THE HEALERS OF THE HORNBURG
Night falls upon the bloody day of June 14 at Helm's Deep. The battle is over, the fighting ended, and now comes the grim task of finding the wounded and dying, offering them such aid as can be had, or comforting those who are dying in their last hours.
Dernhelm, Rider of Rohan, lies upon the battlefield, sorely wounded, and te Rider's horse, a black stallion, stands beside his body. Two riders bearing torches ride across the agonized scene of dead and wounded. They hear the last shuddering gasps of those for whom no medical attention could save. The moans and screams of the wounded echo in their ears as they make their grim search. "Ho, Frealof! See there, by the light of the torch. That one still has life in him!"
The other rider says, "Aye, it is as you say. He is moaning in agony!" They dismount their horses, then walk towards the fallen, their torches aloft. Together, they pick up the body of the fallen soldier and hoist him across Frealof's saddle. They tie his legs under the horse's stomach, then Frealof leads his own mount with the body across and the other follows, leading his horse.
They pick their way gingerly across the battlefield, careful to avoid stepping on any of the bodies. They cannot hope to get all of the wounded, but they at least have found this one of their own. After transporting the wounded to the Hornburg, they will return once again and resume their sorrowful search. Upon reaching the Outer Wall of the Hornburg, they they take him inside the Berg, where men lie upon the stone and writhe in agony, moaning and crying to the Valar for relief of their pain. Frealof and his companion lay the body gently with the others upon the stone floor until the healers have the opportunity to see who has a chance to live and who does not.
Dernhelm portrayed by Eowyn
Ulrad portrayed by Hobbitness when Eowyn is Dernhelm; Ulrad portrayed by Eowyn when Hobbitness is Alric
Aldric's Friends portrayed by Hobbitness
Forweg, The Guards and Narrator portrayed by Wraith
Forweg: *Forweg, one of the healers of
Gondor, a blood-drenched butcher's apron over his tunic, tells
his new assistant, Ulrad, a 12-year-old boy, also of Gondor, who
has volunteered to help, to go and look over the wounded to see
which one has a chance to be saved by the healers' skills*
Forweg: Ulrad, take another lad and see the wounded
Forweg: Bring me one whom you think my skills might help and make haste, boy! They will die if they do not receive care
Ulrad: Yes sir *Ulrad nods his head and fetches another assistant*
Ulrad: *Together the boys stumble through the maze of dying soldiers, wide eyed and trying to keep from retching*
Dernhelm: *Eowyn, also known as Dernhelm, lies upon the cold stone floor in the berg.... vaguely she hears the sounds of wounded and dying all around her. after she was wounded in the battle, a darkness had come upon her mind and had lain upon the battlefield in a swoon for hours*
Ulrad: Here, sir! This one seems to have a chance
Forweg: Then bring him hence and put speed to your legs!
Ulrad: *Ulrad and the other boy try to coax the wounded soldier to stand*
Forweg: Put him upon the table over yonder!
Ulrad: *one boy supports each of the soldier's arms*
Ulrad: *They help the wounded soldier over to the table*
Dernhelm: *she tries to get to her feet, but her right leg is in too much pain. she cries out, then grits her teeth. she must use the two lads for support to stumble to the table*
Ulrad: *They help the soldier sit, then lie down, then Ulrad lifts the soldier's feet onto the table*
Forweg: Hasten! He is sorely wounded. You see how he drips blood from his shoulder
Ulrad: Yes sir, we will be as swift as we can
Ulrad: He is ready for examination now, I think
Dernhelm: *she moans in pain, lying upon the table. she wonders where she is, what happened... images of the battle of pelennor and her capture flash through her mind. is this the dark tower?*
Forweg: Take off his mail!
Ulrad: Don't worry sir. We will get you fixed right up.
Ulrad: Now this might hurt a bit, but it's so that we can cure your wound *the boys take off the soldier's helm, undo the belt and take off the mail shirt as gently as they can*
Dernhelm: *after the boys take off the helm, they begin to take off her mail shirt. she cries out in pain as it is slowly removed*
Forweg: *Forweg walks over to another table, and looks over his medicial supplies of scissors, scalpels, tweezers, cauterizing irons, pliers, needles for surturing, reels of thread and gut for suturing, soft cloths for cleaning and covering wounds, knives and saws, jars of ointment and salve and various powders*
Ulrad: Shh, that's it now, it's almost off. *they finally remove the shirt* There now, that part's over, very good.
