The clash of swords rang out loudly one crisp December morning as two men pursued each other vigorously along the pathway. Two young hobbits sat on the wall, which ran around one of the ornate ponds in the lush grounds.
“Have you noticed that Mr Boromir keeps dropping his guard a bit? “ Pippin said to his cousin Merry. The slightly older hobbit gave Pippin a dig in his side with an elbow,
“ Hush up Pip, Don’t think Boromir would appreciate your input-and
would you know about it, you only had the one lesson.”
Pippin sighed wistfully, “ I was a natural, what a pity that spot of trouble put a halt to my lessons with Mr Boromir.” Merry grinned, “ yes, when all you did was get him into trouble-twice.” Pippin pushed aside his gloomy thoughts and stood upright on the wall.
“ Maybe I can be his trainer? Yes, that is a good idea!” And with that the hobbit ran along the wall after the humans. “Pippin! Wait for me.” Merry cried as he jumped up and followed his friend.
Boromir forced his opponent backwards along the path; it was good to work out his frustrations with brute force. Frustrations caused by weeks of inactivity he told himself, it had nothing to do with the fact he couldn’t handle being around hobbits!
As if the Ranger had read Boromir’s thoughts, Aragorn made a backwards gesture of the head, “ We have company I believe.” And then he took advantage of the other man’s lapse of concentration to catch him a glancing blow with the flat of his sword.
Cursing, Boromir made an effort to bring his attention fully back to his opponent. If his former teacher had witnessed that disgraceful display he would have been soundly beaten-he had not made such a basic mistake since he was a child! Perhaps if he disposed of the little pest in the dead of night…enough! Concentrate! Boromir chastised himself.
“ You lost momentum and dropped your sword arm there Mr B. “ Pippin shouted as he drew level with the men.
Not taking his eyes from Aragorn’s sword arm the warrior said through clenched teeth,
“ If you don’t go away, now. An unfortunate accident will befall you Master Took.”
And with that Boromir made a hasty move to counter an attack from Aragorn. Unfortunately the warriors aim was slightly out and instead of meeting the intended sword stroke he decapitated a near by statue.
Merry and Pippin sat down on the wall quickly as a stone head flew over them and landed with a splash in the pond behind. Hobbits and men turned and watched in silence until the ripples in the pond settled once more.
“ That was one of Elrond’s favourite statues-a beloved ancestor I believe.” Aragorn said solemnly, but the raising of an eyebrow betrayed his amusement at his friend’s expense.
“Hell’s teeth!” Boromir erupted as he took a step towards
“ Your empty head is going to join that lump of rock, you are well matched!” He ranted.
Pippin, a past master of the hasty exit was not about to wait around for the consequences of this latest escapade to catch up with him. He jumped down from the wall and made a run for it, his cousin close on his heals.
Aragorn conveniently managed to get in his friends way, while the halflings made their escape. Boromir blustered on for a little while longer about what he would do to that “fool of a Took” when he caught up with him, then sat dejectedly on the wall that the Hobbits had recently vacated. Aragorn sat next to him in companionable silence.
“Was that really Elrond’s favourite statue, or were you joking?” Boromir asked finally.
“ Would I jest about such a matter? “ Aragorn replied.
“No” Aragorn reiterated.
“ Does he come out to this part of the garden very often?” Boromir asked.
After a pause while he considered the question, the other man answered,
“ Only to check that nobody has been using his Grandfather for sword practice.”
“Very Amusing.” Boromir snapped.
“ Perhaps we can repair the damage?” Aragorn asked.
“ Do I look like a stone mason? “
Aragorn seemed to ponder the question seriously for a moment,
“ I guess not. You could always consult the Dwarf Gimli? “ He suggested helpfully.
Boromir slowly shook his head; “ I think I may have insulted him at the Secret Council. “
“ Very unfortunate. “ Aragorn commiserated.
“ In hind sight I’d have to agree.” Boromir sighed.
“ Are you going to fish it out? “
“ What? “ Boromir asked in confusion.
Aragorn got up and leaning over the wall peering into the pond,
“Lord Elrond’s Grandfather’s head” He said.
“ Couldn’t it just be our little secret? “ Boromir asked.
“ Hobbits. “ Aragorn stated.
“ Oh God, I hate my life!” Boromir wined in most un-warrior like way.
Before any head retrieval could commence the men heard their names being called.
“Gandalf!” Aragorn said as he nodded at the headless statue. Boromir quickly got up and placed himself strategically in front of the statue.
