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My Sword Sings - Book One - 'My Sword' Series  by Agape4Gondor

The leech entered the room. "Forgive me, my lady, but you must eat. I have prepared a tray. Good things that will bring the colour back to your cheeks and hope into your heart."

"Leave it here," Indis motioned towards the desk, and then waved the woman away. She had no time for food; she had spent the last two hours in deep discussion with List÷wel, going over who of the Council would support her and who would contest her decision.

But the leech would not leave. Indis stared at her, anger rising quickly. Anger felt good; it had form and substance, whereas grief only emanated pain and left her feeling weak and ineffective. She opened her mouth to speak, but the leech began before she could.

"Gossips fill the air with strange ideas. Regent. Is it true?"

"I asked you to leave." Her cheeks flamed red.

"I have put the thought in your mind, you know," the woman's face lit up as she spoke. "You were nigh unto dead, giving your life to a spectre who no longer lives." She smiled and Indis drew back. "You need not be ashamed. Many women prefer to end their lives when they are left alone. I saw strength and greatness in you when first you arrived. I read the leaves and I would not let you depart from this life. You are in my debt."

List÷wel, anger filling her and blushing up to the black hair that framed her face, moved as if to force the woman from the room, but Indis put out her hand. "Stay, List÷wel. Sit. Let us hear what further works she thinks she has done."

The woman noted the scorn in Indis' voice, but laughed, a light, mirth-filled laugh. "I have done nothing but save you. And you would berate me, scorn me, ridicule me for doing such?"

Indis' cheeks burned red again, but in shame. The woman had spoken true. In the depths of her heart, when first she heard the news that Arciryas was gone, a terrible thought had filled her. "Forgive me," was all she could say. "Hope is mine because of your charm?"

"Nay! Charms and runes are for fools. I sing the words and make the movements for the people's sake. It is the herbs and the heart that do the deed. My heart is strong and I have kept it pure to help my people." She paused for a moment, fell to her knees, and took Indis' hand in hers. "I would return with you to Minas Tirith, my lady. Long have I admired your brother; long have I waited for an opportunity to serve him. What better way! I would help you govern the land. I would help you hold what is rightfully the young boy's. There are many there who would take his birthright from him, is it not true? You will need strong allies. I have many gifts and uses. Would you take me?"

List÷wel turned to Indis. "Do not consider it, my lady. She tried to trick you, gave herself airs, and now she pleads. Do not consider it."

"List÷wel, look into your heart. Do you not see she speaks the truth? I do not fear her. Grief will endeavor to o'ercome me in these next weeks. I cannot afford that. I must be strong." Indis turned to the woman and helped her rise. "What is your name?"

"Ragnhild. It means one who is wise in battle. I battle sickness and death. I would battle them in your name."

"I will accept your offer, Ragnhild. You shall be one of my counselors. Please sit." List÷wel made as if to speak; Indis stayed her. "I have heard of this one before, my friend. The Lady Morwen values her highly. As did her husband, Thengel King."

She turned fully to List÷wel. "I said before that I have a new mantle I need you to wear. To some, it would seem foolish, but I deem my next action wise." She smiled. "At least, I hope so. List÷wel, I name you my Captain-General."

"Nay!" List÷wel rose as she shouted out. "I am no more a warrior than the White Mountains are flat! I cannot do this."

"Who do we have left that I can trust? Your husband Amdir, Denethor's most trusted friend and aide, is gone. He, I would have made Regent even! Captain Thorongil, Captain Ingold, and Denethor ľ all gone. There are none I trust. There were few Denethor trusted. I have spent my whole life at my father, the Steward's, side. I have been trained in strategy and politics. I will help you. If I give an order, List÷wel, I must know that it is followed completely."

"The men will never accept me. I do not even know if they will accept you," List÷wel pleaded. "One of the wealthier and more powerful lords could easily wrest power for himself and put us all in the dungeons. And what of Boromir and Faramir? You say you keep the Chair for Boromir. He has not yet even been raised to squire. Long will his training be. Do you think you can keep Gondor's enemies at bay long enough to train him? I do not."

"ThÚoden King will support you, my lady," Ragnhild spoke up. "As will ╔omund and even ThÚodred, though he be but young. The Lady Morwen will stand by you. I know their hearts. I have been with this family for many a long year. I have listened and watched. Trust me. They will want the rightful heir, Boromir, as Steward. They know there are others in Gondor who would take the title from him, by force if necessary. I tell you, my lady, you will have the Rohirrim with you."

Indis looked up in amaze. "You speak well, counselor. You will call me Indis." She bowed her head. "ThÚoden King spoke of accompanying Denethor's body to Minas Tirith. He spoke of bringing two Úoreds with him."

List÷wel spoke. "We would need the Valar themselves and all their powersto induce the men of Gondor to accept you as Regent. We would need Varda herself to compel them to accept me as Captain-General!"

Indis smiled. "Aye. 'Twould seem your words are true, my friend. I am not saying it is not a daunting task. But I will not let another steal Boromir's birthright." Her grey eyes darkened as she spoke. "None have reckoned with me before. They will learn, when it comes to Denethor's sons, naught will stand in my way."

"You must go to ThÚoden King, and quickly; ask him to muster his army." Ragnhild sat forward in her chair. "It is the only way."

"Nay, there is more that can be done." Indis's face lit with sudden excitement. "Prince Adrahil! He is Boromir's grandfather. I will send a missive to Dol Amroth asking Prince Adrahil to bring Belfalas' troops with him when he comes for the burial. He will do it, if the missive is worded fittingly. And," she looked at Ragnhild. "I will send you with it. I do not know yet whom I can trust. But I trust you." Suddenly she sat, put her hands to her face, and breathed deeply. "ThÚoden King spoke well. There will be no time for mourning." Her face contorted, but she held the tears at bay.

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