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Thicker than Blood: 6. Fever

The three of
them stayed by Frodo’s sickbed as the morning wore on.  Near midday, Elrond returned to examine his patient. 
He came alone and still seemed weary from his trials of the night before. 
His timeless face was worn and troubled and when his eyes met Gandalf’s
a silent understanding seemed to pass between them. 
He sat beside Frodo on the bed and touched the hobbit’s brow. 
Frodo flinched and he gave a small gasp, his body perhaps remembering the
touch from the previous night’s torments, but he did not waken. 
His pale lips moved soundlessly and he turned his head as if to avoid
Elrond’s hand, but he was too weak to evade it. 
Finally he moaned and gave in, but his body continued to tremble.


 “Fever…”
the elf sighed softly after he had examined him and checked the bandages. 
Sam shot Merry an alarmed glance.  He’d
wondered as much earlier but his fear had made him dismiss the thought. 
“His will has flown but his body fights on,” Elrond continued, his
voice tinged with surprised admiration  “I
am amazed at his strength.”


 “But,
sir!” Sam cried desperately.  “I
thought his ‘will’ was the only thing keepin’ him from becoming like those
black riders?”  He jumped up and
cast his eyes frantically towards his master. 
“Mr. Strider said if he weren’t resisting anymore, he’d become like
them only weaker and that was the only thing keeping him from it!”


 Elrond
nodded.  “My foster-son spoke
truly but I am afraid Frodo’s strong will was at last overcome at the ford.  He had kept the evil at bay, but once he fell, the shard of
the blade that lies within him was no longer held back and was able to work its
evil course towards his heart.  If
you had been delayed but a few more hours in reaching us, that splinter would
have had time to reach it and he would have succumbed.”  The elf grasped Sam’s shoulder, as he quavered with horror
again.  “Fear not, my brave
friend!  Though I could not find it,
I do not believe it has yet pierced your master’s heart. 
His will may be gone but we now protect him with light and the power of
my people.  For a time, he is
safe.” 


 “And how
long is that?” Merry asked, nearly as shaken as Sam was.  “How long can he be like this and live?”


 Elrond
distant grey eyes warmed with sad compassion but Merry felt less than comforted. 
“Not long, I am afraid,” the elf sighed, “but do not despair. 
I have called upon the greatest healers of my house and when they have
come and I have recovered my strength, we will search for the shard again.”  He glanced quickly at Sam who had stiffened at this. 
“Be not afraid, Samwise.  I
will not risk him so again.  I
learned much from last night.  Our
time was short and I needed to act as quickly as I dared. 
I could not ease his pain more for fear it would drive him closer to the
shadow, but I have some reprieve now and there are ways we can prepare and
support him if there are enough of us to hold back the shadow.” 



 Sam shivered
and looked down at the sleeping face of his master.  A fine beading of sweat had been building across his nose and
cheeks.  Under it laid the faintest
hint of rosy hue – but it was not the flush of health that caused it– Sam
saw that now – it was the heat of the growing fever. 
He blew his nose on his kerchief and wiped his eyes then sat down heavily
in the chair that was becoming like a second home to him. 
He shuddered.  He did not want to go through another night like the one just
past, but it seemed there was nothing else to be done. 
Frodo moaned softly and he looked up again. 
His master was making small sounds like snatches of words, but he was too
weak to fully utter them.  His head
moved from side to side slowly and with his good arm, he appeared to be trying
to brush something away from his face.  He
was becoming delirious.  One more in
the long list of torments for his master.  Sam
needed to blow his nose again.


 “And
what of this fever of his?” he asked, trying desperately to collect himself. 
“Should we not give him something for it? 
My old gaffer had some remedies for fever he swore by. 
I could make some of them if you like.” 
That was at least something he could do other than sitting in Frodo’s
room and watching his master slowly fade.


 Elrond
actually smiled at that.  “We are
also skilled at treating fevers, and I will cure it if it becomes much worse,
but I think we should let it go for a while. 
It counters the terrible cold of the morgul’s touch and keeps it in
check.  If he becomes too hot, or
seems too troubled, send for me and I will cool him.”


 “But
is there naught can we DO?”  Merry’s
plaintive question voiced Sam’s feelings exactly. 
He felt so helpless.  “This
waiting and standing about like baggage is enough to drive me mad! 
There must be something we can do for him?”


 Gandalf
blew a cloud from his pipe.  The
whisp of blue smoke curled into the still autumn air and hung about the
wizard’s head.  “You can take
care of yourselves,” he answered for Elrond. “And Sam getting a real rest
might be a good way to start.  Meriadoc,
why don’t you take him along to the room that was prepared for you?” 
Sam opened his mouth to protest but the looks the wizard and elf gave him
shushed him.  “It will be all
right.”  Gandalf assured him. 
“I will be here by his side as long as I need be. 
Rest.  These nights will be
long and dark and Frodo will need you alert and able to care for him, not
sliding out of your chair by morning.”  Sam
started at that, but it made him begin to feel more trust for these big folk.  They did care, and really were trying to do their best for
his master, although after the previous night’s activities, he had wondered
about that.  The fact that they had
observed enough to know he was sleeping in his chair let him know that he was
not so totally alone in this great house and that gave him a bit of comfort. 
He yawned in spite of himself and Elrond laughed. 
It was a warm, merry sound, despite the circumstances.


 “Your
body agrees even if you do not, little one. 
Take Gandalf’s advice and mine.  Your
master is cared for and since you are also my guest, I will care for you also. 
Come.”


 And so
Sam was led through the halls of the last homey house in Rivendell and for the
first time since arriving, was able to look about him in wonder.  It was a grand hall, carved and embellished with mysterious
symbols that floated and wove about the delicate architecture. 
It was beautiful but to Sam’s mind, not as inherently elvish as the
wooded hall where he had feasted with Gildor. 
It was warmer and less glorious somehow, but closer and more comforting
to his hobbit heart.  He felt he could lie in this house for a lifetime and know
nothing but peace in it’s wooded halls.  If
only his present errand had not been so grim, he might have wished it. 
But this is no fit place for the likes of me, he thought. 
It’s too fine!  I’d
just be getting comfortable and then they’d find me out and I’d be tossed
out on my ear!
  He allowed
himself a little smile at the image before a yawn caught him. 
A bit of sleep in a real bed did sound tempting, and he had the distinct
feeling that things were going to get worse for his master long before they got
better.  He thought he should take
his rest while he still could.



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In Playlists

Playlist Overview

Last Update: 03 Apr 05
Stories: 15
Type: Workshop/Group List
Created By: Marta's Playlists


Stories I have read and liked, dealing primarily with interactions between members of the Fellowship.

Why This Story?

 

Story Information

Author: Ariel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/08/02

Original Post: 10/16/02

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