I woke early in the morning, feeling completely rested,with my mind clear and full of hope.
The washing water had been replaced during my sleep, and a silver beaker with juice was on the nightstand. I drained the beaker thirstily. The juice was tart and refreshing, but I could not tell if it was apple, or orange, or something else altogether. An elvish specialty, no doubt.
My dirty clothing had disappeared. Instead there was a pair of grey leggings, a white silken blouse and a silver tunic laid out on a stool for me. Before I tried on the clothes, I took the time to wash thoroughly. It was a bit awkward to wash my hair with ewer and bowl, but in the end my hair was more or less clean. I brushed the tangles out of my hair, now and then yelping when I had to tear through a knot. Then I used the last remains of my favourite body lotion and for once was completely clean and smelling sweetly of Laura Biagotti's "Roma".
Now. I took a deep breath. Those clothes. I held up the leggings doubtfully. I never wore leggings. I had thighs, for heaven's sake! But as my dirty clothes, which I had dumped onto the floor searching for my nightshirt yesterday evening, had disappeared one and all, hopefully only to be washed and not to be burned, there was no alternative to the leggings.
At least they fit. They had to be tied together with a string, but I managed. The white blouse was long, hitting me at me mid-thigh, and the tunic, which opened at the front and was held together above my breasts by a golden chain, was the same length. The outfit was fairly comfortable even though there was no underwear.
Luckily I had forgotten to take off my bra the night before. Not that I was huge, but I did certainly feel uncomfortable without a bra. There was no mirror, but freshly scrubbed and with clean clothes I felt once more ready to take on the world, or at least to face the others and perhaps explore the city of Caras Galadhon.
I left my room, quietly closing the door behind me. From somewhere below I heard the bright laughter of a hobbit. And was that the smell of pancakes? Passing the other rooms on my way to the stairs, I heard a horrible noise coming from behind one of the doors. I stopped dead, listening with my heart suddenly pounding. What was that noise?
Then I relaxed, relieved – a broad grin spreading across my face. I was not the only one sleeping late. The noise was Gimli, still deep in dwarfish dreams, snoring like a wild boar (if wild boars snore). Though the sound was quite frightening, it was not really dangerous, I thought. Save perhaps for the poor fellow sharing Gimli's room.
On my way downstairs I figured out the layout of the guest house. It was a narrow building set directly against the trunk of the mallorn. The upper floor consisted of a corridor which ran the whole length of the building with a round window at either end of it. Six doors opened to the corridor, five guest rooms and through the open door at the end of the corridor I spotted what could only be a bathroom. Toilets and indoor-plumbing! Thank God!
The ground floor was one large room, which contained a long dinner table set for nine persons and a large fire place with several arm chairs arranged in front of it. At the dinner table Boromir and the hobbits were sitting, busily eating and drinking. The smell had been pancakes. And there was maple syrup to go with them. No, I thought. That would be mellyrn syrup around here. Aragorn was standing in the other part of the room, looking out of a large bay window. Legolas was nowhere in sight, and Gimli was still asleep upstairs.
"Hi, Lothy, you sleepyhead!" Pippin called out to me. "Come quickly, or Sam will eat your pancakes."
Sam looked up from his plate, which was really full of pancakes dripping with syrup. "I would never do something like that, Miss Lothíriel," he said, glaring at Pippin. "You know I'd never!"
I smiled and sat down on an empty chair next to Sam opposite from Boromir. The man smiled at me. He looked relaxed. Hopefully the elvish blessing which had allowed me to sleep peacefully and without fear had helped him, too. Frodo was quiet as usual, but he, too, looked less tense and pale. Merry had a bowl of fruit salad sprinkled with nuts on his plate. He was chewing busily.
"The tea is very good," Boromir said. "An herbal tea. But I don't recognize the ingredients. I find it very soothing."
"I will try that," I said, holding out my cup. "Thanks!"
