Once Again I

Leaving Lothlorien

Many days had passed in Lórien since the Fellowship had arrived, so long it had been that they struggled to know the number of days that had passed. One night they were summoned to Celeborn's chamber, there the Lady of Light greeted them. Here they were to discus the departure of the Fellowship.

"Now is the time," Celeborn began, " when those who wish to continue the Quest must harden their hearts to leave this land. Those who do not wish to continue may stay here, for a while. Stay or go, though, none can be sure of peace for we come no at the edge of doom." A long silence fell upon them, Nymeria knew that she would continue, for the others she did not know. A hand grasped hers, she looked over to the one who entwined fingers in with her, it was Boromir.

"They all wish to go forward." Galadriel had taken them all by the eyes as she spoke. Boromir took his hand back,

"As for me, my way home lies onward and not back." Boromir said.

"This is true," said Celeborn, "but does the path of all in this Company lead to your city."

"It is not decided, we do not know our course past this fair land. I don not know what Gandalf intended." He bent his head in slight sadness.

"When you leave this land you must cross the Great River. It can only be crossed by boat, if you do intend to take the pass to Minas Tirith, yet the bridges of Osgiliath are broken and held by the Enemy." Celeborn took a breath then continued, "If you choose this way to Minas Tirith it lies West of the river, but the straight path of the Quest lies East of the river and to darker shore."

"My advice would be to take to the Western shore, and take way to Minas Tirith," Boromir put his word in, "but I am not the leader." The others said nothing, Nymeria looked to Aragorn to see if he had any thought on the matter. Boromir saw eyes wander to Aragorn, and he felt jealousy pulse from his heart; before he could do any foolish action Celeborn spoke once again.

"It can be seen that you do not know what to do, yet. This is not my choice to make for you, but I will help you as much as I can. There are many about you that can handle boats: Legolas, whose folk know the swift Forest River; and Boromir of Gondor; and Aragorn the traveler. Also, Nymeria, if I am not mistaken you know the ways of water as well as any man, correct?"

"Yes, I grew up by the sea and as capable as any sailor, but I know not much of the ways of a river. So I do believe that I will not be of much help." She answered Celeborn.

"But what of this one Hobbit?" Merry asked, "Not all Hobbits look at boats as wild horses, my family have lived for generations by the banks of the Brandywine."

"This is all well, for I will give your Company boats. They will be small and light, so that if you must leave the water they will be easy to carry and to hide." He moved to a table that held a map, the Fellowship followed him. He pointed the river that laid East of Lórien, "You will come to the rapids of Sarn Gebir, and then to the the falls of Rauros where the River thunders down from Nen Hithoel. When you reach this, you must decide between going East and West."

Aragorn gave many thanks to Celeborn, the boats had eased his worries a bit. The boasts would delay the need to choose a course for a few days longer. To Nymeria it was a great comfort as well, floating down the Anduin seemed easier than walking alongside it. Sam was the only one who did not seem excited by he thought of riding in a boat, he feared them and the water upon where they floated.

"All will be prepared for you, at noon tomorrow, my people will be waiting for you there to help you ready for the journey. Now we will wish you all a fair night and untroubled sleep."

"Goodnight my friends, sleep in peace. And do not let your hearts be troubled with the thought of the road ahead. The paths that each will take are already laid before your feet, even if you cannot see them." Galadriel called to them.

They returned to the pavilion, and Legolas went with them. Despite Lady Galadriel's last words they wished to have words together, this was going to be their last night in Lórien and a discussion would be appropriate.

For a long while there was a debate over what should be done, and that how they should best continue their purpose with the Ring. But they could not come to a concise decision, thought, it was clear that the majority wished to go to Minas Tirith first. Nymeria was among the minority who did not want to go to the White City, she wished to delay that journey for a long she knew that Boromir would wish her wed to him, even though she said that she would only do such after the Enemy had perished from Middle Earth.

They were all willing to follow a leader over the River and into Mordor, but Frodo did not speak and Aragorn seemed divided. Nymeria knew that he had originally intended to follow to Boromir and fight for Gondor, but this was before the death of Gandalf. Now the burden of this had been given to him, and he would now follow Frodo into the shade of Mordor.

This decision was left to Frodo, for he was the one who had to carry the Ring, and if he did not wish to follow Boromir to Minas Tirith, then they would not go. Boromir could sense this then said,

"Is shall go to Minas Tirith, alone if need be, for it is my duty." After these word were said he was silent, and fixed his eyes on Frodo and then Nymeria. It was as if he was trying to know their thoughts. Nymeria met his eyes and he knew that she would not follow, she was loyal to this world and its preservation. Then he looked to Frodo once more and spoke quietly, "If you wish only to destroy the Ring then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw away." there he stopped himself as if he had realized that he had told his most secretive thoughts. "It would be folly to throw lives away I mean. It is a choice between defending a strong place and walking openly into the arms of death. At least, that is how I see it." there he ended as did the debate.

