Waiting for News by Linaewen

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Written for the January 2017 Potluck Challenge, based on a prompt from the "Waiting" challenge.  The prompt was the following passage from LotR:

Then turning again to Frodo, he spoke in a quiet voice once more. 'To those questions I guess that you could make some answer, Frodo son of Drogo. But not here or now. maybe. But lest you still should think my tale a vision, I will tell you this. The horn of Boromir at least returned in truth, and not in seeming. The horn came, but it was cloven in two, as it were by axe or sword. The shards came severally to shore: one was found among the reeds where watchers of Gondor lay, northwards below the infalls of the Entwash; the other was found spinning on the flood by one who had an errand in the water. Strange chances, but murder will out, 'tis said.

'And now the horn of the elder son lies in two pieces upon the lap of Denethor, sitting in his high chair, waiting for news. And you can tell me nothing of the cleaving of the horn? '

'No, I did not know of it,' said Frodo. `But the day when you heard it blowing, if your reckoning is true, was the day when we parted, when I and my servant left the Company. And now your tale fills me with dread. For if Boromir was then in peril and was slain, I must fear that all my companions perished too. And they were my kindred and my friends.

Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers, Chapter 5. The Window on the West


The Gaffer sat in his favorite corner near the fire, sipping his beer and watching the crowd.  The Green Dragon was bustling tonight, as usual.  From time to time, friends and acquaintances would pass by, greeting him and asking after his health.  His answer was generally the same each time: "Could be worse, could be worse!"  Sometimes he'd throw in a complaint about his taters, and if anyone was willing to stay and listen long enough, a rant about how annoying the Sackville Bagginses had been that day.  Some who knew him better than most stopped to ask him if he'd had any news from Samwise, wondering aloud why he wasn't more worried about a son who had been gone such a long time, with nary a word of news for his old dad.

"What's to worry about?" he scoffed when the topic came up.  "He's grown and can take care of himself.  He's got something to see to, he said when he left with Mr. Frodo; something that needs doin' and finishin'.  He'll be along home when that's taken care of, mark my words.  He'll send news if he can, and if he can't, he'll come himself.  Shouldn't be long now, I'll warrant..."

The Gaffer sipped his beer and watched the crowd, as he waited for news of his Sam.

***

The hammer rang and sparks flew as Gloín put all his strength into pounding out straight the bent piece of iron laid upon his anvil.  As he worked, his thoughts turned to his son Gimli.

I wonder how he fares? he thought.  Some time now, it's been, since they departed Rivendell on the Quest to take Bilbo's Ring south, with no news from him since we said our farewells.  'Twould be good to hear some news, but I suppose it's impossible.  Perhaps if he and the others are able to make contact with Balin and Oín along the way, they might find a way to send word.  I'll admit, it would do my heart good to have news of my brother, though it's been so long now, I fear the worst...

Gloín struck the twisted iron more forcefully, as if to drive away the fear that was attempting to take hold in his thoughts and in his heart.

"All will be well," he muttered.  "Oín is no doubt safe, and Gimli, too.  He's young and strong, able to look after himself.  He'll send word as he's able, I just have to be patient.

Gloín plied his hammer with all his might, as he waited for news of his brother and his son.

***

Thranduil swirled the wine in his jeweled goblet and watched the light from the lamp refract on the surface of the liquid.  Once again, he had been disappointed that his messengers bearing news from the far parts of his kingdom had given him no fresh word about his son, Legolas.  He now traveled with the company that had left Rivendell after the Council, on a special errand laid upon him by the Lord Elrond.  Thranduil knew it was difficult for news to travel in a timely fashion over the vast, empty lands where he guessed Legolas journeyed, but he had hoped his travels might have brought him through territory where Elves still lived, who could send along word of his well-being to his waiting father.

If he is able, he will certainly send news, he reminded himself.  Until then, I will wait and hope for his safe return.

Thranduil sighed and gazed into his wine, as he waited and hoped for news of Legolas.

***

Seven months and more it had been since Boromir went away on his journey north.  For all those long months, Denethor had waited impatiently for news of his eldest son.  Had he been successful in his quest?  When would he return?  Why did he tarry when he was so sorely needed here in Gondor?

Word had come at last, but it had been the worst news imaginable.  The first rumor of Boromir after so long a time gone was the sound of his horn blowing, as if on the edge of hearing, faint but insistent.  It was a call for aid, and it struck fear in the hearts of Boromir's father and brother, for they knew it meant nothing good for Boromir, nor were they even able to send help to him, for they did not know where he was to be found.  Not long after, their fear was realized in truth when the shards of the Horn itself returned, cloven in two.

Denethor fingered the cloven horn upon his lap, proof that Boromir was now dead and would not return to him.  As he gazed upon it, unseeing, a chamberlain interrupted his dark thoughts with an announcement.

"My lord, Mithrandir requests an audience with you.  He brings news.  A Halfling accompanies him..."

"He may enter," was the Steward's gruff reply.  He did not look up as he spoke.

Denethor fingered the cloven horn in his lap, as he waited for Mithrandir to bring him news of his lost son.




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