Boromir poured carefully. I inhaled the fragrant steam of the tea, trying to discern what herbs had been used. There was a hint of lemon and mint in it, but there was also hint of sweet blossoms, and a spicy, almost peppery taste in the background. I sipped at it and let the liquid roll slowly along my tongue, savouring the distinct aroma. It was soothing. It cleared the mind and lifted my heart.
Suddenly I found myself smiling brightly at the man on the other side of the table.
"You should try the pancakes, Miss," Sam offered me a plate stacked with thick, golden pancakes.
"I will. Thank you!" I agreed and helped myself to three pancakes, while my stomach grumbled indecently. Pip giggled and imitated a growling beast.
I ignored the silly hobbit and poured syrup on my pancakes. There was a bowl of what looked like raspberries and I added three generous spoonfuls to my plate.
It was not maple syrup. It was sweet and golden, but it was… I cannot really describe it, spicier perhaps, deeply flavoured, with a hint of cinnamon.
I ate in silence, content with listening to the talk of the others.
First the hobbits talked about their rooms and how they had slept. Sam was very taken with the bathroom, wondering where the waste of the toilet was going and then blushing red as a beet when he remembered my presence. But soon the talk turned to the audience of last night, and how they had felt under the power of the Lady's gaze.
"What did you blush for," Pippin asked Sam. "You looked as if you be caught in the act of … I don't know, something embarrassing. What was that you were thinking of? I hope it was nothing worse than putting a frog in my bed!"
Good idea, Pippin. If I can find a frog, it will wait for you come evening one of these days.
But Sam was already blushing again, still not sure of himself in the company of gentle-hobbits and big people.
"I never thought of such a thing, Mr. Pippin!" he said, and he continued in a serious voice. "It was as if she offered me a choice, as if I would be allowed to choose between going home and having my dearest wish come true, a garden of my own and…" He paused, and then quickly went on, unwilling to reveal all that he was dreaming of. "And going on, into the darkness."
"That's funny," Merry said, speaking around a large piece of apple. "That was what happened to me, too. As if I could have…" He stopped, just as Sam not wanting to tell what might tempt him. "As if I was offered a choice, anyway."
Boromir did not say anything, but his eyes were dark, and the lines of tension, which had been growing around his eyes and his mouth during the last weeks, deepened for an instance.
He turned away from me, hiding his face.
She had offered no choice to me.
Confused I lifted my cup and drank deeply, hiding my face.
Boromir sighed and turned back to the table. "Whatever happened last night, I think that lady is both powerful and dangerous," Boromir told Pippin, his voice haunted.
Aragorn, who had remained at the window, apparently lost in thought, rounded angrily on the man. "Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel! You don't know what you say! There is no evil in her or in this land unless a man brings it here, hidden in himself."
Frodo seemed to shrink back in his chair. I flinched, not having missed the stern look, when Aragorn had said 'man'. Boromir returned the look without blinking, his jaw set.
I would have to talk to Aragorn.
"Where is Legolas?" I asked, changing the subject.
Merry sniggered, Pippin snorted bits of cereal across the table.
"He… he…" They convulsed in giggles.
Boromir looked at me, his face relaxing and a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"The elf, it seems, was unfortunate in the choice of his room-mate. He left early, apparently desiring some peace and quiet."
From somewhere above our heads a strange strangled noise issued.
Looking at one another, we promptly burst out laughing, the mood lightened once more.
Aragorn nodded at us and left the guest house without saying where he was off to.
"Would you care to spend the day with me?" Boromir asked, after an elf appeared and took the hobbits away for measuring them in order for supplying them with new clothes.
I smiled at Boromir. The warrior had washed his hair and tied it into a neat braid at the nape of his neck. This way of dressing his hair brought out the clear and noble lines of his face, his thin, arrogant nose and his stubborn chin. In his own way he was as good looking as Aragorn.