“ Ah, there you are. Just the people I’ve been looking for.” The wizard said as he approached the men. He looked at them quizzically,
“ Not interrupting anything I hope? I was almost run over by two young
Hobbits on the way here-said they were late for elevenses? There wouldn’t
be anything you think I should know about? “ Gandalf asked suspiciously.
Boromir and Aragorn exchanged conspiratorial glances.
“ We were just doing a few exercises to blow the cobwebs away,” Aragorn said truthfully.
“ Ah, that reminds me of why I came looking for you both. I have been cooped up this many weeks now and I’ve decided its time for a change. I have in mind to go for a picnic and I do believe that Sam has even picked out a spot for us. “ Gandalf said with a smile.
“ And the big people are also invited to this picnic, not just Hobbits? “ Aragorn asked.
“ Indeed. The Company of nine are all invited, a chance to get a little better acquainted before our quest. It would do no harm for certain people to learn how to get along without squabbling.” The wizard said as he looked in the direction of the silent warrior.
Boromir forced a smile to his lips, “ A picnic sounds a splendid idea, good food, wine. I could really do with getting drunk right about now.” The warrior muttered.
“ Excellent! Be ready in an hour, I’ve arranged for a wagon to haul us and our provisions.”
The men were left alone again as Gandalf hurried off to check on his arrangements.
“ Grandfather’s head?” Aragorn said conversationally
Boromir began to unhook his sword belt as he went across to look into the pond,
“ Did you have to remind me.”?
He said handing Aragorn his sword and belt for safe- keeping. And after a final check that nobody was in sight he stepped over the wall and waded after the missing head.
Under normal circumstances a picnic would have been an appealing prospect to Pippin, but an irate warrior for a companion put a shadow over it just a little. At first Pippin had tried to squeeze himself in the front seat between Gandalf and Aragorn
But he had been passed over their heads into the back of the wagon. And had to be content to crouch in the furthest corner that he could, as far away from the warrior as he could manage.
Boromir congratulated himself on being in fine menacing form. He was stretch out across the mouth of the wagon, His long legs wedging him firmly in place as he glared purposefully at the object of his displeasure-one Pippin Took. He then carried on a conversation with Legolas the elf,
“ Perhaps a spot of hunting can be arranged? You’re familiar with these parts Legolas?” he asked casually.
“ I doubt you will find much to your interest in these woods, no wild boar. “ The Elf said with polite disinterest.
Boromir smiled coldly in Pippin’s direction,
“ Oh, I’m sure I’ll be able to flush something out. “
he said ominously.
“ Boromir!” the Ranger said sharply by way of a warning.
Pippin sank against Merry with a frightened whimper, “ I think I’d like to go home now.” He whispered.
Frodo leaned across to see what all the whispering was about; when his friends were secretive it usually meant trouble!
“ What’s wrong is Pippin in some kind of trouble again? “ He asked in a hushed voice. Merry leaned across his friend and whispered in Frodo’s ear,
“ Mr Boromir is cross with Pippin again-it’s a long story.”
“ Just stay out of his way and you’ll be fine, and you can own up to whatever you’ve done when we get back.” He added firmly to his young cousin.
Pippin pulled a face at the thought of being in trouble with Gandalf or The Lord Elrond, but on reflection it was probably better than being hunted down by Boromir!
The Hobbits made themselves useful and helped set out the picnic food and then the fellowship spread out in the clearing that Sam had picked out. It had been his pleasure to wander the woods since they had come to Rivendell and this was one of his favourite spots. The clearing had tall trees surrounding it for shade and a nice little stream nearby to do a bit of fishing if the urge took a person, or Hobbit.
After eating lunch Sam took Gimli and Frodo to his favourite fishing spot, while Legolas went off on some errand of his own. The two youngest Hobbits stayed behind with Gandalf who was most suspicious when they refused to leave his side.
“ Come Pippin my lad, are you not feeling well? It is most unlike you to eat so poorly, why you’ve hardly eaten twice your fair share!” The wizard said quite seriously. Pippin wanted to ask Gandalf to make Boromir stop glaring at him, as he stabbed his food with that nasty looking knife. But all he said was, “I’m full.” Which did nothing to ease the wizards concern.
Aragorn and Boromir sat across the clearing from the others, their backs to a huge old tree. Aragorn had watched his friend in silence all through the picnic lunch, but now he spoke up.
“Stop that.” He said softly, so only himself and the Warrior could hear.
Boromir glanced at his friend and shrugged, “ I was only jesting with him.” He said in his defence as he slid the dagger back into the belt at his waist.
“ He hero worships you. “ Aragorn stated.
Boromir looked at is friend in surprise, “ What are you talking about man, the Hobbit delights in tormenting me!”
