1. THE DAWNING
At the awakening of a new day, the 100th since his rescue by his cousin Fingon from the terrible torture and mutilation he had suffered at the hands of Morgoth, Maedhros awoke in bed in Fingon's tent at Hithlum. His eyelids seemed to be glued together and he was cold. Despite this, he felt an uncomfortable film of perspiration covering his entire body. Carefully he moved each of his limbs to assess their functioning ability. Relieved, he felt that they were stiff and sore, but he was able to move them at least, and he was content that the Dark Lord had not broken them. Around his right hand he felt a cloth of some kind. He tried to lift it to where he could see it through his welded eyelids, but could not see more than a haze.
A cool compress being held to his forehead and the soft caress of slender fingers upon his shoulder startled him. Then, to his right, a voice spoke.
"Can you hear me, Maedhros, Son of Feanor?" the voice asked in clear, sweet tones. Feebly, he nodded his head toward the soothing sounds. Then he tried to speak in return, but only a throaty rasp emerged from his parched lips.
"Eyes", he managed to croak. He moved his head back and forth trying to clear the stuff from his throat.
"Here. No. Let me wash them", the angelic voice uttered. The delicious sensation of a cloth soaked in refreshing water mixed with healing herbs bathed his eyes and softly wiped away the crust encasing his eyelashes and the glue that held his lids together.
"Try now", said the voice.
Carefully he opened his eyes. He saw a fair maiden kneeling at his bedside, smiling down at him with eyes of sparkling turquoise. He looked at her in wonder.
"Who are you?" he rasped, but she had moved away and did not hear him.
In a moment she was back with a large basin of water and some clean, soft cloths and bandages.
"Are you a handmaiden of Fingon's?" he asked, after she had given him a sip of water from a skin lying on the ground beside the bed.
She nodded, and a ringlet of gold fell over her slim shoulder as she bent over, smiling at him again, and then she began to lower the sheet that covered his slowly healing form.
"What – what are you doing?" he almost shouted at her.
"It is to prepare you for your bath", she spoke in soft tones. "I have been doing this for you every morning since you were first brought here".
"Every morning? You have seen my – my –" he faltered.
"Seen, touched, and cleaned", she said matter-of-factly, but averting her eyes from his lest he notice her amusement. Deftly, she wrung out a washing cloth and began to wipe his chest in gentle strokes. When she turned to look at him again his face was quite flushed. He looked away from her and then he noticed his bandaged hand. Seeing it, he remembered being hanged by his wrist from the cliff, and being rescued by his cousin. He lifted up his right arm, trying to assess its weight compared to the other.
"Is it - ?" he began, and the gentle maiden nursing him placed two tender fingers upon his lips.
"Shhh," She spoke. "Gone, yes".
Angrily he started to rise, and then a piercing pain through his forehead caused him to fall back onto the pillows behind him.
"How shall I - ?" he began, and was hushed again by the fair face held close to his own.
"You will learn to do everything with the other", she said. "Fight with your sword, eat, relieve yourself, do everything", she said with confidence.
"But I cannot –"
"Yes. You can. You will be stronger than you were before", she smiled at him.
"Where is Fingon?" he asked, willing himself to give up the prior conversation.
"Fingon will be here soon. He is meeting with Lord Fingolfin as we speak", she replied, tending to his bath once more. Carefully, she pulled the covering sheet down over his well-shaped thighs to his knees, and began carefully sponging his lean stomach and below it, his beautifully shaped genitalia.
"I do not appear as I did once", he muttered with a tinge of pink in his cheeks.
"So I hear", she murmured, "although you are still the most beautiful man I have ever seen".
He turned to look at her in surprise at the forthright words.
"Who are you? What is your name?" he asked.
"I am Dawn", she replied. "I am the Dawn of your new life". And then she smiled at him once more, lighting up his new day more brilliantly than the sun.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.