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Heart of a Warden

Chapter 11: Chapter 11

by aimless

Into the room walked one of the senior healers. Haldir kept a restraining hand on Rúmil’s shoulder as he tried to rush over.

“Peace brother, let the healer have his say without accosting him.” Haldir approached the healer. “Ah Healer Ervadhor what news have you about my Warden?”

The Healer inclined his head in a gesture of respect. “March Warden, she fares as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”

This time Rúmil did step forward bristling at the healer’s condescending tone. “Just what is that supposed to mean?”

“It means Warden that not only did we have to treat her injured leg and fever we also had to counteract the drug that sent her to sleep. You brought her in was this your doing?” Ervadhor asked accusingly.

Rúmil felt the distinct urge to throttle the elf when an intervening hand again halted his forward progress. His brother Orophin had grabbed his arm and led him away from the healer. They went over to the window and Orophin spoke quietly to his brother. After a few moments they returned to speak to the healer. Rúmil seemed calmer when he replied to Healer Ervadhor.

“I only did what Warden Elendara asked me to do. She ensured me that it was the only way she could make the journey. I did not know at the time what the effects would be. It was not until after we had left that I began to worry. She should have known better.”

“That may be the case but the fact remains that we almost could not counteract the herbs that she had taken. It was a close thing. Had she taken but a little more there would have been nothing we could have done.” Ervadhor stated.

Rúmil was visibly shaken by this news and at the same time he was angry. How could she have done this to him? She had to know how dangerous that herb was. He began to pace and mutter to himself. Haldir watched his brother traverse the length of the room. Rúmil seemed perilously close to losing his temper. He could not remember the last time he had seen his brother so agitated. He still needed to know the full extent of his warden’s injuries.

“Healer Ervadhor I would know the rest of your report as to the condition of Warden Elendara if you would care to tell me.” Haldir asked.

Ervadhor glanced at Rúmil disdainfully before answering. “Of course March Warden. As I have stated we have treated her fever and counteracted the sleeping draught. As for her leg injury, usually an injury of this nature is not crippling but the wound itself coupled with the orcish poison and what ever tainted the blade caused a massive infection she was not able to fight. The blade sliced her knee as well and we had to reopen the wound to drain and treat the infection. The damage was considerable and we have to hope the infection does not return. With luck and time she might get back most of the use of her leg.”

Upon hearing this Rúmil approached the healer and backed him into a corner. “What do you mean might? Are you saying she is crippled? Do you have any idea what this will mean to her? Do you?”

Haldir caught Orophin’s eye and nodded in Rúmil’s direction. Orophin went to his brother and pulled him away from the flustered healer.

“How soon will you be able to tell if Elendara will make a full recovery?” Haldir asked with a frown.

“That is hard to say, we have to wait for the swelling to go down. Then we can accurately ascertain the extent of the damage. It is a matter of waiting to see how she responds to treatment.” Healer Ervadhor stated.

Haldir really did not like this healer’s pompous attitude but he was the best the halls had to offer despite his lack of bedside manner. He would just have to keep his distraught brother from getting his hands on him. Orophin was keeping Rúmil on the other side of the room but it was clear that he would not be able to hold him there for long.

“When can we see her? When can I go in?” Rúmil asked from across the room.

The healer looked at the young warden and shook his head at his impatience. “She will sleep for sometime yet. It will take a few days for the drugs and the rest of the orcish poison to work itself out of her system. Elendara will suffer from bouts of weakness and the possibility of her fever returning if she overexerts herself is likely. The infection has taken a toll on her body and her ability to fight it off is compromised she should rest undisturbed for the rest of the afternoon. If you insist upon seeing her make your visit a brief one. Now if you will excuse me I have other patients to attend to. If you have any more questions speak with one of the assistants. Good Day.” He did not even wait for a reply before he swept out of the room and was gone.

Rúmil moved past his Orophin and walked to the room where they had put Dara. Haldir and Orophin joined him. He hesitated outside the door.

“Why do you not go in? I thought you wanted to see her?” Haldir asked as he stood behind his brother.

“I am afraid. I want to be with her so badly but I fear I am only fooling myself. What will she do when she finds out the extent of her injuries? You know what will happen. It will destroy her. Should I walk away now?” Rúmil sighed as he also wondered where the carefree elf he used to be had disappeared to.

