Story Downloaded from Open Scrolls Archive (https://www.openscrolls.net)
Title: Leaves on the Wind (Signalling Storm) (#269)
Category: Lord of the Rings
Description: Letters from Faramir to Boromir before the last defense of Osgiliath
Published: 05 Sep 2003
Updated: 04 Sep 2003
Characters: Faramir; Boromir (implied); Denethor (implied)
Chapter 1 - 21 Súlimë, 3018
21 Súlimë, 3018
We have arrived, though I will not break protocol to tell you where and with what company. Suffice it to say all has gone as you intended it should -- to the letter, in truth, so apt in every particular were your plans.
We have made camp unmolested, perhaps even undetected; only time will tell. Morale is high, supplies sufficiently laid up, and each man has quickly made himself as comfortable as may be. I could wish myself in no other company unless it be yours.
In truth, it is not possible I could set you by even if I wished to: the men, my company, wear your love and training like a badge beneath their cloaks and want for no greater armor. I see it in every polished sword, every ready bow, each easy watch, the sorties that return whole and victorious. They do you great honor, my brother.
I shall strive to do the same, though I cannot help but feel I have somehow usurped your position in leading this small force from the city while you stay behind. Yet, how else could it be? You must remain at the head of your army as you are their strength, even as you alone could captain our father’s unfathomable reticence and prepare our people for the storm we know must come. Meantime I will console myself that were you here sleeping rough as you love, in the company of men you hold dear, you could not be easy playing our hide and seek – you never were one for games. So, we take our parts, my brother, Swordsman and Archer.*
The day will come sooner than I would wish when you may ride openly before the Enemy and he will quake to see it.
But before then I will hope we two may meet again, as I am –
Your loving brother,
* a reference inspired by Filig’s wonderful fic “As Truly as The Arrow Flies” accessible here:
Chapter 2 - 14 Víressë, 3018
14 Víressë, 3018
Boromir, Son of Denethor
Tonight we stay hidden; a perfect moon shines fully on the forest and I deem we should not venture into it and risk discovery. The men are weary from much good work, and I am just as glad to find an opportunity for rest.
Our gadfly campaign continues to sting; the Enemy suffers increasing casualties as we exact a toll for his brazen trespass on our lands. Now he finds his ways harried, his steps limited and uneasy while, eglerio galu*, we have sustained few losses, though dear.
But what we have gained in conflict we have lost in impunity. They have begun to search for us. Large, crashing parties of Orcs range about the forest, keeping largely to the North and East. But they do more damage to her than to us; Ithilien will not be coerced and keeps her secrets for those who love her; so we remain as shadows.
Like you, I sleep little, and my thoughts often turn toward home. So we must look to one another though the Pelennor lies between; I under the moon and you under the sun. It puts me in mind of the rhyme old Istuidhir* drummed into us as children:
“First is Anórien, Land of the Sun,
Ever-enduring Guard of the West;
Mighty in strength, crownéd in Stone;
Anárion’s pride, Elendil’s rest.”
So you are, my brother. And for me:
“Between Anduin and the mountains
Walks the Moon in Isildur’s realm;
Mother of Stewards, Land of Fountains –
Fair and forsaken Ithilien.”
And so she is.
As I imagine you pacing the stones of Minas Tirith here it is the river which gives me some measure of peace. I know you will laugh but I will tell you many nights I almost believe she has words for me, could I understood her murmurings. Though I and my men sleep in the day, I think we still dream at night.
Even in the burgeoning spring there is a hush over Ithilien; ghosts walk here. While the sun’s rays penetrate in broad shafts through the canopy thick with sycamore, oak and maple leaves the moon makes his presence known to us in a pervasive silver glow that is startlingly beautiful, though eerie. Still, we are well sheltered from the constant fume of Orodruin though he is close, and I will be grateful to the proximity of the Ephel Duath for nothing but that it hides us from view of that flame-capped peak that ever must be in your sights. Nothing can shade us from his voice, however, and we hear it rumbling in our dreams and waking.
I long to walk these paths someday in peace, Boromir. Think you I will have the chance? So I will hope.
* Praise good fortune
* literally ‘Learned man’
Chapter 3 - 17 Lótessë, 3018
17 Lótessë, 3018
Boromir, Son of Denethor
Captain-General of Gondor -
Sir, the news I must tell you already have imagined: the Enemy is calling his army to him.
The increasing Easterly and Northern orc incursions we have so frequently countered were not so much to hunt us, as to drive our attention from the South road which this day would have given safe conduct to several companies of Men, were it not for your incisive caution. Would I had heeded it sooner! What I took in pride and eagerness as victories for myself and my men were, in truth, victories for our Enemy despite his losses or, perhaps, because of them – but I will not imagine such tactics.