Forweg: Now, Ulrad, cut away the cloth and padding from around the wound
Ulrad: *Ulrad and the other boy look at each other grimly as they see the amount of blood*
Dernhelm: *her hair is wet and matted, her face is filthy, her chin scraped... consealing her delicate features to some degree... her hair is cut like a man's*
Forweg: Cut, it boy, and be quick!
Ulrad: *Ulrad cuts through the thick cloth and padding, murmuring reassurances*
Forweg: *He approaches the table where Ulrad is cutting away the material. He wipes his hands on his bloody apron* More light!
Forweg: *he says to the other boy* Bring a lantern and hold it above so I can see how badly this one is wounded
Dernhelm: *she lies upon the table, weak from loss of blood, and grieving from her many hurts*
Ulrad: *Ulrad removes the material to reveal the rider's small shoulder, covered in blood, with a bad wound high up on it*
Ulrad: *The other boy fetches a lantern and holds it over the fallen rider, frowning down worriedly*
Forweg: *The healer peers down at the wound* Aye, this is a bad one!
Forweg: Here, Ulrad, bring cloth to apply pressure to hold the bleeding while I clean the wound
Ulrad: *Ulrad nods, biting his lip*
Dernhelm: *she is able to discern now that she is among friends, a charge of the healers... she remembers that it is june of 3019, sometime after the battle of helm's deep*
Forweg: It is deep, lad, and filled with shreds of cloth, dirt and metal
Forweg: Apply the pressure there, see, where it is bleeding?
Ulrad: *He fetches some clean cloth and holds it to the rider's shoulder* Now this is going to hurt, but it's just so we can clean your wound, and so you don't lose any more blood.
Dernhelm: *there are two boys and a healer around her. she weakly nods to ulrad*
Ulrad: We need to get all that filth out of the wound, so we can treat it. Then we'll fix you right up.
Forweg: *He takes a pair of tweezers and begins to probe into the wound*
Forweg: Here, boy, here is a bit of broken mail. *he drops it into a container beside the table*
Dernhelm: *cries out and twitches*
Forweg: *He probes more and pulls out a large piece of bloody cloth*
Ulrad: *The other boy collects the debris Forweg removes from the wound in the container*
Forweg: Here, boy, staunch the flow of blood! The soldier is bleeding again
Ulrad: Yes sir *quickly presses the cloth to the wound*
Dernhelm: *manages to speak between clenched teeth* wait.... give me a rag, to still my screaming. *she knows her voice would be too high for any man's*
Forweg: Boy, do as the soldier says. Stuff a rag in his mouth to keep him quiet
Ulrad: *Ulrad nods to the other boy who places a clean rag in the soldier's mouth*
Forweg: *He takes the tweezers and probes deeper into the wound, pulls out a piece of padding*
Dernhelm: *bites down on the fabric, which muffles the sounds of her voice as she cries and moans*
Ulrad: *Ulrad places his hand on the soldier's head to calm him as he trembles from pain* Shh, there now, you're doing splendidly.
Ulrad: *He continues to staunch the wound with his other hand*
Forweg: *He bends over and peers into the wound, seeing by the light of the lantern* Hmm, it seems to be all.... but it is still quite dirty
Forweg: Clean cloth, boy, so I can swab the wound
Forweg: This is a very serious injury. See how the flesh all along the edges is black and discolored? Heavily bruised
Ulrad: *The boys nod gravely. Ulrad stays with the soldier while the other boy fetches more clean cloth*
Forweg: Go to the table, put some antiseptic salve on the cloth
Ulrad: *The boy applies antiseptic to the cloth and brings it to Forweg*
Dernhelm: *she barely hears the words of the healer and the boys as she lies on the table in agony from both shoulder and leg*
Forweg: *He takes the cloth from the boy and probes deeply into the wound again, cleaning it and then bringing the cloth up and cleaning the edges of the wound*
Ulrad: *Ulrad grimaces in pity for the soldier*
Forweg: Boy, let the pressure loose, let it bleed a little bit. It will help cleanse it
Ulrad: *Ulrad removes his hand from the wound*
Forweg: *The blood starts flowing again* Ah, good. That should clean it!
Ulrad: *Ulrad continues to talk to the soldier and pat his head, hoping to take his mind off the pain*
Forweg: Now, mix up a compound of yarrow, other herbs and grease. I want to keep the wound open, so that more herbs can be applied.