"It would be a pleasure," I said, still not certain when it was proper to add a 'my lord'. There is not even such a thing as 'sir' in German; if we want to be polite, we say Mr. – or Mrs. X – we might say 'Doctor', but that's it for the most part – and don't ask me about German nobility. Most of the time we forget that there are any lords and ladies left in Germany.
Boromir did not seem to mind that I had not said 'my lord'.
He offered me his arm and led me to the stairs leading down to the ground. I soon disentangled myself, preferring to walk on my own, and skipped ahead of him, looking forward to exploring the city.
It was beautiful. It was overwhelming. It was indescribable.
There were so many mellyrn growing here with houses and palaces built into their living wood. And there were also many buildings on the ground. Workshops for craftsmen, stables for horses, sheep, cows and goats (the only kind of animal we did not see were pigs), barns for supplies, inns and public baths.
Only the private quarters and the meeting halls and such like were built up into the treetops, the more mundane dwellings were on the ground, skilfully shaped to the natural rise and fall of the landscape. This reminded me strangely of the hobbit holes I had seen on our way out of Bree. Of course the elvish buildings were much more elegant, with intricate arcs and porches and terraces, but both the hobbits and the elves desired to blend in with their surroundings. Their architecture was subtle in style and soft in colours, not designed to show off power and wealth, but to be comfortable, beautiful and in tune with the living things of nature around them.
Although there seemed to be no such thing as money, there was a large market. Finally I gathered my courage and asked a young and friendly looking elf in blue robes about how things were done here. The elf apparently knew who we were and explained the procedures of elvish bartering to us; his Westron was heavily accented, but nevertheless clearly understandable.
It turned out that there was money, used for trading with humans and the elves of Mirkwood, but they preferred swapping a thing for a thing, or a skill for a skill. These transactions were codified, copied and sealed on small square pieces of parchments like a cheque.
If both sides had fulfilled the deal, the parchment was destroyed.
Soon I was asking after laws and judges and precedents and other details. The elf answered every question precisely and with so much detail that finally I asked him if he was by chance a lawyer or a judge. It turned out that he had been both and was now working as a teacher of law.
"Although there are not many young ones to be taught, nowadays," he said his voice full of sadness.
"Why?" I asked, realizing that I had indeed seen no children at all, either here or in Rivendell.
"Our time in Middle-earth is nearly over. Most couples have chosen to wait until we have returned to Aman, the Blessed Realm, to have children. I think in all of Caras Galadhon there are now only twenty-seven children left, and no babies have been born in a long, long time."
Nemion, as the elf was called, sighed softly. But then he smiled at us. "But let us talk of happier things; these times are dark enough without an old teacher sighing for more pupils. Can I help you with anything else? Perhaps show you around?"
Boromir visibly relaxed during our animated talk, only now and again shaking his head in astonishment at my questions about elvish laws and customs and the elf's willing answers.
Now he smiled at the elf, saying, "We would be honoured, my lord Nemion, but only if we don't keep you from any duties!"
"No, indeed you don't," Nemion replied. "I will gladly show you around."
As Lórien, such as it was then, has long since passed away, I won't give any details about the magical beauty of the heart of elvendom in Arda, which will never bloom again.
But there were two highlights to the day, which I will never forget all my life.
Nemion took us to the Great Public Baths.
While there are smaller, more intimate baths separated by gender, the Great Baths are used by elves both male and female. Elves, being close to nature, don't use bathing suits, which was very interesting to say the least.
Elves don't have any body hair. They do have navels. I don't know if the first elves which woke at the mythical lake of Cuiviénen have navels, but those in the bath that day all had belly buttons. They seem to have more ribs than we have, which would account for them being so tall and slender. Nothing is short and chubby about them. There were very few elvish women, but the ones who were there looked like angels. They were almost as tall as the male elves, but more delicately in build, very slender, with no thighs to speak of and small, round breasts. They do have nipples, mammals, just like us apparently, but the nipples are the same moon-lit white colour as the rest of their skin.
