If the Seven of the Fellowship had gone into Mordor - Part One: Was Boromir's death in vain...or not?
Merry stood frozen, a stone in his raised hand. More and more Uruk-Hai were pouring into the woods, and he knew they would never defeat so many foes.
He met Pippin's eyes, and saw the pain on his younger cousin's face, the knowledge that this time they might not make it.
Glancing up, he saw one that was different, standing in the shadow of the trees...he wore no helmet, but his face was painted fearsomely - he was raising a crossbow...
The arrow flew true and thudded into Boromir's chest. He gasped, choked, staggered backwards. Merry and Pippin stared at the black-feathered arrow sunk deeply into his flesh; unable to believe the terrible truth their eyes were telling them. Then Boromir raised his sweating, pain-stricken face and looked straight at them.
Suddenly, with a roar, he swung his sword around again into an advancing Uruk-Hai, seeming stronger than ever before, wounded though he was.
Pippin ran forwards, his short sword upraised, but Merry grabbed hold of him and dragged him backwards.
He looked desperately at Boromir just as he was pierced by yet another arrow.
`No!' cried Pippin.
Boromir seemed as though he was about to collapse, but rose up again and plunged his sword deep into yet another enemy.
Merry knew what he had to do, even as tears welled up in his eyes.
`Come on!' he shouted, and pulled Pippin away. His friend struggled in his grip, shouting Boromir's name.
`Merry, what are you doing?' he sobbed.
Merry shook his head, unable to speak. If they didn't get away, Boromir would have died for nothing...
The two hobbits ran deeper into the woods, the shouts growing more faint. Pippin kept twisting back, but Merry knew he had to be ruthless and dragged him on.
There was a sudden roar from the Uruk-Hai behind them and Merry knew Boromir was dead.
Tears streaming down his face, he followed Pippin behind a thicket of bushes. There they crouched,clutching each other, peering out from between the twigs.
The Uruk-Hai thundered into the small clearing, and snarled as there was no trace of the hobbits. Merry pressed closer to Pippin, hardly daring to breathe. Images flashed vividly in his mind: the blood welling out from Boromir's wounds, the advancing Uruk-Hai, the simple bravery and courage in his face as he prepared to defend the hobbits to his death.
He pressed his face into Pippin's shoulder to stop a loud sob escaping him.
`Maggots! You let the Halflings escape!' shouted one. `Quickly, down to the river. They may be trying to get away that way!'
Merry felt Pippin freeze beside him.
The Uruk-Hai thundered out of sight, in the direction of the river.
`Merry!' whispered Pippin, grasping his sleeve. He was trembling like a leaf. `Frodo, they'll find him, oh, Merry!'
Frodo grabbed one of the elvish boats and pushed it into the water firmly. This was the right thing to do; he must go alone. He did not want to do it, oh, he was so afraid, but he had to do it...
Suddenly a shout behind him made him whirl around. A huge Uruk-Hai was advancing on him, weapon upraised.
Frodo barely had time to cry out when the first blow landed on his shoulder, so hard that he fell to his knees. More blows rained down, on his back and chest and legs and arms. One particularly cruel blow sliced a gash in his forehead, and he registered numbly the hot blood seeping into his eyes. He had been discovered, the Ring would be found, all was lost...
Dimly, he heard a harsh voice snarling, `Fool! They were supposed to be unspoiled!' The massive orc attacking him was pushed aside, and Frodo felt himself being lifted up...and then as his wounds screamed at him and fire raged through his body everything went black.