35. Learning Patience
Chapter 35 – Learning Patience
Rhavaniel and Pippin parted ways. He had no intention of going down to the battle or at least to the lowest level where she was headed. Rhavaniel however, was ready to join the war once again. While in captivity, war broke out below and her hands itched to fire her bow once more. She had a new outlook on her life and her future. Hope returned to her and she was ready to defend all those who wanted peace at last. As she ran along, she heard some of the men speaking of a great army come to their aid. "Rohan." she thought and smiled to herself. Then another voice broke above the others.
"You there! Elf!" it said.
She looked to see a young man dressed as one of the healer's assistants and went to him.
"You are an elf are you not?" he said desperately.
"Yes I am. And what need do you have for an elf that you would keep me from my duties and the war raging below?"
"My master asked me to search for someone who may help with some of the patients. They have been poisoned by the enemy's weapons and I'm afraid our medicine is doing little to help." he said, his voice wavering.
"And what makes you think I would be of assistance?" she demanded.
"You are an elf of course. All elves know of the ways of medicine. Do you not carry some elixir on your person for such injuries?"
Rhavaniel was confused by this information. It seemed the people of Gondor stereotyped elves as naturally having healing abilities. The truth was she knew very little about healing. It was like anything else, a learned trait. "Do think we are born all knowing?" she said to the nervous youth.
"Well… I just…" he stuttered and then pulled himself together. "Can you help us or not?"
She didn't have time for this now. She was ready to sink her blade into orc flesh. She wanted to leave this youth behind and pay him no mind, but that was the old Rhav. The look on the young man's face was that of desperation. Rhavaniel knew only the basics of medicine and that was not much. Finally, she gave in, rolled her eyes and went to the man. No better time than now to learn about patience, she thought to herself. "Show me where the injured are housed and I will see what I can do. I will be honest and say I know not much of healing, but if I can help in any way I will."
The young man took a deep breath and sighed. "Thank you lady elf. Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated."
Rhavaniel followed him to the healing rooms. So many and so young they all seemed to her. Some only came to be stitched up and sent back out. Others were missing an arm or a leg. Then there were those that were beyond saving, kept comfortable until their inevitable death took them.
The youth took her to a separate room where the poisoned were being housed. Rhavaniel gasped as she looked down at the patient she was to help. "This is the Lord Faramir. You did not tell me it was he. I tried to save him from his father's madness. I have been so worried for his welfare."
"He has been badly injured my lady." the man said in a whisper. "I am afraid there is nothing our medicine can do to help. He needs special elvish treatment or at least that is what my master says."
Rhavaniel thought a moment. "I do not know how to save him but I know what might prolong his life until someone more educated shows. Do you know of Mountain Elanor*?"
"It is known here, used for snake bites." he answered.
"It can also be used to prolong the life of someone seriously ill. It will not cure him but will sustain him until help arrives. Other than that, I have no answer."
"It is enough then. I will fetch the herb. We are very short handed. Will you stay with the Lord Faramir, in case he stirs before I return?" he asked.
Rhavaniel smiled. "Of course, now hurry off." She turned back to Faramir and picked up a wet cloth, gently wiping his fevered brow.
After a little while, he cracked open his eyes. "Who… who are you?" he said in a raspy voice.
"My name is Rhavaniel and I come from the forest of Mirkwood."
"You are an elf?" he said and moaned. "Then truly I must be dying."
Rhavaniel laughed lightly. "The men of Gondor know little about my kind. You think we are all about healing and death." She dipped the cloth into a bowl of water, rung it out and wiped his head again. "I am merely assisting while the real healer finds something to alleviate you. Actually, I know nothing of medicine and although you are sickly, I would say you are in better condition than you might think."
Faramir smiled realizing how silly he must sound. "Mirkwood you say? You are quite a long way from home."
"You could say that." she answered.
"And why would an elf, especially a lady elf be so far from her kin?"
"I was sent on a mission that I thought I had failed, but seeing you here now proves that I was successful."
Faramir furrowed his brow not understanding what she meant by this. "One thing is true of all elves; you never give a straight answer."
"That may be true my lord. Now you need to rest. Help will be here soon. Take comfort. May the Valar watch over you Lord Faramir."
Soon, the young man showed with the herbs steeped in a tea. Rhavaniel helped him get Faramir into a sitting position and held the cup to his lips. The young Steward scrunched up his face. "That is absolutely horrid."
