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Sir Elijah Wood




Master Dom Monaghan



Hello! Here I am, posting part two, whch is very satisfyng for me, at least. It is a little different from my other stories, as it has a lot of the boys praying - but that is how it was in those far-off days.


I hope none of you have been inconvenienced by the volcanic ash. It doesn't appear to have reached us, yet. I do trust it never does - it won't do my asthma any good at all. Still, the sun is shining gloriously, so that's ok . Hope it stays like it, too.

Awaiting delivery of pizza for The Eldest and Rich, and chicken pour moi. :D




Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ladysunrope for beta. Huggles.



Part Two



Dom had dozed off before Elijah woke. A faint stir in the bed beside him, roused the sleeping man. He opened his eyes, his legs stiff, his back aching, and turned to help Elijah in whatever way he needed. But someone was there before him. Sir Elijah's servant, Tom.

"There, now, take this drink, sir," coaxed the man, "It will do you good, I swear."

The injured man did not answer, but quietly drank from the cup. "What is that?" Dom asked Tom, who was patiently holding the cup to his master's lips.

"A posset made by Mistress Parthenope," Tom answered, still attending his master. "Milk, wine and herbs. She vows it is very good in cases of weakness."

And he is weak, Dom saw, as the man tried to grasp the cup, and failed.

He murmured something Dom did not quite catch, and Tom brushed the hair out of his eyes. "Sleep, now. That will be your best medicine. It is several hours yet, until dawn. Sleep!"

Dom noticed the man was very well spoken for a servant, and intended to ask him why this was, later on. Elijah settled back on the pillows, and closed his eyes.

"If you will excuse me for a few minutes, sir, I must find the house of easement." Tom stood at the foot of the bed, even taller in the light of the one flickering candle. Dom gave him directions, and was left alone with his 'guest'.

The man still lay on his back, the arm of his injured shoulder lying across his chest, his eyes closed, to all intents and purposes, asleep. But the candle lit his face, and Dom could see the furrow of pain between his brows.

"Is there anything I can do to ease you, sir?" Dom asked, quietly.

Elijah opened one eye. "Nothing, I thank you." The words 'leave me in peace' hovered in the air between them. Then Elijah opened the eye again. "I think I am like to die," he said, in a weak voice. "If I do, send Tom on his way with a couple of shillings if you can spare them. He knows where to go."

Dom did not think it worth wasting breath trying to reassure the man. It was a wonder, he thought, that the he was not already dead.

"Do not talk further. Rest, now."

Sir Elijah closed his eye, and soon, his even breathing showed that he was really asleep.

Tom returned minus his jacket, shoes and stockings. "Mistress Parthenope heard me pass her door, sir. She insisted I leave my clothing for her to tend."

Dom smiled. "I see she could not persuade you out of your breeches."

Tom looked shocked. "Walk about a gentleman's house in my under-drawers? Good God!" He then realised he had committed the cardinal sin of blasphemy, but, instead of trying to excuse it, the man laughed in a low voice, and shook his head.

"I would never make a Roundhead, sir, not in a thousand years. My tongue is too salted for namby-pamby talk."

"Well, you are safe here with me, for the time being. I will not hand you over to the army. But if they come looking for you, there will be nothing I can do. You understand that?"

The man nodded. "I understand. But why should they come looking for us?" He went to a chair on the other side of the bed and pulled it nearer to Dom. He waited for no permission to sit, but settled himself there, prepared to talk.

"Why would they come looking for us?" he repeated, his nearly black eyes glimmering in the light.

Dom waved a hand at the sleeping man. "It is plain to me that your master is a man of consequence, and you...you are an odd sort of servant. You are not enough...humble...for a good servant."

Tom pulled a wry face. "Oh, you may believe me when I say that I know well how to beg for my supper, sir. But humility was not something I learned at my father's knee." The wry look was replaced by a look of wistfulness. "My father was a good man. Short-sighted, but good. He loved us, his family, very much."

