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

The Steward's aunt picked her way slowly through the rocks. The bitter cold had hit her full in the face when she turned the corner of the little hut. It did not matter; she needed space and time to think. The closeness of the hut crowded her very being. How Denethor had lived in one for five years, she could not fathom. Finally, pulling her cloak about her, she sat amidst the rocks and scrub. The wind did not abate. It blew off the mountain and down her back. She tugged the fur even closer to her, but nothing could keep the wind out.

Her thoughts drifted back to Denethor's time at the beacon hill of Amon Anwar, his banishment rather. It had all been for her. Their father had discovered, somehow, that it was Denethor who had arranged her marriage to Arciryas. The Steward had been furious, more so than she had ever seen him before. Tears began to fall. Denethor had been a brother like no other. He knew, when he devised his sister and her beloved's marriage, that he himself would be punished. None could keep secrets from Ecthelion. Yet, Denethor had thrived on the border of Rohan, made friends with a Marshal of Thengel King's and ridden with that company, learning battle strategies from one of the very best.

Éomund found her thus. "You should not be out in the elements. You will chill and end up with a fever, like Faramir." He sat next to her and drew his own cloak about him. He was used to the winds off the mountains. He looked out upon the star filled sky. A peace settled upon him. Far off, the sound of a wolf rent the night air. He noted she did not move. A strong woman, Théoden King had called her. Éomund wished, for the moment, that she were not. She needed to speak with someone; her taut body, her tears bespoke her need. But she would not speak with him. He shook his head.

Indis could not tell him the doubts that assailed her. Much as she needed his strength and support, she could not look weak before him. She needed Listöwel. She needed to speak her thoughts to someone who would understand, and not judge. "I will come in presently."

Sadly, he stood. "The leech should be here soon. Night is almost o'er," he said before leaving her. 'Tis a pity she will not share her thoughts with me. Mayhap, I could help her decide our path.' He pulled his own cloak tighter and walked back to the hut.

They had skirted one of Gondor's garrisons, Nardol, during the night as they rode towards the warden's hut. The smoke from the garrison's fires had set a longing in her heart. It spoke of warmth and good food and dry flooring. It would have been better for Faramir if they could have stayed in the stronghold, but danger was too close and too hidden. She knew not whom to trust.

The warden, though astounded at his late night visitors, opened his hut to them and moved to his own home further down the mountain. Éomund had promised they would watch for the signal and light the fire, if need be. They had laid the boy on the watcher's cot, covered him with furs, and then kept vigil.

Dawn would arrive soon. She hoped the healer would come quickly. Faramir's moans tore her heart. 'We should have stayed with the caravan. I should never have brought Faramir with us. He is too young.' She tried to push the accusing thoughts away. The cold did nothing to dispel them. She trudged back to the hut.

"Boromir," she cried, as she entered the little room and saw Faramir cradled in Boromir's arms. "Do not hold him. You will succumb to the fever yourself. You are Steward. You must protect yourself."

The lad looked up at the sound of his name. Holding Faramir in his lap, he would not let her take him. "If Faramir dies, I wilt die," his anguished voice broke. "For a thousand Minas Tirith's, I wouldst not leave him. Do not ask me to, Amma."

She knelt at his feet. "Holding him wilt not make him well, Boromir, and it increases the fever's touch. Thou must put him back on the cot."

"Nay. He does not moan when I hold him. Please, Amma. I cannot let him go." Tears ran down his cheeks.

She pulled him towards her. "All right, Boromir." Piling furs up around his young body, she continued to hold him, and he to hold Faramir.

The thick entrance curtain was quietly pushed aside and one of Théoden King's leeches bent low to enter. Baldor followed behind him.

Éomund grabbed the man's shoulder and spoke quietly, telling of the lad's illness. The leech's eyes widened. "We thought they were in the wain. Who was—"

"There is naught for you to know but to heal the lad."

Stepping forward, the man tried to take Faramir from Boromir. But Boromir held him tighter to his chest. A soft moan passed the elder brother's lips.

Indis took Boromir's arm. "Little one, thou must let the healer tend to Faramir. Let him go, Boromir, let him go."

"I cannot," Boromir, for all his courage, started to wail. "Amma, I think he has stopped breathing."

She turned to the healer. "He does not breathe!"

The healer quickly forced Boromir's arms away, placed Faramir on the cot, and started to examine him. "Nay," he sighed in relief. "He breathes, but it is very slow. He sleeps. There is no fever. It must have broken in the night."

Boromir shuddered and slid to the floor. Éomund stooped and held him as the boy rocked back and forth in his arms. "This has been a hard journey, my Lord. You need rest, too. Perhaps you would lie next to your brother and sleep?"

Boromir gave a tear-streaked smile. "Thank you. I would like that very much."

Éomund helped him to the cot. Boromir fell instantly asleep. Faramir did not stir. Éomund spoke quietly with Grimbold and then turned to Indis. "Grimbold sent the soldiers who accompanied the leech back before they reached the edge of the forest. They have no tale to tell. We are still hidden from others. For the time being."

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