A/N: I do not own any of the characters Tolkien created, nor do I own the places of Middle-earth. Even the very first few paragraphs of my story actually belong almost solely to Tolkien. I only used them to set up the rest of the story. I'm not making money off of this, of course, so please don't sue me! :)

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Gondor's Bane

Part One: Of Deception and Thievery



Boromir muttered to himself as he walked as quietly as he could through the forest that lay beside the Anduin River. "Which way did he go?" he said. Every once in a while he glanced back to be sure he wasn't being followed. He wished to speak with small Frodo Baggins alone.

He slowed as he finally saw the hobbit he sought sitting on a stone just ahead and to his left. A smile spread across his lips and he walked up behind the Ring-bearer. There he stood, watching, until at last Frodo stirred. Frodo leapt to his feet and whirled around to face him.

Boromir smiled kindly down at him. "I was afraid for you, Frodo," he said, coming forward. He asked if he might talk to Frodo for a time in hopes that they together might find an answer as to what should be done next, but Frodo refused, saying he already knew what to do, but was afraid.

Both were silent after Frodo's reply. Frodo did indeed seem afraid, Boromir noted as he studied the hobbit carefully. Obviously he was going to be harder to convince than Boromir had originally thought. He sat beside Frodo and offered to give him counsel. Again Frodo refused.

Then Boromir asked to see the Ring of Sauron. Frodo looked at him and seemed alarmed. "It is best that it should lie hidden," said the Ring- bearer.

Boromir told him of his plans to overthrow Sauron and Mordor. He paced as he spoke, his voice growing louder all the while. He then asked Frodo to accompany him to Minas Tirith at least for a while. Frodo still refused him.

When Frodo refused to lend Boromir the Ring, Boromir grew angry. He offered to take the blame if Frodo would only hand it to him.

"Come, come, my friend!" said Boromir in a softer voice. "Why not get rid of it? Why not be free of your doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can say that I was too strong and took it by force. For I am too strong for you, halfling," he cried. He leaped at Frodo, who dodged him.

Boromir picked himself up again and turned to Frodo, who was reaching for the Ring. Quickly, Boromir grabbed the chain that he Ring hung on. Frodo struggled to pull it free, but Boromir was much stronger and with one last yank he pulled the chain from Frodo's grasp. Frodo fell to the ground with a thud.

"Boromir!" he cried desperately. "You speak of folly, but wielding that Ring even with good intentions would be folly!"

Boromir laughed and held his new treasure up to inspect it. "You speak of that which you know nothing about. No, with this Ring I shall save my people and yours as well, Master Hobbit. If you were wiser you would see this Ring as a gift rather than a burden."

"You have no right to take it," Frodo told him as he scrambled to his feet. "Aragorn will not be pleased when he hears of this!"

"Aragorn!" Boromir scoffed. "If Aragorn feels the way you do, then I say that he, too, is a fool! Still, I do not wish to argue or come to blows with him or any other over this. Perhaps it would be best for me to go ahead of the rest of you." Boromir put the chain around his own neck and tucked it under his shirt. "I do this for the good of all."

"You will destroy us all!" Frodo replied. "What will you do for food and water? You cannot get all the way to Minas Tirith without these. Do you also forget that we are very near to Mordor? Orcs would probably overtake you and capture the Ring long before you reached your city. What then of your great plan?"

Boromir frowned. He looked up sharply as he heard voices calling for Frodo. He grumbled and ran toward the voices, leaving Frodo behind.

"Where is Frodo?" Pippin demanded when Boromir reached them.

Thinking quickly, Boromir pointed to his right. "He went in that direction, I believe." The others ran that way and Boromir rushed to the River. He hurriedly packed some extra food and refilled his water skin. Then he ran away in the direction opposite of the Company.

Boromir paused as he heard the distant sound of Orc voices and soon those of the Fellowship. "Surely they would capture the Ring if I returned. This must be my chance to escape." He continued his run, the voices growing fainter behind him.

--*--*--*--

Boromir didn't stop to rest until late in the afternoon. He found a sheltered place and cast himself to the ground, panting. He was tired and hungry. After lying on the ground for a spell he pulled himself to a sitting position. He ate a meager and cold meal then crawled under a bush that grew nearby for shelter from sight and fell promptly to sleep. His dreams were not pleasant ones, but he could not wake from them.

It was around midnight when Boromir finally awoke and escaped his dreams, but they remained in his mind. He lay still for a moment, listening for danger. Not hearing anything, he crawled out from under the bush and stood up. He wondered what had been the fate of his companions.

"What if they needed my help and had perished because I did not come to their aid?" he thought. Feeling guilty, he pushed the thought from his mind and looked around. He was fairly sure that he was headed straight for Minas Tirith. If not, he would know soon enough.

"No sense in delaying my journey," he said quietly, and slung his pack on after eating some lembas, the cakes that the Elves of Lothlorien had given the Company. As promised, the Elvish waybread renewed his strength and he once again began his flight towards the White City.

An hour or so into his journey he was forced to draw his sword. Two stray orcs were ahead of him, arguing, as was the way of their kind. Since they were so engrossed in snarling at one another, Boromir easily caught them by surprise and killed them both.

After doing this he quickly pressed on. Surely they weren't the only orcs about. He hoped only that any other orcs finding the ones he had slain would either take no notice or would simply think they'd killed each other.

For the first time Boromir wished he'd waited and gone with at least one companion. Fear and doubt began to weigh more heavily on him, and he had to stop and put his hand to his forehead. He was almost certain that he could hear the whispers again. They invaded his mind and made him ill at ease. He had been hearing them throughout his journey with the Fellowship.

"I cannot stop. I cannot turn back," he said to himself. "I must press onward and save the White City and my people."