Song: Fire and Rain - James Taylor
She’s going to be alright. Silly as it sounded, the only thing that kept him going was that thought, an idea that he held tightly to in his mind. Eowyn would be alright. That was what the healers had said when they took her away. He hoped they weren’t lying for his sake.
As he wandered along the battlefield, there were people around him, soldiers of Gondor and Rohan crouching down at the sides of their wounded friends, searching through the corpses for signs of life. Eomer had to be here for now, it was his duty as the lord of Rohan, but he hated walking in the midst of so much pain and death.
He passed a man that was one of the soldiers of Dol Amroth. He was lying on the ground, clutching his arm, while another soldier knelt beside him, desperately trying to console him as he gripped the bleeding limb. Eomer looked away, not wanting to invade their privacy. If he was wounded and writhing in the dirt, he would want help, not spectators.
There had been so much loss today; the king was dead, and Eomer’s sister badly hurt along with many of the Rohirrim. He swallowed thickly when he remembered discovering her on the battlefield, and tried to push it from his mind. Dwelling upon that would send him spiraling down an abyss of despair, and he had to think clearly if he was going to be a good leader.
He still had yet to register fully that he was going to be the king of Rohan.
Some of the soldiers were going about finishing off the orcs that were still clinging to life, but Eomer was surprised to find that some of the Easterlings on the far side were going untouched. Though most of them could not do more than sit there, they were still the enemy, and had to be executed.
Eomer was not fond of the idea of killing a man that was already down, but what choice had he? There was only one person actually standing on that side, and it looked like a nurse. He came to a stop while he observed, and could tell you were female by your clothing, but not much else since the distance was too great. Just as he spotted you, you crouched down and began checking someone, and it looked as though you were talking to him.
That was odd. What on earth were you doing among the defeated Easterling army? He sighed and decided he might as well find out for something to occupy him, since he was not yet permitted to go to the Houses of Healing. He would have to remove you from that region for your safety, and so that you wouldn’t have to watch while he killed the remaining men.
He climbed over the corpses of the still-bleeding, but long dead soldiers that were curled up in the grassland, their final words and final thoughts now departed from them. Eomer circled around an Elephant that was no longer breathing, and thank goodness for that, because the creatures were frightening and formidable in size. He did not fancy having to combat one of those on his own, though he had taken down one of them by harpooning the chief that directed it.
By the time he reached you, he discovered that you were kneeling beside an Easterling with curly black hair, his dark face rather pale from the loss of blood, which coated his chest and splattered his arms where he had likely cut down others before being cut down himself. The wound appeared to be on his left pectoral, and had gone completely through him based on the blood pooling on the ground beneath his body.
He kept his eyes on you, and you looked down at him, either ignoring or not noticing Eomer, speaking softly in a language that he did not recognize. Whatever words you said were evidently meant to be of comfort to him, as you used your blood-caked hands to pour some herbs into a flask. You closed the cap, holding the boy, who looked to be in his teens, by the hand and using your free limb to shake the formula together.
After a moment you seemed satisfied, and popped the cap off of it.
You tried to lower it to his mouth, but he cringed and murmured something in his fluid tongue. You replied, and he paused before nodding and opening his lips. You gingerly scooped one of your palms under his head and lifted it before pouring the solution into his mouth. You only gave him a mouthful, and he then swallowed it and shut his eyes, his breathing slowing down.
After a few moments, his chest stopped rising and falling and his fingers went limp within yours.
You sighed and looked up at Eomer.
“What can I do for you my lord?” You asked wearily.
You looked a little dirty, and there was blood all over the apron that you wore over a blue rough-spun dress, but despite those details, he noticed that you were rather pretty. For some reason you looked a little familiar to him, but he could not say that he ever recalled meeting you. He couldn’t have; you were just a nurse, and judging by the color you were wearing, you had to be from Gondor.
“I need you to go. I must kill the remaining Easterlings, and I doubt you want to watch.”
Scowling at him, you rose and stuck the flask into a pocket on your apron before crossing your arms and stating, “You will do no such thing. I’m nursing the ones that are well enough to survive.”
“My lady, please do not argue with me. I know it might be difficult for you to understand, but this is the way of war.” He told you, a little miffed by your attitude.
“Take it up with Prince Imrahil, I’m here under his orders,” You stated simply before turning your back on him and heading off, perhaps in search of more charges.
