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Heart of a Warden

Chapter 4: Chapter 4

by aimless

Chapter 4
Note: See Disclaimer in One

On the dawn of the third day the elf that was to replace Elendara on border watch made his way toward the edge of the woods. Not a single sound marked his passing as he moved virtually unseen through the forest. He stopped when he got within sight of the tree that held the flet. He whistled a signal to let the warden know of his arrival. The moments went by and only normal birdsong filled the air. He repeated the signal and was again greeted with no counter sign. The elf became a bit alarmed. He stealthily approached the base of the tree. His sharp eyes picked out many rusty reddish brown blotches staining the ground. They led right to the base of the rope ladder and ended in a fairly good-sized stain. The ladder should have been pulled up into the tree as well. He looked closely at the ladder; it too held smears of the same brownish color. He recognized immediately that the stains were blood, and at least several days old. Sick dread caused the Elf’s stomach to clench as he climbed the ladder and cautiously poked his head inside. The smell of blood and sweat washed over him as he looked around.

Scattered about were bloodstained cloths, a carelessly discarded sword belt, empty herb packets and a wadded up pair of leggings. Dried blood also liberally spattered the wooden floor. On the bedroll in the corner a figure was cocooned completely in the blankets. He quickly pulled himself up through the trap door and hastily went to the bedroll and knelt down. He lifted the blankets and there his friend lay shivering and very ill. He looked at her in shock as he took in the pallor of her skin. Her closed eyes and tangled, sweat dampened hair were a good indication that she was very sick. He placed a gentle hand on her forehead; it was burning hot. At his touch she began to thrash around and mutter incoherently. He grabbed her shoulders and held her down until the tremors ceased. He was stunned at her condition and it was imperative that he find out just what had happened. He removed the twisted blankets to see where all the blood had come from. It became immediately apparent when he uncovered her legs. Her right thigh was swathed in a heavy, bloodstained bandage that covered her leg from mid-thigh to just above her knee. Her delirious flailing must have reopened the wound because spots of bright crimson now seeped through the wrapping.

“Oh Dara what trouble have you managed to get into? You are a mess. I only hope I can fix the damage.”

He lightly brushed the hair out of her eyes and with a worried frown he then unwrapped the bandages covering her wound. He hissed in sympathy as he surveyed the damage. It appeared to be a deep puncture wound continuing in a long slice that ended at her knee. The injury was an angry red color and very swollen. Blood seeped from the wound in several places and her knee also appeared to be quite inflamed. His healing ability, while not as strong as his brothers’ would have to be enough. He placed his hands on the wound and murmured in under his breath, warmth from his hands flowed into the wound. After a few minutes he sensed that the injury was as healed as his limited ability could make it. He removed his hands and looked at the wound. It was still red, swollen and raw looking, but at least the bleeding had stopped. He stood and went over to the provisions chest and rummaged through the depleted supplies for more bandages. From his own waterskin he wet one of the cloths and cleaned the wound before bandaging it again.

He had to get her fever down. He looked through the supplies that were left, and the only water left in the Flet was what he had brought with him. There seemed to be plenty of dried food in the storage chest along with some herbs that would be useful in reducing a fever. First he had to get Dara more comfortable. Her tunic was damp with sweat and her blankets were stained with blood. He rummaged through her pack till he located a clean tunic, and grabbed his waterskin and knelt again at her side. He sat a moment and pondered her face. A frown marred her even features and her mouth was drawn down in pain. With a fingertip he traced the frown line as if he could erase it from her pretty face. The fact that he considered her pretty startled him somewhat, he never really looked at her that way before, not really. She was a fellow Warden and one of his best friends. After contemplating the direction his thoughts had turned, he would be lying to himself if he did not admit that she was comely. However, her acerbic sense of humor and sisterly regard of him had dampened his admiration of her as anything else than platonic. He just could not picture her as some vacuous elleth only concerned with clothing and finding a husband. In his mind she was simply Dara. Now that he had rationalized his admiration, he did not hesitate to untie the laces of her tunic and pulled the garment over her head.

He poured water in the bowl and used a clean cloth to try and cool her fevered body. He could not help but admire her sleekly muscular form as he sponged off the dried sweat. He had to remind himself again that this was one of his best friends and he would do this for any wounded comrade. He felt guilty that he was even tempted to stare. She still showed no signs of rousing as he took the clean tunic and dressed her as carefully as possible so as not to aggravate the wound. He took the remaining blanket out of the storage chest and placed it over her. Then he gathered all of the soiled blankets, tunic, leggings and bandages and put them in a basket in the corner. He picked up the empty water skins and swiftly climbed down the ladder and went to a nearby stream. He then filled the skins and returned to the Flet. He placed the water containers on the floor and removed from the stored herbs a packet of powdered dried willow bark. He found the cup she had used and rinsed it out before adding clean water. To the liquid he added a liberal amount of the powder and stirred it with his finger. He sat beside the bed and slid an arm beneath her shoulders and eased her into a semi-upright position. He placed the cup to her lips and let some of the liquid trickle into her mouth. He was relieved when he saw her swallow. He kept forcing sips between her lips until the cup was empty. He could only hope that the fever broke because it was another two days till the outrider showed up and he could get her back to Caras Galadhon. They could not leave the border unprotected and the outrider could take his place, then he would be free to take the horse and return to the city to get Dara the medical attention she needed. He smoothed her matted hair away from her forehead and rested his hand on the side of her face, absentmindedly stroking her cheek with his fingers.

He started guiltily and quickly removed his hand. What in the name of Elbereth was he doing? He berated himself at taking such liberties. If Dara had been awake she would have knocked him silly. As he sat by her side, his hands seemingly not under his control, stole their way back to her face. He lightly stroked her temples trying to soothe her restless dreams. He decided he would stay by her side the rest of the day but on the morrow he would have to try and figure out just what had happened.

He studied her as she slept. She had an oval shaped face, high angular cheekbones and a dimpled slightly pointed chin. Pale blonde brows arched over eyes, that when open, were an extremely pale aquamarine blue ringed with darker cobalt. Her nose was the tiniest bit crooked from being broken during her first orc skirmish as a warden. He remembered that day well.


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Chapter name
Chapter 4
18 Apr 2004
Last Edited
18 Apr 2004