"And Sir Elijah?" Dom prompted, as the man seemed abstracted by his thoughts.

"Oh, he has a fine kidney on him, does my Elijah. He is very aware of his worth, believe me. His consequence is enormous!"

Tom smiled sadly at the figure in the bed. "He has been a true friend to me, sir, and I would be very distressed should he die. We have spent the last few years together - through good times and bad, sharing everything. He is my dearest friend."

Muffled footsteps on the stairs interrupted their talk. It was Will. "It is gone four, sir, by the hall clock. I thought as I was awake, that you should retire now. That is, if you desire to do so."

Dom glanced at Tom. "I see that in his own way, Will is as insistant as are you. Neither is he as humble as should be a servant - yet I forgive him for it. We, too, have been through troubled times together."

"Go to, sir!" Will shook his head. "Obsequiousness was never a thing you demanded of those who served you. I remember well when..."

Dom interrupted, frowning. "Yes, that will do, Will. I shall do as you suggest - and you, Tom, have the rest of your sleep out. It is nearly three hours yet until dawn."


Dom lay on the second best bed, in the next chamber to the one Elijah occupied, which was more comfortable than he had expected, and thought of the odd pair landed in his lap like two mismatched salmon. But he was tired, and before long he had drifted off to sleep.

*

By the time he rose later that morning, there was a smell of chicken soup pervading the air. Dom, having slept through breakfast, desired something more substantial than soup, and, not, as some masters, despising the kitchen, went to find Mistress Parthenope, and prevail on her to feed him.

He found her in the yard, sponging down Tom's clothing - inclusive of breeches - on a wooden trestle. As she plied her muscular arms to the task, Dom watched. She was as strong as any man he knew, and she was a good cook, too.

"How did you persuade him to part with his nether garments? For I have it on good authority - his - that he would in no wise be persuaded to parade about a gentleman's house in his drawers."

Mistress Parthenope laughed. "I sent Hob down early to the blacksmith. I thought Ahab was near as tall as is Tom, and the clothes do not look amiss on him, only slightly loose in the waist, which I soon rectified. Ahab has give him his Sunday suit, on promise of a new one of his choosing made by Mistress Whitby. I had a few shillings put by from the egg money, so it is all paid for, sir. Ahab said he never did like brown, and would bespeak a gentle grey outfit."

She shook the jacket she was working on carefully, and placed it over the line to dry. "Do you wish me to cook you breakfast, now, sir? Only I judge it is nearly time for luncheon, if you can wait half an hour."

"I will content myself with a slice of bread and cheese, Mistress, if you promise me that your capon with the sage and onion stuffing, which I smell roasting, is in the offing."

Waving her back to her task, he found the bread and cheese, and wandered into his study to eat it in peace. He had only just finished it when he glanced through the window and saw Isaac ride in.

Opening the door before his friend had a chance to knock, he said, laughing, "did you scent the capon from your house, Isaac? I swear you must have a nose for a good meal."

Isaac shrugged off his cloak, and clasped his friend's hand. "I did not fancy the rabbit that was to be my luncheon, Dom, and that's a fact. It was burnt even before I left."

Dom sighed, understanding. He had eaten at Isaac's only once. It was certain that Mistress Worthing was no cook.

"How is your guest faring?" Isaac asked, as Dom ushered him into the comfortable summer-parlour in which he sat during daylight hours.

Dom, gesturing his friend to a seat, shrugged. "He was sleeping the last time I saw him..." he began, but was interrupted as Will ran into the room. "He is trying to get out of bed, sirs! It will kill him for sure."

The three men rushed up the stairs to find Tom almost wrestling with the man to keep him in the bed.

"Damn you! I will get up! I hear him calling me. How can I deny my king, when he calls!"

Dom hurried to the other side of the bed and tried to hold the man down; but this was his injured side, and he dared not lay hands upon the shoulder to push it.

