This story was written entirely for pleasure. No profit is derived. All characters belong to the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, praise him with great praise!

I have endeavored to keep Aragorn's dialogue as close to canon as possible (and often quote directly for that purpose) in the scenes that are also depicted in the books (and where he actually speaks), though I have omitted and paraphrased certain parts.

Aragorn's ability to read the memories of his unconscious patients is not strictly canonical. However, he speaks of Faramir's "staunch will" and recent history as if he knew them first-hand, rather than hearing of Faramir's character and experience from someone else; and I wondered how he gained that information. Aragorn does go first to Faramir, then to Eowyn and then to Merry, and it's said that "When he had looked on the faces of the sick and seen their hurts he sighed." There is opportunity there for Aragorn to gain knowledge of his unconscious patients, to ascertain how badly the Black Breath has hurt their spirits, so I took it.

I am not the first fanfic writer to depict Tolkien's "dark vale" as a detailed 'otherworld' of Sauron's devising. Tolkien's lines about Aragorn seeming to wander through a dark vale, calling (Faramir) as if for one who is lost, seem to indicate that Aragorn is at least mentally removed from the room in the Houses of Healing, and that Faramir is in a hostile, distant place. Aragorn speaks to Éomer about recalling Éowyn from "the dark valley". Éowyn, after awakening, speaks of "dark voices" who told her that Éomer was dead. (Merry, bless him, awakens and says that he's hungry) I have tried whenever possible to create my own version on this dramatic and riveting chapter.

The Elendilmir worn and mentioned by Aragorn is the "Star of Elendil" that is upon his brow when he comes to the Battle of the Pelennor - it is the traditional headgear of the Kings of Arnor, a white gem bound on the brows with a silver fillet. The Elendilmir is called "the Star of Elendil" in The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and discussed in greater detail in a footnote in Appendix A, The Return of the King. And for even more details, check out Tolkien's Unfinished Tales - which any Tolkien aficionado should check out anyway, for all the fascinating material therein.

The location of Faramir's wound is never mentioned in the books. It is described as not being life-threatening. Since the "deadly dart" was probably aiming for his heart or throat, and missed, I had it strike the collarbone. I owe particular thanks to Avie of the Emyn Arnen website, and Werecat, roh wyn, and Lyllyn of HASA for their helpful answers to my questions about Faramir's condition.

I owe a special gratitude to my betas: Branwyn, Tanaqui, Lindahoyland, Eldamir and Marta, for their meticulous and always constructive beta of this story since I completed my first draft in November 2004.

Tolkien artist Anke Eissmann has been kind enough to illustrate this story with a series of small ink drawings, at: If the URL doesn't come through here; you can find her site via Google.