The Way of the Young by Lbilover

At some point Tolkien started writing a sequel to LOTR, but gave it up because he could only foresee it being grim as the shadow grew once more. Reading about that inspired this ficlet.

'There's another one gone haring off,' said an old gaffer sitting by the fire. 'Young Boromir Proudfoot. Told his dad he wanted to be a soldier like the old Thain was, and up and left for the King's city.'

''Tis what comes of naming lads after Big Folk from foreign parts,' remarked another. 'Gives 'em queer ideas, and that's a fact.'

''Tain't only that,' replied the gaffer. 'They're mad for aught to do with that book our Mayor Gardner left behind when he vanished all them years ago. Why, my very own grandson said he wished it was the heyday of the Shire again, when there was Black Riders and Orcs and dark lords and dragons and such-like about. Boring, he says his life is. Boring, if you like.'

'I don't,' put in a third. 'But 'tis the way of the young. They don't see the blessings under their very noses.'

'Too bad there ain't no hobbit left as lived through the Troubles and could set them straight as to what it was like: the trees chopped down and folk starved in them lockholes and all.'

''Twouldn't do no good. They'd not listen if there was. They have to learn the hard way, same as the rest of us.'

Heads nodded sagely.

'Well, I reckon young Boromir will be back soon enough with his tail between his legs. He'll not find aught exciting about being a soldier in these days.'

And the heads wagged again.


A messenger arrived at a gallop in Minas Tirith and demanded audience with King Eldarion at once. He was shown into the king's receiving chamber and held out the red arrow with a hand that shook.