In the eighth chapter of The Return of the King, characters are reunited and Aragorn is ridiculous. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE HOUSES OF HEALING
Lords and Stuff
[MERRY slowly makes his way to the Gate of Minas Tirith, or at least what is left of it. He sees that the ground is littered with bodies, and he is weary. Many people pass him by in a flurry of activity, but he just seems lost and a bit forlorn. It isn’t until his best friend PIPPIN appears suddenly in front of him that he even looks up from the ground.]
PIPPIN: Merry! You’re alive!
MERRY: Dude, I am exhausted. [MERRY sits down at the doorstep of a building, and then he starts to cry.
PIPPIN: Aw, Merry, I am just glad we are back together! I know you are tired. You must be! I cannot imagine what this experience has been for you. Are you hurt?
MERRY: Not really, but I can’t seem to feel my right arm. I stabbed a Black Rider! But apparently it fought back emotionally or something.
PIPPIN: Come with me! I was just at the Houses of Healing, and I think they can help you.
[The two walk arm in arm, Merry stumbling and swaying.]
[MERRY and PIPPIN have stopped, and they are on an otherwise empty sidewalk.]
MERRY: I feel fucked up.
PIPPIN: I know, I know. We will get you healed.
MERRY: This is worse than that time we smoked the really good stuff, you know?
PIPPIN: Yesâ€¦ yes this is probably the same.
MERRY: You know what I want to do when this is all over?
PIPPIN: What’s that, Merry?
MERRY: Smoke Gandalf’s beard.
MERRY: No, no, hear me out.
MERRY: I bet that is some magical shit, man.
PIPPIN: His beard?
MERRY: I’m positive that’s what gives him all his magical powers.
PIPPIN: I think we need to get you to the Houses of Healing now.
[Just then, GANDALF arrives. He leans over the sick hobbit, caressing him gently. MERRY reaches up and caresses GANDALF’s beard for a few strokes before passing out.]
GANDALF: This hobbit has done so much to help us. He should have been carried into this city with honor and respect.
PIPPIN: Will you be able to help him?
GANDALF: I do not know. Come, let us make haste and get Merry into bed!
[Interior of the Houses of Healing. MERRY is laid alongside FARAMIR and Ã‰OWYN. FARAMIR has shown no signs of waking, and Ã‰OWYN is suffering from the same affliction as MERRY, known as the Black Shadow to the local healers. Ã‰OMER and ARAGORN soon arrive.]
Ã‰OMER: I’m telling you, man, you should just make your claim in a blaze of glory. It’ll be impressive. Get Gandalf here to set off some of his legendary fireworks.
ARAGORN: No, I think it best if I wait until things have calmed down before I do something that might upset the whole city again. Personally, I think Gandalf should rule until we beat the Enemy.
GANDALF: Well, I’m flattered, but we have more important things to deal with. We have three friends and loved ones who are sick.
[PIPPIN notices that ARAGORN has arrived.]
PIPPIN: Sweet baby Gandalf, Strider! You’re alive!
ARAGORN: I am indeed.
PIPPIN: How the hell did you manage to steal the Enemy’s ships from him???
ARAGORN: No. It’s not the time for us to swap war stories. Let us heal your friend!
[ARAGORN looks upon the still bodies of MERRY, Ã‰OWYN, and FARAMIR, before turning to the head healer, IORETH.]
ARAGORN: Do you have a store of herbs, Ioreth?
IORETH: I do, yes. What do you have need of?
ARAGORN: Do you have athelas?
ARAGORN: Are you not hearing me correctly or do you not know what it is?
ARAGORN: Well, it’s also called kingsfoil as well.
IORETH: Oh, yes! Yes, I am very familiar with kingsfoil!
ARAGORN: Well, this is good news!
ARAGORN: So do you have any kingsfoil?
IORETH: Oh, no, not at all!
IORETH: Yeah, we don’t have any at all. Such a strange herb, my lord. It smells rather sweet doesn’t it?
ARAGORN [Clearly irritated.]: Yes, well, it does, but it is all that I need.
IORETH: It makes a rather good addition to a hot bath, Strider!
ARAGORN: I know what it is good for. Can we send someone out to find any in the city?
GANDALF: I can ride upon Shadowfax to find some if need be!
[ARAGORN nods, and IORETH departs. He turns his attention to FARAMIR.]
ARAGORN: I am guessing this man was struck by some sort of arrow.
PIPPIN: How do you know all of this?
[He ignores PIPPIN.]
ARAGORN: The darkness is creeping inside Faramir, and would I were here sooner!
PIPPIN [To GANDALF]: No, for real, when did Aragorn know how to do all of this?
[PIPPIN’s inquiry is interrupted by the HERB-MASTER, who arrives for ARAGORN.]
HERB-MASTER: Were you the one who requested kingsfoil?
ARAGORN: Yes, that was me.
HERB-MASTER: This herb is also know as athelas.
ARAGORN: I know.
HERB-MASTER: Clearly, you are a lore of herbs!
ARAGORN: Okay, I get it.
HERB-MASTER: Did you know that those who know somewhat of the Valinorean are also familiar with the word athelas?
ARAGORN: My god, DO YOU HAVE ANY?
HERB-MASTER: Oh, no, not at all.
[ARAGORN throws up his hands in exasperation.]
HERB-MASTER: We just don’t keep it around. It smells good, and that’s about it. We did find out that it’s the only thing that keeps away the body odor of a certain guard of the steward, but he went through our entire stores in about a month.
ARAGORN: This is just great.
HERB-MASTER: Did you know there is a song about athelas, too?
ARAGORN: I don’t really care. You don’t have any. It serves me no purpose.
HERB-MASTER: We’ll I’m going to sing it anyway.
