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Flashback: After Helm's Deep [Jan. 13th, 2004|07:30 pm]
forlordandland
forlordandland
[eadayn]
Éadayn stood, pulling the hair from her face, where it stuck fast. So many bodies filled the caverns of Helm's Deep that the heat was stifling, and the smell was becoming worse and worse. She had been stooping over a young boy, brought in from the fields hastily bandaged. He had awakened for a moment and cried out, for he must have felt for the first time the pain of having lost an entire arm. Éadayn had not the means to keep the blood from stemming from his arm, and so she had sat with him, only waiting out the time until his eyes closed forever.

It was perhaps the gravest day she had ever seen. The loss of men was tragic, but slowly she was becoming immune to death as men around her expired one after the other. They were tended as best possible before brought into the caverns, but there was still haste to be made, for Rohan had still to go to Gondor and aid them in vanquishing their foes. And so many lay around, dead or dying, or gravely wounded, and she had not the skill or means with which to save them, nor ease their sufferings.

Éadayn was moving to the delirious man next to the body of the young boy when she heard someone calling her name. She turned, and the seamstress who had lived in the house next to her family for all of Éadayn's life was calling to her. She stood near a group of men who had just brought in several bodies, living or dead they knew not. Éadayn made her way to them.

"What of these?" she asked the men who carried them.

"Two gone, we think," said the one nearest her. "This fellow's bleeding still. Don't mind him much. And here's another nearly gone, in some sort of fever, Miss."

Éadayn nodded, and the men left. She found that two of the men were indeed dead, and the third was shaking in his death throes. The fourth still wore his helm, and she had a hard labor trying to remove it and not injuring him further. Though it was she herself who nearly died when she saw his face finally; the fourth man, the one who the men had said was caught in a fever, was none but her cousin Cyren, of whom she was quite fond; quite probably one of the only surviving members of her family.

"Hast thou any water?" she asked her neighbor, who stood over her in concern.

"Nay, miss," said the woman. "But I might fetch thee some, for I've seen a smal store at the back of the caverns."

"Go then, and make haste," Éadayn said. "I tell thee, this man shall not die like the others. He I shall save, if fate permits. Go, woman!"

And the woman went quickly, for she heard the urgency in Éadayn's voice. And Éadayn would sit by no men but those who were near her cousin for the remainder of the day, waiting for him to awaken.
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 02:03 am (UTC)
Cyren was aware of nothing in his fever; nay, that was not true. He was yet concious enough to remember that he had fallen in battle for Rohan; but he knew no longer for what end. Only a dim sense of the wound acrost his shoulder penetrated the delirium.

Someone lifted the helm from him, and his body expected the usual breath of fresh wind to wash over his face; but his skin felt only stagnant air. And the stench merely brought to him a sense of dislocation, rousing him enough that the feel of sweat came stickily back to him.

No thought was in his mind to open his eyes and see what had befallen him. The fading of his consciousness began again in waves of heat. He breathed deeply, and raspily, and the air he gulped; but he seemed as if in more than sleep, and did not wake.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 02:12 am (UTC)
Éadayn had been sitting idle by Cyren's side for many hours, tending to her cousin and the men who surrounded him. Of the many near her, Cyren was yet the only one who lived, for at times she could hear him breathing loudly, while the others had ceased to breathe at all, one by one. The seamstress, Éadayn's neighbor, passed her many times and never spoke, of which Éadayn was slightly grateful. She had seen not one other member of her family brought back to the caverns, and she could not be required to think of their fates when her energy was focused on waiting for the one she knew was alive to awaken at last. Her neighbor, whose name had escaped her harried and grief-stricken mind, had indeed brought her a tiny flask of water from the precious store. Éadayn had wet a scrap of cloth and every once in a while laid the damn rag across her cousin's brow, for the fever burned heavily in him. She wished he would wake and drink at last, for the flask was slowly emptying, and she was unsure if she could secure another. The stench of the dead was sickening her at every growing moment, but she would not move--would not, perhaps, or more could not. She pushed all thoughts of her father and brothers, her uncle and her other cousins, everyone she loved from her mind and thought only of Cyren who lay before her, for if she had permitted herself to think of the others, it would be she who perished before her cousin.
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 02:18 am (UTC)
Many times already had Cyren started to stir, but fallen still once more. Yet when he felt the cool of water, his body without waking mind reached up to touch it. He felt the sweat upon his face, and some part of his mind recognized it was not blood. With caution, eyes still tight shut against the world, the young fighter sensed a burning ache upon his shoulder, and turned to rest on his side instead of back.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 02:22 am (UTC)
Éadayn had been gazing away at the walls of the cavern, her mind blank. Cyren had not moved in hours, and it was now well past nightfall. The steady flow of dead and wounded men was trickling to a stop, and Éadayn had seen only one member of her family, and that one was Cyren.

