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12 April 2015 | 14784 words
Title: Under the Influence
Pairing(s): Faramir & OFCs
Caught in the grip of a powerful drug, Gondor’s young Captain finds he reveals more of his heart and fantasies than he would ever have imagined. What will he and the object of his hidden attraction do ?
A birthday present for Wheelrider.
This story, set in T.A. 3018, is an AU to my chapter fic, Captains and Pawns, in which a woman, Amerith, Duchess of Lossarnach works both for and against Denethor on council, trying to counter his worst inclinations and support her young friend. For the purposes of this story all you really need to know is that she is a decade older than Faramir, they are best friends and at one time he thought himself in love with her. Though in the original fic they never get it on..here for WR’s birthday is one possible way it could have happened.
Linhir is borrowed from Thanwen’s wonderful fic Through Shadows
Young Linhir may have been the House of Healing’s newest annointee but already he had learned one of a healer’s most important skills: to come fully awake from the soundest sleep no matter the time of day or night. They all caught sleep when and where they could. After the last of the afternoon’s hurried rounds he had simply dropped upon the hallway bench, suddenly too tired to reach his room and uncertain when the next chance for rest would come. Lulled by the drumming of the rain on the metal roof, he had closed his eyes. It would only be a moment….
At the sound of loud thudding he jerked awake and cocked an ear. A muffled cry could be heard above the wind’s howl and the dull rap of sword on wood. The gate. Someone was pounding urgently on the House’s oak and iron door, closed this night to protect its denizens from the wild and bitter storm.
Gathering his robes, the young man hurried down the hall, grasped the heavy latch and slowly swung the door, careful to keep the wind from ripping it too wide.
The gust-driven rain slashed against his face as he peered out into the darkened court. Three horses, miserably hunched in the cold and wet stood in the weak light of the few torches that were lit.
A dripping-wet, cloaked and darkened form approached. “Master, we have wounded.”
Linhir threw the door full wide, slipped the brace quickly home. Two of the ghostly mounts were laden. One rider sat his horse sagged forward, as the rain sheeted off his cloak. Clearly he was too hurt and cold and wet to move. But upright still. Lips moving in silent prayer, he thanked the Este for that mercy. The second rider sat straight-backed with the head of another man lolled against his shoulder. One green guantleted hand was raised above soldier’s pale, wan face, futilely shielding his unconscious charge from the worst of the weather’s temper.
The young healer paused but a moment to call and rouse the House before striding quickly out, heedless of the puddles that soaked his lighter shoes. Quickly he felt the cold descend. In his haste he had forgotten a cloak and already his light grey robe was stripped by streaks of darker damp.
“Help me!” he shouted as he looked to the dismounted man for aid. The fierce wind nearly took his words but the soldier seemed to know what he had meant. The unconscious man looked bad. Even in the dark his face appeared bloodless and his lips near blue. Together, they raised their hands and gently lifted the wounded man down from his companion’s arms.
In but a moment the small courtyard had erupted into motion. Two stretchers had appeared with porters and Linhir glimpsed his master, Varan, helping the second mounted patient down. The older man’s long dark hair was already plastered to his face, but he did not flinch as a sheet of water fell from the rider’s sodden cloak.
Hustling into the warmth of the waiting hall Linhir spared a thought for the other soldier. Should they call for grooms to take the horses? Was he uninjured too? He had assumed so but now he doubted, glancing backward through the dim. The man still sat his horse, eyes closed, his warm breath gusting upward to in wispy clouds and hands flexing repeatedly. Cold. He must be stiff with cold and holding his companion for so long. He should be fine. Relieved, he turned his attention back to the Houses once again.
Hours later Linhir sank gratefully once more down on the hallway bench. The third bell of night watch had come and gone. It was late and his feet were cold and surely wrinkled from hours in shoes so soaked that the leather had yet to dry. They had laboured long, he and his master, to save the unconscious man. Brand. His name was Brand. He should remember that, it was the same as his sister’s boy.
Linhir scrubbed wearily at his neck and rolled his head upon his aching shoulders. With a sigh of relief he stretched out his long legs, trying to ease the cramp in his damaged foot. His limp mattered little here, but after hours standing he felt as if every other part of his body was sore and stiff.