I felt like a hippopotamus in comparison. An ugly hippopotamus.
But the swimming was nice, and the elves were very nice, too, polite and just as curious about us as we were about them. I enjoyed myself very much.
The main pool sported a large waterfall which was almost as icy as the Silverlode's spring underneath the Mirrormere. Boromir spent a long time under the waterfall. His lips were fairly blue when he finally, reluctantly emerged.
Afterwards Nemion took us to a museum of tapestries.
I never cared for tapestries back on earth. I thought they were boring.
The tapestries of Lórien were different. They were colourful, detailed and alive. The images of people and animals were rendered so perfectly that they looked ready to leave their prison of woven threads at a word.
On earth I had never felt the slightest temptation to try my hands at needlework and the like, but seeing the tapestries of Lórien, I suddenly longed for learning how to make such an exquisite work of art myself.
But the tapestries were not only beautiful, they also showed many things of the history of Middle-earth and many legends loved by both elves and men.
Boromir knew a lot about the shared histories of men and elves, and soon he was deep in talk with Nemion while I listened with growing fascination.
In the evening, Nemion invited us to dinner.
He lived close to the market place where we first met him in a small house up on the third talan from the ground of a medium sized mallorn. His wife, Fanya, was still with him, because they had a young daughter, who was still a teenager and not yet ready to leave for Aman. Fanya had very fair hair with a touch of curls, an unusual thing for an elf. The daughter was not in Lórien at the moment but visiting relatives at the Court of Thranduil, the King of Mirkwood. Both parents were worried about their daughter. She should have already returned months ago, but with the horror of the ring-wraiths so suddenly unleashed, it had been decided to wait until travelling would be less dangerous. Perhaps it would be years until they saw their daughter again.
Boromir was deeply touched by these ordinary worries of the elves. He even tried to soothe their worries, reassuring them that the Rohirrim were still firmly set against the enemy, and that the dwarves on the north-eastern side of Mirkwood had not been subdued yet either.
Especially the Lady Fanya was relieved to hear of these allies against the Dark Lord, and Boromir was embarrassed at her enthusiastic gratefulness.
The meal was not extravagant, but delicious, a spicy stew of venison with roasted potatoes and green salad, and a deep red, dry wine to go with it.
We sat talking until the stars were shining brightly and departed reluctantly, promising to be back during the next few days.
We walked back to the high plateau hand in hand, lost in thought, in companionable silence.
It had been a wonderful, relaxed day, the shadows of our journey and the dire prospects of the quest briefly forgotten.
When we entered the guest house, slightly out of breath from our climb, Aragorn was in the living room, waiting for us, and his expression was stern. Obviously he had not had a good day.
"Where do you come from? Where have you been all day?" he asked, even as Boromir closed the door behind us. I did not like his tone, and I felt Boromir grow tense behind me.
Keep your temper, Lothíriel, I said in my mind, gritting my teeth. Keep your temper.
Although I wanted to ask how it came to be his business to interrogate us about how we had spent the day, I held my tongue. I knew just how much Aragorn grieved for Gandalf, how heavy the responsibility for the quest had to weigh on his shoulders and then there were his very own worries, about his fate as the heir of Elendil on top of everything else. I did not like the way he acted towards me, but I did, in a way, understand him.
Tightening my hold on Boromir's hand, silently asking him to let me do the talking, I replied evenly, "We explored the city. We met a nice elf, Nemion, who teaches law at the school of the Galadhrim, and he showed us around. Then he invited us to dinner. Afterwards we came right back here. Why? Has something happened?"
"I don't believe you," Aragorn said curtly. "People here are not used to strangers. They would not invite unknown mortals into their home. Probably you crept away into the bushes again…"
"How dare you!" Boromir exploded.
"Boromir, no, stop." I jumped between the two men, who were ready to go at each other's throat at the least provocation. Boromir looked at me with blazing eyes. He really had to work at keeping that temper in check.
