Voice in the Night

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: Ellynn

2011 Award Category: Pre-Ring War: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes

Summary: One night at an inn changes a young soldier's life forever. Written for the the "Teitho" "One Voice" challenge.

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

Another touching story by Linda Hoyland; I particularly enjoyed this one because, though it concerns a wounded, feverish and delirious Aragorn-as-Thorongil, it is more than a hurt-comfort story. Although Aragorn is a main character in the story, the hero is the young original male character, Ragnor; a lieutenant under Thorongil's command. The plot resolution does not hang so much on Thorongil's surviving a nasty festering wound as it does on Ragnor's choices. Ragnor learns, through tending and saving Thorongil, that taking a path that appears easier is not always as worthwhile as sticking to one's original and more difficult road. He had abandoned his apprenticeship as a healer to become a soldier out of distaste for the hardship of physically dealing with sick people. But for love of his commander, Ragnor deals with a sweating, helpless patient who needs washing and poultices and watching and listening. In the course of Thorongil's fever, he babbles out a few details implying that he is far more than a mercenary captain; and Ragnor is smart enough to put two and two together and come up with the long-lost King of Gondor. It makes sense that Ragnor regards his battle against the infection in Thorongil's body to be as great a fight as those he has fought as a soldier; and decides to rethink his vocation. I really loved the ending, where the elderly Ragnor, a respected healer, meets the returned King whose secrets he had honored and whose life he had saved.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 9

Dear Linda, as you know, I feel sometimes that your Aragorn falls ill or gets injured a little too often but I have to confess that you always manage to get some interesting new angle on the theme. Here we have Ragnor, a young man with very rudimentary medical training who unexpectedly finds himself in charge of tending to a wounded Captain Thorongil. I liked how he remembered his previous fantasies of saving the Captain’s life, but with deeds in battle rather than at the sick bed. This is indeed a new and uncomfortable challenge to him. The situation becomes even more challenging when he gradually realises just who this Thorongil is, which not only makes saving his life all the more important, but burdens Ragnor with the imperative to keep the secret. I thought the story was delightfully rounded off by the scene in which Aragorn, now indeed the king, and Ragnor, now a grandfather, meet many years later and acknowledge their shared history, with Aragorn describing both himself and Ragnor as warriors and healers. We can easily imagine that the warrior part has played a big role, but this story makes a good point about how crucial the role of the healer is.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 7

The son of a healer, Ragnor had instead chosen to enter the army, and had become lieutenant to the famed Captain Thorongil. When Thorongil collapses after a skirmish with the Haradrim, Ragnor must remember what his father taught him about the skills of healing in order to treat what appears to be a badly infected wound to the Captain’s shoulder. All during the night the Captain called out, and finally Ragnor must draw from what the Captain has said a most startling conclusion, one that changes his life entirely. Years later, Ragnor hears that the new King for Gondor had come to his village, and is reluctant to go out and see the Man, certain that if his suspicions from that night were correct that he was not likely to rejoice at what he sees. A definite possibility for Thorongil to have experienced, and I love the contrast between young Ragnor and the Man he becomes over time. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: Striderette  ✧  Score: 6

Linda Hoyland has written a poignant tale of the bond of friendship between two men, a young lieutenant and his captain, a healer and his king. The portrayal of care an injured Captain Thorongil receives at the hands of his trusted lieutenant, Ragnor, vividly displays the high esteem in which the soldiers of Gondor hold Thorongil. Both the loyalty and devotion of Ragnor are apparent in his decision to keep confidential the fevered utterances of his captain - utterances which, if made known, could jeopardize Thorongil’s position and very possibly his life. This tale comes full circle in heart-warming fashion years later when King Elessar and the now elderly Ragnor have an opportunity to reconnect. Beautifully drawn tale that is tissue worthy at the end.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This is a heartwarming story. Captain Thorongil falls ill after a battle and his young lieutenant takes care of him. During the long night Ragnor, the lieutenant, has a revelation. I like Ragnor who like a lot of young people is fascinated with being a soldier, although his father wanted him to be a healer. Fighting for Captain Thorongil's life gives him a new appreciation for the healing arts. I love the end where the 2 main characters in this story meet again.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

A beautiful story written for Teitho contest, where it got one of my votes. The story captured my attention from the very first sentence and I read it "in one breath", as we say in Croatian. We see how a young soldier helps Thorongil in fever; I find the end especially touching, when the two meet many years later. So beautifully done.

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

Such a warm tale of the love of a soldier for his wounded captain, and the surprise reunion at the end is the perfect touch. One of my favorite of Linda's many h/c stories and well deserving of its first place Teitho prize!