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29. Legolas Tripping on Poppy
The healer covered Legolas up to his neck with a thick bear pelt. He dimmed one of the oil lanterns that had illuminated the room, and turned the other two off.
“He needs to rest, but I’ll come back and check on him regularly.” He beckoned for Thranduil to come. “I want the peace treaty written and signed as soon as possible.”
“I cannot leave my son.” Thranduil laid a protective hand on Legolas’ shoulder.
“I will stay with him,” said Galion. “If he gets worse, I shall send word to you immediately.”
“Well. Perhaps then I might… If you promise to summon me directly. But it shall have to be a very brief withdrawal.” He said the last part rather sternly, resuming his cold stare at the old orc. When the other took no notice, he reluctantly followed him out into the corridor.
As soon as the door closed behind them Wynne jumped to her feet and took the free place by Legolas’ head. She wished she could stroke his hair like his father had done, but she had no right to touch him.
“How do you feel?” she asked instead.
“Great!” He smiled dreamily at her. “Pain all gone. Did you know your head shines?”
“It does?” Wynne gingerly touched her hair, which felt tangled, but normal.
“Nay it does not,” Galion assured her. “I think the poppy medicine is affecting him.”
Legolas was back to examining his hand. “I have never noticed before, how interesting these lines are. See the magnisc… magnifschiz... the pretty pattern they form.”
Wynne obediently looked, and swallowed hard not to sob. His strange behavior scared her.
“You should try to rest now, Legolas” said Galion. “Shall I play something?”
“Please do,” answered Wynne in his stead.
Galion sat on the other bed, leaning back against the white wall, and began a soothing lullaby on his flute. The melody was so sad, it almost felt like a funeral hymn. Wynne discreetly wiped away a few tears, hoping Legolas would not see and be concerned.
He did not see, his fascination with the hand was still all-consuming.
Galion paused his playing.
“Wynne, it has been a long night, you should try to sleep also. We cannot do more for him now anyway.” He drew his knees up, making space for her in the foot of the bed.
“I don’t know…” She looked again at Legolas’ pale face and odd eyes with irises shrunk back into thin rings.
“We can take turns watching over him. I begin, and then you step in. Thranduil will come back soon too, and Nodi and Bron are probably still waiting outside. We can help him better if we are well rested.”
“All right then. But promise to wake me if anything changes.” She curled into a ball by Galion’s feet. He resumed the music and she drowsed off almost immediately, exhausted as she was.
Not long after, however, she woke up to the sound of Legolas crying. Wild-eyed and groggy by lack of sleep, she immediately went to his side, closely followed by Galion.
Legolas was still staring at his hand, but now he looked absolutely terrified by it and tears welled from his eyes.
“Take it off. Please take it off!”
“What’s wrong?” Wynne tried to take his hand, but he was waving it around frantically.
“The spider. The spider is back. Please take it off. Please!”
“Get the healer,” said Galion tensely. “I stay with him.”
Wynne was on her feet and running before he finished speaking. Outside Nodir and Bronedir sat on the floor, leaning against each other’s backs and resting in that sort of half sleep elves practiced. She was just going to rouse them and ask where the healer had gone to, when she heard Thranduil’s angry voice from the hall where they had first come in.
“I never said anything about talking to dwarves! I mentioned Elessar and Éomer, and that was it. I shall certainly not –” He broke off when Wynne dashed into the room, and rose to his feet in such a hurry the pile of parchment he had been bent over swooped away. “What happened? Is he worse?”
“He says he sees a spider. He’s so scared, and I don’t know what to do!”
“Oh dear, I must have been a little bit too heavy on the seed of the poppy then,” said the healer calmly. “It’s always hard to tell with a new patient. No worries, it will subside. I shall talk to him, you just wait here.”
Thranduil did not even respond, he was off to the healer’s room in tall strides, with Wynne running not far behind.
Inside, Galion was holding down a struggling Legolas.
