Boromir lunged forward with his drawn sword and his young opponent blocked the move clumsily.
“Your improving Pippin, but keep your sword arm up a little higher-lets do that again” the warrior said as he continued to back the small hobbit up along the gallery walkway. “Much better!” Boromir said approvingly as Pippin did his best to follow instruction.
Some way below them Gandalf and the elf Lord Elrond sat in a secluded corner of the great hall. As this was an unofficial chat they sat not in Elronds normal high seat upon the dais but to one side of the long feasting table. As they spoke Gandalf was distracted by the growing noise above them, but turned his attention back to his companion.
Pippin Took was beginning to think that his talents had been wasted in the fields of farmer Maggot-sword play was much more exciting! Fantasies of himself in splendid battle armour rose as he chopped away at his teacher. A warrior should be resourceful he decided as he ducked under his opponents sword arm and landed with both feet upon Boromir’s right foot.
Cursing and hopping on one foot Boromir whirled around on the hobbit and made a hasty move to grab Pippin, but the little Hobbit was too fast and all Boromir ended up with was an empty cloak. Unfortunately momentum decided to play a nasty trick as he collided with a table positioned against the gallery wall-Boromir saw what was going to happen and tried to reach the rather exquisite looking vase as it began to topple over the side. The tall man found himself clutching at fresh air.
Gandalf and the elf Lord had been draw to the commotion above them; Pippin was no doubt mixed up in this somehow the wizard hazarded a guess. It was as well that they did have warning as wizard and elf Lord were required to swiftly get to their feet and jump out of the way as something from above shattered on the ground close by their vacated seats.
Boromir stuck his head over the balcony to survey the outcome of their “misadventure” and was joined by Pippin who had scrambled onto the table to get a better look. Boromir caught a glance of an angry looking wizard far below. Man and hobbit quickly ducked back down, it was quite a ways up, and perhaps they hadn’t been seen. Unfortunately Elven eyes had no difficulty in identifying the guilty culprits!
Lord Elrond’s voice rang out in the now silent great hall,
“Boromir of Gondor, Pippin Took you are cordially invited to a private council!”
Boromir and Pippin sat on the ground in frozen silence until a second summons
“Immediately!” the voice of Gandalf the Grey boomed
Boromir avoided making eye contact with either of his elders; he busied himself in smoothing his clothing and settled his long hair into a more tidy fashion behind his ears.
Pippin on the other hand had given a very hasty recap of events, leaving out anything too incriminating, of course. Gandalf put a firm restraining hand on the young hobbits shoulder “quiet young Took” he commanded.
Finally Elrond spoke “ Is it your usual custom Boromir to undertake combat instruction indoors?”
The tall man, now fully composed again, replied proudly, “ I don’t as a rule take on students, the rigors of being a son of Gondor take precedence over such things Lord.”
“ It was all my fault your worship, I took Boromir by surprise and he… tripped” Pippin interrupted.
Gandalf took pippin by one ear but directed his words at Boromir also,
“ Did I not tell you just last week to take your sword play outside?”
Boromir bristled at the indignity of such a cross-examination. “I will pay for any damage done.” He said by way of ending the conversation.
The wizard was not at all pleased with the tone of the young human, Steward of Gondor’s son or no. He smiled disarmingly and motioned Elrond to one side and spoke in hushed whispers to the Elf Lord. A quizzical expression passed the Elf Lords features, but quickly disappeared as he nodded in agreement.
“Indeed” Elrond spoke, “ payment will be exacted, and you will both be suitably punished for your disobedience.”
Boromir took an involuntary step backwards and clutched his sheathed sword for support. Punishment was not a word that he had heard with regard to himself in many, many seasons!
Pippin looked on in wide-eyed fright as his new friend Boromir was ordered to remove his sword and prostrate himself over the end of the long feasting table. The small Hobbit at first thought that the tall proud man would refuse, but Elrond had astutely reminded him that the good name of his family was the thing at stake here, not a young man’s pride. Boromir reluctantly complied.
Pippin looked on as Elrond removed Boromir’s sword from its covering and then moved into a position behind the prone man. Boromir had already removed his outer leather jerkin and gripped the sides of the table in anticipation.
Pippin held his breath and counted 6 strokes.
Gandalf took Pippin firmly by the arm, “come foolish Took, don’t think we have forgotten your part in this little adventure.” And with that he led the shaking hobbit to a near by stool. Pippin began to sob even before he came to rest across the Wizards knees; he was not unfamiliar with the position! Gandalf quickly settled to his task and warmed the young Hobbits britches with a sound hand paddling. Afterwards when restored to his feet Pippin took the offered handkerchief and wiped his eyes.
“I’m sorry Mr Gandalf” Pippin said In between his sniffs.
The wizard reached down and ruffled the young hobbits hair,
I know Young Took, but it would be nice if occasionally you remembered to be sorry BEFORE you get into mischief!” Pippin nodded solemnly in agreement.
Elrond handed the young human back his sword, “the debt is paid,”
he said softly.
Boromir, his fury barely in check accepted the weapon in silence and returned it to its scabbard. He knew what honour called for and slowly turned back to Elrond.
He stiffly extended his hand, “My thanks Lord.” He stated.
Elrond accepted the offered hand.
Boromir dropped his released hand back to his side, “ May I go?” He asked. And as soon as Elrond gave a nod of release he turned and slowly walked down the great hall and was gone.
Small feet came running swiftly after Boromir.
Pippin shouted after the departing man, “I can still have my lesson tomorrow Boromir” he asked hopefully.
Boromir stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned around.
“No!” he bellowed and then disappeared around a corner.
Pippin shook his head, “ that’s so unfair, and just when I was getting the hang of it too. I wonder why big people always over reacted?” He asked the empty corridor before scampering on his way.
Boromir stalked along the winding corridors that led eventually to his chamber, once inside he discarded his sword on the bed with an accusing glare and went across to his open window and gazed out upon the splendour of Rivendell. With that view it was impossible, even for him, to remain angry. A slow smile replaced anger, “So the Lord Elrond wields the flat of a sword with as much skill as my father once deemed necessary!” Boromir fought the urge no longer and let both hands creep behind him and began to rub his buttocks vigorously.