My Captain, I have failed you.
The network of watchers and runners you had me root about the forest has quickly born fruit and we were forewarned of their coming; but not as we should have been. We met them some several leagues North of the Ancient Crossroads – Yes, so close – and ambushed them well. Their darkness – dark skin, eyes and long, plaited hair – marked them as much as did their brightness as they came arrayed in scarlet robes and much decorated with gold. Southrons, Haradrim: our ancient enemy. Much about them seems different, Brother, but their blood runs as red as ours and just as freely, though I will tell you I have never before seen so much of it spilled in one day, and by my own hand.
And where they travel can the Corsairs be far behind? I will fear for fair Pelargir to have them so far inland.
Ah! Eglario galu did I write to you last? We may now see the vain haste of those words – No. I will praise good fortune for every life under my command; particularly in the light of so many lost this day and the damage done our Enemy; he may out look from the Black Gate expectantly for allies but none shall come that way today. But come they will; that we now know.
This missive carries with it a full list of the dead, and my deepest regrets for the messenger my inexperience has made of you. My dreams fill with the women who will wake tomorrow to widowhood coming with your knock at their door. Still, I will take comfort, as I know they will, that you, whom they love, herald the unwanted specter that makes orphans of their sons.
I will no longer wish, as you may, for your presence here among us, Brother, but pray for the safe passage of the lives we have lost, and thank Good Fortune anew that you are not among them.
Faramir, Son of Denethor
Captain of Gondor
Chapter 4 - 3 Náerië
How you have tempered me with your words! Across the leagues I sent you grief and you return me only strength and love where I looked for scorn and reproof. So you have earned the place in the hearts of our men, our city, that you have always had in mine. I will now be hardened again to our purpose.
Orcs are easy to hate in their unnaturalness, seems almost a mercy to return them to the void; but Men – what excuse can I not make for them in their desperate ignorance? So the burden of this fight will lie heavy on me, as I know it does on you. And here I find I would caution you – and in doing so recognize yet one more gift you have given me – be not so eager to raise your sword yet against the Enemy. What we do here in Ithilien is but a beginning; it will afford us but little ground, perhaps, when the storm we both know is coming at last overflows the Anduin.
And for you – you needn’t tell me of your state, my brother; your words strain and stretch upon the page even as you must be straining against the lead placed upon you. Yet I would say to you be patient with our father, and as I write do not think I cannot perceive the irony in my words. He has always had powers greater even than the wise of our City to weigh the ever-expanding ripples of consequence. If he is reticent to unleash you and your forces to a fight yet undeclared, no matter how fought, no doubt he has reasons, though we may never know them. Boromir, I fear our father struggles with facets of his rule that neither you nor I will ever fully comprehend. His silence, always deep as a well, has deepened these past many months; I worry for him, though I cannot say why.
But I do not wonder that he still keeps you; he has always held you close and may need his strongest weapon ere the end. Let yourself remember he has chosen you, by more than birthright, more than blood, and our people look to you for their strength. As you have lent it me so you will give it them; as you stand so they will stand. The lords of the Southern Fiefs will answer your call alone. No doubt Father knows this, as he knows all such subtle things. While they will heed him out of duty, they will come to you for love – the love you bear for them and for their land, our land.
Fear not that when the time is right your great army will be loosed upon our enemies like a great wind to beat back the storm tide; the small damming work we have done here will be washed away and forgotten. Then I, for one, will look to ride with you together back into our White City beneath snapping banners and belling trumpets.
Still, I cannot help but wonder if, when all is done and written we will not be seen as courting this war, though it is ours through right and time. I fear it will prove a match made in haste, repented at length. Yet I am resolved, alloyed by your faith, my brother, to see its consummation.
Your loving brother,
Chapter 5 - 22 Náerië
I send you this note huddled within my formal request for reinforcements to assure you I am well, but hard pressed.
Two nights ago in the dark of the moon they came, swarming from every crevice in the Ephel Duath like rats sensing flood. Our combat has thus far been like a surgeon’s knife – deep but swift; we could do nothing to staunch such a flow.
We have fallen back to Osgiliath and hold the city and the Eastern shore. But we are too few, fewer now, and vulnerable.
If you have received this I may know by moon fall; that you have answered it to the full measure of our need I can not know soon enough.
The time of our separation is over, Brother; the time of reunion is nigh. I will look for you on the banks of the Anduin before week’s end.
Come not alone.
It has begun.
Printed from Open Scrolls Archive (https://www.openscrolls.net) on Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:31 am