She was startled, then, by the sudden movement of the ever-motionless body in front of her. Her gaze jerked back to her cousin, and her heart soared with happiness to see him move. She gently laid her hand on his wounded arm, for he had turned over.

"Cyren, cousin," she called softly. "Art thou awake, finally?"
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 02:31 am (UTC)
Slowly, almost grudgingly even, Cyren opened his eyes. His sight did not adjust to the lit caverns with any speed; he tried to stretch his arm, but instead sharply intook breath at a searing pain. When finally his vision cleared, he beheld his cousin Eadayn.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 02:36 am (UTC)
Éadayn sighed out of utter relief; she nearly smiled to see her cousin's eyes open at last. "Do not move," she instructed as he moved his arm. She fumbled for the flask of water, of which less than half remained. "Drink, if thou art able," she said, holding the flask to his lips. "Dost thou remember what happened to thee, cousin?"
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 02:40 am (UTC)
Cyren shook his head to both the water and the question; though even he himself was not sure why. Indeed, he hardly cared; with his concious self came a searing ache in his head and mind.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 02:45 am (UTC)
Éadayn sighed and wet the rag once more, laying it across her cousin's feverish brow. "Thou hast lain here many hours," she said, feeling compelled to speak and hoping to keep him awake. "I have seen thee and only thee, of any of our family. We have victory, though, cousin, or didst thou know?"
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 02:51 am (UTC)
"I knew not...." he mumbled, very softly. He closed his eyes once more. Victory for the country, but what of victory as a family? Was he the only one of his kin to fall? Nay, not fall; he could tell now that he lay not in some spiritual or dying state, but sick, with raging heat and burning cold; and he could feel a wound, stiff and sticky with blood.

Little did he know that he was speaking the words he thought, his mouth was moving, but no sound came out; however, he did indeed with effort open his eyes once more.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 02:56 am (UTC)
Éadayn tried to smile, but she could not muster the stength to raise the corners of her mouth. Instead she sighed and brushed away the flies from her shoulders, for the swarmed everywhere. "T'would ease my mind if thou wouldst drink, cousin," she said, holding out the flask to him again. "For thou art taken with a terrible fever, and I would not see thee like him." She nodded at the man who lay dead and covered in flies next to him, biting her lip against the anguished cries that threatened to fly from her mouth.
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From: cyrenofrohan
2004-01-14 03:00 am (UTC)
Cyren winced at the terrible pain, but gingerly reached out his arm to grip the flask. He held it steady as he drank; it was after he handed it back to his cousin that shakes racked his body.
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 03:07 am (UTC)
Éadayn dropped the flask, startled by Cyren's sudden shaking. She laid her hand gently on his arm again and choked back a sob, for she had no idea what ailed him or how to stop it. She opened her mouth, but no words came; she glanced at passing women, but she could not bring herself to ask for help, for none had asked her to leave her kinsman when they required aid. Instead she hummed softly an old, familiar tune, for it was all she had, and it eased her own mind, though it may have done nothing for her cousin.
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From: ceirden
2004-01-14 03:40 pm (UTC)

Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

[i]Ceirden slowly walked through mud that had formed from blood and dirt, stepping over bodies, looking into the lifeless eyes of men and orc alike... Where was Cyren? The rider had seen his cousin fall. Hope for his kinsman was quickly fading, for even if Cyren was wounded there was little chance he would survive it.

Someone-- something?-- grabbed his foot and Ceirden spun, pulling his sword from its sheath. "Come here, boy," it hissed. Orc. Bloody, missing a leg.

Ceirden slashed at the creature, killing it with the first strike but continuing to mutilate it beyond recognition. "Die, filth! Wretched orc filth and..." He fell to his knees, his head in his hands, body wracked with sobs. Why had he survived when so many others had died? And Cyren... He'd promised to look out for him. Promised that he wouldn't let the younger man get hurt. And Eadayn-- where was she? Probably dead too. Everyone was dead, weren't they? Ceirden too, he couldn't be living still...

"Ceirden?" Another rider approached, helm under his arm. He crouched beside a crying Ceirden. "Pull yourself together, man. There will be a time to grieve, but it is not now. Now we must help who we can."

"What about those who we can't? Shall we let them rot here?" He let the other man help him to his feet. "What about them?"

"Ceird--"

"Where is my cousin?" he screamed, holding his sword limply in front of him. "Where is Cyren? Tell me, where is he!?" Ceirden started to run towards the caverns, trying to escape the grip of the rider who held him back. "Let me go, you fool, I need to find my kin!"

"I do not know where he is, but you cannot tell yourself that he is alive." He tried to hold Ceirden where he was, and dug in his a heels to keep the younger man from a going mad.