There was a new look in Boromir's eyes that Frodo and Nymeria had caught, they knew his thoughts were different than his words. The words he spoke now were like those he spoke at the Council of Elrond. Frodo looked to Aragorn, but he seemed too deep in his own thoughts to pay mind to Boromir, so he looked to Nymeria. They knew that they thought the same. This was going to cause issue in the future, Nymeria did not possess the gift of foresight, yet she knew where trouble would sprout from.

Merry and Pippin had fallen asleep already, and Sam had just begun to fall into sleep. Nymeria followed in kind curling into herself on one of the soft cushions. The night grew quite old before she could find any form of rest.

In the early morning they began to pack their supplies, the Elves that could speak their tongue brought gifts of food and clothing for the journey. Nymeria had been gifted with a dress of beautiful design. It was in the style of her people, made with a green fabric that was lighter than the air that she took into her lungs. It would be no burden to carry...

"That is a lovely gown." Boromir said.

"Yes, it is." She placed it in the bottom of her pack, he stepped close to her.

"It is not as beautiful as your wedding gown will be." she let the corner of her mouth rise up, her heart raced in panic. She did not wish to be his wife, even though she cared for him deeply she did not love love him. He walked away to pack his own things.

Gimli was inspecting the food that the Elves had given to them, it mostly consisted of thin cakes that were a light brown on the outside and the inside was the color of cream.

"Cram," Gimli said under his breath seeming doubtful of the cakes. Still he broke off a piece and nibbled at it, then his expression changed and he devoured the rest of the cake.

One of the Elves laughed and said, "No more! No more! You have eaten enough already for a day's journey."

"I thought it of a similar likeness to that of a food that the Dale-men make for journeys into the wild." Gimli informed.

"It most likely is, but we call it lembas or waybread, and it more hearty than anything made by Men. I do believe that is also of a better taste."

"That it is." Gimli grinned.

The Elves unwrapped cloaks that were made for the Fellowship. Each made tailored to the height of the one receiving the cloak, it was hard to tell what the color of the fabric was. One moment it was grey the next green and the next brown. These colors changed with what colors were stood they found.

An Elven man had helped Nymeria with her cloak, he smiled as his hands fastened it around her neck and secured it with a brooch shaped like a green leaf veined with silver.

"Are these magic cloaks?" Pippin asked as he stared at the the fabric, trying to pinpoint an exact color.

"I do not know what you mean by that," Said the Elf who had just finished fastening Nymeria's cloak, "They cannot deflect blade, but they are light to wear and can both warm and cool you. And you will find them," he smoothed the cloak over Nymeria's solders, "a great aid for they will hide you away from unfriendly eyes, whether you walk among stone or tree." he looked down to Nymeria and smiled, "You are indeed in high favor of the Lady. She and her maidens have wove the fabric that is upon your backs now, and never before have we clad strangers in the garb of our people."

After a hearty morning meal, the Fellowship parted from the pavilion and the fountain that it stood next to. Nymeria and Frodo lingered behind, they were soon to leave this place and it hurt their hearts for this was a fair place that was free of sorrow. As they stood for that moment, an familiar Elf approached them, it was Haldir.

He walk across the green grass with a bright look upon his face, Frodo was glad to see him.

"I have returned from the Northern Fences," Haldir spoke, "I am to be your guide once more. Come your path goes South now." They walked through Caras Galadhon once more, the path was empty but from above voices rained down. They themselves remained as silent as the dead.

Soon Haldir lead them down a the slopes of the southern hills, and they came again to the great gate hung with lamps. Through the gate and over the white bridge they went, and upon the paved road they went. But they were soon lead away from the smooth road and onto a path that went through Mallorn Trees, and passed on going downwards to the South. And West to the shores of the River.

Noon was at hand when a green wall rose in front of them, going through an opening in it they emerged out of the woods. In front of their feet stood long grass that glinted in the high sun, beyond the field rested the Great River, and beyond that the lands were bare. No Mallorn trees grew beyond the Lands of Lórien.

On the shores of the river many white stones and wood were. Many boats and barges rested there, some were of great colors but the most were grey and white. Three boats had been made ready for the Fellowship, they were small and grey. Elves took their goods and stored them within these as well as slender rope. The rope was strong, silken to the touch, and possessed a grey hue.

"What are these?" Sam asked holding the grey rope in his hand.

"Rope." an Elf answered, "One should never travel far without rope, it is a very handy tool."

"I do agree with that, I came without any and have been worried ever since."

"May it serve you well." the Elf spoke, "Farewell."

"Come!" Haldir commanded, "All is ready for you, enter the boats." The Company made their way into the boats. Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam were in one, Boromir Merry and Pippin in the second, and in the third Legolas and Gimli were joined by Nymeria. Legolas and Gimli had become fast friends during their time in Lórien.