He saw that Elijah was flushed, and sweating copiously. His skin felt very hot to the touch. He lay back for a few moments, winded, before attempting to rise again. "Can you not hear him? The king calls to me. How dare you stop me...I..."

Dom leant down, and whispered in his ear. "Be calm, sir. You are upsetting Tom, here. You remember Tom? He is your faithful servant." Elijah turned fever-filled eyes in Dom's direction.

"Tom? Tom is here? Tom?"

"Yes, sir," Tom managed, his voice filled with anguish. "Yes, I am here, as ever, by your side."

"Tom!" Elijah's tone grew gentler. "You are truly here?"

"Yes, sir - I promise I am here."

"Very well. I shall rest, now, if I know you are safe beside me." He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again. "I am thirsty. Is there clean water in that stream, yonder? I would, of all things, like some water."

Will went hurrying downstairs to the pump. He was soon back bearing a jug and beaker. He handed it to Tom, but he had his hands full ensuring the wounded man did not move again.

Dom took the beaker, and held it to Elijah's lips. "Here it is. Fresh, clean water for you."

Elijah's eyes met Dom's in a brief moment of recognition. He pushed the cup away feebly with his good hand. "I know you! You are the Roundhead bastard set on poisoning me! Tom, do not touch the water! Tom!"

Isaac took the cup, refilled it and held it once more to the struggling Elijah's parched lips. "Here you are, my son," he said, in a gentle, but firm tone. "Drink it up, now. There is no poison here."

Isaac's soothing voice had the desired effect. Elijah, quieted, drank the water. "Thank you, Father," he breathed.

Isaac looked at the man, askance. Dom knew that his friend was once a priest of the Roman Catholic church, now known as the Reverend Poulton, but how had this man known? It did not matter, within the confines of the room, what was said now, but later it would have to be considered.

"Have you no laudanum about the place, Dom?" Isaac inquired. "It would both calm him, and relieve the pain."

Dom scratched his head. "There used to be a bottle of it, if I remember, from when Hob broke his leg after being thrown off that cart-horse of Farmer Thomas's. Will, is there any left?"

Will made for the door. "I don't know, sir, but I'll look. If Mistress Parthenope doesn't know for it, I'll search about a bit."

He returned, triumphant within a quarter of an hour, bearing a green glass bottle with two inches of dark liquid in the bottom. "Hob kept it, sirs, in case he broke the leg again. He couldn't remember how many drops he should take, but I dare say we can guess."

Tom coughed. "If I remember fairly, it is four to six drops in aqua vitae, sirs. But it might have thickened with keeping, and therefore, be stronger. I would have no harm come to Sir Elijah…”

Dom heard the catch in the man's voice. He smiled reassuringly. "What say we try three drops, Tom? Will, bring the brandy."

Within ten minutes of drinking the potion, Elijah was much quieter, and less fevered. Isaac and Dom went downstairs to eat, leaving Elijah in his servant's capable hands.

"A good man he has there. Very careful of his duty," Isaac observed over the capon. After they had eaten, the men took a walk as far as the village to see the blacksmith. They both had wondered how much Hob - never the most discreet of persons - had told him.

But their fears were unfounded. Hob, according to Ahab, had merely asked for a suit of clothing for a tall visitor of Master Monaghan's who had fallen into the stream and got muddied. Relieved on that score, they stopped to have a tankard of ale with Ahab, and pass the time of day.

They were just preparing to leave when a man Dom recognised, who was being helped by a farm worker, staggered into the village. He was carried into the inn, where he was laid on the settle and given a judicious glass of brandy. He told the interested listeners that his small group had been attacked by a gang of ruffians, his two assistants shot dead, and his horses, cart and all the goods in it, stolen.

"They took your new carpets, Master Monaghan, and the pewter you had ordered from York." The man was much bruised, but not in danger of his life, so he was able to sit up after a few minutes and continue with his tale.