“Rúmil I do not think you could walk away if you tried. You wear your heart on your sleeve. You were ever the elf who would moon over a different Elleth every other week and end up heartbroken for days after she left. Are you sure what you feel for Dara is not just another infatuation?” Orophin asked as he remembered his brothers many assignations and subsequent heartache.

“This is unlike anything I have ever felt before. It hurts so much not to be with her and yet I find myself thinking of reasons to stay away. I cannot get her out of my thoughts. You think I want this kind of pain? The other Elleth I pursued were a pleasant diversion and when I fell out of favor it hurt for a little while. It pales in comparison to what I feel now. If I have to be satisfied to only being her friend to stay near her then that is what I will do. I cannot seem to help myself.”

Haldir shook his head in pity for his youngest brother. Rúmil had always seemed to feel things more keenly than other elves. He was quick to laugh and quick to anger. He was also quick to forgive and to defend. He went through life with a great amount of zeal and ardor. He was a joy to have around and so it was with great pain that Haldir observed his brother’s distress. Trust Rúmil to fall for the one Elleth who did not share his regard. If there was a difficult way to do something count on Rúmil to find it. This was one instance where he was at a loss as to what to do for his brother.

“Come let us go in, she is sure to be sleeping. I think you would regret it if you did not at least ease your mind about her welfare. I wish for you to lead a patrol to the cave the orcs are using for a lair. I want us to leave at first light before the orcs move on.” Haldir opened the door and pushed Rúmil inside by the simple expedient of placing a hand in the small of his back and lightly shoving. Then he followed him into the room. Orophin was the last one in the room and shut the door behind him.

Dara was deeply asleep in one of the beds. She looked so small lying there. Her face was very pale and even sleep could not erase the signs the pain she was in made on her face. She was covered with a light blanket, all except her leg which was elevated and swathed in heavy bandages. The bandages covered her leg from her upper thigh to well below her knee. In one place a small amount of blood had seeped through. Rúmil approached the bed followed by his brothers. He tentatively reached out and grasped her hand which rested above the blankets.

Haldir and Orophin watched Rúmil, whose attention was completely focused on the injured Warden. Rúmil seemed unaware there was anyone else in the room. It was then that Orophin decided that he would do everything he could to help his brother win the warden that had claimed his heart. He knew how stubborn Dara could be and it might take a few rude shoves to get her moving in the right direction. The more he thought about the more he realized how well suited Rúmil and Dara were. Haldir on the other hand could have wished his brother had never fallen for a fellow warden. Haldir was fiercely protective of his youngest sibling and hated to see him so upset. He knew Dara had never done anything to encourage Rúmil’s affection. She was painfully naïve about relationships and even went out of her way to avoid them. He knew Warden Amros had been quite persistent in his pursuit of Dara. She in turn had made it a point to avoid the warden who wanted her affection. Haldir had thought he would have to intervene on Dara’s behalf. Before he had the chance Amros had gotten a bit too forward one evening, after an evening drinking with some of the other off-duty wardens, and had surprised Dara with a kiss. She responded with a punch in the face. Haldir did not allow any discord between his wardens and had disciplined the both of them. That incident had served to cool Amros’s ardor and turn any of Dara’s would be suitors to easier targets. He had not noticed her garner any interest since. But if that was where his brother’s heart truly lay who was he to gainsay them? Haldir tapped Orophin on the shoulder and nodded towards the door. Before they left Haldir clasped Rúmil’s shoulder.

“Rúmil we leave at dawn, try and get some rest. You look worn out and I would prefer you are rested and ready to fight. You did well and Dara owes you her life, whether she will regard you as anything but a friend remains to be seen. Know that you have my blessing if she accepts you as a suitor. I would advise that you not rush her though lest you drive her away. You have time and she will be long in recovering from her injuries.”

“You are right Haldir. I do not need to hinder her recovery with my foolish admonitions of love.” Rúmil replied dispiritedly.

“That is not what I meant as you well know! Think this through, to admit your feelings now would only frighten her. She has no experience in matters of the heart. You have to take that into consideration. I must go I have to prepare for tomorrows raid. Be at peace brother.” Haldir then turned and went to the door.