"No! He's not dead! He's not dead, he can't be dead, he's not dead!" The rider broke the man's grip and ran, stepping on dead bodies and not bothering to attempt to stem the flow of tears that blinded him. Into the caverns he went, calling for Cyren and Eadayn as he went. His armour was heavy and his muscles ached but he didn't care. He ran.

Finally he saw Eadayn. She was kneeling over Cyren, who was shaking with feaver. "Eadayn!" Ceirden slid to his knees and threw off his helm. He held his younger cousin in his arms and cried. "I'm sorry, oh Eadayn, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry..." [/i]

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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 08:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

Éadayn glanced away from Cyren, startled to hear someone calling her name, and she was even more taken aback when her cousin Ceirden fell to his knees in grief. At first she was relieved to see him alive, but a wave of cold swept over her heart--he must have known something she did not...had all the rest perished? Were there none left of their family but these three? She could not bring herself to ask these questions, but instead buried her face in her hands and let grief overcome her for the first time in what would become many months of darkness.
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From: ceirden
2004-01-14 08:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

[i]"They're dead," Ceirden murmured, meaning the rest of his kin. "All of them. And Cyren is so close to dead... I would be among them had your father not taken a blade for me. He died to save me, Eadayn, to save me, and I will do what I can in his stead." He held the sobbing girl. "I hope you will someday forgive me."[/i]
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From: eadayn
2004-01-14 09:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

Éadayn shook her head wordlessly. "Thou needst none of my forgiveness," she said quietly. "For I knew in my heart I would be ever sundered from those I love. But Cyren shall not die; he has been awake twice, and that is good. I would not see thee ride again, Ceirden, but thou art whole and strong still, and thou wilt go where thou art called; thine eyes betray thee. But no day shall again be as terrible as this...there cannot be..." she mused, drawing her knees to her chin and covering her face like a child.
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From: ceirden
2004-01-15 01:50 am (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

"I cannot fight again, not after this. Too many have died at my hand, too many of my own I could not save, and I cannot do it again." He sadly looked into Eadayn's eyes. "But I must. I have pledged my life to Rohan and--" Ceirden's voice cracked; he could feel the heat from the cousin who lay at his side. "To Rohan my life will go. I cannot tell you that I will be safe. Oh, Eadayn, how I wish I could promise that it will all be alright..."

He reluctantly took his arms from around the girl and began to take off his armour. The clothing he wore beneath was sweatsoaked and muddy. "I wish that I could give you happiness, cousin. Perhaps these evil days will soon end. Perhaps... perhaps none of us will live to see the end. But... promise me, Eadayn, that you will never stop fighting, that you will never give up, even if you are alone and there is pain all around, you must live. You have life, and many years ahead of you..." He winced as he removed the metal plates from his shins-- his back must have been bruised.

"If I must leave again, do not dispair, my cousin."
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From: eadayn
2004-01-15 02:17 am (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

But Éadayn was growing angry, for the loss to Rohan seemed too great, even for victory. "How canst thou say 'do not despair', when thou art in despair? When verily we are surrounded by despair? We have but small victory here, and the shadow grows ever nearer to Rohan and ever darker in my heart. I would that the world had not come so far, that we lay still dumb in the mold of the earth, for there is no evil, and goodness is utter bliss. But I shall not leave before my time and neither shall you, cousin, or Cyren, for he shall not ride soon. We shall return, in the end, whether from evil to bliss or from bliss to bliss, but the end shall be the same, nonetheless. There is comfort in that, I suppose."
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From: ceirden
2004-01-15 05:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

Agreat evil spreads forth from the EAst and contaminates the rest of Middle-Earth." Ceirden sighed and pulled off his gloves, which were coated with mod and blood. He stared at his right hand; his middle finger was greenish-purple with bruising and quite swollen, and he realized that he couldn't move the top joint. Glancing at his cousin, he grumbled, "I'll live. The moment the words left his mouth, he regretted them. He would live, unlike his family, for now he was one of four surviving membersof his line.Maybe three. Cyren did not look well, as he was pale and sweaty and blood caked his neck and shoulder and hair, and he still shook in fever.

"Is there not anything we can do to help Cyren?" Ceirden felt his burning forehead with his good hand. His voice turned to a whisper. "I wish that I were in his place. That he had remained unscathed, and I knocked on death's door. I feel as if I have overstayed my welcome in this life."
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From: eadayn
2004-01-16 07:32 pm (UTC)

Re: Flashback- After Helm's Deep, Outside the Caverns

Éadayn shook her head. "There is naught to do but wait, and hope the fever subsides." She attempted a smile again, but barely succeeded. "Thou shouldst not say such things," she said. "For thou art alive and whole yet and meant for a purpose that many are not. Do not spoil the rest of thy life with regrets, cousin."
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