B2MeM Challenge: g50 Scientific Achievement: Medicine
Characters: Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir
Summary: "The hands of the King are the hands of a healer." (The Houses of Healing, RotK)
"He has a gift!" said Elrohir as he let himself fall, unceremoniously, onto his father's divan. "I tell you, he reproduced the concoction exactly. His was better than my first!"
"That is not saying much," said Elladan, cocking a hip against the desk. "You merely threw herbs in the pot your first time. But Estel has a feeling for what may work, Father. Alas that he will be needing to use this knowledge so often in the future. He helps animals only now, but he's nursed them all back to health. Even that difficult birth Baranion was dealing with. The foal--"
"Yes, I was there," Elrond said, setting his quill down, and looked beyond his son's shoulder to a sketch that hung right above his desk-- herbology. His brother had made it the first time, but it was so old Elrond had to have it copied every few centuries or so. Estel had recognized all the plants without help the second time he saw it. But that birth... he still could not explain it. The foal had been breach, the mare had labored too long, the foal had moved too quickly after birth and snapped the cord... He could not say that Estel had saved the foal's life. There were some present that day who had helped mares through delivery more times than there were hours in a year, but Estel was not one of them. That he knew what to do for that difficult situation was remarkable in many ways; that he had done it under pressure and without guidance at the precise moment when it had been needed had puzzled everyone.
"It is rather creepy, if you ask me," Elrohir said, sitting up again, propping elbows on his thighs. "How can he know so much, for one so young? It's not just healing, though that's a big part of it. He's smart. Keen. He's... He's special," and the last was said with a fondness that he seldom heard from Elrohir.
He had noticed it, also. At first he had thought that Estel's exceptional circumstances endeared him more particularly to them, but he was no longer an infant to dote upon and he still felt that love that he had tried to withdraw after he had lost a few of them. It never became any easier...
Elrond looked down at his palms, focused on the ring on his left hand, for a moment lost in its reflection. He had never told his sons what he had seen the day Estel had been first brought to them, partly because he had just begun to understand it himself, but more so because he had not. He had known then that the boys would worry, would push Estel too hard too soon. From long years of association he had learned that pushing any of the second-born produced only an undesirable effect, and the last thing he wished for was for Estel to fall short of his seat-- yes, his seat --for it was fast becoming clear to him that all paths were leading to the fulfillment of that old prophecy.
Alas, son, for I will call you that! he thought. Your days and your labors will be hard ere you can claim it. But your skill in healing is a part of it, and I would be a fool to deny it. He knew not why this knowledge felt like such a weight, like such a bitter mouthful. Elrond Half-elven had lost more than most in the long years of his life, had witnessed darkness and cruelty that would have frozen the heart of many a valiant man, had done his duty despite the risk; but, he sensed the world was changing yet again and, if he had been called upon to play this role in it, he would see this task through to the end.
When he looked up, his sons had identical expressions of worry. As a youth he had found that amusing but, as a parent, he still found it uncanny. Smiling as best he could, he rose, grabbed his gloves.
"Time we explain Estel exactly why his work with the foal has been so highly praised. And," and here he even felt a pull of excitement, "see if he does not laugh when we tell him he is to go on his first real trip with you two." Identical grins met him, and it was his turn to laugh. Dark years may be in store for them, but he would relish what little happiness he could find now.