Ulrad: Yes sir
Forweg: Now pack the wound with it. Ulrad, remember this if you want to be a healer. You must grow the seeds that the healers have. These herbs are descended from plants that once grew in Numenor. The ointments, made from full-grown plants, heal the wound quicker and seal it better than thread will do
Ulrad: *Ulrad goes to make the medicine. As he passes the other boy they share a look of grief and traumatization*
Ulrad: *He mixes the medicine with mortar and pestle*
Dernhelm: *lies her head back on the table and closes her eyes*
Forweg: Now brace up your courage. If you want to be a healer, you must learn to do this
Ulrad: *Then he goes over to the soldier again, tears starting in his eyes at how much he is going to have to hurt him*
Forweg: *He tells the other boy to wad up some cloth to place in the wound and cut some of the bandaging material*
Ulrad: *bends over the soldier* I'm going to put the medicine in your wound now. It will hurt, but it will make you better, and I will do it as fast as I can
Dernhelm: *she opens her eyes and nods, bracing herself, biting down hard upon the cloth in her mouth*
Ulrad: *The other boy quickly makes a bandage for the wound while Ulrad packs the medicine into it, biting the insides of his cheeks*
Ulrad: *He works quickly, with full concentration*
Forweg: Now bind the wound
Ulrad: *Ulrad steps back and slumps into a chair while the other boy binds the wound*
Forweg: I probably should have put stitching in, but I wanted the politce to do its work. Let's see how he does. Doubltess the herbs will work, but if they do not, I can suture it at a later time
Ulrad: *Ulrad looks out at the dozens of other wounded. How will they get to them all in time?*
Forweg: Let the healing herbs do their work first
Ulrad: *nods to Forweg*
Forweg: Now remove the gag from the soldier's mouth
Forweg: *He again wipes his bloody hands on his apron*
Forweg: Give him a draught of valerium to help him sleep, and take him away. Lay him with the others we have treated and let us go on to the next
Ulrad: *Ulrad walks back to the soldier, nodding his approval at the other boy's job of binding the wound, and pulls the cloth out of the soldier's mouth, smiling warmly at him*
Dernhelm: *Eowyn nods to the boy, but says nothing. she rests her head back on the table*
Ulrad: There, it's over now. You did wonderfully. You'll be fine now.
Forweg: And watch the wound for infection. If it turns bad, I will have to cauterize it
Ulrad: Yes sir
Forweg: This one will be with us quite some time if he lives
Ulrad: *The other boy hands Ulrad a dose of valerium*
Forweg: Now bring me wine
Ulrad: *The other boy brings Forweg a flask of wine and a goblet while Ulrad hands him the valerium*
Forweg: *He mixes the valerium with the wine* Prop his head up and give it to him
Ulrad: *The boys help the soldier sit up*
Dernhelm: *cries out in pain, clenches teeth to try to stop it*
Ulrad: *Ulrad strokes the soldier's hair and hums absently, unsure what tune he is even humming*
Dernhelm: *they only cut the shoulder of my tunic off, she thinks. if they had removed it completely, they would know what i am...*
Ulrad: *The other boy smiles faintly at Ulrad...it is a drinking song he is humming*
Ulrad: *Ulrad raises his eyebrows--no time to lose--and the other boy holds the goblet to the soldier's mouth*
Forweg: Good. Now lay him over with the others. Put a blanket on him and keep him warm. He will become thirsty and will want water. If he is in pain and cries out during the night, give him more wine and valerium
Dernhelm: *she drinks the wine eagerly, for she is very thirsty, having lain upon the field all day with nothing to drink*
Ulrad: *The two boys silently agree to sleep in shifts as long as they are working here*
Ulrad: *Ulrad and the other boy help the soldier lie down and cover him with blankets, telling him to yell if he needs more medicine*
Dernhelm: *after the boys put her with the rest of the wounded soldiers who have been treated, she tries to lie in a comfortable position, falling into a fitful sleep*
Narrator: *Two Rohirrim soldiers have been waiting beside one of the wounded soldiers. Now the healer tells Ulrad to tell the two Rohirrim to bring their wounded friend in and put him on the table*
Narrator: *The wounded soldier is a big man, who moans*
Ulrad: *Ulrad tell the two rohirrim to carry teir friend in and put him on the table*
Narrator: *The man is wounded with an arrow right below the knee. The tibia (larger bone below the knee) is shattered and the wound is bleeding profusely. Part of the splintered bone protrudes the skin*
Aldric: *Aldric, the big soldier with the mangled leg, tries to smile at his friends as they place him on the table* I was...this close to getting...the uruks....truly I was!