"Stop, Boromir," I repeated softly. "Aragorn is mad at me for reasons that have nothing to do with you. Please, calm down."
Reluctantly Boromir stepped back, dropping his hands to his sides. But that did not seem to satisfy the enraged ranger.
"And why shouldn't I?" Aragorn hissed at me, displaying a flare of temper of his own.
"I don't think we should discuss this issue in front of anyone else," I said as calmly as possible.
"Why not?" Aragorn shot back, his eyes full of disappointment and bitterness. "He is no more trustworthy than you are!"
Boromir lunged wildly at Aragorn, only missing because I threw myself at him, clutching at him in a desperate embrace.
"Stop it, stop it," I cried, with little hope of making either of the men listen to me.
"Stop it! STOP IT AT ONCE!" A new voice called out to us from the stairway. It was the high voice of a hobbit. Frodo stood halfway down the stairs , looking at us full of shock, his blue eyes huge and frightened in his pale face.
The last person I had wanted involved in this discussion of trustworthiness and personal virtue. Oh, bloody fucking hell!
But hearing Frodo's voice had an instantaneous effect on both Aragorn and Boromir. Boromir stumbled backwards as if struck by a hard blow across his face and left the guest house at once, running as if demons were at his heels, trying to catch him.
And probably they were.
I had not been angry at Aragorn before, only hurt by the fact that he was blaming me for Gandalf's fall. I could understand that he thought it inappropriate for us to sneak off into bushes for some shagging. Hell, here, and in this day and age, and under the circumstances we were in, it had not been appropriate, and I regretted it already.
But I was angry at him now.
Why couldn't he see how hard it was for Boromir to withstand the ring?
Why did he not see how hard Boromir was trying to fight the ring?
I rounded on Aragorn, finally losing my temper, too. "Damn you, Aragorn! Can't you see how the ring gets to Boromir?"
Aragorn looked at me, his face white as a sheet, looking horrified.
"I don't know why I did that," he whispered. "I am so sorry. I am so sorry, Lothíriel. I don't know what came over me!"
"I know what it was," Frodo said, his voice shaking. "It's the ring. The ring is destroying everything and everyone."
The hobbit looked close to panic. What was worse, he was probably at least partly right in his assessment of the situation. But only in part.
"No, it's not the ring," I said, slowly turning to Frodo, afraid to frighten the hobbit even more. "Or it's not only the ring. Look, do you remember the 'Prancing Pony'?"
Frodo nodded. "When you knew that the ring would slip on my finger before it happened."
"Exactly," I said, "Aragorn thinks apparently that if I knew what would happen in Moria, I should have warned Gandalf, tried to prevent his… fall." I just could make myself from say 'death'. Gandalf would be alive. He would return. I simply had to believe that this was still going to happen, that I had not been meant to change this part of the story. After all, Gandalf had seen a shadow in his future. He had told me so himself. He had not wanted to know what would happen to him.
"And did you know?" Frodo asked, his face tense, his eyes too large in his pale face.
I stared at Frodo for a moment. I did not want to answer his question. But I felt that I could not lie to him. I would perhaps have lied to Aragorn, but I could not lie to Frodo.
"Yes, I did," I said simply, not knowing what else to say.
There was a sharp intake of breath from Aragorn.
For a long time no one said anything, we stood in the twilight of Lórien's guest house, an almost tangible feeling of dread hanging in the air between us.
"And could you have changed it?" Frodo asked finally.
I swallowed hard. Could I have changed it? That was the wrong question to ask. But I felt that I could not tell them every thing they needed to know to ask the right question.
What could I say? What could I say so that Frodo would not hate me? So that Aragorn would trust me again?
No, I thought. That was not an issue here. Liking or trusting me was not important. There was more at stake here, now, tonight.
