Title: Talking to a Dead Tree by Moonlight
Theme: The White Tree
Elements: The years had taken their toll
Author's Notes: A late entry for the "The White Tree" challenge.
Summary: Boromir, the Tree and moonlight
Word Count: 442
Talking to a Dead Tree by Moonlight
“The years have taken their toll, but I know what would improve your looks,” Boromir said to the Tree, “a good bonfire."
The deserted and moonlit Courtyard made him think of almond-milk and rime.
In a sudden need for solitude, clutching a bottle of wine, he had fled the clamorous gathering of men, and was at that stage of drunkenness where the brain makes unexpected associations.
A breeze swept across the flagstones, making the branches of the Tree shiver and clatter with a dry sound.
“Like bones in a box,” Boromir muttered.
His words made the Tree droop even more morosely than usual. Boromir sighed.
“I guess you can’t help being dead and ugly. That’s how we all end up, after all."
He raised his glass towards it with an exaggerated bow that nearly sent him head-first into the fountain. When he had regained his balance he decided to abandon the precarious standing-position, and instead lowered himself gingerly down on the fountain-edge, wine-bottle in one hand and glass in the other.
Safe and seated Boromir tilted his head back and looked into the eye of the moon – with a vague feeling of gratitude. The train of its ghost-robe smoothed out the worn edges and slowly crumbling frame of his City.
He thought the signs of wear and tear more apparent every time he came back - in direct proportion to his father’s abandonment of his duties of office, withdrawal to his tower and gradual personality change.
Boromir had seen men break and their minds collapse. What was happening to his father was different, and, he felt, far worse.
Sometimes, if I meet his eyes unawares, it is like looking into a long, dark room for a few seconds, before a door slams shut.
He didn’t want to think about it - not now.
He raised his glass in the direction of Ithilien, hoping Faramir this minute was doing the same in his direction. He missed his brother and drinking-companion desperately.
The wind had died down and it was very still in the Courtyard. Boromir turned his head slightly and looked at the Tree through the corner of his eye. From this angle it shimmered slightly - definitely like almond-milk and rime.
“Even you,” he whispered, “were beautiful once.”
He gazed into his overflowing glass and saw a sliver of moon-curve reflected in the wine, behind the rippled outline of his head. He moved the glass until the whole disc was perfectly contained within; floating on the liquid surface like a white flower.
He brushed the reflection with his lips – and drank it down.