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Of Closed and Open Doors  by WhiteTree

As the day wore on, Halel’s fever slowly crept back upon her, and she wavered between sleep and wakefulness.  Galron sat quietly watching her.

During one of her times of lucidity, she sensed someone in the room and turned to the figure sitting in the chair.  “Hello.  Galron?” she asked groggily.

“Yes, lady.  I came to bid you farewell.  We ride for the Black Gate on the morrow.”

Halel shook her head, “’Tis such a perilous quest.  Galron, do take care.”  And then reaching towards the stand next to her bed, she groped for the rose and presented it to him.  “Please take it with you.”

He gazed deeply into her unseeing blue eyes, “My lady, I would be honored,”

As he took the flower, she stated with a ferocity that surprised him, “Finish it.”

Galron smiled sadly at her and bowed his head.

“’Tis a forlorn hope.”

His thoughts began to wander to the horror that awaited him and others who would soon depart.  Would any return?  He had already borne witness to extreme slaughter and the untimely deaths of quite a few of his friends.  His reverie was interrupted by Halel’s sudden coughing fit.

She turned over and reached once more towards the stand.  This time, she sought the glass of water, her fingers groping for the rim.  When she stretched out, a severe shock of pain suddenly gripped her side, causing her to gasp and double over.  As she recoiled to clutch her wound, she inadvertently pulled the glass off the stand.  It shattered upon impact.  Hearing the commotion, a nurse rushed in to find shards all over the floor and Galron sitting on the edge of the bed attempting to comfort a gasping Halel.

“I’ll fetch Master Lindion!” she cried.

In a matter of moments, the healer flew into the room, kicked aside pieces of glass, and sat next to Halel.

“What happened?” he asked.

“She reached for the glass and a spasm seized her,” Galron explained amidst Halel’s moans and pants.

“Her side.  It has not been healing properly.”  Standing up, Lindion rubbed his chin thoughtfully and furrowed his brow.  “I see no other option,” he sighed wearily.  “Soldier, pick her up and follow me.  Nurse, find Terevion.”

Galron gently lifted Halel from the bed and cradled her in his arms, her head resting upon his chest. 

“Beriandir,” she called quietly.

“Shhhhh……you cannot see him yet.”

He followed Lindion into the room where he first took her and once again laid her onto the table.  The knight bent over her, stroked her hair, and gently kissed her forehead before silently departing the small room to the sound of tinkling as the healer was preparing a sleeping draught. 

Galron found his way back to Halel’s room and hunched forward in the familiar chair by her bedside, his elbows on his knees and head bowed.

“The world is at a crossroads.”

Despair overtook the knight and he put his face in his hands and wept.


He wasn’t sure how long they worked on Halel.  Time was standing still at that moment.  But at long last, the door opened, and Terevion entered bearing her limp body.  Galron stood to give him room to place her back in the bed.

“A shard of the arrowhead had broken off and remained in the wound,” he explained.  “Lindion extracted it.”

“She will live then.”

“Perhaps.  The body can heal itself.  But the spirit must do the same.” 

After failing to find comforting words, the healer departed, leaving the Swan Knight alone.  Galron collapsed onto the chair and drifted off to sleep amidst the sounds of Halel’s labored breathing.

He awoke to the sensation of a strong hand kneading his shoulder.

“We are making preparations to ride, Galron.”  It was Imrahil, his candle casting a ghastly glow in the dark room.

The younger knight lifted his head and rubbed his stiff neck.  “Aye, my Lord.  I shall be there shortly.”

Imrahil smiled sadly at him and walked out of the room, quietly closing the door behind him, leaving Galron sitting in the darkness.

Clearing his head of grogginess, the Swan Knight rose and made his way to the gardens.  The still of the pre-dawn hours, the crisp spring air, and the light dew on the ground reflected a sense of peace and renewal that belied the approaching peril.  Melancholy seized him, but he cast it aside for the moment.  He had an errand to attend.


Halel lingered for a couple of days before quietly passing into eternity in the midst of a moonless night.  Her body succumbed to exhaustion from combating the infection caused by the arrowhead shard hidden deep within her wound. 

One of the attendants who removed her body from the chamber noticed on the stand next to her bed a fresh, pale orange rose.  He picked it up and placed it in her cold hand as they carried her out.


The Steward of Gondor walked alone in the gardens of the Houses of Healing with a heavy heart, burdened with the loss of his father and so many men — and one woman — in battle.  He was also thinking of his dear uncle and prayed he would see him again.

“My Lord Faramir.”

Turning, he saw it was the Warden.  Accompanying him was a golden-haired lady with her arm in a linen sling.

“My Lord, here is the Lady Éowyn of Rohan….”



A few days later, Galron fell before the Black Gate while gallantly defending his lord.

Imrahil wept.

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