23 February 2013 | 13751 words | Work in Progress
Title: The Broken Ones
Author: Nessa Lossëhelin
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
This is the first chapter of many to come. I could read about Faramir and Eowyn forever, so I was disappointed that the relationship wasn't explored more fully in the movies or in the books. Of course none of the main characters belong to me and I am only
After Eowyn and Faramir are wounded in Pellenor Fields – the rest of the story is told. There are sequences and dialogue from the books to provide more depth and ground the remaining tales. There are two point of views: Faramir and Eowyn.
The Battle of Pelennor Fields has concluded. A deep fog has set in the plains between the city of Minas Tirith and the Anduin. The air is heavy and damp; the fields are muddied with rain and blood. While survivors of one of perhaps the most epic battle of the third age pick through the remains, looking for survivors, Aragorn is busy in the House of Healing tending to the gravely wounded. He spends considerable time with his Steward, not knowing for how long the man has been asleep with his fever and infection. He moves on to others hoping to reach as many as he can in the little time he has remaining before he must confront Sauron at the Black Gate.
Sitting next to the barely breathing body of Lady Éowyn, Gandalf and Aragorn, now King Elessar, Elendil’s heir, spoke of her condition. “Here there is a grievous hurt and a heavy blow.” Aragorn looked over Éowyn’s arm and spoke to her brother, Éomer, and Gandalf. “The arm that was broken has been tended with due skill, and it will mend in time, if she has the strength to live. It is the shield-arm that is maimed; but the chief evil comes through the sword-arm. In that there now seems no life, although it is unbroken.”
“I fear that her spirit is broken,” replied Gandalf. “She faced an enemy in Gríma and protected King Théoden the best she could, and then faced the Witch-King of Angmar. She has defeated enemies that bested her in strength but not in spirit.”
Aragorn looked down, “I hold myself to blame for her condition. Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man’s heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned. Sorrow and pity have followed me ever since I left her desperate in Dunharrow and rode to the Paths of the Dead; and no fear upon that way was so present as the fear for what might befall her. And yet, Éomer, I say to you that she loves you more truly than me; for you she loves and knows; but in me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far from the fields of Rohan.”
Aragorn thought back to the time he spent with Éowyn of Rohan. She was very beautiful and very brave. Had he not promised himself to Lady Arwen it is entirely possible he would have asked Éowyn for her hand in marriage. She would have made a wonderful queen, and it is possible had events transpired that way she would not have sacrificed herself in battle. She would be walking proudly among the living. Helping him heal the wounded.
He stood up and leaned over Éowyn. “I have, maybe, the power to heal her body, and to recall her from the dark valley. But to what she will awake: hope, or forgetfulness, or despair, I do not know. And if to despair, then she will die, unless other healing comes which I cannot bring. Alas! For her deeds have set her among the queens of great renown.” He sighed, heavily. “Only a new love and affection can heal her heart.”
Then Aragorn stooped and looked in her face, and it was indeed white as a lily, cold as frost, and hard as graven stone. But he bent and kissed her on the brow, and called her softly, saying:
“Éowyn Éomund’s daughter, awake! For your enemy has passed away!” He repeated this softly to her has he caressed her brow, and while Éomer caressed her right palm.
After a brief moment, her very slow and silent breathing became heavier and returned to a normal pace. She still did not wake, but it did appear that now she was simply sleeping and not dead. Aragorn felt defeated. He was doing everything he could to bring her back but she was stubborn and she was deliberately resisting his efforts to heal her.
Éomer sat by her bedside and sobbed. He held Éowyn’s hand and smoothed her hair as Gandalf and Aragorn walked slowly down the hallway to speak with the Warden of the Houses of Healing. Éomer began telling her of the tales of Rohan they grew up with and loved. He talked about their parents and their Uncle, as well as their cousin Théodred. He kept talking to her and stroking her hair and her palm until he fell asleep in his chair with his head upon her bed.
Another visitor appeared and watched silently for a few moments as Éomer slept near his beloved sister. It was Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth. He had discovered Éowyn’s body on the Pellenor Field and brought her to the Houses of Healing. He was unsure of her condition, but had heard that she was the warrior who slew the Witch-King and wanted to ensure she could be saved. He departed, sadly shaking his head, praying that she will make it through this Darkness. Her condition reminded him of one he loved: his nephew Faramir. Both suffered greatly, more so than any one person should have to suffer in such a short lifetime. To himself, he said softly, “they are the broken ones.”