Narrator: More light! *He tells Ulrad*
Aldric: *cries out as his leg touches the wood*
Ulrad: *ulrad brings the lantern closer to the wounded man so that forweg the healer can see him better*
Forweg: Take off his boot and cut away the chausses
Aldric: *Aldric's friends grip his arms and tell him to be strong in this upcoming trial*
Aldric: *Aldric nods to them and grits his teeth, his chest rising and falling heavily*
Ulrad: *handing the torch to the other lad, ulrad carefully removes the soldiers boot, speaking words of reassurance. he then begins to cut away the fabric from his leg*
Forweg: *Forweg bends over and inspects the wound, his fingers exploring the flesh on either side of the wound*
Aldric: *Tears stream down Aldric's face and he cries out, embarassed at the uncomfortable looks on his friend's faces*
Forweg: *he looks to the soldier* If you want to live, this leg has to come off now!
Aldric: *Aldric's jaw drops*
Aldric: Can...can you put me into a slumber for it?
Forweg: *He looks to the other two Rohirrim* Now hold your friend tightly
Forweg: *He says to Ulrad* Give him a draught of wine mixed with water and valerium
Aldric: *The other two Rohirrim curse under their breath and hold Aldric's arms tightly, telling him he will be all right*
Ulrad: Yes Sir *ulrad nods and goes to the wine and medicinal herbs. he mixes everything together and soon comes back with a goblet*
Ulrad: *he holds the goblet to aldric's mouth* Sorry it is so weak sir, but we are running low on supplies...
Aldric: *fights to keep from snapping at the boy, nods to him*
Forweg: Do you want a piece of leather or a rag to chew on, soldier?
Aldric: Yes, please!
Forweg: Ulrad, bring me my saw. *He says to the other boy* Bring a piece of leather to stuff in his mouth
Aldric: *Sweat pours down Aldric's face and he begins to sag in his friends' arms*
Ulrad: *he goes to the table with the medicial supplies and brings back the surgeon's saw. the other boy brings a piece of leather and hands it to aldric*
Aldric: *They lower him to the table and clasp his hands, feebly attempting conversation*
Aldric: *One of the Rohirrim stuffs the leather into Aldric's mouth*
Forweg: *Looks to the two Rohirrim* Hold him now. Keep him from struggling!
Aldric: *One of the Rohirrim bursts into tears, the other says quietly* My friend, I am sorry, please forgive us
Aldric: *They raise him again and hold him tightly*
Aldric: *Aldric nods weakly to them*
Forweg: *The light reflects off the saw, the steel gleaming in the light*
Aldric: *Aldric shuts his eyes tightly*
Aldric: *His mind screams prayers to the Valar*
Ulrad: *Ulrad bites his lip, knowing that the man will soon be in horrific pain. prays to the Valar that the man can take it*
Forweg: *With a grim look, the surgeon takes his saw and begins sawing through the flesh, then to the bone and through flesh again*
Forweg: *In about 15 or less seconds the leg is off*
Aldric: *Aldric cannot hellp struggling fiercely*
Forweg: *Blood spews all over the table and begins to run down the sides. The surgeon's apron is covered in blood*
Forweg: Quick, Ulrad, fire the iron
Aldric: *his face glistens with sweat and tears. His screams are loud even through the leather*
Forweg: I must cauterize the arteries!
Ulrad: *quickly prepares the iron... soon he comes back with it, glowing red with heat*
Aldric: *He trembles violently, crying out incessantly and writhing in dire agony*
Forweg: I must seal the arteries *He takes the iron and begins to apply it to the spurting artery. The reek of singing flesh permeates the room*
Aldric: *His friends continue to hold him, looking away from the surgeon's bloody work, and murmuring prayers*
Aldric: *The leather shoots from Aldric's mouth and a deafening, bellowing scream fills the hall*
Ulrad: *Ulrad gives the soldier a sympathetic look and murmurs prayers and words of encouragement too*
Aldric: *After two or three loud screams he suddenly falls limp in his friends' arms*
Forweg: *He holds the iron to one of the arteries as it begins to seal over* See, Ulrad, how the vessels constrict?