The sound of soft footfalls reached his ear and he looked up. Varan lowered himself gratefully to the bench and at the younger man’s raised eyebrow nodded once. “You did well… He will live. Almost he was gut-pierced but thankfully the blade missed the most vital parts.”
The young man flushed. It was heady compliment from his usually quiet-spoken mentor. It had been a very near thing. To be taken through the stomach was yet nigh a sentence of sure and lingering death. It was rumoured that leeches in Far Harad tried to save such a one, cutting the body open wide to close the piercings in the gut. He shuddered at the thought. One day. Perhaps one day he would be tired enough of losing men to take the risk.
“Where was the skirmish?” Varan asked, unscrewing a metal cup from a leather flask and pouring out a steaming brew. His master was a man of detail. He always wanted to know more.
“Druadan, the sergeant said. Beyond the gate at Forannest.”
“Orcs in Druadan? They have become so bold?” The grey-flecked head shook slightly. “Ill tidings. Yet more for these troubled times.”
“Nay, “ Linhir gratefully took the cup that his master proffered. It held sweet strong tea. Not wine, but as he sipped he found it revived him just as well. “Wild men. Drûgs. They attacked with little warning. Though sergeant Anborn said once they heard the Captain’s call in the higher speech they pulled just as quickly back. Unusual for them to be so bold and riled he thought.”
Seemingly satisfied Varan reached for and took the empty cup and filled it once again. He offered it over but the younger man shook his head. The weary pair then sat in quiet peace for many moments until a sudden gust of wind made the rain patter on the roof. Varan looked up and made a face. The storm had not abated yet.
“Where are they now?” The older man looked up and down the hall. Both the sergeant and his Captain had waited anxiously for news, but had vanished once again. It would be a wet walk down if their mounts were already at the soldiers barracks.
“Anborn said he would go to his sister’s home. Said that if word got back they’d been in a fight and she’d not seen him for herself he’d never hear the end of it.”
The two men grinned. They both had sisters, though following long tradition neither took a wife. They understood.“Captain Faramir did not say. To the Citadel I suppose, though I imagine there’d be not much fussing there. His Lord father is well used to his sons arriving bound.”
“Bound?” Varan sat straight up and frowned. “You didn’t say that he had been tended.”
“Nay, master. We didn’t tend him. They bound him on the field.”
“On the field?” Piercing blue eyes snapped to his face. “Where was he hurt?” Linhir now flushed with embarrassment to be the focus of the stern, dark gaze.
“Flank. He said it wasn’t deep.” An ill feeling prickled at his nape. Varan had risen to his feet, a look of anger on his narrow, wrinkled face. Valar, he was in trouble and well he knew it. All wounded were to be tended to and at least inspected to be sure that they were well. Particularly the Rangers. They had a tendency to be indifferent to all manner of hurts out in the wild.
Linhir rose and offered a swift apology. “I am sorry sir. I know you’ve ordered we check everyone who enters with a wound. But the Ranger’s leather armor is usually proof from arrows. The Captain insisted he was fine and that the bleeding had already stopped.”
Swiftly, the older man’s look of anger was replaced with one of urgent worry. “Arrow?! It was an arrow wound? Morgoth’s teeth!”
Linhir stood shocked and speechless as Varan turned on his heel and all but ran down the hall to the herbal room. So swiftly did he move that his robes flew behind like great grey wings.
Linhir behind broke into as fast a lope as his twisted foot would allow. He found his master hurriedly searching the pots of salve and herb upon the shelves, muttering under his breath.
Grabbing and discarding different leaves and hastily pounding them in a mortar. Varan spared a moment to eye the younger man. “You should have said. Do not ever let a wounded man go again.” He pounded harder, sniffing at the pulp and grunting distractedly. Finally satisfied, he scooped the mess into a pot and screwing the lid tightly on.
“Come.” he barked and now the young healer struggled to keep up with his master’s longer stride.
A roll of bandages was grabbed and a heavy cloak from the pegs beside the door. “I must find him. I will try the Citadel first. You have the watch here. Watch for fever in young Brand and see that the others rest as best as they are able.”
At Linhir’s stricken look Varan relented. “I also blame myself. I should have asked. You could not know.”
“Know what?” The young man held the pot and roll while the cloak was pinned in place. Varan opened the oaken door and turned his dark face back from a bitter gust of wind.
“Drûg arrows are always poisoned.”
To be continued
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Maricela , Franchesca