The next morning, Aragorn returned and once more to Éowyn. He crushed two leaves of athelas and cast them into steaming water; and he brushed her brow with it while her right arm still lied cold and nerveless on the coverlet. He and Éomer sat by her side for several hours. “Call to her, Éomer. She loves you purely and will respond to your earnest request to come back to the land of the living.”
“Awake, Éowyn, Lady of Rohan!” said Aragorn again sternly, and he took her right hand in his and felt it warm with life returning. “Awake!” he commanded her. “The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!’ Then he laid her hand in Éomer’s and stepped away. ‘Call her!’ he said, and he passed silently from the chamber.
‘Éowyn, Éowyn!’ cried Éomer amid his tears. But she opened her eyes and said: ‘Éomer! What joy is this? … for they said that you were slain…” After some time, and much effort, she continued to speak softly but closed her eyes and turned her head away, “Nay, but that was only the dark voices in my dream.” She had dreamt it. She had thought her brother had been slain – perhaps that is why she resisted returning to the living. The darkness played tricks on her mind while she slept. Turning back to him, she asked, “How long have I been dreaming?”
“Not long, my sister,” said Éomer. “But think no more on it!” He was happy and the joy brought color back to his face as he smiled at her.
“I’m afraid that I have no hope and only fear of the dark days ahead,” replied Éowyn. Then she looked away from her brother, closed her eyes, and willed to go back to sleep for the one she loved was not with her.
The day after Aragorn set the bone in my shattered elbow and arm, I awoke in a private room in the Houses of Healing with a sling fitted snuggly to my upper body. The arm still hurt, but it felt secured and I was confident that I could sit upright without moving it or making it hurt even more. On the count of ‘three,’ I swung my legs over the edge of the bed as I grunted and sat up straight. I noticed that I was in new bedclothes: a clean white linen chemise and a cotton shawl tied around my shoulders. It was chilly and the fire was low in the hearth. I found slippers exactly where my feet fell to the floor. I slipped them on and walked to the hearth to stoke the fire and place a couple of logs onto it to heat the room a little more. I then walked to the window where the breeze was blowing in from the west. From the west. I sighed. I desire for my window to look to the east.
A handmaiden gently rapped on the door and came in without any response from me. I glanced in her direction. I think she was surprised that I was awake. Honestly I was surprised I was awake. A day ago I wished I were dead. I did not have a glorious death in battle like so many of my kin from Rohan or like my King, Théoden. I wished that rather than be injured both in heart and body that I would have perished on the battle field and neither had to face Aragorn, the object of my affections denied, or live with a maimed arm and elbow. My arm was feeling better and more secured, so perhaps I would only live with a maimed heart. Ah, there is nothing worse than a broken heart or love unrequited – I’m certain a battlefield death is preferred.
I was such a fool. I acted so foolishly, and I felt ashamed.
Knowing that none of the soldiers were in Gondor and that Aragorn, my brother Éomer, Prince Imrahil, Gandalf, and the Hobbits marched to Mordor to confront the Black Lord sickened me. I wished to be with them. I wanted to fight the enemy and stand up for those I loved and stand beside those who still lived.
I looked over to where the handmaiden had refreshed a washtub and a pitcher of water. She also left me some food: crackers mostly, but there was a bowl of porridge under a cover and it was still hot.
I sat down at the window and looked outward. I noticed that the sun was setting in the west. I believe they were only away one day, except I was unsure as to how long I was asleep after I last saw Aragorn and my brother as they tended to my arm. Was it only yesterday that I awoke and found my brother by my side and my King tending to me? It seems years ago.
I recall inquiring about Master Meriadoc – and was told that he was safe and recovering from his injuries. Those hobbits are hearty folks and simply resilient to evil. Pippin had visited me during the evening but I was already half-asleep. After he hushed me and protested my awakening, he had left me a note on my bed-table saying that he was planning to ride out to battle with Aragorn and Gondor, now that he was in service to the steward of the city.
The handmaiden returned about an hour later and asked if she could draw me a bath. I sat down on the edge of the bed and looked down. I tried to speak but my first words were so soft that she did not hear me. I cleared my throat – feeling as though I hadn’t spoken in days – and requested that I speak to the person in charge about my quarters. She looked at me with surprise – and I was unsure if it was because I had actually spoken after all my silence or if she was taken aback by my request to speak to her master. I was afraid she thought she was in trouble!
