Lady From Beyond the Sea – Chapter 26 – The Houses of Healing
Zandra: She has water power, which includes weather power. She is slowly regaining her memory of who and what she is. She is Dae Kular, which literally means “light warrior,” but she thinks it is something more.
Tinania: Zandra’s eldest sister, she became Dae Kular and went away. She has fire power.
Jaessa: Zandra’s other sister, described as sweet, and calm. She has earth power, which includes plants.
Zandra’s Mother: associated with stars
Zandra’s Father: associated with shadows
Dyryn: Zandra once thought she loved him, but he tricked her and imprisoned her in Dol Guldur He had a ring, and became the Witchking of Angmar.
Gallin: Boy from Rohan, a friend of Zandra’s, died at Helm’s Deep
Legolas urged Arod into a gallop, Gimli behind him. They followed Aragorn from the ship, Legolas’s bow singing as the troll-men, and Variags, and orcs, and Southrons were caught between the hammer and the anvil. He paused momentarily to let Gimli down, and then he rode again to join the battle.
Hard fighting and long labor they had; for the Southrons were bold men and grim, and fierce in despair; and the Easterlings were strong and war-hardened and asked for no quarter. They gathered in this place and that, by burned homestead or barn, upon hillock or mound, under wall or on field, still they gathered and rallied and fought until the day wore away.
Then the Sun went at last behind Mindolluin and filled all the sky with a great burning, so that the hills and the mountains were dyed with blood; fire glowed in the River, and the grass of the Pelenor lay red in the nightfall. And in that hour the great Battle of the field of Gondor was over; and not one living foe was left within the circuit of the Rammas. All were slain save those who fled to die, or to drown in the red foam of the River. Few ever came eastward to Morgul or Mordor; and to the land of the Haradrim came only a tale from far off: a rumor of the wrath and terror of Gondor.
Legolas found Gimli in the darkening light and together the went to the Gates of the City where they saw Aragorn and Eomer and Imrahil gathered.
“Behold the Sun setting in a great fire!” Aragorn was saying as they dismounted. “It is a sign of the end and fall of many things, and a change in the tides of the world. But this City and realm has rested in the charge of the Stewards for many long years, and I fear that if I enter it unbidden, then doubt and debate may arise, which should not be while this war is fought. I will not enter in, nor make any claim, until it be seen whether we or Mordor shall prevail. Men shall pitch my tent upon the field, and here I will await the welcome of the Lord of the City.”
All present nodded their understanding, then Legolas noticed Eomer’s gaze directed toward him, uncertain, and very sorrowful.
“What pray is the matter, King Eomer?” he said, and as the words left his lips a horrible sense of foreboding filled him.
“I know not how to tell my tidings, Master Legolas. You know that my uncle King Theoden fell in battle?” Eomer began hesitantly. Legolas nodded, he had heard these tidings. “Well, there were others with him. My sister, Eowyn . . .” He broke off as tears choked his throat.
Legolas knew that Eomer had loved his sister dearly, and it was a terrible thing that one so fair had come to such an end. But why should Eomer feel compelled to tell him this? Such was his fear that he sought to delay the rest of Eomer’s tale, as any seek to delay as long as possible the sharing of bad news. “How did she come to be here? Was she not to stay in Edoras to watch over your people?” Suddenly a full realization hit Legolas. Zandra was to stay in Edoras as well.
“I know not how she came to be here. Indeed we thought she was safe at home . . .” another pause, “She was not alone.”
A pain so intense that Legolas thought it should kill him on the spot assailed him. He felt as though he had been shot by a hundred arrows. It could not be. Zandra could not be gone. Eru could not be so cruel!
“Where is she?” he hoarsely entreated. “Tell me where she lies?”
“I had some of my men bring Theoden, Eowyn and Zandra into the City.”
Before Eomer finished Legolas had fled towards the City, fighting his way through the tumult of the people. Only one thought was in his mind, Zandra is dead. He mounted to the Citadel, and came to the Hall of the Tower, seeking the Steward, who could surely tell him where Zandra lay. But his chair was empty, and before the dais lay Theoden King of the Mark upon a bed of state; and twelve torches stood about it, and twelve guards, knights both of Rohan and Gondor.
