Recovery, Redemption and Romance
/ / / Surprise Healer \ \ \
"Take him, if you wish him to live; and no friendship of mine goes with him." - Thorin Oakenshield
. . .
There indeed lay Thorin Oakenshield, wounded with many wounds, and his rent armour and notched axe were cast upon the floor. He looked up as Bilbo came beside him. "Farewell, good thief," he said. "I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed. Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth, I wish to part in friendship from you, and I would take back my words and deeds at the Gate."
- 'The Hobbit' by JRR Tolkien
"All is not lost, King Under the Mountain," Bilbo said, kneeling next to Thorin.
"The best of my healers have seen me and they have confirmed there is nothing they can do."
Bilbo shook his head and stood to call on the two dwarfish guards. "Do you know of a plant with dusky white leaves and a flower the colour of blood?"
"Aye," one of the guards said. "We call it Fallen Night."
"I need enough of that to fill a bowl the size of your head, roots and all."
The guard looked beyond him to the King.
"Get my burglar anything he asks for," Thorin said, in a firmer voice than Bilbo had heard since he came into the tent.
"I need three more dwarves to collect supplies." Bilbo said, to the other guard.
Both guards rushed off on Bilbo's orders. He turned back to the King. "I cannot promise anything, of course, but…do you trust me?"
Thorin looked at him for a few moments before he nodded decisively with a smile. "For what I said at the Gate I will never be able to atone but I know you are a trustworthy companion and I would trust you with my life."
"You will be. I need to remove the dressing and your clothes so I may see the wounds."
Four dwarves appeared at the doorway.
"I need barrels of water," Bilbo said, to one dwarf who went running. "I need the sap from an antling tree," the next dwarf ran off out of camp. "I need two stones to break down plants," the next dwarf left. "I need new wrappings and clean cloths as well as leaves from the largest cordeus tree in the area and the white moss that will grow at its base." The last dwarf ran from the tent.
"You asked more of him," Thorin rasped behind him.
Bilbo turned. "He will ask someone else for the bandages, now I am going to need to check your wounds."
Bilbo dragged one more dwarf in to help who seemed more terrified of hurting his King than he was interested in holding his weight comfortably. It took Bilbo some time but the clothes were cut from his body until nothing but his hair and the soaked red bandages covered Thorin. Bilbo laid a cloth over Thorin's modesty and started checking his wounds, one would be infected before nightfall, but the rest would probably be able to be mended if Bilbo was able to work fast. He would need to work very fast, Thorin had the pale look of someone who had lost a lot of blood and his wounds were numerous but if Bilbo could staunch the blood and close the skin Thorin had a chance.
"Master Baggins," a voice said quietly from the doorway of the tent.
"Come," Bilbo called out.
"Master Baggins, Sir, I was sent to inform you that Kíli, heir to the King Under The Mountain, is close to death."
"Have him brought into the tent here and I shall see what I can do."
"Do you know of Fíli's fate?" Thorin asked, with a wet cough.
"They brought me straight here," Bilbo said. "I will check on him when I am done with you."
Two dwarves rushed into the tent, one holding an armful of Fallen Night and the other the sap of the antling tree.
"Pull the flowers from the Fallen Night and brew them into a tea, leave everything else with me."
Three dwarves appeared at the tent opening and set a table at the base of Thorin's bed with a mortar and pestle on top before they carried in two barrels of water. Bilbo started to grind the roots of the Fallen Night into a fine powder.
Behind him a group of dwarves delivered Kíli to the tent and set him up on a cot, there was little room between the two cots but Bilbo, being smaller than a dwarf, did not find it a problem. He checked on Kíli before directing a dwarf to strip the heir down. He added the sap from the antling tree to the powdered root of Fallen Night and set it alight. There was a flash and a bang which caused a number of dwarves to rush to the tent opening but Bilbo ignored them and began to remove the bandages from the King Under the Mountain's wounds and washed them thoroughly with water before pressing the mixture he had made into the wounds. Thorin hissed at him but told the other dwarves to leave while Bilbo worked quickly and then turned around to work on Kíli.
"How is he?" Thorin asked, weakly.
"No better, nor worse, than you." Bilbo said. "He has a chance, though a couple of his wounds are more likely to run to infection. I need the items from the cordeus tree to stave off infection but they will be harder to find than anything else I have asked for. The things I will need for tomorrow will be even worse to locate but this will at least keep you alive through the night."
Thorin watched him tend to Kíli, who had fewer wounds than Thorin but they were deeper and had bleed more.
"What else do you need?" Thorin asked, though Bilbo could hear his exhaustion in his voice.