“You will win her over little brother, I have faith in you.” Orophin added as he too joined Haldir at the door.

“Thank you both I do not know what I would do without your support. It means a lot to me. Do not worry Haldir I will be ready to leave at dawn I just wish to sit here a little while.” Rúmil replied as he smiled at his brothers,

“Very well till tomorrow then.” With those words Haldir and Orophin left the room and closed the door.

Rúmil sat with Dara for the better part of the afternoon and released her hand when she started to wake. Dara blinked a few times and looked around confused as to where she was. She was still groggy from the herbs she had taken. Also her leg felt as if it had been dipped in liquid fire. She looked around a bit panicked. Rúmil noted her distress and grasped her hand once more.

“Dara you are at the healers. We made it back to the city and you are going to be all right. I am here and will not leave till you are fully awake.” He said in a quiet voice.

She looked over at Rúmil and smiled. “We made it? I am so tired. Why does my leg hurt worse? What happened?”

“The Healers had to open the wound and drain and treat the infection.. They did a good job you are going to get better.” Rúmil replied somewhat evasively.

Dara’s head was becoming clearer by the moment as pain burned off the rest of the drugs. “Rúmil tell me the truth how bad is it? Will I lose my leg?”

He knew Dara would not accept anything but the whole truth so he decided to give her what she wanted. “Very well, the healers said that what ever had tainted the blade that injured you caused a massive infection. Your knee was also injured. They treated the wound as best they could but will not know the full extent of the damage until the swelling goes down.” He waited for a reaction and was a bit alarmed at how sedately she took the news.

“I see. Is that all they said? I mean I will walk again. I know I will.” Dara said completely calm.

“I know you will as well. I have faith in you. Dara do you know how dangerous those herbs I gave you were? I mean I could have killed you. Had I given you a little more of the liquid you drank they would not have been able to wake you.” Rúmil hated bringing up how close they came to losing her but he could not help himself. He was still angry she had not told him of the risks.

“Yes I knew and I am sorry. I could not think of another way.”

“I could have sleep spelled you. There would have been no risk in that.” He replied and could not keep the anger he felt out of his voice.

Dara bristled at his tone. “It would not have worked you know how I resist that spell. It would have kept me under for only a small portion of the trip. I had to weigh the risks and I decided to use the herb. I took responsibility for my actions so I take the blame.”

“How could you do that to me? You should have told me the risks! Then we could have decided together what to do.” Rúmil retorted angrily.

“Since when do you decide what is best for me? It was my body and my choice!” Dara could not understand why he was attacking her and was getting angry as well.

“Since I almost killed you! Plus I outrank you so you were required to tell me of any decision. That is why.” He said through gritted teeth.

“Well then as my superior I will make sure and tell you of any more decisions I decide to make all right?” She shot back sarcastically.

“Fine!” He yelled

“All right then!” She too yelled.

Rúmil crossed his arms in front of his chest and glared at the object of his frustration. “I leave at first light to lead the hunt for the orcs you discovered. I will be back in four days!” He was still angry and practically shouted this information.

“Be careful!” Dara replied heatedly.

“I will!” Rúmil snapped

“If it is all right with my commander I would like to get some sleep now. Unless of course you think I am not capable of making that decision.” Dara would have been surprised at the waspish tone of her voice had she not been so irritated.

“Do as you like I have to go and get some rest before the raid.” He said as he stormed out of the room. As his one courtesy he did refrain from slamming the door.

Dara lay there stunned. She could not figure out what had just happened. She looked up as the door opened. She was hoping it was Rúmil. Disappointment colored her face as a healer’s assistant came into the room instead. He held a cup in his hands and he approached the bed. He felt her forehead for fever and then checked the bandages on her leg. Dara hissed in pain and gritted her teeth.

“I was to give you this for the pain and then you must rest. You are still weak and slightly fevered. Drink it and close your eyes.” The healer’s assistant handed her the cup and Dara drank the bitter liquid.