I tried to speak as loudly as I could, but still my words were soft. “Let me clarify, there is nothing wrong with what you’ve done to take care of me or tend to my needs,” I attempted to reassure her. “Rather, I would like to request a change of rooms so that I could look out at different scenery other than the western sky. It’s where the sun sets…. and I prefer the sunrise.” My voice cracked.
My room was so high up in the citadel that I couldn’t even see the smoldering battlefields below. I looked out on hilltops and tree-tops on the side of the mountains. I couldn’t see any being or look to see if the army was returning. I felt anxious and my heart raced. My heart was with that army; mostly with my brother, but I would be lying if I said I did not care about Aragorn still. I wanted to be among the first to see them coming back from war and I wanted to count every last one of them as they rode back to Gondor.
The handmaiden departed. She took the empty tray with her and closed the door behind her. I lay back down on the bed and closed my eyes. The room was very warm now and I quickly fell back to sleep.
Prior to his departure to the Black Gate to call Sauron’s eye away from Frodo, on the second day, as with the day before, Aragorn took Faramir’s hand in his, and laid the other hand upon the sick man’s brow. It was drenched with sweat; but Faramir did not move or make any sign, and seemed hardly to breathe. There was no way that Aragorn would leave this man until he was safely out of his fever.
“He is nearly spent,” said Aragorn turning to Gandalf. “But this comes not from the wound…. Had he been smitten by some dart of the Nazgûl…, he would have died that night. This hurt was given by some Southron arrow…. Who removed it…?”
The Prince of Dol Amroth stepped forward. He had not left his nephew’s bedside for more than a minute at a time. “I drew it forth,” said Imrahil, “and dressed the wound…. It was, as I remember, just such a dart as the Southrons use. Yet I believed that it came from the Shadows above, for else his fever and sickness were not to be understood; since the wound was not deep or vital. How then do you read the matter?”
“Weariness, grief for his father’s mood, grief for Boromir, for Gondor, a wound, and overall the Black Breath,” said Aragorn. “He is a man of staunch will, for already he had come close under the Shadow before ever he rode to battle on the out-walls. The shadow has hunted him his entire life. Slowly the dark must have crept on him, even as he fought and strove to hold his outpost. Would that I could have been here sooner!”
Now Aragorn knelt beside Faramir, and held a hand upon his brow. And those that watched felt that some great struggle was going on. For Aragorn’s face grew grey with weariness; and ever and anon he called the name of Faramir, but each time more faintly to their hearing, as if Aragorn himself was removed from them, and walked afar in some dark vale, calling for one that was lost.
The Nazgûl hunted Faramir. Aragorn knew this. The Witch King of Angmar and Sauron understood the purity of Faramir’s character. They foresaw the importance of Faramir’s role in this war and did everything they could to have him eliminated – including poisoning the mind of Faramir’s own father in an attempt to have his killed many times over. They tried to break him, first a young boy devastated by his mother’s death, and relentlessly hunted him since.
I am aware that I had a fever and I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I was on fire. I felt as though my head, my skin, my throat; my insides… were all on fire. Any sleep that I was fortunate to receive was in fits; when I was awake I was in pain. My left leg had burns from the fire that I vaguely remember, and I still have no recollection as to how I got there. Perhaps the burns were a figment of my nightmares and my sensation of fire. I remember Beregond and Ioreth, tending to me, before I lost consciousness. Gandalf and my uncle, Imrahil, were at my side most of the time I was awake. I have a feeling that they were also at my side when I was asleep. I remember muttering to Gandalf that there were surely others in the Houses of Healing who needed him more than I did. All he would do is lay his palm on my forehead, hear him mutter…. I’d feel the fever break, and then I would go back to a deep sleep.
I resisted raising my left arm; to do so brought stabbing pains in my ribs and chest. I was acutely aware that I had some type of infection in what appeared to be a stab-wound. Was I stabbed by a sword? The wound appeared too small for that. But yet the wound was too large to have been from an arrow. I was perplexed. And then, the burns on my leg…
Our King, Aragorn has returned to Gondor! Fresh from the battlefield, Gandalf brought him over to me. I again protested – there are surely others who are in more need than I. I looked at Elessar. I recognized him as the Ranger from the North. In years past he spent time in Gondor in our libraries and consulting with my father. Thorongil was his name! Of course this was when I was a child. I remember him roaming the halls of the palace and speaking with my father and counselors, and with Gandalf, my mentor, during much of the time he spent in Gondor. How I always knew he was special and was noble. I never expected that he was our King!
