Elmar’s sleep was fraught with nightmares, the blood, the faces of the orcs, the dead elves guilt-tripping him for letting them die. He squirmed in his sleep, unable to escape the voices, when he woke up with a jerk, only to hear Borlas cough.
Elmar scrambled in his satchel for the skin-containing water, raising Borlas’ head to pour some in. He touched his friend’s temple to find out they were burning.
“He has a fever. Great!”, he thought to himself.
Elmar got up and dusted himself, looking around for a certain herb.
“Athelas”, He thought.
Athelas was known to contain medicinal properties and was used to treat fevers and infections. He scoured the land and found a small pond, from which he refilled his skin, and to his surprise found Athelas peeking from a crevice in a rock. Athelas was not an herb that was easily grown and found in the wilderness. He picked a few of its leaves, dipped them in water to soften them, and then went to Borlas to put the leaves on his wound.
After tending to Borlas he packed up his things and picked up his friend for the long trek to Rivendell. His boots splashed in the muddy ground, making unnecessarily loud sounds that bounced of the trees and could be heard a long-distance away. The crows and hawks were looking at them suspiciously as if they had committed a huge crime and they were making sure they didn’t commit anymore.
After a long day of walking, Elmar still had a long way to go, but he was too tired for another step. Plus, the extra weight of his friend had wearied him even further. Borlas groaned in his sleep, his condition had worsened over the day, but Elmar was helpless. He had no water to ease the fever, no medicines, and no clean rags for the wound either. Then it dawned on him that the blade that cut Borlas must have been poisoned.
“Curse the orcs!”, he hissed.
Elmar, hot, tired and angry beyond reason decided to rest for a while and regain his wits. It was midnight when he woke up to the hooting of owls. The moonlight finding its way through the tree leaves touched his scratched and bruised face, relighting some hope within him.
He stood up and walked a little to make sense of the place that he was in and the distance to Imladris. He realized, upon seeing the stars and position of the moon that he must be at least a whole day away from the refuge.
“I thought I had traveled further yesterday, but then again I was carrying Borlas which I think slowed me down considerably.”
“It means that it will take almost 2 more days to reach Imladris if I carry Borlas, who may die along the way with that fever. I must depart now and make haste without Borlas, otherwise, neither my friend nor my home city will survive”, Elmar reminisced.
Going over Borlas’ body he whispered his goodbye and a promise to return as quickly as possible, along with the reason for his going. It was another decision that weighed heavy on his heart, which made him wonder how many bad decisions had he taken in the past 3 days.
With these dark thoughts clouding his mind he first went to find a pond, from which he drank to fulfill his need, refilling the water skin and leaving it beside Borlas, just in case he woke up. Hoisting his pack up, he took a deep breath and ran towards the path that led to The Hidden Valley…..
NOTE: This a fanfiction based on Middle Earth created by J.R.R Tolkien who is also the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from where this story takes inspiration from.