She lowered her head to the pillow and waited for the draught to numb the pain. The healer left the room and promised to check on her later. As she lay there Dara wondered just what had caused the argument between her and Rúmil. Dara could understand his concern over her decision to use those herbs to send her to sleep. But he had never pulled rank on her before nor treated her with such disdain. It left her confused and a bit lonely. She had always valued his companionship and missed the closeness they had that seemed to be missing now. The medicine she had taken was starting to take effect. The pain diminished to a dull but manageable ache. Dara was still very tired and her body had been taxed beyond its limit and needed much time to heal. She truly hoped the raid went well and prayed for the warden’s safe return. Reverie claimed her and she fell into a deep healing sleep.

Rúmil stormed out of the healing halls and did not stop until he was at his own Talan.

He leaned against the wall and stood there with his head in his hands. What on Arda was wrong with him? Why did he have to pick a fight with Dara just when she had woken up? The healer’s accusing words and the realization that he was almost a party to Dara overdosing herself for the trip had shaken him profoundly. He had not meant to take it out on her; he should have calmly told her that what she did was wrong instead of accusing her. He could not seem to stop the heated words from pouring out of his mouth and he had succeeded only in getting them both angry. Rúmil was tempted to go back over there and apologize but what Dara had done was wrong and even if it was the only way he should have been informed to the dangers as well. Wearily he pushed himself away from the wall and headed for the bathing chamber.

He left his clothes in a heap on the floor and filled the deep tub with warm water. He ached all over from the ride and the lack of sleep. He was grateful to the cisterns located in the branches of the great trees that held the water warmed by the sun. He sank into the water with a contented sigh and leaned his head against the rim. Unbidden his mind turned to thoughts of Dara. Her face, her smile and her tough no nonsense demeanor all had managed to captivate him. Her spirit and stubbornness were also equally fascinating. Dara’s lithe trim body also had him aching to feel her in his arms again. Rúmil cursed as his body responded to his thoughts of the Elleth who captured his heart. He groaned in frustration and briefly considered taking matters into his own hands. It was no use that was not what he wanted. Rúmil sat in the bath and attempted to will himself back a modicum of self control. As the water cooled so did his ardor. Rúmil washed and stepped out of the tub and pulled the plug to let the water drain down the cleverly concealed pipes that ran down the tree. He grabbed a drying cloth and dried his skin and hair. Not bothering with night clothes he went into the bed chamber and collapsed onto the mattress. Sleep eluded him and he tossed and turned trying to find a comfortable position. His thoughts would not let him rest and when dawn finally arrived he had gotten precious little sleep. He knew Haldir would be gathering a patrol to hunt the orc raiding party so with little regard to his protesting body he got out of bed.

He dressed then combed and braided his hair. Rúmil belted his sword around his waist and shouldered his bow and quiver. He left his talan and was joined by his brother Orophin.

“You look awful brother did you get any rest at all?” Orophin noted the dark circles under Rúmil’s eyes and the slump of his shoulders.

“I got enough, do not concern yourself over me I will be ready when we have tracked the orc to their lair.” Rúmil glared at his brother as Orophin continued to appraise him as they walked to the stables.

“Oh and I love your bedside manner. I suppose yelling at Dara is your way of speeding her recovery?” Orophin could not resist heckling his brother a bit.

“How did you know about that?” Rúmil asked a bit surprised.

“My dear brother you should know by now I have ears in many places. Actually, I know an Elleth who assists the healers. She heard you yelling at each other. You were not actually quiet and she thought to tell me since you sounded upset.” Orophin felt guilty for his teasing as Rúmil seemed to look so dispirited.

“I do not know what got into me, one minute I was glad she was awake and the next moment I was yelling at her. I did not think love would make me so unhappy. It is nothing like the tales or ballads.” Rúmil sighed.

“Never fear brother I will help you sort it all out, now we must hurry as Haldir is sure to be waiting and we dare not tarry.” Orophin laid a hand across his brother’s shoulders and steered him towards the stables.

“It is your help that I am afraid of.” Rúmil retorted.

They were met at the stable by a squad of twenty elves. Rúmil and Orophin’s horses were saddled and waiting. Haldir sat in the saddle of his horse eager to be off. He looked towards his brothers and noted immediately that Rúmil still looked wearied. He would have to keep an eye on him during the upcoming battle. Haldir’s brothers mounted their horses and Haldir gave command to move out.


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Chapter name
Chapter 11
24 Jun 2004
Last Edited
24 Jun 2004