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Of Closed and Open Doors  by WhiteTree

After departing Faramir’s room, Galron made his way to see Halel.  Receiving no reply to his knock on the door, he quietly cracked it open and peeked inside.  She was lying with her head turned to the side so he could not see her face.  Silently, he entered the sick room and seated himself in the chair at her bedside.  She hadn’t touched her breakfast.  And her breathing was still haggard.  After a while, she began to twitch and moan.  And just as before, she clenched the hem of the sheet in a tight fist while desperately trying to extract a nonexistent arrow from her side with the other.  And again, Galron took her hand in his and held it tight until she inhaled deeply and calmed. 

Time passed and Halel finally stirred and sharply jerked her head to face Galron.  “Who is there?”  She quietly whispered.

“Galron, lady.  We spoke last night.”  Suddenly, he was aware he was holding her hand and quickly placed it back on the bed.  “Please forgive me.  You were thrashing about in your sleep and I sought to calm you before you hurt yourself further.”

Halel blinked and tried to search his face.  For some reason, she felt she could trust this man.

“Ah, my Lord Galron….”

He began to protest.

A faint smile played across her lips, “I use the term respectfully.”  And then after a brief pause, “I believe I owe you my story.”

“Only if you wish to tell.”

Halel struggled to sit up, grasping at the wound in her side.  Galron leaned forward and helped arrange the pillows behind her.  Settling back against them, she crossed her hands in her lap.

“Beriandir and I were married a little more than a year and a half ago. We lived on the banks of the Anduin, north of Osgiliath.  I helped him farm and tend the animals.  He helped me cook.  We hunted together.  It was a good life. Yet the growing threat to the east was ever present and ultimately claimed his entire family.  Unsurprisingly, he changed.  My gentle Ber turned angry and bitter.  It consumed him, and he felt compelled to join the Ithilien Rangers to help combat the encroaching evil……and to seek vengeance.  Yet, he dared not leave me behind.  We had nobody else.  I lost my parents to disease years ago, and I was an only child.  Ber has a cousin in Lebennin.  But he is nothing but a scoundrel who likes women in quite an unwholesome way.  Staying with him was out of the question.  So it was determined after much discussion that we would sell our animals and I would go with him, disguised as Halon.”

At this, Galron pointed to Halel’s dark locks, “And you cut your hair…..”

“Ber did actually,” she said as she held out her shoulder-length hair.  “It reached my waist.  He cringed the whole time.”

“Indeed.”

“I reminded him that it would grow back.  Alas, that this is how he would see me last.”

 She sighed and wiped away a tear before continuing, “I sewed a tunic and trousers, ensuring they were a little larger in order to hide my womanliness.  And so I was set.  The transition from civilian to soldier was not too challenging since I had been accustomed to performing tasks typically reserved for men.”

Galron rubbed his chin thoughtfully and nodded, “Go on.”

“There’s not much else to tell.  Due to my small size, Captain Faramir used me primarily as a scout.”

At the name of Faramir, Galron interjected, “He is awake and on the mend, by the by.”

Halel smiled broadly, “That is well indeed!”

“The fact that you were able to fool him is quite a testament to your skill at maintaining your ruse for so long. Captain Faramir is not easily deceived.”

Halel nodded at the compliment, “It drained me mentally.  I had to constantly remain vigilant and mindful of my mannerisms, particularly how I used my hands, and how I walked, talked, and even sat.   It was exhausting.  I’m sure it sapped Ber even more as he was always concerned for me and looking out for my wellbeing.” 

At this, Halel fell silent for a while.  Galron quietly studied her slim face.

 “…..and then I was on my own.” 

“No need to go further, lady.  I understand.”

“Captain Faramir learned of his brother’s death shortly before Beriandir was slain in Ithlilien.  There were times when he and I shared memories late into the night of our departed loved ones….grieving.” 

A tear trickled down her cheek, and she hastily turned her face from Galron and wiped it away.

Galron’s words were a soft whisper, “I am truly sorry, Halel.  You have my deepest sympathies.”

And then after a moment of silence, he rose with a sigh.  “I must go, lady.”

And he left her to thoughts.





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