It is one of the twins
“Elladan! Elrohir!” Aragorn said, “I have never been happier to see you.”
Faramir looked up to see two tall figures approaching. He gasped as he realised they were elves, and identical ones at that.
“As ever in trouble, Aragorn?” one of them inquired, as he wiped a bloodstained sword clean and sheathed it, “Whatever happened here? You are injured! Did that vile creature hurt you?”
“We were attacked,” Aragorn said grimly, “My injury is an old one. But Faramir – it was trying to – hurt him -”
The two elves came and knelt in front of them, their sharp gazes boring into Faramir, who was stared back at them, partly in wonder at their flawless features. And then he realised his own state of undress and moved hastily in Aragorn’s arms, his face flushed.
“My clothes,” he mumbled.
“Lie still, Faramir, are you all right? Did it hurt you badly?”
Faramir trembled as he remembered the feeling of being pinioned underneath the creatures weight with its slimy tentacles touching him all over… entering him… bile rushed to his throat at the memory and he hurriedly tore himself from Aragorn’s arms, and pushing away from the others, retched and retched as the memory assaulted him.
Aragorn moved forward hastily towards the slight figure hunched over, retching painfully, in between racking sobs. He touched him gently on his bare shoulder. Faramir flinched at the touch before turning towards him, his face pale and streaked with tears and saliva.
Elladan handed a cloak to him, and taking it he wrapped it gently around Faramir. The young ranger was clearly in shock and more terrified than he was willing to let on.
“Ssh… it’d all right,” Aragorn said soothingly, pulling the distressed figure into his arms, “You’re safe now. It can’t hurt you again.”
He held him close in his arms, hugging him gently and stroking his hair slowly, until Faramir relaxed into a half-sleeping state. Then he carried him over to the fire the twins had readied.
“So this is Faramir,” Elrohir said softly as he prepared some food for them.
“Yes,” Aragorn said grimly.
He laid Faramir down on a spare cloak.
“I need to examine your injuries,” he told the drowsy man and got a resigned nod in return, “And Elladan will help me. Do not fear, he is my brother.”
Removing the covering cloak, he and Elladan set to examine the younger man’s body. They found a number of scratches all over the chest and stomach where the creature’s pinpricks had dug into Faramir’s skin, breaking it, and bruises wherever the tentacles had punched him or wrapped around him. After rubbing some salve onto those, they made Faramir turn over. The younger man flushed at the request but complied nevertheless and buried his head in his hands. Aragorn stroked his tense back gently.
He observed Faramir silently as the younger man laid there. He was unlike Boromir that was for sure, but clearly no less a warrior. He was still young of course and it showed in his build and carriage but he had had every inch the look of an archer and clearly he lacked none in bravery.
He spread his legs quietly when Elladan asked him to softly. Aragorn felt his anger at the creature well up as he noticed the reddened entrance, and the blackish liquid that flecked the back of Faramir’s thighs. For the briefest of seconds he thought Faramir had bled but then he realised the liquid was from the creature. He took some in his fingers and smelt it grimly, and showed it to Elladan, who pursed his lips.
“We need to get him to Rivendell… if that has entered any of his scratches…”
Very gently he cleaned Faramir up, and then helped him sit up. Faramir watched quietly as Elladan then saw to Aragorn’s injury.
“It’ll heal in a day or two,” Elladan said and Aragorn nodded.
They ate sitting around the fire, Faramir huddled inside the cloak, listening to their talk. He learned that the elves were from Imladris and despite the dull ache that throbbed through his body he felt a strange thrill at hearing the name and at meeting people from there. And Aragorn had called them brothers? He’d expected somehow without knowing how that this man was important.
“We need to reach Rivendell soon,” Aragorn told him quietly as they ate, “So sleep well tonight, for we wake early and ride hard tomorrow.”
Faramir nodded silently. The twins took turns keeping watch that night, while the tow men slept. Aragorn huddled into a cloak next to Faramir and the sound of the older man’s steady breathing provided a comfort to Faramir that he had rarely ever felt.
The next day they rode for Rivendell and as Aragorn had said, the pace they set was punishing.
“We must ride fast, Faramir, for we wish to reach Rivendell this evening,” he had told the younger man as he helped him up his horse. Faramir had simply nodded quietly.
“but if you feel unwell or hurt, tell us and we shall stop,” one of the twins had said gently.
Faramir had nodded again but resolved right then that he would not provide any hindrance to their plan. He could understand they were eager to get home. He still felt sore but he ignored the niggling pains.
He wore a spare set of clothes that the elves had lent him. They were of a thick material and should have kept him warm but he felt cold. They rode long and hard all day and the cold feeling continued even as the sun rose high in the sky. A strange nauseousness built up in his stomach and it too all of his effort to not plead for a stoppage so that he could rest. He ate sparingly when they stopped briefly to rest the horses. But he ate because Aragorn as he thought of the man now, gave him an anxious glance. By afternoon, his head was beginning to pound miserably, and he wondered anxiously whether he was merely tired or he was going to have a fever.
The sun was beginning to dip when they dismounted and began to walk the tired horses through a swift stream. He felt colder still, and the waters were freezing as he walked through them.
By the time they came to a halt, he was shivering.
“Rivendell!” Aragorn told him quietly, and that was the last thing he heard as blackness overcame him and he slumped on his horse.
--Minx 11 December 2005 11:12 (GMT)
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