would not obey him.

Théodred, he knew, felt the struggle, but did naught but sigh. “Boromir, take this. It will make easier the pain. The leeches do everything they can to help you, but you must help them. Please, my friend, drink it for me.”

He blinked as she came into view, behind Théodred. “What Théodred tells you is truth, Boromir. Take it, it is to help you.”

His stomach roiled. She was using Théodred to kill him. And then, perhaps at some later time, she would tell Rohan’s prince that he had been the unwitting tool in Boromir’s death. It was too heinous to comprehend, but understand, he did. He writhed, as much as his body would let him, hoping Théodred would stop, but nay, his friend thought he was helping.

A tear slid from Boromir’s eye at the treachery of it as Théodred forced another mouthful into him. “Boromir, do not die. Hold strong until we can find a way to help you. Hold strong.”

He closed his eyes, hoping that Théodred would think he slept and leave the potion aside, but his friend believed the lies and continued to pour more of the liquid down Boromir’s throat. At last, his body rebelled and spewed some of the concoction back out. Théodred only wept further.

“Boromir. We will stop for now, but I will return and we will try again. You must drink this.” He leaned forward and kissed Boromir’s forehead, then sadly left the room.

A low laugh pulled his eyes open. “Delicious, isn’t it? That you will die at your friend’s hand. It will be soon now; I would not draw your agony out too long, but it must be long enough for Théodred to think it is natural.”

Boromir had not even the strength to reply. He closed his eyes.

“That is well. Submit to your fate, Boromir. I promise, we will send your body home with full honors.”

His eyes flew open. How he hated this woman! Once before she had tried to kill him, had almost been successful, and now, she would finally have her will. What could make her hate him so?

“It’s not you, Boromir, if that’s what you think. You cannot go to Imladris. Don’t be surprised. We know much. More than that wizard would believe of us. Soon, oh soon, Boromir,” and her voice took on a tone of wonder and breathlessness, “Soon we shall have all Edoras and beyond. My master will be lord of all the lands of Middle-earth, mark my words. You needn’t fear. Your father will die with a sword in his hand. Plans are already made for the battle. He will be weak, for he will have lost both his sons.”

She laughed again and he swallowed in grief. ‘Do they have such power?’

“Now. Try to sleep a little. I will send Théodred in again, perhaps in an hour or two. You have not much longer to suffer. Another day or two perhaps. Tonight, the potion will be potent. You will probably not wake.”

He shivered and tears fell. He was going to die… ignobly.


He could not remember why he had awoken. It was still day; the light from the windows still burned his eyes, but it was lessened. ‘It must be near to the daymeal. How can I tell Théodred what he is doing?’ He groped at the covers and found his hand moved. In fact, his head hurt less. Carefully, he tried to raise it and was delighted that he had the strength to hold it up. Not knowing why he felt stronger, but giving it only a fleeting thought, he moved his legs. ‘Praise the Valar – they move!’ He swung his legs over the side of the bed and tried to sit. After three attempts and vomiting profusely after the first and second try, he managed it. He was sitting. Forcing his eyes open from the slits they had been, he looked around the room. There was no one about. He wore bedclothes and saw naught of his own clothes, nor his sword, but he could move.

Biting his lip, he tried to stand. His knees collapsed as pain shot through his head. He sat on the floor for only a moment, then crawled forward. There was a door here, hidden, that he had used numerous times to sneak out into the night with Théodred and Faramir. ‘Where is it?’ His mind was still addled and fuzzy. He shook it and cursed silently for being a fool. He held still until the pain lessened, then moved forward again. Near to the fireplace. Yes, he remembered now. Next to the fireplace. He reached it after an interminable length of time, fear causing sweat to pour down his face as he imagined her coming through the door and finding him. He could not fail now.

At last, he nudged up against it. ‘I cannot leave any markings of my progress.’ He looked about him. Nothing seemed disturbed; his escape would be a mystery. ‘Let her try to solve this,’ he thought with glee. The hidden door opened and Boromir fell inside, banging his head on the wall. ‘Oh! If only the stars will go away.’

He waited for another few moments, then made sure the door was closed behind him. Slowly, he pulled himself into a crouch, knees held to his chest as his stomach betrayed him. He waited till the vomiting passed, then wiped what he could off his legs, and crawled forward. ‘How far does this go? Where does it let out?’ He could not remember.

After but a moment, he realized, ‘They will bring dogs, once they find I am gone. I must go back and disguise my path in some way.’ He groaned at the thought, and fear threatened to overtake him again, but he fought it and made his way back to the door.

Listening for a moment, he heard naught. Opening it, he looked about. No one! Where was the commode? Thankfully, it was still light out. He crawled to the basin and pulled out the square of soap. It was all he had to use; he could only hope it would hide his scent.

He went back towards the bed, scraping the bar along the floor, swiping the residue with a hand cloth; then, Boromir headed back to the door the way he had come. There was naught to show for the soap, but it would hide his scent from the dogs. At least, he hoped it would. He crawled again back into the hidden tunnel and waited until his breathing slowed and his head stopped its infernal throbbing.

When he could think again, he wondered if there was a latch or something to keep the door closed. He felt around, wishing he had a torch but knowing it would give him away. ‘Ah. One small piece of good fortune.’ There was a latch. He set it and turned, crawling down the tunnel as memories of happier times filled him. Faramir’s scent seemed to hang in the air, but Boromir knew that could not be. Yet, he felt his brother at his side. He would go on. They must plan to kill Faramir too. His breath caught at the realization of what he had heard and failed to understand. They would kill Faramir and leave his father alone in grief to battle the Enemy. He bent his head and sobbed.

After the grief was harnessed, he pulled himself together and moved forward. The tunnel was slowly going down. If he was not careful, the slope of it would cause him to tumble forward and he must do naught to cause any noise to escape. How he wished he could remember where this tunnel let out, but he could not. ‘Oh! The stables. The royal stables. I can find a horse and ride away.’

He choked at the hysterical laughter that tried to well up and burst from him. ‘Just take one of the royal horses, perhaps a Mearh even, and ride out through the gates as easy as can be.’ He had to stop. Fear gripped him so tightly that his mind was beginning to give way. ‘I will be strong. I will survive. And I will kill that woman.’ He felt instant relief at the thought of his hands around her neck.

Another moment, a few deep breaths, and Boromir continued on. The tunnel took a turn and Boromir wondered which way he should go. If only his mind were not so addled, he would remember. He sat again, pondering, when he heard a noise. His face went white; his skin grew cold. It was not behind him. It was before him. They had found him!

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