3. Wings of Healing
Houses of Healing, Gondor
Bergil took the stairs two at a time, clutching the small bundle to his chest as he ran. The herbmaster's urgent orders spurred him on: Faramir's life hung in the balance and all haste was needful. He raced down the long hall, skidded around the corner, and burst through the doorway. It seemed that almost every head in the crowded little room turned his way.
A grey-cloaked man knelt beside Faramir's bed, his hand resting on the Steward's brow. He called Faramir by name but his voice sounded faint as if he were calling from somewhere far away. The man sighed wearily and then he too looked up at Bergil. Quickly the boy held out the cloth-wrapped leaves. 'It is kingsfoil, Sir,' he said; 'but not fresh, I fear. It must have been culled two weeks ago at the least. I hope it will serve, Sir?'
As he finished speaking the cloaked healer straightened and Bergil could better see Lord Faramir's face. Grey it was, and deathly still. Was he too late? His young heart broke at the thought and suddenly Bergil could not hold back the tears. He turned towards the door, choking back a sob of grief, but someone caught his arm. The cloth bundle was lifted gently from his fingers and he found himself looking up into the healer's smiling face. 'It will serve,' the man said reassuringly. 'The worst is now over. Stay and be comforted!'
Bergil swiped at his wet cheeks with his sleeve, as hope flared in his heart once more. His father moved to his side and drew him close; they stood together and watched as the healer crushed some of the dried leaves in his hands sending an aromatic freshness sweeping through the room like a spring breeze.
Bergil studied the stranger as he worked; and in the flickering lamplight he caught a glimpse of green and silver on the man's breast. The mysterious healer dropped the bits of leaves into a bowl of water and the fragrant scent filled the room again. He stood, then, seeming to throw off his great weariness and Bergil could clearly see the brooch he wore - a green stone in a setting of silver with wings like an eagle in flight. For an instant the boy was almost sure a light radiated from the heart of the stone - as if it held a tiny captive star in its emerald depths. Bergil rubbed his still damp eyes, and when he looked again the light was gone, and the stone was dark in the dim room.
Then the man turned and held the bowl near the Steward's face and Faramir awakened and spoke, and Bergil and his father were overcome with joy and relief. They stayed with Faramir through the night, and so it was that Bergil thought no more on the green stone then, but in days after he did think on it, and he wondered.
* Bergil and Aragorn's dialogue is from 'The Houses of Healing', RotK
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