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Drawn from the Water --- by Lynndyre

Author: Lynndyre
Title: Drawn from the Water
Rating: PG-13
Theme: Spring fever
Elements: White willow
Word Count: 760
Summary: When Celeborn's forces cross the Anduin, Rumil is swept downstream.



The willow is old, for her kind, though full young by the reckoning of other trees. She drinks at the riverbank, where the water eddies among the twisted knots of her roots and teases her lowest branches. From Fangorn northward the leaves have carried whispers, and the echoes of Entish footsteps, Entish intent. Old willow lady has been listening. She is awake.


The date is March the 28th, and Lothlorien's troops are crossing the Anduin.

An orc arrow strikes Rumil at the midpoint of the river crossing. His bow falls from spasming fingers, and he grasps after it with his draw hand, unbalanced. His bow slips over the side. His shoulder burns, white pain beating in his arm, his chest, his neck. The second arrow strikes his quiver, and he stumbles.

The river catches him.

Haldir has already gained the shore, following Lord Celeborn's advance, pressing the attack. The forest edge boils black, but their enemies lack now the power of their master behind them. They fight as creatures of individual evil will, and their ranks splinter and break as Lorien's elves gain the far bank.

The land is clear of all but the dead, and the path open towards Dol Goldur before Haldir finds his brother never reached the east bank.

The Anduin sweeps onward, heedless of battle, carrying the detritus of lives.


Black blood is bitter in the water at willow lady's feet, blood like the memory of evil, but there are other tastes in the water. When the elf washes up against her roots, he is warm. Living. His spirit feels good against her trailing leaves, and it is easy enough to curl around him, and draw him up from the water.

He bleeds, little drops of copper wet that trickle from him with the river water. Willows are meant to be wet. His fingers dig into her bark, and make to cling at her trunk, and she wraps herself around him in answer. It pleases her to do this. It defies the killer of trees, the blackener of rivers.



Rumil wakes, and takes stock of his situation through a fog of pain. He is on the west bank of the river, swept south of the crossing, miles downstream, and the rising moon measures his lost time in long hours. They will have moved on, and he has neither the strength nor the means now to catch up.

His quiver is empty, his bow lost. His sword the Anduin has let him keep, but it is his small knife he reaches for- to notch the shaft of the arrow still fixed in him, that it will break where he chooses. The willow's branches brace his weakened bow arm, and the shaft snaps cleanly. But he cannot escape jarring the point, and he drops the black feathered shaft into the water with a shaking hand damp with pain sweat. He presses his cheek to the cool bark and waits for the tremors to cease.

When his hands are steady again he turns them to his quiver. He curls his lip at the arrow that mars Orophin's careful leatherwork, piercing through the falling blossoms. It is broken already, from the river, but he snaps it close to the impact point, the better to free the arrowhead. It is barbed, but not poisoned, and bodes well that he will survive its brother. The quiver strap becomes a sling.

The point in his shoulder must remain until he reaches aid, for he has not the skill to remove it. But it is better, now. He has time to breathe.


In the night, she parts her topmost branches, and the elf wakes in starlight. His hands are gentle on her, and he sings, softly, of silver trees, and promises to honour her among them.

While he sleeps, other feet tread her roots, and other hands, grasping and cruel, reach for her branches. She holds the elf close, and her roots twine around twisted ankles until black claws scrabble at the bank. It is very easy to hold the creature underwater until it stops. The current pulls it away.



Dawn rises over the clear lands across the river. They shiver both when the light reaches them, a tangible grace on green-white leaves and elven skin. It is the fourth dawn since the long night.

Before climbing to the ground, before making for home and allies, Rumil presses his palm to the willow's trunk, the bark darkened where he bled, and offers her thanks. Her branches drape soft catkins against his cheek in answer.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
silver_trails
Mar. 21st, 2017 01:31 am (UTC)
Loved this story!
lynndyre
Mar. 21st, 2017 06:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (and I love your icon ^.^)
silver_trails
Mar. 21st, 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I made it log ago. They were actually the first slash pairing. =)
periantari
Mar. 21st, 2017 03:58 am (UTC)
This is so creative and so powerful. Love how you weave yoru story from the willow and Rumil and it's interesting how you used your prompt herb to show how it helped Rumil.
Very creative.
lynndyre
Mar. 21st, 2017 06:48 pm (UTC)
I did all the research on the preparation and uses of willow bark - and then wrote about the tree instead! XD Thank you, I'm glad it worked!
kayleelupin
Mar. 21st, 2017 04:38 am (UTC)
oh, now THAT's a unique way for the willow to heal! And she did such a good job of it, too! What a lovely tree <3 I'm glad the willow was there to protect Rumil! I loved this.
lynndyre
Mar. 21st, 2017 06:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really fond of this tree, now. ^.^
foxrafer
Mar. 21st, 2017 10:45 am (UTC)
This is simply beautiful. The use of the prompt is brilliant; I love the life and personality you've given the willow. And the respect and understanding Rumil has, that knowledge that she has loved and protected him, is wonderful.
lynndyre
Mar. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed! I really love the silvan elves, and their interactions with the forests.
shirebound
Mar. 23rd, 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
In the night, she parts her topmost branches, and the elf wakes in starlight.

This is a truly lovely story. What an intimate communion.
lynndyre
Mar. 27th, 2017 01:17 am (UTC)
Thank you so much - and what a perfect icon! That's beautiful.
engarian
Mar. 23rd, 2017 08:02 pm (UTC)
What a great concept. I really loved your willow and her ability to aid or deal death as she saw fit. Wonderful!

- Erulisse (one L)
dreamflower02
Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:16 pm (UTC)
How cool! I love that you used a lesser known character, and the unorthodox nature of the comforter in this h/c! It makes it feel quite real!
indy1776
Mar. 28th, 2017 05:35 pm (UTC)
This is lovely!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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