"I don't know if I could have changed it," I answered honestly. "But Gandalf knew there was a shadow in his future. He knew it even when he entered Moria. I tried to tell him then…" I trailed off, my thoughts going back to my clumsy attempt at warning the wizard. "Look, Gandalf knew that I know about things. He told me to be careful with my knowledge."
I turned to Aragorn, and I was pleading with him when I continued. "Aragorn, don't you remember? That was almost the first thing you said to me in Bree! That my knowledge is dangerous, that we may not know everything that is to happen, that we cannot know everything that will happen, or any reason behind things which happen to us!"
"It's different now, Lothíriel. We need a leader! We are lost without a leader," Aragorn said, his fears and his grief raw on his face.
"We have a leader," I answered without thinking. "You are our leader. You were born to be a leader."
"No, I am not!" Aragorn cried. "And besides, that's not the point! Don't you care at all?"
I am not going to cry, I thought. I amso not going to cry.
"Of course I care!" I cried. "Aragorn, it was Gandalf who sent me here! It was Gandalf, who found me, when I had run away from a life that I hated! He told me that it was possible for me to find a place here, that I could belong here! Of course I care! There is a reason, why things happened as they did! But I can't tell you, because I am frightened to death that my telling you would prevent… things…" I trailed off, shocked at what I had almost blurted out, because I was so upset. If I told him now that Gandalf would return, but something had gone wrong, and he would not return…
I walked over to the fire place and slumped down on an easy chair. There had been no agonizing at all in Tolkien's books. Where the hell had this fucking mess come from all of a sudden? I put my face in my hands. I had had enough. I was so sick of this.
I felt a small warm hand on my arm. At the same time I felt the voice of the ring rising at the back of my mind. Frodo had walked up to me and his face was full of pity and compassion. How could he manage to be so kind with this horrible burden, I thought, and felt my throat constricting with the urge to weep away my pent up emotions.
The nagging voice at the back of my mind threatened to regain words.
No, I thought. Not now. Not here. White walls. White walls and the blessing of the Lady!
Suddenly I remembered the blaze of turquoise eyes looking into the depths of my soul. Burning. Powerful.
The voice of the ring died down.
I opened my eyes again and looked at Frodo, who had apparently not noticed that the ring had tried to play with my mind.
"I believe you," Frodo said, as he had said once before in the 'Prancing Pony'.
"Thank you," I said softly. "It means more to me than I can ever say."
I swallowed. "But would you mind going away? At least a few feet," I asked. I saw fear growing in Frodo's eyes. "Don't worry," I said quickly. "Glorfindel taught me how to shield my mind at Rivendell, and it works fairly well. But I am all upset at the moment. I don't have that much control." I glared at Aragorn, who was still standing next to the window, tall and grim in the twilight.
Frodo nodded wordlessly and backed away, inching towards Aragorn as if I was a ticking bomb. A ticking bomb! That's the way we had to appear to Frodo. He had to see every single one of us as already affected by the ring. And it was true, too. The ring was feeding our fears, our insecurities, trying to turn our anger and our anguish against us whenever it had the chance.
"Glorfindel taught you?" Aragorn asked suddenly, breaking the silence for the first time since I had returned to the guest house this evening with a more or less friendly or at least neutral voice.
"Yes, Glorfindel taught me to shield my mind," I said, slightly exasperated. "You know how much time and effort he put in to train me! Sword fighting, and Sindarin, and caution with my knowledge, and all those visualizations against the power of the ring. He trusted me!" I added bitterly. "Has anyone of you ever thought to teach Boromir any mind-shielding?"
Aragorn looked at me, his face newly filled with anguish. "No," he said slowly. "I didn't. I never asked him… He made it plain that he did not trust me, that he did not like me. I never asked!" he broke off, despair in his voice. "Don't you see, Lothíriel, I am not a leader! My blood is weak, just like Isildur's blood!"
I rubbed a cold hand across my forehead. What the hell was I to say to Aragorn?
