After she had cleaned herself up from her lesson, Lauren headed for the library. As she always did, she passed the healer’s room, where she had formally dwelt. However, on this occasion, as she glanced in, she saw someone lying on one of the beds. She doubled back to make sure she hadn’t imagined it. Before she could move on again, a hand grabbed hers and pulled her into the room.
“I apologize for interrupting you, but I need all the help I can get,” the owner of the hand, a golden haired elf with deep green eyes, told her. “I’m Dorminel, now could you please go into that closet and grab some of those bandages and a bottle of green liquid? Thanks,” she said and immediately turned back to her patient. Lauren, a bit stunned, but wanting to help, hurried away to fetch the supplies Dorminel had asked for.
She hastened back with her bearings and handed them to Dorminel, who took them with a grateful smile. “What was your name again?” she asked.
“Lauren,” she replied as she backed a step up to give the healer room.
Now that she was closer, she noticed that the person lying on the bed was a young man. He seemed unconscious but as Lauren drew closer, to see what Dorminel was doing, she felt a cold wave emanating from him. He had two gruesome looking wounds, one stretching across his shoulder and one burrowing deep into his stomach. He appeared to be in good health otherwise and in his early twenties with deep blonde hair and a growing beard.
“What happened to him?” Lauren asked, intrigued.
“He ran into a couple dozen orcs, filthy scavengers if I ever saw one. Nae! If only I knew why he’s unconscious! His wounds cannot be causing this!
Lauren looked at the man, and something clicked. “The black breath!” she exclaimed.
“Of course! Why couldn’t I have been taught how to cure that first?!” She said, her voice betraying her frustration.
“You don’t know how to cure it?” Lauren asked, shocked.
“I am only Elrond’s apprentice, we had not gotten that far in my studies. I only started my apprenticeship a few days ago. If only he were here,” she sighed sadly.
“Kingsfoil! You have to get kingsfoil to cure him!” Lauren cried remembering from when she had read the Return of the King.
Dorminel sighed again “Even if I was able to obtain kingsfoil, I wouldn’t know what to do with it and I don’t have enough healing power to do it.”
“You have to call him back!” Lauren exclaimed.
“Will you do it?” Dorminel asked a look of hope kindling in her eyes.
“Me? But I’m not a healer, I’m just, I’m just-” she began to protest but Dorminel cut her off. “You’re his only hope, if he isn’t called back soon, he will be lost to the shadow for ever,” she said softly, ” I have not the power to save him, but you, there is something about you, a sense of power,” she concluded, fixing Lauren with a piercing gaze.
Lauren, hearing the conviction in her words, replied, “Alright, I’ll try,” in a weak voice, and continued a bit stronger, “Could you get me the kingsfoil please?”
Dorminel nodded and hurried off to fetch the leaves, while Lauren found a bowl and filled it with hot water from the nearby washroom. She arrived back at the same time as Dorminel. She placed the steaming bowl of water on the table beside the bed while Dorminel handed her the kingsfoil.
“What’s his name?” she asked, bruising the kingsfoil over the water.
“Elphir,” Dorminel replied.
Unsure of what to do, Lauren lightly touched Elphir’s hand and called softly, “Elphir.” A sudden chill ran through her body as she felt her soul pass into another world, a world filled with darkness, pain, death and unbelievable cold. She felt as though all the joy from the world was gone. She sensed her hand tighten its grip on Elphir’s, many worlds away from where she was at the moment. This small, involuntary gesture was all she needed to remind her of her task. She pushed the cold and pain away from her mind and called out in a strong voice, “Elphir! Awake! Come forth from the land of the shadow! Life is not as desolate as this valley, forsake the pain and the cold! Awake!”
With her last words, the man opened his eyes, and Lauren found herself back in her body. A sudden wave of dizziness came over her, lingering for the next few moments. When she regained control of her senses, she felt a hand firmly holding her own and looked up. Elphir’s glistening turquoise eyes gazed deep into hers, seemingly able to examine the very centre of her being. She looked away and tried to take her hand back, but he held on to her hand securely, and spoke, “My lady, the darkness has lifted from my soul. For this I have only you to thank. I am forever in your debt,” his rich voice entrancing Lauren. He then brought her hand up to his mouth and gently brushed his lips against her fingers. This gesture shocked Lauren, so much so that all she could do was let her hand fall back to her side, after he had let go. Dorminel was the one who finally tore her attention away from Elphir.
“Lauren! Congratulations, I knew you’d be able to heal him.” Dorminel told her proudly.
“Thanks for your faith in me,” She smiled to her new-found friend, hiding the confusion she felt at what she had done, and not to mention the freezing sensation growing in her chest.
She then turned to Elphir. “Your debt to me is unnecessary, it was simply by chance that I brought you back, I’m no healer.”
“Nevertheless, you brought me back,” he smiled.
She appeared to think about this, then, noticed his wounds once again. “You must need rest and time to heal. I’ll leave you now to the care of Dorminel.”
With one last encouraging look to her friend, she turned and left.
After Lauren had gone from the room, Dorminel took the seat beside Elphir and said, “Here, let me change the bandages on your wounds.” Elphir nodded and prepared himself for the pain that would undoubtedly come from a touch to his injuries. He was surprised when no pain came. From the shocked look on Dorminel’s face, he could tell that something was amiss.
“Your, your wounds, they’re healed!” she exclaimed, for indeed, where deep gashes had been, only healthy skin remained.
Elphir looked at his wounds and it was indeed as Dorminel had said. It was as though his skin had never been penetrated.
“Lauren,” Dorminel thought, glancing through the doorway, which her friend had taken only minutes before, “What are you?”, before turning her attention back to Elphir.