It had taken so long to get here, seeking an answer to his riddle, and now he was cooling his heels and waiting for… who knew what.
But, in honesty, Boromir was enjoying the peace and the… slightly rustic… charm of Rivendell.
The gardens were beautiful – especially the statues. He gazed in admiration at a life-sized male figure set under a waterfall, the head thrown back, eyes half closed; in the moonlight the alabaster almost glowed.
Next morning he was surprised to find the statue gone.
At lunch time he was introduced to Legolas and could not hide his blush.
He tried to avoid the wood elf; hopefully he would soon return to… wherever he came from. Goodness knows what he might think had he noticed Boromir admiring his moonlit body!
He was unsure of this, newly-arrived, man but felt it safer to sit with him at dinner.
Rivendell might be somewhat rustic, but the same could not be said of at least one of its inhabitants. The female was the most beautiful being he had ever seen, and he preened in the candlelight as she kept glancing his way. Until he realised her eyes were seeking his dinner companion.
Come Into The Garden Maude... em... Boromir...
This female elf was definitely flirting with him, Boromir had no doubts. She looked at him with face tip-tilted, glancing sideways through half-closed eyes; her fingers brushed his arm too often.
“Do come out into the gardens,” she said, smiling, “they are even more beautiful when the lamps are lit than by daylight.”
Boromir knew… he had seen them that way before; but he recognised that she offered more than a simple promenade.
As they left he looked around, hopefully, for Legolas; surely, if he noticed Boromir’s current companion, it would quash any misconceptions harboured since that earlier lamp-lit stroll…
Sometimes Boromir wondered what was real. Would he awake in his bed in the Citadel, to find that naked elves in waterfalls, ancient prophecies, and blindingly beautiful women all dissolved in the light of day, as he shook the ale-induced clouds from his head?
Or was Minas Tirith itself a figment of his imagination? Was this valley of trees, waterfalls and strange, unearthly, encounters the only reality?
Outside was twilight grey; flickering firelight illuminated a figure from childhood tales. Surely this was the dream?
A hand shook him, gently.
“You were almost asleep. More tea perhaps? Some cake?” asked Bilbo.
Even though he knew it would annoy the only other man here, Boromir sat to talk when he found Elrond’s daughter alone one afternoon.
“I hear them call you Undómiel,” he said, “the Evening Star…”
“I am the last born of my family,” she answered, “And last born in this place. These years are the twilight of our people; the twilight of the Age of Elves.”
Boromir pondered her words and chose to say not what came to his mind.
‘This will be the twilight of my people also, if I wait in this enchanted place, unmoving, for much longer.’
In the Light of Memory
Soon they would leave. But first, Gandalf had explained, they would celebrate the Solstice according to the traditions of both Rivendell and the hobbits.
Both traditions required a night of feasting and song; but as dusk fell there would first be an Elven ceremony. All looked skyward until a voice cried out “First star!” and a song arose to Elbereth, star-kindler.
Then, in Boromir’s memory, there came a different voice, a different song –
“Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight…”
And with a lump in his throat he recalled that his mother’s family had, reputedly, had elven blood.
Each in His Own Way...
It was the last evening in Rivendell.
Boromir looked out at the gardens, lit by those pale Elven lanterns, glad that he would soon be home in the warmer torchlight of the Citadel courtyard.
Legolas approached him. “Mithrandir is with the hobbits, Aragorn is… saying a farewell, and the dwarf is already abed,” he said. “Would you join me in one last walk among the trees and pools before we need be always on our guard?”
Remembering that first encounter, Boromir still feared the elf might have the wrong impression.
“No,” he said firmly, “I am away to bed. Alone.”
The Road to Reality
The knock on the door awoke him in darkness; the sun was a sluggard so far north and so soon after midwinter.
Breakfast was over before the sky began to streak with light and the moon remained, a pale waif, to see them shoulder packs and say their last goodbyes.
When they reached the turn in the path Boromir looked back where lanterns yet showed as pricks of light outlining what Gandalf called the Last Homely House.
‘But not my home,’ he thought. ‘May my journey to this strange place not have been in vain, may I bring hope to Gondor…’
Clearing the Air
It was good to be under way; the last few days had passed slowly.
‘This was doubtless not what Father had in mind,’ he thought, ‘when he sent me to Rivendell – to leave, with such odd companions, on such an errand. But if it will aid us to defeat the enemy, help our people live without the shadow, then Father would surely approve…’
Sunlight glinting on sword-hilt brought his mind to its bearer.
‘We will do better’, he decided, ‘without distrust. Tonight I will clear the air and ask why he avoids me.’
Mind made up, Legolas considered his approach…