The company of nine had been set and now they waited for the last of the messengers to return before setting off. The Hobbits were content to idle a few more days or weeks away, not so the human’s in the company. Idleness ill suited them and it was noted that tempers began to fray.
Boromir sat upon a bench in the garden of Elrond; his sword lay flat across
his knees as he polished it briskly with an old rag. Presently a shadow fell
across him and the man sighed in exasperation,
“If that is you Peregrin Took GO AWAY!” he growled.
Aragorn’s usual stern expression lifted a little as he noted the other man’s show of bad temper. “Hardly a fitting welcome for Gondor’s future king “ he teased Boromir as he took a seat next to him.
Boromir made an inaudible reply, which Aragorn could have sworn was less than
respectful! He glanced at the naked sword and saw his reflection; he gave a
brief smile and then continued to goad the younger man.
“I hear that the flat of a sword doubles as a handy switch at a pinch.”
Boromir’s head snapped up sharply and his knuckles turned white as he
clutched his sword; with great effort he kept his voice even.
“ I believe that you have spent too many years in the company of the Wizard-you speak nonsense!”
With that he stood and would have strode away but Aragorn also rose swiftly and barred his way.“ My apologies if my information is incorrect, young Pippin must have been misinformed” He said with no hint of a smile.
Boromir hid his frustration with activity as he sheathed his sword, “ Do not try my patience further, take your tales elsewhere!” he snapped.
“You would doubt my word?” Aragorn said.
Boromir snorted in response and started to push past the Ranger, his only thought to be gone. Aragorn snagged him by one arm and held him fast, they were close enough to look one another in the eye and what Boromir saw there was not pleasant.
“Do you suggest that the heir of Isildur is a liar?”Aragorn asked
with deceptive mildness.
Boromir glared at the other man with hostility, he was heartily sick of having to guard his tongue around the Man. With disregard to consequences either in Elrond’s house or when he returned to his father in Gondor; Boromir gave in to his temper.
“ If you are Isildur’s Heir.I am a Hobbit!”
“ Ha! Your Mother must have mated with a troll if you are what they produced.” Aragorn reported maliciously.
Boromir stood speechless with rage at this last slight but before the squabble could escalate further Gandalf appeared to make a most timely intervention.
“What is the meaning of this childish display?” Gandalf demanded.
A guilty silence was the only answer the wizard received, so he repeated the question.
“Who instigated this shameless spectacle?” He said as he pinned Boromir with an angry glint of the eye.
“ It was not I!” He answered smugly.
Surprised, Gandalf turned to his old friend quizzically.
Strider shrugged. “It is true.” He answered shortly.
Gandalf The Grey found this hard to believe and so demanded a full account from his friend. Reluctantly Aragorn complied with his wishes.
Boromir fidgeted in a most unwarrior like manner as the tale unfolded.
Gandalf studied the two men before him and was gratified that neither could
look him in the eye! He came to a decision and made off along one of the paths,
“ Come along boys, and don’t get left behind!” He called out
as he disappeared around a corner.
Boromir stared about the bustling kitchen, many delicious aromas assaulted his nose and he was reminded it must be almost dinnertime. He pushed the thought aside, more curious as to why he was there.
Aragorn was silent and not the least bit confused as to why they were there.
Gandalf appeared shortly and in the company of an old elf. The elf spoke to Aragorn in the elven tongue and Boromir was surprised when the man bowed his head and he would swear that a flush of red crept across the Rangers features.
“This is master Frithlonn,” the wizard said as he taped his staff sharply on the ground to recapture Boromir’s attention. “ And you will be in his charge for the rest of the day, Obey him! If you know what’s good for you” Gandalf finished softly.
“ I am a warrior, nor a scullery boy!” The Man of Gondor complained indignantly.
The wizard waved away the objection with a dismissive gesture, “ Yes, yes and I’m sure we shall avail you of your many warrior talents when we are upon the road-but for the moment Frithlonn is in more dire need of a pot boy.”
Boromir turned to Aragorn for support, “ Well don’t you have something to say about this, heir of Isildur!” he said hopefully.