He sat down at the foot of my bed and pressed a kingsfoil paste on my wound and my leg burns. It soothed me. Yet I protested, “My Lord, King. Please do not tend to me – there are so many others who are in greater need!” I watched, in awe, as he set to heal my wound.
“My brother, Faramir,” he smiled at me. “You are always thinking of others before your own needs; please allow me to make you comfortable. You are much more important to me alive than you would be in the tombs of your ancestors.” The paste soothed leg insomuch that I stopped protesting. I laid back down onto my back and rested my head on the pillow. It hurt to attempt to prop myself up with just my good arm. My eyes were still heavy with sleep.
He inspected the wound in my chest and I heard him quietly confer with Gandalf and Imrahil about it. “Send for Ioreth,” he instructed an attendant. “I need more kingsfoil.”
Aragorn then turned his attention back to Imrahil and Gandalf.
“How is his wound from the Southron’s dart?” asked Imrahil. Even though they attempted speech in hushed tones, I could still make out the conversation. My uncle looked old; as if he aged forty years since the last time I saw him – possibly a week ago. He was in the halls with me as my father asked if there was any captain with courage still to reclaim the garrison of Osgiliath. When I left that hall to carry out the orders that my father desired, Imrahil confronted me – telling me to defy the Steward – as he was sending me on a suicide mission.
Imrahil responded. “I recall his return from Osgiliath … and I had my soldiers place him on a cart where we brought him up to his father… whatever it was that struck him imitated his death. We could not wake him.” He looked troubled. I hoped that he did not blame himself for my decisions.
Gandalf interrupted to fill in more details for the King. “Faramir led the charge to Osgiliath – he was the sole survivor, dragged back to Minas Tirith by his loyal horse over several mile at the least. The arrow had pierced his armor and I believe that Faramir was especially targeted by Sauron’s sentinels. The trauma he experience was unlike anyone who could have survived any recent battle.”
They fell silent for a moment. “Faramir was instrumental in holding the garrison at Osgiliath and buying time before the other armies arrived in Gondor’s aid,” said Imrahil. “If not for him…”
“I’m sure Faramir was targeted. And if that were the case, then I have no doubt that the arrow that left that wound was laced with the Black Lord’s poison.” The King shook his head. “I promise to do everything I can to heal Faramir, but he will need constant supervision. If his fever spikes inform Ioreth that she must draw the poison and the infection from the wound.”
“We cannot allow him to walk in the shadows again. I fear he’s walked among them too long already.”
I involuntarily stirred, and opened my eyes, and looked on Aragorn who bent over me; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and I spoke softly. ‘My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?’
‘Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!’ said Aragorn. ‘You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.’
‘I will, lord,’ said I. ‘For who would lie idle when the king has returned?’
Aragorn smiled gently at me and brushed the hair back off of my forward. Then stood up and took his leave. I then immediately became sick.
The new kingsfoil salve under my bandage was very soothing. The King informed my uncle to request Beregond to stay posted by my bedside “just in case Lord Faramir’s fever returns and decides not to tell anyone.” Then he stood, “I must depart now, Faramir. For there are others who now need me.”
The King left my bedside and walked and talked with Gandalf down the hallway. My uncle came to my side and took a damp cloth to my forehead. He then felt my forehead for fever.
“I thought I had lost you.”
I looked up at him into his eyes and could see the tears peaking around the corners. He smiled at me and then sighed. I barely remember my mother, but in my dreams and when I try hard to remember her – I imagine that she had the same eyes as my Uncle. I have no idea if she did or not, but his eyes always brought me comfort for that reason.
“It appears that your fever has subsided for now,” his voice softer. He then stepped back from my bedside and picked up a chair to move toward the wall where it had originally been, I assumed. He had his back to me but his body language read that he was trying to think of something to say to me, or knew what he wanted to say to me, rather – he could figure out how to say it. He turned to me from the wall and fumbled as he looked for something in his chest pocket, most likely some soothing leaf and his pipe.
