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Following the Greenway by Linaewen

Author: Linaewen
Title: Following the Greenway
Rating: G
Theme: Art's Desire
Prompt: Nath's Along the Greenway (created for the LotR Community challenge "A Different Green")
Summary: Following the Council of Elrond, Aragorn and the Rangers of the North, accompanied by Boromir, search along the Greenway for evidence of Black Riders.
Word Count: 1,414
Following the Greenway

Other scouts had already searched by the Fords and on the near side of the River Loudwater for evidence of Black Riders. It was the part of Aragorn and the Rangers of the North to take the search to the West and the South, along the Road. Boromir traveled with them, for he did not wish to stay idle in Rivendell while there was work to be done that might aid his swift return to his City.  The small company spread out along the East Road, searching deep into the woodlands on either side. Though the land was wide and wild, the Rangers knew it well, and their search was thorough.

The weather was swiftly turning cooler as the season advanced towards winter. One clear starry night, as they warmed themselves by the fire, Aragorn recounted the tale of the harrowing journey from Bree to Rivendell with the Ringbearer and his companions. Boromir listened with astonishment. He had obviously misjudged the strength and worth of the hobbits during his brief time of knowing them, seeing only their size, their curiosity, and their open friendliness. To have come so far, through such danger! They were, indeed, a hardy folk.

Boromir was gradually beginning to gain a new respect for Aragorn and the Rangers. He had learned as a child the history of the Northern Kingdom and how the line of kings had failed in the North after much inner strife and a war with Angmar. Looking at the Rangers, he could almost believe that the kingly line had not failed after all; that it ran true in these men. Though they were dour and wild-looking, they were proud of bearing, swift and keen hunters, skilled in tracking and woodscraft. He wished he had a few such men with him in Minas Tirith. They would be invaluable in the defense of the City. He had lost many good men in the continuing battle with the Dark Lord's minions, and those that remained were beginning to lose heart. These Rangers seemed to him to be the kind of men that would never give in or lose hope.

Boromir turned to Aragorn, who was now laying back on his bedroll, gazing up at the stars.

"Where are we now?" Boromir asked.

"We are some miles southeast of the town of Bree, which lies at the crossroads of the East Road and the Greenway, the old road to the South. Tomorrow we will bypass Bree to the south, and meet up with other Rangers who have been searching in the town and to the West of it. I am reluctant to go myself to Bree, as I am well known there, and it may bring to mind again Frodo and his companions. It would be best if those strange happenings were quickly forgotten in Bree; I fear spies of Saruman are there, if not spies of Mordor."

"Saruman," repeated Boromir thoughtfully. "I was greatly dismayed to hear word of his treachery at the Council. My father has welcomed him to our City, more often than even Mithrandir, and I wonder now what will come of it." He shook his head doubtfully. "It will go ill for my people and for the Rohirrim if Saruman has declared himself an enemy."

"I fear you are right to be concerned," Aragorn agreed.  "I fear what harm Saruman can do if he is indeed trying to set himself up as a Power."

They sat in troubled silence for a time, which Boromir at last broke with another question.  "From Bree, where will we go? Will we see this Shire I have heard so much about?"

Aragorn smiled.  "No, we do not go to the Shire. We will hear the report of others who are on guard there and at Sarn Ford on the southern borders of the Shire, and then move on South along the Greenway, to Tharbad."

"Tharbad!" said Boromir with a grimace. "How well I remember that place!  It was there I lost my mount and ended up walking the remainder of the way to Rivendell!"

"Yes, it is a forbidding and dangerous place, now," agreed Aragorn. "The passage of the ford is not to be undertaken lightly.  I commend you for your courage in attempting it, though you lost your horse in the process."

"I thank you for your praise," Boromir replied, "but I do not think of it as courageous.  Is it courage to simply do a task that must be done?  My quest was leading me forward, and I had to cross there or give up my journey.  There was no other way."

"That it was necessary and there was no other way does not make it any less courageous!"

***

The Rangers from Bree had nothing to report other than the news that the town was still in an uproar from the passage of the Black Riders weeks before. All strangers were viewed with great suspicion and the townspeople were beginning to go about armed. In the Shire, too, the hobbits were stirred up; Black Riders had terrorized several settlements and broken down the East Gate as they passed from the land.

They rode on, following the Greenway southwards. On their right stretched the Barrow Downs, barren, grassy mounds broken by standing stones and shrouded in a misty haze. To the left of the road lay the South Downs, ridge after ridge of chalky escarpments and grassy slopes. The road itself was desolate and overgrown, and all but disappeared in places. There were no signs that anyone had passed this way in recent days.