He hardly noticed that for some reason Eomer and Prince Imrahil were following him as he asked desperately, “Where is the Lady who was brought with the king? Surely she should be lying beside him, and in no less honor? Where have they put her?” His voice was desperate, raw with the anguish that crushed his heart.
“The Ladies were yet living when they were borne hither,” Imrahil declared now, “I thought Eomer knew, and would have told you before, but you fled before I could.”
Then hope and life came suddenly back to Legolas’s heart, nearly as painfully as it had departed, but with it came the bite of care and fear, she might be dead now, or on the brink of it. Grabbed desperately at Imrahil’s coat, “Where is she now?” he demanded.
“In the Houses of Healing, Gandalf is tending them. I will take you there.” Then Legolas released him and followed as he went swiftly in Eomer’s wake from the hall. When they came forth evening had fallen and many stars were in the sky. And there came Gandalf on foot and with him one cloaked in grey; and they met before the doors of the Houses of Healing.
Legolas wasted no time in greeting but asked immediately, “Where is Zandra?” He wished to ask if she still lived, but fear that she did not stopped the words.
“She lies within, and is not dead, but is near death. So to is the Lady Eowyn.” Gandalf said, “but the Lord Faramir was wounded by an evil dart, and he is now the Steward; for Denethor has departed, and his house is in ashes.”
Again a slight relief filled Legolas when Gandalf assured him that Zandra was not dead, but still he was fearful, and impatient at Gandalf’s wasting time worrying about Eowyn, and Faramir. He felt a little guilty about it, but could not help it. Zandra was more important than anything else.
But Imrahil said: “So victory is shorn of gladness, and it is bitter bought, if both Gondor and Rohan are in one day bereft of their lords. Eomer rules the Rohirrim. Who shall rule the City meanwhile? Shall we not send now for the Lord Aragorn?”
Then the cloaked man spoke and said: “He is come.” And Legolas looked for the first time at him, he stepped from the shadows, wrapped in his Lorien cloak, and bearing only the green stone of Galadriel. “I have come because Gandalf begs me to do so,” he said. “But for the present I am but the Captain of the Dunedain of Arnor; and the Lord of Dol Amroth shall rule the City until Faramir awakes. But it is my counsel that Gandalf should rule us all in the days that follow and in our dealings with the Enemy.” And they all agreed upon that.
Then Gandalf spoke Legolas’s thoughts, “Let us not stay at the door, for the time is urgent. Let us enter! For it is only in the coming of Aragorn that any hope remains for the sick that lie in the House. Thus spake Ioreth, wise-woman of Gondor: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.
Then Aragorn entered first and the others followed. Legolas last of all, despite his sense of urgency. He was suddenly so afraid to go forward. What if he lost her after all? Could he bear it? Would even the call of the Sea lessen his grief?
There at the door were two guards in the livery of the Citadel: one tall, but the other scarce the height of a boy; and when he saw them he cried aloud in surprise and joy.
“Strider! How splendid! Do you know, I guessed it was you in the black ships. But they were all shouting corsairs and wouldn’t listen to me. How did you do it?”
Aragorn laughed, and took the hobbit by the hand. “Well met indeed!” he said. “But there is not time yet for travelers tales.”
And with that they passed into the House; and as they went towards the rooms where the sick were tended Gandalf told of the deeds of Eowyn and Zandra and Meriadoc. “For,” he said, “long have I stood by them, and at first they spoke much in their dreaming, before they sank into the deadly darkness. Also it is given to me to see many things far off.”
Legolas’s heart burned with pride on Zandra’s behalf. She had faced her fear, and conquered it.
They went first to Faramir, and then to the Lady Eowyn, then Meriadoc, and last Zandra. Legolas lingered in the door way of this last room, hardly daring to enter. What if she had died in the time it took for them to get here?
He felt Gandalf’s touch on his arm, and looked into the Wizard’s kind eyes. “I can’t lose her Mithrandir,” he said quietly.
“She is strong. I do not think that this will be her end,” Gandalf said gently, then paused and continued, “But if it is, she fought bravely, and lived up to her calling.”