ARAGORN: Could you not?
GANDALF: I will smite you on the spot if you don’t go find some of this herb and stop regaling us with stories. And I have been itching to smite someone lately.
[The HERB-MASTER bows and then leaves the room.]
PIPPIN: Strider, what are you going to do if you don’t get any kingsfoil? I’m worried.
ARAGORN: I’ll think of something. There’s always amputation.
ARAGORN: I’m kidding.
PIPPIN: I hate you right now.
[BERGIL suddenly bursts into the room.]
BERGIL: Sir! I found some kingsfoil!!!! [He looks at FARAMIR and instantly starts crying.
[ARAGORN snatches the leaves from BERGIL.]
ARAGORN: Well, don’t cry on the leaves, dude. You’ll ruin everything.
[ARAGORN begins to heal FARAMIR. He takes two leaves, lays them in his palm, and then breathes on them. PIPPIN looks completely lost. ARAGORN then crushes the leaves, and the entire room feels instantly renewed. He drops the crushed leaves into a bowl of steaming water, and holds the bowl under FARAMIR’s face. Just a few moments later, FARAMIR wakes up.]
PIPPIN: Oh, what the fuck. What the fuck just happened?
PIPPIN: How did he do that??? Has Aragorn been hiding this power this whole time?
FARAMIR: Good day, my king. What do you command?
ARAGORN: It is time for you to awake from your dreaming. Rest some, and then join us again.
FARAMIR: Cool, I’m down with that. [FARAMIR then falls back asleep.]
PIPPIN: SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
GANDALF: Shush, Pippin.
PIPPIN: No, for real, does he possess other magical powers, too?
GANDALF: Pippin, we are in Aragorn’s rightful place. I believe that his destiny and lineage bestows upon him such powers.
PIPPIN: That’s kind of inconvenient. So he can never leave the city to use his mysterious magic? Those are shitty powers.
GANDALF: May I remind you that you don’t have any powers.
PIPPIN [Thoughtfully]: TouchÃ©, you wizard.
[ARAGORN moves to Ã‰OWYN next, examining her broken arm, and the shield arm that is affected by the Black Shadow. He turns to Ã‰OMER first.]
ARAGORN: This shall be more difficult, my friend. Her darkness has attached to her own sadness. What do you know of this? What has she been ailed by in the past? I knew when I first set eyes on her that there was an unhappiness within her.
Ã‰OMER: I am not sure I know, sir.
GANDALF: Allow me to help: this woman has the strength, the spirit, and the courage to match your own, but y’all forced her to watch over an old man who increasingly ignored her and made terrible decisions while everyone else was out being majestic and shit. And it’s all because she’s a woman.
ARAGORN: Well, it’s true.
Ã‰OMER: I cannot deny that this is the honest truth, as hard as it is to hear.
ARAGORN: Look, I can do my magic powers and shit, but she really needs you to pull out of the darkness.
[ARAGORN begins the same ceremony on Ã‰OWYN that he used on FARAMIR, crushing the leaves and ordering her awake. While she does stir slightly, it does not work. ARAGORN grabs Ã‰OMER’s arm.]
ARAGORN: You must call her back!
Ã‰OMER: I am sorry I was a total douche! Come back Ã‰owyn!
Ã‰OWYN: Oh, hey! What’s up? How long have I been asleep?
Ã‰OMER: Oh, sister! Not very long.
Ã‰OWYN: Man, I’m still tired. Dad’s dead, isn’t he?
Ã‰OMER: Yeah. Sucks, doesn’t it?
Ã‰OWYN: I guess. Where’s that hobbit, by the way? That dude rules.
ARAGORN: Speaking of him, I must go tend to him. He’s the last one that remains asleep.
Ã‰OMER: No worries. We’re going to continue not making a huge deal out of the fact that our father died. See ya!
[ARAGORN, GANDALF, and PIPPIN then turn their attention to MERRY. PIPPIN notices that MERRY looks the worst out of the three.]
PIPPIN: He’s going to die, isn’t he?
PIPPIN: What??? Really?
ARAGORN: No, no, he’ll be fine.
PIPPIN: I don’t understand you. And that scares me.
[ARAGORN ignores the hobbit before him. He repeats the same process with athelas, and MERRY finally wakes.]
MERRY: I’m hungry.
GANDALF: Why am I not surprised that’s the first thing you would say upon waking up?
PIPPIN: We’re hobbits. You’re all basically starving us on this journey, you assholes.
MERRY: I need food stat. And maybe a pipe. No, actually, I don’t think I’ll smoke again.
PIPPIN: What? But that’s what we do!
MERRY: I promised ThÃ©oden that I would smoke with him, and I saw him die. I think I’m a bit turned off to the idea now.
ARAGORN: Unless you smoke in memory of him.
MERRY: Okay, that’s a good idea. Well, only if you’ve got something to smoke, Aragorn.
ARAGORN: I’m going to give an overly long little monologue about how absurd this request is and inform you that what you usually smoke isn’t available anywhere, and then tell you I’m too busy to smoke with you, even though I basically suggested it in the first place.
MERRY: Oh. Sorry?
ARAGORN: I’m just trolling you. Your pack is right there.
PIPPIN: I’m going to need you to stop this right fucking now.
ARAGORN: I’ve got to go do more healing, you silly hobbits. You’ll have food soon enough. Until then, try not to hurt yourselves.
[ARAGORN and GANDALF leave the room.]
PIPPIN: Well, I was rather worried about you. That Strider is a giant mystery. Who knew he could do all of that? I’m tired and hungry.
MERRY: Man, just get that pipe out. It’s time to light it the fuck up.
To be continuedâ€¦â€¦.