Searching took time, so it was some days before the scouting party came to the fork of the road that led back northwards to Sarn Ford and the southern borders of the Shire. There they halted and awaited the reports of the Ranger scouts whose task it was to be on guard there. As they sat around the fire in the grey dawn, taking their morning meal under the dark trees that hung over the road, Halbarad spoke of the border guard.

"For some years now," explained Halbarad to Boromir, "the Dúnedain of the North have watched the borders of the Shire. Gandalf it was who set us this task, for he felt some disquiet concerning the little people. Perhaps he had a premonition of their part in the wider events that have now come upon us."

"We have heard little of such things in Gondor," said Boromir. "Even when Mithrandir came to Minas Tirith, he kept this to himself."

"Do not be too quick to judge Gandalf," said Halbarad reassuringly. "It was wisdom on his part, I think. Not that the men of Gondor were not to be trusted, but there are spies everywhere, and only by the secrecy of Gandalf and the vigilance of the Dúnedain was this land kept safe for many years. Yet at the last, some word of it became known, for when the Dark Riders came upon us at the solstice, they expected to be resisted. We were scattered and pursued, and some were slain, ere the Riders passed on into the Shire. We held them as long as we could, and perhaps gained some time for the Ringbearer, but in the end we fled. I fear it would have been so, even had our captain, Aragorn, been with us, instead of on the road to Bree."

"Perhaps it is as well that I chose not to take the Greenway north as I traveled seeking Rivendell," Boromir mused.  "I considered it after crossing at Tharbad, for it would have been the easier road.  But I was in haste, and felt it would have taken too long, so I chose instead to travel cross country in the hope of making the journey shorter.  By doing so, I must surely have avoided encountering the Black Riders myself.  I stood against one such Rider at Osgiliath, and barely escaped with my life, and but nine would have been too much for me!"

"Indeed, it would not have ended well for you, a man alone in the wilderness," agreed Halbarad.  "You chose the better way, in that case, though you did not know it.  And whether or not it was shorter, you so seem to have arrived at your destination in time."

"It would seem so!"

"I see Aragorn beckoning," Halbarad said, rising.  "The scouts from Sarn Ford must be approaching. Come, let us hear what news the have for us..."

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Mar. 6th, 2017 06:29 am (UTC)
I don't remember any another fics about this part of the Tale, and enjoyed reading this very much.
lin4gondor
Mar. 6th, 2017 03:46 pm (UTC)
It's my goal in life to think of all the Boromir gapfillers and write them. ;-) Thanks for reading!
mrowe
Mar. 6th, 2017 09:26 am (UTC)
Wow, I inspired something *blush*

And an excellent little story too!
lin4gondor
Mar. 6th, 2017 03:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for the inspiration!
heartofoshun
Mar. 6th, 2017 09:48 am (UTC)
II like this a lot. It's been a while since falling into this story line and enjoyed this very much.

He had learned as a child the history of the Northern Kingdom and how the line of kings had failed in the North after much inner strife and a war with Angmar. Looking at the Rangers, he could almost believe that the kingly line had not failed after all; that it ran true in these men. Though they were dour and wild-looking, they were proud of bearing, swift and keen hunters, skilled in tracking and woodscraft. He wished he had a few such men with him in Minas Tirith

Nicely worded. He does have his brother!
lin4gondor
Mar. 6th, 2017 03:41 pm (UTC)
That paragraph does seem to suggest he has forgotten Faramir -- which would be impossible! I might have to reword that! Thanks for reading!
dreamflower02
Mar. 6th, 2017 10:13 am (UTC)
This is very nicely done! I've always imagined Boromir being put to other tasks in Rivendell (like teaching certain hobbits to wield their little swords and helping Gandalf in planning the journey South), but I can also imagine this scenario as well, with him accompanying the scouts.

I love his conversations with Aragorn and Halbarad. Both are very plausible and the voices are perfect.
lin4gondor
Mar. 6th, 2017 03:44 pm (UTC)
I can never decide which scenario I like better -- having Boromir stay in Rivendell with the hobbits, or traveling with Aragorn and company. I might have to see if I can work up a story that does both!
dreamflower02
Mar. 6th, 2017 04:23 pm (UTC)
Well, naturally hobbits always win my vote, LOL! Whenever I need Aragorn to be in Rivendell when he's supposed to be someplace else, I have him coming back to make a report to Elrond and staying a day or two before heading back out, LOL. Poor guy never gets any rest.

But I can't resist Boromir+hobbits.
lindahoyland
Mar. 7th, 2017 02:57 am (UTC)
I love the idea that Boromir went scouting with the Rangers.
foxrafer
Mar. 7th, 2017 02:15 pm (UTC)
I love having a look at this part of the story, and like the idea of Boromir joining the Rangers and beginning to have more respect for them and Aragorn as they travel.
silver_trails
Mar. 21st, 2017 01:29 am (UTC)
Very nice gapfiller!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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