"I have the tea, Master Baggins," a dwarf said, at the door and carried in a great cauldron of tea.
"Give the King a cup and then you will need to get someone to force some on Kíli."
"Aye," the dwarf said, as two dwarfish woman came in behind him carrying armfuls of white linen.
"We had to boil it and then dry it near the fire," one of them said, though her eyes were not on Bilbo but on Thorin behind him slowly struggling to sip his tea. Bilbo did not offer to help; allowing the King this bit of independence.
"Excellent, I am not quite ready for them. I need the salve to harden partially before I wrap them away from the air. Do you have a place that we can keep them clean?"
Both she-dwarves nodded and rushed out of the tent.
"It shames them to see their King so close to death." Thorin said.
Bilbo turned and glared at Thorin before stalking towards him. "Do not say that! You will not give up on your own life while I fight to save it, do you hear me, Thorin Oakenshield?"
Thorin nodded slowly. "I have never seen you so fierce, little one."
"I am not about to lose you now, Thorin."
"Then I shall fight, for you."
Bilbo smiled and poured Thorin some more tea. "This shall help you sleep, will lessen the pain, and help the toxins leave your body."
"It tastes terrible," Thorin said.
"It is supposed to; it is for healing you not for fun." Bilbo reminded him. "When you are better I shall make you a proper afternoon tea, with my special blend of tea and my famous honey cakes with scones and cream. It is very good."
"Worth living for," Thorin said, with a sigh and drank more tea.
The final dwarf that Bilbo had sent out returned with a bag full of leaves and a pocket full of moss. Bilbo smiled his thanks and told the dwarf feeding Kíli the tea to give him three full cups and then to leave him to rest. Bilbo poured water and moss into a bowl and went out to set it next to the fire. There was a group of five she-dwarves working at powdering more roots of the Fallen Night plant.
"What are you doing?" Bilbo asked, coming over to them after he had set his bowl on a hot stone.
"There are many wounded apart from the King," one of them said. "Our medicines are not enough to save them, we thought to help them."
Bilbo smiled, he had not thought of anyone but Thorin. "When it is a fine powder like…this one," Bilbo said pointing to one dwarf's work. "Then add the sap from the antling tree, until it looks like this," Bilbo poured sap in and mixed. He pulled a flaming stick from the fire and held it above the mixture. "You set it alight and it will," there was a flash and a bang. "Then you need to apply it to the wounds."
"I saw you apply the salve to our King," one of the she-dwarves said. "I know how to do that."
"Good, leave the salve to the open air. Have you sent someone off to collect all the things I asked for?" One of the dwarves nodded. "Good, put the moss in a bowl with enough water to cover it and put it on a hot rock." Bilbo went over to his moss and stirred it, it was not ready yet so he went back to them.
"Thank you, Master Baggins," one of the she-dwarves said.
Bilbo looked at them. "Why do you call me that? My name is Bilbo."
The dwarves shook their head. "You helped Thorin Oakenshield reclaim his throne; you shall be Master Baggins until our King is well enough to bestow upon you your earned name."
Bilbo flushed. "I see," he turned and checked on his moss, found it to be ready and showed the dwarves before he turned and fled from them with an offer to check on anyone that they wanted him to.
"There you are, little one." Thorin said, to Bilbo when he returned. The King was blinking slowly and close to sleep.
"Have you had enough tea?" Bilbo asked, taking the mug from his hand.
"Three cups," the dwarf who has been watching over them said. "The same as I gave Kíli."
"Then sleep, Thorin." Bilbo instructed.
"How did I not know you were a healer, Bilbo?"
Bilbo rested his hand on Thorin's forehead to check for fever. "Tookish Hobbits have always had a skill for healing, did you not know that?"
"No, I did not," Thorin said, slowly.
"Sleep now, my King, and I will be here when you awaken."
Thorin looked at Bilbo and smiled before he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Bilbo looked to the dwarf. "I will need you to watch over them both but first you need to find me a party of strong, healthy dwarves so that I can go and collect the rest of the items I need."
"Anything you require, Master Baggins, we will collect for you. There is no reason for you to venture out."
"I know what I am looking for and where it hides, but I need dwarves to help me bring it back if I have more patients than the King and his heir."
The dwarf nodded and rushed from the tent. Bilbo set himself to covering the wounds that looked close to infection with the hot moss mixture and then wrapping Kíli and Thorin's wounds. When he was done he found furs to cover both dwarves before leaving with the party that had been gathered to accompany him to collect all the things he might need to save the King.
/ / /