Ulrad: *Looks a bit pale, but nods to Forweg* yes.... Sir .....
Forweg: *He applies more heat and the reek of the burning flesh is sickening, but the surgeon is used to it*
Aldric's Friends: *The two Rohirrim cry out in alarm as Aldric passes out*
Aldric's Friends: *They try to wake him*
Forweg: *When the bloody job is finished, at first the healer turns to his assistant, not realizing the patient has died* Now I must suture it
Ulrad: *Ulrad quickly goes to the table and gets needle and thread... comes back and hands them to forweg*
Aldric's Friends: Father! Father! *the two Rohirrim cry, shaking him by the shoulders, but he does not wake*
Forweg: Does he yet live! Or has the life fled from him because of the shock to his system?
Forweg: Feel his pulse, Ulrad!
Aldric's Friends: *One of the friends bends over Aldric's mouth and checks for breathing*
Ulrad: *Ulrad takes the man's wrist and feels for his pulse*
Forweg: *The surgeon gives the handle of the still burning iron to the other boy assistant*
Ulrad: *Ulrad feels no pulse. he looks up to Forweg with a sad expression on his face... shaking his head* Nay, he is ...... *he trails off*
Ulrad: *the other boy takes the cauterizing iron from forweg and puts it away*
Aldric's Friends: NO! *yells the man bending over Aldric*
Forweg: *He looks to the two grieving Rohirrim, bows his head* I am sorry. We could not save him. Take his body and put it with the other dead
Ulrad: *Ulrad fights back tears and sniffs*
Aldric's Friends: *The other Rohirrim gently pulls back the man wailing over Aldric's body*
Forweg: *Looks to Ulrad* And I had planned for you to suture the wound. It would be your first
Ulrad: *pales and looks to Forweg*
Forweg: You would do as I have instructed you, using the blanket stitch
Forweg: *Looks at Ulrad* Bring the next patient
Aldric's Friends: *The weeping Rohirrim clasps Aldric's body to him to keep the boys from taking it* No! No! He's my father
Forweg: *Other assistants bring in the next battle wounded*
Ulrad: He will be put with the...... others.... until they can be buried in a mound in the morrow, sir.
Aldric's Friends: *Aldric's body still lies on the table with his hysterical son clinging to it*
Ulrad: i am sorry *looks down, a tear escapes his eye*
Forweg: Remove the body! The next man waits!
Ulrad: *ulrad and the other boy try to console the two grieving sons, and get them to take their father's body*
Aldric's Friends: No, no! Don't take him away from me! *wails* *The other tries to pull him away and he shakes him off violently
Ulrad: Please, good sirs, we need the table for the next man!
Forweg: The table, the table, we need the table for the next man! Remove him before I call the guards
Aldric's Friends: *The other brother pins the weeping son's arms behind his back and pulls him forcibly from the table*
Ulrad: Please, sirs .... *looks to them with pleading eyes*
Aldric's Friends: *A scruffle ensues while the younger son lashes out at the older who tries to calm him down*
Forweg: Guards! Remove the body and put it with the rest of the corpses!
Forweg: *Three guards come in and join the fray over the corpse on the table*
Aldric's Friends: *The younger son lets out a long wail at that and stops struggling*
Forweg: *The healer backs off to a safe distance*
Forweg: This is now a house of healing! Let calm reign here! *he shouts*
Aldric's Friends: *The young son falls to his knees, suddenly exhausted, and his forehead touches the floor as he sobs quietly*
Aldric's Friends: *His brother puts his arm around him and helps him up*
Forweg: *The guards, moved by compassion at the sad sight, try to remove the body*
Aldric's Friends: *The older brother helps the younger brother stumble out of the healer's hall, both of them crying and looking over their shoulders as their father's body is removed*
The Guards: Gentlemen, restrain yourselves!
Aldric's Friends: *The sons turn back and walk slowly out, the older brother's arms tightening around his younger brother's shaking body*
The Guards: *One guard gets the body by the arms, the other by the legs, takes it outside the Berg, swinging it back and forth, and toss it on a huge stack of other bodies*
Narrator: *Just inside the stack of bodies is another smaller pile of amputated arms, legs, fingers and toes*
Narrator: *When the corpse lands with the others, the hostile sound of disturbed flies fills the air*
Narrator: *The swarm of flies, disturbed from their sleep, swarms up and about before finally settling on their silent hosts*
Return to Third Age: The War of Second Darkness
Return to Index