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Morning came, the sun shining warm and bright through the little bush. Grimbold woke, his wound worsening under the heat of the sun. He looked about him, startled. In the dark of night, the bush had seemed a more than ample hiding place. In the light of day, it was quite a pitiful little thing, and barely covered him. He pulled his legs in tightly to his body. He could not stay here; he would surely be found. Looking about, he noted a thick bush, a type of plant he'd never seen before, just a little way past a courtyard. It was perfect, low-lying with full branches. He would be well hidden. Now, how to get there? It was late morning already, he could tell, but no one seemed about. 'Sad to see a garden not put to use,' he thought, momentarily taken by its beauty. At that very instant, he heard a voice.
"What are you doing under there? Have you lost something? Come out and I will try to help you find it."
His blood turned to ice – discovered! When his heart returned to normal, he remembered he was in the livery of Gondor. No one would question him except another soldier. He peered from under the leaves. It was a woman, dressed in simple clothing. He could hoodwink this one easily, he hoped. He stood.
"You are not from Gondor?" she asked.
His heart beat furiously again. 'You fool,' he thought, 'that is what you were counting on, now wasn't it? All can see you are not Gondorian.' He bowed low. "I have come from the south to serve Gondor for my fief lord."
"Ah!" She looked at him, puzzled.
He wondered what he was doing wrong. He knew it was not his speech. He had spent long years with Théoden learning the Common Tongue; he was fluent in it. He looked at his uniform. All looked right. "Is something amiss, my Lady?"
She burst out laughing. "My Lady, indeed," she quivered from laughter. "Know you not one of the healer's assistants from one of the ladies of Gondor? Cannot you tell by my clothes and the piece covering my head? We all wear the same garments." Her eyes twinkled. "Or are you pulling your soldier way's on me? You will get nothing from me, young man. I know a soldier's words can trick a young maiden like myself. I was not born yesterday, you know."
He smiled. By the look of her, she was definitely no longer a young maiden, spinster, probably. Her laughter was infectious; however, he found himself wondering if would she ever stop speaking? "I am new to Gondor…"
"Well, then, I can spend a little time teaching you some of the ways of the people here in the city, though we are different from those from the country as my sisters will tell you. Now, here in the city we…"
"Forgive me. But I am hot and tired. Might you show me to a fountain where I may wipe my brow and slake my thirst?"
She fell still. He rued his words. He should have taken his time, but he was close to fainting from thirst and hunger. The sun made his eyes burn; the woman seemed slightly out of kilter. Could she not stay still! She swayed so.
As Éomund stepped into the cell, he was thrown against the wall and fingers reached for his eyes. He grabbed the hands and tried to keep them away from his face, but whoever was attacking him was crazed. The hideous breathing, laboured and loud, only compounded the sense of madness in the person before him. Not a sound other than that issued from his assailant, but the attack never stopped, no matter how hard he tried to push himself away. At last he used his full body weight to press his attacker to the floor, holding the hands down hard against the ground. He punched with all his might at where he hoped the chin was and was rewarded with the sound of a grunt. The arms he held flopped down, all fight gone out of them. 'I must have knocked him out,' he thought gratefully.
Théodred came into the cell with a torch from the hall. "Who is it?" he whispered, holding the torch aloft. His gasp made Éomund stare.
"Indis!" He bent over her, astonished and sorrowful. How could he have hit her so? What had driven her to attack him? "She must not have looked to see who was coming into the cell, Théodred. She just attacked. Let us lift her to the cot. We must find some water. Can you go?" He looked long and hard at the lad. "It is dangerous, but we must have some. There must be a spigot or barrel somewhere here, at least to help slake the guards' thirst."
Théodred's eyes were filled with tears at the sight of the brave woman before him, disheveled and hurt. "I will find something, I promise."
"Do not go too far."
"I will not. I will return as fast as I can."
Once they placed her on the cot, Théodred turned and left the cell. Éomund turned towards Indis. 'What could have driven her to such a wild act?' he thought sadly. He turned her face and realized he had only caught her a glancing blow. There must be another reason for her faint. He examined her limbs and head. No sign of injury. Just as he moved to turn her, she hissed in pain. He stopped.
"Indis, it is I, Éomund. Can you hear me?" Her eyes were still closed and her mouth slightly open. "Indis. It is Éomund. Are you well?" Still, she did not move. He decided he must look at her back; see if there might be damage there also. As he did so, she stiffened, drawing in her breath, and opened her eyes. "You are sorely hurt, are you not?" he asked wretchedly. "Where, Indis?"
"My ribs. I think some are…"
She took another breath and he could see it tore through her. "Your ribs are broken?"
She nodded, trying not to move.
"Is that your only injury?"
She gave him a look that made him laugh. "That is enough?" he smiled, glad to see she was so alert.
"Aye," she whispered. The smile left her face and she clawed at his tunic. "Faramir has been beaten horribly. He was here for a time, but they took him again. Éomund, I am so afraid. Afraid he is dead. Please, help me find him." Great tears fell and she shuddered as the pain racked her body.
He held her hand. "We have a friend somewhere in the city. He left a key. I was able to free Théodred and I, and now we have freed you. We will find Faramir."
"Boromir?" She struggled to sit.
He hung his head. "I do not know. He was with us for a time, as was Faramir with you, and then they took him. That was quite some time ago. I do not know where he is." He turned as he heard footsteps coming towards the cell. He stood, ready to do battle, when Théodred entered the room.
The lad had a smile on his face as brilliant as the sun. He held a small ladle in his hand and the other cupped the bottom. "Water," he said simply and walked to Indis' side, “but it is bitter and warm.” Gently, he placed it to her lips. "Slowly, dearest Lady, else you choke."
She cried in joy. The water tasted like the finest wine. She obeyed Théodred and sipped sparingly, as Éomund held her head. "Thank you," she whispered.
The boy turned and ran back out the door. In another moment, he returned with more.
Éomund tore a piece of his shirt off and ran out the door. He returned shortly with the cloth soaked. He gently wiped her forehead and cheek. There was a nasty bruise on the other side of it. He knew he had not done that and wondered what she had been through. He kissed her forehead. "Gentle lady, we must leave here. Are you able to walk?"
"I would run if it would help find Faramir and Boromir." She took his hand, sidled her legs off the cot, and stood. She smiled as Théodred ran and took her other hand. "Thank you."
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