Nymeria was happy to be with them, and away from Boromir. He had not left her side for one moment the day she had given him a kind lie in place of the harsh truth. His love had begun to feel as a prison and an official engagement had not even been arranged. If he had found out that she was a liar, no one could tell how he would react.

Downwards in the water receded a swan of great size, it took a long moment to see that it was a boat carved with expertise to have the likeness of a bird. Upon the vessel stood Celeborn, behind him sat Galadriel playing a harp, and in her voice of gold sang a bittersweet song,

I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:

Of wind I sang, a wind there came and in the branches blew.

Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,

And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.

Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,

In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.

There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years,

While here beyond the Sundering Seas now fall the Elven-tears.

O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;

The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.

O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore

And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.

But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,

What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

The Lady's song ended and she greeted the Fellowship, Celeborn then spoke,

"You have been our guest and have not broken bread with us yet. So here we shall have a parting feast." The boats came upon a shore and upon the soft grass they had a meal. Nymeria took her place near Merry and Pippin, forcing Boromir to sit one person away from her. No thought came to him that she might have done it on purpose. She ate little with a quick speed and was partial to the wine that the Lord and Lady had brought along with them.

Soon the meal was done with and they were simply resting upon the grass, sipping on wine while Celeborn discussed the journey. Nymeria's mind was seemed leagues away, as Celeborn spoke. She thought of what she were to do about Boromir, she did not wish to become a wife, and not his. The Lady had entrapped her by the eyes once more

'Your mind wanders, to delicate situation. Once you believed that you could love him, yet now you know that you cannot.' Nymeria thought silently

'I do not think that there is time to end it, I have built my own prison.' The Lady smiled,

'There is hope of escape yet.' Galadriel turned away and rose from the grass and Nymeria gulped the cup of wine that rested in her hand. The maidens of Galadriel handed her a silver chalice and filled it with a special white meat that had been saved for this moment. She placed it in the hand of Celeborn,

"Now it is time to drink the cup of farewell," she spoke, "Drink, Lord of the Galadhrim! And do not let your heart be sad, thought night must follow noon and already our evening draweth nigh." He drank and then proceeded to each member of the Fellowship so that they may drink and farewell. When all had drunk she spoke once more, "We have drunk the cup of parting, and the shadows fall between us. Before you go, I have gifts for all."

She walked to Frodo first holding the his gift, "Farewell, Frodo Baggins. I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. Namárië." She gave him a crystal vial and kissed the top of his head "May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out." She gave proceeded to give gift to each of the visitors. Boromir was given a golden belt, Merry and Pippin were given silver belts that were clasped with a golden flower and small daggers to go with them. Legolas was given a bow that was in the fashion of those of Galadhrim with a string made of Elf-hair and a quiver of arrows.

"For you, little gardener and lover of trees," Nymeria did not even have to look to know of who she talked to, "Samwise, I have only a small gift." she pulled out a plain grey box. "Here is earth from my orchard, if you see this to your home your gardens will bloom like few others in this world." she came to Gimli next

"What would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?"

"None, for it was enough to glance upon the Lady of Galadhrim, and to have heard her gentle words."

"There must be something that I can give to you."

"Perhaps..." he seemed shy and afraid of her for a moment. "I would have nothing of you, lest it be a single strand of you hair." The Elves stood astonished at such a bold move, yet she smiled and cut three golden hairs from her head and laid them in Gimli's hand. She then came to Aragorn.

"I can bestow no greater gift upon you, than that of which you already posses," she placed her hand over the jewel that had hung about his neck, the Eveningstar, "Her light yet fades."

"I would have her go West with her people." he told her.

"That choice is yet upon her." she looked into his eyes with great sadness then turned to Nymeria.

"For you, Nymeria savior of Durin I have but small thing." she took from her maidens a golden tiara, the metalwork of it was astonishing. Metal flowers circled came out from the top their buds were silver and leaves grew from the golden branches.

"Thank you," she curtsied, "my Lady." The Lady gave a kind smile

"Your fate can lead to many paths, one is more stronger than the rest. Your family shall never be returned to you... yet I see a great happiness fated to dawn upon you." she touched Nymeria's cheek and kissed her brow. The whole Fellowship bowed and gave thanks to the Lord and Lady.

Soon they were placed on their boats and sent away from the shore, the Elves were crying farewells to them. Furthest away from all of the other Elves stood Galadriel. She was silent, and her eyes were full of both sadness and the greatest happiness. Soon she far off in the distance, a glowing figure on a grassy shore yet when she sang the Fellowship could hear her words. The words were in an Elvish tongue.

'Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,

Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!

Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier

mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva

Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar

nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni

ómaryo airetári-lírinen.

Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?

An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo

ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë

ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë;

ar sindanóriello caita mornië

i falmalinnar imbë met, ar hísië

untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë.

Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!

Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.

Nail elyë hiryva. Namárië!'

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