Boromir stood on the white walls of Minas Tirith, wrapped in a warm, thick cloak. It was a clear winter’s morning and the sky seemed the perfect shade of blue. He looked out across the wide plains of Gondor, wondering what the day would bring.

He had woken early from a dreamless sleep and found that he was unable to sleep any longer. Rising, he had cast on his clothes and cloak and come out into the morning air. He was restless, needing to be out of the city. It was great and proud, and he looked forward to the day when he would be Steward of Gondor and rule over it, but in the meantime he found it stifling. Perhaps today he should go and join Faramir and the rangers in Ithilien. The city seemed to be pressing in on him, and it would do him good to be able to roam free again for a while. He was tired of his father’s attitude towards him, as if he could do no wrong and his brother could do no right. It was good for a while – it certainly boosted his ego – but there was only so much he could take of it. Yes… it was time to get out of Minas Tirith again.

Boromir marched along swiftly, leaving his companions behind him in his joy at being out in the fresh air once more. He would have been happy to come alone, but his father had ordered that two of the soldiers of Gondor should accompany him, apparently so that they could check how the rangers were doing and report back to Denethor. Boromir didn’t believe that for a minute – Faramir sent messengers regularly – but there wasn’t any point in arguing, so instead he simply went ahead and let them trail him. If they wanted to waste their time, it wasn’t his problem.

Having left early that morning, Boromir reached Henneth Annun in the late afternoon, leaving the others a good way behind. He had seen none of the rangers on his way, and so wasn’t surprised to find the small group sitting inside the caves. His brother started at seeing him, before breaking into a smile and standing to greet him. They embraced warmly and then Boromir turned to acknowledge the others. There were only four of them: Mablung and Damrod, who were proud men of the DĂșnedain of the south, and Meregond and Barmung, who hailed from Minas Tirith.

“Your arrival is well-timed as ever,” smiled Faramir, gesturing towards the window at the far end of the cave. “It will soon be sunset.” Boromir responded with a mock bow.

“It is my speciality, dear brother,” he said with a grin. The group watched the window in silence as the dying sun shone through the pouring waters, turning it into a dazzling rainbow.

“So what brings you to our humble refuge?” asked Faramir as the light began to fade, getting up to light a candle.

“The usual things,” replied Boromir, unslinging his pack and walking towards the falling water. “You know how I get restless. And of course I missed you dreadfully, brother mine.” Faramir rolled his eyes.

“Of course you did. Now are you going to be useful while you’re here or are you planning on one of your private excursions?”

Boromir grinned and raised his eyebrows cheekily.

“That would be telling, would it not?”

It was dark before Boromir’s companions arrived, looking somewhat dishevelled. Faramir frowned and rose to his feet as they entered Henneth Annun.

“What happened?” he asked anxiously. “You do not seem to have had an easy day of it.”

“We did not, Captain Faramir,” replied one wearily. “We met with a small band of orcs who seemed ill-inclined to let us pass. It did not take us long to dispose of them, but we felt it wise to be more cautious after that. It was well that we did so, for we came upon another group and had to deal with them in the same way.” Faramir exchanged a glance with his brother.

“This cannot bode well,” murmured Boromir, his eyes narrowing as they fixed on the flickering light of the fire. “I fear there must be some dark plot beginning. It has been many months since we saw any orcs in this area at all. I think we shall have to reinforce your company, brother.” Faramir nodded.

“I fear you may be right. I do not like the suddenness of their appearance; there have been no indications of anything until now. Which way were they heading?”

“South, I believe,” answered the second of the soldiers, “But that is only an estimate, and could well be proved wrong.” There was a silence.

“Very well,” Faramir said, straightening up. “I will keep guard tonight; will you join me?”

“Aye brother, I shall.” Boromir took a small pack of salted meats from the roughly-hewn table next to him and they both moved towards the cave entrance. “Goodnight, friends,” he said, bowing his head to the six remaining soldiers.

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