Making the Jump by Linaewen

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Story Notes:

Written for the Back to Middle-earth Challenge 2016, from a 2011 Passport to Middle-earth prompt.


The Mines of Moria were unimaginably vast. The Company followed twisting passages, first ascending, then descending for a long while, then once more walking on the level. They caught glimpses as they passed of stairs and arches, of passages and tunnels that branched off in other directions, sloping up or descending sharply down.  Currents of air flowed from some of the passages, giving some relief from the stifling warmth of the passage they followed.

They had been walking for some hours when they came upon the first real check in their progress: a dark fissure, more than seven feet across, cut across the path.  From its depths came the faint noise of swift water far below. One by one the members of the Company leaped over the dreadful gap, but Pippin balked, frightened by the wideness of the gulf and the long drop into emptiness.

Boromir looked on him with pity, as Pippin struggled to gather enough courage to jump across.

"Take your time, Pippin, if time is what you need to find your courage," Boromir said, laying a gentle hand on Pippin's shoulder. He could feel the hobbit trembling underneath his hand. "If you wish, we can cross together."

Pippin looked up at him gratefully, but then he shook his head.

"No," he said firmly, with only a faint tremor in his voice. "I don't want it said later that I was the only hobbit who couldn't make the jump!"

Pippin took a deep breath, but still he hesitated. Borormir clapped him on the shoulder.  "Spoken like a true soldier of Gondor!" he said proudly. "Allow me to go first, then, and I will be there to give you a hand on the other side if you need it."

Without waiting for an answer, Boromir grasped the strap of his shield in one hand and his horn on its baldric in the other to keep them from impeding his jump, and sprang confidently across. He turned and beckoned to Pippin.

"See?" he said with a smile. "Not so difficult, even for one so weighed down as I am; you, being lithe and light, should find it even easier."

Pippin drew in a quick breath, and before he could change his mind, leaped across. He teetered for a moment on the edge, but a sharp tug on his sleeve by Boromir pulled him forward, and he was safe on the other side.

"Well done, Pippin!" said Boromir, as the other hobbits gathered around him in relief. "It is a difficult thing to bring oneself to act in spite of fear, but your courage was the stronger today."

"I didn't feel very brave, I must admit!" Pippin laughed, his voice still shaky from the ordeal.  "It helped to know that you were there to catch me, Boromir, even though the thought of jumping still made me feel sick.  But I knew I had to do it, or be left behind -- so I just went ahead and did it!"

"True courage, Pippin," Boromir replied, "is doing something even when you are so afraid, you feel sick.  Perhaps next time you face such difficulty, you will remember this success and your fear will not be so strong."

"I hope you're right, Boromir!" Pippin said fervently.  "But I'd sooner not face difficulty like that again for a long, long time!"




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