And where was Boromir?
I said the first thing that came to my mind. "For heaven's sake, Aragorn! How many people do you need to tell you that you are going to be a fine king?"
No, no, no, that was the wrong approach. And I had to watch my big mouth.
"Arwen told you," I continued quickly, hoping that he would not notice my reference to the future. Frodo had noticed. He opened his mouth as if to ask a question and closed it again, when he noticed me looking at him. Aragorn looked up at me. The name of his beloved penetrating his gloom. "She did, didn't she? And Elrond did, too. Gandalf did. It was the first thing I heard Legolas say, back at the council. But it won't matter. And if God, Eru Himself, would tell you, you would not believe it. And you are right, too, in a way. Because the only thing that matters is, what you believe. If you believe that you can be our leader, then you will be. If you believe you can be king, you will be. If you believe that you will fail, you will. My people call that a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are set on dooming yourself, you will probably succeed. But don't mind me saying that, please, but this is neither the time nor the place for that kind of shit. Oh, God damn it all to hell, Aragorn! We NEED you! All peoples of Middle-earth need you! And we trust in you! Don't you see that? Gandalf himself trusted in you!"
I am a failed law student, for heaven's sake! Not a therapist!
I stared at Aragorn, waiting for a reaction.
Finally it was Frodo, who spoke again. "I trust in you, too, Aragorn," the hobbit said simply, extending his small hand to the ranger. Hesitatingly, Aragorn accepted the hobbit's hand.
They stood that way for a long time, hand in hand, in the silvery light of many elvish lanterns shining through the window.
"Thank you," Aragorn said finally, his voice hoarse. "Thank you, both of you."
Frodo nodded. "I think I will go to bed now. Sam will already be wondering where I am. Good night, Aragorn. Good night, Lothy."
He walked back to the stairs, taking care to give me a wide berth. That hurt, even though I had asked him myself to stay away from me.
He disappeared into the shadows of the stairs, and moments later I heard Sam's sleepy voice raised in a question, then the door was closed and the house was filled with quiet again.
Aragorn sighed, and at long last sat down in one of the easy chairs at the fire place himself.
"I am sorry, Lothíriel," he said slowly. "I wish I could say I trust you completely, the way Frodo does. But I can't. It's so very hard to accept that you knew what would happen in Moria, and did nothing to change it, to prevent it. If Gandalf trusted you, and I believe he did, and if Glorfindel trusted you, and I can see that he did, teaching you the elvish ways to shield your soul from the enemy, I know that I should trust you, too. But I can't. And I can't trust Boromir."
I sighed. I could understand Aragorn, and I appreciated his honesty. I preferred his honest doubts to his cold looks. "You shouldn't trust Boromir."
"How can YOU say something like that?" Aragorn cried, shocked.
"Look, Aragorn, I know it was wrong to sleep with Boromir! It was not proper, and it was not the time and place for it. We were frightened, and grieving, both of us, but that's no excuse.
And anyway, that's neither here nor there. I will not talk about what I know or what I don't know again. But even if I did not know anything at all, it's fairly obvious that Boromir's affected by the ring. For heaven's sake, if Glorfindel had not been teaching me day and night how to build walls of white stone in my mind, I would probably not be able to remember my name right now!" I paused, gathering courage to ask the question that had been burning in my mind since the afternoon on the bank of the Silverlode. "Do you think it's too late to teach him how to shield?"
Aragorn was silent for a long time. That in itself was answer enough.
But after a long time of silence he spoke again, and this time his voice was unexpectedly soft, and full of regret. "It is too late, Lothíriel. I know that. And you know it probably better than I do."
I rose from the chair and slowly walked to the door.
"Where are you going, Lothíriel?" Aragorn asked me.
"I am going to find Boromir," I answered, expecting to be reprimanded.
But Aragorn did not say anything at all.
I stepped out into the starlit night and went to find my lover.
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This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.