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"Go get Faramir, take him to my healer and have him looked after," Amandil whispered to his second. "I will bring Boromir to him, but not till tomorrow. I hope the boy still lives." He grabbed the man's collar. "If he is dead, let me know immediately." The man nodded and left.
"Now. How would you like some food and drink? You must be hungry after your long journey?" He walked towards the writing table Boromir sat at and took the letter the boy had written. "Very good!" he said after reading it, patting Boromir on the back. "This is excellent. Here, come to my table and join me." He pulled Boromir's chair back and helped him to stand. "You are a little weak, I see. I should have those who brought you on this journey flogged for their lack of care!"
"Is the Lady Indis well?" Boromir tried to couch his words so that they were not accusatory. "It would be nice to see her again." He knew not how long he could continue his requests.
"She is doing quite well. Has a room all to herself. She seemed to need some quiet, so I instructed my men to protect her well."
Boromir sat at the dining table. He took a sip of wine. Then he ate some carved venison. It tasted extremely good. He took another sip of wine, but he felt his head sway and he stopped. He was growing tired of this cat-and-mouse game. In fact, he was growing very tired altogether. His head slumped forward.
Amandil laughed. 'That will keep you asleep for quite some time. By the time you do wake, Faramir should be looking a little better, if he lives." He chided himself for some of what he had done to the lad. It would not be good if Boromir changed his mind; though he had the Council behind him, every advantage, every tool would be needed help him retain the Rod. The speed with which he had usurped the Stewardship had caught the knights unaware. Those in the field did not even know what had happened. Ah, but what did he care? He had the letter to Adrahil and that protected him from the south. That fool, Théoden, seemed to accept his tale of the Orc slaughter and had left the city a day ago. Everything was working out better than he had imagined. He smiled to himself. Calling an aide, he had Boromir carried back to the dungeon. He couldn't afford having the boy slip away. His men were not the sharpest.
Her moans increased. Faramir would not wake. She had torn her dress and cried for hours, catching her tears in the cloth; then using the wettened fabric to wipe his forehead. She had found there was blood running down the side of his face. Every new discovery wrenched her heart and brought fresh tears. But she was grateful for them; they were being used to give him some comfort. She had wiped as much of the blood away as she could feel. She still hummed the lullaby intermittently, but her throat was parched. She had no idea how long she had been there, holding the little one.
Her head jerked; she had fallen asleep. She cursed and then laughed. Denethor had been appalled to hear the curses she had learned from the soldiers of Gondor. Those soldiers lying in the Houses, close to death, cursed Mordor and anything else their feebled minds could remember. Arciryas had discovered, a long time ago, that she had learnt and was wont to use the same. She had picked up the speech quickly and never ceased to startle her husband when she was particularly furious at Ecthelion. She sighed.
Did she hear that beautiful voice call her name? "Faramir," tears flowed harder, "Faramir, my love." She pulled him closer to her. He screamed in agony. She released her hold.
"Faramir, where does it hurt?" She noted he held his breath. She was in torment herself trying to think of some way to help him, some way to ease his pain. "Where does it hurt, little one?"
He slowly let his breath out. "My sh… sh… shoulder an… and my head," he whimpered.
"I will lay you flat, that should help,"
"Nay," he whispered, "please do not, oh…"
"Faramir! Faramir!" but he did not reply, drifting off into some pain-free place, she hoped. "Oh Faramir," she wailed. "What have they done to you?"
At that very moment, the heavy door swung open. Two men walked in, one carrying a lamp. The other stepped towards her. She tried to draw back, pulling Faramir closer to her. He would not now feel the pain, but she must keep him from these monsters.
The one slapped her hard. She fell backwards. He scooped Faramir into his arms and turned. She stood and jumped on his back, beating his arms and scratching and clawing at him, all the while biting his neck and ears, trying to stop him from taking Faramir from her.
The other grabbed her by the hair and pulled. She fell off the other man's back and onto the floor. He kicked her; she swooned.
Théoden King watched his men ride before him. He had let them pass, hoping they thought it was grief kept him from leading them. Still, and he was furious with himself and his spies, he did not know who the traitor in their midst was. He had almost died himself when the cloth was thrown back, and the young man that lay dead before him was said to be his son. He would not believe it. In the middle of the night, one of his own had gone to examine the body. It was not Théodred! A thousand thanks went to the Valar.
Amandil had offered him Gondor's condolences and he had accepted them, almost choking on the words of thanks. Then, he mustered the Rohirrim and rode out yesterday afternoon. His son must be in the Citadel somewhere. He hoped that Boromir and Faramir were with him.
As night fell, the Rohirrim camped to the north of the Rammas Echor. He sent those men he trusted to Osgiliath and Cair Andros under cover of darkness. He remembered the names of those Denethor trusted and knew where they were stationed. They would sneak back onto the Pelennor at night and meet in the farmhouse that belonged to Amdir's kin. Then, when the Captains had assembled and they were ready with a plan laid down, they would sneak into the city and find their lost. And Amandil would find himself hanging from a gibbet, if Théoden had his way! Now all he could do was wait.
When morning came, the Rohirrim assembled again and rode west. The next night, they camped outside the garrison at Eilenach. Many of his men went to the inn to spend the night in quiet mourning, away from their King. The pain on his face could not be endured. In the dark of night, he too slipped away. Erkenbrand would say he went ahead to prepare for the burial. Most would believe the story. He and his chosen men headed for the Pelennor. Secrecy was of the utmost importance. They could not be discovered.
"Boromir!" Théodred cried as Boromir was carried into the cell. He still slept, but Théodred mistook his state, so thoroughly frightened was he. "Dead! Oh no, not dead!"
"Nay. He is not dead. Here is food for you all." The guard laid plates on the ground; then unbound their hands. "When he wakes, give him this. It will help the pain he will feel from the drug." He laid a vial down next to the food. The thug slammed the door behind him, opening a grate in the door to let some light in.
Éomund quickly untied his legs, fumbling with his good hand. Then he tried to stand; his legs would not respond. 'How long have we been here?' he wondered.
Untying his own legs, Théodred ran to Boromir's side. "Boromir," he cried, "Boromir!" He cradled his friend's head in his lap. "He looks dead, Éomund."
Éomund finally made it to the boys' side. "Let me see." He lifted one of Boromir's eyelids and noted the drugged state. Éomund cried aloud - a sound of pain, frustration and utter desolation. "Such a little one. How could they do this to him?" He pulled himself together. "Come, I can see a cot. Let us put him there. Théodred, I cannot lift him. Would you be able to?"
The lad nodded. He slowly gathered his friend in his arms and carried him to the corner that Éomund pointed out. He saw the cot and laid Boromir gently onto it. Éomund brought a flask of what he hoped was water from what the guard had left and tasted it. Weak mead - even better! He put it to Boromir's lips. The lad never moved.
"What are we going to do, Éomund? Will he die?"
"I think not, Théodred. They left the food for him, I think. They must have plans for him and that is good. I wonder why they drugged him?" He sat next to Théodred and the lad moved closer. He felt him shiver. "We will get out of this mess. Did I not promise?"
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