Legolas nodded, then stepped into the room, tears in his eyes. Zandra lay still and pale on a bed in the center of the room. His heart constricted painfully at the hollowness of her cheeks, and the pallor of her skin. He moved swiftly to the side of the bed and knelt. Her hand lay next to her, clenched tightly. Hesitantly he touched her hand, and gasped, it was icy cold. Tenderly he gathered her small hand into his own larger one. He looked at Aragorn who stood by her head.
“I must put forth all such power and skill as is given to me,” he said solemnly. “Would that Elrond were here, for he is the eldest of all our race, and has the greater power.”
He was sorrowful, and Legolas could hear the weariness in his tone.
“First you must rest, surely, and at least eat a little?” Eomer said, worriedly.
“Nay, for these four, and most soon for Faramir, time is running out. All speed is needed.” Aragorn stood and walked towards the door, resting his hand for a moment on Legolas’s shoulder. “Do not despair my friend. There is still time. You did not give up hope the last time, and she survived. I have hope this time, but if you lose yours then we may lose her.”
Legolas merely nodded, his throat constricting. Hope, he must continue hope.
Then Aragorn called to Ioreth as he strode back to the room where Faramir was lying. “You have store in this House of the herbs of healing?”
Legolas did not listen to her answer but turned back to Zandra. The last time he had watched her in sleep she had seemed so peaceful. Now her face was ashen, still, but not calm. There was about it a look of strain, and perhaps pain.
Her long lashes swept downwards, shielding her beautiful green eyes. Her lips were nearly as pale as the rest of her skin. He raised the hand that wasn’t holding her hand, and brushed her hair away from her face. Even the gold of her hair seemed lusterless. Her breathing was so shallow that it was almost difficult to believe that she was still alive. He thought momentarily of checking her pulse, but couldn’t make himself do it. He couldn’t bear the anguish if he could not find it.
“Oh Zandra!” he whispered brokenly, “Don’t leave me. I have such plans for us. We will be married here by Aragorn’s hand, and then travel to Gimli’s Glittering Caves and Fangorn, for so have Gimli and I promised. Then, then I will take you to my home in Mirkwood, and I will show you that in that forest not all is dark. You will love my father, and he will love you. And perhaps, someday together we will go into the West. Together.
“Oh Zandra! I have received such a blow. Galadriel foretold that the Sea longing would come upon me, and so it has. I heard the gulls and now my heart calls me there. But . . . if you should wish to remain in Middle Earth then I will stay. I will stay for you alone. But you must come back to me. You must! ” He lowered his head until his forehead rested against her smooth arm, and thus he remained until Aragorn returned.
“Faramir, Eowyn and Merry have all awakened,” he said as he knelt by Zandra’s head again. Legolas hardly heard him, he merely watched intently as Aragorn laid a hand upon her brow. “Though I do not know if Eowyn will survive,” he continued, “There is a shadow that has lain upon her for long, and she may not have the strength to overcome it.” His brow grew concerned, “I wish we knew more about Zandra’s people. It would help me determine how much care is needed. There is great evil coming from her left arm, I would judge that it is that arm which she used to strike her foe. Yet, from what I have seen of her it should not be the blow alone which has caused such harm.”
Legolas looked at him in alarm, “What do you mean?”
“Only that living in fear, and with the shadow that is constantly with her has aggravated the evil that came from striking the Ringwraith.”
He then stooped and looked into her face, cold as frost, and he bent and kissed her on the brow, and called to her softly, saying: “Zandra, awake! For your enemy has passed away!”
She did not stir. Aragorn’s brow creased in unease, which caused Legolas’s heart to pound painfully. Was she supposed to respond to that?
Aragorn beckoned to a boy who stood in the door bearing a basin of steaming water. The boy hurried forward, and Aragorn bruised two leaves of athelas and cast them into the water; and he laved her brow with it, and her right arm lying cold and nerveless on the coverlet.
“Awake, Zandra, Lady of Water!” said Aragorn again. And took her left hand from Legolas, who began to panic. Her hand was as cold as ever. “Awake!” Aragorn called yet again, “The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!” Then he laid her hand again in Legolas’s and stepped away. “Call her!” he said, and he stood back, worry lining his brow.
“Zandra, Zandra!” Legolas called amid his tears, and then again more desperately, “Zandra!” He turned anxiously back to Aragorn, “What’s wrong? Why won’t she respond?” he pleaded.
“I don’t know.” Aragorn said.