"Two of them rode fine horses, which can only have been stolen, for they were fine brutes, the pair of them - one bay and one grey."

The man winced as he felt his head. "They left me for dead, I am certain, but I was only stunned, praise be.”

"Did you see which way they went, Alan?" Isaac asked, hoping their way led away from the village.

The man shook his head, which made him wince again. "No, sir - I was in no case to notice which way the hoof prints led. But I expect they are still plain to be seen if any man cares to inspect them. About two miles along the lane to the east."

Dom gave a sensible looking lad a groat to run along and check, and waited patiently until he returned, panting, over half an hour later. "They came from the south, sirs. It may be they doubled back along the lane, but I can't be sure. The tracks led off that way, but were lost to me at the crossroads."

Dom gave him another groat for running to his errand, and the lad went off happily to spend it on pies in the bakery, passing the four men who were going with a cart to fetch the unfortunate dead.

"Do you think they are the band that attacked our guests?" Isaac said, as they walked back to the manor house. "It sounds as if it might be the case. The horses were probably Sir Elijah's and Tom's."

Dom agreed, and, when they returned, asked Tom what sort of horses they had ridden. They matched the description of the bandits' mounts.

"Let us pray they have had their fill of our village and its surroundings, and are anxious to head off elsewhere with their booty," Dom commented, as he sat in his accustomed chair by the fire. “The land has been ravaged enough these past years without men taking what honest folk have paid for…”

"How does your master?" he asked as Tom turned to leave. A shadow fell over the man's face. "He sleeps, sir, that is all - but he has much fever. I have asked for water and cloths so that I may bathe him."

Dom felt slightly guilty that his concern for his sick guest came only as an afterthought, so he offered to watch again for the first part of the night. He was pleased when Tom's somewhat harsh expression softened a little. "I thank you, sir. It is very much appreciated."

Dom regretted the offer soon after he made it, but there was no help for it. He could spare neither Will nor Mistress Parthenope to night sitting. They had too much to do in the day. He consoled himself that the man would either recover, or he would die. Either way, the nursing would not last forever.

***

He went upstairs a little after ten that night, and told Tom to sleep in the small chamber prepared for him at the end of the corridor. "I will call if I need you, have no fear of that."

The smile Tom gave lit up his whole face. "I am certain you will look after him well, sir. I assure you that he is deserving of the greatest attention."

Left alone, Dom lit the second candle that he had brought up with him. The light from one was not enough should his charge need tending. He had brought up a book to read, but he had no chance to even open the covers, for he had not sat there for more than two minutes, before Sir Elijah was rousing, and he was delirious with fever.

He was tossing in pain, so Dom tried to get a little laudanum into him, but he would not swallow it. He brushed the long, curled love-locks out of the man's eyes and mouth several times whilst trying to administer the medicine, before he came to a decision.

Striding over to a chest of drawers set against the far wall, he brought out a pair of shears which he used to trim his own hair, and in a few swift strokes, cut Elijah's hair. He was unable to make a neat job of it, but at least, now, there were not ringlets dangling into the cup.

"Mother, please! I do not desire to drink this potion. It makes me feel odd. Mother, please!" Elijah said, distraught, trying to thrust the cup away. But he had not the strength to do so. The next time he opened his mouth to protest, Dom ruthlessly poured the drink down his throat.

When Elijah had finished coughing, Dom, wiping his face, saw that he was weeping. " Mother, please, I am still your good little boy, am I not?”

It was obvious to Dom that the man was back in his early childhood, and it was equally obvious that he was awaiting an answer. "Mother!" he cried again, and Dom felt a pang of sympathy for the distressed man that surprised him.

He took the hand reaching out to him, and said, in as soft a voice as he could manage, "yes, my son, you are indeed still a good boy. Sleep now!"

"Mother, do not leave me," the voice grew soft with sleep.

"I promise I will not leave. Sleep now."