Aragorn gave a knowing smile, “ Young Hobbits do have some annoying habits, I agree. But that they cannot help, it is their nature.”
“ Well let Pippin Took go and sharpen his annoying tendencies on someone else more worthy than I. “ Boromir growled in frustration.
Aragorn smiled at the man’s discomfort, “ Ah, the weight of being a Hero lays heavily upon you my friend. “ He joked.
Boromir did not see the humour in the situation at all, “ If he is so desperate for a hero to tag along after, let it be you. You are the heir to the Throne of Gondor after all.”
Aragorn looked across the clearing to where the others sat and considered the Hobbits for a time. Then he gave an exaggerated sigh, “Unfortunately, first impressions went against me with the halflings. So Strider I remain. I do believe the young ones have a quaint nickname for me, “ old scruffy. “ For use only when they think I’m not listening of course. “
Boromir chuckled briefly,
“ I just hope he grows out of it quickly, as I don’t know how much more adulation I can stand and keep my sanity! The warrior’s smile was replaced with a grimace,
“ This philosophising is all well and good my friend, but it doesn’t help me out of my present predicament. “
Aragorn shrugged in commiseration, “ One strong gust of wind and that head will end up back in the pond. “ he commented.
“Damn! I’ll just have to own up, can’t even blame the little one, as in all honesty I did allow him to distract me.”
“Very mature of you to come clean. “ Aragorn said, smiling openly.
“ Oh do shut up!” Boromir groaned.
“You still owe Pippin an apology, if you can get him to stand still long enough that is.” Aragorn
Boromir nodded in agreement as he looked for the young Hobbit in question, but seeing him in close company with the Wizard decided to leave that until after his confrontation with Elrond.
“ I REALLY hate my life. “ the warrior groaned.
As he made his way towards Elronds chambers Boromir wondered if it was possible to stride purposefully, while at the same time doing ones utmost to avoid meeting anyone? With a stone head tucked under his arm, it was the effect he was striving for. He arrived at his destination before he could come to any conclusion, and with a final, rather pointless adjustment to the stone head Boromir rapped sharply on the chamber door.
Boromir pushed the stable doors open energetically, being a stable boy was a bit of a come down for the seasoned warrior-but it was better than washing dishes! The man came to an abrupt halt as he realised he wasn’t alone. Pippin stared wide-eyed at the warrior, expecting a sharp dagger to come hurling in his direction at any second. But before he could decide whether to make a break for it or scream for help the man spoke softly.
“ I’m sorry little one, can you forgive me?”
“ Forgive you? For what? “ Pippin stammered.
Boromir came a little further into the stables and was gratified to see that the little hobbit didn’t run and hide from him, it was a start.
“ Forgive me for taking out my frustrations upon you master Took, and for my shameless behaviour at the picnic.”
“You’re not cross with me any more? “ Pippin asked
“ No Pippin .Are you cross with me? “ Boromir asked.
“ I guess not. “ Pippin said solemnly.
“Good! “ Boromir said as he picked up a large fork and went over
to the nearest stall.
“Then we shall be friends again, if you’d like? “ He added.
Pippin went back to Bill’s stall, “ Come on move over!” he said as he pushed the pony to one side and went back to work mucking out. After working in silence for a few minutes curiosity got the better of Pippin.
“ Did Lord Elrond spank you for breaking his Grandfather? “
“ No Pippin. I did not get beaten; it was an accident after all. “ Boromir said with some authority.
The young Hobbit pulled a face to express his confusion, “ Well that doesn’t seem very fair. I get punished for having accidents all the time.” He said quite indignantly.
Boromir smiled, “ Being caught in some mischief making does not make it an accident little one. “ he clarified helpfully.
“ Oh, that explains it then. I must tell Merry cause we’ve been wondering about that for ages. “ Pippin said cheerfully.
“ Perhaps when we are free from our stable mucking out punishment you would like to resume your lessons with me?” Boromir asked tentatively.
Pippin grinned shyly at the warrior, “ Aragorn sent me, he said you wanted to talk to me. I didn’t really want to come-but I’m glad I did”
Boromir smiled, “ It seems that the heir of Gondor is full of-advice. I’m sure he will be happy to help me clean out the stables every day until we leave for the quest. It will be in a good cause if it means I am free to tutor you in the skills of weaponry, which is sure to be invaluable during the perilous journey ahead.” He ended smugly.
“ I could always ask Strider to teach me if you’re too busy Mr Boromir. “ Pippin teased.
“ Only joking Mr B..” Pippin began as a large forkful of horse
muck landed on his head.