Anger began to prickle in his fingertips, so instead of letting you go, he followed you. He came up to your side, and you glanced at him before looking forward again.
“You’re still here.” You remarked.
“Why are you helping them?” He inquired, crossing his arms and glowering at you.
You inhaled and exhaled deeply, and with the air of someone explaining how to sew a stitch to an overemotional child, stated, “I am helping them because I am the only one who speaks their language.”
“They’re the enemy.” He replied sternly.
You stopped and turned to him, your brow furrowed in frustration and said, “That boy wasn’t your enemy. He was dragged into this war by the hierarchy that commands the East. Now, he is dead.”
“I didn’t kill him.” Eomer insisted.
“I know you didn’t. I did.” You informed him before setting off again.
For a moment the lord of Rohan stood there in your wake, stunned, before hastening to catch up with you again.
“What do you mean you killed him?” He asked.
Instead of giving him a verbal reply, you held up the flask and shook it. Inside, Eomer realized, was probably a lethal potion. So you were an angel of death.
“Is that what you use on all of them?”
You shook your head and answered, “Only on the hopeless to ease their passing.”
While you walked, you tried to dry your filthy hands on the equally filthy garment tied around your waist. It looked as though you had slaughtered an animal, or several, based on the patterns of dirt and bodily fluids now permanently soaked into the fabric. Despite the fact that you were annoyingly interfering with his plan to kill off the remaining Easterlings, Eomer had to say he was intrigued by you. A nurse, who spoke Easterling, and used potions to kill the ones bound to die anyways.
You stopped and knelt down again, and Eomer stood behind you, watching as you checked the pulse of a man on the ground, whose eyes were open. The Easterling blinked at you and murmured, “Ja koroukas azjhathkahar?”
“Myran von tukai jaroth.” You stated, putting your hand on his shoulder to keep him down.
You untied the front of his jerkin, and pulled it open to find that there was an arrow shaft buried in his other shoulder. It looked to be one of the Gondorians, which meant it wasn’t poisoned, but it was at least five inches deep. He was lucky it had not hit him on the other side, three inches lower, or it would have punctured his heart.
Looking over your shoulder, you discovered that Eomer was watching you and said, “Here, help me.”
Hesitantly, he stepped over the man’s legs and asked, “What?”
“Hold him down while I pull out the arrow.” You told him.
Evidently he did not speak the common tongue, because he looked between the two of you curiously, instead of appearing terrified like he ought to. Eomer had never endured the feeling of having an arrow pulled out of his flesh, but he knew men who had, and it was excruciating pain.
He frowned and replied, “Don’t do it.”
You exhaled heavily, turned your back on him and climbed atop the fellow, who watched you with wide eyes. He asked you another hysterical question, and you replied in the same tongue, your tone soothing. Evidently you explained to him in some manner what you were about to do, because you handed him a rolled up ball of cloth, and he stuffed it into his mouth and bit down.
Straddling his stomach and hovering over him so that you weren’t sitting on him, you wrapped your hands around the end of the protruding arrow and pulled.
The motion was swift, and you surprisingly managed to get the weapon out intact, for Eomer saw that the head of the arrow was still tied to the end of the shaft, dripping blood onto the ground beside the man. Despite the gag, however, the man’s shriek was piercing and loud, capturing the attention of several nearby soldiers who had been wandering about looking for more of their own men. They were probably preparing to stack up the bodies of the dead.
You plucked the gauze from his open mouth and tossed it aside before digging through one of your pockets. There, you found another piece of cloth and pressed it to his shoulder. He cringed, and his eyes watered, but he stopped screaming. Little whimpers came out of his mouth, and you took one of his hands and placed it over the cloth on his shoulder.
You pressed down, and he nodded, understanding what you wanted him to do.
Then, you stood up again and tossed the arrow aside, wiping your forehead with the back of your hand and smearing a streak of blood there. Then, you took one of your dirty rags and began to wave it around in the air, flying it back and forth and staring over Eomer’s shoulder. Apparently someone responded, because you finally put your makeshift flag down and looked at the Rohirrim again.
“Pleasure meeting you,” You stated dismissively before striding past him.
“What’s your name?” He called after you.
You ignored him. Eomer looked at the Easterling on the ground, who was trembling, and for no fathomable reason, shrugged at him as if to say, “Women.”