Rhavaniel smiled. "Yes but necessary." The tea quickly took affect and Faramir was soon resting comfortably again. The young healer thanked her and she was about gather up her weapons to join the fight when Faramir called to her.
"Please my lady elf." he said barely a whisper. "Stay here with me."
Rhavaniel went back to him and took his hand. "I am afraid my skill is needed in the war." Looking down at his face, she thought he seemed weaker and pallid.
"I feel as though you protect me in some way. Death would not dare cross my path while an elf stood by. I have always admired your kind and if this is to be my end, I would be honored to have you beside me as I leave this world." he said weakly.
It seemed the poison was spreading throughout his body. Rhavaniel felt partly responsible in a way. The herbs were not helping much either. Faramir had such a gentle soul. As much as her heart desired to join the fight and as badly as she wanted to slice through orc flesh, she just could not find it within herself to leave the young Steward. It was very possible that he would not make it much longer and she would not deny him his last wish. So, she found a chair and brought it to his room, sitting it beside his bed. She took his hand in hers and continued to wipe his brow with the damp cloth.
* * *
Hours passed by now. Faramir never stirred except for the slow rise and fall of his chest. The young healer checked in every now and again. They could no longer get Faramir to wake to administer more herbs. Rhavaniel's heart sunk to think of him passing this night.
She could no longer tell if it was night or day. The dark clouds she had seen days ago were now looming over the city. She often thought of the others, where they were or if they were still alive. She hadn't felt Legolas since being imprisoned and that worried her. She knew something was wrong, but there was nothing she could do about it now.
As she sat with Faramir, a soldier peeked into the room. He was checking on his Captain, being one who helped to bring him to the healing house. Rhavaniel reported his condition but called to him just before he left the room. "What happens down below? How goes the war? I wanted so badly to be amongst those fighting, but your lord and captain asked that I stay with him. My hands have been itching to fire my bow."
The soldier looked stunned. "Surely you would not join in such things my lady, even for an elf. War is no place for one as lovely as you."
She felt her anger rise at this comment. Certainly, she did not look so weak and vulnerable. Her eyes darkened slightly. "My good man, surely you do not…"
She was interrupted by a new yet familiar voice just outside the door. "Surely you do not suggest that one of Mirkwood's and Lothlorien's finest and most skilled warriors should not fight alongside your brothers in arms." She waited to see who spoke. The soldier stepped away and made room for the new visitor to enter.
Rhavaniel's eyes widened. "Aragorn!" she said surprised and relieved. "Oh how good it is to see you here."
Aragorn bowed in true elvish fashion. "I've come to tend to the Lord Faramir."
"He is in grave condition. They asked for my help, but I know nothing of medicine. I suggested Mountain Elanor just to prolong his life. It was all that I could think of at the moment."
Aragorn smiled. "That was good thinking." he said as he looked over Faramir and his injuries. He then whispered some instructions to the healer nearby and handed him a black bag he was carrying. The young man darted off at once. "He is very sick, but his will is strong. It may be what saves him."
Seeing Aragorn here by himself made her worry about the others. "What has happened Aragorn? Please tell me of the war and Frodo and…" She was afraid to go on.
"The war is over… for now. The enemy has been pushed back and eradicated." He glanced over his shoulder. "The weapon is on its way to be destroyed." She understood what that meant. Pippin had told her how Frodo and Sam left on their own to go to Mordor.
Now Aragorn went to where Rhavaniel stood and whispered so only she could hear. "He is here Rhavaniel. Legolas is in the City, but cannot bring himself to face you. You should know that he has changed. He is not nor shall he ever be the elf you once knew and this worries him. It keeps him from coming to you." Aragorn cupped her desolate face in his hands. "But I know he still loves you. I have seen it on his face every day. Make no mistake, his love for you has been a constant during these trying times."
She was relieved to know that he was alright, but worried about what she would find once she saw Legolas again. "Thank you Aragorn. You have comforted my worried heart."
"Go to him Rhavaniel. He needs you now more than ever. He is with Gimli on the lower levels of the city. They are inspecting the devastation. That is where you will find him."
Rhavaniel would have run off and not looked back but for Faramir. "The young Steward asked that I stay with him. Should he wake and I am not here…"
"He will not wake for some time. My medicines will draw him into a healing sleep. There is time and I will call you back when he begins to stir."
"Thank you Aragorn." she smiled and left to go find Legolas, unsure of exactly what or whom she would discover.
*Mountain Elanor can be found in FotR; Lothlorien.