“Uncle, what is it?” I tried to sit up to meet his gaze but it was excruciating to move my arm or even bend my torso in a manner to sit upright. I eased back down to my back and turned my head toward him so that I could see him.
“We ride out to Mordor in the morning, Faramir. It appears that our time, the age of men, will either die its pitiful start or survive and we are now at that hour.” He sat down on the end of my bed, having now located his pipe. He began to pack the longbottom leaf into the end of it before lighting a match and deeply inhaling the leaves.
“But who rides with you?” I wondered aloud – knowing that many of Gondor’s finest soldiers died on our ill-fated charge to Osgiliath. I know that many died defending Gondor at the Battle of Pellenor Fields. I was acutely aware that the battle had taken place – assumed that I must have slept through the majority of it. It was only when Pippin filled me in that Mordor’s army retreated from Pellenor that I had him tell me all the details. But the details were so emotional to me that my fever spiked and I fell into another deep sleep. I assume that Pippin was instructed not to tell me anything more. I had requested Pippin tell me how my leg was burned, but he averted his eyes and left my bedside before giving me any answer. I haven’t seen Pippin since. I felt as though my body kept betraying me. Any time I would request information, the details made me weak.
“Well, Gandalf will ride with me, as of course, will the King.”
“But Uncle, that is still too few! Gondor’s soldiers must be weary. And Gondor just welcomed the return of the king! We can’t let him leave…”
“What would we do, Faramir? Arnor mustered five thousand men. Eriador sent soldiers about five thousand as well… and of course Rohan’s soldiers and cavalry will also ride with us – about nine thousand remain – and yes, they are battle-weary as well.” He slowly inhaled and exhales more of his pipe. It was calming him.
“Rohan!” I was surprised by my Uncle’s mention of Rohan. Pippin alluded to assistance from other nations but did not mention them by name. “So Rohan came to our call!” I was fascinated by history and understood that Gondor and Rohan had a friendship and alliance many years ago. King Thengel married a woman, Morwen, I believe, a kinswoman of my mother and uncle. I believe her family was from my beloved Ithilien. I knew that the alliance needed maintenance and that my father and King Théoden, son of Thengel, were no longer on good terms. I knew that Rohan’s people suffered from famine and attacks from the White Tower as well as Orcs. I knew that Rohan requested Gondor’s help many times over to secure its borders but my father ignored their pleas for he felt that Gondor need its full army. Nevermind. I was very fond of Rohan and their Rohirrim. Their culture always intrigued me. I admired their bravery and their just manner toward one another.
“Yes, Rohan fought bravely and their King, Théoden, gallantly. You are probably unaware that he fell in battle.” My uncle’s tone was considerably soft and quiet. “So many fell in battle.”
Unwillingly I fell asleep again while my uncle had been at my side speaking about the battle and smoking. When I awoke, my uncle was no longer with me, yet his scent lingered in the room. Rather, my good friend Beregond stood loyally by my bedside and I looked up to him. He had tears in his eyes. Beregond and I were childhood friends. He was born of nobility but chose to serve in the royal guard instead of becoming a merchant as his father had been before him. His older brother assumed many of the commercial duties and took over the family business. Beregond and I were very much alike. While Boromir had been trained to become the next steward, he still loved being a soldier more – and attempted to cast many of the steward responsibilities to me. Father disagreed with that course and had me train as a soldier as well. He assumed all the steward responsibilities without keeping either of us informed. I preferred being a ranger because it allowed me the freedom to roam Gondor. Beregond preferred being a palace guard because it was removed from mercantilism. He could not stand it and found it stifling. In many ways, Beregond and I were very much alike…
“Faramir, for so many hours we thought you were lost to the shadows.”
I slowly sat up in the bed, and while my arms and abdomen were sore, I was able to sit up without buckling over in pain. “It appears that my fever is gone, Beregond.” I placed my feet on the floor. “Where are my clothes?” Yes, I fully attempted to get out of bed.
Ioreth rushed into the room, face flushed from tears and then exclaimed: “Lord Faramir has awoken! He has been healed by the hands of the King!” She ran out into the hallway to make the announcement, but then came right back into the room and lifted my legs off the floor and pushed me back down on the bed! I cringed with the force and the strength that she displayed as she pushed her hand on my chest wound. “You lay there, Lord. Otherwise I will instruct Corporal Beregond to strap you down.”
Beregond raised his eyebrows at this and looked away. I believe he stifled a laugh.
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