Why Won't You Save Her?
By The Silver Feathered Raven
I lifted my head, looking at my daughter. "Yes, darling? What is it?"
My daughter looked up at me with wide eyes. Blue eyes, full of tears. "Am I going to die, mommy?"
I drew in a deep breath, looking up the street towards the Houses of Healing. If only I could get her there…
I didn't want to lie to my daughter. But what else could I do?
"You will be fine, darling. Everything will be fine."
My daughter snuggled down into my arms, her head pressed against my chest. I smoothed her hair with my free hand, whispering soft words to her. Trying to keep from crying.
Why hadn't we left? Why hadn't any of us left? And why, sweet Valar, had Lord Denethor not made us leave? We could have gone anywhere and been safer than we had been here. If only he had given the order for us to leave, to go to Lamedon or Lebennin. Even Lossarnach would have been safer than Minas Tirith. Any of the cities in any of those places would have been safer. Any place would have been safer than here.
I closed my eyes, fighting back tears. How could we have known that the walls would be breached that easily? That the great gates of the city would be broken and cast down, to let vile creatures roam the city?
To come to my home, to kill my husband, to hurt my daughter?
The tears threatened to come, to spill over my cheeks like small crystals. My husband…I had only been married to him for five years. Five of the most glorious years of my life. And I had lost him in less than five minutes. He had only stood long enough for us to escape, for me to take our daughter and run. I had heard him scream for us to leave as they came through the door. I hadn't looked back as I ran.
Didn't see his broken body lying in a pool of blood.
But I saw so many more of the dead as I ran. And when my daughter was caught…I do not know how she had survived. I do not know how I got her back. Everything had turned into a red haze before my eyes, blinding me.
But I did get her back. And somehow we had made it higher into the city. Somehow I had kept running, leaving bloody footprints behind me.
Somehow I had been hurt. I don't remember how.
But my daughter…I looked down at her, lying silent in my arms. She should not still be here, not with her legs to cruelly torn and mangled. I just hoped that she couldn't feel the pain. I prayed to the Valar that they would let her go as painlessly as possible.
The tears were spilling down my face now. I hoped that my daughter wouldn't see them. She should not think that her mother was frightened.
There was blood in the streets, rivers of it running over the white stones. Red smudges on the walls of the houses. Flies had already come, hovering over the corpses of men and women and children. Landing on their motionless flesh.
The smell of blood was so thick on the air that I could almost taste it.
A man who lay on the ground beside me moaned, his eyes fluttering open. One was punctured, blood flowing down his cheeks and staining his white beard. He was old and should not still be here.
"You…your daughter…" his voice burbled in his throat and I knew that he was bleeding inside. My stomach lurched, threatening to spill out of my mouth, but I fought to keep it down.
"Yes," I said, my voice tight. "My daughter." I passed a hand over her hair again. She had fallen asleep or unconscious. I didn't know which. "They…they hurt her."
The man's eyes closed. "I am…sorry."
He didn't say anything else for a long time. In fact, he never said anything else. He died on the cold, blood streaked street beside me.
If only there were enough healers. If only they would admit us to the Houses, maybe they could save my daughter…
It was my last hope. That they would find a way to save my daughter. But I knew, even as I tried to deny it, that she could die out here. That no one cared if we lived or died.
I had seen them bring a warrior up on a stretcher earlier. A woman, and that shocked me. The niece of the king of Rohan, they said, and I had bitten back bitter words. Of course they would save her. She was important. What care did they have about a peasant woman and her four-year-old daughter?
I heard that Lord Faramir was in there as well. And even as I sat there on the cold stone I saw two small figures approaching. The halflings. I smiled, though it was a smile of hate. Of course the halflings would be saved.
Blood turns ones heart black.
I could no longer feel my leg. I knew that blood was still running from the slashes in my side. And the tears were still falling from my eyes. Everything was turning red.
My daughter stirred in my arms, murmuring in her sleep. I set my hand to her head and found that she was burning with fever.
"Please, help," I called out, desperate now. "Somebody, please! Please…" My voice died out and I began to sob. She couldn't die. Sweet Valar, she couldn't die!
Somebody stooped beside me, raising my head with their hand so that they could see me. All I could see was a dark cloak and a glimpse of darkened features below a hood.
"Please," I whispered, my voice cracking. "Please, help my daughter."
The man—I was sure that it was a man—set his hand to my daughter's head. The light that glimmered in his eyes died for a moment as he closed them. When the light returned I felt a sense of grief coming from him.
"I-I am sorry. I cannot help you. I am needed elsewhere." He began to rise but I grabbed him around the wrist.
"Why?" I was close to hysterics but I knew that my cries would take no more notice than any of the others who cried this day. "Why must you help others, when you are here and my daughter needs help? Why?"
I fell back, releasing his arm. "Why?" I repeated, my voice growing softer. I had lost too much blood by this time, too much to think straight, to guard my tongue. "Why must I sit here and watch my daughter die, when there are healers no more than a hundred feet from where I sit? Why is the life of a noble worth so much more than my daughter? Why…" I looked down at my daughter.
She was no longer breathing.
I had nothing left to live for.
The world went black.