Aragorn nodded respectfully to both wizard and Elf before turning to the other
“ I will wash and you can dry and stack” with that he disappeared into the busy kitchen. Gandalf gave the tall man a push in the direction of his work mate,
“Run along then boy, oh and you may want to hang that sword up somewhere safe-we wouldn’t want it to get rusty in this steamy kitchen now would we.” He added helpfully.
Boromir stood in bewilderment for several moments unsure exactly what to do next, until Frithlonn shooed him over to where the other man was up to his elbows in soapy water. Boromir just hoped that he would awaken from this nightmare, soon.
Several hours later
Even stripped of his heavy outer wear the sweat still rolled down Boromir’s brow, he cast a wary look around for master Frithlonn before settling himself on a rather low stool. He wiped at his brow with an already damp towel. He also gladly accepted a tall glass of something cold from one of the serving elves. It wasn’t as good as ale but it was welcome.
Boromir watched as his human companion started on another batch of dirty pans, “You’ve done this before I take it?” he enquired by way of a distraction.
Aragorn didn’t stop working as he replied, “A Ranger may turn his hand to many things Warrior.”
“ No, I mean here, in this very place? Frithlonn seems to know you?”
When Aragorn remained silent Boromir answered his own question, “ I guessed that much when Frithlonn whacked me for the forth time with that damned wooden spoon of his! And you always manage to time your bursts of activity to the second before he arrives.
Aragorn remained non-committal; “ I use my eyes and ears, while your tongue is rarely still!”
Boromir drained his glass.
“He Comes” Aragorn added softly.
The warrior hastily jumped to his feet and went back to work but was not fast enough to avoid a well-aimed blow and a stream of Elven words that accompanied it. He winced as Frithlonn’s wooden spoon landed on an already sore spot on his behind.
“What was all that about?” Boromir asked as he cautiously nodded in the irate Elf’s direction. Aragorn favoured the warrior with a bright smile.
“ He thinks you are an idle pup who was obviously not beaten hard enough by Lord Elrond.”
Boromir groaned, “Does everyone in this damn place know my personal business!” he ended with another dejected sigh.
Aragorn did not let up on the warrior, “ It was just as well that you did not think to swear master Pippin to secrecy, or the news would have reached Gondor by now.” he said with a grin.
“ Just wait until I get my hands on that blasted Hobbit! His bottom will
be as red as my hands when I’ve finished with him!” Boromir ranted.
Later that same evening
Boromir strode purposefully along the corridor, an elf or two noticed in passing that he had a parcel tucked under his arm and as one got closer the parcel spoke.
“Help! “Squeaked a small hobbit voice.
Elves preferred to mind their own business but they did note that Men and Hobbits were strange creatures indeed!
No rescue party came and Peregrin Took found himself across the warrior’s knee. He squealed quite loudly when the first smack landed on his bottom.
Boromir continued his lecture. “Not only were you the cause of my humiliation at the hands of Elrond but you then saw fit to herald the news to all who would listen!”
“ I swear I only told Merry!”
“And Mr Frodo!”
“And Strider!” Pippin wailed.
Finally satisfied the warrior straightened the Hobbits clothing and set him on his feet gently. Making good use of his jacket sleeve Pippin dried his eyes and wiped his nose rather noisily.
“I’m sorry I made you cross Mr Boromir but I was that surprised-I didn’t know that big people got punished, you know, like that! So I just had to go and ask Mr Bilbo.”
Pippin slapped a hand over him mouth as the omission to his confession slipped out. But when he didn’t immediately find himself back over the tall man’s knee he was encouraged to continue.
“ None of us hobbits seemed to know, so I thought.”
“ You thought you’d trot along and ask Strider!” Boromir finished for him.
“ Yes, but he wasn’t very helpful at all.” Pippin said quite sadly.
Boromir slumped down in his chair, long legs outstretched,
“ I need a strong drink. And I have a headache.” He murmured solemnly, and then he turned back to the Hobbit.
“ You may go, scoot, be gone!” he said gesturing the door.
Pippin slipped out of the door and scampered quickly down the corridor, he’d had a thought of whom else he could ask his questions of. And if Gandalf didn’t know there was always Elrond he thought brightly.