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

"If only the king had listened to me, none of this would have happened. Captain Thorongil would be on the Chair of Gondor and Rohan would be safe. That man had neither the wit nor the drive to do anything but take orders. He would have been perfect." He wiped the spittle from his mouth, noting the other listened attentively. "Thengel King had great influence upon Ecthelion, you know, as his Captain-General, before he returned to Rohan. Pity he did not stay in Minas Tirith; better to have one loyal to the Mark so highly appointed. I could easily have stood on the throne in Edoras in his stead. Held it for him."

"Now, we must send a message to Minas Tirith, to the master's agent there, warning him of deceit. Where will they enter the city, I wonder? There must be dozens of secret entrances, as has the Golden Hall. To stay hidden as long as possible, it must be either from the north, near the North Gate, or from…. Ah," he smiled and it chilled his audience. "There must be an entrance by their tomb city. What is it called again?"

His listener could not answer.

"You say the leech was dispatched late yesterday afternoon? Well, it will take some time to travel to wherever the need is. I wish the fool would have sent that information. Oh," he snarled, "I know he gave you as much information as possible in the short time he had. Never the mind, they will be met by force. I will send the message at once." He suddenly laughed hard and long. Waving his hand, he dismissed his underling and turned back into the Golden Hall. It was becoming quite cold.

~*~

She held the sword before her, but none of the enemy came near the entrance. Sounds of fighting, steel slashing, hisses and screams filled the air. She chanced a quick look at the boys. They were well hidden. The healer cowered in a corner, covering his face with his hands. She realized she could see them more distinctly. The Orc had another foe to battle; she smiled to herself – the sun. They were cowards and only came out from their caves at night, though they would, if necessary, fight during the day. Well, today they would be most uncomfortable. It should be over soon.

Just as that thought came to her, an unshod foot stepped into the entrance. She swung her sword at waist height and felt it slice into something. The Orc fell forward, dead, at her feet. She tried to push it aside, but could not.

Another stepped through, this time managing to get further into the doorway before she hacked at it. It stepped back and swung a pointed mace. She ducked and the weapon hit the wall of the cave with a resounding thud, covering her back with dislodged mud. She could still see and her sword arm was free, that was all that mattered. She swung again and this time, the Orc fell, dead.

She heard a scream and turned in time to slash at an arm holding a wicked scythe-like weapon. The arm fell to the ground, but the Orc did not stop. It used its weight to shove against her; she fell to the ground. Its left hand held an axe. It smiled as it raised the weapon; she tried to swing the sword, but had no leverage. Unexpectedly, the axe clattered to the floor; startled, she saw the creature's head roll into the cave.

Éomund stood before her. "Now does your sword sing?" he asked, laughing. He offered a hand and she took it and stood. "You did well," he said approvingly. "Two dead and another would have been."

"It would not have been. I would have been the one dead. You saved my life."

"I am certain, with the way you handled yourself today, that the favor can be returned."

She started to laugh herself. Their friendship was mended. She was very glad.

Grimbold walked through the door, saw the carnage before him, and patted her on the shoulder. "I see you represent Gondor well, Shieldmaiden."

She blushed at his compliment. "I have Eledhwen, my sword mistress, to thank for that." She turned to the boys. They ran towards her, arms flung wide. She knelt and took them into her own. "It is over, my loves. We are safe."

"'Tis time to lick our wounds, I think," Grimbold said. "I have taken one to my sword arm. It is not serious, but should be looked after, and Aldor has also been hurt. He will not be able to ride alone for many days."

Indis looked up in alarm. Baldor was helping his limping brother into the cave. Blood ran down Aldor's leg, pooling at his feet as he stood waiting for some direction. He seemed addled and Indis knew that meant great loss of blood. She quickly asked Boromir to start a fire. Then she pulled the healer up by the arm and pushed him towards Aldor. While the healer shuffled forward, she threw furs and blankets on the floor and motioned for Baldor to lay Aldor down. Then she sent Éomund out for snow, fresh and clean, if it could be found, what with the marks of battle all about the cave entrance.

"I am not accustomed to treating battle wounds," the healer squeaked. "I am just a house leech. I do not think I can help this man. We should take him back to the caravan."

She pushed him aside. "I will cut the cloth and clean the wound. We will have fresh hot water in a moment or two. Since you cannot take care of this wound," she said contemptuously, "you will tend Grimbold. His is not as serious." She turned and started ministering to Aldor. The leg wound was not life-threatening. The weapon, whatever it was, had cut through skin and some muscle, but had not touched the bone. It would require a bit of stitching, but not too much. She breathed a sigh of relief.

Baldor smiled as he watched her tend his brother. "Your touch is gentle. Have you done this before?"

She smiled up at him. "Too many times to count. I had offered my services to the Master Healer…" She stopped. Tears filled her eyes. She shook her head and continued working on the wound. An uneasy silence filled the cave.

Baldor did not speak. Aldor looked at Éomund, who had returned with a bag full of snow, just as Indis had finished speaking. "The Master Healer in question, Baldor," Éomund said as he put the snow into a pot and placed it over Boromir's fire, "was none other than the husband of our fair lady. He was slaughtered, along with Denethor, on their way back to Gondor."

"I am sorry, my Lady. I did not know."

She shrugged. "So much has happened in these last two weeks." She laughed quietly. "Théoden King said there would be no time for mourning. If the pace continues as it has, I will die having shed only a few tears for my beloved husband and for my brother. I savor each teardrop. So few for so much sadness. I do not, in fact, believe I will ever have the luxury of grief. So I thank you, loyal warrior, for a moment to spill a tear for him who deserves so much better."

Boromir ran to Indis' side. "Please, Amma, do not cry. Faramir and I love you. We will not leave you." The soldier in him strove to stop the tears from falling; the child, just now leaving, could not stop them.

"It is good to cry, Boromir. I have told you that before," Éomund knelt next to the lad. "It is our way to honour our dead. It helps cleanse us of the wounds of grief and gives us resolve to avenge them. That is why we are on this journey, to avenge the death of your father and all his men, to see you arrive safe in Minas Tirith, and to discover what foul creature devised their murder."

Boromir's eyes widened. "You will help me find the murderer of my father?" he asked incredulously.

"Aye, Boromir. I will not leave your city until the beast is found and punished. I promise you."

Indis looked up in surprise and gratitude. "That is a heavy vow you take upon yourself, Éomund. I do not recall your king giving you such permission."

"There are certain things a soldier and a friend does not need permission for. My king sent me to escort you to Minas Tirith and to keep you safe. The only way my mind sees that happening is with the finding of the assassin and those who paid him. Then I may return to Rohan with honour."





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