DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, I do not own any of the LOTR characters, who all sprung from the mind of JRR Tolkien. I'm just attempting to wax lyrical with them.



View From The Citadel

"O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze,

To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls until the end of Days".

-The Departure of Boromir, The Two Towers.

The King stepped out into the golden rays of the late afternoon sun.

Minas Tirith was bathed in the afterglow of the noonday light, its white walls and domes pearl-like in appearance, an ethereal majesty lent to its stones by the burning globe sinking into the horizon. The lands stretched out before him as he lent his arms on the warmed parapet, staring out across his kingdom with the eyes of a man who had spent most of his life wandering it as an exile.

The body beneath the velvet tunic relaxed as the panes of yellow light drenched his face in their heat. Aragorn Elessar, the Elfstone, the Dunedaín, Estel to his beloved Arwen and Strider to the (it was rumoured) prospective mayor of Hobbiton, one Samwise Gamgee, gardener, turned towards the land beyond the forests that darkened the broad space with a whispering green.

A diminutive glitter, touched by the descending sun, caught his eye, and his face tightened with his jaw as he recalled the name of the water the light shimmered across.

Rauros. The Falls of Rauros, now, as he had called them then, golden in the sunlight.

Leaves of gold forged for a warrior's belt.

Aragorn winced, tilting his head upwards as he strained to catch the glimmer of light across the rushing currents in the distance. He remembered his own words as clearly as if they had just left his lips.

They will look for his coming at the White Tower, but he shall never return.

It was with a deep sadness that Aragorn considered that now it seemed that it was only he who gazed out from the White City as if in the hope that a lone rider would emerge from the line where grass met sky. Boromir was dead, a noble man, a brave warrior, nay, much more.

A son of Gondor, a brother in arms. Then he had thought it cruel that one who had longed for his home for so long was deemed to be him who no longer walked its winding streets. And for an exile, a king in hiding who had looked upon the fair city but once in a time that seemed dimmed with age, to now lay rightful claim to its throne -

Arwen had understood him. She had seen the pain cross his face more than once, and had healed it beyond his comprehension. This is yours, she had whispered, and no other man's. All those that had served before had done so in waiting for you, and now you must take this charge, not firstly because you are the last of that line, but because you know, in your heart, Estel, that you would rule these lands with all the grace and temperance of your noblest forefathers. This was meant for you.

And you, he had murmured into her dark hair, what was meant for you.

To love through mortality and time, she smiled, even into the sleep that Ilúvatar gave Men, for there is no other I would share my life with, had I still the years of my people.

But it was not meant for Boromir to return to his kin, Aragorn thought to himself. Did I stand by him closely enough to think of him as a brother, did I help him enough before the end? Lothlorien had become a moment when the son of the Steward had opened up to him, all overshadowed by Gandalf's fall, and when Boromir had seen further than he had, his clear eyes piercing the trees of Caras Galadhon until all he saw was the Tower of Ecthelion in the darkness.

What would I have said, Aragorn wondered, had I returned his naming of the Lords of Gondor? I would have called him brother then, though our paths had led us differently, yet both to renown. He had felt uncomfortable then, as if Boromir's unabashed love for his homeland eclipsed his ties to the same land, though the warrior's life had been but half of his own time spent in Middle-Earth.

The King walked along the parapet, his hand trailing along the rough hewn stone beneath it, a strong pride rising in him. My kingdom, he thought, without a trace of arrogance or greed, but with the simple recognition of a man who accepts what is his.

Perhaps we should have kept something else, he mused, all Gondor has left of its firstborn is a pair of worn bracers, a broken horn and the deeds of song. But what? The bracers were in his own rooms, preserved in a smooth wooden box sent to him from Lorien, by the Lady.

For those which cannot be returned to the wearer, but can be kept in honour, were the only words she had sent with the casket. He had welcomed her foresight, having long desired for the leather garments, softened by much wear, to have another place other than his own wrists. When he had strapped them to his own flesh after laying Boromir to rest, they were still warm from Boromir's skin, something that had caused him more sadness than he had showed.

If. Such a powerful word, the King of Gondor considered.

If Boromir had lived. What then? He could not see the familiar figure at his side racing for the Gap of Rohan as he could the slender outline of Legolas and the shorter, stocky form of Gimli whenever he looked back on the chase they had made. He could not envisage Boromir in the Golden Hall of Meduseld, only a tenuous rivalry between Gondor's son and the King of Rohan, largely unspoken, both leaders of their lands. But when he stood still like this, lingering on the high walls, he could see Boromir standing, head lowered, in sincere respect as the procession at Theodred's funeral had passed by. Aragorn could see Boromir fighting by him in the Hornburg, could almost feel his hand pulling him away from the fallen Haldir with a cry, just as he had called to him in Moria when all he could see was his Gandalf's seeming demise.

And now, as he stood overlooking Gondor and the lands he ruled, Aragorn could see Boromir in his mind, still Captain, for long had he stood in fear of becoming Steward, so therefore still Captain. Still a proud leader of men.

My strong right hand. My brother in arms, who had he lived, would have returned to even greater renown to his own city, and, well Aragorn knew this, served him loyally, though not without the occasional disagreement or questioning of his decisions. He would have welcomed such minor confrontations over strategies and postings if they had meant that the horn of Gondor would sound again in the halls, and not be blown in a cry for aid. Aragorn looked down from the parapet and glanced towards Osgiliath.

We would have rebuilt it together, had you lived, Boromir, the King thought. Osgiliath, which you reclaimed for Gondor with Faramir, before the call to Rivendell, before shared dreams and before the Ring.

Aragorn Elessar straightened as he returned to his original viewpoint. I had promised him then, he remembered, and I shall hold to that promise to keep the White City from falling, to see the glory of these lands restored. He relinquished his hold on the stone wall, returning to his rooms, where Arwen rose from her seat and welcomed him into her arms.

I shall hold to that promise, though I do not know what strength is in me.

For Gondor.