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Siriondil pushed his way through the gauntlet of loyal men around Boromir. "Let me through!" the Master Healer screamed relentlessly, "Let me through!"
Quickly, Captain Amlach forced the men back and shoved Siriondil towards the fountain. The healer knelt next to Indis. He put his hand to the wound; it was long and bled profusely. He motioned for Ioreth to bring his bag. She placed it next to Siriondil, opened it, removed a clamp from the bag, pinched the life-pulse in the tool, and held it as steady as she could. She had done this before. Twice she lost the slippery vein and twice she was able to grasp it again. She waited for the Master Healer to begin.
He swore quietly as he rummaged through the bag, finding his thread at last. Drawing his breath in, he held it, and began to sew the pulsing sinew. Tiny stitches pulled it together. He used the finest silk thread he could find and quickly sewed the sliced tissue. The outer layer of skin was sewn shut; if these stitches on the life-pulse failed, the child would bleed to death and none would know any better. The child's breath was so faint he knew he had but moments left to save his Steward.
Finished with the deeper wound, he took twilic, braided double and as fine as any thread in the land, and sewed up the short blade cut. Ioreth began swabbing the area, removing the blood as quickly as it flowed, so that Siriondil could see what he was about. If not for its hit to the life-pulse, the wound would have been fairly easy to heal. Siriondil worked relentlessly as all stood about him, hushed.
Boromir suddenly opened his eyes, shuddered - and was gone. Siriondil fell backwards onto the marble tiles, shaken to the core, and took a long ragged breath. "All in vain," he cried as his tears fell to mix with the blood on his hands.
Indis knew the spasm for what it was. She looked blankly at the healer and fell forward. Imrahil caught her in his arms.
Imrahil walked slowly through the crowd that had assembled at the gate. They moved aside as the Prince of Dol Amroth walked to the Houses. He would let none touch her. Théodred followed, carrying the insensible Faramir in his arms, tears streaming down his face. Éomund still held Boromir's head when Indis collapsed. Now, he stooped, picked up the Steward's body with his good arm, and walked behind Prince Imrahil. Ioreth helped Siriondil stand and walk to the Houses. Théoden King stood with Listöwel.
None spoke for a few moments; then Captain Húrin stepped forward. "Captain Amlach, get your men to start cleaning up this…" he pointed to the bodies laying about the Courtyard. "Someone signal to the gatekeeper to open the Great Gate. I want Théoden King and Prince Imrahil's men in the city as quickly as possible. I want them to stay mounted and ride through the levels. I want a show of force that all will fear. I want couriers sent to discover what is happening in the rest of the city and I want order. Now!"
The men jumped as their elder Captain strode towards the parapet.
"You!" He pointed to Captain Ciramir. "Send couriers to assemble the Council. Tell them they are to meet in the chamber immediately." The men listened as disbelief shook them to the core, shied away from the bloodied fountain, and did as Húrin commanded.
Ragnhild rose and stepped towards the elder Captain, tears glistening in her eyes. "My Lord. Is there no healer for a Rohir?"
Captain Húrin, puzzled, turned towards her. "Who needs aid?"
"It is Grimbold, my Lord. He has taken a blow to his gut. I cannot staunch the flow of blood. I fear it is a mortal wound. It is beyond my ability to help him."
Calling loudly for a healer, Captain Húrin ran towards the warrior lying beneath a portico off the Courtyard. Éofor knelt next to his fallen comrade. "It is a grievous wound, Captain."
"Aye." Captain Húrin knelt. "My name is Húrin, Captain of Osgiliath. I am sorry your king is not here, Grimbold. I would offer my hand?"
Grimbold, eyes glazed and pain-filled, looked up and took the proffered hand. "I know you," he whispered.
"We have not met," Captain Húrin said, perplexed. "I only first saw you in the safe room an hour ago."
"Nay. But I know you. Lord Denethor," he took a breath and shuddered, "Lord Denethor spoke of you often and highly."
Húrin sobbed. "You knew my Steward?"
"I fought beside him under Marshal Walda's command when Lord Denethor was exiled to Amon Anwar. He rode with us for five years." The man took another breath, shivered violently, and then was quiet.
Prince Imrahil, Théodred and Éomund carried their sad burdens through the main entrance of the Houses. They walked into the central hall. Gasps filled the hall as healers, aides, and staff ran in to see what the commotion was about. Beds were quickly shown to them and each paused, kissed the one in their arms, and laid them gently down.
Siriondil turned towards Indis, she had awoken as they entered the Houses. "You, my Lady, cannot wait any longer. Your wound has stopped bleeding, but it must be stitched." He took his thread and needle and came towards her. She tried to shy away, but he held her head firmly and forced her to sit. As she tried to pull away, he heard the moan that escaped her. "You have other wounds too?" he asked gently. "Would you leave them untended? If you do, how will you help Gondor heal? And this one?" he said, touching Faramir's head lightly. He frowned at Indis' scowl, but she stayed put. 'Thought that would make her stop moving!' he said to himself. He quickly laved, then sewed the wound closed. Touching her ribs, he noted the cloth wrapped tight around her midsection. "Ioreth, please re-bandage her ribs."
He turned towards Faramir. He looked the boy up and down, noting the sling for the child's arm. The shoulder wound – he wondered what had caused it and who had tended it. He had noticed the boy had limped slightly, when first he saw him step from the secret doorway. As he moved his hand over Faramir's head, his fingers felt the ugly wound. He lifted the hair and looked closely. Faramir's eyes opened. "I see my work will not be complete until I spend some time with you, my young one," he said gently, "I must do something that will cause you pain, but it is necessary. Are you able to stand a little pain?"
Faramir looked at him, his eyes large and wide. Indis made as if to stand; Siriondil forced her down. "Please take a moment to rest." An assistant brought in warm valerian tea. He offered Indis a cup and gave one to Siriondil who held it for Faramir to drink.
"I will not tell you this will not hurt. I must take the head wound and reopen it, but only a little bit. The sewing was poorly done and it carries sickness within it. I will be as quick as I can. Will you be strong, Faramir, and let me do this?"
The boy nodded his head. Siriondil waited a few moments for the tea to take effect, and then picked up the child and put him on a cot in a corner of the room. Faramir's eyes rolled up; Siriondil knew the boy was ready. He laved the wound with hot water and then began. True to his word, he finished quickly. The wound was not so red; the fever was leaving it.
Théoden King had stepped to Théodred's side. The lad never left Faramir, even when the healer moved him to the cot.
"I made a promise to Boromir, Father. To take care of Faramir." His eyes welled with tears again. "I cannot leave him."
"I understand, my son. I will stand with you."
Two Knights of Gondor stood by Boromir's bed, guarding their Steward.
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