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15
The Blessings Challenge series, aka, Halbarad Lives AU series

Note: This series is probably best conceived as a very short sequel to Resurrection.

Written for the "Blessings" challenge, for the prompts: Health, Wealth, Happiness (in that order).


~~~

Health

In the days after the battle, he had nearly succumbed – not once, but often. Death has many faces, though all face the same way.

He’ll never be well, the healers warn. His wounds were too grave. He’ll not walk straight again, nor hold a sword, press a bow, ride. Pain makes for sleepless nights, and a stranger in the glass.

Insight is his weapon now, more than ever: he struggles with foreign ways, foreign thoughts. Health’s a blessing, but not all: his king is crowned. He can still serve. Foresight’s despair is broken!

For that, Halbarad will suffer his pains.


~0~


Red gold

The Dog Days are merciless. The river itself seems sluggish, the air so thick one could cut it with a knife. Harlond is idle, while more northerly, folk take to Anduin for relief.

But Halbarad welcomes the heat. Aching bones quiet; joints mute their protests. Today, he decides, and at midday makes his journey.

Pelennor spreads before him, uneven in patches, scarred, but the farmers have returned, and the ashes he mourned have grown barley fields to feed a city.

Costly grain, more dear than all Erebor’s wealth. Halbarad breathes deep, looks east, and his smile is flinty – Thus vengeance!

~0~


Winter Campaign

Summer fades; fall becomes winter. Halbarad feels cold bite like slow-driven knives. Days he measures now in hours between draughts, victories in little happinesses: a teacup’s warmth, the bath’s easing heat, hands working numbing ointment in – anything that quickens senses to something beyond the pain that walks with him, sits with him, lies with him. Worried distraction, Aragorn brings work daily.

“’Tis winter campaign. I’ll weather it,” Halbarad insists.

“Of campaigns…” Aragorn begins reciting names on a day.

Understanding is its own little sunlight. ‘“Envinyatar before us,’” Halbarad breathes.

Aragorn clasps his forearm, and pain matters not at all: “Always.”

~0~


Bonus prequel drabble for Altariel's birthday!


The quiet on the western front

The healers at length have mercy – the Houses are his.

Rumor haunts their hallways, merging with his dreams, where another – not Elessar, but a shadow, like dark-shrouded memory – reigns. Then he doubts: had he dreamt...?

The man the healers show him one day is certain enough. Battered life, he may die, they say; body and soul war-rent, even Elessar doubts his standard-bearer.

Uneasy days pass, where peace palls, startling a wounded man awake. Faramir turns from the window. Eyes thick-clouded with deadly desire meet his, and memory quickens suddenly…

Faramir, shaken, takes a hand – and closes a door: “Not yet!”


Note: In a bid to be slightly more helpful, Emmaus shows how Faramir dealt in the immediate aftermath with his post-pyre trauma in my fanverse.

~~~

Notes: Happiness: “’Envinyatar before us”: "Eärendil above us, Elendil behind us, Isildur beneath us, Envinyatar before us." – the midwinter ceremony of the Dúnedain of the North in Candles.


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