“I had to constrain him, he tried to hurt himself,” he said, panting with the effort.
“Legolas!” Thranduil kneeled by the head of the bed and took his son’s face between his hands. “What ails you?”
“Ada! The spider has come back,” sobbed Legolas. “Help me!”
“There is no spider. You are imagining it.”
“Nay, it is right there! Do not lie to me, you must not lie to your only son.”
The healer entered the room then, carrying a bottle and a glass cup.
“Have him drink some more water, it will wash the medicine out of his system.” He gave Thranduil’s shoulder a friendly squeeze. “Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, just frightening. It will pass. Just don’t argue with what he think he sees, it’s very real to him.”
Legolas was still being held down by Galion, and Thranduil tried to coax him into drinking the water.
“Will the spider go if I drink?”
“Aye, aye it will. I shall kill it. Just like I did that time when you were an elfling, do you remember?”
“Of course I do.” Legolas emptied the cup, and sank back on the pillow. “I wish you had killed it better, so it would not come back.”
“I shall slay it again and again, as many times it takes.”
“Thank you, Ada. I love you.”
“And I love you. More than anything.” Thranduil kissed his son’s forehead. A glitter in the corner of his eyes revealed the tears he had not managed to hold back.
Legolas was finally beginning to relax, if from the water or his father’s presence Wynne did not know. Within moments, he closed his eyes and his breath slowed.
“The treaty can wait,” said the old orc, again touching Thranduil’s shoulder. “Lie down on that other bed, and sleep here with your son. I can see you are exhausted.” He looked at Wynne and Galion. “I know you must be very tired too. Come, I shall take you to a spare room.”
Wynne had much rather stayed, but with Thranduil present she felt like the third wheel. And she really was tired, drained of all energy after everything that had happened.
Outside Nodir and Bronedir waited.
“You do not have to guard here anymore,” said Galion. “I am certain we have nothing to fear in this place.”
“That pleases me a great deal to hear you say.” The orc beamed at him, the first genuine smile Wynne had seen on that wrinkled, gray face. “I’m Goltur, by the way, but everyone here calls me Dad.”
“I am Galion, and this here is Nodir, and his brother Bronedir. And the lady is Wynne of Rohan.” They all bowed eloquently, and Wynne made her best curtsey.
“How do you do. How do you do.” He bowed to each of them in return. “When you have rested, I shall be happy to get to know you better. And we still have that medicinal herb talk to look forward to, Galion.”
“I thought you were Nugu’s father,” said Wynne when they walked down the corridor.
“Well, in a way I guess I am. I helped raise most of the young uruk-hai, together with Nanna. But as for being his sire, no, Saruman didn’t deem me superior enough for that. Thankfully,” he added. He frowned almost as deep as Nugu when the evil wizard’s name was mentioned. “That breeding program of his was a revolting business, and I’d rather not talk about it. Oh, here we are, this is where you sleep, and if you need the privy it’s in the end of the corridor.” He pointed it out.
Their room was close to the healer’s, only two round doors further down the corridor. It looked like some sort of storage, with grain sacks in one corner and shelves full of baskets, earthenware jugs and crocks. It had a dusty, floury smell, a bit like the inside of a mill.
Someone had made the room ready for them, there were a stack of blankets and several mattresses, similar to the ones in the healer’s quarters. Wynne gratefully threw herself down onto the first one, not even bothering to take off her boots. Almost as soon as she closed her eyes, she drifted off into a heavy, dreamless sleep.
I researched this and the previous chapter quite a bit, even read medical reports about impaled people and how they are treated (today). The ajoined pictures on those reports I would rather forget, ugh... O.o
I also read that the Vikings used the "smelly potion" trick, but with onion soup. Not sure if it's true, but it was too good not to use in the story haha.
And then of course I had to read up on opiates and their effects, and what hallucinations can be like. I have never used any drug whatsoever and after this I don't feel any more inclined...
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