And, content, Elijah sank into sleep, still clasping what he thought was his mother's hand.

Dom sighed. This was going to be a long night of it, indeed.

Date: 2010-04-18 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mews1945.livejournal.com
Goodness, that gang of ruffians is scary. And I have the feeling they haven't gone anywhere, either. The scene with Dom and Elijah at the end was so touching. Poor man, he's so sick.

Date: 2010-04-19 11:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ismenin.livejournal.com
I like Lij sick, just so that I can make him well - and better than well. Would so it was the same with us, dear friend. ;D xxxx

Date: 2010-04-18 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verangel.livejournal.com
"I think I am like to die," he said, in a weak voice. "If I do, send Tom on his way with a couple of shillings if you can spare them. He knows where to go."
OH *whimpers*
"Oh, he has a fine kidney on him, does my Elijah. He is very aware of his worth, believe me. His consequence is enormous!"

Tom smiled sadly at the figure in the bed. "He has been a true friend to me, sir, and I would be very distressed should he die"

Elijah is a good man...and important. How did he know about Isaac????hmmmmmm
Dom cutting away the "love-locks" from his face... *OH* What an interesting way to term them also.
There is so much intrigue in this. It is truly brillian. The ending though hurt my heart. I wondered if his mother was always there for him with they way he begged her to stay. But the fact that Dom gave him comfort and acted as Elijah's mother was so touching.
I LOVE this story!!!! hugs you so tight xooxoxoxox v

Date: 2010-04-19 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ismenin.livejournal.com
Lij is a Catholic. He recognised the calling of priet in Isaac. Bless him.

They really were called 'love-locks'. I like that. Did they use them to hang on to during passionate love making? Giggles.

I'm glad you like it, my love.It's so much fun doing it, I can't tell you. Hope parts of the next one make you smile. :D xxxx

Date: 2010-04-18 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nimue-8.livejournal.com
I have a feeling sir Elijah won't be best pleased about the savagely cut hair...

Your Tom is endearing and intriguing.

As for Dom, he is a better man than he thinks.

Also, like Mews, I believe it is not the last we have heard of the dangerous ruffians.

Finally, could you give me more details about the terminology of "roundhead".
Somehow, I would have thought Elijah was the roundhead, which proves I don't know much on the subject. I like to learn about other times and places.

Thank you.

Date: 2010-04-19 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ismenin.livejournal.com
He will definitely NOT be happy concerning his hair cut. You can bet that! ;D

Dom is a good, kind man, and it shows. Hugs him tight.

Right. The Royalists - supporters of Charles II were called 'Cavaliers', and the Puritan Parliamentarians - Cromwell's men - were the 'Roundheads'. They were called this because of their short haircuts and not, as some folks think, because they wore round metal helmets. The Cavaliers wore elaborate clothing, edged with beautiful lace (see pic) and the Roundheads favoured plain, dark colours. I know which I prefer!

If you fancy a bit more info, just type 'English Civil War' into somewhere like Wikipedia. There's loads of info about the period on the net. :D xxxx

Date: 2010-04-18 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laeliacatt.livejournal.com
I think those robbers are still about. I hope they don't attack the house! And I think that Elijah will be livid to discover his shorn locks. Dom had better beware. His best "mother" voice will not save him! ;)

Date: 2010-04-19 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ismenin.livejournal.com
Elijah will be livid indeed. I hope you enjoy reading about it! Dom truly didn't know how much - and why - Lij's hair means so much to him. :D xxxx

Date: 2010-04-19 06:07 am (UTC)
msilverstar: (dom-elijah hug rotkla)
From: [personal profile] msilverstar
How nice to have a new chapter of a new series! I really needed it tonight.

Date: 2010-04-19 11:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ismenin.livejournal.com
I'm glad you have some small thing to lift your spirits a trifle. I'm thinking of you - just so you know. Hugs. xxxx

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