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When Terevion entered the room, he couldn’t say he was shocked to see a bare-chested Faramir slouched down in the chair, breeches not quite pulled up to his waist. It appeared he had temporarily failed at dressing himself and was resting before making another attempt.
“My Lord, what do you think you are doing?”
“I grew weary of lying down.”
“You are not strong enough to venture out.”
“So I have learned.”
He slowly pushed himself up in the chair while cradling his injured shoulder, toned muscles in his chest and arms flexing as he did so.
“Terevion, I would like to check on one of my soldiers in this House.”
The healer sighed and put his hands on his hips.
“I promise I won’t be long.”
“You must take this medicine and swear to return to your room when I send for you. Besides, it is nearly lunch time.”
“You have my word.”
He took the jar from Terevion, who bent and retrieved the tunic and sling from the floor as Faramir swallowed the contents, wrinkling his nose in disgust.
The healer helped the captain to his feet and handed him the items he picked up. Faramir finished pulling up his breeches and donned the top with assistance, along with the sling and soft leather boots.
“Now, please take me to Halel.”
“Follow me. She is three doors down.”
As they approached the room with Terevion lightly holding Faramir’s elbow for support, the healer gestured at a chair in the hall just outside the door. The captain sat while he gently knocked twice before entering.
Inside, Halel watched him approach.
“It is Terevion, lady. Are you up for a guest?”
“Why not? It seems everybody else has stopped by. It would be nice to have time to myself once in a while!”
Indeed, a few people had come to see the woman warrior behind all the sensational stories. Some just stuck their heads in to gawk. And others, including nurses, stopped to gossip outside her door.
With Halel’s permission, Terevion wheeled around to retrieve Faramir. Entering the hall and closing the door behind him, he held out a staying hand as the captain began to rise.
“Are you aware of her condition?”
“I was informed that she was pierced multiple times and that she has lost most of her eyesight from a wound to the head.”
The healer nodded, “Yes, she also has a slash to the right arm. As for the arrow wounds, she was pierced here at the waist and three times in the left leg.”
“Is she crippled?”
“She’ll limp for the rest of her life at best.”
Terevion reached for Faramir’s good arm to help him up, opened the door, and guided him towards a chair.
“Who is there?” Due to her challenges with her vision, all Halel could see was that the guest had a dark tunic, light colored breeches, and dark hair. She could not make out facial features.
“Your captain, Halel.”
Halel’s eyes widened and she bolted upright, causing a sharp pain to shoot through her wounded side. She gasped, doubled over, and rolled away from the men. Faramir reached for her, but ere he could provide assistance, Terevion rushed to her side, placing his hand over the wound. Once the pain lessened, she rolled on her back with the assistance of the healer’s guiding hands.
“I will fetch something for the pain.”
Halel waved him away.
Faramir’s soul sank with the weight of a deep and abiding sadness for this woman who was suffering for having saved his life, this woman who was not even supposed to be on a battlefield. He silently begged for mercy for her.
“Captain Faramir, forgive me for being unable to greet you properly,” she gasped.
“Please, there is no need for formalities now.”
She could make out his arm supported by a sling and also caught a hint of white through the laces of his tunic that she surmised to be a bandage. “How do you fare, Captain?”
“I have been tended with great care. Thank you, Halel.” With this, he motioned for Terevion to leave them, which he did with a bow.
“You know my true name.”
“Please forgive me for my deception. Beriandir was my husband, not my brother, and I had to dress as a man in order to follow him into your company. We did not want to be separated by war.”
Faramir looked deeply into unseeing eyes, and his gentle heart was moved with pity.
“Lady, I do not scorn you for your actions. Although…..” A smile played across his lips, “I will not forgive you for butchering your hair.”
“What is it with men and women’s hair????”
“Blame Beriandir for that. Cutting hair was apparently one skill he lacked.”
Faramir smiled sadly and bowed his head at the mention of Beriandir. He decided to briefly change the subject and continue to address her concerns.
“I hold you in high regard for your fortitude, conviction, devotion, and gallantry. You were my most trusted scout, a skillful archer, and you helped save my life. For this, I am in your debt.”
“Thank you for your kind words, Captain.”
“Beriandir, too, was a fine soldier, a good man.”
Halel turned her face away.
“He was all I had. After he was slain, the company became my family. And now, I am lost. What is there in this world for a blind, crippled woman? What do I have to offer?”
Farramir paused before answering her. “Indeed, the world has changed for you…..for us all. All things are new, and it is up to you to discover them. Relish the adventure and task set before you. I saw you in action. You are quite adept at overcoming adversity. Look at me, Halel.”
“Captain Faramir, you have probably noticed that I cannot…”
“Look at me, Halel!” he repeated, stern yet gentle.
She turned her face towards his and attempted to focus on his chiseled features.
Faramir continued, “What do you have? You have your senses, a sharp mind, and your heart. With these, you will thrive. Do not lose hope. Always turn your face to the sun. You will find your path.”
Halel closed her eyes as if deep in thought. There was a brief silence between them before she opened them once again, “It matters not anyway unless the Dark Lord is thrown down.”
The captain responded quietly, “I have the utmost faith that good will prevail.”
With that came a soft knock, “My Lord?” It was a nurse sent by Terevion calling from beyond the shut door.
“I also have the utmost faith that healers can be annoying.” He slowly rose and steadied himself, cradling his injured shoulder. “I’m coming,” he responded.
As he took a step, Halel called to him, “My Lord Faramir?”
He turned back to look upon her. She had a playful smile.
“What time shall I expect you to escort me on a stroll? I need to ensure that I am presentable.”
His soft laugh betrayed his sinking heart. He knew she was merely attempting to make light of her situation. It was a start.
He turned fully to face her and took her by the hand. “May I, lady?
“Indeed, my Lord.”
With that, he raised her hand to his lips and gently kissed her fingers.
“I am flattered, Captain.”
“It is my pleasure. And now I order you to rest,” he smiled as he laid her hand back upon the bed and then departed for his chamber.
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