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Heart of a Warden

Chapter 2: Chapter 2

by aimless

Chapter 2
Note: See Disclaimer in One


Awareness returned in a pain filled rush. The herbs had worn off and her leg was throbbing and felt hot. She blinked a few times in confusion trying to sort out what had happened. Her mind was clouded due to the drugs and the orcish poison that had yet to be purged from her system. The fog began to clear as the pain from the wound increased in intensity. She looked around, the flet had grown dark and she could barely see the hand in front of her face. She also checked the injury by running her hands over the bandage. It seemed that the bleeding had stopped so she did not unwrap the dressing; the herbs she used on the cut needed time to work. She slowly sat up, and the dizziness she felt upon waking increased ten fold. Gasping for breath she reached for the cup she had dropped earlier.

She filled the cup with water, her shaking hands spilling a fair amount onto the floor. Another packet of herbs went into the water, and then she drank the concoction and slumped back onto her pallet. She was cold and her limbs were trembling, most likely it was her body fighting the vestiges of the poison that the antidote was unable to counter. The drugs took hold and in her delirium she wandered the paths of her memories once more.

The training grounds of the wardens were situated in a large clearing not far from the city. A young elf woman stood at the edge of the trees watching the wardens in training. She took in their every move, jealous that they got to do what she craved. She watched every day, even to the extent of missing her lessons in the healers’ hall. She was expected to follow her Mother’s profession of herbalist. The lessons she took at hall did fascinate her but not to the extent of what she was now observing. She especially loved to watch the archery lessons. Elendara was consumed with envy that two of her close friends, Rúmil and Orophin, were training to be wardens of the wood. She hardly saw them at all anymore and missed the camaraderie.

The brothers were getting to be quite skilled under the direct tutelage of their older brother Haldir. She watched them send arrow after arrow into the targets. They also trained in swords and hand to hand fighting, Elendara watched it all from her vantage point at the edge of the field. She shrieked in surprise when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Whirling around she came face to face with Haldir; she swallowed nervously at having been caught. Knowing she would be sent away she lowered her head and waited for the dismissal. When it was not forthcoming she looked up and to her amazement he was smiling slightly.

“Why do you come here? I have noticed your presence at the training grounds nearly every day for months. What is it you seek?” He looked directly into her eyes and she got the feeling she had better tell him the truth.

She looked at Haldir and tried to decide what to say. He had always intimidated her a bit, and he was always so serious. He had never been anything but polite to her but he had a presence about him that demanded respect. The few times she had ever seen him laugh was when he was in the company of his brothers. With them he was free to just be himself, and not the elf whose shoulders had to bear the burden of all of his responsibilities. Throwing caution to the wind she answered his question.

“I want to train in weapons like Rúmil and Orophin. I want to learn to use a bow and a sword. I want to be a warden and protect the golden wood.” His eyes narrowed as he studied her.

“Why?” He asked, putting so much emphasis on that simple word that she knew somehow, that her entire future might depend on it. Taking a deep breath she thought hard about her answer before she spoke.

“I feel this need to do something besides learn herb craft, or any of the other skills I am encouraged to do as a young lady. I cannot explain it, to put into words what I feel, but I will try. I talk to Rúmil and Orophin and they seem so focused on becoming a warden. I envy them because they will be protecting something they love. With their very lives if it is needed of them. I want to feel that, I want to protect my home. I have this; I guess you could call it a need to…Oh never mind! I want the impossible; I yearn for something I can never achieve. I should not have come here.”

Frustrated she turned to leave. He put a hand on her arm gripping it tightly to hold her in place.

“Why do you think your desire is unattainable? That it is so far out of your reach that you will just settle for what you said was a job you do not wish.”

“My parents would never allow it, there are no female wardens. How could I ever hope to be one?”

“If it is what you truly desire I could speak to the Lord and Lady about allowing you to train. It is not a task to be undertaken lightly. You must be sure this is what you wish. The training will be hard and you will be under close scrutiny. Some will expect you to fail and others will sneer at your choice. Are you prepared to accept this?”

Her heart leapt at his offer. It was what she dreamed of, ever since she was a child.
“It is what I wish, I am prepared to accept whatever hardships are required.”

With those words her life changed dramatically. She recalled standing before the Lord and Lady, with her parents in attendance, as she asked permission to train to be a warden. Her Mother and father objected, and she needed every bit of Haldir’s persuasive skill to be allowed a trial period. If at the end of one year Haldir judged her unsuitable to be a warden her training would cease and she would continue her lessons as an herbalist. Her parents reluctantly agreed and she began training.

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Chapter name
Chapter 2
Created
17 Apr 2004
Last Edited
17 Apr 2004
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