There are the horn calls in the distance-- vague, and bitter, the horns of the orcs, mocking me as they sound their final victory over Boromir--he who has slain so many of their kindred...

The hobbits are gone, carried away--like children, helpless, and I could not help them. For all my strength I could not help them. And the look in Frodo's eyes--he knew, he knew, and the way he looked at me-- as though I were the very Eye of Sauron, emerging from the mist...and I cannot tell him now that I was struck by madness, that I only sought it to aid my country. No. I cannot rise.

Is this death, the mist that has overtaken so many, then?--this final fog, a deadening of the senses, a dimming of the sight? I can barely see the trees anymore, can barely see the blurred figure in the distance that readies its arm to loose the final arrow. Let it come! I will not feel it now, not with so many piercing me already. The pain has dimmed as a candle gutters in the wind. And who--who comes to aid me in this final hour? The hour of broken horns and helpless cries...the Ring cannot help me now, I have gone beyond all recall of it--and I do not desire it anymore. I watch with the calm of the dead as Aragorn subdues the great Orc-warrior. So a Dunedan should prove the stronger, in the end...he has the air of the ancient Kings about him, I can see it now--now that the falsity of the living has fled my eyes. He will assume the mantle of my father, whether he wills it or no.

My father...o, my father, proud and noble, seated on the black throne at the very foot of the citadel stairs! I shall never see you again, not anymore. Now the perfunctory goodbye must stand, the one I gave you but a few short months ago. It seems forever. To think I had never laid eyes on a halfling ere I rode for Rivendell! Now I am dying for them. I wonder how you will look upon the man who would occupy the great white throne at the top of the stairs...I will never see it now, nor my brother, nor another sunrise--nor the stars--and somehow it does not matter, I cannot see, I slip away...dimly, but dimly, I can feel him take my hands. Aragorn, Aragorn--is it thee, or is it Faramir--Faramir!--Denethor? I cannot see, I cannot hear, I cannot think--but these last words of fealty--

"I would have followed you my brother, my captain, my king!"

I would have--I would have--Frodo, keep the cursed gold, and may the quest not claim you now I am gone. There is nothing now but silvered glass, a tunnel of darkness leading to the peace I seek--

"Be at peace, son of Gondor."

And perhaps, at last, at last, I am...