Characters/Pairing: Brandir the Lame, healer and (later) Lord of Brethil; his cousin Hunthor, Dorlas of Brethil, Finduilas of Nargothrond, and OCs
Warnings: canonical character death, allusion to Gwindor's sufferings in Angband
Book/Source: Children of Hurin, Silmarillion
Disclaimer: Tolkien gave Brandir a hard life and a short one. Himring couldn't do much about that, but felt he deserved more attention at least.
(Coming of Age)
The night had been long. Brandir went to fetch water and was the first to see his father’s men return. Relief washed over him again.
Dorlas and Hunthor joined Brandir by the pump. Dorlas was elated.
‘I killed my first orc!’
‘We were lucky,’ said Hunthor. ‘No losses… You, though, look exhausted, Brandir.’
‘Hunleth’s fever broke just after midnight. She’ll live.’
Brandir smiled. That, too, had been a first: Beldis had begun trusting him with the dangerously ill.
He noticed Dorlas’s blood-stained sleeve.
‘Let me see.’
‘It’s only a scratch!’
Brandir said, with a healer’s authority:
‘Orc scratches need treatment.’
The birth had been an ordeal. And when the child came, it was club-footed.
‘You will celebrate his birth as much as if he were straight-limbed,’ his mother demanded, white-faced on her pillows.
‘Yes, yes’ the young father promised her, faithfully.
But later, alone with Brandir, he blurted out: ‘Already, he is precious to me. But how will he live? The shadow in the North grows long and he cannot fight.’
Then he flushed deeply, glancing at Brandir’s leg, but added, with rising hope:
‘Maybe he will grow up to be wise, like you? And maybe it will be enough.’
‘We won! We won,’ Dorlas insisted. ‘Only—they killed the prisoners before we could free them.’
Despite the grime and blood, she was royal, golden. There was nothing at all Brandir could do for her. He wiped her brow, burnt a little incense supposed to help clear the mind and said: ‘I’m sorry.’
‘Sorry?’ the elf-woman answered. ‘No, good friend, rejoice with me! I shall not see the inside of Angband! I knew too well what it had done to a good man and feared it greatly.’
Then a spasm went through her and she said: ‘Mormegil. Tell the Mormegil…’