Faramir is indeed poisoned and therefore has a fever
-Bell Witch 5 May 2006 23:33 (GMT)
(Please excuse--slightly long)
By the time Aragorn and Elladan brought the unconscious Faramir to the room, it was ready. Elrohir had ridden ahead quickly to warn his father not only that they had an injured man, but some details of how he came by his illness. Lord Elrond’s curt nod was enough to make Elrohir start to worry.
“I must look at him,” Elrond said.
Boots were unlaced quickly and Faramir’s borrowed clothing gently removed. A soft nightshirt waited for him as soon as the examination was finished but for now he lay bare to the gaze of the Lord of Imladris—-not that he knew it, or anything else.
“Did you see the creature, Aragorn?” he asked. “Truly see it? Or was it a mass of tentacles only?”
This was important, although even the wrong answer did not mean that all was lost. Aragorn had possibly stopped the creature before it had… And even that might be reparable.
“I did not, ada, I am sorry,” Aragorn answered. “It seems by your concern that you know what it was, then?”
Elrond nodded. “Not one only but two such creatures exist. Dark beasts, ancient, but not immortal.” He stopped and looked in Aragorn’s eyes, intent. “That is the problem.”
“Father, what are you talking about?” Elladan asked. “At least the thing can die. Not that we killed it, but perhaps it crawled away…” he stopped when his father shook his head.
“Creatures that are not immortal must find a way to reproduce. We do not know if the creature that attacked Faramir was the male or its mate. I suspect that it was the female but we must know for certain. His fever might merely be caused by the creature’s foulness in contact with his blood and not because it managed to plant its egg within him.”
Elladan looked ill but Aragorn stepped forward.
“Egg? She does not carry her own young? And would the male not need contact with it then?”
Elrond shook his head, closing his eyes. His hand rested on Faramir’s abdomen and he was concentrating, searching. After a long while he opened his eyes again.
“I still cannot tell,” he said, rising. “And no—the egg is fertile already. She needs only to place it somewhere it will have a source of food. Inside a warm animal, and it matters little what kind. It attaches and feeds. By the time it eats its way out, it is large enough to catch small prey on its own. Even now, even if he has not been seeded, the creature has poisoned him. He will want to go back there until it is purged. The poison draws the carrier to the creatures’ lair so the young will be nearby when the prey dies.”
“If he were allowed then he would try to make his way back?” Aragorn asked and was not surprised at Elrond’s nod. “So the fever will not kill him now?”
“No. He will recover from it, egg or no. But if it is there it will grow and make him sicker. And he will try to get back to that stream. We need to get the poison out and the egg, if it’s there. Several weeks, a month, before he becomes very ill again. Perhaps a month after he will surely die if he carries the egg.”
Elladan looked as though he might be ill himself.
“You can get rid of it, father?” How to purge something growing like a child in a man’s body he could not see, but if it was possible, then Elrond would know.
“I think that either the creature was the male and only seeking to capture a host for his mate to use else she was stopped in time. I sense nothing evil in this young man’s body--but perhaps I simply can’t tell.” He looked at Aragorn. “And we can take no chances.”
“What needs to be done?” Aragorn asked, rising. “I brought him with me to protect him and see how poorly I have done so.”
Elrond’s face was as calm as he could make it. “This was not your fault. But I understand your need to make it right. Ride with all speed to Isengard. Bring Saruman, impress upon him the importance of this young man’s life. His magic can leech the poison and the egg also, if it is there. My sons will search for Mithrandir, who could help Faramir also. But they might not find him in time, so Saruman is our greatest hope.”
Aragorn nodded, as did Elladan.
“We shall leave as soon as possible, and go to pack now,” Elladan said, exiting. Aragorn was halted before he could follow.
“They might find Mithrandir but I must rely more on you, since we know where Saruman is. I cannot cure him, only keep him as comfortable as possible. Once he wakes and recovers from the initial fever, he will require restraints so he will not try to make his way back to the creatures. I will explain, but I do not know this man and he does not know me and will likely be very afraid no matter what I tell him. Think you that he will wish to hear the truth of his situation?”
“I...” Aragorn did not know. Elrond could put Faramir off, say he had a fever but not explain further. The restraints would be more difficult to explain away but Lord Elrond could manage it without actually lying. Or he could say the awful truth, that Faramir might be tainted with an evil growing inside of him. “I would know the truth, no matter how horrible, if it were me. Tell him if he asks.”
“Hurry. Within a month he will most likely be too ill to make his way anywhere, and in two it will not matter who is here.”
“But only if he has been tainted,” Aragorn said.
“If he has not been, then he will be perfectly healthy and trying to make his way back to that stream until the poison is gone.”
Aragorn moved forward swiftly and placed a kiss on Faramir’s sweaty forehead.
“I said I would protect you and I will,” he said, then turned to go. “I will bring Saruman here.”
Elrond watched him go. “I know you will,” he said to the retreating back.
Hot, so hot, and so very thirty, Faramir thought. I need...
He opened his eyes to find himself still in the beautiful room that he had been told was in Imladris. So far, it was all of the city he had seen, being first too ill to move and then, when he was at last well enough to rise from his bed, they had told him that he could not leave. He waited a day and then tried to leave again, kicking at the door when it would not open. He had to go… somewhere.
They tied him carefully to his bed, visiting often. They would let him up sometimes. To eat, to get some exercise, but always in the same room and heavily guarded outside.
He tried to understand that it was necessary-—the creature had poisoned him. He wanted to return to it. If he was not already tainted with the dark beast’s egg, then it would surely be planted—-unless some other poor creature had already been taken. Then he would be food for the adult and not the young. But he needed to get there, could not stay here.
“Let me out!” he would call over and over. “Release me.” But they never did, and it had been a week already. Or longer—-he couldn’t tell.
A week in this beautiful prison with gentle, kind company to speak with during the day and at night, the dreams.
The dreams made him sweat. They made him writhe and moan and struggle to get away from this place. He had to get back because he had to get back because he had to! Did they not know how important it was?
Dreaming of being touched, held. Sometimes warm but often cool but always unable to move. Things touched him and there would be pain or pleasure or both. His mouth filled with something that tasted horrible, slimy. The same substance slicked all over his body in trails, made him slippery inside so that the tentacles did not hurt him so much when they slid in and out. Sometimes when he woke he would find that he’d been crying. More often, that he was aroused. Tied as he was, he could do nothing and was embarrassed the first time when someone had come in to see him—Lord Elrond himself.
Faramir thought that he’d die then, but the Elf looked upon him kindly and explained again that the poison was causing this—calling him, making him feel this way. That was where Aragorn had gone, to get help. His own sons also, to try and find Mithrandir. The Istari could cure this and Elrond would care for him until one of them arrived. Faramir was soothed. Aragorn…
He dreamed also of Aragorn. He was being touched in these dreams but there was nothing horrible about it. He never wanted these touches to end. Yes, Aragorn, please. He hoped that Lord Elrond thought he had had another nightmare when he was found after dreaming of Aragorn the first time.
They blended together then, twisted in tentacles and cold and hot and unable to move with Aragorn there, watching. Sometimes he would watch only as Faramir was engulfed and used. Other times he would take also, starting off as himself and becoming another monster as the dream progressed.
Sometimes, he took the helpless man and did not change into anything. Faramir hated these more than the others because Aragorn started off looking so kind and ended up being so cruel. It hurt and he only smiled an evil smile while Faramir screamed beneath him.
A week and a half, and Faramir was beginning to be afraid of sleep.
What happens next?
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